General VR Catch-All - Year 2: It's Happening! (slowly)

I got Elite working! Played for a couple of hours last night trying out settings and performance in different environments.

The Good

Holy cow, 90Hz and the async reprojection (aka Time Warp) make a huge difference. On the DK2 if you didn't maintain a full 75fps you experienced a horrible "judder" effect that was really uncomfortable. I was afraid the new 90Hz target would make this worse, but the reprojection covers up most of the lost frames to the point where it's actually very hard to notice. This makes for a much more consistent and comfortable experience. In addition, 90Hz vs 75Hz is more comfortable overall.

I'd say now low frame rates are even harder to notice than on a traditional monitor, where as before is was headache inducing. Since your head orientation is updated at 90Hz independent of the actual frame rate these stutters are very difficult to notice unless you are paying close attention to moving objects.

I went so far as to crank up all the settings to max to see what would happen, and even though my actual frame rates varied between 45 and 90fps, I had a hard time detecting this when inside the headset. I was constantly peeking out at my fps monitor to verify the frame rates and shocked when it started reading 45 or 60. It's wonderful.

The added resolution is nice. Text is super readable, and being able to up the quality without the fps loss being such a huge issue helps too. Frontier also moved menus around and made more of them wrap around you so the text is actually closer to the camera. I had no problems reading things. That said, I'm still looking forward to higher resolution displays beyond CV1. But it's more like wanting it to just look nicer instead of being usable. Still not as good as looking at my 60" TV from 10 feet.

The Not So Good

Not sure what is going on with the color depth in Elite here. In dark, low contrast areas there is a severe amount of color banding. Space looks all blobby and color gradients are not smooth. Dark areas in your ship show this too. I'm not seeing this in other CV1/1.3 apps, so I'm hopeful Frontier can work this one out. It looks pretty ugly.

Lens flare. I noticed this on my pre-release sample and hoped it would be different in the final version of CV1, but judging from posts on reddit and the like it is still an issue. Due to the Fresnel lenses, you get a bright lens flare in dark, high contrast scenes. This looks a lot like reflections one might see in eye glasses at night. It's pretty distracting and kind of a big deal in a game like Elite where this type of scene is common. I expect Vive will have the same problem since they use a similar lens.

That's super promising, and makes it even harder to wait for comparisons to the Vive.

Thanks!

I actually have been looking at things recently and decided to go with the Vive.

- It seems like the tracking is better. Early reviews confirm this.
- I just can't bring myself to buy the rift without the hand controls. Using a joystick feels wrong to me with the price I'm paying for a rig.
- I flat out trust valve/htc more than I trust Facebook

Of course, I'm getting in late, so I guess I won't see it until May.

(rumor)

Get ready to add the cost of a PS 4.5 to that $499 + move + camera PSVR setup:

http://www.polygon.com/2016/3/28/113...

The upgraded PS4 will reportedly be able to play 4K resolution content, according to the report, and deliver "a richer gaming environment, including a high-end virtual-reality experience."

IF they actually are going that route, I'm cool with it. The PS4 is the main weak link in the whole PS VR thing, so I'm down for upgrading.

Anyways, I guess I didn't post in this thread, but I do have the PS VR core system pre-ordered through Amazon. This whole PS4.5 thing is going to be interesting. I don't know if it will be a success or a complete disaster.

If the 4.5 is true, Sony seems to be trying really hard to fragment the user base with all the add-ons and now possibly a new console with a getter GPU. Traditionally this has been a bad idea on consoles. It'll be curious to see how it shakes out.

Orphu wrote:

If the 4.5 is true, Sony seems to be trying really hard to fragment the user base with all the add-ons and now possibly a new console with a getter GPU. Traditionally this has been a bad idea on consoles. It'll be curious to see how it shakes out.

Came here to say this, leaving satisfied. If you have to buy a new PS4 plus all the peripherals you're better off with a mid range PC.

Hey rabbit, does this make you interested in VR now?

Some release version Oculus vs Vive reviews are starting to hit:

http://www.destructoid.com/review-ht...

"If you have the space for it, for my money, the HTC Vive blows the Oculus out the water as a long term investment."

I'll probably have my Vive by Wednesday or Thursday. I'm hoping for some hands on comparisons for the weekend!

The Rift has some key problems:

* Shipped without Touch controllers
* The Oculus Home/Store is WAY behind Steam and it needs to catch up fast.

They'll be fixed in time, and Destructoid knows that so I'm not sure about calling Vive the long term winner, but for what's shipping right now it's absolutely the right call.

Sweet, my vicarious living thread. I am more waiting for impressions for PSVR but these Oculus discussions are nice!

I was just listening to Kotaku Split Screen, and they were talking about the Rift. The most fascinating thing I heard was the experience of crying while watching Inside Out. Apparently it doesn't work very well. Smiling is weird too because the headset pushes on the muscles.

Orphu wrote:

Some release version Oculus vs Vive reviews are starting to hit:

http://www.destructoid.com/review-ht...

