Friday 30 December 2022

December 2022: Virtual Reality

I'm back from a nice vacation where I got to try out a couple of VR tech things - firstly the Oculus, which is a headset and a controller for each hand that has a variety of buttons and joystick thingies, was really interesting. Pressing button combinations let you pick up, throw, point, push, holster (or back holster) many digital things and you can "cast" what the player is seeing on a TV monitor if you want an audience.

For a simple game like Beatsaber, where you just hold two light sabers and have to hit incoming boxes in the correct direction, it was fine. That game is really more like repetitive exercise since your memory is what will win you the stages.

For more complicated ones like Walking Dead all those hand things are far more important as you'll not only be picking up, crafting or healing yourself (by getting bandages and virtually wrapping them around your arm) - you'll also need to be stabbing walkers. Velocity is a thing so light hits won't kill the zombies  and the system is smart enough to know if you are doing a two handed strike, or holding the walkers head before you strike etc.

My main problem with the Oculus might just be a "me" thing: for the Walking Dead I got super dizzy because while your arms are functional, you move using the thumb controlled joysticks... it just felt super unnatural.

Then we also tried Far Cry VR at a Zero Latency arcade - its basically a large room you book for 30 minutes or so and pay per head. Again you get a headset but this time your controller is a rifle - and that's it! Six of us went in this cooperative game to play against Vaas and his goons (though it can go up to eight) and it splits you into two teams for most of the match. Expect to be moving a fair bit to take cover and don't worry about what you look like in real! :P

For safety if you move towards a wall or another player in the real world bit red caution shields appear to warn you of the fact. That wasn't a problem for us though, and no one ran into any walls or each other. Super fun experience that I highly recommend and want to do again. Oculus? Not so much.

Any who, that's all for now - hope you've all had a good Christmas and are having a Happy New Year! :) 

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