Eve’s Virtual Reality Dogfighting Is EVR

By Brendan Caldwell on April 27th, 2013 at 11:00 am.


Brendan here. I’ve been at the EVE Fanfest in Iceland and CCP, the kings of the popular make-money-and-kill-things-in-space genre, have been busy thinking up new ways to be a horrible, destructive starbroker. This time using Oculus Rift.

‘EVE VR’ is the admittedly boring name of their new dogfighter prototype – and it has been thoroughly stressed to us that it /is/ a prototype. Strap on the headset and you are fired from a fighter bay like a torpedo, a la Battlestar Galactica. Once clear of the docks you fire missiles and lasers in a mostly conventional space battle fashion, except now you can look around you. Oh my gosh, what’s that on your six? (You look behind you). It’s a missile! What’s that in your cockpit? (You look down). Oh my god, it’s your OWN HANDS. This is the future folks. Please do not panic.

I understand it must very difficult to get a sense of what it’s like to pilot one of these Oculus Rifted craft, and I’m afraid I can’t help you with that apart from to say that – if you have a big nose – it hurts to wear the headset. So, I can’t show you what it is like to play on the Oculus Rift. However! I can show you how hilarious it is to watch somebody else play.

According to CCP, EVE VR is the work of a handful of the devs who were working on the Oculus Rift headset in their ’20 percent time’ – in other words, it was developed in the workplace during time that the company gives devs to pursue their own side projects. Assets from the EVE universe were used to create the fighters and other ships, while the cockpit and wings seen from the players’ perspective were all strapped on.

A lot of EVE players might be keen to see something like this tie-in with the EVE universe, allowing them to pilot their own craft from the cockpit. But any plans of that sort haven’t been mentioned and the suggestion is that, if it were to see further development, it would be in the form of something separate from the main MMO. In fact, the feeling from the developers during the press reveal was that the project was something specifically done to delight the attendees of Fanfest. Whether or not something comes of this tech remains to be seen. “Maybe it never comes out,” said Andrew Robinson, Art Director on the project. “Maybe it comes out with an expansion in, like, 2014. I don’t know.”

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33 Comments »

  1. Lacero says:

    I can see there being a booming market in novelty oculus rift face plate covers.

    • Continuity says:

      Bear in mind that is the dev kit version of the Rift, we don’t know what the consumer version will look like but concept art has two cameras on the front…. so maybe no faceplate swapping.

    • Paul Bryant says:

      I think the faceplate idea is golden. Better kick it before someone else does!

    • LionsPhil says:

      I can see there being a booming trend in animated GIFs of people having mishaps, being pranked, or otherwise looking foolish while rifting.

      • LTK says:

        Thanks, now I’ve spent fifteen minutes on that website, then fifteen minutes in search of a place to buy a set of googly eyes (goddamn shipping and handling), and then another fifteen minutes trying to retrace my steps to find out what prompted me to look for googly eyes in the first place. So I find myself back here, on an article about EVE.

  2. Paul Bryant says:

    Let’s hope it does come out.

    While not everyone is excited about the oculus rift or virtual reality I for one am extremely excited about it. Anything that brings additional gaming goodness to us is welcomed. Some of us have waited for decades for a product like this to become real and the oculus rift may be it. I know I have every since I saved cereal proof of purchases and recieved a very disappointing battlestar galatica cockpit and pilot patch (the cockpit was cardboard and tbe patch was a sticker) in the 70′s. Not to mention Starwars on my 8th birthday.

    As far as looking silly, we are for the most part nerds and geeks that dedicated a big portion of our lives to games that often involve all manner of silly things. Just the fact that we are gamers more often than not qualify us as societies joke. Being worried about looking silly is a trait usually reserved for the closet gamer or one that hasn’t come to grips with their gameuality.

    If someone would be so kind as to send me an oculus rift I’ll gladly post weekly videos of myself looking ridiculous (in public even) to help those still struggling with their gameuality. This could be used to divert attention from youself. For example, “if you think I’m silly, have a look at this guy!” or perhaps “Ya but this guy is a flaming gamer”.

    In short, does anyone really care how they look as long as they get to play games on the oculus rift? I wouldn’t. Anyone embarrassed using an oculus rift that wishes to be rid of the shameful device can please send it to me. I’ll gladly reimburse your postage and I produce a public play video for you to refer your friends and family too. Seriously embarrassed induviduals can ask for my email. Always glad to help :)

    • Continuity says:

      Haha, good luck with that, I’m certainly not sending you mine :) you’re right though, hardcore games / major geeks/ nerd aren’t going to give a damn about how they look wearing a HMD… sadly a large proportion of the population is considerably shallower and more vain.

    • c-Row says:

      Ridiculous Rift?

