Demonstrating Racket:Next on the Meta Quest is simple, easy, and gratifying, if you know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.
This guide is dedicated to show and explain everything you need to know to give others a safe, magical experience and have fun doing it.
It is also designed to prepare you to make the many choices that you need to make as you demonstrate to many different kinds of people, young and old.
To that end, we strongly encourage you to read this guide carefully and do not hesitate to ask questions using the comment form at the bottom of this page.
PLEASE NOTE THAT NEITHER YOU NOR ANYONE ELSE WHO IS FEELING UNWELL SHOULD CONDUCT DEMONSTRATIONS, AND THAT, IN ANY CASE, CLEAR AND OBVIOUS SANITARY PROCEDURES SHOULD BE MAINTAINED AT ALL TIMES [SEE “DEMONSTRATE”].
There are five overlapping phases of successful Racket:Nx demonstrations:
Play and Practice: Orienting and familiarising yourself with the Meta Quest and Racket:Next
Set Up Demonstration: Acquiring the materials and preparing the space that you will need.
Position: Describing what this is to your target audience[s]
Demonstrate: Engaging, monitoring, and supporting players. Troubleshooting.
Record: Capturing the Moment, for us and for them.
Recruit/Involve: Providing paths for players to continue what they have started.
PLAYING AND PRACTICING
The first thing to do to prepare to demonstrate Racket:Nx is to PLAY Racket:Nx.
If you don’t have the gear and game yet, go HERE.
If you’ve got the gear, go HERE to set it up.
We’ll address setting up demonstrations themselves later in this Guide.
If your gear is all set up, go HERE to learn how to use it safely.
When you’re set with all of that, have a good look at our Competition Play Guide [below].
It’s the best and fastest way to become familiar with playing Racket:Nx.
So… JUMP IN!
Pay particular attention to ARCADE mode, as you will use this mode for most demonstrations.
But spend time in Solo and Multi-Player Modes too, so that you can answer questions about them.
Also, note that you do not need WiFi to practice alone, but you will need it for Multi-Player Mode, and to access and post your scores to the global Leaderboard.
Click this image for a Google Drive preview, then download it as a PDF file.
Racket:Next is an advanced virtual racquet sport platform, which is the very definition of non-violent, athletic electronic sport.
There are three broad modes of play, all of which are designed for competition: Arcade, Solo, and Multi-Player.
Solo and Multi-Player, however, are the modes on which we will build a new sport.
This guide describes each competition mode, and does so with the very images that are presented to the player inside the game… inside virtual reality.
They have in some cases been modified and consolidated for your convenience, but this is in general how the game is presented to any player.
This is not intended to be a strategy or coaching guide. Those will follow in due course.
However, the fundamental message of this guide is that this is an elemental, highly physics-consistent, skills-based game, that is easy to enter and impossible to completely master.
It is physically and intellectually demanding, and rewards talent and effort, as do all great racquet sports.
ACCESS THE COMPETITION PLAY GUIDE HERE, as a Google Drive preview, then download it as a PDF file.
Please review the Meta Quest Set-Up Guide first, to make sure that the device – and any appropriate connections, like a TV – is set up properly, then…
– Locate a space in which you can set aside a circle at least eight feet in diameter, with no pedestrian traffic going through it. The Oculus Quest Stationary Guardian is a 2 meter circle [about six feet]. This will provide plenty of room for the player to swing with abandon and have time to recover if he or she accidentally exits the Guardian space. Be sure that electric power is available for two or three devices: a TV or monitor, the Google Chromecast [if you are using one [see Quest Set-Up], and the Quest power cord [to periodically re-charge the headset]. Be sure that there is NO DIRECT SUNLIGHT that could shine on the headset, as it can damage the lenses.
– Position a table or identify a counter outside this space on which you can place a laptop, a container of sanitary wipes, and a clean, fine sponge or cloth with which to clean the headset between players.
– If available, position a large screen TV or monitor nearby, on which you can either “cast” your Quest game images or, if that is not possible, display video from your laptop through an HDMI cable [either a PowerPoint show or, better, live Racket:Nx video from YouTube].
– Remember to insert the glasses spacer inside of the headset and leave it in for the duration of the demonstrations, to accommodate players with glasses. Please remember, however, that most players WILL NOT need to wear their glasses at all. Have them try without first.
Here is our set-up at the USTA National Campus [in two separate locations] in September 2019:
Our Play Area was behind the bar.
Left to right: Power Cable, Quest Headset and Motion Controllers, Drying Sponge, Sanitary Wipes.
Another Play Area in the USTA National Campus Player’s Lounge.
POSITION THE DEMONSTRATION TO THE AUDIENCE
It is important to set expectations as clearly and accurately as you can. This will be a completely new experience for most people. For most others, who may have experienced “VR” before, they have probably experienced nothing like the Meta Quest. Many will have experienced “bad VR,” with cheap, often smartphone-based headsets, with low resolution and higher latency or “lag.”
Also, many VR presentations include visual experiences that are out of sync with the viewer’s actual physical position or behaviour.
This may have produced disorientation or even nausea.
Explain that those things are much less likely to happen with Racket:Nx and the Oculus Quest, because the image is sharp and the visual images are almost always exactly matched with the player’s actual movements.
HOWEVER, ALWAYS TELL THE PLAYER THAT THEY ARE TO STOP PLAY IMMEDIATELY, IF THEY FEEL ANY DISCOMFORT WHATSOEVER.
Next, explain to the player that they are going to experience a new racquet sport, Racket:Nx.
Explain that is NOT mean to simulate tennis or squash or racquetball or any other traditional racquet sport.
