The VR Conundrum

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there's a frog in my snake oil
Oh my...



It's only Greenlit, so HL3 will probably come first, but I could go for some crowbar action
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Virtual Reality chatter on a movie site? Got endless amounts of it here. Reviews over here



"Money won is twice as sweet as money earned."



there's a frog in my snake oil
Nearly timed this perfectly. Got back from hols today, my massively delayed Rift should drop on my doorstep tomorrow

I'll be working late though . So, I've prepped my machine to hell and back and gone on another mad dash of mini purchases (making full use of my time like). Sure hope the kit actually works


Esper 2: The trippy telekinetic head-tracking puzzler. NB vid gets good here. (£11 bundle with the original)


Omega Agent: James Bond low-poly jetpack fun (£3)


Batman Arkham VR: The short but sexy puzzle-lite 'experience' (50% off: £7)

Have also snagged a ton of free stuff, from 'explore your inner cell' educational stuff, to Rear Window style red scare silliness, to shiny but stunty RPGs.

And then have a load of mid-tier actual-games I'm ready to pop on when sales come. Particularly liking the look of the fantasy spider-man trappings of Windlands, although I'll have to get my VR legs first...


(Minor point, but I can imagine even basic first-person platforming would be vertigo-city in VR, in a fun way. The swing is the thing here though )

That and a slew of other intriguing 'one third length' games. Too many to list. (And too many priced at £25+ to consider right now )

But hell Rez, I might also get Rez



there's a frog in my snake oil
DAY 1:

Ok quick thoroughly subjective impression: ****ing wow

I set up voice recognition to take some screengrabs. Here are some 'non spoilery' shots from the super cute intro (none of the fun little physics toys shown, just an impression of the ability to move about inside the world and interact etc).







In the control familiarisation bit prior to this I literally found myself staring at the rendered controllers going: 'Wait are these the controllers in my hands, or CGI ones...' . (Obviously because that area was a willo-the-wisp type mist zone they could focus all the render power on the controller representation, but still, it was freaking weird )

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Here Be Caveats:
  • The screendoor seems much more noticeable than on the high end demo I played, and jaggies definitely much more in attendance on my 970. I'm guessing their downsampling 'HMD setting' was smoothing a lot of these sins.

  • Set up was a minor pain (slightly worrying file errors, need to take headset off to faff with things etc), and the higgeldy piggedly play space I've cleared will be hard to maintain during daily living.

Counter-Caveats:

Honestly don't care about any of that at the moment. First impressions are super cool

But off I go to try some actual games



The People's Republic of Clogher
Congrats!

But ... tidy your room, dude. And buy Superhot VR.
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"Critics are like eunuchs in a harem; they know how the Tatty 100 is done, they've seen it done every day, but they're unable to do it themselves." - Brendan Behan



there's a frog in my snake oil
Congrats!

But ... tidy your room, dude. And buy Superhot VR.
Hah, done and done . (Although it's the pokey scale of my basement flat that I'm up against. Doesn't offer many convenient 2mx2m+ spaces. I've just shoved a dining table out of the way while the Mrs & bairn are away )

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Just gonna slam down some thoughts on a break, coz I'm intending to binge some more

The Negatives:

PC madness gone mad:
  • Had some heavier technical issues. First the headset kept disconnecting periodically, which I think I've solved by stopping the USB busses from power-saving. That's held on relaunch, but now the headset has started streaming audio alone at the start of sessions. Reconnecting the HDMI fixes it, but obviously something's up. Might be a conflict with the Steam VR portal, might be a dodgy cable, might be USB bus conflict. Unclear right now.

How big is space?
  • I'm hitting the edges of the '270 degree' set up the 2 desk sensors affords me. It's surmountable, but full 360 freedom would be more fun, rather than periodically having to figure out where my desk is to ensure hand tracking. (A 2 sensor '360' is possible, but would involve plenty of wirework and ceiling stapling...). I'm also very occasionally hitting the ceiling and walls

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The Experiences:

(Ton of bootleg screengrabs with these in the links. They look odd, coz they're mainly just one eye's worth, and don't really communicate the weird 'I'm in the game-ness', but they give some of the flavour...)

The Intro Demos: First Contact (above) & The Lab are pretty delicious little delicacies.



