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Ask HN: Do you still play with VR actively?
105 points by billconan on Aug 3, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 108 comments
I'm trying to tell if I should invest time into VR development.

HTC vive and oculus owners, are you still actively playing VR after few months, or you put it on the shelf?

Both Oculus and Vive have been shelved after 1-2 weeks of use. Played some of the launch titles, Adrift was amazing, the steam VR workshop was nice, some of the creative stuff was pretty darn cool.

But "hardcore" PC gaming on them is just god damn awful once you get pass the "omg it's so fucking cool in in awe" period.

They are heavy, comfort levels aren't there, sweat is an issue especially in the summer, they put strain on your neck and since they give you a considerable smaller viewing angle than what you can do with a display (not to mention an ultrawide/screen spanning setup) they are disadvantaged in just about every game.

Replacing a wide viewing angle and a quick mouse look ability with turning your head is just harder and slower (and after 45 min painfull).

Losing the ability to switch to 3rd person views, zoom and pan the camera or detach it is a huge disadvantage in just about every game that supports VR.

Losing the ability to disconnect from the game for even a second and to focus your eyes on something else, turn your head without affecting the game, take a drink of water, stretch and pretty much just be free to do what you want puts so much stress on you that after 30min you just stop enjoying it.

Overall VR seems to be nice for very very specific applications, ones that are completely impossible to do without it, for everything else it's just worse it turns a completely detached leisure activity in a real life activity and that's a problem. The holodeck concept might sound cool until you figure out that it's actually hard work. Personally I don't think VR would go much further, AR on the other hand (Microsoft Hololens) has a bright future, if Google comes out with a slightly less sucky version of Google Glass and you mate it with Pokemon Go it's game over.

Most of those problems sound related to early software implementations. E.g. There are ways to "switch to 3rd person views, zoom and pan the camera or detach it" in comfortable ways. The easiest is having a virtual screen (or portal) but not the only one.

Some other problems relate to game play versus screen/mouse users, which I think it's sort of missing the point.

The sweat problem would be easily resolved with a "soldering mask" solution, like PSVR. Some have modded their Vives that way. And I agree the angle could be better, as the resolution.

But hey, it's definitely a gen 1 product and GPUs just started to have features that allow improvements in hardware that don't tax GPUs so much (such as viewport multicast).

Could be, but still playing traditional games like FPS, Sims, etc on VR isn't going to take hold. If there is one thing I've learned from playing ED, EVE:Valk, and StarCitizen on both the Rift and the VIVE is that I AM NOT AN OWL.

AR on the other hand might be extremely cool, giving you some additional information in an augmented reality HUD that would give you advantage in a game can be great.

Making VR specific activities that are not traditional games or any seated activity can also work, but my biggest disappointment was to learn just how god awful does VR experience in space/flight sim turned out to be, especially in high paced competitive ones with actual combat. The amount of information you can get from monitors is just considerably greater, you don't need to move your head all the time and you can do more than 1 thing at a time considerably easier and faster than with a VR headset.

The "physical" and "mental" stress that VR induces is also great, I don't get motion sick at all, but not being able to focus your eyes on something other than the game is pretty damn annoying, having to use your head all the time makes your neck hurt after a while even if you are in great shape (not as bad for walking games, but seated FPS/Sim are torture if you play at any comparable lengths to your normal gaming sessions).

Also not being able to turn around and speak to my GF while playing, alt tab to check something, play around with discord or some other voip app and many other things make is just a bitch, even simple things as eating a snack or drinking something becomes a chore.

We used to be able to just sit on a couch or a nice chair and play in any position we want while pretending to be a potato for the few hours a week we have to play.

I don't mind playing VR in very specific scenarios for <30min but I don't see it replacing traditional PC setups, or even consoles. VR would become closer to the Wii probably it's something you have, it has it's niche but outside of family weekends and parties it would gather dust in the corner.

As far as performance goes,I don't have any issues NVIDIA has had support for VR-SLI for a while now, and even 1 single Titan X (Maxwell) has been able to drive any game without any reprojection (Tho in Raw Data the 2nd one does come in handy i think). AMD cards do suffer from major reprojection issues and they tend to run the games at 45fps + repro/timewarp which causes major issues and artifacts maybe with more LiquidVR titles AMD performance would improve but atm the R9 Fury X owners I know with a VR headset are well furious and quite a few of them are raging (both punts intended "Radeon Rage9" and "Fury" ;)).

