Vive Pro tested: the visual upgrade VR desperately needed, but is it enough?

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A short while ago, I got to stick my sweaty face into HTC’s second generation PC VR headset, the Vive Pro, which was on show in the UK for the first time. The headset boasts a higher resolution and OLED displays, among other upgrades, and so the question is whether or not this can overcome VR’s visual shortcomings and give the medium a much-needed second wind.

Well, it’s definitely a big improvement – but that’s also something of a double-edged sword.

I tested the Vive Pro with the suitably atmospheric undersea exploration game Operation Apex, made by UK developer Curiscope in partnership with Vive Studios. It was released last December, but has just released a big update which includes an appealing free-roam mode. Though it’s just dandy on the original Vive, its grand seascapes and looming (but non-aggressive) sharks made a fine demo for this new version of the hardware.

The Vive Pro’s resolution has jumped to 2880×1600 from the regular Vive’s 2160 x 1200, which is a 78% increase in total pixel count which is, well, just a bunch of big numbers that aren’t a terribly useful way of describing the difference in the flesh. I’ll go with this: the Vive Pro, from a visual clarity and fidelity point of view, is pretty much what we all expected VR to be like back in 2015 or so, before the deflating reality of screen door effects and barely-legible text made itself known.

To put it another way, it’s now pretty close to having your head encircled by 1080p monitors. Sure, it’s not the blinding sharpness of a 1440p or 4K monitor, but my sense was that it was fit for purpose in a way that the gen.1 Vive and Ocuus Rift wasn’t, not quite. No screen door. Eminently readable text. A problem solved.

The other big thing in terms of the raised resolution is something that doesn’t happen in the headset. While waiting my turn to use the Vive Pro, I realised with a start after watching their in-game view on a nearby monitor for 10 minutes that I had been watching their in-game view on a nearby monitor for 10 minutes.

Which is to say, it was perfectly clear and watchable fullscreen on a 1080p display, where on a non-Pro Vive or Rift the traditional mirrored-screen experience is of either a uselessly tiny window or a smeary, blocky blur when made fullscreen. Outside of laughing at people swatting at imaginary flies, VR has not hitherto been much of a spectator sport. If the Vive Pro means that second-screen observation is now that much more feasible, that could change.

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Of course, this may only heighten the growing sense that VR might only really make sense in public social situations. I had a ball with Operation Apex on the Vive Pro (and it was also the rare full analogue movement VR game that didn’t leave me feeling at all queasy, as they’ve done smart things with the camera and controls) but I was playing at a roomscale in a bar. I simply don’t have the space to do the same at home, at least not without burning most of my furniture. Same goes for the having an audience element.

That said, within moments of putting the Vive Pro on, my thoughts immediately turned to American Truck Simulator and Elite Dangerous. Though these are not thoroughbred VR games, they are the games that I’ve most often used a headset for, as both excel in their own way at atmosphere and vast spaces. The idea of getting to do that with far sharper vistas and much more legible text is deeply, deeply appealing, even though regular readers of the site will know that I’ve been suffering from a certain degree of VR ennui for some time.

With that in mind, I am very conscious that my mind was blown the first time I tried an original Vive, also in a large, public space with other people around, only to later find that the sense of awe soon wore off and the sense of disappointment about the visual fidelity mounted once I had one in my home.

Operation Apex running on the Vive Pro was a striking sight indeed, and gave me the strong impression that VR was a fixed problem from a display point of view. At the same time though, it still felt familiar enough that my jaw was nowhere as close to the floor as it was with that first Vive demo in 2015.

There was also a new downside. The clarity was great, but it also meant that, for instance, the odd low-poly rock or murky seaweed texture had nowhere to hide. This is not at all the fault of Operation Apex, but rather that the graphical horsepower requirements of VR even before the Vive Pro brought a 78% pixel count increase to the table are generally quite steep. Concessions need to be made in order to keep framerates high, which is why VR games don’t look like The Witcher 3. Previously, the blurriness and grid effect of a Vive or Rift often masked how simple in-game models or lighting was, but 2880×1600 doesn’t paper over as many cracks.