"If you have the space for it, for my money, the HTC Vive blows the Oculus out the water as a long term investment."

I'll probably have my Vive by Wednesday or Thursday. I'm hoping for some hands on comparisons for the weekend!

Eh, everyone is entitled to their opinion, and the reviewer is certainly entitled to hers, but that comes off a bit hyperbolic in its comparisons. From everything I have read/watched, the Rift is more commonly reviewed as being more comfortable and the visuals are basically a tie, with both HMDs have slight advantages in different areas. And some of it is just wrong; she states the Vive has hundreds of games to the Rift's 30, except that the Rift also can play everything in SteamVR.

I think most neutral parties would agree that the Vive's big advantage at launch is the tracked controllers but even then, I don't think many people will regret going with the Rift and adding their Touch controllers later.

I think buyers of both will be happy in both the short and near term and those of us on the sidelines will be jealously enjoying your experiences.

It does come off as hyperbolic. I tend to dismiss hyperbolic.

Vive launch has about 30 games (not hundreds). Rift is about the same. Rift can't actually play much of anything currently in SteamVR due to the requirement of controllers though. You can run much of it, thanks to SteamVR supporting Oculus SDK 1.3, but you can't do much.

I've been playing with a Rift CV1 for about a week now, and (im)patiently waiting for my Vive order. The biggest shortfall on Rift outside the controllers is definitely tracking. Even with lights on the back you can lose tracking with the single camera. It's pretty easy to occlude the camera by turning your head 90 degrees and reaching up to adjust something with one hand. I'm also having a hard time imagining controllers working will with such a small tracking volume, even if you add a camera on the back side. I feel like I could stretch my arm out and leave the volume pretty easily. I think controllers will require room scale (or at least more than sitting scale) to work well. Plopping a camera in front of you at a desk won't be enough.

The best thing I've played on Rift so far is Chronos. It's a legitimately cool game. It's kinda Resident Evil, with Dark Souls combat, and an Ico/SotC art direction. Loving it.

But, I must say, like a lot of other Rift games it would be just fine without VR. Chronos, Henry, Lost, Adr1ft (disappointing, btw), Lucky's Tale, Farlands, Project Cars, Nobody Explodes, Valkyrie... Elite. All of these would work just fine without VR. In fact, many have non-VR modes. VR adds some wow factor, but it's by no means integral to the games. Vive seems to have a strong lineup just because the controllers make some new mechanics possible.

VR year two may be where things really get interesting. When the VR control problem is solved by all of the major players.

Can't wait to hear your Vive report!

I'm curious if you have seen the UploadVR video's that test the Rift's tracking? They had much better results placing the Rift camera up high (tested with a ladder, bookcase or speaker mount would probably look better) and had it pointing down, since the camera sees a cone, placing it up high tends to put the user in the sweet spot of the cone, of course your mileage may very.

Also, the Tested guys have already confirmed that two cameras can indeed create a fully tacked space and that the Rift already supports more than one camera, even if you you guys want be able to get your hands on a second camera until Touch launches.

Can't wait to hear your Vive report!

Same here! I have the right living room setup for a Vive, but the cynic in me suspects the moving-around aspect of VR might be a fad, similar to the hype surrounding the Kinect.

Badferret wrote:

They had much better results placing the Rift camera up high (tested with a ladder, bookcase or speaker mount would probably look better) and had it pointing down, since the camera sees a cone, placing it up high tends to put the user in the sweet spot of the cone, of course your mileage may vary.

I think that would improve things. Unfortunately, Oculus promotes a sitting experience and placing the camera on a desk "about three feet away" which is entirely inadequate. I think you really need to set it up more like the Vive lighthouses. Up above your head, pointing down, on a tripod or wall mount.

All your Steam games can be played in VR in the Vive, starting today

The HTC Vive may be tricky to set up, requiring many steps and a whole bunch of hardware, but Valve has the rather sizable advantage of owning the dominant PC gaming digital distribution platform. It's very likely that the majority of the PC games you've purchased in the past year have been through Steam.

And there is a neat option built into Steam that allows you to play every single one of your existing games using the virtual reality headset. If you go to your library and select a non-VR game, you are told to "launch in Theater" rather than to play it in VR. Once the game launches, you can play on a large, impressive floating screen in the middle of a rather plain space.

So I'm planning to get one of the VR devices. The Vive sounds great but I'm concerned about the space requirement. My gaming PC is in my office and I can't really see the option of a living room sized space working for me. So if I'm looking for a stationary play experience is the Oculus going to be the better way to go? It sounds like if you don't have a large space the movement with Vive is not really feasible.

A whole room is just the max size. The Vive is just as good standing. The Rift will be the same when the touch controllers come out.

You can still use the Vive sitting at a desk like the Rift. You just have two units to position for tracking instead of one.

