The age of consumer VR is upon us. While still extremely niche and walled off for many, Virtual Reality is opening some really interesting experiences across different medias. What have you tried or own? What weird little interactions and experiences have surprised you?
The program I’ve spent the most time in VR with is a program called Virtual Desktop which allows you to see and use your desktop while being a 360 environment. While you’d think its just this little VR productivity app the ability to work in different environments really adds something. I watched most of the first season of Rick and Morty sitting in Rick’s garage, which was a cool way to experience it.
A weird thing I’ve discovered with the environments is how they can trigger different emotional states. One environment places you in the middle of a large city, building towering all around you. While doing some web browsing and playing some Hearthstone I started getting this paranoid itch that people were watching me. Being in the open space surrounded by building made me feel vulnerable and uncomfortable as time went on and I had to switch to an environment that puts you sitting in an office on a space station orbiting mars. That enclosed isolated space immediately gave me a wave of comfort and safety. VR is cool and weird
If you want some good emotional response to a game check out Death Dojo on steam. It’s free, it’s a pretty crap game but the environment and opponent are menacing as fuck.
I haven’t played VR since finishing RE7. I want to get back into it but I think that game did something to my brain.
Playing Superhot in VR literally ruined the vanilla game for me. It may have had fewer levels and wasn’t quite as deep, but man the action just fucking worked in a way that you just can’t get with a mouse and keyboard.
The most amazing VR experience for me was playing Area X in Rez: Infinite.
Like oh yeah no surprise, the musician loves the VR music game but like… I mean that level was specifically built for VR and being able to just fly around, hear music interact with all the visual things going on around me and just… like pure synesthesia bliss. I was gasping at certain points because I couldn’t even comprehend what I was seeing, and the end had me tearing up because of how overwhelming it was to my senses.
Like god they made that level with a brand new engine entirely I’m REALLY hoping that means they’re making an entire game of that stuff and not just doing a one off because TAKE ALL MY MONEY I would pay anything to have a whole game of that.
Yea you can get into a flow in Superhot that that just locks you in. The recently updated it with some endlesss modes and challenges if you haven’t played in a while. Superhot has one of the best wrappers for its game. Love that putting a VR headset on in VR and changing floppy discs for game modes
The first time I played what has now become SportsBar VR on the Vive offered unexpected insights into my brainworks. I (Chicago-ish) played with a friend (Edmonton, Alberta) and almost immediately, my brain bought in completely. Even though he was just a holographic representation of an HMD wearing a hat and two controllers waving around, the movement was mapped so perfectly that it jumped clean over the uncanny valley and the VR dude simply became that person. I wasn’t playing a video game in my apartment, I was in a physical space, hanging out with my buddy. It’s amazing how much body language is carried over simply with voice chat and one-to-one head bob and hand waggles.
Also, his first reaction upon connecting was looking up at my VR headset face and saying “You’re really tall.” That was hysterical and amazing and VR is rad. I really hope people figure out stuff to do with it.
I gotta agree with some of the sentiments shared around the Giant Bomb crew that a lot of the new game development right now seems centered around shooting galleries and less experiences.
One of the games I was really surprised about mechanics wise was the Rick & Morty VR game. Some of the solutions to the puzzles, like using a Meeseks that mimics your movements to toss things to yourself or pass things from play area to other play areas seemed really inventive and neat, the kind of thing you’d hope to see more of in VR releases. But right now there doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of devs thinking creatively beyond standard first person mechanics we’ve seen time and again.
I’ve been doing smalltime VR development for a few months on a secret project.
Thus far the best experience I’ve had has been Asseto Corsa. Even with the xbox controller and the Oculus DK2, it was probably the most fun I’ve had in VR.
as for Vive stuff, the only thing that’s really impressed me was Google Earth, followed by “Accounting”
It seems like a lot of VR these days is based on small scenes, and it really feels like when phone touchscreens were a new thing and developers tried weird mechanics around swiping/tapping/tilting/multitouch screens.