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Don’t get me wrong, I’ll take clarity over concealment any day, particularly in terms of text and menus, plus there was definitely a heightened sense of depth and scale to Apex on the Vive Pro that I haven’t felt with undersea games on the Vive. But, in a funny sort of way, it might be that VR games on the Pro reveal themselves as videogame-y in ways they didn’t on the first generation of the hardware.

Speaking on hardware, in terms of the headset itself it’s definitely recognisable as a Vive, but is larger (mostly due to integrated headphones) and generally a little bit more science-fictional in aesthetic. It felt a touch higher quality, and little things like a size adjustment dial instead of dicking about with velcro straps make a surprising amount of difference, and I should also say that it didn’t feel any heavier that a normal Vive.

The motion controllers and tracking stations used in the demo were at least physically indiscernible from the Vive’s, although a more knuckle-like, finger-monitoring Vive controller is due at some point.

The dismal reality of the trailing headset cable aslo remained – but this one was thinner than the Vive’s, much more in keeping with the Rift’s comparatively svelte umbilcal cord. The Vive Pro is due to have an add-on which lends it Intel’s upcoming WiGig wireless display tech, but sadly that wasn’t available in my demo session. If it works, coupled with the res hike the Pro is most definitely a massive upgrade.

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But is it enough to put VR front and centre of things, at least from a gaming point of view? (I’m fully conscious the tech has many, potentially more successful, applications in other fields, and the Pro’s sharp display will definitely make it more useful for, say, scientific simulations). Well, I can only speak for myself here. When I got home I looked at my ‘old’ Vive with a new dismay, but I didn’t feel a burning need to own a Pro in the way I did that first Vive after my first experience on one.

Sure, I’d like the upgrade, particularly for the aforementioned truck and space sims, but not to the extent that I’m going to spend hundreds and hundreds of pounds on it. VR games themselves are so often a world of wavy-handed motion controls and minigames. Yes, there are jolly fascinating simulations of amazing sights, like Operation Apex, that I do want to experience more of, but I’m going to need to see many more meatier things from VR before I invest again. Maybe this new age of clear text and sharp edges means that can happen, but I know I’ll want to wait and see.

Most of all though, my feeling is that had VR looked like it does on the Vive Pro first time around, things would be very different today.

The most pleasant Operation Apex is available for the HTC Vive now, and just put out a big update which adds a free-roam mode. There are no price or release date details for the Vive Pro as yet, but as I understand it we should be hearing more about it soon.

Oh! One more thing. When someone wearing a Vive Pro looks in your direction, the two camera lenses on the front really do make it look like some sinister, unblinking cartoon face is staring at you.

86 Comments

  1. Sakkura says:

    “Most of all though, my feeling is that had VR looked like it does on the Vive Pro first time around, things would be very different today.”

    Because it would simply have died with the kind of price tag that would have necessitated. People were upset about the $599 launch price of the Oculus Rift, but with this kind of resolution it would have been over a thousand bucks. Not to mention the extreme hardware requirements as of 2016 to run such a resolution.

    Even now I’m pretty worried about what the Vive Pro will cost.

    • Agnosticus says:

      Never forget, the people were upset about the price, because of a previously uttered ‘ballpark’ comment of a certain individual!

      • Sakkura says:

        People had been talking about it possibly costing $1500, so when confronted with the older $350 figure, he said it would be in the ballpark, but higher.

        People conveniently leave out the latter part of his statement as well as the context.

        • grundus says:

          Probably because it makes absolutely no sense. If it’s in the $350 ballpark but higher, why wouldn’t you just use the correct figure and omit the “but higher” bit if you weren’t trying to mislead people?

          • Sakkura says:

            They had not yet revealed the price. He wasn’t really being misleading in context, but a lot of people never saw that context (as it was left out in a lot of headlines and quotes).

        • ResonanceCascade says:

          “If something’s even $600, it doesn’t matter how good it is, how great of an experience it is — if they just can’t afford it, then it really might as well not exist.”

