Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 28th Mar 2016 22:11 UTC
Games

"Just a few more months" has been the mantra of virtual reality since people started getting excited about the Oculus Rift, and saying it after the headset is released feels like either a huge cop-out or a sign that the VR we want may never actually arrive. But it's impossible to think of all the unreleased Oculus Touch experiences I've tried - like three-dimensional painting tool Quill, Old West shooting gallery Dead & Buried, and a VR version of Rock Band - and not feel like the Rift's best days are still ahead of it.

For the first time, though, there's something to do while you wait. The high cost of buying and running high-end VR headsets makes them inaccessible to many people, and the Rift in particular is relentlessly focused on gaming. Within these limitations, though, the Rift makes a good case for seated VR, and it lays a solid foundation for what's to come. The headset you can buy today is not Oculus' most ambitious vision for virtual reality - but it’s a vision that Oculus has successfully delivered on.

I really don't know what to make of the current crop of VR headsets. I just don't see the appeal in strapping an ugly hardware monstrosity on your head to play a few video games or watch some movies. There are several weird disconnects; you can look around - but not in 360 degrees, because the cables make that impossible. You can move your head to look - but you need buttons to walk. It feels more like a glorified display setup than VR, really.

On top of that, while I love to dive into a carefully crafted game or movie world mentally, I wouldn't want to do so physically. When you're using one of these things, you are effectively wearing a blindfold, with no idea of what's happening around you. I don't know about other people, but to me, that just sounds terrifying - and a little distopian.

I appreciate the science and engineering that's currently being done on VR, and I'm in no way saying this won't go anywhere - just that it doesn't seem like my personal cup of tea. On top of that, there are probably a ton of non-gaming uses where technology like this could really shine.

Meanwhile, I'm waiting for VR to grow up into the holodeck.

Order by: Score:
Early 90's stylee
by Vanders on Mon 28th Mar 2016 22:21 UTC
Vanders
Member since:
2005-07-06

There are several weird disconnects; you can look around - but not in 360 degrees, because the cables make that impossible. You can move your head to look - but you need buttons to walk. It feels more like a glorified display setup than VR, really.

There are no cables on the Gear VR, so you can literally look behind yourself.

The bigger issue is, as you say, interaction with that environment. The videos you can get right now are immersive (impressively so) but they are passive, and I don't think we're at the point yet where we can have sandboxed immersive environments. We're basically at the OMG Full Motion Video level of development of the early 90's, when CD-32 games had FMV sequences in them for no apparent reason. Eventually, we got better at that.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Early 90's stylee
by Lennie on Tue 29th Mar 2016 07:12 UTC in reply to "Early 90's stylee"
Lennie Member since:
2007-09-22

"There are several weird disconnects; you can look around - but not in 360 degrees, because the cables make that impossible. You can move your head to look - but you need buttons to walk. It feels more like a glorified display setup than VR, really.

There are no cables on the Gear VR, so you can literally look behind yourself.
"

I think the people from Steam will probably also get this more right by what I've seen.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Early 90's stylee
by p13. on Tue 29th Mar 2016 21:14 UTC in reply to "Early 90's stylee"
p13. Member since:
2005-07-10

I own a gear VR, and it works very well.
Very impressive immersion. What impressed me most is the lack of lag.

But what is even more impressive is how fast it drains the battery ;)

Reply Score: 2

Comment by unclefester
by unclefester on Mon 28th Mar 2016 22:31 UTC
unclefester
Member since:
2007-01-13

I really don't know what to make of the current crop of VR headsets. I just don't see the appeal in strapping an ugly hardware monstrosity on your head to play a few video games or watch some movies.


People used to log into bulletin boards using acoustic couplers to get their thrills. When I was a teenager CB radios and the Sinclair ZX-1 were cool.

Reply Score: 6

Also, germs!
by birdie on Mon 28th Mar 2016 23:30 UTC
birdie
Member since:
2014-07-15

You should never let other people wear your eye-glasses and earbuds/headphones, but something tells me these VR things will be shared.

Reply Score: 1

Look around
by Treza on Mon 28th Mar 2016 23:38 UTC
Treza
Member since:
2006-01-11

There are several weird disconnects; you can look around - but not in 360 degrees, because your neck make that impossible.

Or 4*PI steradians.

Edited 2016-03-28 23:39 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Look around
by Thom_Holwerda on Tue 29th Mar 2016 00:36 UTC in reply to "Look around"
Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

You can't turn around?

(Sorry if you are a disabled person who literally can't turn around).

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Look around
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Tue 29th Mar 2016 15:12 UTC in reply to "RE: Look around"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

I'm assuming he/she was thinking about a player in a seated position without the unfettered ability to turn around. A wireless solution would be cool, but for a first gen product, its not a deal breaker. The price is sure, and the limited selection of games. But not the wire for me.