The vast majority of those problems sound fixable by software. In the absence of MSAA, supersampling goes a long way to improve crispness. With proper text rendering (i.e. NOT E:D) you can squeeze much more information in your field of view, even when the game runs at a lower resolution. Not seeing IRL objects or not being able to do anything else at the same time are also software problems. E.g. with OVDDP[0] you can have a virtual "tablet" inside E:D with a window of your choice, in the world or in a controller so you can grab it. Double clicking system or the HMD button (on the left) enables the camera pass through (must be enabled in settings). Using a regular headset instead of the included earbuds to hear the people outside. Etc etc.

I find turning your neck in E:D an advantage: being able to look up (and down in some ships).

[0] https://github.com/Hotrian/OpenVRDesktopDisplayPortal/releas...

I find the free look nipple on my stick considerably faster than turning my head, but then again you might be better at summoning your inner owl than me.

But overall I had no issues with the graphical fidelity, I can run Raw Data on the highest settings on the dual Titan X's. As far as the FOV it's the FOV it self, in sims with a UWD or screen spanning you can easily do 150 FOV, VR's limit you to 90-110 FOV, with some games even running effectively lower FOV which can be closer to 60-70 (e.g. Adrift).

Overall for me it's the experience, cockpit games feel better without VR, VR specific games work very well, which is why I would like to see AR being pushed harder. If i can get the best of both worlds - 3 monitors and AR HUD that would be awesome for me.

I agree completely on the FoV. More than 110 wasn't possible because of how many pixels are wasted with a linear projection matrix. That is, until now, where the latest generation of GPUs have viewport multicast and we can render parts of the screen in different resolutions and projection matrices without having to re-render each mesh for each viewport. Between this and the VR software in development, the next 2 years will be very interesting.

viewport multicast atm is somewhat vendor specific tho :\

IIRC AMD has it too, with a different name.

As far as I don't it doesn't and I can't find it for OpenGL. NVIDIA exposes it via both OpenGL (IIRC NV_viewport_array2) and DX (via NVAPI). With Pascal NVIDIA has SMP (to MPA) which is adds even more.

There is a reason why the 1060 beats the Fury X in the most demanding VR titles these days. Yes they both run at 90fps but 90-98% of the time the AMD hardware resorts to reprojection.

Oops, my memory failed. You're right, there's no equivalent with AMD, yet. There's equivalent for other VR things like ATW and direct mode, which I tend to forget they're driver specific features.

Yeah direct mode is "easy" it's a simple driver hack, ATW is kinda well meh, ATW is the oculus term for reprojection which means you don't hit the frame target so you have to resort to reproject existing frames, ATW reduces the judder by a bit but it still generates pretty bad artifacts this isn't something you ever want to use unless you really have too because your hardware can't hit the true 90fps target. Viewport multicasting and other true load reduce techniques are huge, NVIDIA had a demo with 2 VR headset running of a single GPU (I believe it was one of the newer Pascal Tesla's) and they showed that under worse case scenarios you get about the same load on the GPU as a single headset on a GPU without VPMC and multi-viewport shader pass through and under most circumstances they only were running at 30% additional graphics load because they could stream the entire 3D scene space only one, transform it once, and then do their pixel reduction screen lense transformation to reduce the amount of pixels that need to be calculated and drawn by about half.

Thanks for this instructive (and funny) feedback, it seems that quite a few of your problems are solvable: -a Sony like 'crown' design should induce less sweat. -a "webcam" included in the helmet (like the Vive has) should solve the talking with the GF and eating issue, no?

I have the VIVE the webcam overlay is very basic. The problem here is pretty much the constraints of VR vs AR. Do you really see yourself sitting or standing for 2 hours with the headset on your head? Again this is my personal opinion but I just don't see myself doing it, it disconnects me too much from the world around me, and every time i want to drink or take a bit i need to remove the headset or limit my snacks to small pigs in a blanket and drink from a straw.

AR solves this, it can enrich any activity and any display type, even the o natural walk in the park. Make an AR version of sonic the hedgehog so people can run through coins and jump through hoops. Heck give it a couple of years and Nike would probably come out with shoes with haptic feedback so you can turn any green field into a soccer stadium and play FIFA 2034 Ultimate Freedom Edition and even feel the "kick of the ball" as you kick through the pixels.

But as far VR goes from what I've seen so far "weeeeeeee I'm a fighter pilot" turns too quickly into "meh cosplaying as a fighter pilot is hard work....". Don't get me wrong VR can be tons of fun but given the choice between a monitor spanning cockpit setup for racing/sim games and VR i would take the cockpit without even thinking about it for a second.

So for myself personally I put the VR with my Wii and take out mostly to check the "awesome new VR title" and for parties and friends and as far as gaming goes i prefer my natural habitat: http://scontent.cdninstagram.com/t51.2885-15/s480x480/e35/13...

I've had a vive for three or four months now and still play pretty regularly. I only play games on the vive now (though I only have time for a few hours of gaming a week).

