Fog is a good thing in VR

I’ve been spending a lot of time in WebXR scenes lately. One scene that I like to visit when I need some time to think is the XR Koi Garden by @AdaRoseCannon. It’s a wonderful little place where I can collect my thoughts while watching the koi swim by.

Something that I noticed in this scene–and many others–is a sense of vastness or void. A lot of VR scenes that I see on the web have no horizon, or they have an infinite horizon. I’m not sure why, but I find this a bit unnerving. One approach to solving this is fog. Fog is one of my favorite things in 3D graphics. I’ve been hooked on it since I played Firewatch. Now I’m not expecting the immersive web to recreate the incredible shaders that give Firewatch such a distinctive appearance, but I do think fog is something developers should consider using.

As a quick example, I put together a small forest scene. This scene places some trees and rocks around a small area (thirty by thirty meters). You can toggle the fog on and off with the button that overlays the scene before jumping into VR. If you have an Oculus headset, you can toggle the fog with the X button on the left controller (sorry, I’m too lazy to map other controllers for this short demo).

My rambling thoughts on fog