Posts Tagged ‘Oculus Rift’

The Oculus Touch Is Coming Out In December For $199

Oculus Touch, the handheld VR controllers that let you throw balls and knives at things that don’t exist, will come out on December 6. The whole kit costs $199 and includes two sensors needed to detect the controllers. Of course, if you want to play in a bigger space you might need another sensor – and that’s another $79. Not to mention that you will then be dragging wires all over your living room as if you’re setting traps for rabbits. This was all announced at the Oculus Connect 3 conference. But how many games will there be? And what will they be? Well, come with me and I’ll tell you.

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Chernobyl VR Project Now On Vive Too, Updates Videos

Alec wasn’t entirely happy when we duct-taped him to a chair, bolted his Rift goggs to his skull and jacked him into a tour of Chernobyl and Pripyat with Chernobyl VR Project [official site]. He liked seeing inside that irradiated corner of Ukraine – known to Those Young People as the setting for the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. games – but technically it’s messy. It’s split between photogrammetry-scanned environments and plain old 360-degree video, see, coming out a bit disjointed. Well! Today brings the release of a Vive edition, along with an update adding more content and improving those videos.

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Review: Too Good To Be True? A 4K VR Headset That Supports SteamVR For $300

Oh, virtual reality. So much promise, so many drawbacks. Stick your hand into the Tombola Of VR Woes and see what you grab. Headaches and nauseau? High system requirements? Too many cables? Screen door effect? Apparent low resolutions? Gimmicky games? Problematic prices? Your face in a box? I could go on, but I won’t because, er, that is most of them. Both Oculus Rift and the Vive offer a real jolly good time for initial forays into lifesize 3D wonderlands, but come up short when it comes to longer term usage, for reasons we’ve opined about at length here and here. But those constitute just the first consumer generation of hardware.

The tech will be refined over time (unless the market totally loses faith in the concept), but whether that is achieved by Oculus, Valve/HTC or someone else entirely is very much up for grabs still. In the interim, here’s Chinese outfit Pimax, who are selling what they label as the first 4K VR headset for PC, which works with SteamVR. It’s also $350 (or $300 without headphones), compared to the Rift’s $599 and Vive’s $799. Two questions, then. 1) Can it really solve the image quality problem? 2) Can it really do what it needs to at half the price of the big boys of VR? I’ve been testing the Pimax for the last few days, and here’s what I think.

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Get Gogged: Oculus Rift Hits European Retail Today

Mate, no wonder cybergoggles didn’t bring an overnight revolution: they weren’t in the shops here. Digital distribution is great for games but you can’t download goggles, can you? Think it through, yeah? No one’s going to pay a few hundred quid for an e-mail with a small picture of a black plastic box. What kind of mug do they take us for?

At long last, Oculus Rift is now officially in Europe as something you can touch with your face. The physical edition is now in shops in boxes, and a fair few places are hosting demos so you can try jacking your face in.

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Scared Sick: Can Oculus Create Discomfort And Horror?

My arms are aching, I’m anxious and I want to be standing on solid ground again. I’m just about as uncomfortable as I can remember being while playing a game, and I think that’s a good thing.

At Gamescom, I played two games using the Oculus Touch that impressed me. One was Wilson’s Heart, a horror game that reminded me of Frictional’s work, and the other was a climbing game. It wasn’t the horror game that caused my anxiety to spike, it was The Climb. After playing, I spoke to Jason Rubin, formerly of Naughty Dog and now head of Oculus’ “first-party initiatives”. He’s spent the last two years figuring out what VR gaming is capable of, and working with game studios to identify projects that might work and problems that might arise. We talked about what is possible now and what the future might hold.

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Galaxy Golf Now Sinking Spaceputts In Virtual Reality

Cybergoggleeers, please play Galaxy Golf [official site] and allow me to live vicariously through you. It looks like Super Mario Galaxy crazy golf and I’m sorry I can’t find out for myself. Yes, I know I’m the kind of dreadful VR sceptic who calls this latest fad a “fad”. That I’m always saying we’re years away from the future others will tell you is already here. That I insist it’s not even proper VR unless if you die in the game, you die in real life. But I still want to blast balls between dinky planetoids.