Even though there's not a lot of content, "regular" video games seem really lame now. I've felt for a long time that the video game industry is stagnant. The big studios come out with the same shooter franchises and sports franchises. Most indie games use mechanics that are decades old now (puzzles, platformers, etc). In app purchases and pay to win crap has taken over mobile gaming.

VR changes this. Games like tiltbrush and fantastic contraption could not have been built before now. Playing VR makes me feel like a kid again playing mario 64 for the first time.

Fantastic contraption literally was built before now. It's been out since 2008, and was a great game before and after VR.

Isn't it an inheritor of "The Incredible Machine" (1993)?

Yeah but it was 2D which is quite different.

I was in the very first wave of Vive shipments and I got a Rift at the very beginning of June. So at this point I've had both for a pretty decent chunk of time.

I haven't been using them much, but that's largely due to lack of content. I used them both heavily when they arrived, and the Vive in particular got a ton of playtime, but after a certain point I just don't want to fire up SPT again. Recently it got to a point where I'm not even all that excited to demo the Vive to others either.

I disagree strongly with those saying monitors are obsolete. They're definitely not, not right now at least. I've recently been playing The Witcher 3 and not only is it far more graphically impressive than any VR content available, but the game itself has a level of complexity that would be very hard to achieve in a VR game.

It's just too convenient and easy to play games on a 1440p or 4K monitor with keyboard and mouse. The extremely crisp resolution, the fantastic and complex and comfortable controls, the ability to trivially do stuff concurrently while playing the game, the fact that you're not blocked off from people around you... there are more than enough reasons to continue playing standard monitor-based games.

I feel I do need to emphasize how much VR blocks you off from friends and family who might be around. It feels very social when you demo it for the first time, but eventually I could definitely tell that my SO was starting to resent VR. From her perspective, it's the equivalent of me just disappearing into the garage and locking the door with little to no communication.

I haven't really had the blocked off issue. With the Rift I can hear things outside the headset and I can pop up one ear to talk more easily. The games are mirrored to our 65" TV so my spouse can see what I see and enjoy games vicariously the way she usually does.

They enjoy when I play horror games and let loose with the color commentary.

I actually pulled her into the game and play Elite with her now. I'm in VR and she is on a screen.

I do agree there is a temptation to use a screen just for comfort and ease of context switching. I think a solid forward facing camera with stellar software support is table stakes for a VR headset. Not PiP, I am talking about always available full screen pass through that can activate and deactivate lightning quick. Heck give me a hardware button on the set.

And wireless. I can dream right?

The HTC Vive has this (instantly available full screen pass through of a camera mounted on the headset).

It's not a clear camera though like we were led to believe. Unlike your phone camera, it draws the room in weird wiggles in black and white. It also creates a performance impact so most people prefer to brave without it.

There is also a PIP version, when you press the home button and your other hand should show a PIP that follows your controller.

That's great. Hopefully Oculus moves towards feature parity. Can you activate it using the wands or an Xbox controller? Does it work well if you are in game?

Wands only (I think it may even be a beta feature or something I had to specifically activate in developer settings). Here are some screenshots of the various front camera uses:

http://media.bestofmicro.com/P/6/571146/original/room-view-c... - This view is overlaid on the game when you doubletap the system button on the wand. Edit: It can also be overlaid automatically when you approach chaperone bounds, but it's incredibly distracting when set up that way.

http://cdn.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/mini-cam... - This view is available when in the "pause menu" when the front camera is enabled. It's a little weird, because the view is attached to the wand but the camera is attached to your head.

I haven't played with an xbox controller on my Vive yet, but yes you can activate it with the wands, you double press the lowest button.

This feature isn't enabled by default though, you have to turn it on in the SteamVR settings (it's easy to find).

How does VR do to your eyes after wearing it for a long time?

I personally haven't felt any effect on my eyes, but my SO says that it dries her eyes out after a while and makes them burn a bit. I think she's the only person I know who's experienced that though.

I have a Vive, and love it. My kids still use it every day, often with friends over. That said, they are definitely hungry for new and more sophisticated / open-ended content.

Upgrades to tiltbrush are a big deal; a good sculpting tool would be greatly appreciated. Budget Cuts updates also. Easier unity setups to make their own environments would be rad, or that racket-based setup carmack demoed a year ago. They would LOVE that.

I think if you can wait another 18 months you could get a v2 headset with a much larger stable of content, but there's lots to do right now, the experiences are just more bite-sized. If you aren't going to code with it and aren't a highly avid gamer it's possible you'll run out of interesting experiences in a few months.

Wow, lots of shelfers. Only two people in here talking about Raw Data, really?

The games are starting to mature beyond games. I would never part with mine because to me it's the cheapest/fastest form of travel. I look for content daily and try to test something new every night. Of course, I'm an aspiring VR developer.