    • Gurrah says:

      Well, some people maybe just don’t want to spend hours on end with a box strapped to their heads, I know I don’t. Playing games is about freedom for me, space – that thing is the exact opposite of that. For me it’s not how I look but how I feel, and I know I wouldn’t enjoy something like the Oculus.

      • simonh says:

        Being able to move your eyes and look around in the game seems amazingly freeing though! That’s what I’ve heard from people who’ve tried it. Even with the largest monitors you’re still looking at the game through a limited viewport, and having to use the mouse to move your “head”, it’s rather constraining when you think about it.

        • bjohndooh says:

          Personally, I’m not sure I could get past the dissociative effect of my physical surroundings always clashing with my visual surroundings.

          • P.Funk says:

            Probably not an issue unless you choose to play in the kitchen while trying to cook your dinner purely by smell.

            How could your physical space be dissociative if you’re in a nice comfy chair without any “stuff” to knock over near you and your visual space is a nice comfy chair in a fighter cockpit?

            Besides, people are more able to adapt than they think, its just harder when you’re older than 8 years old. Imagine all the old pilots with this head mounted display that is right in their face, compared to guys who never flew without it?

            In 10 years all the new gamers are gonna make fun of you and your Trackir.

  3. JoshuaMadoc says:

    An EVE product genuinely generating interest in me? Impossible!

  4. ZethJack says:

    Looks like TrackIR taken to whole new level except you’ve got monitors right in front of your eyes so it feels like your head “is” literally in the game itself. Can’t imagine playing Arma with Ocullus Rift on my head though unless there’s a way for me to actually see what I’m pressing on my keyboard…

    • po says:

      It could almost do with a camera, so instead of having to take the whole thing off, you just hit a key to see what’s around you.

  5. Chaz says:

    Is that Comic Book Guy on the left?

  6. yhancik says:

    The top picture reminds me of the beginning of eXistenZ http://youtu.be/scUe7HWlPaI?t=6m55s

  7. Skabooga says:

    I was going to remark how it looks like the two Oculus Rift users are hallucinating something fierce, but then I realized that they are indeed perceiving things which no one else is, so perhaps the description is a little too apt.

  8. studenteternal says:

    I find the problem is that I am not at a point in life where I can remove myself completely from the outside world. I need to still maintain some awareness for phone calls, wife calls, baby mishaps, visitors arriving, ect that VR is not unattractive but 0.0% feasible.

    I would imagine this is a common situation for a lot of people, but of course I have not done any research to see if that’s true.

    • x1501 says:

      To that I’d say that, no matter how engaged your life is, taking an occasional respite from the mundanities of the outside world can actually be a good thing for you. Besides, considering that Oculus Rift doesn’t come with built-in headphones, it seems to me that the only thing you have to do to alleviate most these concerns is not to use the VR headset along with noise-isolating headphones.

    • P.Funk says:

      You can’t put your phone in your pocket on vibrate?

      A baby screaming is hardly something that becomes imperceptible when you have goggles on. Just keep your volume low. Don’t close the door.

      I think its weird, its like everybody thinks that putting these “virtual reality” goggles on somehow will literally suck them right out of the world or something. Its not a sensory deprivation chamber, and if you are deprived of sensory, turn the bloody speakers down! You’re probably getting tinnitus.

  9. phenom_x8 says:

    Penny Arcade did an oculus rift test sometimes ago. This device looks very good to me and There’s some basic question that I’ve been wondering all this time being answered inside the article. Worth a read :

    http://penny-arcade.com/report/article/we-spend-the-weekend-with-the-oculus-dev-kit-and-answer-your-questions

  10. DXN says:

    Good god, that picture is an actual photograph of things that are real and not an illustration in a dingy, soggy sci-fi magazine from the 90s.

  11. 2lab says:

    As usualy we have the games revewers sucking at computer games problem.

    The take home should be, while your lasers shoot forward, yout missiles lock on to what you look at, you can look over you shoulder, you see?

  12. jrpatton says:

    I would give EVE a third chance if the following became true:

    1. It had Rift support
    2. The Rift had a high enough resolution to display text clearly
    3. Each ship has a unique cockpit/bridge.

    • Hmm-Hmm. says:

      On number three: that seems a bit much to ask. It seems more feasible (yet still a ton of work) if cockpits differentiate between factions and ship types and have minor differences with tech variances.

      • jrpatton says:

        At the very least, there should be a different cockpit for each faction/ship size combination.

        • P.Funk says:

          That stuff really isn’t that important to what EVE is about, which is why the game loses people who dig the visual first person stuff.

          Its like when I see the new BF4 vid and all the youtube comments are like “Best game ever” just because it looks better than BF3. The guy that likes EVE probably thinks the same thing I do.