BehaVR: A therapeutic experience

BehaVR largely believes in helping people work through feelings of stress, anxiety, and fear, towards a safer and improved state of well-being. Their goal is to make mental healthcare accessible to all by building coping skills through the transformative, readily available medium of VR and currently sells therapeutic software on pre-loaded headsets to health care providers.

VR has been used somewhat recently to tackle various disorders, notably, PTSD, anxiety and phobias. The concern regarding such disorders has risen as the pandemic has brought along widespread anxiety and increased rates of PTSD. As someone who has always been interested in wellness apps, I wanted to take a look to see what are the existing options available in VR that aims to improve the general well-being of people.

Why they are engaging

One of their featured programs is CenteredVR which helps to rewire the brain in a natural way, leveraging the unmatched neurological powers of VR. This helps people to conquer chronic stress and relearn more appropriate, healthy responses to stress that serve their health long-term.

They get to experience in-class expertise from behavioral health experts from the VR sessions and receive guided meditation in an immersive setting. From here they will learn to build a foundation of coping and relaxation techniques.

Another program that they have is RecoVRy which can augment the help sought by people with substance use disorders to pave a more effective path to addiction recovery. It is uniquely positioned to target the dysregulated neurocognitive processes that underlie and exacerbate addiction.

This allows the patients to have a safe space to build a sense of shared experience and community that has no risk of stigmatization.

What features are well done

One of the best parts of VR is how immersive it is and BehaVR has done well in creating an all immersive experience to capture the patient’s attention and activate the brain’s 4 learning centres. This allows experiences to be encoded more efficiently and helps them to be less stressed out in such welcoming, safe environments.

Visual help such as guided meditators and augmented humans can make the experience all the more engaging in the comforts of their own home in an interesting and new environment.

What features can be improved and how

One type of behavioural therapy usually used for the treatment of PTSD is exposure therapy and VR is an excellent tool to use to simulate environments as closely as possible to the patient’s most feared situation in a safe manner as all details can be controlled by the technician.

Most of the programs right now primarily use VR as a visual enhancement in wellness tools however I believe more can be taken advantage of using VR to tackle more serious forms of anxiety by utilising the visual environment as a form of exposure therapy and not just having largely audio-related help with accompanying visual backgrounds. I believe that it does not stretch the potential of VR which can be used to mimic real life scenarios to treat more serious forms of disorders.

Common more civilian-related phobias can be easily replicated in such programs to target an even greater variety of issues in a way that is difficult to replicate in real life. This will surely increase the diversity of solutions that BehaVR is able to give.

Homecourt: Basketball training

Homecourt is a personal basketball training app to help individuals capture their moves, stats and progress. Within your home, Homecourt allows you to engage in fun, interactive drills powered by AR to give an immersive live-action experience. It also has actual basketball drills and shot training drills which would require you to head to a basketball court for your workout. Homecourt also partners with the NBA and users are able to train with interactive drills and instruction from NBA and WNBA athletes. There’s also a competition mode where you can challenge friends or even the athletes themselves in interactive challenges.

Homecourt requires minimal set up, you only need your iPhone or iPad and Homecourt will guide you on positioning your device to get the best angle for doing the drills.

1) Simple set up

I love how the instructions are really clear and detailed to teach users how to position their device to get accurate tracking during drills. The set up minimally requires you to position your body within the frame on your device and once you are in the frame, the drills will start.

For basketball drills, the app gives you the flexibility of position your phone on the ground or using a tripod. After positioning your phone, you would have to shoot a freethrow to help the app calibrate before starting the drill.

Homecourt uses AR to greatly the reduce the amount of equipment required for users to train by themselves. For example, a typical basketball agility drill would involve picking up and putting down cones while dribbling from side to side. Homecourt provides an AR display of these cones and detect a pick up or put down while you are doing the drill so all you need is just a basketball.

2) Audio effects and visual cues

While doing the drills, the audio effects and visual cues added to the immersive experience. Whenever I hit a target or hit the wrong target, there will be different audio sounds to indicate whether I got it right or wrong. The visual animations on screen when I hit a target or when time is running out also added on to the experience. Homecourt also allows you to challenge your friend in a drill to see who can get a higher score as depicted in the video below. This positive competition helps to encourage users to work out together and improve their skills together.

