HXRC Team: From zero to a VR demo in three months

Feb 23, 2022

How much can two guys with no 3D or VR experience achieve during a three-month vocational training? An entire demo of one of the most advanced headsets on the market! Meet Rafael Sainio and Kasper Heino, Helsinki XR Center’s trainees.

Rafael and Kasper, who did a vocational training at HXRC, wearing VR headsets.

Text by Kasper Heino and Rafael Sainio

We are Kasper Heino and Rafael Sainio, and we are doing double qualifications in secondary school. That means that we are studying in high school, but also doing vocational studies. We are specializing in game programming and design at the Helsinki Business College.

As a part of our studies, we need to do a vocational training period. We decided to apply for work at the Helsinki XR Center because we were interested in VR technologies and hardware. It was great that there was a project for us, and we got to stay with HXRC for 3 months!

Creating the Varjo XR-3 demo

The idea was to create a demo for the Varjo XR-3 glasses. At first we were nervous about the thought of creating even a short demo in an XR environment, because we had only created a few 2D games at school, and had never learned about VR technologies. We also had to take into account the limited amount of time, some of which had to be used learning the tech.

Our work started by throwing around ideas: what the theme would be, and how we could best utilize the specs of Varjo XR-3. In the end we went with a spaceship where you could break objects with just the hand controls! Check out the demo video below.

During the creation process we ran into many challenges, mostly in Unity or Varjo’s SDK. Most of those we managed to overcome! However, there are some features we could not implement due to compatibility issues.

One of these features was utilizing Mixed Reality, which presented exciting benefits and possibilities. First we wanted to create a space station door that would show an MR view into the real world. Sadly, that ended up not being possible with our demo environment. Next we tried to equip a tablet with an MR capability, so the user could see where they’re standing in the real world – but due to mechanics already present in the demo, we had to leave that out, too, meaning the demo doesn’t have MR features.

A space station in virtual reality.

The space station from outside.


We both had had jobs before our trainee period at HXRC, but none of them were quite as varied. In addition to creating the demo we got to help out with lots of smaller tasks, such as setting up the greenscreen, or making sure Match XR ran smoothly. The biggest one of these was installing, testing and reporting on new VR and AR hardware HXRC had obtained, such as the Hololens 2 AR glasses and Focus 3 headset. We also helped out with the Showroom: showed off the demos, as well as VR headsets and their capabilities. Overall, whenever it came to showing off glasses or headsets, we were there to help!

Doing vocational training at HXRC was good, and we certainly learned a lot. It also showed that you don’t need to be a college student for this kind of work – secondary school students should also apply!

Space station control room in virtual reality.

Space station control room. Don’t like the bottles? Break them!

Space station recreational room in virtual reality.

Space station’s rec room. Have a go at those plates and bottles!

A cabin in virtual reality.

We also made a cozy cabin to relax (or break stuff) in.

To see previous news about our trainees’ projects, head over to the Trainee news section.

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