Since nobody's talking about porn, please allow this burner account to speak up for it. I'm talking room-scale VR, not 360 videos. It does take a lot of digging and tinkering since that stuff is not on Steam, but if you know where to go on subreddits, torrents, etc. Try it for science, it's fantastic.

Putting this out there: This is one of those threads that would be interesting to go back and read 3 to 5 years from now... at that point we'd have at least one killer app that redefines what VR is, we would have a sense of what the emergent mechanics that resonate with folks are, etc. Similar to reading old mobile threads, before the inflection point hit and we got the killer apps / patterns we have today. Or reading about the web when it was just "brochure-ware". I would say it is less about killer apps and more about emergent behaviors and new "n+1" techniques that redefine what VR (and AR and MR) means. Exciting times ahead.

It's also possible that there is no killer app, and the whole thing just stays niche, like 3D movies or Second Life.

> niche, like 3D movies

I don't know where you live, but in the Netherlands at least they still advertise with a movie being in 3d and you pay a surcharge for viewing the 3d version, on top of the glasses (one time purchase).

I wouldn't mind so much, preferring 2d anyway, but often the 2d version is not even available...

Same situation in the US, although in my experience the 2D version is always available. People who don't like 3D always say it's a fad, but I think it's just a normal product that not everyone likes.

I can see it staying niche just because of the fact that any new advance makes the thing more expensive. It's like boating, if you have one they're great fun... super useful, but they're money pits. I think VR is going to be a money pit for a while. Each additional step of immersion linearly increases the price of VR.

If it could actually fake the signals sent to your brain, whatever that means... maybe it would be possible to improve it via software, but that's far future stuff.

I don't think it's going to be a "killer app", I think it's going to be adding the missing "feature". Which is probably locomotion. The teleportation stuff is a handy hack, but it's not immersive. Games are very limited in capability while the locomotion issue still exists.

Had a Vive for months, still play it 4 times a week.

That's not going to stop because it's pretty much replaced my workouts. Instead of doing a 30 min intense workout, I do two hours in the Vive. It used to be more Holoball, Holopoint, Zenblade... but now it's RecRoom, BattleDome and Pong Waves VR. More stuff comes out than I have to try with a full-time job and a minimalist social life.

I use my Vive probably 3-5 times a week, depending on how busy I am. There seems to be a flavor or two of the month release for VR that keeps me busy and interested. Currently its Raw Data with a touch of Battledome and Poolnation. I'm not typically a single person gamer, but I did spend a fair bit of time with Final Approach, which makes you feel like a kid again, standing in front of a model airport and playing with toy planes. Most vive gamers are early access and I'm eager to get back into them after major updates. I haven't had time to try Rec Room, but I heard it really puts AltspaceVR to shame.

I could gush about Raw Data for quite some time, but its really the first VR game to feel like a AAA title and the swordplay is very rewarding.

SteamVR gets updated almost monthly as well and gives much needed fixes and performance enhancements. The Vive is much more user friendly now and the latest batch of video drivers seem to be helping VR performance as well. I did see the Poolnation and Raw Data devs have implemented Nvidia's mult-res shaders which give fairly impressive performance increases.

Now I'm waiting on the full Budget Cuts game and EVE: Valkyrie to get released for the Vive. Its incredible how much content there is right now. That said, its not much considering all the non-VR games on Steam, but its enough for an adult with a FT job or family to be unable to keep up.

Not only still playing actively but actually changed careers to develop for room-scale VR.

Personally I'd strongly draw a line between sitting-down VR and room-scale walking around and interacting with hands VR. The first one I liked but never really grabbed me. The second... well, see above re "changed careers".

One of the issues VR does have right now is that the audience is small - particularly for room-scale. As a result, the games tend mostly to be quite limited in scope.

There are very few narrative, long-form experiences out there. (My game, Left-Hand Path, is one of the few conventional narrative experiences in an RPG form for the Vive). Most games are arcadey, often wave shooters or similar.

But as time goes by longer games are getting released. This month's actually been pretty amazing for Vive games, with Brookhaven Experiment and Raw Data, both bigger, more polished experiences.

IMO, the future's bright.

(People have gotten annoyed in the past when I didn't link Left-Hand Path in comments like this, so here's a link for anyone curious - http://store.steampowered.com/app/488760 . It's a heavily Dark Souls influenced RPG where you cast spells by drawing symbols in the air.)

HTC Vive owner. Mine is mostly on the shelf. I bring it out when new people visit and want to give it a try, but I haven't played otherwise.

It's still a good time and the novelty isn't completely worn off...games like Chamber 19 (Xortex from The Lab) or Fantastic Contraption are a lot fun once I get myself to turn it on. But I haven't played a really compelling game--I'm hoping Budget Cuts is as good as it looks.

