By Nathan Grayson on May 21st, 2014 at 9:00 am.
Having hands is deceptively hard work. I mean, think about it. Do you know any non-human entity who’s even remotely good at it? And don’t say monkeys. They touch their own poo. That in mind, I’m prepared to identify with the apparent plight of virtual reality showcase Loading Human‘s main character, who seems to have a particularly aggressive case of butterfingers. Perhaps this is because VR hand controllers are still extremely underdeveloped and awkward to use, but I prefer to think Loading Human will be the story of one person’s struggle to not GET REALLY MAD AND BREAK EVERYTHING.
Did you see that? Glass shattering everywhere, crystalline snowfall in the wake of the player’s INCONSOLABLE RAGE.
For real though, Loading Human is adding support for Sixense’s STEM hand controller interface, which is, um, interesting. I tried it out back at GDC, and I found it to be a) a much-needed next step toward overcoming the uncanny valley that quickly engulfs handless experiences and b) terrible. I would very much like for it to become good, but at this point it’s a poor imitation of what hands do. The interface feels like two weird, wonky game controllers (triggers grasp, etc), not tactile or natural in a handlike fashion.
Still though, picking up things and just, like, turning them over is kinda revelatory. It’s not really something we do in games all that often, and the sensation of turning your arms/wrists 1:1 really sells it – even if your hands feel like strange elongated guns that you’re pointing directly at your own feet. In the demo I played (it was just a vanilla shooting range; no relation to Loading Human), I spent half the time stacking ammo boxes, and the other half trying to shoot my own hands. The controller’s presenters repeatedly asked me if I was sure I knew what I was doing, and everybody had a grand old time.
So hands are great, but having them is hard. At least, in videogames. Loading Human is at least trying for progress, though, and that’s admirable – especially given its Gone-Home-esque structure, which seems perfect for this kind of thing. You can read Adam’s impressions here. I guess he clumsily kissed someone and accidentally dropped his wife’s cold, lifeless body a whole bunch of times? Yep, that sounds like our Adam. The rascal!