Valve's Lab (pics) is a more sprawling affair than the compact Contact, scattered with numerous slickly presented skunk projects. It has more misses than hits for all that, but the highlights all had me grinning in delight at some aspect or other... (The bizarre verisimilitude of the Venice streets, the clockwork orrery of the correctly-ratioed solar system, the ridiculous Portal references & twists strewn throughout half of the 'experiments').

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Batman: Arkham VR is bizarrely phenomenal (pics). It seems to be very much a collection of set pieces, with some bonus detective/narrative optional strands thrown in, but the attention to detail is just grand. I barely left the batcave because I was having too much fun seeing what every single lever did . (In the end I took a break because it was just so full on - not in action terms, just in terms of being a bit overwhelming existing entirely in that world. Still need to find my VR legs. And all the batarrangs I dropped )

(Amusingly/terrifyingly it glitched at one point and left me stuck 8 metres above a floating batcave workstation. The vertiginous views were genuinely disturbing after a while. Then I fell through the world, and confused the game further by trying to grappling hook my way back up. Glitches in VR are bizarrely intense and personal )

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I also tried one of the higher end 360 videos. Weird as it was to watch Obama walk around Yellowstone, it was the most "kid's face pressed to the TV screen" experience to date on the visuals front, and the least technically engaging. There were a few magical moments (sitting in a canoe drifting down river, sitting on a mountain edge as it time-lapsed through the day). But on the whole I can see why people rate the fledgling 'volumetric' stuff that you can actually move amongst more highly.

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Also I drew this ****dragon in imaginary clay



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The Yet To Become Clear:

I'm gorging on headline experiences here for the most part, and as blown away as I am by some of it, I'm still looking for the 'game' to an extent. In part because even fun mechanics have their blockers when lined up against classical game expectations (the zenith of which is 'go explore this world, while immersed' which they seem a fair way short of still. Teleporting, even when very snazzily executed, still doesn't feel quite right, and strips a fair bit off the otherwise stellar immersion.)

Can also vouch that the 'intense' experiences will flip your stomach for real initially. The only way I made it around a 3D representation of a Van Gogh painting was by tiptoing in time with the stick motion. (Lateral strafing just makes the body say 'baaaaaaaaaad' ).



there's a frog in my snake oil
Gonna write up some more game stuff tomorrow, but Google Earth is surprisingly rad. You get the buzz of flying at speed over scanned natural formations or the weird claymation-like reconstructions of cities. Plus you get to sit in the middle of Hackney like a giant





TON MORE PIX

Delving down streets you haven't seen for ages is really odd. Made extra trippy by the fact that the human scale stuff goes super papier mache style. It's bizarre, but strangely beautiful at times.




there's a frog in my snake oil
After the After-Effects?

Day 1 Back At Work:

Very weird. Seeing 'depth' in my work screen all day. Woke up thinking I didn't have any shoulders (a result of having mis-matched bodies in Elite and Dirt Rally I think). Plus I dreamed I had CGI hands. The VR hangover is real . (But then I did have a proper binge over 2 days )

Day 2 Back at Work:

Today was a lot more tame. (All I did last night was sit in the middle of San Francisco in Google Earth, then play a seated puzzler - all very sedate, plus got 7 hours sleep). The effects today are much more muffled. Still dreamt that my bed was at 3:1 scale though, and have spent much of the day feeling slightly wobbly again (like I might reach for something and miss, or take a step and misjudge it). It's not hugely unpleasant, but it's not exactly pleasant either. Would rather everything settled into a comfort zone sooner rather than later...



there's a frog in my snake oil
Reports from Game Lands...

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Elite Dangerous:



So hard to describe how all the pluses and minuses combine here, so I'm going bullet points...

Pros:
  • Holy christ the scale. The DBX in the tutorial is ENORMOUS. It's an expanse of metal you can scud past for an age. Why this is so apparent now, given the fly-by takes the same time in 2D, I've no idea. It's really surreal. (I look back at pictures I took and they just don't convey the heights / widths / depths experienced at the time. Those hexagonal heat sinks on planets surfaces just are 50 feet high now. Things tower generally, hovering Goliaths hove mightily overhead, headlight glare and skimmer scans add extra voluminous vibes. It's striking stuff.)