The wow factor is huge the first few times. The VR immersion really works. I just haven't found a game yet that combines that Wow with game mechanics I want to keep playing for more than the novelty of it.

>But I haven't played a really compelling game

I've liked a lot of VR games, but Out of Ammo was the first that really hooked me. The "sandbox" style -- not sandbox in the sense of Minecraft, but in the sense I felt like a kid again in my sandbox placing little army soldier toys around me and making little barricades and walls defending from imaginary threats -- was great. It's a shame that the game is a bit short and buggy right now. I think that style of gameplay is somewhere the Vive (VR+motion controllers) really shines and has a lot of untapped potential.

Yeah plus it seems like a bear to get set up. Plug in base stations. Turn on steamvr wait two minutes for it to detect everything. Move the controllers around so it detects them. Put on the mask. Adjust the straps just right. Wonder if ipd is really correct ...

It's not quite that bad. Assuming base stations are already plugged in, I'm generally up and in Steam in 1 minute. Only step necessary to detect controllers is turning them on. Straps are annoying if you play with others though.

IPD is easy once you know "the trick": close one eye, adjust IPD until lines as viewed straight ahead are sharp.

Do you let your base stations sleep? I have mine set to (yay moving parts with limited lifespans), and I agree that there's a noticeable delay between when I click the VR button and when I'm ready to put my headset on.

I did not know the IPD trick. I'm tempted to go try that right now. Which kind of aligns me to cven714's point - mine sits there. I have fun when I play, but I just got up off my couch after deciding not to want to go through the full dance of starting VR up. I know I have fun, but I need something enthralling to make me want to play.

I have mine set to sleep and wake up when I launch SteamVR, there's a delay but not much longer than it takes me to pull the headset out of the bag and hit power on the two controllers.

re: IPD, I'm sure this is why the default environment has the grids, because it makes it easy to check how sharp a single line is. Too bad there's no indication anywhere of how to do this...

My biggest problem with pulling out the Vive is that my play area is pretty cluttered :(

Nope. I bought an HTC Vive because Valve promised linux support. It's 5+ months since release and there's still not even a hint that they're working on it.

It was a huge mistake to buy hardware based on promises of software support.

> there's still not even a hint that they're working on it

The 64 bit version of Linux binaries have been updated on every OpenVR[0] release since the Vive was released. And it seems it works since the version 1.0.1. It's just there's no games for it. The ball is currently on the game and game engine developers. The only things Valve could release other than SteamVR and the API is Robot Repair (the only part of The Lab that is not Unity) and Dota 2 VR spectator mode (released just a few days ago).

Also, most games are currently using DirectX. In the near future when most VR games use Vulkan it will be easy to run them with Wine at full performance (basically impossible with DX because of the high API overhead and game specific optimizations in drivers). That's assuming game devs don't compile for Linux, of course. And if most use DX12 instead of Vulkan, it would be still much better than previous versions of DX and OGL.

[0] https://github.com/ValveSoftware/openvr

Replying to myself, it seems it doesn't work well, yet, but they're working on it https://github.com/ValveSoftware/openvr/issues/213#issuecomm...

I work at a makerspace and we just got our 2nd vive. We also have a Rift and a Hololens. The Vive gets the most use. I go through periods of use and then ignore it for a bit. But as long as games continue to be released, I think I would be using it regularly. I am real excited for more multiplayer games. PoolNationVR is a great example of a quality polished VR experience that you just cant get in any other medium. Cant wait for a multiplayer ping pong experience. Rec Room and AltSpace are 2 other interested free social vr experiences.

You might be interested to know that Rec Room has a multiplayer VR ping-pong / beer-pong game - just head to the upstairs loft area.

I play it a few times a week. Project Cars and DiRT are what I spend most of the time with. I'm also enjoying Chronos right now, which is more of a RPG.

Echoing what a few others have said, there are not a lot of great AAA titles for either the Vive or Rift. This will change over time.

Are you excited about VR, or are you looking somewhere just to make money? If you're into this, then yes, I would recommend you learn about developing for VR. No one I know has tried the Rift and just shrugged their shoulders and said "that's kinda cool'. Everyone, even my most techie friends, drop their jaws and lose their minds. That's exciting.

This is a brand new field with tons of potential. That being said, I don't think it will be a very lucrative market to indie devs for sometime.

Out of interest, I've heard that acceleration I'm VR games is a big cause of sickness, have you experienced this in your racing games at all?

I got an Oculus for supporting the kickstarter, and I'm actually looking to sell it. Beyond the fact that I'm one of the lucky folks who get nausea, a lot of the games I've tried are like exploring the world in an electric wheelchair. (Ironically I think I feel that way because it's a lot more convenient to look around with a thumbstick instead of my neck muscles.) I'm still holding out hope for augmented reality though.