          Palmer was out hyping up the lower price for years beforehand. Now, he couldn’t have known back then that it would cost $600, but Oculus really should have started shifting expectations toward that number once it became clear that it was double the initial estimate. They dropped the ball on that and just about every other aspect of the launch.

          They have really turned the ship around though.

    • Shazbut says:

      I’d imagine that even with 8k in each eye, VR would still be the niche is currently is. No killer apps and no solution to the motion sickness problem are the real issues I think.

      • Sakkura says:

        Motion sickness is an exaggerated issue. The great majority can use VR without it.

        A few people get motion sickness from cars, ships, even flat video games, but that doesn’t disqualify those technologies either.

        • Yglorba says:

          The lack of killer apps is the real problem, though, which points to a bigger underlying issue. No developer has figured out a way to use it as anything but a gimmick, and until someone does, asking people to spend so much on a gimmick is a bit much.

          • DoomBroom says:

            It’s hardly a gimmick. VR has a strong following of enthusiasts and gamers as well as the industry and artists. Only people who are biased or have not tried it seem to think of it as a gimmick. If you have the space and computing power it’s a pretty awesome experience, hell even using it sitting down is cool like with Elite or Euro Truck. Standing up in Roomscale with motion controllers though is more presence inducing it seems. There’s just something about physically walking around inside a scene that just makes you feel like you’ve been totally transported to another place. Both Facebook and Valve are deep in development of tech and games, with the next generation (Rift 2 Vive 2) I think we’ll see some wider appeal to consumers. The Vive Pro is just a small taste. I think foveated rendering will be the gamechanger tech.

          • Grizzly says:

            Superhot VR is the killer app.

          • welverin says:

            “VR has a strong following of enthusiasts and gamers as well as the industry and artists.”

            This, and what followed, does not preclude VR from being a gimmick.

          • Carra says:

            Ah, the chicken or egg problem. Noone makes VR games because there aren’t enough VR headsets. And noone buys VR headsets because there are no VR games.

          • fish99 says:

            There are tons of VR games, just RPS never covers them.

        • falcon2001 says:

          Motion sickness and VR is a huge issue and the vast majority suffer from some form or another of it, although specifically designed games limit it dramatically.

          I’m an enthusiast (launch version oculus rift here) and I have played a fair amount of it, but I can’t handle things like fallout/skyrim where your head or FOV ‘moves’ without you moving, it causes immediate sickness. That’s the case for almost everyone I know that has tried it, and for some people (like my wife) any movement at ALL beyond her own headset causes her to get nausea.

          Motion sickness is, IMO, the biggest problem for VR because it limits the things that VR would be best at and what pop culture has gotten people to expect from VR. Look at stuff like Sword Art Online or .Hack, or even the matrix or ready player one; people expect and desire large open worlds and adventure experiences, but the movement needed is drastically uncomfortable for almost everyone, which is why VR titles are designed around discrete blocks of space and limited viewpoints.

          I’ve been trying to get an omnidirectional treadmill since apparently they really help with the sensation, but they’re damn hard to find since most of them fell apart as projects other than KATWALK. I’d absolutely kill to play something like Skyrim or Fallout in VR with a treadmill system.

          • grundus says:

            I also get motion sickness from moving with a controller rather than my body, but for whatever reason Pavlov doesn’t have the same affect on me. I can play that for hours at a time and only stop because there’s hardly anyone online. Same goes for Rec Room paintball and Payday 2 VR beta slide motion, yet in other games I can’t handle it so much.

          • fish99 says:

            I feel like most people don’t persist with the kind of VR experiences that give them nausea long enough to get past it, because it will definitely improve. That doesn’t mean persisting until you vomit, but coming back for another 30 minute session the next day. A week later its not a problem anymore for a lot of people.

          • Sakkura says:

            The vast majority do NOT suffer from it just in general. The vast majority can play at least some types of content without it.

        • tyrelever says:

          The problem for me is a natural feeling control. Until I can freely have my hands correlated in game and even better, an ability to move around with said free hand movement then it’s hust going to happen for me.
          In my eyes VR is all about immersion and what you see is only a part.