  • The little things: The sun glares on cockpit imperfections really make it feel like there's a curved bit of uber-glass just in front of you. Shadows now crawl in '3D' over the ship's interior. Tiny bits of space debris zip past in ways which real make the external vacuum feel like it has volume...

  • The GalMap is just glorious. I accidentally turned on the PowerPlay filter at one point, and in a hallelujah chorus I was suddenly surrounded by huge scoops of candy-coloured galaxy expanse in all directions. Looked amazing

Cons:
  • Distance view is just a muddle of pixels on my 970. You can get the general shape of things but no chance of spotting a ship type from its silhouette or whatever. It's pretty awful, mainly just mush. (I'm gonna have to toy with some down-sampling or 'supersampling', dialling other stuff down to get there).

  • The ASW trickery kicks in every time I'm in a station, and sometimes on surfaces, turning everything into a juddery, melting Matrix world at its worst. Not ideal :/

  • Much faff. Many crashes, much GalMap key remapping. Etc etc.

On Balance:

Amazing experience when it worked. Some big negatives to go with the big plusses though. Think the desire to constantly tinker with the graphics is going to always be there. (And the long-term itch to buy a 1080 once the price drops, to clean up those distance views :/)
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Robo Recall:



Experience:

As with Elite, the graphical downgrades accompanying the more classically replete gameplay are really obvious here. I mean yes this is just a fancy wave shooter, but you can teleport down reasonably sized city-scape routes, and the action gets very busy and kinetic - they've obviously had to dial it right down to jaggy town to get all that working for the 970.

Actually enjoyed it a fair bit (pulling different weapons from different 'holsters' works really well, as well as the novel melee stuff). Only reason I stopped playing was a succession of glitches and crashes :/

Conclusion?

Definitely pushing me to trial the 2 sensor '360' set up. Although they had some really slick UI to help you work with 270, it was one thing too many to stay on top of amongst the hectic interplay. Could definitely see 360 being a lot of fun here, even with a confined space. (RR seems to do the UI really well, including a simple floor icon to help you recentre painlessly when you've wandered too far).

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Dirt Rally



"I'm going sidewayyyys! Waaaargggg!" *scatter scatter scatter*

This was fricking amazing . I don't know how long the buzz will last, but driving like Miss Daisy down a rally course was itself strangely exhilarating, and pelting around a Rally Cross race was excellent. I'm not even sure what the VR actually brings here (aside from the clear verisimilitude of having a helmet on ), but objectively speaking I was definitely driving better for whatever reason (better times / positions). And subjectively speaking I shouted 'Holyyyy sheeeeeet' a lot more going round corners . Whether it's coz I was more afraid of the corners, so slowed more sensibly, or because I was gleaning just a touch more info on competitors from glances around or whatever. Can't put my finger on why the races were noticeably more fun, but they definitely were

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Windlands



A Tale of Two Control Settings:

Lovely little world to drop in on, but with the most 'intense' move-set I've trialled yet. Went for classic smooth turning (rather than the crappy 'snap turns'), but chickened out on the strafing for now. Made it a bit unintuitive to walk around, but given you're mainly high jumping or grapple-swinging around trees, it worked out pretty well. (Was quietly smug that I didn't get tooo motion giddy using all those things in conjunction, although there were definite 'woah, lets just stand still for a bit' moments). The swinging, when I could get it to work fluidly (which was rarely), was pretty great, and also vaguely amusing when just desperately saving yourself from plummeting. In the end I noped out after about 30 minutes of play though. These forms of locomotion in conjunction are pretty intense.



there's a frog in my snake oil
Girlfriend in Space!

Happy to report that my lady, who is normally the ultimate boss battle at the end of every gaming purchase, has signed off on this deranged project

For the record: The Oculus First Contact demo, followed by Google Earth were a winning combo in her case. (She was a bit less sold on the locomotion complications and bitty-ness of The Lab, and has got a touch motion sick generally with classic motion titles). Elite was a hit today though, until the flight got a bit much. Reckon puzzle games are probably the future.
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Blade Runner lives!