Reply Score: 2

Meh
by WereCatf on Tue 29th Mar 2016 00:45 UTC
WereCatf
Member since:
2006-02-15

It sounds to me like Thom wants AR, not VR. VR is, quite by definition, meant to be an as-wholly-as-possible immersive experience and that more-or-less entails blocking audiovisual input from your surroundings and all that.

Me, I don't share Thom's views. I have zero interest, whatsoever, in physically prancing around and waving my hands in the air or stuff like that; I'm more than happy to use buttons to walk, or a mouse to aim or stuff like that. I certainly have no interest in getting a gym-workout every time I wanna play for a couple of hours. Not being able to spin around in 360 degrees isn't an issue either, since my neck doesn't support such anyways. And the VR-setup being immersive and blocking out the environment? That's the whole effing point!

Reply Score: 8

RE: Meh
by CaptainN- on Tue 29th Mar 2016 17:05 UTC in reply to "Meh"
CaptainN- Member since:
2005-07-07

Turning my head is something I had to unlearn when I first got into 3D first person games. It's actually wreaked havoc on my neck (that and 20 years of computer work).

Being able to turn my head in a meaningful way sounds delightful - and I'm more interested in what can be done for productivity than for games.

For productivity they'll need to solve the blindfold problem though - maybe a transparent back (or mode) for the screens.

I wonder whether as much could be achieved simply with much larger displays.

Reply Score: 2

Nothing more discouraging...
by dionicio on Tue 29th Mar 2016 01:38 UTC
dionicio
Member since:
2006-07-12

Than seeing youth arched like crows over their little gadgets, for hours. Absent from surrounding reality. VR is just a steep down more, initiated by domestic radio.

Heck, remember some lecture about a Greek philosopher pounding against those 'lost from reality', so called, READERS.

Reply Score: 3

Jam tomorrow
by Adurbe on Tue 29th Mar 2016 07:19 UTC
Adurbe
Member since:
2005-07-06

The whole "next update will fix everything" has been exactly the kind of thing Thom and others have railed against in the past. In particular, regarding windows phone and sony android tvs. OR are effectively using their final customers as beta testers. Although great for r+d, the reality is its an unfinished product and the shortcomings "as sold" will tarnish their reputation in the wider consumer market.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Jam tomorrow
by CaptainN- on Tue 29th Mar 2016 17:06 UTC in reply to "Jam tomorrow"
CaptainN- Member since:
2005-07-07

Right, except it's not only important to update everything, it's also a problem when Windows does it..

Reply Score: 2

Comment by ichi
by ichi on Tue 29th Mar 2016 07:39 UTC
ichi
Member since:
2007-03-06

Playing something like Alien Isolation is scary enought as it is... on VR I'd probably need a diaper, and I'd likely often scream not because anything in the game but because one of my cats happened to walk over me while playing.

Other than that, I'm ok with the idea of a display attached to my face allowing (but not requiring me) to look around as much as I want while otherwise using the controller as usual.
I don't feel like standing up and moving around when I'm unable to see what's actually around me, nor do I find enticing to turn my gaming time into fitness sessions.

What I don't like about wiring is not the movement restriction, but rather that it's just messy.
I have a wireless controller and headset, and I often find that I have to play with them plugged in because their battery sucks and won't last a gaming session with friends if they weren't fully charged (and even then, sometimes won't).

I end up surrounded by cables and having to worry about both a) not forgetting to unplug the headset if I get up and b) seeing that the cats aren't cheerfully chewing them.

Not sure how to do b) with a VR heardset.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by ichi
by WereCatf on Tue 29th Mar 2016 08:43 UTC in reply to "Comment by ichi"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

seeing that the cats aren't cheerfully chewing them.


I had a cat that had this habit. I took note of the cables the cat tended to try and eat, smeared this red-hot chili-pepper sauce on the cable and went about my way -- didn't take long before the cat didn't want to try chewing on cables anymore, and then I just washed the sauce off the cables.

As far as I know, vets sell odourless, non-sticky stuff that does the same thing. Might be worth checking, at least?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by ichi
by ichi on Tue 29th Mar 2016 12:47 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by ichi"
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

I might have to try with the chili. I have one of those vet products that can allegedly keep them away from things but my cats seem to ignore it completely.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by ichi
by ilovebeer on Wed 30th Mar 2016 23:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by ichi"
ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

I might have to try with the chili. I have one of those vet products that can allegedly keep them away from things but my cats seem to ignore it completely.

The pepper sauce thing works great. I used that tactic and after my cat got a taste it hasn't wanted any part of the cable since. Considering how good a cats smell is you would think they're not dumb enough to lick pepper sauce but they still do. Or at least some of them. Give it a shot!

Reply Score: 2

"Cockpit" VR
by daedalus on Tue 29th Mar 2016 08:36 UTC
daedalus
Member since:
2011-01-14

I think the current crop of headsets would be excellent for people playing cockpit-type games - flight sims, racing games and so on, rather than free roaming first-person games. A lot of people have bought the Oculus developer kits (now that's actual beta) over the past year, just to play Elite: Dangerous, and most of them now say they hate playing on a monitor because they're missing a crucial part of the experience - actually being in the cockpit and seeing all around you makes a huge difference during a dogfight apparently.