          • Sakkura says:

            Not sure what you mean by that, but there are already controllers that accurately represent your hand positions in-game, and games that use hand movement for locomotion.

    • milligna says:

      I doubt that’s true. There would be the same pissy complaints and the same 3 jokes from RPS.

    • Voldenuit says:

      >Even now I’m pretty worried about what the Vive Pro will cost.

      The Samsung Odyssey is also 2880×1600 and is currently $399.99 on samsung’s website.

      If the Vive Pro is significantly more, then htc has a real problem on their hands.

      • DoomBroom says:

        Vive Pro is for Prosumers according to HTC, so expect a pricepoint around $1000 or more. They can’t afford to price themselves lower because they rely on mostly on hardware sales. They can’t sell at a loss like Facebook. Also there’s the terrible economic situation of the company. link to roadtovr.com

        Though there’s an upgrade solution for current Vive owners to just buy the headset and use their old controllers and basestations for tracking.

        People who want affordable cheap VR should get the Rift when it’s on sale for $350 or the even cheaper Microsoft headsets for as low as $200 or just wait until next generation.

      • Sakkura says:

        Samsung Odyssey is unavailable in Europe, so at least HTC could get that market. :P

        Also there’s a lot more to a VR headset than just raw resolution.

      • grundus says:

        I think the Odyssey uses LCD, OLED is more expensive. I don’t know how else they differ, though.

  2. epmode says:

    This sounds good but I’m still hoping for consumer headsets with foveated rendering. If implemented well, it will allow for high resolution VR for a fraction of the current technical requirements.

    link to roadtovr.com

    • Sakkura says:

      Would also help us achieve those Witcher 3 graphics this article talks about, without ludicrous hardware requirements.

      Foveation might happen with the next “full” generation of headsets; the Vive Pro is more of a high-end extension of the first gen (it isn’t called the Vive 2, after all).

      • DoomBroom says:

        Foveated rendering has big potential. link to uploadvr.com and some risks for misuse of course.

        I think it’s more or less certain will get it with the next generation headsets, maybe even before that as addons to the current generation for those willing to pay up, kind of like we have seen with wireless solutions like TPCast.

  3. DodgyG33za says:

    I can see where your are coming from. Right now the biggest problem with E:D in the Vive is the sparkly textures which I just can’t seem to get rid of.

    Having said that I will almost certainly buy the pro. Which will be my fourth VR set. I am towards the lucrative end of my IT career where I can choose to buy each iteration and just enjoy it. The product of waiting 25 years for it to happen. In a way I am also fortunate in that I spend the majority of my year overseas and away from my gaming rig, so the VR experience remains fresh when I get a chance to use it.

    One of the wow moments for me with VR was looking at the blocky unreadable text in E:D and then leaning forward to read it. So intuitive. I also love being able to look down through the window below my feet in the ASP explorer while landing.

    Oh and Alex. Don’t take this personally but it is worth bearing in mind that we don’t all have tiny indoor spaces. The colonies and many of those who don’t work for a relative pittance in the gaming/media industries tend to have much larger homes.

    • Tinotoin says:

      That’s a bit of a jobby of a last paragraph there mister.

      • Chaz says:

        Yeah, the words of someone who has never been to an estate agent within a 100 mile radius of London.

        Edit: And then some.

        • Don Reba says:

          Japan is often stereotyped as having ridiculously small living spaces, but their average dwelling floor area is actually significantly larger than UK’s.

        • DodgyG33za says:

          I was born in London. And worked and lived there for more than a few years. But London isn’t the whole UK. And the UK is not the only market for RPS. Even in the home counties 3 and 4 bedroom houses are common, and if you are DINK’s you can easily set aside one of those bedrooms as a computer room.

          My point was that many RPS readers do have the space to set aside. Especially those who can easily afford the cost of the hardware needed for early VR adoption.

          The last paragraph was not intended as a put down to those in the gaming industry BTW – I understand that people trade working in a fun industry for income.

        • Raoul Duke says:

          Which would describe the vast, vast majority of the market for these things.