Aircar is an amazing one-dev project. Not a game, just a 'fly around Blade-Runner-land' simulator, but an excellently done one. You practically hallucinate some accompanying Vangelis




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Elite VR Report:

Rarg, finally had a proper go at optimising the settings, and this can get a bit special at times

Main highlight was scudding past the city-surfaces of coriolis station in a tutorial Sidey, and realising I just had to go and have a traditional FA-off fly inside



Pix still can't get across what's cool about being in the middle of all this stuff, but here's another album anyway just in case



I guess pragmatically I can discuss how my current settings pan out. Dumping a load of Supersampling and glitter (bloom, blur, ambient occlusion, high end shadows) and making do with lowly FXAA etc allows me to boost the 'HMD' setting to 1.5 (basically downsampling, as I understand it). Gives much better distance views and general fine detail render. Decent balance of smooth & pretty. Getting the reco 90fps in space & stations and a solid 'asyncronous 45fps' (IE 90 fps with half the frames filled in) on surfaces, and all looking pretty clean. (Turns out I was dropping sub '45' previously, which is why it was a melty hell).

This pic probably gives an idea of some of the payoffs:



Text is all big and bold on station menus, but you can see some aliasing shimmer in the bigger cockpit of the 'Conda. (Aliasing / shimmer is probably one thing I'd still like to tweak - most of it's fine, but station meshes do crawl a fair bit on some approaches). The slight barrenness of the cockpit is barely apparent when you're in motion. (Keeping reflections high seems to help in some of the shinier cockpits too - the Courier's interior looks pretty fantastic as the starlight shifts over it )

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TLDR: The game's still stupid (got sent on a '10 minutes away' assassination, agaaiiin). But now I've got it stable in VR, it is also pretty fantastic again. Flies and feels like a wonderful sci fi beast



there's a frog in my snake oil
I'm charging through some of the official Oculus freebies and assorted promo stuff.

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Short Stories / Animations:

Nothing super stellar so far (the lack of depth movement really undermines a lot of the 360 intrigue), although having a rabbit body in one was a cute touch . I'm hopeful some detective style narrative stuff that's out there might be better. There's some potential there, but these early offerings are still finding their way with the interactivity level, or mainly come across as novelty alone in the case of straight narratives in a 3D environment.

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Science Silliness:



This was a promising glimpse into what could be done on an education front. It fell short ultimately, but some of the visualisation of cell internals was great. It just needed a bit more of a bridge between dry sci and practical demonstration. Meaningful interaction with the DNA/RNA/protein models etc. The mad glory of cell structures and floating mitochondia was cool though, and drama of the virus attack was getting somewhere.



Tried this out, it's completely insane. Looked amazing, played very eccentrically (grabbing passing planets etc). Eventually it glitched, placed me permanently on top of the ISS, and me and my vertigo noped our way out of there

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Physics Fun:



This stood out as a really well executed bit of physics fun. Loads of neat ways of just messing about, cross-pollinating things, and occasionally messing with forces you shouldn't have

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Plus some bonus Elite musings:

Combat:

After doing some prolonged CZ combat, I can say that it is a bit like viewing everything through a sieve. Even though you essentially rely on the larger HUD info, you still spend a lot of time tracking small dots at range, be they the sub-system boxes, or the orientation hints of the target in flight.

Not playing to any of the tech's strengths really. But with the bonuses of the headlooking for target tracking and general whizz bang when shots got close and **** got intense, still happily spent an hour doing it . (Really wish the Arena mode was active - would love to use this set up with that 'visual make and break' rule set)

Alien Ambience

Visited a fully sprouting alien zone...



Again impossible to put it across, but here's a mini-album trying to show the 'waarg' element that VR adds to being 'in' this classic sci-fi style environment

Canny Valley

Seeing your own Av in 3D is odd . Impressive, but most strange...




there's a frog in my snake oil
Superhot is the most innovative shooter I've played in years.
Haha, oh yes, I am totally getting there . Have heard very grand things about the VR implementation too.

Saving it up for a day when I've got the flat to myself and can just get ludicrous though. Leela's got a classic aversion to shooty gaming, and I think the sight of me smashing through glass men would definitely test her current acceptance of this beast in our lives

Thankfully there's actually a ton of content for me to chew through still, while I wait for other AAA stuff like Lone Echo to devalue . Lots of freebies, lots of tinkering needing doing, and ultimately I am going to superglue or screw my 2 sensors high up in the 'experimental 360' format, as it'll get a lot more out of my place space. Like a ton more.

