Attempt this technical demonstration of a hyper-realistic woodland on your Meta Quest.

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I had a hands-on experience with the Oniri Forest VR app, which showcases a forest with an astonishing level of intricacy. In this review, I will share my observations and descriptions of what I witnessed.

Rendering forest scenes in real-time is one of the most difficult tasks in modern computer graphics. It involves handling millions of branches, rocks, leaves, and the intricate interaction of light and shadow.

Oniri Forest does this impressively well without the need for an external computer. The simulation runs on a standalone headset. When I started the tech demo on my Meta Quest 3, I was stunned. I was standing on a forest path surrounded by realistically rendered trees, bushes, and ferns.

View of a realistically rendered forest.

The scene doesn’t look like a computer game, it looks like someone captured an existing location in great detail. I have visited many photogrammetry environments in VR, but Oniri Forest, with its dense vegetation, is unlike anything I have seen before.

Beautiful graphics – with trade-offs

To be clear, Oniri Forest is a volumetric experience. I was able to move around and change my perspective, and the environment was rendered correctly. At least within a “view box” of about a cubic meter. When I physically stepped out of it and moved a few steps away, the forest lost detail and distortion occurred. This is the biggest limitation of the VR app, but it is what makes such graphics possible on a standalone headset.

Oniri Forest offers more than a dozen of these view boxes, and the VR app wants you to teleport from box to box. Free movement like in a computer game is not intended.

I couldn’t get a close-up view, but the forest path takes you to a clearing where you’ll find a cyberpunk bar and a futuristic car hovering as if it were from Blade Runner.

Is this motivated by Google Seurat?

Oniri Forest is a tech demo from startup Oniri that converts demanding 3D scenes into easy-to-render environments for standalone VR headsets and the web. Oniri sees a wide range of potential use cases for its proprietary technology: architecture and real estate, exhibitions, education and training, games and concerts.

Forest scene with render boxes superimposed.

Only if you move within these boxes, the forest is rendered optimally. The boxes can be hidden with a press of a button.

I’m unable to reword the code/math formula.

Oniri Forest is worth checking out, even though it has its limitations. I remain hopeful that the technology behind it will become more prevalent in other virtual reality applications and games.

You can request Oniri Forest from the App Lab and then install it on Meta Quest. The app runs on Quest 2, Quest 3 and Pro.

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