Have a vive, I use mine whenever I get a block of an hour+ for setup and actually playing. It's not something you can just impulse play.

That said I haven't found many games that really do vr right. Job simulator nails it I think. I tried Elite Dangerous out briefly and it looked quite amazing. I just don't have the controls down enough to play comfortably with a headset on. American Truck Simulator is okay once you get it working. The screendoor effect is quite apparent though.

So far the best of the games have had cartoon style graphics. Anything that tries to look realistic is hurt by the poor (relatively speaking) resolution.

The other thing keeping from playing more is the price of the "games". I put it in quotes since most of them are just tech demos for 20+ bucks.

Have you tried Cosmic Trip?


Depending on what you're doing, you probably should invest time in VR development, but I don't think you need to do it now. Still extremely early days, and I have no doubt frameworks/toolkits will emerge that make things easier, development-wise.

One thing I keep coming back to with VR (as a personal observation) is how anti-social it is. Not sure what the implication (if any) is of that, but it leads me to hesitate in using mine.

> One thing I keep coming back to with VR (as a personal observation) is how anti-social it is

Can you elaborate on this? The potential for social VR seems huge (which is probably why Facebook bought Oculus).

I get the opposite experience, with games such as Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes[ktne], Black Hat Cooperative[bhc], and Pool Nation VR[pnvr].

[ktne]: https://store.steampowered.com/app/341800/

[bhc]: http://store.steampowered.com/app/503100/

[pnvr]: http://store.steampowered.com/app/269170/

I mean, in-person. The internet, online, potential for VR is huge. But strapping on a VR headset when someone else is in the room with you is just awkward.

Yeah it can suck when others are waiting for their turn. It's nice though because the games themselves are a lot of fun to watch. I'd suggest checking out Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, it's fun for people not in VR.

This is true for most games, the difference that with VR you're strapping on figurative horse blinders. As I mentioned in my sibling post, there are some games taking advantage of the disconnect.

I think Nintendo is going to be the one to knock VR out of the park next year with the NX.

That's what I'm waiting for because I believe it's going to not only be a handheld device/home console in one, but also easily support the holy grail, untethered VR. With first-party support from the world's premier game developer.

Of course, it will be Nintendo art style, easier to render than faux reality. But that style is ideal for the relatively weak VR resolutions that systems have today. Personally, I prefer artistic or cartoonish graphics. If I want reality, I don't want it rendered. I'll walk outside. Go play paintball and obliterate the desktop or HMD VR experiences.

If you want to dip toes in the water and start now, I'd get yourself a Google Cardboard setup. Nintendo is going to make Oculus/Vive and the 90's VR stuff (including VirtualBoy!) look silly as they bring this to mass market. It's going to be the games, simplified setup and console pricing that will win it. There won't be anything else like it.

By play do you mean as a consumer of content or a producer of content?

I have a Rift and play Elite Dangerous several times a week. Otherwise the software situation is quite dire with no content that can match the depth of typical AAA titles.

The lack of motion tracked controllers is a problem right now as it blocks access to a lot of Steam games.

Are the Oculus Touch controllers motion tracked? And by motion tracked do you mean e.g. how the Vive controllers perform?

Yes they are motion tracked. They have inertial sensors and are tracked by cameras just like the Rift headset. Early reports are that they work about as well as the Vive controllers.

We'll know more towards the end of the year when they are slated to be widely available.

The great thing about Valve's approach to VR is that they have been very open and committed to compatibility with Rift hardware and aren't playing favorites with hardware. To Valve a motion tracked controller is a motion tracked controller.

People are using stuff like Razer Hydra to play Steam games with tracked controllers and the Rift today.

Yes, they are, but very few people have them. Oculus hopes to have 5,000 copies out by the end of the year, whereas HTC has already sold over 100,000 units. Oculus Touch is a great device, but your just not going to see it available or supported very well for a very significant amount of time.

I have an oculus - I played with it daily for around two weeks after getting it, but can't remember the last time I touched it. I'm not a big gamer though - I mostly was interested in trying out and programming for VR and just have found other projects more interesting.

Of three coworkers who bought VR headsets, the Vive user says he plays about once every week or two. The Rift users have completely stopped.

I have a cardboard that sits unused, but that's mostly because my phone doesn't quite fit into it and I can't be bothered to fix it.

I only have a GearVR, but I can tell you that the novelty has worn off for me. I still want to play it, but I rarely get around to it anymore.

I have a Gear VR as well, and wrote up my experiences with it here: https://jasonlefkowitz.net/2015/12/gear-vr-the-future-is-not...