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ZeniMax Vs. Oculus: Palmer Luckey Didn’t Develop Rift

I am sorry to bring you an update on ZeniMax’s lawsuit against Oculus, a dispute over how much ZeniMax and then-id Software technowizard John Carmack contributed to the Rift’s development. I’m sorry because courtroom drama is so dry. I’d much rather tell you about how Jessica Fletcher, Phryne Fisher, or equivalent amateur sleuth uncovered evidence, how they charmed their way into a high-society dinner, pumped a suspect for details with grace, then cracked their safe with a bobby pin.

No, instead all I can tell you is ZeniMax lawyers claim that the Rift only became the technological wonder we know today thanks to work by Carmack and other ZeniMax employees, not solely by Oculus founder Palmer Luckey. Heck, they say Luckey “lacked the training, expertise, resources or know-how to create commercially viable VR technology, his computer programming skills were rudimentary, and he relied on ZeniMax’s computer program code and games to demonstrate the prototype Rift.” Oof.

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VR Suits Minecraft Down To The Ground, Controls Aside

Unofficial Minecraft VR has been around for a while, but earlier this month Mojang launched official support for these future-glasses everyone keeps banging about. Minecraft‘s VR bolt-on is a free install from the Oculus store which, for the time being, only works with the Windows 10 Edition. And with a Rift, although a well-established non-official option exists if those are your cybogogs of choice, or if you prefer the Java version of the game. I’ve been looking at the official option, and hey, it’s a good time.
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STALKER IRL: The Haunting Chernobyl VR Project

Back in the days of STALKER and its two sequels, I felt like I was the only games hack who didn’t get sent on a tour of Chernobyl and Pripyat. Those who did visit came back with reports of rain and health worries and mystery meats, then shared photographs of them smiling in front of a decaying Ferris wheel or looking sombre in a Marie Celeste classroom. Perhaps it is best that I never went myself. What a strange thing to be a tourist to. Is any possible response appropriate?

The Chernobyl VR Project, essentially finished but for the time being only available for Oculus Rift, with a more refined version due for both that and Vive a little later, gives me my chance to be a tourist, without the background anxiety about background radiation.
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Wot I Think: Crytek’s VR Game The Climb

Three fallacies I’m occasionally guilty of believing:

1) The Oculus Rift does not involve any of the physicality of the HTC Vive
2) VR gaming is riding a cart to minigame hell
3) There’s a ceiling on how good VR games can look

Crytek’s beautiful and involving Oculus Rift game The Climb [official site] is a pretty good riposte to all of the above.
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What Is The Best VR Headset? Oculus Rift vs HTC Vive

Pity me. I have two different VR headsets in my house, so my PC is a mess of cables, USB hubs and strained video output adaptors. My suffering is unimaginable. I have swaddled myself in wires and made my forehead sweat for your benefit, however: to try and give you some sense of how the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive compare to each other in daily practice. While many of the baseline specs are all but identical, there are a raft of smaller differences between the two, even once the matter of the Vive’s room-scale support is discounted. I do, somewhat reluctantly, now have one headset I recommend over the other at this point in time, but with important caveats.
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Oculus Removes DRM Blocking Rift Games On Vive

In April the cyberworld rejoiced when cybergoggle enthusiasts created a tool to let HTC Vive cybernauts play games made for Oculus Rift. In May, er, Oculus responded by adding a DRM headset check that stopped software working if it wasn’t on a Rift, despite Oculord Palmer Luckey previously saying sunny things like “our goal is not to profit by locking people to only our hardware.” Naturally, Revive quickly got around that. Well! Things seem to have come to a happy conclusion, as Oculus have quietly removed the checks. Vivers may once again play Riftzaps using Revive.

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Quake On Oculus Rift Is Magnificent

Resolution. Anti-aliasing. Crisp text. “Image quality.” The bugbears of virtual reality in 2016.

