Virtual Bow Shooting

Project Info
Client Fontys VR
Deadline 27 January 2014
Symposium 28 + 29 January 2014
Location TU Campus
Stand To be announced

Background story

The idea for this project originated from the vision to create a virtual shooting experience in a big room (~100 m2). This was not possible with the trackers we had available at our school (Fontys ICT Eindhoven). We do have trackers that are very accurate, but they can only track objects in a small space (4 m2). To fix these shortcomings, I got the idea that you can create the illusion of being in a big virtual world by shooting projectiles. After carefully thinking about the immersion aspect of VR, I chose to use a bow instead of a gun. Because shooting a bow is a very physical experience, therefore the immersion aspect will be much greater for the user. Because the user can only move in a small tracked space, there is not a lot of possibility to move around. This is not a problem with bow shooting, because normally this is done from a fixed position.

Another essential part of this project is the concept of wireless. I noticed that a lot of Virtual Reality hardware was still using wires. The reason for this is technical shortcomings in wireless technology, and this technology is not cheap. Still I thought it was very important to investigate if it would be possible to make an Oculus rift wireless. I really like the Oculus rift but its biggest shortcoming (besides resolution) is its short cable. Therefore it is not possible to move around freely in the virtual word. This ruined the experience in my opinion, and investing in wireless technology is a must. We had positive results in our investigation, and are confident we can deliver a working wireless kit at the end of this project, for a very affordable price (~1000 euros including Oculus Rift).

After I had the idea of creating virtual bow shooting, I encountered a lot of people who didn’t think it would be possible to make this application, because the technology we had available probably wouldn’t be fast or accurate enough to make this possible. I was one of these people, but I liked the idea so much that I still wanted to see how far I could get. I called a store that specializes in selling bows, and told the owner of my plans. He invited me to come over to his store and talk about it. After we talked about it he agreed to sponsor my project with a bow. We worked together for 3 days to make custom trackable objects that would be accurate enough to make a proof of concept. This was more successful than I anticipated, which gave me the confidence to continue. After a few days of diligent programming, my proof of concept was a reality. The result was better than I had anticipated. It was accurate, responsive and fun. Every person that tried it out, smiled when they hit the virtual target for the first time.

Armed with videos of this proof of concept it was very easy to inspire other people to see the potential. Quickly many started offering their expertise and time to support me. Which brings us to the present. A very talented group of game designers has joined this vision, and is just as excited as me to turn this proof of concept into a very professional and fun application to play. Our teachers that are supporting this project share this feeling in my opinion, which gives this project a solid foundation to be successful.

Project Members




Alexander Arends

User Experience Expert

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Vince Houbraken

Technical Engineer

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Roy Noten

Physics Engineer

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Tim van Wankum

Technical Artist

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Samantha Schoonen


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Wouter Buters

Physics / Math expert

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Menno Bischops


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Project Description

After 2 weeks of brainstorming we decided that we would go with a medieval theme. Because bow shooting was very popular is this period, we feel this will give an authentic feeling to the application. The main setting of the application will be a Castle where the user can train or improve skills of different disciplines in bow shooting (accurate to today’s disciplines in the sport). The disciplines we will be working on for this project are:

Long/short range easy (indoor castle)

Long/short range medium (outdoor castle grounds )

long/short range hard (outdoor around castle)

long/short range up/down shooting (shoot from/toward tower)

After the user is confident enough in his skills with the virtual bow, he will be able to travel to the forest and put his new learned skills to the test. There he will be able to shoot moving targets of different sizes, moving at random speeds with a variety of natural obstacles (branches, trees) between him and the target. To make the game playable for all ages, we will not use 3D models that represent real animals. Instead we will use wooden representations of animals driven by ancient technology (gears and ropes).

The feeling and atmosphere of the application will be determined by our artists (Samantha + Tim).  Below I will show some early concept art, this will give an impression of the feeling we want the user to experience.


There are 5 main Challenges for this project:

The range of the trackers we have available will be sufficient to make a proof of concept, but in the future we would like to use wide area trackers. These are currently being ordered at worldviz, and we hope they will be implented into the project before the symposium. This will make the user able to walk around in a tracked space of 100m2. in combination with the wireless oculus rift this will greatly improve the immersion aspect of the application.

The physics behind shooting an arrow are very complicated, so we decided as a team that we would first focus on gravity, wind and trajectory of an arrow. after that we will look into more difficult physics.

It will be very hard to give the user an authentic experience, because the oculus rift  we currently have availabe does not have a very clear image (low pixel). We will try and compensate for this with a visually stunning world. supported with 3d sound.

Because a bow is a very special piece of hardware, it is not possible for everyone to shoot with the same bow. this has multiple factors associated with it: length, weight, strength, experience of the user and left or right handed shooting. Because the aim of this application is to be a demo tool for VR applications, we are looking at different possibilities of acquiring very generic bows that can be shot by anyone.

Because we are working with very special, accurate and sensitive hardware it will be a challenge to keep the application reliable and accurate. Therefore we will test the application thoroughly, before showing it to the public at the symposium.


Convincing and inspiring people of the possibilities of Virtual Reality

Convincing and inspiring people to choose a technical career (open day tool)

Making the user experience an immersive, fun and challenging Virtual Reality application

The application will have an applied gaming aspect (people must learn something from it), in our case this will be making them better at shooting a bow.



On a very high budget this tool could be very good for training professional bow shooters. They could train all there disciplines (long range, short range, indoor, outdoor) regardless of the weather outside. This would give them an advantage over other professionals, because they would have more training possibilities. It would be possible to monitor and save position, stance, power of a shot in training sessions and compare different results.

It would also be possible to let amateurs compete against professionals over the internet. While the professionals have a system installed at home, amateurs could log on in a system at their club. competeting against each other, without being physically in the same room.