Such disruptive changes require baby steps though



Futuristic Latex Lab Coat
I've gone to a VR cafe twice, and I already started feeling the novelty wear off. At first it was incredible, but as I got the hang of it things became boring. It may likely just be the games, since they had very few multiplayer games that I could play with my friend there. They said the liscencing was pretty expensive. Most of their games were a bit too cartoony for my taste. I also found my hands getting pretty tired, and it was just really hard on my system after an hour. My friend felt nautious because he opted for full screen when moving, where as I opted for the black tunnel vision when moving because I noticed it felt more comfortable even though it reduced my field of vision. Neither of us were thinking of vection, but I could feel that I was making the right choice. Now it makes more sense after reading some of your posts.

Some of the games you're posting look really cool, and I haven't tried a racing game yet.

If you already said something to this effect then sorry for missing it, but I didn't thoroughly read every post. How much time do you find you can comfortably play in one session? Are you able to play for a few hours, or does the experience wear you out in an hour?



there's a frog in my snake oil
I've gone to a VR cafe twice, and I already started feeling the novelty wear off. At first it was incredible, but as I got the hang of it things became boring. It may likely just be the games, since they had very few multiplayer games that I could play with my friend there. They said the liscencing was pretty expensive. Most of their games were a bit too cartoony for my taste. I also found my hands getting pretty tired, and it was just really hard on my system after an hour. My friend felt nautious because he opted for full screen when moving, where as I opted for the black tunnel vision when moving because I noticed it felt more comfortable even though it reduced my field of vision. Neither of us were thinking of vection, but I could feel that I was making the right choice. Now it makes more sense after reading some of your posts.

Some of the games you're posting look really cool, and I haven't tried a racing game yet.

If you already said something to this effect then sorry for missing it, but I didn't thoroughly read every post. How much time do you find you can comfortably play in one session? Are you able to play for a few hours, or does the experience wear you out in an hour?
Damn really, I'm definitely still feeling the novelty . Yeah might be the spread of games they had on offer. Which ones did you try?

[EDIT: Ok whoops I went to town on the answers!]

On Simplicity:

I think graphical simplicity is always going to be an issue, but games with 'AAA style' graphics seem to be coming out in greater numbers now, whereas it's been more indie guys pushing the field since launch, and cartoon graphics ensure they can hit the 90fps x 2 requirements of the kit. (I'd guess the arcade has solid machines, but if they're not top end I can see why they'd go for reliable games - ensuring they hit 90fps also removes one cause of nausea etc, and I doubt they want to run a vomatorium )

Think repetition is also a big aspect in the early launch material. Everyone's still trying to figure out what's possible, so when someone finds something that works there's been a lot of copying. And damn there are a lot of wave shooters and physics games... (For every new possibility VR brings, it definitely has at least another limitation )


Possible Multiplayer Games:

I haven't ventured into the online side yet, but there seem to be a healthy spread of launches. Of the current crop Echo Arena looks a good one to try (zero G sports game), and then the shooters run from 'realistic' like Onwards & Pavlov (VR legs required), to the big spread of wave survival ones and teleport stylings: Arizona Sunshine is supposed to be a solid zombie one, and the early magical teleport-duelling of The Unspoken is supposedly pretty decent too. Bizarrely the free novelty game Rec Room has the most celebrated Co-op Adventure mode out at the moment.


On Session Lengths & Comfort:

I haven't hit exhaustion at any point so far, but the longest I've played a standing game at a time is probably about an hour and a half, mainly because I'm just running through my library trying everything . (Seated sim games like Dirt Rally and Elite I've already got some 3 hours sessions in just fine, with occasional screen breaks). Fatigue is definitely there as a possible issue though. (In games where you're looking to get your heart-rate up the standing aspect actually feels like a bonus, but can definitely see it limiting super long sessions). It might help that I'm in OK shape and quite light bodied, I haven't hit any physical fatigue there as such. No hand discomfort as yet either. (Were you using a Vive or a Rift? The Vive 'wand' controllers seem to be a bit less ergonomic. Rift ones sit in a pretty natural hand position it seems).

