The VR Conundrum

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there's a frog in my snake oil
I'm stealthily tracking this Early Access 'Thief 2 in VR' game: UnKnightly





Despite me having a really poor track record with enjoying stealth games since... well, since Thief 2

They do seem to have the core mechanics down here (key swipes, guards with torches messing with your cover, throwing distractions, physically dumping bodies, yadda yadda). The current £10 sale is tempting. But until I'm sure I can clonk someone with a terrible British accent over the head during a pacifist run, I'm not in...

(Damnn, water arrows with limited ammo loadouts, as of old, would be a perfect VR fit too. He should totally rip off their whole spiel )

[Other stealth games that I'm perplexingly tracking: here]

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EDIT: Ok **** I just bought it... And asked the Dev to add water arrows. And terrible British accents
__________________
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
Oh. Sh*t. Son....

FALLOUT 4 spex...

MINIMUM:

OS: Windows 7/8.1/10 (64-bit versions)
Processor: CPU: Intel Core i5-4590 or AMD FX 8350 or better
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 / AMD RX Vega 56 or better
Storage: 30 GB available space
Well I'm boned

Can only hope that the official conversion to Oculus, when it comes, will sprinkle some of their proprietary 'Asynchronous Space Warp' goop onto affairs and reduce that down to... Like a 980 at least? C'monnnnn.

EDIT: Aha, it seems ASW works even prior to official support being coded into the game. That's something... means the min rec for Rifts is probably more like a 1060 I'd guess...

Oculus' confirmation: https://www.reddit.com/r/oculus/comm...creen/d9rrhiv/

Valve's confirmation:

https://steamcommunity.com/app/25082...0202679681031/

And you can easily load up a SteamVR game where you can change the supersampling, crank it up to extreme values and enjoy ASW artifacts as confirmation
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I played Arizona Sunshine at a VR cafe with some friends, and for the first time I am craving VR. The movement was good without motion disphoria. And I loved how you could throw things. I juggled with tennis balls, played catch, and got irritated with how bad the employee was at explaining things.

He said press the side button and bring your hand to your waist to reload. So I tried that and it dropped the ammo clip on the ground. He didn't tell me to hold down the button. And then he was trying to explain how to look down the sights, a mechanic I already knew from other shooting games. But once we started getting the hang of it things were pretty interesting. We spent more time exploring than killing zombies. But when my friends died they were asking why they couldn't start the next round and asking me if I was ready, but I was still alive. I survived for a while. It was really fun having two guns and shooting zombies on either side and reloading both at the sametime. I felt like Bruce Willis in Last Man Standing.

My friend shot a zombie in the leg and then threw a can at it which broke its leg off.

It was the first time I felt amazed by a VR experience. I could get addicted to that.



there's a frog in my snake oil


I played Arizona Sunshine at a VR cafe with some friends, and for the first time I am craving VR. The movement was good without motion disphoria. And I loved how you could throw things. I juggled with tennis balls, played catch, and got irritated with how bad the employee was at explaining things.

He said press the side button and bring your hand to your waist to reload. So I tried that and it dropped the ammo clip on the ground. He didn't tell me to hold down the button. And then he was trying to explain how to look down the sights, a mechanic I already knew from other shooting games. But once we started getting the hang of it things were pretty interesting. We spent more time exploring than killing zombies. But when my friends died they were asking why they couldn't start the next round and asking me if I was ready, but I was still alive. I survived for a while. It was really fun having two guns and shooting zombies on either side and reloading both at the sametime. I felt like Bruce Willis in Last Man Standing.

My friend shot a zombie in the leg and then threw a can at it which broke its leg off.

It was the first time I felt amazed by a VR experience. I could get addicted to that.
Oo nice one, yeah I still haven't tried Arizona but have heard good things. It's definitely one of the newer generation releases where they'd nailed most of the mechanical stuff, and got a cinematic vibe going to boot.

When the gaming and the experiential stuff combine that's when you really start to get a hankering for more eh

(If it helps, there's still a limited amount of glorious content out there on both fronts . Maybe arcades are the best way to access this stuff for now?)