All of this matters not in Quake. Perfect square pixels, no shading or soft shadows. Almost wordless. It is ideally-suited to VR, in theory. In practice? Best VR time ever, so far.

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PS VR vs PC VR, And Why It All Depends On Sony

The bloom has slowly been coming off VR’s rose on PC, as expensive hardware, floor space requirements, image quality issues, cabling woes, the delay to Oculus Touch controllers and too many underwhelming, bite-size launch titles transformed this from beautiful dream to compromised reality. The show’s not over, of course: this is but generation one, from both a software and hardware perspective, but it needs a new fire lit under it.

Meanwhile, on PlayStation, the excitement is on the rise rather than the wane.

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Killing Floor: Incursion VR Announced For Oculus Touch

Killing Floor bills itself as “survival horror” but it’s not really. Don’t get me wrong, it and its sequel Killing Floor 2 are great wave survival FPSs – with their onslaught of Zeds, waves of chainsaw-wielding monstrosities, and the positively formidable Patriarch – but jump scares and the blind panic levied by running out of ammo doesn’t exactly constitute horror, does it?

Killing Floor: Incursion [official site], the “intense” co-op VR shooter announced this week by developers Tripwire, on the other hand, looks bloody terrifying! Take a peak below, I dare you.

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Valve Launch Free VR Place Creation Tool

Having been fed so many promises during the ’90s, I really, really, really want the latest wave of VR to be a success. I’ve been suitably impressed by the few games I’ve sampled so far – which include the wonderful EVE: Valkyrie – but one area I’m interested in seeing develop is travel: how strapping on a headset will transport us to famous real-life landmarks, or fictional hot spots, games or otherwise, with the touch of a button.

Valve’s new Destinations Workshop Tools [Steam page] has just launched on Steam Early Access and lets users create and share “both real and imaginary worlds”, which sounds pretty close to what I’m after. You’ll need VR hardware to do so, of course, but Destinations itself is free.

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Oculus Rift Update Prevents Playing Rift Games on Vive

Last month, Alice reported on a hack that could let HTC Vive users sneak into the Oculus Rift party and play some of their exclusive games including Lucky’s Tale and Oculus Dreamdeck. But last week Oculus rolled out a new update with “platform integrity checks” that had supposedly ended Vive’s party crashing ways — until this weekend when the developer of Revive responded with an update of their own focused on bypassing that DRM.

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The RPG Scrollbars: Virtual Reality, RPGs, And Me

Like most people who can’t resist casually mentioning they have an HTC Vive, I recently acquired a HTC Vive. Finally, I have the ability to personally step into worlds of wonder and creativity more realistic and inspiring than anything mankind has ever created before. Instead, I’ve… uh… been playing mini-golf. Like, a lot of mini-golf. The one VR experience I could literally have better and at higher resolution by getting up going into my own town, only that wouldn’t be cool, because I wouldn’t regularly float over cliffs as I cack-handedly putt-putt away like I’m trying to join a parade.

I have no idea if virtual reality is the next big thing or just a passing fad. Even as potential fads go though, I can’t wait to see what it has in store for RPGs. As long as it’s not giant spiders in my face, obviously, I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time.

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Carrier Assault And The Future Of Eve: Valkyrie

While most of us are still waiting for our Oculus Rifts to arrive, EVE: Valkyrie [official site] has been building a name for itself as one of the most beautiful and intense VR experiences. Free with every Rift preorder, Valkyrie released last month, will be arriving later this year on the Vive, and, best of all, will sport cross-platform multiplayer between the Rift, Vive, and even Playstation VR. But despite the high praise, it’s worth questioning whether Valkyrie is capable of being more than just a brief spark in the first wave of VR games due to its somewhat simple combat and progression. I braved the blustery winds and fermented shark bits of Reykjavik, Iceland during EVE Fanfest 2016 to find out what CCP has to say.

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Virtual Reality Summit: Gloves On With The Climb

There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb – Miley Cyrus, 2009

One of the most promising VR experiences I had at GDC came courtesy of Crytek’s rock climbing Oculus Rift project, The Climb [official site].

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