Industry Group Develops VR Crane Game

The Overhead Alliance (OA) plans to introduce a virtual reality game in September to engage students who want to learn about the technologies OA's member companies represent. OA is a marketing vehicle for trade association MHI's overhead lifting product groups, promoting the collective interests of the Crane Manufacturers Association of America (CMAA), Hoist Manufacturers Institute (HMI), and Monorail Manufacturers Association (MMA).

The new virtual reality game was demonstrated at MHI's spring meeting in Charlotte, N.C., earlier this year. (Overhead Alliance photo)Using various media to reach target audiences, the alliance has developed a VR crane game to be a fun, educational window into what it's like to operate an overhead crane. The alliance promises it uses cutting-edge technology that "brings you inside a realistic manufacturing shop floor" and gives a user a 360-degree perspective inside the headset.

"With this game, we hope to effectively educate users on overhead lifting. The advanced technology that the programmers used to create this life-like experience is incredible. Not only does the virtual reality seem extremely realistic, but the game helps users to learn about overhead lifting while having fun at the same time! It gives everyone the chance to take a step into a virtual crane world," explained Karen Norheim, executive vice president at American Crane and Equipment Corporation, a CMAA member company.

OA has created an environment close to what people would experience at a facility using overhead cranes and hoists. (Overhead Alliance photo)The game should take players 10 to 20 minutes to complete; they can use different paths to move boxes inside a bay. "The concept creates a purpose to participation and will make it more challenging for the users. We hope that they will get a better understanding of what our equipment is and how it works. Technology has created an opportunity for us to create an environment close to what they would experience at a facility using overhead cranes and hoists. It's a great way to allow them to see into our world—and hopefully they want to become part of it in real life," Norheim said.

OA's goal is to have the game available in three different options: virtual reality using Oculus Rift; a PC using keyboard; and a PC using an X-box controller, and eventually to offer a version for the other major VR products available, such as HTC Vive, Lenova, and Microsoft. The primary audience for the new game is people who have never before been exposed to overhead lifting. The game is a combined effort of CMAA, HMI, and MMA member companies in conjunction with Vern Shurtz and John Berryman from the Stratus Technology Group. It will be available on in September and select gaming portals later this year.

Posted on Aug 16, 2017