Interstellar on Oculus Rift offered a breathtakingly realistic simulation of zero gravity

But sadly no CGI McConaughey

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The Independent Culture

I say realistic, I lack the millions of dollars needed to know what the real thing feels like (or the constitution to stomach the Vomit Comet) but the experience did feel close to how I imagine weightlessness to be, jettisoning me through the corridor of a space craft.

The Interstellar filmmakers teamed up with Oculus Rift, IMAX and developers ThinkingBox to create the sequence, which puts you behind the controls of the Endurance ship from the film.

As with previous programs I've tried out, the stationary scenes aren't all that impressive, and moving around the ship's cabins didn't feel dissimilar from roaming a multiplayer level on Goldeneye (the visuals are still frustratingly low res), but once a disembodied voice announced that gravity generators were being switched off, the sequence really came into its own.

Film review: Interstellar

Combining goggle-based visual display, head tracking camera, immersive sound and a moving chair, a glorious floating sensation was achieved, causing you to duck as you drifted through doorways and have to stop yourself grabbing out for pens and other objects as they floated towards you.

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Goggles, headphones, tracking camera and chair work in harmony

The fact that you can see all around you but not actually move is usually Oculus Rift's shortcoming, but in this instance it made perfect sense, your inability to grasp anything adding to the effect of the zero gravity simulation.

The Endurance was really quite a pleasant place to while away some time, and you can begin to see how as the technology continues to be honed it might prove more tempting than the real world for avid gamers.

With no real human aspect the experience ultimately didn't give that much of a flavour for Christopher Nolan's Interstellar, which looks to be as much about the force of human emotion as that of gravity (indeed the tech would have been a better teaser for the emotionally redundant Gravity), but this is the beginning of a very long road for Oculus Rift that almost certainly ends in it being ubiquitous in our homes. It might not be the right medium for telling complex human dramas, but as improvements come it may well yield jaw-dropping CGI sci-fis and Pixar-esque animations.

Try Intersteller on Oculus Rift for yourself at MCM Comic Con between Friday 24 October and Sunday 26 October.

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