Maria Montero

Virtual reality games and the search for the “state of flux”.

Maggie Lane is a writer and producer on virtual reality experiences and covers the industry for various publications.

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You have to stop procrastinating. Maybe it’s time for some …

Bulletproof Coffee, Modafinil, Nootropics, Acid Microdose, Coffee Caffeine, bracelets caffeine, aromatherapy, noise-canceling headphones, meditation, custom workspaces, or productivity apps?

Whatever your choice, today’s workers (especially in the tech industry) will do anything to be more productive.

What we are looking for is that elusive, perfect or flow status. According to the researchers, someone in flow will experience a lack of sense of self, a decrease in fear, and time distortion. It’s peak performance coupled with a euphoric high. All your happy neurotransmitters fire, and you dorsolateral prefrontal cortex it performs differently – you don’t guess, it just flows to the next stages of the activity in question. And it turns out that you are acting at the highest level possible. Sounds amazing right?

But how do we invite this state in? A detailed piece Fast Company describes how extreme sports (pro surfing, steep incline skiing, skydiving, etc.) are the fastest way we’ve found to harness human flow. However, these hobbies are just that: extreme. They require a great deal of skill and can be dangerous. For example, Steven Kotler, a pioneer in flow state research, broke almost 100 bones As a journalist investigating the subject.

All of this brings us back to our collective (and very American) obsession with entry versus exit: are we getting the most out of the energy we put in? Despite all the bells and whistles at our disposal, we, as a society, are constantly decreasing productivity as time goes on.

In 2014, a Gallup poll found that the average American worker only spends a depressing 5% of their day on flow. An Atlantic 2016 Article The main hypothesis that the main reason we are decreasing productivity as a workforce is that we are not introducing new technologies fast enough. Technology like robotics and smartphones could add a boost to productivity, but they are not being integrated into the workplace. The business models are, for the most part, not that different from 10 years ago. In essence, we are bored – we are not being challenged in an attractive way, so we are working harder than ever but getting less.

But what if entering the flow state could be as easy as playing a video game?

Gameplay in RaveRunner

I met Job Stauffer, Co-Founder and CCO at Orpheus Self-Care Entertainment. When I was, in fact, procrastinating from work. I was scouring Instagram and saw a clip of Job playing RaveRunner. Since I love rhythm games, I immediately requested a version. However, I would soon learn that this was not just a simple VR experience.

RaveRunner was built for Vive, but it ran easily on my Rift. When I first entered the game, I felt a bit overwhelmed: there was a lot of empty and dark space; almost like something out of TRON. It was a bit scary, which is actually very helpful for entering the flow state. However, my fear soon dissipated, as before me was a transparent yellow lady (Job calls her “Goldie”) dancing to the beat, providing a moving demonstration for the game. Unlike the hacking nature of Beat Saber, where you smash blocks with lightsabers, in WaveRunner you tap blue and orange glowing circles with your controllers and move your entire body to the beat of the music.

WaveRunner has a softer, more feminine touch, and it wasn’t just Goldie. Behind the design of this game is a woman, Ashley Cooper, who is responsible for developing the game mechanics that can help a player achieve flow. “Being in the flow state is incredibly rewarding, and we strive to help people do so by creating experiences like RaveRunner,” says Cooper. RaveRunner is a game where you can get lost and by stimulating so many senses it allows you to let your higher level thoughts escape – you become purely reactionary and nonjudgmental.