I wrote an article a while back on another block chain forum about when i first got VR, if you are interested you can have a look here -
I've had the system a while now and have wanted to share my thoughts, opinion and conclusion on it, so here goes.
The box reminded of the old days with Apple, when you got the box home and tore into it reverently you felt like you had made some sort of life changing purchase, it felt inspirational, you know?
I couldn't wait to open it,
I felt like a kid again, you see for as long as i can remember i wanted VR in some form or another, i actually remember as a kid being given an old 80's style game that you could wear as helmet, you can imagine my lofty excitement crash to earth with a resounding thud of disappointment, i wish i still had it, but it's either in the parents "stuff cupboard", or was binned long ago.
I even remember Sega and Nintendo making stab at it, and the Nintendo version giving people blinding headaches. So i've grown up watching people talk about VR, write about, make films, you get the idea, I never thought i would ever see a commercial, entry level and above all affordable version. Although i have to caveat the affordable tag, its expensive, but when i go on what i call the obsession trail i'll scheme and plot and patiently buy what i need to to get the point where i get the obsession fulfilled.
I hate to think how much i spent on surround sound over the years...but that's another story.
So when i heard rumours and whispers about Oculus Rift i dismissed them as that, rumours, nothing to get excited about. However as time went on the rumours seemed to be getting much more substantial as far back as 2012 the rift secured its Kickstarter funding, at that point i thought, yeah okay, so that doesnt really mean anything, it'll never come to anything.
Then along came word that people were getting their hands on development kits, hang on i thought, this could be for real. It never felt like the Leap Motion, a gadget that was going to cause a paradigm shift in control methods, getting us closer to the world of TomCruise and that cool computer interface he used,
That's what a good gadget should do, it should make a dull every day task feel like a game and be something you want to do over and over again, yeah Einstein says you!
Anyway, i digress slightly, so the Rift.
The helmet i surprisingly comfortable, the only problem i have with it is the sweat issue, it gives me a reverse Mohawk, this is how i feel i look after a session
The controllers are a revelation though,
I can see why people were a bit lukewarm with the Rift before as you used an XBox controller, nothing wrong with the XBox controller, i actually really like it but it would put me off and take me out of the whole VR environment, and i will get to why in a moment...
Is one of easiest i have done on the PC, insert the cables, 3 USB3 and one HDMI, but this is where it starts to get a bit tricky, you need 3 USB 3 ports and a spare HDMI socket, I have a GTX 1070, so not really a problem, but it's an expensive card and with slightly older rigs you are looking at a USB expansion card, at the very least. Then the setup is basically next, next, next with a bit of input from the user
Experience and Gameplay
You start off in a Demo in a van with a robot, I cant really put it much better than that, but the robot encourages you to interact with your surroundings and playing with different objects, this is where it starts to feel like an experience, not a game and you get an idea of how immersive it is. I have heard it said that if you fool at least three of the five senses you start to believe in the environment you are being presented with and i can honestly that feels true, and this is where the controllers come in, you strap them on but then this happens when you looks down,
It's the most weirdly satisfying feeling ever! You feel you are part of the virtual landscape and some of the games utilise this effect very well, Two of the main ones are -
One has you climbing rock faces and mountains and the other has you a robot in space repairing a space station and undertaking tasks, and my god when you see the hands in front of you and you control them it feels like an out of body experience,
When you look down at where your hands are supposed to be and you see the arms and hands of a robot that is supposed to be you then its the most weirdly, euphoric experience ever, you don't just feel part of the game, you are the game. it's a bit like trying to explain a really vivid dream, unfortunately language sometimes isn't very good at capturing emotion and experience, but that's the best way i can describe the VR experience, it is like a very vivid lucid dream that you control, and that for me feels amazing.
Another game i have "experienced" is this one, Defense Grid 2
It's a good solid tower defence game that i have played on a number of platforms, but you have never experienced it till you press a button on the controller and you are on a platform watching the Aliens stride by you attacking your towers and trying to steal your power orbs, its disorienting at first but then you laugh out loud and just stare.
Edge of Nowhere is an great example of what can be done survival horror wise
I like how you aim with the rift headset, how many times have you played a game and been disembowelled by a baddie because you couldn't aim on them quick enough, well not here, aim with your actual head and bang, they are done, did i also mention that it was eerie and an great game?
And how stoked was i when is seen this come out?
Yes it is. It was amazing on the Dreamcast, the massively under rated and under appreciated Sega console
I still have mines...
It was amazing on the Playstation as i hooked it up to surround sound, when i finally got the chance to fully immerse in it i was like a giddy child!
I love it, its a great system and it fulfils a childhood dream of mine. I get to climb mountains, explore space, repel waves of aliens, fight eldritch beasts and monsters. If you arent sure, just get it, however I will admit there are pros and cons, and here they are.
Varied game library
Feels really real sometimes
I just want to keep using it all the time.
Need a really decent rig to support it
(*)Resolution isn't as high as it could be.
- Quick tip, access the debug tool and you can enable supersampling, makes the Rift graphics sharper,
access it here
Then set the highlighted item to values between 1 and 2
See this guide for more info
So if you have some spare cash, and have been obsessed as i have been with VR, what can i say? Buy it, i don't think you will regret it.
Thanks for reading.