Oculus Rift Trifecta
Posted on Wednesday, August 14 @ 09:00:00 PST by GR_Staff
Nick Tan: More than a year ago, I reported on the Oculus Rift as having reached their $250,000 goal on Kickstarter in a single day. Any hardware attempting to bring virtual reality to the home, though, immediately catches skepticism, and I was rolling my eyes as the months past by until Jonathan Leack wrote about his hands-on experience playing CCP's EVR with the Oculus Rift at E3. I knew I wanted this thing on my head, and I got that very chance last week. I'm still dazed from the experience.
While I didn't get to man the cockpit of a space fighter, I was more than happy to man the cockpit of a giant mech in Hawken. Strapping on the giant goggles was at first difficult, smushing my glasses into my face. The retail release, I was told, would provide various lenses for farsightedness and nearsightedness so that it could be worn without glasses. Satisfying everyone is going to be tough considering that different people have different eye prescriptions, but at least they're doing it.
The developer carefully placed my hands on the WASD keys and the mouse (since I might as well be blind), and then I was on my way shooting rival mechs, dashing forward, hovering into the air, and surveying the canyon base and the clear sky simply by moving my head. As I expected, the experience was disorienting and my stomach compelled me to quit by spewing bursts of nausea, but I trudged on for around ten minutes before I handed my turn over to Jessica. All in all, I'm hoping that mutliple developers will integrate the Oculus Rift into their games, especially Valve since Portal would be the perfect scientific experiment. I hear that there would be cake too.
Vincent Ingenito: “Look, Nick! I'm flying, I'm flying!” Okay, I didn't actually say that while looking (actually looking!) down at my foes from high above the battlefield in my hovering mecha, but my inner Kate Winslet was wailing it. Yeah, that's right, I've got an inner Kate Winslet, and she found playing Hawken with the Oculus Rift to be “pretty dope.” Because that's how inner Kate Winslet talks. Deal with it.
But in all seriousness, this was my first time getting to try the Rift, and it left me thunderstruck. I've been against pretty much every initiative companies have taken to offer “new experiences” by way of motion. To me, something as literal as swinging a controller to swing a virtual bat does more to rob games of their magic than enhance it, but the Rift is something different entirely.
Playing Hawken with it was a powerful proof of concept and felt in line with the natural progression of control sophistication we've seen over the years. The D-pad got shifted over for the analog stick, and then we realized adding another to manipulate movement and orientation at once made sense. Now it's time for this: one set of controls for movement, a second for precise interaction/aiming, and a VR headset for independent vision control.
Once you've looked around a game world as naturally as you do in the real one, without any interruptions or compromises to the rest of the mechanics, there's just no going back. I've circle-strafed by incoming rockets while in a controlled descent down a five-story-high tower, with time between jukes to look up and smile at the sun. Most everything besides the Rift is simply offering so-called “immersion” at the expense of player agency. But if I can have both... why would I choose?
Jessica Vazquez: The musical stylings of Sugar Ray were about the only thing running through my mind as I stepped into the 3D reality of the Oculus Rift.
"Put a Mech around me, baby,
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