I worked on a VR project (not a game, more like an engine) last year and boy
People don’t say this enough but game dev is incredibly difficult, and even more so when it’s a new area like VR. There are a lot of basic computer graphics and game design concepts that you thought you knew but is completely different when youre talking about 360 degrees. plus there is a lot less support and less options when it comes to development environments or hardware. but heck is it satisfying to see something you made work in VR.
my point is: appreciate your local VR devs, they do a lot of hard work to get that cool little game working.
I got a PSVR because I got some surprise money and I was really curious about VR, and this seemed like an easy way in without going overboard.
I haven’t used it in a little bit but I’m really pleasantly surprised, even for something that is often described as the worst VR option. I think the image quality is easily good enough, the 3Dness is pretty convincing and the head and position tracking has so far been pretty responsive.
I’ll probably break it out again to play GNOG.
I do want to get to RE7 at some point but I’m sorta scared.
For me the main problem with VR right now is that these days I’m rarely in a position where I want to be fully focused on a game at the exclusion of everything else, for a long stretch. Even when I’m really into something, I’m a big second screen user, so I want my laptop next to me where I can easily tweet something out or just take a break for a few minutes to check a website or something, and when I’m playing more casually I’m often listening to something, or even have a TV show or something on the other screen, or I’m just constantly pausing while doing other stuff elsewhere.
I don’t know what the best way to solve that is except to make the headsets lighter and lighter and easier to engage and disengage from.
I have that same problem. I always have a stream/Giant Bomb/ or am surfing the web on my second monitor and locking myself into one thing seems like I’m missing an opportunity to catch up or be apart of what’s going on that very moment. I have that same problem for games where I want to give it all my focus, like Persona 5 or Horizon. I usually reserve my VR time for later in the night to to mitigate fomo, but there are also pieces of software that allow you to access twitch, twitter, and web browse while in other VR apps. Those can be a little janky though and are only for PC VR.
Another thing I did to help make staying in VR longer easy is to setup voice commands with VoiceAttack to control my Spotify. It’s really nice being in Oculus Medium, KingSpray or any of the other creative apps and still be able to easily control my music and not take me out of my work flow.
I use virtual desktop sometimes too but had never considered how those different environments affect me emotionally. I guess it’s been a while since I used it, but that’s a super interesting point. I may pop that Rift back on for these forums lol
It didn’t ruin the original, but I do definitely consider the VR version to be my definitive SUPERHOT experience tbh
My company has been messing with VR stuff for a while and I got the opportunity to set up an HTC Vive and sort out how to run it, viable games for it to base experiences off of, etc
Call of the Starseed is a great example of how games could look; the writing is a bit schlocky, but the graphics are incredible and a good way to show someone what AAA games could look like; I also really liked some of the experiences in The Lab, especially the weird spaceship bullet hell game, because that prompted some weird introspection on perspective and how quickly I was able to adapt mentally to moving this little ship, it felt strange
I don’t think I personally would invest in a Vive though; I had some issues with my work VR Ready laptop and it took weeks of interacting with customer support to get anything functional. That thing is not even close to ready for use beyond the most tech-savvy folks. I can at least say the HTC guys were incredibly kind and helpful; the Steam support team was horrendously slow in responding to any queries though, and just not helpful in the least.
I think if I invest in VR personally I’d go for PSVR just because of the number of more professional sounding applications, and because I wouldn’t have to pay thousands of dollars for what might not expand into a major product for a few generations yet
This seems a shame for VR experiences:
After careful consideration, we’ve decided to shift our focus away from internal content creation to support more external production. As part of that shift, we’ll be winding down Story Studio.
I can’t believe I still haven’t experienced any type of VR.
I think that alone is an indication of how poorly VR has been marketed
It’s one hundred percent something that you cannot appreciate until you’ve actually experienced it, because otherwise to an observer it’s a guy with goofy glasses waving their arms around
If they can’t prove the value of the VR experience to the point where people want to go out of their way to try it, then as a piece of technology it’s doomed to be this little piece of fringe technology
It’s definitely not a lack of desire. It’s mostly a lack of funds and a total lack of accessible places to try it.