Problem to solve

VR users in particular are a captive audience. This is because their eyes – and probably ears – are covered and they have nothing to do but sit or stand and wait for the environment to load while the scene changes.

Taking a long time for a scene to load in 2D is frustrating enough. In VR, it’s much more noticeable and all the more frustrating. If you don’t have a load scene at all, it also can be confusing.

How do I keep people engaged while the next scene’s still loading?

The Lab’s solution

The Lab by Valve is a collection of mini experiences that you access through a lobby hub.

The Secret Shop entry from the Lab Lobby
Entry point from the lobby

While you’re waiting for each mini experience to load, they use a simple 360° image that previews the experience that’s currently loading. These load scenes maintain head tracking and include audio to keep you from thinking the experience has frozen.

A load scene for the mini experience Secret Shop. Mostly grey with preview image.
360 image load scene

NOTE: I’ve been having technical difficulties recording the actual load scene due to the nature of the development build. The lobby launches an entirely new experience, and the game recording software automatically stops when the lobby game stops and the new experience starts. The recording software doesn’t pick up the new game. You have to set it up manually. The load scene is shown exclusively in the headset – not on the PC where the recording is happening.

Download it and try it

The Lab is available exclusively on Steam, and works on PC-based VR headsets.

The Lab by Valve

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