Mine's on the shelf now too, for a couple of reasons. First, there wasn't a whole lot of good VR content available at launch, and even now around nine months later there still isn't. Second, I found it the only experience where the device really provided a knockout experience was when viewing panoramic photos -- games had to be simple and cartoon-ey to work with the limited horsepower and control options available, and it didn't have enough resolution to display 360-degree video in a convincingly immersive fashion.

(I chalked the latter limitation up to the fact that the Gear VR is driven by a cellphone, but from what I've heard Vive and Rift aren't great on this front either, which legitimately surprised me.)

Your experience mirrors several other peoples' "the only experience where the device really provided a knockout experience was when viewing panoramic photos"

I believe that this feature alone is enough to provide a "killer feature", I'm trying to work on it but I don't think I will get there as a side project :( (I did apply twice to Y Combinator and other incubators, no luck)

Same here. Only a Gear VR, and it's mostly on the shelf. My usage habits with it mimicked my usage habits of a a single video game - get excited and play it a bunch at first, but then lose interest.

After Raw Data was released, I accidently smashed one of my controllers into a piece of furniture. Now it loses tracking after about 5 mins, which breaks immersion. I haven't played much since then.

Before that though, any free moment I got.

Nope. On the shelf. Ordered both. Purchased Vive. Cancelled Oculus when they couldn't get their stuff together. It was neat but I thought the resolution was awful. My laptop, desktop and gaming box (w/ 4k TV) have good enough quality I can't see discrete pixels. I guess I've become a 'retina' snob. They are huge on the VR headsets. Video quality is like I'm playing Sierra games from the early nineties.

Just bought it, I'm on my second week, everyday I can't wait to get home and play again, using monitors is completely obsolete now... I have a friend that has it since 2013, and he use it almost everyday ( he himself says ). And I am also a developer myself, I had a game that I had put aside because I wasn't enjoying it so much, so I decided to put VR support on it, and now it lives again!

Edit: Oculus CV1

I had a DK2 but decided to hold off on purchasing the new headsets. I know that everything has gotten much, much better but even then the novelty was wearing off for me.

Motion controllers may have changed that. I can't really describe why the excitement wore off for me. I'm still optimistic and will end up purchasing current gen once the price comes down or simply wait for the next iteration.

I went from a DK1 to a vive, so the transition was even more dramatic... but for me the motion controllers have been EVERYTHING. Everything I love about playing on the vive is about having my body in the game, not just my head.

I love trying out all the cool new stuff coming out but most of my actual playtime is spent in multiplayer experiences like Rec Room, QuiVR, and Hover Junkers.

A lot of stuff is free right now which is awesome for consumers. Social games like Rec Room practically have to be free and that team seems to be positioning themselves well to be the go to social experience. It's so strange, where the hell are all the big players?

I think you can still get your VR game on Steam with basically anything these days so if you have the chops I would say it's well worth it to put a prototype out there to see if it sticks. Stuff like https://github.com/thestonefox/SteamVR_Unity_Toolkit makes it really easy to get started. Everyone is starved for content and many of us would pay $5-$10 for a short or bare bones experience if it's done well.

Most of the replies here focus on the gaming experience. What about for entertainment (don't mean porn)? I'm unfamiliar with the Vive/Oculus ecosystem but is there not a huge opportunity for live content (concerts, sports etc.)? I'm also a developer and can see a huge amount of potential for all sorts of content-based applications.

I'm really into sim-racing (iRacing and Assetto Corsa). I used my DK2 and now my CV1 almost daily for the last 1.5 years.

Not really. I never found anything "playable" for Oculus Rift i bought a year ago.

I use it for VR development and show-offing at various events, which in my case are various experience sims like base jumping from a space elevator or riding a rocket-powered chair.

Doesn't have much of a replay value, especially if you know what is coming.

I have played around with the DK1 version of the Oculus. For slower paced immersive games VR is a great option. I have played hours of Skyrim (through 3rd party software) and really enjoyed viewing the Skyrim world from a VR perspective.

Other immersive games that I would imagine the VR set would work are war simulation games, space simulators, puzzle games, horror games, ... or games with an immersive story or worlds to explore.

Good news regarding the vive and skyrim, by the way; it seems a VR version of skyrim is on the way: http://www.techradar.com/news/gaming/five-things-you-didn-t-....

I play Elite Dangerous on my DK2 all the time. It's so immersive, I wouldn't want to play it on a normal screen. Been thinking about getting a consumer Rift but I'm not sure yet. I've also been doing some vr experiments with Unreal Engine, but nothing substantial.

I occasionally watch 360 videos on my gear vr. But it's no more frequent than once a week. I also like playing the smash game. I feel the resolution is not quite there yet. Maybe it's because I'm not using the full PC powered version.

