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Nvidia's Funhouse Makes HTC Vive Even More Awesome

AUSTIN, TX -- Cue the calliope music. Nvidia has been touting some of the capabilities of its new GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card with Pascal architecture. Some of the most compelling features include better touch interaction in virtual reality and realistic physics by way of the company's PhysX engine.

But since seeing is believing, Nvidia has created a demo for the HTC Vive called Funhouse that's set to debut on Steam. I had the opportunity to play around in this virtual world during Nvidia Game Editors' Day. A mix of carnival-themed mini-games, the demo is just the tip of the iceberg on what VR fans can expect in terms of graphical quality in the coming months.

After I strapped on the HTC Vive, I found myself at the game's iteration of the milk bottle toss. However, at this station, the milk bottles were replaced with fragile vases and plates. I picked up one of the waiting baseballs and winged it at the awaiting targets -- and missed by a mile. Not be discouraged, I picked up another ball and connected with a vase, causing it to shatter into several pieces.

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The next game was designed to show off some of those realistic physics. I started the game outfitted with a pair of water guns and was tasked with firing into the clowns' mouths to inflate and pop the attached balloons.  The water shot out the gun in steady, forceful streams. Once I finished with the clowns, I started drenching the station and watching the water bead up and roll down wooden the surface only to pool at my feet.

I tried out my archery skills in the next game as I attempted to shoot arrows at targets of varying sizes and distances. To make it even more interesting, I could set the arrows ablaze before letting them fly. As I notched my fiery projectile into the bow and pulled back the string, I noticed there was a fair amount of haptic feedback to correspond with how taut the string was. Represented by a slight vibration in the right hand controller, it greatly enhanced the feeling of actually shooting a bow and arrow -- even if I missed every target.

Although it's a short demo, Nvidia Funhouse is a highly engaging experience. The realistic graphics are a promising start to a still young technology. People curious about the VR experience and the HTC Vive should give Funhouse a go.