There is also a huge variety of workouts and drills – ball handling, shooting, agility, conditioning, training programs and challenges. The ability to track your progress on each drill and even get analytics on your performance, and technique engages users by guiding them to improve and get motivated by their successes.

3) Basketball shot analytics

As a basketball player myself, I found the tracking of my shot on the basketball drills to be really useful especially when I am training on my own. Even if I can count the number of makes vs attempts myself, it is hard to identify the problem with my shot. However, with Homecourt, the app helps me to track my shot accuracy so I can focus on shooting, mark the spots that I shot at during the drill and mark my shot trajectory of all my shots. After I complete the drill, I am able to replay the video recording to identify my weak spots and the best shot angle to get a consistent shot.

4) Improvements

Tracking accuracy can still be improved for 3 point shots. When completing shooting challenges on the app, the app would detect a 3 point shot even when I’m within the 3-pointer line.

On mobile, it is quite difficult to see the cues from afar and this app would perform a lot better on a larger screen (ipad or use hdmi/airplay to project to a TV)

For basketball shooting drills, the experience can be enhanced even more if Homecourt integrates with AR smart glasses which are lightweight and the user can see the AR effects as they are shooting instead of only being able to review them after their workout. This would allow users to adjust and make changes as they shoot since their shot trajectories are already tracked and marked in real time.

Tumble Down the Rabbit Hole with Curious Alice

Down the rabbit hole we go…

Curious Alice is a virtual reality (VR) simulation/game developed for the HTC Viveport. I came across this application while browsing through the store for ideas, as my exposure to mixed reality has never been anything more than a few fleeting videos of VR gameplay on YouTube.

In Curious Alice, the player takes on the perspective of Alice and gets to experience her imaginary wonderland through a few simple challenges. What is engaging to the player is that it captures a true-to-life representation of Alice’s wonderland, and the player gets to feel what it is like to be Alice in those situations via a couple of well done features. The player’s perspective changes in such ways that give them a real sense of shrinking or growing, just like when Alice did in the storybook. The player also gets a sense of actually tumbling down the rabbit hole at the start. The challenges, from answering riddles to playing a game of croquet with the Queen of Hearts, also keeps the player engaged in addition to its visual elements.

What I feel was really well done is how the game manages to integrate real life illustrations from an artist with its graphics, achieved through mapping the 3D objects with textures of the illustrations. This gives the player an even more immersive feel, as if they are really experiencing a storybook setting.

However, the game is not without a downside. From the limited amount of gameplay footage I can found online, it seems to me that the croquet challenge can get rather unintuitive. In the challenge, the player has to throw hedgehogs through tunnels made by the playing cards, but instead of a throwing motion like one would expect, the player has to hold out and release the hedgehog. I believe this counters most people’s expectations of how to throw an object, and can be improved by matching these expectations.

All in all, I think Curious Alice is a very well-done VR experience allowing people to truly experience what it is like to be a storybook character. I believe apart from games and training simulations, this is definitely an area of VR development that the industry should focus on. To create applications that allows avid readers to truly experience fiction from the perspectives of the characters.

Tea For God

Why do I like it?

I really like the concept of utilising non-Euclidean spaces in a practical scenario. Tea for God uses this property in their game such that the player can simply mark out the available space in their room that can be used for gameplay. The game then maps out the possible routes that can be taken such that the player never leaves his/her physical allocated play area.

Why is it engaging?

I find that the game effectively manages to immerse the user in its virtual world and takes them away from the reality that they are just roaming about in a small area in their room. I feel that this might be achieved by simply allowing the user to walk in the game and not just using their hands to interact with the game like most VR games. Furthermore, with a change in the environment as the player explores the game, it gives a sense of adventure.

What features are well done?

This game features using items like shields and guns as well as grabbing objects. However, the main feature well done is the math and algorithm behind the use of impossible spaces with procedural generation to allow players infinite movement within their own place.

What features can be improved and how?

First off, Tea for God is officially still under development so there are still several unresolved issues. From gameplay videos about a year ago, they have issues properly resolving the condition when a player forcefully walks through a wall (blue screen of death will pop-up). I am unsure of how they currently resolve this issue. However, I would probably implement the error handling as (1. Freeze the game, 2. Notify user they are out of bounds and how to navigate back to the last valid position, 3. Only once they are back at the last valid position, will the game unfreeze.)