          I mean, you have:
          – the rest of the UK
          – all of the medium/low density bits of western Europe
          – most of North America
          – most of Australia/NZ

      • modzero says:

        “The Colonies”…

        …you too can get a flat large enough for room-scale VR, for the low, low price of kicking a poor person out of their home. And you don’t even have to do it personally – your landlord will do it for you!

        • Kolbex says:

          I’ve never been in an apartment that had room enough to “set aside” a room for VR. Most people who own houses are probably not in the VR market.

  4. Zhiroc says:

    There are a number of things that don’t click with me about VR, and many of them may never do so:

    1) The expense. I’ve never paid over $100 for any gaming-specific peripheral, except maybe the monitor, and even there, I still gladly use 1080p as I’m not a visual aficionado who drools over 4k. (Never even bothered to get a BD player until I got a PS, and I still have only bought a handful of BDs and still will get regular DVDs, depending on price).

    2) The immersion. Strange as it may be, I don’t want to immerse so fully into a game that I am cut off from my surroundings. For example, I prefer speaker audio over a full headset, and I don’t have the volume set to house-shaking levels at that. When I must use a headset, I use earbuds. And I too have no space at home for any sort of free-roam VR. Couch-play is where I’m at. I also play a lot of games while using a browser to look up things about the game. Alt-tabbing in VR would seem difficult :)

    3) Physical issues. I wear bifocals, as I am at the age where I am both near- and far-sighted. I also have astigmatism. I’ve heard both sides about wearing glasses with VR, so I’m not sure. I also have a tendency to get motion sickness. So, I’m not sure I could even use VR.

    It seems to me the industry itself is having a little trouble finding its footing after the initial hype. It just doesn’t seem the market is big enough yet to support it, which is a bit chicken-and-egg. And frankly, what games need to me is less rote gameplay, not better ways to present it.

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      I wear glasses and was worried about motion sickness too. While in America last month, I went to an arcade/amusement type complex where they had a Vive VR area.

      Turns out my glasses fit fine within the headset, and not only did I not suffer any motion sickness, I managed to set a new high score for Space Pirate Trainer on that particular machine. Not bad for my first time at VR anything.

      I’m now strongly considering picking up a Vive Pro once I can get a decent deal on one. If you have the opportunity, look up any places doing VR demos and try it first-hand.

      Interestingly, my girlfriend, who gets terrible motion sickness from most 3D games she’s tried was fine with VR, too.

    • Sakkura says:

      1. There are headsets down near $200, which is a price point a LOT of people buy monitors or other stuff for. So it’s getting pretty affordable.

      The Vive Pro is a high-end version though, so it won’t be anywhere near $200.

      2. With Oculus you can essentially alt-tab to your desktop or whatever else you want. Or have a 2D window hanging in a convenient spot while playing a VR game, all kinds of stuff like that. There are still some kinks in the experience, but it’ll get there.

      Also, being immersed in VR is not at all the same as being immersed in a flat game. You might react differently to it, like actually wanting to get more into this other world because it just feels like a place you’re in, rather than a game. Especially if there are other people around.

    • Chaz says:

      Try it; is basically all I can say to your concerns. If you don’t like it after that, then well fine, but if you do then there’s plenty of options to get into VR for the more budget conscious. It’s worth noting that the Vive is currently the most expensive of the VR peripherals by a considerable margin.

    • Ragnar says:

      I would strongly recommend getting open-back headphones instead of the earbuds. Open headphones give you a wider soundstage with better positional accuracy, while also letting you hear the outside world and not isolating you nearly as much – so you can hear if someone’s calling you or knocking on the door or whatever.

      From the Panasonic RP-HT600-S, to the Philips SHP9500S, to the Philips Fidelio X2, there’s a great open headphone for every budget.

  5. kwyjibo says:

    How is anyone going to get a graphics card to play VR games when they’re all being put to productive use mining shitcoins?

    • Raoul Duke says:

      IMHO this is the biggest issue facing VR right now.

      By rights, a 1070 or 1080 should have dropped by a few hundred bucks by now so that people can properly power these things, but instead they have only gone up in price since release.