However, like those sports, the swing, to hit the ball, is very similar. If the player plays those sports already, they should be encouraged to swing as they normally do, but they can HIT AS HARD AS THEY CAN, ALL THE TIME.
Tell them that there are no “out of bounds” or net to hit, and that the ball always returns to them.
The important points of this phase is to ensure that the player stops at any discomfort that he or she may feel, and that they do not expect a tennis or squash or racquetball court.
Next, have the player or – if he or she is younger than 18 years – their parent or guardian, SIGN THE PROVIDED ACCIDENT LIABILITY RELEASE.
This release is REQUIRED to provide a demonstration.
Finally, request that the player sign this VIDEO OR IMAGE RELEASE FORM.
This release is completely OPTIONAL.
Now you’re ready to demonstrate!
– CLEAN the headset and motion controllers in full view of the player and his or her guardian, if present. It is important the each player and their guardian know that the headset is clean. Wipe the face mask with a fresh antibacterial wipe, then dry with a fresh sanitary tissue. Finally, discard both of these items.
– ASK: “Have you ever tried VR before?” If the answer is “yes,” ask “How was it for you?”
– ASK: “Are you right or left-handed?”
– EXPLAIN and ASK: “I will set this up for you, then I will help you put it on… OK?” We have never had anyone refuse help at this point, but if the player does, don your sanitary face mask and demonstrate putting the Quest Headset on for them. THEN GIVE THE PLAYER A SANITARY FACE MASK FOR THEMSELVES, WHICH CAN BE DISCARDED AFTER THE DEMONSTRATION.
Please note that any player candidate who displays evidence of illness should not be allowed to participate.
– HELP THE PLAYER TO HOLD THE RELEVANT MOTION CONTROLLER: Explain that they need not most of the buttons on the controller… just tell them to hold it like a racquet handle. The only button exception is the “Trigger” button, under the player’s index finger. Tell the player that, if they lose sight of the ball and don’t see it when they turn around [because they will be inside a dome], they can pull that trigger button and HOLD IT DOWN until the ball returns to them ON A SPIRAL LINE. Then use the other controller to set up Racket:Nx for the player…
– SET UP THE QUEST FOR THE PLAYER: If they say “OK,” then turn on the headset, by pressing the side button, then prepare the Stationary Guardian and enter Racket:NX, as you have done during your own play sessions.
– CHOOSE “ZEN” MODE: Explain to the player that they will be in a target-focused but non-competitive area in Racket:Nx. This will give the player an indefinite time to play without concern about being bounced out because time or energy runs out. Also, you will not need to be concerned about the player finding themselves standing on the end-of-game platform, which is suspended in space.
– ENGAGE THE PLAYER: While you are in “Zen” mode, you will hear music playing. Ask the player to join you in the Guardian Zone and hold the headset to their face, without yet lowering the head strap.
– ASK THEM WHAT THEY SEE: Ask if they can see the racquet in their hand… the if they see it, ask them to move it around, to get a feel for it. Now, ADJUST their IPD [Interpupillary Distance]. Show them where the adjustment is, under the left side, and ask them to slide it back and forth until the image looks sharp.
– HAVE THE PLAYER WALK FORWARD TOWARD YOU, OUT OF THE GUARDIAN ZONE: When they see you, explain to them that when they can see the room around them, they are outside of the “Safe Zone.” and they need to stop and return to the game.
– LOWER THE HEAD STRAP OR APPLY THE HEADSET WITH THE SCREEN PORTION RAISED, THEN LOWER THE SCREEN OVER THE PLAYER’S EYES: Ask if it feels comfortable. If not, ask if you can assist, then, if they say “Yes,” adjust the straps [there are two on the sides, near the front, and one on top of the head. If they say “No,” ask them if it feels tight or loose… then ask them to remove the headset and adjust it, then hand it back to them. Repeat this process, if necessary, until the fit is as comfortable as possible. I have never had to do this in hundreds of demonstrations, but you should be prepared, in case. Also, do not hesitate to ask the parent or guardian of a young player for help in adjusting the headset if the player is not comfortable with your doing it.
– ASK IF THEY SEE THE BALL: If they don’t, tell them to look around, because it may be behind them. If they still don’t see it, tell them to pull the trigger button and HOLD IT DOWN until the ball comes to them. If they do, or when they do, tell them to HIT IT, AS HARD AS THEY CAN. They’ll probably be tentative at first, but almost everyone will loosen up and have at it, and YOU NEED TO BE READY TO RECORD.
– WATCH THE LAKE NONA [Orlando} VIDEOS:Watching these will give you the best possible ideas of what to say and how to say it while they are playing.
– CONSTANTLY MONITOR THE PLAYERS, TO ENSURE THAT THEY ARE ON BALANCE AND DO NOT PLAY TOO CLOSE TO ANY OBSTRUCTIONS: IF NECESSARY, RE-ADJUST THE GUARDIAN ZONE TO A SAFER LOCATION.
– HAVE FUN!!!
This is simple, but you need to be ready.
If the player – or guardian – has signed the release form, have your smartphone ready to record, and do so in PORTRAIT MODE, so that you can capture the player’s whole body as close to them as possible:
Record them playing, then continue to record when they finish. [Watch my videos to see how to lead them through the demo.]
Ask them, as you will hear me do: “How was it?” or “What did you think?”
Later, you should upload the clips to a YouTube site, then send the clip addresses to your demonstration coordinator.
If you scan the release forms, send them to the same address, or keep the hard copies on file in a safe place.
Decide before your event begins what you would like to say to players and their guardians after their demonstration.
Whatever works for your facility or event, just be clear and consistent about it when the demo is over.