Given I'm locked out of Fallout 4 due to my GPU lacking oomph I sure ain't sitting on a bazillion hours of quality gaming right now... (Although weirdly Minecraft is serving really well
on that front as filler )



They have a deal at the VR cafe on Thursdays, buy one beer get 20 minutes free. So we'll see how that goes.

I also want to try a racing game.

Do you have a favorite game Golgot?



there's a frog in my snake oil
They have a deal at the VR cafe on Thursdays, buy one beer get 20 minutes free. So we'll see how that goes.

I also want to try a racing game.

Do you have a favorite game Golgot?
Got a ton, but partially coz none of them are the kinda length or depth that we're used to

Anything that scores a 4 here is worth a look:

REVIEWS: HERE

For racing definitely ask if they've got Dirt Rally. It's tough and merciless (better to start with a slower car, like the Mini...) but surviving your way around an 8-minute long course can be properly epic when it plays out right

Right now Minecraft is my mainstay (the Vivecraft mod, not the official version). It just ticks a ton of boxes: Deep content, playable online with my friend (who isn't on VR), open world, solid motion controller mechanics (using bows etc).

I'm definitely hankering after a higher fidelity open world though. Pretty bummed that F4 looks like a stretch for my machine. Crossing my fingers the LA Noire will play nice when it drops...



I just played Arizona Sunrise for an hour and a half. I was finally feeling comfortable in the virtual reality.

When I was going home though... It felt like the real world wasn't real. Now, I am a Christian. I believe in God and the afterlife; heaven and hell. This really made me think about how this world, this universe, is just a small part of reality we are trapped in and know very little about. Imagine if we had been born in a virtual reality. To us it would be the real world since it would be all we knew. It was a really interesting Matrix-esque experience. I was touching random objects, like a guard rail, as if I was interacting with them for the first time, and as if they weren't real. I still feel a little tripped out. But actually, rather than disconnected from reality, I feel more in touch with reality.

I kind of want to save up and buy a VR set... but if I do... I'll probably have no life...



there's a frog in my snake oil
I just played Arizona Sunrise for an hour and a half. I was finally feeling comfortable in the virtual reality.

When I was going home though... It felt like the real world wasn't real. Now, I am a Christian. I believe in God and the afterlife; heaven and hell. This really made me think about how this world, this universe, is just a small part of reality we are trapped in and know very little about. Imagine if we had been born in a virtual reality. To us it would be the real world since it would be all we knew. It was a really interesting Matrix-esque experience. I was touching random objects, like a guard rail, as if I was interacting with them for the first time, and as if they weren't real. I still feel a little tripped out. But actually, rather than disconnected from reality, I feel more in touch with reality.

I kind of want to save up and buy a VR set... but if I do... I'll probably have no life...
Oh hell yeah, the fact that our perceptual world is essentially a construct is really highlighted by this tech. You pretty much observe your brain recalibrating as it tries to re-establish a baseline for what is real

The trippy stage after intense sessions is fairly short lived though. A few crazy dreams aside, your brain pretty quickly adopts a 'Helmet on head = altered norms' routine.

(It's that level of plasticity that makes me hesitate about exposing my kid to it just yet. Would rather he gets the 'rules of the game' down from exposure to the world's classic norms first, before being told he can be 6ft tall if he wants, or a bird )

So yeah, we adapt surprisingly quickly, but the philosophical and practical considerations remain



there's a frog in my snake oil
Do you experience it often?
Nah, not since the first week really, just those two days of oddness. My brain seems to completely accept now that once the helmet's on normal parameters may change, but what's learned in there stays in there. (Whereas before it was trying to apply those new rules about body shape / physics / mobility etc to the world outside )



Hmm, that makes sense. My brain was trying to apply the VR rules in the real world. In the VR I was starting to get comfortable with using both hands simultaneously and crouching to walk through tight spaces. If the zombies got too close rather than turn around and click to teleport I was gettimg the hang of teleportimg backwards a short distance while shooting ahead. I guess I was getting comfortable in the VR, so my brain was starting to accept it.

I love that line from the Animatrix, "To an artificial mind all reality is virtual."



there's a frog in my snake oil
Platform Envy:

Aww damnnn...


Bit scrubby, and only a 20min demo, but still, having that feather beastie at scale for puzzles could be pretty badass . (Shadow of the Colossus would just be... immense )

That and they're getting a free Wipeout...