      • _TheD0ct0r_ says:

        In my opinion, Nvidia should be selling some kind of second line of identical cards, or just a new line of cards in general, that have some kind of fancy software embedded within them that 100% kills its ability to mine for bitcoins. It would keep the cards to the gamers, and keep the prices low, as miners wouldn’t want to buy them.

    • Ragnar says:

      Exactly what I thinking. Maybe graphics cards will be available again at decent prices by the time the next generation of VR headsets is out.

  6. geldonyetich says:

    My experiences on the Oculus have made me a believer but, sure enough, the resolution leaves me wanting (especially for reading text in VR), and getting rid of that trailing cord would go far to improve its likability.

    The Vive Pro has the potential to solve this. However, I get the feeling they’re probably going to release it somewhere in the $700-$1000 price range, and at that point I find myself tempted to just sit tight and wait for the inevitable next HMD to come out with these features, possibly an even better resolution.

    Funny enough, a major factor going on is the bad blood between Zenimax and Facebook. It was enough to posture Fallout 4 VR has rather hostilely resisting being playable on the Oculus, despite community fixes to try to get around this. When Skyrim VR comes out for the PC, I’ll be similarly tempted to jump the fence. But, simultaneously, I don’t really feel like rewarding a company that puts their own grudges ahead of their customers’ needs. It’s quite the conundrum. Meanwhile, their stubbornness leaves the field wide open for somebody else to sweep the huge open world on VR RPG genre.

    • Chaz says:

      If anyone will do that, then my money’s on Ubi. They’ve already released a couple of VR games and they are also one of the big kings of the open world genre. I would love to see any number of their games in VR. An Assassin’s Creed game, or something like Ghost Recon Wildlands done Onward style, or Far Cry would be incredible in VR.

  7. MajorLag says:

    This generation of VR has some unfortunate timing, it was already a tough sell on price but thanks to the funbux miners you’re paying double for decent videocards now too.

    • Vilos Cohaagen says:

      Oooh yes, this could definitely be the knife in the back for VR. I hadn’t thought of that. Yikes.

  8. Servicemaster says:

    This is my dream: to go to a bar where you can pay and wait in line to try this thing out and make yourself look like a goddamn fool in front of everyone else.

    From the sound of it, we could hook this thing up in front of the projector spot at my local barcade and everyone would have a grand old time guffawing at the fool trying to decapitate all the knuckleheads in Gorn.

    I think the Vive 1 would’ve been okay but the Pro seems more than capable. I am excited.

    • Chaz says:

      Funny because one of my dreams is to open a bar where you play games in VR and PC games and stuff in general. The reality is though that you probably need a lot of capital behind you and some experience in the pub/club trade to make that a reality.

    • Premium User Badge

      DeadlyAvenger says:

      The World’s End pub in Brighton has exactly that – there’s 4 booths with room-scale VR and HTC Vives – I think it was something like £6 for 15 minutes and you can do (I think up to 2 person) multiplayer. I was playing Serious Sam – it was great fun! I think more will come – I was talking to the owner of an Escape Room in Leamington and they said they were looking into getting some VR. Also worth going to the Insomnia Gaming events – there are lots of booths in the expo hall with VR.

    • DodgyG33za says:

      The problem with the whole bar thing is that some people get pretty sweaty in their headset, and bars tend to be warm to encourage you to drink more. I choose not to imagine what a headset in constant use in such a setting would smell like after a month.

  9. osvanblu says:

    You didn’t mention but I would be very interested to know if the size of the visual area was improved at all? For me on the Vive that was BY FAR the most immersion breaking thing, my suspension of disbelief doesn’t care about resolution or bad graphics but if it feels like I’m looking at the world through a window because there’s black borders in my peripheral view then it’s a no go. If they ever fix that then I’m going in and never coming out.

    • DoomBroom says:

      Get the Pimax8k then, it has 200 degree field of view compared to current generation Vive and Rift’s 110. It’s using SteamVR and the same tracking tech as the Vive. It’s basically the same system. Resolution is 3840 x 2160 for each eye.