A bigger issue than potential physical fatigue are the factors like the motion intensity, and the general 'presence' intensity. For games that require some nausea stamina I'm kinda building up my tolerance, and have been doing things like 10 minute tests up to like 25 minute sessions. The Spiderman-like Windlands definitely required me to put it down after 25 mins. And on intensity of the certain worlds... let's just say I probably will try the Alien: Isolation mod, but I'm not sure if I'll last more than 5 minutes

If anything though I'm kinda liking the challenge of getting my VR legs. If bigger AAA experiences like Fallout 4 and beyond turn out to be any good, I want to be ready...



there's a frog in my snake oil
Game Update: Dirt Rally is Fricking Awesome

God I am mainlining a lot of Dirt! Partially because I'm keeping the 360 experiences in cold storage until I can sort out my sensors. But mainly because it's a deep AAA and fairly fricking phenomenal


^^I endorse this message^^
(But not their use of horizon lock and crash blinkers, which detract from the epic )


A Blur of Impressions:

I'm now on my second go at a 1960s rally, urging my plucky Mini to 2nd and 3rd places. The intensity of dedicating your full attention to each stage is just grand, and the way both the stages and settings bring a range of challenges and aesthetics is really cool. It's a proper joy to spray your way over the muddy knolls of Wales, bouncing over rutted blind hills one minute, churning through soft forest turns the next, then snaking over a set of simple hilltop 6-turns, slipping ever closer to flipping as their subtle switchbacks and scrubby tilts accrue... and the grass rushes by as the speed starts to gather round your ears... And then you're off. Scudding across the treacherous icy twists of Sweden, because why stop at one country? And then you're hairing around the rude rocky inclines of Monaco...

They all have their different beguiling variations, both inter-stage (landscape transitions, weather hazards), between stages, and then in each country's dynamics. But they'll seek to sucker you.. you think you've got the vibe of this country, the beat of this stage, but they've always got a jutting post-jump rock awaiting you, a taped-off twist seeking to ensnare, a casual spray of gravel from a poorly tended drive, a shaded corner glinting with lingering midnight ice...

And that's before you even get to the 1970s, with the most over-steery 'I want to kill you' car ever invented...




Cross Rally Cross:

It's a good thing me and my Mini-moke are actually making dollar out in the gritty expanses, because Rally Cross is the most immensely difficult thing I've ever encountered in my life! So far I've profited nothing more than expensive blows to my chassis and pride. Thankfully, from reading around, it turns out that it's by design

Apparently you're meant to start as a total scrub, completely incapable of winning your first 20+ races, because your car and crew just aren't up to it. Which is cool, because it's made me experiment with every corner, track every cauterised trace of rubber, shorten my gears down to spiky points, and seize on every dirty manoeuvre available. And I'm still coming last. But I'm getting closer..

The weirdest thing was, I had one round where I swallowed a placebo pill and actually came second in two of the qualifiers, racing raggedly over the line right on the tail of first place. And it's all because I'd finally hired an engineer, and assumed he had upped my stats. (Turns out they just improve your repair efficiency, so useful for Rallies and major racing prangs). I've no idea what happened, but I can only assume I was throwing myself into corners with wilder abandon and assuming my car would pull me out the other side

I've got a plan though. I'm gonna grab this guy's setup from the Steam workshop, as I'm clearly in need of semi-professional help


Why Is This So Much Fricking Better In VR?

I don't fully know. It helps that there's a focus on the sounds and scintilla of the experience in the Dirt sims perhaps? It helps that the rally courses are beautifully and believeably crafted (in a way that is still striking, despite seemingly perceiving it all through a spray of digital detritus with safety netting across your face...).

Does it help that you can kind of 'feel' the shape of that lumpen congealed mound in the mud road as you approach it more effectively? Or how the rut to its side will flip you if you catch it wrong? Or that you saw it earlier than normal, peaking sideways out of your window as you wet-slalomed around the corner on approach? Hell yeah, I reckon all that stuff does help

But what that all really helps with, as you speed along, hunkered down in your seat scanning the road, while you assort the jumbled instructions of your co-pilot into the twisted forms looming ahead, is that you're kinda actually there doing it...