Vive regularly, Rift on the shelf.

Same. Especially since Vive plays Rift games. I played all the way through Lucky's Tale on the Vive. Fantastic game.

I don't think I've heard a single person say elite dangerous is better without VR. It's just so much better with it than without, I can't not use it.

Mind you, I just have google cardboard, but it's kinda similar, right?

Try playing more than 30-45min with a VR headset, it's amazing for the first couple of times of short play sessions. But once the initial awe fades away it's just cumbersome and actually is a disadvantage in many aspects.

Hah hah! No.

But yeah, ED without the Vive is like B/W TV.

My brother did say this. But only because the text is fuzzier in his DK2 than on his giant monitor.

I use my Oculus Rift basically every day. I prefer it to tv or other entertainment. I thought it would fade but there are new apps released all the time and I love the feeling of being transported to another world.

I would say about 50% gaming (I'm a fan of puzzle games personally) but the other half is entertainment- 360 videos and immersive education experiences from Vrideo, Jaunt, and several standalone apps are phenomenal and I can't get over the fun of "being there".

I can't wait for the market to grow and additional content to come out.

Developer here, we have pretty much every headset. Vive Pre for 7 months now, and we play it daily. Audioshield, The Lab Archery and Tilt Brush are the favourites around here.

I think it would be worth it. I use the Oculus Rift. I wish there was some kind of group collaboration stuff that could be self hosted and use Oculus Rift.

I got my Vive in batch one. I played it for a while and loved it but ended up selling because I couldn't justify the cost for the amount of time I used it.

While the current version is fun the low resolution is limiting. FPS games are nearly impossible because anything in the distance is only represented by a few pixels.

I will buy room scale VR again when the price comes down and the resolution goes up.

Try 1.7+ supersampling with a 1080 some time. The difference is notable, esp with the current batch of VR games that can't use MSAA. I think it has enough resolution for games, just not enough for text to replace a screen.

Former oculus owner here. I wear eye glasses and it's just a giant hassle. Ended up giving it to a friend. The times that I got it up and running and having fun could be counted on one hand.

Most of the use I got out of it was introducing friends to VR for the first time. Everyone thought "cool!" No one asked for me to pull it out a 2nd time.

The Vive is much more glasses-friendly. Also having hands in the virtual world is a whole different experience.

Cool. I definitely want to try one. Especially if the eye annoyance is less.

Yeah, I play Elite Dangerous, Chronos, blaze rush, and Assetto Corsa. I don't try and play every little thing like I used to want to. It's only the really well done games that I find super compelling, but those games are so compelling that it makes me excited about games in a way I haven't been in years.

Yeah, I play on it regularly, though recently I've been playing Fallout 4 so I've kinda put it aside for the time being.

I have Freefly VR that I purchased few months ago. I watch some youtube videos (360) once in a while but mostly it stays in the dust.

Since I'm developing a new game, I will be porting it to VR at some point. Right now I don't have the equipment.

Assuming you're supporting iOS and Android (which, by now, I'd hope to God you are, if you want any sales...) - you can use a Google Cardboard headset along with the Unity SDK for a total of $4 if you've already got an iPhone/Android handset.

Can Google Cardboard do controllers?

Vive is the only thing you should be targeting. Everything else is just not up to that level.

Still? God no, that was twenty-five years ago.

Oh wait - Oculus. You're talking about all this new stuff that's coming up and might actually make VR work this time? No, I haven't gotten back into it again, yet. Still waiting to see if it's actually going to take off.

Apples and oranges. 25 years ago we didn't have 4000+ GFLOPS GPUs. No 90 hz, no low persistence, no 90+ deg FoV, no high enough resolution, no absolute positional tracking... at least for a sub-1000$ device (expensive ones had a couple of those features). And until this year 2016, there was no actual, released games where the VR user had hands (other than tech demos) with the Vive (or leap motion or razer hydra which sort of work with SteamVR too).

It's like being a kid wanting to have a car, then realizing you need to be 18 and to have a job, so all you had was a toy car.

Yeah, I suppose I'm just unhelpfully poking at the disjunction between my perception of time and the poster's, as illuminated by the phrase "still play with". From my perspective, VR was a thing that got massively overhyped the minute it was dreamed up, a beautiful idea that never had a chance to grow because there was such a stampede to get in and make money before anyone had figured out what was going on or what the limits were. It blew up and died, and that was a long while ago. It's kind of cool to see people taking another crack at it now, and I have some hope that the smaller, simpler, less ambitious version of VR people are talking about now might actually fly, given improvements in technology since. It's just funny to hear someone referring to this second wave of VR, which to me feels like something that is just in its beginning stages, as though it is something in the past that one might already be done with.

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