      Here’s the latest video I saw from it:

      • osvanblu says:

        Thanks, never heard about it before but it looks like the Pimax guys have the right idea. It seems to have some issues though atleast according to this review so I probably won’t be buying it without getting to test it somewhere first.

        • DoomBroom says:

          Ah that review. They tried a botched up version and experienced some problems others did not is my impression. Pimax issued a press release after that doing some damage control. link to roadtovr.com But yeah you’re right to be cautious. Pimax has yet prove themselves against the big boys Rift and Vive and also there’s the unreliability of kickstarters and the strange face culture of the Chinese. We’ll see around may, that’s the latest estimate for a release I’ve seen. I’m a backer myself. I’m cautiously optimistic after seeing the latest updates. link to reddit.com

      • Don Reba says:

        I tried it at CES and wasn’t that impressed. Yes, the pixels are small, but it often stuttered when tracking.

    • mikachu says:

      did you move the screen to the closest setting to your face? That made a pretty big diff for me

    • fish99 says:

      The visual area is still a lot bigger than you get with a typical monitor at a desk, it just feels restrictive because VR apps all use a realistic FOV.

      One interesting effect of using VR a lot, is when you go back to game on your monitor, everything looks tiny. That’s because you’re running a 70-90 degree FOV in game, whereas the angle from your eyes to the edge of your screen is typically around 30 degrees.

  10. aircool says:

    All I wanted from VR was to be able to look over my shoulder in American Truck Simulator.

    • dahools says:

      Surely a cheap monitor, strategically placed and a good mod could bring you the desired blind spot peripheral you require?

      • aircool says:

        That’s actually quite a good idea. Two smaller monitors stuck to each side of my main monitor could act as blind spot mirrors giving me an over the shoulder view…

    • treat says:

      TrackIR is relatively cheap, much easier on the neck/back, and is fully supported by American Truck Sim. The biggest downside is the lack of widespread developer support, especially with the advent of VR. Even where VR is championed and head tracking implemented, few developers outside the sim genre seem to think TrackIR support is worthwhile. Subnautica, for instance, does not support TrackIR even though the bulk of work to make it happen is already done. It’s definitely worth it if you’re a sim enthusiast, though. I’m not, and mostly used mine to play Freespace2 and DayZ mod back in the day, but I’ve never regretted buying one.

      • Chaz says:

        Yeah before I got my CV1 I used Track IR for a couple of years. It’s good but really VR has now replaced it pretty much, except for the older games that don’t support it of course. Sim wise however, almost everything upcoming is now going with VR support instead.

      • fish99 says:

        TrackIR really doesn’t compare to the completely natural motion of your head and body when driving in VR. It also doesn’t make you feel like you’re sat in a real truck.

    • Abacus says:

      Playing Euro Truck Simulator 2 with my Rift and G27 steering wheel has been one of the highlights of my VR experience so far.

      • Ragnar says:

        I tried that, and it was incredibly immersive. Unfortunately, I was bothered by the difficulty of reading the dash, HUD, and street signs. I was also constantly aware of the weight and feel of the Rift headset on my face. And of course my nose would start to itch, but I couldn’t scratch it because of the headset.

        I ended up going back to my monitors, which isn’t as immersive, but is a thousand times more comfortable.

        It sounds like the Vive Pro would fix the blurry text issue, but not the comfort issue, and would introduce the issue of buying a video card to power it.

  11. JQHY says:

    Good to hear of the improvements, but as fellow typers have pointed out, there is a worrying pound-per-pixel rate in the VR market right now.

    Also, don’t know if I do this here, but:
    “trailing headset cable aslo remained”

    Is typo wiping a thing we do? Sorry if not.

  12. Shiloh says:

    But is it enough to put VR front and centre of things, at least from a gaming point of view?

    Nope.

  13. Tiax says:

    Nice to hear that VR is getting better. I’ll never buy a Vive over an Oculus Rift (the touch controllers are just that good), but let’s hope that the whole industry will keep moving forward.