Decentraland: 3D virtual world platform

Decentraland is a 3D virtual world platform supported by blockchain where users can purchase products with real money. It becomes live to the public in February 2020 and is one of the early players in the metaverse field. Decentraland is essentially in a form of a web browser game. The transactions could be about virtual land, avatar wearables, or even digital art pieces as NFTs via the MANA cryptocurrency.

Why is it engaging & What features are well done

It adopts a simple and familiar form of interaction through web browsers, whereas the concept of metaverse is new and appeals to people’s curiosity. The design of the scenes also uses bright colours and simple art style which is friendly and inviting.

In addition, there is a high degree of freedom of editing the avatar in terms of body, face, hair, top, bottom, shoes, and accessories, which gives users a strong sense of participation and realism.

However, in my opinion, the idea of trading various types of NFTs is the main attraction of Decentraland. Its financial value as a means of investment is what engages people. For example, a plot of land is sold for 2.4 million recently. This is more significant than its technical and artistic value as a game.

What features can be improved and how?

The graphics lags too much for normal users without advanced setup. For me, I am using my laptop with GTX1060, running the game on chrome and ethernet, and I literally cannot move around. A continuous move on the mouse is reflected as one frame change after 10 seconds. Basic tasks like navigating myself or even responding to pop-up windows are impossible. This is also why I could not say more about which features are well-done, because I did not get to experience any. It could be that my hardware standard is too low, so I watched some review videos like the one below, but as the commentator suggests, the motion is not smooth either.

In addition, even if the animation is smooth, the 3D visuals are too rough for a metaverse application positioned at its standard. The silhouette lines do not look refined, and the art style is not that aesthetically appealing which reduces the passion to purchase any wearables for the avatar, really. This might work for a normal 3D game, but for a world-class metaverse platform, it could do better.

Creating Wearables | Decentraland

In conclusion, I think Decentraland has a great concept and has the advantage of starting early in this field of metaverse. It is already gaining popularity and making remarkable progress. However, it needs to work on its animation and graphics to attract more people.

VR application review: Beat Saber

Speaking of the VR app that I spend most time on, it should be Beat Saber. I spend half an hour almost every day, for both entertaining and fitness. Now I’d like to talk some on this application.

I think the time is more than Ring Fit Adventure.



Immersion is the most we want in a VR application. We want imagination becoming real in virtual reality. That’s what Beat Saber gives. We could have a pair of long sabers – which is impossible in real world – to slash numerous coming blocks. It makse virtual world more enjoyable.

Another huge impact for immersion is the locomotion. For most VR games. We have to face the problem of moving. Teleportation or moving directly will bring people either sickness or feeling unreal. Therefore, some games have to make some extra definitions about why you should stand still in the virtual environment(why do I only stand when boxing?). Beat saber has to care none of them. You could enjoy it without any sickness.


Fitness is an advantage for VR games. For PC games, you could only sit and play, which is harmful for your back. VR gives another option. You can play game and fit at same time. That is very useful – especially in current pandemic case that you cannot go out too often.


For a console game, it’s quite common that you spend tens of hours playing it, beating final boss, and then never play it again. Because there is no input after the game is released. But community will make some differences. You could see custom songs, customized sabers, fantsic lighting maps and others in Beat Saber community. More people join the community, and more people contribute to the community. That is the possitive feedback of community.

If you play beatsaber, you could have a try on my map


It’s not wrong that I use same title.


Fitness could be an advantage, and it could also be a disadvantage. It means you cannot play it for a long time – only for fun. If you play harder songs, you will quickly get tired and cannot hold the same level. Then you have to exit and rest.

Beside, that’s why I think locomotion sickness is hard to solve. Fatigue is more than sickness: imagine that you run all the time in a VR PUBG……


As I mentioned, Beat Saber is largely supported by its community. However, I think Beat Saber developers could have more communication with community. For each update, all the mods will be unusable and people have to wait for several days for the new version. Maybe developers could leave some exposed API for community to easily use. What’s more, developers could integrate some wonderful mods into orignal game, and that is the story for Counter Strike.

