FIRST Robotics Competition Blog

Experiencing "Deep Space": a VR Project Update

Nov 16, 2018 Written by Kate Pilotte, Kit of Parts Manager



As mentioned in this August blog, we’re working on a way to present the DESTINATION: DEEP SPACE Presented By The Boeing Company playing field a few different ways. Our goal is to assemble a portfolio of assets that help teams experience the field with informative (maybe even fun) assets.

Before we get down to brass tacks though, I want to express my gratitude to Suppliers that are supporting this effort on our first ever VR Team:

  • Autodesk
  • Boeing
  • NASA
  • PTC
  • Siemens

Today, we published a new Playing Field webpage. There you’ll find a table with general information about what’s on the docket as well as more detail (you’ll also see a fair number of “TBDs” and “pendings” which will be updated closer to and then at Kickoff).

Lastly, we don’t usually disclose what’s in the Kickoff Kit before TBD (the big day), but we’re making an exception to let you know that Siemens has generously donated a Google Cardboard to each kit (that’s more than 4,000 donated!). So, bring your phones!

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I am a kick-off coordinator, but I am also a teacher. I have 12 VR Headsets that can used. What do teams need to install on their phones to have the full VR experience?

The prerequisites for each experience, as much as we know today anyway, are described in the corresponding table at the bottom of the Playing Field webpage (see link above). If prerequisites aren't listed, it's likely that the user will just need to click on a link that will be published at Kickoff to access the experience. Good luck, and thanks for hosting a Kickoff! 

It would be great to have the VR field project from AutomationDirect become open source so teams can take it and modify it.  I believe it's being done in the Unreal Engine and that is available for free to students.  There is a huge learning opportunity that is possible by doing this.

Apologies, I am just now seeingt his - Last Years VR Sim IS available open source (here:  We DO plan to release this year's as open source too.  We would love to hear how you use it!

Good news! Check the details under the AutomationDirect section (, and you'll see a "Yes" in the Open Source field. Enjoy!

Will any of these options be compatible with Gear VR? 

No, none of the assets are supported for the Gear VR this season. 

Will Oculus Go be compatible with the assets?

Hi Gordon. No, Oculus Go is not a supported hardware platform this season. 

Does this mean Both the Oculus and the Oculus go are not suported?

Hi Guys, the comments above that say Oculus GO and Gear VR are NOT supported. To clarify – those platforms don’t support the full VR Sims. You WILL be able to view the 360 degree panoramic images and videos in full surround just by moving your head using these low end platforms. It’s a really cool experience!


Will the PS4 vr work with the vr files

Hi Ted. That platform is not supported. 

Any update on when the HoloLens playing field visualization will be available?

We haven't published any updates on the availablity of the HoloLens VR asset (and we're sorry for the delay!). Please stay tuned to Team Updates and/or Twitter because when we have information to share, we'll likely get it out via those channels. 

Some of the zip files provided did not work with windows native zip for me. After installing WinZip I was able uncompress the files.

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