We are VR (sorry, the 90’s want their theme tunes back)

This month (November) was my brithday. Often, as my birthday approaches one of three things happen. Either I’ve an idea of what I want, and we get it, I’ve no idea what I want, and my wishlist from Amazon arrives, or we’re broke, and we put off my gift for a month or so.

This year, we fell into the former camp, and we ordered an Oculus Rift DK2. (DK2 stands for 2nd Development kit). In 2015 I’m sure they’ll release the final product, and pricing will probably be the same, or a little less. However I didn’t want to wait, and its incredibly shiny, so I’m glad I didn’t.

In nineteen ninety something-or-other (probably 1993) We visited the local laser tag place, and they had two new VR machines set up in the lobby. You could play an arena game against a buddy, and navigate around shooting each other. It was cutting edge graphics… and looked something like;

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I can tell you’re blown away with the graphics!

I sucked badly at it, and lost the game to a friend, who NEVER beat me at ANYTHING!

I aslo felt rather queasy, and resolved never to use it again.

21 years (bloody hell) later, and I’ve bought my own VR rig.

Being a dev kit, theres not a huge amount of games with out of the box support for it yet. Halflife 2 has support for it. Valve specifically modded it for Oculus Rift support. Alien Isolation was developed with it in mind, but they removed the settings just before shipping. Some clever buggers re-engineered it, and it works pretty well with it. Too well some may say. (Its bloody pantswettingly scary).

Theres a huge pile of demo games to try too. Lots of rollercoasters (the queasiness is there again) and arcade style shooters. All good fun, but the best demo I’ve found is a star wars space combat game called “The Battle for Endor”.

You pilot your Xwing around, shooting down TIE fighters, and blowing up bits on a star destroyer, before finally entering the incomplete death star, and blowing up the reactor. The game, in itself is fun to play, but when you work out that you fly the ship, but can look around while doing it… At one stage, I was flying over the trench , and couldn’t quite make out a detail. I leaned over to my left, and looked over the edge of the x-wing. Then, I realised what I’d done. Its something you’d do if you were actually flying it, but wouldn’t expect to be able to do it in a game. It was amazing.

A game that I hadn’t even considered trying with the Rift, was Minecraft. Some Dev’s had already modded the client to output to the rift, so I grabbed it, and started playing. It added a whole new level to the game. Not only do I build higher ceilings now (2 blocks high was never a proper height) But I also listen a lot more for monsters. You never want to turn around to find yourself face to face with a skeleton…

I’m very impressed with the function of the Rift, and can’t wait until more people start developing with it in mind. For now, I’ll keep building away, and watching out for creepers.

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