Real-time Strategy in VR: Brass Tactics

Brass Tactics is a real-time strategy game that offers a living tabletop battlefield game experience in VR. Even though other real-time strategy games have already appeared in the VR industry (e.g. Tactera, AirMech), Brass Tactics offers the player a medieval warfare-feel game and leverage the player’s immersion into the artificial world.

If you’ve ever played a real-time strategy game, the game mode of Brass Tactics shouldn’t be new to you. You start with some warriors and archers, but then you can upgrade them. To attack, you simply point your troops at specific squares via the Touch controller.

Why they are engaging?
Brass Tactics takes advantage of how engaging strategy games can be. It allows players to compete with an opponent (an AI or another player) and earn rewards through winning. With the immersion that comes with VR, the player can gain a greater sense of accomplishment by imagining themselves as part of the virtual world.

Another factor that makes this game more appealing is the speed you can connect with other players. Brass Tactics supports three game modes: single-player vs AI, online competitive and cooperative mode. The players are allowed to socialize with others through the game.

What features are well done?
The game successfully increases the credibility of an artificial world through details. The setting for the game is medieval warfare; the theme colour, characters, the playing board, scene all match up with the background story. I am amazed by the consistency between the art style and the game mode.

For example, the jewellery on the user’s virtual hand matches the overall look and feel. This increases the immersion, similar to how players dress up in unique costumes while participating in Live Action Role Playing games.

What features can be improved and how?
Most of the players pointed out its lack of content in terms of strategy. There are limited military characters and buildings to sustain players’ interests. Some players also responded that the unreasonably long game round (i.e. 40 mins – 1 hour for one game round with AI) had frustrated them. From my point of view, even with the title of “Real-time strategy in VR”, the core of the game is to entertain players through fun and engaging game mode. The developers should never blindly focus on building great modelling in VR only.

XR: Pokemon Go

Developed by Niantic and Nintendo and released in 2016, Pokemon Go was an instant success. This game was incredibly popular with an audience of all ages, and quickly became a sensation in the AR world.

The mobile game utilizes the phone’s GPS to superimpose Pokemon at the users’ live location, so that the user may capture, train, and battle their Pokemon. The game promotes healthy lifestyles and motivates users to walk around their city in pursuit of new Pokemon to catch and train. Pokemon Go sets up quests and specific locations (Pokestops) for users to complete and venture to.

I personally really like Pokemon Go because it evokes a sense of nostalgia, as I grew up watching Pokemon episodes and collecting Pokemon trading cards. It is a lot of fun to see something from my childhood brought to life in front of my eyes. As a kid, I’ve always wished Pokemon were real, and Pokemon Go allows me to imitate that.

The game itself is engaging because it draws on its audience’s innate tendency to collect items and level up. Users (Pokemon trainers) are motivated to collect as many Pokemon as possible, and make them as strong as possible. There is something addictive about maintaining a complete collection -— an aspect that Pokemon Go cleverly draws upon. In addition, the game is very social, and allows users to work together with friends to complete quests and train Pokemon. Pokemon Go also takes advantage of a user’s competitive nature, and allows its audience to compete with friends in battle. This extensive social aspect makes Pokemon Go more engaging and allows users to gain a more satisfying reward from the game.

Features well done

Pokemon Go makes great use of geolocation, as it is able to track the user’s movements to help level up a trainer’s Pokemon or determine whether or not there is a Pokemon available at the current location. This feature is very well done — as a side effect, Pokemon Go certainly motivates users to explore their city and exercise. In addition, the use of geolocation allows users to gather with other users at the same location for “gym battles”. This leads to a congregation of people playing the same game, which can increase the level of excitement and enthusiasm for Pokemon Go.

Features to be improved

Although Pokemon Go is certainly a popular game, there are a couple features that can be improved. First, it can be easy to cheat the game. Often, to level up a Pokemon, the user must walk a certain amount of steps, intended to be completed by traversing a city or park. However, this can be bypassed by walking in a circle in a home, or even by driving slowly in a car. It might be useful for Pokemon Go to consider implementing cheat-prevention methods, such as uploading pictures of surroundings, or other proof of actual walking. Next, the idea of the game is rather repetitive, and the objective is simple. When players get past the initial excitement of nostalgic feelings and collecting Pokemon, Pokemon Go because just that — a game in which users can collect more and more Pokemon. However, this can get boring, and many players have stopped playing for lengths of time before new updates reel them back in. Pokemon Go should consider creating more side quests and other fun games within the app itself to keep users engaged and entertained.