I got my Rift yesterday. I was a little overwhelmed with options once I got it set up, which was quite easy. Plug in 2 USBs and 1 HDMI, place the sensor on the windowsill next to my desk, follow some configuration steps, ready to roll.

I would say that the most fun I had was Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, which I played with my wife, taking turns being the bomb defuser. Lucky's Tale was also a surprising amount of fun, which pretty much everyone says. You immediately dismiss it when you see screenshots and videos because it looks like a mild Mario 64 clone but once you put on the headset and you see the diminutive hero wave at you and start guiding him around the levels you're just playing a rather joyful experience.

Project CARS was entertaining, but I'm really looking for iRacing to start supporting the new headset. I may start up a new open wheel career in pcars and see how that goes.
Subnautica didn't quite work right, I think because the Xbox controller setup didnt quite succeed. Rebooting fixed the controller and I need to give the game another shot. I will say that the 30 seconds of it I did play were amazingly beautiful.

The 'Foo' "talk show" by Will Smith (the red bearded guy you've all seen open-mouth gawping with a VR headset on) was really impressive. The pilot episode is available, I think for both Rift and Vive, possibly even for the GearVR. You're taken into a virtual studio with Smith and his guests as intentionally low-poly actor models. I think all 3 are using Vive including handsets to track their head and hand movements. In the inaugural episode it's 2 Firewatch devs. They take you inside a game level (You're standing there with them in it in VR) and you can interact with the scene just like they are, picking up objects and checking them out, really studying the detail of the scene while they talk about making it. You can move around the scene by warping to different spots on the floor. You can even get right up in with the group and its like you're part of the conversation. Really cool. Totally free. If you have any VR device, check it out.

I bought a Vive, no idea when it will arrive.

SpyNavy wrote:

I bought a Vive, no idea when it will arrive.

Same.. I've gotten zero indication from them exactly when it will ship.. which honestly is fine by me because I'm probably looking at May or June when my new home will be ready to move into anyway.

I'm mostly intrigued by the first Dark Souls like game that ends up on VR... to bad the wires preclude any actual rolling around and potentially separating a shoulder.

SpyNavy wrote:

I bought a Vive, no idea when it will arrive.

I preordered, too. This is what it says in my confirmation email:

HTC wrote:

Thank you for your HTCVIVE.com order – We will start shipping May 2016

So I assume that I will get it at some point in May. Maybe you guys have something like that, too?

Also, just for fun:

Setup and played my Vive last night. Experience was great. I literally lost myself in time for 3 hours. I have no idea how the time passed me by.
This morning, I fired things up to get an hour of play in before work and ended up spending the whole hour playing Vanishing Realms.
But, the experience I wanted to share was that after I stopped playing, I spent a few minutes shutting down my computer and then went into the bathroom to wash and brush my teeth. I bent over to lean my elbows on the vanity when I faltered. My brain hesitated for a microsecond because I was worried that 1) leaning toward the counter might trigger chaperone bounds and 2) I was being cautious in case the countertop wasn't actually there. It wasn't a bad feeling, I just laughed it off to myself and kinda thought it was like having "sea legs" where you still "feel" the rocking of the boat after getting off.

Well, I'm fairly upset with HTC at the moment. They really goofed up logicstics with the Vive launch. Despite saying they would ship units first come, first served, they have been shipping by region and then fairly randomly within a region.

I have a confirmed order via PayPal 2 minutes after they opened preorders, yet folks that ordered a full day after are receiving units today. Support can't seem to offer much help other then my order is still in process. And now, the distribution center has shipped their initial supply. No telling when I'll see it, and they took my money a month ago. I also paid for express shipping.

Sorry to hear it Orphu. Neither company has had an easy time with shipping. Oculus waited to charge us until the unit was shipped, which was nice at least. Kept salt out of the wound when things took about a week+ longer than they should have.

I'm finding that Oculus Home software doesn't play well with Steam VR. I had a great ProjectCARS race destroyed by the Rift pause menu coming up without pausing the game to say that the controller I wasnt using got disconnected. I wrecked, lost after working my way up from 12th place to 2nd.

That, and I'm always hearing the Oculus pause menu navigation 'boop'ing away in the background while I'm playing something from Steam like Subnautica, Elite, or the above-mentioned Project CARS. I hope they polish that up. Though given that its not THEIR games causing this, it's probably not high on the priority list.

Have your tried VR Desktop and or Oculus' native media viewer to watch anything?

Not yet. I finished Daredevil and Justified in the days leading up to getting the kit and that was pretty much the last of what I wanted to see. Maybe I'll watch some Archer or Trailer Park Boys. But it's 3d movies that I'm told really stand out in Virtual Desktop and I don't have any of those.

I did sample some videos in JanusVR. They're heinously low-rez and seem to just be teasers without the option to see anything real, so I'm not sure what the point is. Like the Boxing and hockey vids. Cool concept but can I watch a game? Not that I can tell, but I'd probably pay for VR season tickets for the Dallas Stars... If such a thing existed.