The world’s in a crazy place, even more so now. In the midst of all this craziness and uncertainty, we need some way to cool down and forget about life for a while. Thankfully, we’ve got this great technology in front of us to help us find whatever we need at any time! Even better? We’ve got tech that helps us get even more immersed in the worlds we see. So, here’s a list of the most relaxing virtual spaces! Some are VR-exclusive, and others you can enjoy on a flat monitor. Don’t worry, each space will be marked as such.
I suppose we should get this one out of the way first, yeah? Everyone knows Minecraft at this point, you’d be stupid for not knowing. But it can look even better and feel even more relaxing with shaders. That’s where OptiFine comes in!
Easy installation, you’ll be in and out in no time with a Minecraft version that’s ready to use some shaders. If you want some personal recommendations, well:
As for texture packs, well, the game already looks amazing with its default texture pack. But, of course, we all have preferences. I, for one, use the Autumn Default texture pack. It’s technically made for 1.14, but it works fine on later versions as well.
The only downside of Minecraft is that, well, it isn’t free. You do need to buy it, but it’s well worth its price. Plus, you get to keep it forever. Even all the versions that come after and insane new features are yours to keep — quite worth the $30, I’d say.
You can also use Minecraft in VR with the Vivecraft mod!
2. caves rd’s Environments
I’ve talked about caves rd before. I actually reviewed his Castle Rock Beach environment as an article on here — go on, give it a read!
So you can believe me when I say, this guy knows what he’s doing. He’s created many impressive virtual environments over time, and each one is always a relaxing journey. You can always just sit back, walk around, and mellow out for a bit with his experiences. It does help that lo-fi music is constantly playing in the background.
The best part is, most of these environments are free to play. Except for New Zealand, but hey, it’s worth the price point. Each one of these also has a VR equivalent — although those aren’t free. (New Zealand’s comes included in the price, though, so there’s that!)
If you don’t feel like lo-fi, you can also turn the music off. Maybe you have a playlist of your own?
One downside to these is that they aren’t the most optimized. Even after fiddling with settings, you might have issues. So, word of advice? Don’t try playing these on older hardware.
Weren’t expecting this one? It’s easy to overlook — many people use VRChat to socialize and do fun things with friends. While that’s nice, yes, VRChat can also be used by yourself to just calm down a bit. There’s plenty of worlds made by the community to simply just go and get immersed.
VRChat is not only free, but you can also use it without a VR headset. If you’re scared your PC won’t be up to par — don’t be! VRChat has quality settings, and most worlds have their own quality settings, as well. If it’s running slow, fiddle with the settings.
Many of these rooms also include a video player! If you have a song or album you calm yourself to, you can play that so long as it’s somewhere on YouTube.
4. SteamVR Home
I don’t use this that often. Not to chill out, anyway. But I’ve seen plenty of people in the community make amazing environments for your home in SteamVR. Look around the workshop a bit — you might like what you find!
Another free one that, despite the title, can also be used in non-VR. This one’s for all you nostalgic gamers out there.
If you’ve got a thing for the past, and a thing for playing it in an old-style room, you’re gonna love this. EmuVR is an application that acts like an emulator, well it actually does run an emulator under-the-hood, but that’s besides the point!
As long as you’ve got ROMs, you’ve got a way to experience the old way of playing games in an old-school style. It’s a good way to forget about life for a while, while still getting your hands moving.
And for legal reasons, I have to say I don’t condone piracy. Some companies, like SEGA, provide you with ROMs if you pay for em. Or you could just dump them off a system you have.
The only downside of EmuVR is that it’s currrently in “closed” beta. I say “closed” because you can just e-mail the dev and get a download link, but it’s still an annoyance for new users who want to jump right in.
6. Google Earth / VR
An absolute classic, how could you go wrong?
I shouldn’t need to explain what Google Earth is, but I’ll give a basic rundown.
Google Earth lets you visit any place in the world. And with StreetView, you can also practically walk around those places, thanks to volunteers who have submitted 360 degree photos.
You can also use Google Earth in VR. Explore to your heart’s content, and visit any place you’ve ever wanted to visit. What better way to distract yourself?
That’s all, folks!
I’m sure this doesn’t cover every calming experience in the virtual world. In fact, I’m certain it doesn’t. So, if you ever run out of things to do, do some research yourself. Then, share it with others.
I hope these worlds and spaces can help distract you from the flames of the world outside. Stay safe, everyone!