NetVRk Origins

NetVRk is a VR social media sandbox platform that utilises the blockchain for users to create, share and moetize their creations using an intuitive in game editor. Creators are able to create game assets by using a simple drag and drop interface, negating the need for any coding skills or special knowledge. These assets can be minted into NFTs to facilitate in game commerce in the metaverse economy.

Users are able to buy, sell and trade land, just like in the real world, and with the land, they have their own sandbox in the metaverse to fully customise into a world of their dreams. Land owners can modify the uniquely generated terrain of their world and build structures using the toolset of NetVRk. Those with the skills are able to import their own in game models or write scripts that can give enhanced functionality to the assets that they import into the world.

Netvrk Virtual Land Sale comes to Samurai | by Dale Linney - Six Marketeers  | CyberFi — Intelligent DeFi Automation | Medium

With this level of customisability, land owners can either build their world for large corporate gatherings, or they can build an entire VR game in their fantasy world. The various use cases include education, architecture, training simulations and product simulations.

In every world that is created in NetVRk, it provides the opportunity for members of NetVRk to meet likeminded people and also creates new methods of wealth creation in a new type of economy. This will be able to give new freedoms to people who are limited by their real world environment and economy. This is the next stage of globalisation, where people no longer congregate on single platforms, but in virtual cities to form networks and societies, where its a whole new world to conquer.

AR application: Pokemon Go

A popular Augmented Reality (AR) mobile game that I love and used to play is Pokemon Go developed by Niantic in collaboration with Nintendo and The Pokemon Company for iOS and Android devices. The game enables users to use their mobile devices with Global Positioning System (GPS) to locate, capture, battle and train virtual creatures called Pokemon which appear as if they are in the real world location.

Different Pokemon species reside in different areas of the world. For example, water-type Pokemon are generally found near the water. There are various game modes available in Pokemon Go such as Battle Raids in Pokemon Gyms where users can work together to catch rare Pokemons and Trainer Battles where users can battle against each other to earn rewards and experience points.

Why the application is engaging?

Upon creating a game account, the user can create and customise his/her own avatar and the avatar will be shown on the map with reference to the user’s geographical location. As players move within their real-world surroundings, their avatars move within the game’s map. There are PokeStops where users can earn rewards upon passing a location that is marked as PokeStop.

When a player encounters a Pokemon, the encounter may be viewed either in AR mode or in a generic background. In the AR mode, it allows the user to display an image of the Pokemon as though the Pokemon is in the real-world with the use of a gyroscope and camera. User are allowed to take screenshots of the Pokemon they encounter regardless of what mode the encounter is.

During an encounter with a wild Pokemon, the player may throw a Poke Ball at it by flicking it from the bottom of the screen up or spinning the Poke Ball toward the Pokemon.

Inside Raid Battles, groups of user (up to 20 in a room) are allowed to work together to defeat strong rare Pokemon. Upon successful battle, the user will receive rewards like Poke Balls and get the chance to capture the Pokemon.

For Trainer battles, a user can battle with another user in the proximity real life as there is an option to display the Trainer Code using QR code in the application and feature to allow player to scan Trainer Code to battle.

What features are well done?

I think that weather system feature being added later on has made the game more realistic as it allows real world weather to affect the game play like some Pokemon can appear more frequently during cloudy weather, rainy weather or some Pokemon will become weaker or stronger in wet weather during battles.

Another feature that has impressed me is the addition of Go Battle League where users are able to battle each other online across the world which aids human interaction especially during the early period of pandemic outbreak where social interaction outside is not allowed.

What features can be improved and how?

Currently, Standard AR mode is no longer compatible with phone in the landscape mode which is the mode that many people prefer when taking augmented photos with Pokemon. I hope to see Pokemon Go bring back landscape mode in future updates and allow users to have the flexibility to enable AR mode in portrait or landscape mode depending on personal preference.

Poor Quality Go Snapshot example

Go Snapshot feature is not performing well at night even if phone with the best camera because the quality is way poorer than a photo being taken with normal camera. In addition, it is challenging for a Pokemon to appear in certain locations because the mode struggles to detect flat surfaces. Hence, I hope to see improvements in future update by improving the quality and background optimisation in Go Snapshot.