We've not been shy in our fierce criticisms of VR from a gaming perspective, but the maturation of development has yielded increasingly more mechanically-focused titles targeted at gamers. Mars 2030 aims to be more than a “VR Experience,” as most titles are, and we had the opportunity to get hands-on with the new game at GTC 2016.

Mars 2030 is developed by Fusion and was first shown at the GTC keynote, the Mars rover helmed by industry icon Steve Wozniak. The open-world game takes place on the surface of Mars and deploys unique techniques to match surface color, heights, and physical interaction with terrain. It's playable on non-VR displays as well (and it does look good on 21:9 aspect ratios, based on the keynote), but hopes to stake its flag into the VR market with an agnostic disposition toward the Vive and Rift. Mars 2030 will work on both major devices.

Our hands-on impressions with Mars 2030 left us reasonably impressed with the early demonstration of Fusion's attempt to cast players as astronauts.

NVidia's Graphics Technology Conference (GTC 2016) kicked-off with a keynote from CEO Jen-Hsun Huang, who frontloaded the event with topics on AI, software development kits, self-driving cars, machine-learning, and VR. Of what we've seen so far, the most interesting has been the new “Mars 2030” VR demo, which used photogrammetry to rebuild Mars using satellite flybys. The Mars 2030 VR demo was helmed by computer industry icon Steve Wozniak, whom Huang selected for the Woz's recently vocalized wishes to fly one-way to Mars. Wozniak, providing the most candid form of stage presence, declared “wow! I'm getting dizzy! I'm gonna fall out of this chair.”

Huang: “... Well, Woz, that was not a helpful comment.”

But the exchange sums-up the presentation well – somewhat playful, experimental with technology, and entertaining.

Our initial GTC keynote coverage consists primarily of VR and SDK talking points, with a focus on the Mars 2030 demo.

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