How I DJ in VR: Grimecraft Interview

In today’s video, we talk to Grimecraft, one of the first DJs to enter the alternate sphere of DJing virtual reality. The DJ system he uses, “TheWave”, was first covered in a previous article here on DJ TechTools. In this piece, we look at what it’s actually like to DJ in VR with TheWave, using the HTC Vive, and pose the question: “Will we all become virtual reality DJs?”

How I Play In VR: Grimecraft Interview

Grimecraft is playing in a custom virtual reality program called TheWave (currently unreleased, in development) – the DJ side of which is running two deck playback and effects in a world that can be experienced by an audience of people at the same time as the DJ is performing.

Fans who want to watch a VR set don’t have to have a full-scale VR setup, and could theoretically watch their favorite DJs using Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear or other more affordable solutions in the future.

The DJ side of TheWave is controlled using HTC’s Vive setup, which is a full-scale room kit that allows you to move around a space roughly the size of a small bedroom. Along with basic movement, the DJ can use a set of hand controllers to grab and load new tracks, change the visuals, and apply effects. Currently on backorder, the Vive system runs around $799 and requires a fairly hefty gaming PC to run properly.

How Do You DJ in VR?

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at May 3.30.32 PM

The DJ software is an early prototype hardcoded in Unity (a 3D graphics gaming engine), and is still lacking a few features that modern DJ software has, but handles the basics of two-deck mixing pretty well. In the image above, Grimecraft selects songs (represented by cubes) which can be moved around the room or placed in a deck for playback. We love the natural grouping of songs as objects in the room, which would be extra handy for set prep.

What About The Crowd?

Grimecraft can see the participants watching him represented by avatars that move around as the real people bob their heads to the beat. He’s excited about the possibilities of mixing real life club events and virtual reality at the same time.

“You can have venues of people using VR and having the silent disco experience as well as people from the internet joining in. You will be in a virtual crowd and not know who is actually there”

Wondering where to catch Grimecraft’s next VR set? Well you can’t – yet. TheWave is not released to the public and the event you saw in this video is from a private party at the Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco last month. However, with HTC Vive now shipping and Playstation VR on the way, will it be just a matter of time before we are all DJing in VR? Tell us your opinion in this survey:

Editor’s Note: TheWave has continued to develop since we shot this video a month ago – with increased advancements to the in-world graphical experience and a music creation mode – see the latest graphics for the DJ side in the below video: 

  • dkane

    LOL. THERE IS NO FLOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Champagne Drip

    See you guys at VRLA!

  • The_KLH

    Great article guys! This is truly next level stuff.

  • Anthony Alonso

    I would like to see it with a regular DJ setup on the DJ’s end of the VR. The current setup looks overly chaotic and would drive my anxiety up the friggin wall.

  • Wildleaf

    It’s not Samsung’s HTC Vive, It’s just an HTC Vive. 🙂

    • Spacecamp

      You’re right! Fixed 🙂

  • HangTheDJ

    Pretty cool – but calling it Dj’ing is pushing it a bit

  • killmedj

    WoW!

  • I wouldn’t want to DJ in VR, but a crowd being able to be there in VR would be cool.
    You could watch a concert that was sold out or happened a week ago.
    The world needs that Star Trek Holodeck tech!

  • proben

    How is this different from DJing in Second Life, which people have been doing for years just using Traktor, VirtualDJ, or even vinyl?

    • CUSP

      Yeah, people like to hype “first ever!” and “revolutionary!” before finding out if it actually is… probably because they’re arrogant.

      You are right about Second Life, it’s been a thing for years, and that’s a virtual reality world with a pretty long history of DJs piping their streams into the virtual world instance… before that were VRML web pages that basically did the same thing (back in the ’90s). The biggest problem with online DJing is the bandwidth for listeners. How do I know? I was there, doing it, along with at least a few dozen others.

      What I see different here is the use of interactive VR headsets (smaller, but much like the Battletech headsets at SGI… in the ’90s).

    • The_KLH

      The difference is the feeling of “presence”. Second Life isn’t immersive. It’s a graphically simulated world like an MMO, but no one’s brain thinks that he/she is “there.”

      From a user experience context, everything In VR happens (including inputs) in that world. In Second Life, everything happens in real life and then is transmitted to that world. The difference is significant.

      Presence is what is different… and the brain’s acceptance of the VR world being “real” cannot be understated.

      • CUSP

        I disagree that VR worlds are not immersive, tilt sensors help make a world more immersive, but this is far from being the first use of VR for being immersive, nor DJing as these were done in the ’90s at Battletech (across the street from SGI).

        A lot of the support here is *wishful thinking*, hoping humans will get over the rudamentary interactions of what exists and push past all the technical glitches they don’t havd to simply by going out to a physical club.

        Many smart people have done a lot of research on this topic (including Dolby Labs and Creative Labs), and none of them have a project they consider financially viable yet.

  • Steve Brown

    to really takeoff, the detail in the avatars needs to be precise, like a flaterring caricature.

    This is vjing, it has the potential to make “vjing” the norm.

    The trick with new tech is to implement only what adds value to the paying customer; like going to a club from home, or going to a club that has already happened.
    A bunch of people standing on a dance floor unable to see, because they are wearing vr glasses sounds dangerous.
    Excited to see how it all shakes out.

    Ya’ll doing anything with scratching?

    • CUSP

      There’s been a lot of attempts to do this, but mostly it seems like a solution looking for a problem. The tech gets in the way of the visceral experience.

  • tricade

    you never know if the crowd like your style – no go for me sorry…. maybe nice in the bedroom to play around thats it…