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East Anglia Future 50

A virtual reality playroom is coming to Norwich

Designers working on XIST's new VR playroom game. Picture: Archant

Designers working on XIST's new VR playroom game. Picture: Archant

Archant

A virtual reality venue is coming to Norwich this summer, offering players the chance to explore out of this world scenarios from the comfort of the city centre.

Staff at XIST working on the team's new VR experience. Picture: ArchantStaff at XIST working on the team's new VR experience. Picture: Archant

XIST will be opening its VR playroom on the first floor of the former Maplin site in Castle Meadow.

Players in groups of up to six will enter the venue, and be given wireless VR headsets.

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In their headsets they will see a virtual spaceship, which has been designed with dimensions and props to match their physical surroundings.

Staff at XIST designing their VR game. Picture: ArchantStaff at XIST designing their VR game. Picture: Archant

This means that players can walk independently around the game, as well as interact with objects within it.

The game will see the teams make their way through a time travel plot, fighting various obstacles as they go.

The free roam VR venue is the first of its kind in the East of England, but co-founders of the business James Burrows and Matt Martin hope to one day open further venues around the country.

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"Players in this game will land on a spaceship and then be taken through four different time periods. They'll have to fight robots which have taken over the earth as they go," said chief executive, Mr Martin.

Trackers will also be placed on physical objects and switches.

This will allow players the option to pick up and examine items, as well as switching off a switch to trigger actions like dimming the lights.

Making sure players were safe in the game was a key concern for the team, which is based in Norwich's Rose Lane.

Players are tracked by infrared signals on their headsets (pictured). Picture: ArchantPlayers are tracked by infrared signals on their headsets (pictured). Picture: Archant

"The movements of every player will be monitored by infrared technology," said chief technical officer, Mr Burrows.

"They'll be able to see avatars of each other, and also make hand signals and wave," added Mr Martin.

"Every game will be marshalled - obviously the players won't be able to see them - but it's an empty, well-lit room," Mr Martin added.

There is also an age limit on the game, allowing only people over the age of 14 to play.

The venue will be opening at the end of June.

A session lasts for 25 minutes, which includes a safety briefing. A session costs £60 and can host up to six people.

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