Many have sought to define, understand, and make peace with the phenomenon known as “Tomato Presence” so we’ve put together this quick page describing it!
What is Tomato Presence!?
Tomato presence is the concept that hand presence can be maintained using a stand-in object in VR and that the brain will intuitively accept it. It relies on the method of hand interaction pioneered by Owlchemy Labs in Job Simulator which hides the virtual hand while holding objects.
As you can see, the player’s hand movements are perfectly synchronized but instead of the hand, the tomato acts as the temporary hand at that moment. Players can continue to have full hand presence with visuals other than their hand, something that wasn’t understood until stumbled upon in the development of Job Simulator. The tomato specifically was the first item that players picked up in the original GDC ’15 demo of Job Simulator, pictured above, hence ‘Tomato Presence’.
Is it a joke or a real term?
The line between joke and useful human computer interaction terminology is blurry. Here at Owlchemy we would love nothing more for the term “Tomato Presence” to be used 30 years from now in VR textbooks. 🙂 Feel free to spread the gospel!