(I mean honestly that might be a vom-fest, but still jealous )


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Fallout 4 Foolhardy Flutters of Hope....

On the good news front...

It seems that Doom VFR was also given a min spec of GTX 1070, and has been running fine on lesser things like 970s . At a guess Beth are idealising their min spec to dodge any moans about visuals / performance. That said F4 is a much more demanding game, and I reckon I'm gonna be reliant on mods to get it anywhere near pretty. (Will be joining many Redditor plans to just stalk the wilds for the first few months, building up satellite bases, before arming ourselves with mods and heading to the city.... )

Another plus is it seems ([1], [2]) they may be bundling in some or all of the DLC after all. (This happened with Skyrim VR, and would certainly be a good sweetener when re-buying an old franchise )

EDIT: Nice, and confirmed to work on Rift, if with expected teething issues. Also running on that guy's R9 390, which pretty damn comparable to my GTX 970, so woot on that too



there's a frog in my snake oil
Flurry of Further First-Day Fallout 4 Fulminations...

It's gonna be a while until I get a run at this, with my unsupported Rift. In the meantime, the internet reports...

PROS
  • Yep, it's Fallout 4 in VR


    ^^^old ludicrous gif...^^^


    ^^^YT hot take, featuring the launch blur bug, and the word 'guys' used as punctuation^^^

  • Mods seems to be working already
    So maybe the dynamic shadows mod will work for a sweet performance boost? Fingers crossed... (And hey, in the meantime you can tweak the INI to become a giant )

  • Tons of reports of GTX 970s and comparable running it fine. (Suggesting the 1070 Min Spec is pretty excessive).

CONS
  • Oculus joysticks are doing eccentric things in the menu when read as Vive trackpads, making the Pipboy etc frustrating. Some have found deadzone tricks in the interim. Others have done this...


  • Sniper scopes aren't working yet :/. Supposedly planned for later patch.

  • Various expected bugs and deprivations, including the Vive version running on the wrong aspect ratio and console commands being required to mess with the anti-aliasing. The 'personal space' buffer that prevents close proximity also sounds very annoying. C'est la vie post-apocalyptic....


TLDR:

It works unofficially on the Rift, more or less, and is immersive (if you don't mind the smudgier distances, old school 'point and click' mechanisms for some of the 'hands on' gaming, and assorted bugs). The core seems to work, it could just do with a round of patches, mods and tinkers all told. Such surprise

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EDITED ERRATA:

Oh for heaven's sake

Friendly note, you are able to reach into the display case holding the cryolator, and in theory any other display case or wall (Grognak’s axe?). I thought I would give it a try for shiggles and it worked instantly.
Oh this better be true... (having my old giant themed bases back as counter-point to a fresh-noob start would be great )

Also, PSA, old pancake saves work perfectly fine, just need to copy them over.
List of functioning Mods (& partially-working DLC):

Oo, config tool. That was quick

Oh sweet, the 'personal space' bounce-back default can be wound back. Dogmeat petting ahoy...




there's a frog in my snake oil
Liking this simple long play. Nothing spectacular happens, but they're playing it the 'right way'. (Locomotion not teleportation, with no silly visual dampening on turning. Just them and the wastes )



Nice simple explainer vid here too on some of the basic options:



General impression I'm getting across the board is that: They've turned up the VR conversion to a solid 7. Everything functions, and so you're happily there in VR (which takes the experience up beyond a '7/10' I suspects...). So as much as picking stuff up with actual 'hands' would be way cooler, and opening doors, and doing the lockpicking 'by hand', and hey, putting hats on your head... As much as that would all start getting it dialled up to 11, they didn't go quite that full fat.

Can't blame them though. They saved on those polygons and R&D intricacies and just got a functioning 90FPSx2 Fallout out the door. (I suspect there will be more from them, and mods too, if sales are as comfortable as they appear to be... [1.4k 'mostly positive' Steam reviews is a healthy 24hr+ picture for a VR game])

It's good news. It's about where I hoped they'd be at launch



there's a frog in my snake oil
LA NOIRE VR MIN SPEC...

