Posts Tagged ‘virtual reality’

Wot I Think: Valve’s Portal-Themed VR Suite The Lab

The Lab is a free, semi-Portal-themed collection of minigames and vignettes from Valve, designed to show of the capabilities of their new VR headset, the Vive. It’s out now, but clearly most of you won’t be able to try it – even if you ordered a Vive, you’re weeks or more away from receiving it. Given this is, in theory, the first new Valve game in quite some time, I thought I’d tell you all about it.

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Possible Futures: Dota 2’s VR Spectator Mode

After a few weeks with the Vive, I’m increasingly concerned that VR isn’t yet ready to support full-fat games; smaller-but-broader experiences yes, but a combination of resolution and performance woes hamstrings big huge things. Those concerns are lessened when it comes to watching stuff though. It’s great for that. Makes a good movie-viewer, does a VR headset, and stuff like TheBlu, wherein you’re a wandering spectator in a wonderland, remains glorious. And so this glimpse of a proposed VR spectator mode for Dota 2 [official site] has me nodding enthusiastically. Yes, this stuff will work. Interactive watching might just be the more likely near-future of this stuff.

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Wot I Think: Job Simulator

Spring is tentatively Springing. The outside world is becoming more and more appealing. Yet I eschewed sunshine and the joyful company of my capering 2-year-old for what? Why, for performing menial chores in the dark, with an LCD screen mashed directly onto my eyeballs. Job Simulator [official site] is a cheerful satire of a possible future in which robots rule the world and recreate the boundlessly mundane human jobs of yesteryear for their own entertainment – but this cannot come close to the fundamental absurdity of what I am doing with a VR headset today. The future is here, and it’s bloody ridiculous.
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The Vive Is Out: Here’s What’s Available & Wot We Think

Today marks the release of the HTC Vive [official site] virtual reality headset and associated games. That means headsets are starting to be shipped and should arrive with pre-order-ers soon. We have imprisoned Alec in virtual reality to play everything and see what happens/write reviews but while he does that I would like to point out a glaring inaccuracy on the dedicated Vive website before pointing you to all of our Helpful Insights and so forth.

The cat.

Look at this cat:

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My Main Reservation About VR

RPS has sealed itself inside a chocolate egg for the duration of the UK’s long holiday weekend, to emerge only when the reign of Mr Hops The Doom Rabbit has run its dread course. While we slumber, enjoy these fine words previously published as part of our Supporter program. More to come.

I am a big VR believer, no question about it: I’m in for the long haul myself. But I don’t think it’s going to become anything like mainstream until it’s very, very easy, and right now it’s anything but. The possible exception to that is the PlayStation VR, which I haven’t used yet but benefits from a fixed hardware spec and lower ambitions, but in the case of the Vive and the two models of Oculus Rift I’ve used so far, the reality is a nightmare of cables and turning things on.

They make your workspace unavoidably look messy, but worse still it’s never a simple matter of sticking a headset on and getting going. There’s all this tiny stuff to be done first: turn on each controller, plugin the motion sensors, load up the SteamVR application, clear the floor…
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Earthlight: How Devs Are Working With NASA To Create A Virtual International Space Station

As I try to detach a pipe on the virtual International Space Station, which I’ve been scrambling across, I’m suddenly thrown backwards into space. I don’t flinch but apparently most people who play the Earthlight [official site] demo do – it then makes sense to me why one of the team had offered to take pictures of me playing. Earthlight is a virtual reality experience which is aiming to recreate experiences aboard the International Space Station, which sits in low Earth orbit and acts as a research laboratory. The developers are working in collaboration with NASA to shape the experience.

I am flagging up the fact I was unfazed by being thrown off into space in case anyone from NASA is reading this and wants to recruit me as a cool astronaut space reporter, but while I still have a terrestrial job I should probably tell you about Earthlight and the conversation I had with its creative lead, Emre Deniz.

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Hands On With Star Wars VR: Trials On Tatooine

I’m standing in a shadow cast by the Millennium Falcon, which just parked up next to me. I can’t hop on board but when a ramp unfolds to let an R2 unit trundle onto the small patch of Tatooine that is my home for the duration of this brief demo, I can hear Chewbacca roaring supportively somewhere inside. Han Solo is there as well, providing directions as I patch together the ship’s junky systems from the outside.

As I finished my playtime with Valve’s The Lab, Lucasfilm and Star Wars provided the outro sting. It’s a superb fanfare.

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