VR gaming has had a resurgence since the days of Virtual Reality from the ’90s that wasn’t exactly VR in retrospect, but these days VR gaming is the High end of gaming with the need of some good equipment and has danced a little on the Playstation 4 with their version, but the home of VR is still on the PC, The Oculus Rift S was the next version of the Oculus Rift.
The Oculus side of VR has been around a little while now with the DEV kit then the Rift, now the Rift S and Oculus Quest, Facebook bought them a little while ago which also meant the speed up in development and quality, though it might be slightly cheaper than some of the other units out there, for many it’s actually more comfortable and easier to use without the loss of quality.
The newer Quest is all about Wireless VR however its only able to play X amount of games, you can plug it in but then what’s the point, you might as well have a Rift S, don’t get me wrong long term its about the Quest or the next version as VR becomes more Wireless and more user friendly at an affordable price, but for now, you can argue that the Rift S is the standard for Oculus.
So the elephant in the room, the price… VR isn’t cheap and you are looking between £300-£400, which in VR world is a pretty standard price, and the other big thing is the Kit to run it, you need a semi-decent PC to run it, you DONT need a £2000 PC, don’t panic but you will need a sem decent one, check out the website for latest basic requirements,
If you’re a PC gamer, you’re probably got the minimum to play it, especially if you’re playing the latest games from the last 2-3 years. So you need your VR, a PC, and the program/platform to buy the games, personally, the two best platforms for a range of games and price is the Oculus APP itself, which you actually have to have anyway and Steam, with the Oculus APP it’s Facebook now, so you will need to have a Facebook account, most f us have one so it’s not a large stretch, whereas Steam is a gaming platform on your PC, again most PC gamers will have it.
With the Games, there are two schools of thought, and when buying a game you will notice that both on Steam and Oculus they give you a good amount of detail with the specs of the game, ultimately the games are either Solely VR in which you need a VR kit, or VR compatible.
Which means that in the game you can play it normally or VR or both, many of the more high-end games coming out which can use VR are VR compatible not Solely VR, games like No Man sky, Elite Dangerous arent VR but have had updates etc to incorporate VR, and they can work great, whereas games like Halflife Alyx, Pavlov, Robo recall,Beat Sabre,From Other suns, were built, and when you’re looking at the games this is what they will indicate in the info.
Within those games they can be massively energetic or just sitting down, there can be dancing, shooting, swordplay, driving, mechs, problem-solving and all sorts, as more and more devs do more the application of the games is improving.
So once you have the VR and the APP the set up is easy, one of the big advantages now compared to previous and other VR kits, essentially it’s one cable in the display port and one USB into PC, the Cameras on the outside of it allows you to follow the Tutorial and draw out your Play Zone while able to see your room, the minimum play area, in reality, is a 2 Metre square, more the better personally.
Many games as well as the Oculus App allow you to redraw the zone, what’s neat about ti if you go near the edge of the zone it will begin to show you the grid in your Visor so you know that you’re near the edge if you know that something behind this you can hit! is careful! and actually, maybe set the edge of the zone a little closer to you because there are games that are hyper-interactive like Beats or Pavlov and you could easily get carried away and a strikeout.
Other than the Quick download of around 12GB its a really quick simple process and the Tutorial is fun let alone teaching you how to interact with the VR, such as point, Grip, move, and using the buttons and sticks alongside your own mapping of the hands.
The cable does get into the way, but that’s the case in ALL VR sets that are wired, and with the ability to use its Cameras and the headset there is no need for extra Sensors or further cables, which again can be annoying, I’ve seen people set up with a cable going up and hung from the ceiling off a hook or part of the lights, this is a bit more serious and you would need a cable extension probably as even though the cable is a good length there’s only so far.
My tip with the cable is actually playing facing away from the PC then the cable is always going backwards, I’ve even tucked it in towards the back, though ive seen people carefully tape it along the side of the headset, just be careful, as for the headset you can adjust the side and deepness so Tigger who is 10, Roo who is 14 and then me can change the size really quickly, the deepness helps people who ear glasses, like me, you go in eyes first and the back second, this allows you to rest over your eyes.
I’ve skated over the games as there will be posts in the future as they can be used on several VR Kits, however, some of the advice is very general for other VR Kits also, this one though is a good step up, many of y friends have had the Vive, and the previous Oculus Rift, and all recommend the Rift S and potentially the Quest 2 in the future, the pure ease of the setup, the lack of sensors because the Headset does the work is fantastic, its not overly heavy as Tigger was quite comfortable with it on.
If you’re new to VR then you have to take it easy, its one of the biggest pieces of advice I can give, you have to build up a tolerance for your eyes and mind, some people can get headaches and migraines, it can be down to overuse as the technology is progressing with both the kits and games.
They are doing great things in improving motion sickness etc and you can see it, but to start of with just pace yourself. VR for me is the future of gaming, if you take Ready Player One concept, it is 100% what gamers would rather do, we are still away from there but we are making inroads and VR gives you that taste.
You can be fully immersive without even noticing, that’s how good it can be, the right game for you will show you that, it is expensive that not in doubt, and if you have a gaming PC already its a jump to take gaming to the next level, but it is dealing with future tech.