Oh for heaven's sake

Minimum:

OS: Windows 8.1 64 Bit, Windows 10 64 Bit
Processor: Intel Core i7-4790K @ 3.60 GHz
Memory: 8 GB RAM
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8 GB
Also using AMD kit in conjunction will cause the world to explode.

They ain't making it easy...



there's a frog in my snake oil
Fallout 4 VR: First Look...



Ok so I've altered a ton of .ini files, raised eyebrows at NPCs and dogs, stared at some paint for an embarrassing amount of time, been freaked out by giant cockroaches approaching at eye level (why did I stick my head over the top of the stairs?). I've also accidentally turned myself into a giant with tiny hands, realised the stars in this build look closer than the buildings, and had several epic fights with a control system that is simply not made for my controllers...

But. Damn, this could be good



Loads more caveats though. Clearly this isn't PC VR's killer app. It's barely plug and play for the niche slice of humanity who have the kit to officially run it. On my lesser kit I've had to: Remove the TAA, alter a ton of grass and shadow distance parameters, and find other ways to inch the ultimate 'Render Target Multiplyer' to 1.2, so things don't look abysmally ****, or judder like I'm inside a washing machine. I've also opted to: trim the 'personal safety zone' that stops you getting too close to items, and manually made myself the correct height. Items also disappear in my periphery, I get periodic white flashes, and I reckon the cities will destroy my current pretty settings...

And this is day one

More pix here. I'm going to bed. Intriguing though

EDIT:

Day 2 has involved me drawing the shadows in to my ankles, for performance's sake, and having a whale of a time just taking the satellite dish on 'really crazy easy mode'. Which in VR it isn't, but does make you feel classier when you land deadly pistol shots .

Prior to it crashing it was enjoyably intense



I played Run of Mydan's pvp with a friend, and it was really fun. You fly around, cycle through weapons, have shields, and try to blow each other up. I won 9-2. My friend didn't realise you go faster by holding the movement buttons down on both controllers and not just one.




there's a frog in my snake oil
I played Run of Mydan's pvp with a friend, and it was really fun. You fly around, cycle through weapons, have shields, and try to blow each other up. I won 9-2. My friend didn't realise you go faster by holding the movement buttons down on both controllers and not just one.

Nice, can imagine it being more enjoyable with a mate. I haven't really spent any time with the online maps but the offline ones felt like they really needed more objects to juke around. The single player campaign was totally bizarre, in a good way

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F4 non-update: I'm still flipping INI switches, trying to maintain the level of pretty that I find immersive while in even the undemanding environs of Concord. Will definitely be keeping to the outskirts for a long while, waiting for performance mods & further tips...



there's a frog in my snake oil
LA Noire: First Look



Holy crap, LA Noire is both the most amazing thing, and the hokiest game ever, all at once

I've only just finished off the tutorials, but seeing the face-capture as 'live action' happening around you is pretty wonderful! Even with distances a mushy fuzz due to my underpowered machine, the city is alive with striking caricatures (the cussed look I got from an old man in overalls as he bustled past literally made me crack up ). Seeing them watching the world go by from a bus as you steer passed them erratically (using your hands to drive your weighty cop cruiser about ) is bizarrely involving.



All of that immersive stuff is grand, especially the efforts they've put into novel hand interactions with the world. What I've seen of the investigation side suggests it's mainly going to gel together well too. Where it's letting itself down is in not overcoming some of VR's more obvious foibles though. For locomotion they've opted for 'arm swinger'. Like, you literally have to swing your arms to move... . It's fine as a niche and silly input to include as a laugh, but having it as the main alternative to teleportation is completely daft. (Ok, I'll just move 1ft to the left to investigate that lighter. *Jogjogjogjogjog* )

Then there's the various bugs and erratic bits. The NPCs who keep yelling at you to stop looking at them, when you're not. The pencil that draws over your notebook menu every time you select an option. The way the notebook sometimes just refuses to close. Rockstar always get forgiven some jank, but that stuff could use some love

There's also just a slight jarring feeling that events are all segregated and discrete, despite the impressive way they've allowed access to the full open world by car and foot. Aspects like teleporting up stairs (even if you're using the free-roam style) are a pity.

Overall impression though is that it's already stonkingly worth the £25. And that's just for the strange interactions with 1950s pedestrians

Load of pix here.