Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Oculus Rift and Virtual Reality

I have had my Oculus Rift DK2 for a little over 3 months now, and due to several factors, I have been unable to truly experience it properly until recently, When I first received it, I had a problem with performance and would struggle to run even the simplest demos at low quality, but after upgrading my computer over the holidays, I can now run decent games and experiences. The other main factor was time. I was spending most of my time either working at university or working at Troll inc, not giving me a lot of time to sit back and relax and really appreciate the Oculus Rift.
DK2 Arrives]
My overall satisfaction of Virtual Reality (VR) is very high and along with my final year project at university using the DK2, I am even more excited to start development with the headset. I have tried a few demos over recent weeks with a few standing out above the rest. With a simplistic setup the Rift is easy to travel with and pack away easily, and is very comfortable to wear. 

There was little discomfort I faced when using it, first, was in the Tuscany demo and similar experiences where I was seated and controlling a walking player. The problem for me was not the movement of the player, but moving my head when moving and stopping movement makes me feel slightly nauseous. The other feelings of discomfort came from playing for too long, where focusing on the screen started to cause eye strain and I had to stop before I gave myself a headache.
Oculus Rift Tuscany Demo
Over time I am getting used to the movement and the immersion, but before then, I will ease myself into walking games and demos to help myself get used to the experience. I can tell that there is great potential in Virtual Reality, with great experiences and great reactions from people I have had play with the DK2. I do, however feel that with slight problems with VR the potential has not peaked yet. 

The possibilities of VR are great, from truly immersive games to helping people overcome phobias, the potential future has begun to really excite me, being too young to have experienced the early rise of VR in the 1990s with the Virtuality Systems, the idea of Virtual Reality is new to me and every experience I have is new and exciting. 

Some of the demos I have played have been really interesting and fun, I generally don't play horror games, so have not gotten round to playing any of these yet, but I'm sure I will eventually. I downloaded the standard demos; the cinema and the rollercoaster, both of which were really good but I soon found the frame rate to be a problem on some rollercoasters. 

Recently there are 2 games/experiences that I truly love, the first is Euro Truck Simulator 2, having played this game before the release of the Rift, I was excited to try it out, and the freedom it offers really adds to the game, however, with the low resolution, I felt that some aspects were hard to read and the constant focus was causing a lot of strain.
Sightline: The Chair
The second, is an experience that I have had great fun with and had some great reaction. SightLine: The Chair is a game where your environment changes when you are not looking at it, the great idea is backed up by some stunning art and scenarios that take your breath away every time. This game has been green lit on Steam and will be releasing a full game, which I am really excited about.

My experience with VR has been hit and miss over the last 3 months, but with the enjoyment I have felt on polished games, I am sure that VR will go from strength to strength as more time is spent on big titles. I feel like VR as a tool for developers will help to bring imagination closer to the player in a new and exciting way. Over the next few months I will be starting development on my Oculus Rift games and experiences and there will be updates to follow. 

For now, I will explore games with the Rift and look for interesting and game breaking features to help me in my development. Any suggestions of games will be appreciated as I look for new different games to play.

Frozen Fishy out.

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