(And stringing hair-raising risks together at ludicrous speeds without the threat of actual fatal compression . Although the risk of converting your wildly scampering steed into a hobbled hissing hunk is a pretty good motivator to keep you careening between the jagged lines )

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EDIT:

Made a quick scrubby vid of me trying out a new car in Dirt Rally . Excuse the dodgy border and audio levels, I'm still figuring out how to capture in VR



Obviously the depth perception stuff can't come across, but I guess there are a few bits there where you can see me peeping round the corner and stuff. And generally turning to berate my co-driver



there's a frog in my snake oil
I think it's becoming clear that you were subsumed by the metaverse some time ago

(Oh I will get my Matrix on. And also discover all about Frank the binary Hedgehog, or whatever other arcane mysteries are in there...)

(I've been kinda putting my guns in front of my face and shouting in capitals to avoid spoilers to date )



28 days...6 hours...42 minutes...12 seconds
So I played this yesterday...




It was $25. About ten minutes. Really fun walking around and having the real environment interact with the VR stuff. 3 of us did it.

It could have used one more section to it to make it really great. But it was fun walking around, seeing my buddies as Ghostbusters. When they shot at me, my best tickled me. I could hear them in the headset. It was an experience alright.
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"A laugh can be a very powerful thing. Why, sometimes in life, it's the only weapon we have."

Suspect's Reviews



there's a frog in my snake oil
So I played this yesterday...




It was $25. About ten minutes. Really fun walking around and having the real environment interact with the VR stuff. 3 of us did it.

It could have used one more section to it to make it really great. But it was fun walking around, seeing my buddies as Ghostbusters. When they shot at me, my best tickled me. I could hear them in the headset. It was an experience alright.
Ahhh wow, that does look grand! Freedom of movement and haptic feedback like the tickling must be great. Seeing StayPuft looming into view must have been immense too

(Love it when they demo these things with the 'mixed reality' camera work too - really well done there considering they seem to have done it with live action footage rather than green-screen.)

Ironic that they've got the classic 'where's my next act' problem that all VR stuff seems to get too - long form isn't it's thing right now it seems. Does look badass tho

I've slammed this link out a lot, but I'm really intrigued by what other magician's tricks can be performed with this type of installation. IE like making the areas appear 'infinite' and cunning use of physical objects. Will be interesting to see if we get a whole spread from AAA razzmatazz to hipster arthouse uses and more....

Untethered, you’re released from worrying about tripping over a cable or tangling or straying too far. That relief heightens the effect of being present in the VR. Inside, you navigate an Indiana Jones-like adventure that seems to take place over a large territory. The illusion of unbounded space, or, as Hickman describes it, “a magical space bigger inside than it is outside,” is achieved by a trick called redirected walking.

As an example, whenever you turn 90 degrees in the room your VR will show you the room turning only 80 degrees. You don’t notice the difference, but the VR accumulates those small 10-degree cheats on each turn until it redirects your route away from a wall or even gets you to walk in a circle while making you think you’ve walked a mile in a straight line. Redirected touching does a similar trick. A room could contain one real block but display three virtual blocks on a shelf—blocks A, B, and C. You see your hand grab block B, but the VR system will direct your hand to touch the only real block in the room. You can replace block B and pick up block C, but in reality you’re picking up the same real block.

It’s astounding how those tiny misdirections fool your gut into believing that what you’re seeing is real. Stairs can be made to feel endless if they drop down as you walk upward. In fact, at one point in the Void a decaying floor collapses while you’re walking across it, and you see, hear, and feel—in all your body—a plunge down to the floor below. But in fact the real floor only sinks 6 inches. You can easily imagine a room 60 by 60 feet packed with a minimal set of elemental shapes, ramps, and seats, all recycled and redirected for a variety of multihour adventures.



there's a frog in my snake oil
Just some supa-cute noob-induction in Echo Arena. I definitely have to get on this...



Although given how chaotic and rambunctious open play looks, I'm still gonna wait til I'm full 360...



(I've heard snap 45 degree turns just don't cut it for quick adjustments to grab the disc as it flies past you etc. Plus that kind of zero-G sport zen just calls for a 'free' axis of movement )

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And some bonus hardware stuff. The trial 'Elf' kit - small, high resolution, high refresh rate screens which might point to smaller, clearer next gen kit. Current downsides are lower field of view and the standard lense artefacts etc.

(There's a load of other tech stuff in the nearer future, like Valve looking to attach sensors to your knees, and their full-finger-tracking strap on controller, and a ton of other peripheral, speculative and pie-in-the-sky stuff. Just thought that piece was nice and in-depth on a slice of long-now tech happening at the moment).