After a month of backlog and cluster-frocks that is the shipping system HTC put in place to send out their VR systems, I finally got the chance to explore virtual reality. My inner Trekkie was thrilled when the box arrived around 12:30 PM on Thursday June 2nd. Both Mr. Canuck and I were biting our nails in anticipation for our own ‘holodeck’ and now we both can’t get enough of it.
Now, if you do not know what a Vive is… put simply it is a headpiece that displays images in front of your eyes and makes you feel like you’re inside a game. For more information check out my earlier post regarding this wonder in technology HERE.
SETTING UP THE SYSTEM:
Super simple and easy to understand instructions that would flawlessly with our computer system. It took longer to move the couch and television out of the living room than it did setting up the Vive equipment.
Why the living room? It was the biggest space next to our master bedroom… and before you asked why we didn’t choose the master bedroom – we did contemplate it and kind of still are.
The Vive also has a great way of knowing where your boundary is. Once the stations are set up and have measured the perimeter of the play space they create a grid like pattern warning you of the places where the play area ends. This could mean stairs are beyond that point (we moved the couch in front of those to prevent injury), glass doors, or walls.
The adjustable straps are helpful and the headpiece isn’t that heavy. The controllers are easy to us and comfortable to hold. I am prone to hand cramping with my PS2 controllers and that hasn’t happened with the Vive.
The reason I didn’t give a 10/10 for this are for two reasons.
One: the cord annoys the carp out of me. It wraps around my feet and break the immersion of the game. The cord also gets twisted up and pulls on the USB ports that causes the images to stutter sometimes also break the immersion.
Two: the material around the eyes gets nasty and by nasty I mean sweaty. After playing some hardcore archery game or music game that requires a lot of movement you are going to break a sweat… sweat that gets absorbed into the headpiece and makes it really uncomfortable to use.
OH MY GODS I love the games for this system. Those games that are offered for free and those games you have to pay for all have something to love. If someone was to make a garbage can simulator it would be popular because everything in VR is fresh and exciting. One example of a simple yet amazing VR game is Job Simulator. It is funny and has its quirks but it makes simple tasks like working in a kitchen or fixing cars so much fun.
I will probably do some reviews on the games offered for VR that I’ve played… but if I can suggest one other to try – Tilt Brush. I made a 3D tree and camp fire just by drawing them in this VR world. Mr. Canuck has even found me laying on the floor looking up at the ceiling with the biggest smile on my face while where the helmet because I can draw things that become reality. Yes, I sound crazy… but try it and tell me you don’t feel the same.
With most VR games there is a lot of movement involved. Either you are moving your arms, bending, crawling, jumping… it doesn’t matter what these games get you active without you even thinking about it. I’ve never had a game make me physically tired before, which in my opinion is a great thing. Being active was what the Wii was supposed to do and they advertised that… but VR gets you moving without you even thinking about it.
The only issue I have with the games at the moment is the use of teleport. Yes, there are a few games on the market that actually design their game about using the given space of the room to their advantage but the majority of the game requires you to teleport around. This at first is intriguing but if the game relies mostly on you travelling about a level the teleport feature grows tedious and boring.
The best games I found that I’ve enjoyed require very little movement for your feet and focus the attention to using your arms to aim/ interact with the environment.
Overall this is a great gaming system but it lost points in the Comfort section. As much as it didn’t feel heavy when wearing it, it lost points when it came to losing focus on the main point of a VR system. VR’s main focus is to immerse a player into a virtual world… so it is disappointing when that player has to pause the game to untangle themselves or untwist the cord. I appreciate everything this system offers for the first generation Vive system but hopefully in the future they will design a cordless system that will making playing a lot smoother.
With that said I would recommend this system to anyone interested in VR. If you are a gamer, artist, Trekkie or what have you – HTC Vive is something you should consider checking out.
At the moment they have estimated about 50,000 Vives have been sold and this is a new market for game developers to jump into. I don’t foresee VR going the way of the Wii or 3D television as VR gives a player a raw, fully immersive experience. From the games I’ve played I can honestly tell you that VR is the future of gaming. I’m excited to see what is going to come out for VR in regards to RPG and other open world games. I also hope that in future development that VR developers will come up with better ways than to teleport everywhere. I want to run around and explore… LET ME BE FREE!
That said you must also understand you will appear strange to anyone not using a Vive. As the device only is capable of showing the wearer the image that means they will look like they are flailing around are a horde of bees while participating in their game. Also look out for those walls… they can sneak up on you when you aren’t paying attention to the boundary lines.
Anyways, that’s all I have for now regarding my review of the HTC Vive. If you have any other questions or comments leave them below and I’ll get to them as soon as I can. 🙂