“Television is virtual reality in some ways,” muses Seinfeld fan and developer Greg Miller. “We make believe that Jerry’s place is actually a Manhattan studio and Monks Cafe is just down the street. We suspend the reality that his apartment is just a set in Hollywood, with tons of cameras and lighting dangling overhead.
“I thought it would be a novel virtual reality experience to take a place that only exists in Hollywood magic, and make it for the Oculus Rift as if it were real. Virtual Reality Virtual Reality.”
The Rift, with its attendant nausea, is extremely well-suited to pedestrian but hyper-detailed places – which makes a sitcom set ideal VR fodder.
Miller built the project in a month as a means of getting to know Unity and the Rift dev kit.
“The majority of modeling was done during first two weeks, or the ‘honeymoon-phase’ when the project was still new and exciting,” he wrote on the Jerry’s Place site.
“I started by scouring the Internet for screenshots of Jerry’s apartment but that didn’t yield much. Eventually I resorted to screen-capping streaming episodes so I could get detailed images of the various items around the set.”
Where possible, Miller looked up the actual dimensions of the props used in the show to define a scale for the apartment. But in the course of his research, he discovered that Jerry’s bedroom, as it is depicted in the show, couldn’t possibly fit within the space it’s given.
“I used a blurry screen grab to texture the painting above his bed, and was able to recreate the bed, sheets and nightstands accurately,” he said. “It came out cramped, but I’m happy with it.”
Rift owners can download Jerry’s Place VR for PC or Mac from its official site. Those in need of objectives can search for the 11 references to various Seinfeld episodes hidden throughout the apartment. What’ll you be looking out for?