While I shied away from the low-resolution and decidedly beta developer rigs, I could definitely be tempted by the consumer version of the Oculus Rift. I guess it depends on the bonus we get in work this year...

I found this piece on the Rift by Eurogamer quite interesting too: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2016-oculus-rift-r...

Reply Score: 3

NASA
by Savior on Tue 29th Mar 2016 08:36 UTC
Savior
Member since:
2006-09-02
Alone
by _QJ_ on Tue 29th Mar 2016 12:40 UTC
_QJ_
Member since:
2009-03-12

Am I the only one who feels this same thing about this VR devices ?

When I look @ the people using it, I feel alone, disconnected from their group of users.
When I use the device, I still feel alone, disconnected from the others around me...

Human is a social animal, there is nothing more than to share its feelings.

Some funny things like "Look bro ! Got him on headshot !" while playing C.S.
Or "Wow ! I pissed in my pans with this last sequence !!!".

Am I the only one missing all these feelings with the VR headsets ?

Reply Score: 1

RE: Alone
by ichi on Tue 29th Mar 2016 13:01 UTC in reply to "Alone"
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

People around you could probably still see what you are seeing through the TV/monitor (as interesting or uninteresting as that might be), although there's indeed a disconnect.

I don't think it suits any kind of couch coop playing anyway, but if you are either playing alone or with friends online, being disconnected from your physical surroundings wouldn't make much of a difference.

At least as long as you don't fail to realize if your house is on fire, that is.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Alone
by darknexus on Tue 29th Mar 2016 13:21 UTC in reply to "Alone"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Humans don't want to share their feelings, they want to share their own belief in their importance. How else do we explain politics?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Alone
by WereCatf on Tue 29th Mar 2016 16:07 UTC in reply to "Alone"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

For some people such things simply are not important, or they plan to use the VR-headset only when they're playing alone. I mean, no one is forcing you to use the headset 24/7; you can take it off and play on a regular display or TV just as you have been able to do so far if you have company and you want to be able to share moments with others.

For me, personally, it's not an issue, I do not have any interest in sharing any such moments with anyone else.

Reply Score: 2

yoshi314@gmail.com
Member since:
2009-12-14

I wonder what will be the equivalent for VR related injuries when we use our necks too much?

Reply Score: 1

Meh
by sbenitezb on Tue 29th Mar 2016 15:10 UTC
sbenitezb
Member since:
2005-07-22

I remember this technology from 20 years ago where they had a sort of headset too (much bulkier) and a virtual world where you could look around. The world of course looked extremely low poly, but you had 3D! We have advanced on the technology side to make it portable and much cheaper, and on the quality side to make it more real life. There are some games I would like to play, such as Elite:Dangerous and Eve:Valkyrie, but I wouldn't justify the expensive rig. I'm actually more interested in Microsoft's own holotech. I think holograms are the real thing, not a display in front of your eyes. I also foresee people having sight problems if they use VR headsets too much.

Reply Score: 2

Thom's Spot On
by mjhi11 on Tue 29th Mar 2016 17:30 UTC
mjhi11
Member since:
2009-08-15

Wait...did I just say that? But I agree. There's a parallel. 3D television at home. It's just not worth the compromises...cost, complexity, glasses, but most important are you satisfied, even entertained by something simpler. Like 3D, there is a place for VR but I think it's a destination thing, like a special movie like Star Wars you want to see in 3D at a properly outfitted theater, not Casablanca...a 3D arcade perhaps, but not at home. But then I'm a casual gamer at best, not even that really but though I have a pretty great 3D, 7.1 surround sound home theater setup at home...can't tell you when I last put on the 3D glasses and demanded more than Dolby ProLogic for surround.

Edited 2016-03-29 17:34 UTC

Reply Score: 1

Holodeck
by lucas_maximus on Tue 29th Mar 2016 20:11 UTC
lucas_maximus
Member since:
2009-08-18

Thom

If the Human Race created a Holodeck as good as the one in TNG all progress in anything would be over.

Pretty much any fantasy could be had in the holodeck, the only reason anyone would work is to buy time in a holodeck.

Frankie Boyle and Glenn Wool in their podcasts have a great discussion about TNG and the Holodeck and their theory was that the whole of TNG was them making up encounters in the holodeck to send to starfleet to trick them into thinking they were actually exploring. When in fact they had wild sex orgies for the whole 9 series in the holodeck and the only "cannon" episodes are those inside the holodeck when the sex slaves became sentient.

Obviously this is just them "shooting the breeze". But quite honestly that is how such a piece of technology will be (ab)used by people.

Edited 2016-03-29 20:19 UTC

Reply Score: 2