Learning to cook like a pro can be an expensive process, fraught with disastrous results when recipes fail to go as planned. However, a new virtual reality experience is set to change that.
Dubbed CyberCook, it is described as a “hyper-real cooking simulation” by creators Starship, who are run by games industry veteran Martin Kenwright , the man responsible for gaming studios Evolution and Digital Image Design, and games such as DriveClub and MotorStorm.
Kenwright spoke to Factor in June last year about CyberCook, but was unable to reveal many of the key details of how it would work. Now, however, with the release of a demo version for the Samsung Gear VR, the company is ready to share all.
CyberCook trains you to make an array of dishes in virtual reality in enough detail that you can transfer your new culinary skills to real life. Both ingredients and time behave as they would in reality, so it’s just as easy to burn your VR shrimp as real ones.
The system also teaches you different techniques and how to best use different utensils. Perhaps best of all, CyberCook uses a scoring system to assess your cookery performance, allowing you to iterate and improve without wasting ingredients.
“As well as offering an engrossing experience, CyberCook dispels the fear of experimenting in the kitchen,” said Starship CEO Martin Kenwright.
“You’re involved with every stage of the cookery process. Why learn from a video when you can practice hands-on and without a single bit of waste?”
This fear of experimentation is a familiar issue for food fans with little cooking experience. People love to buy recipe books and watch cookery shows, but what they actually cook is often unadventurous and unremarkable.
While fear plays a part in this, cost is also a concern, with the price of food making experimenting with many ingredients too risky a prospect.
CyberCook is designed to change this, providing recipes from all over the world using ingredients spanning from the everyday to the highly exotic, and using a points system to encourage you to keep learning.
Eventually the system will even integrate a real shop, allowing you to order the ingredients and utensils to replicate the virtual recipes in a real kitchen.
The demo version, CyberCook Taster, may have just been released exclusively on the Samsing Gear VR – the VR headset created by Samsung and Oculus – but Starship plans to make the final version available more widely as VR headsets become more widespread.
In the meantime, a version for mobile devices will soon be available, known as CyberCook Slice.
Over time, Starship also plans to increase the level of realism in CyberCook, which will be interesting to see given its already pretty impressive graphics.
“We’re proud to work with partners like Oculus and Samsung so early on in the VR lifecycle on a Gear VR exclusive,” said Kenwright.
“In a couple of years, we’ll reach new levels of realism.”
Images courtesy of Starship Group.