    • DoomBroom says:

      Yeah Rift touch controllers are pretty good, developed by the people who designed the xbox360 controller is what I’ve heard. Still I think Valve’s knuckles has more potential. Though I’m still skeptical of they insisting to use trackpads instead of sticks, even if it’s an updated version of the trackpad tech. We’ll see sooner or later. Devs has had prototypes for a while now and I see Valve issuing updates for steamVR regarding the knuckles so there seem to be some progress somehow. link to reddit.com

  14. fish99 says:

    Don’t think I’ll be upgrading from my Rift for a long time, mainly due to the higher GPU requirements that the higher resolution will bring, not to mention that 2nd gen headsets are going to cost more not less.

    It’s already a bit of a struggle to run VR games on my I7-3770K/GTX 1070, especially games where VR support was added late in development or after release.

    There are examples of games with really good visuals that have great VR support though – Robo Recall, Project Cars 2 and Dirt Rally spring to mind. Stuff like Subnautica and the Truck Sim games though, the optimization is desperately lacking and the VR implementation is unfinished.

  15. iainl says:

    While I can’t see them selling a lot for the home, it does seem the chances of there being something worth buying at some point continue to go up, while I sit there on a GTX 770 waiting for a card than can run this stuff to return to sensible prices.

    I’ve largely gone to console these days, because I know things will run.

  16. Raoul Duke says:

    When are developers going to realise the potential for NON-first person games?

    E.g. – imagine a city building game (like a less shit Sim City) where you are gently floating above a 3D city, looking down at it like a tiny, incredibly complex model?

    Ditto for train/transport builders/sims, VR could give you the world’s best train set to play with.

    Or something like Syndicate Wars, which literally simulated the player sitting in a blimp above a cyberpunk city watching their agents do their bidding.

    And most of all, real time strategy – someone needs to build an ultra realistic looking RTS game for VR, where you can watch the battle unfold in 3D below and around you. Definitely a genre where being able to look around naturally could fundamentally change it.

    • Sakkura says:

      Check out Brass Tactics, recent RTS release.

      Not ultra-realistic maybe, but certainly detailed.

    • DoomBroom says:

      I agree. We need more games like that. What I want is a grand strategy game in VR (4x genre). I particularly want House of the Dying Sun combined with Sins of a Solar Empire blended with Stellaris if anyone can imagine that. I know it would work because it already does in small scale in House of the Dying Sun VR, just need to extend the strategic view you got in the game to a galactic scale. Maybe even take some elements from Elite Dangerous as well, like the contextual menus and the galactic 3D map. Stuff like this already work great in VR just need to combine and expand upon it. Oculus Touch or Valve knuckle controllers would serve as input to control the game.

  17. Alberto says:

    I’ve got some enthusiast friends with Oculus Vives, and they’re doing some kind of Sonic Cycle with vr apps. “Oooh, that one is _the one_” and then “well, it’s ok, but fun lasts 15-30mins”.

    VR is a gaming gimmick, an expensive one. But please, vr engineers of the world, make an affordable version so I can dive into the art apps. Please?

    • DoomBroom says:

      Not enough content and variation in games and genres is the problem right now. Just give us more so everyone is satisfied. We need 100 hours content for all main generes and sub generes. Right now the small devs doing VR can’t keep up with the demand. If I had more content for House of the Dying Sun I would never take that headset off.

      Oh and if you want affordable VR to use Tilt Brush and other art stuff pick up the Oculus Rift when it’s on offer for $350 or the even cheaper Microsoft MR headsets for around $250.

  18. Biggus_Dikkus says:

    are you guys all fired? No news for two days

  19. DoomBroom says:

    They have been consumed by the Vivemind.

  20. Eery Petrol says:

    A strong game line-up at launch is expected of any games platform for it to build any momentum. After almost two years the Vive mostly has mini-games, indie games and cut adaptations of triple-A games. By now I’m considering the Vive dead, and I sold mine.

  21. doglikesparky says:

    No thanks. This VR malarkey is all a bit too clunky and half-arsed for my liking. I think I’ll just wait for Better Than Life™.

  22. CurtisCook says:

    I play in the helmet for a year. Very cool feeling does not want to leave the virtual world. So I would wait for high quality pictures.
    192.168.l.l