Hands On With the Oculus Touch and New Gear VR

26 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Hands On With the Oculus Touch and New Gear VR.

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. Although it seems like a no-brainer this news is peculiar on a couple of levels, the first being that Oculus Rift support was added for free by Doom creator John Carmack.The Windows 10 version of Minecraft will be compatible with the Oculus Rift headset, according to a Microsoft representative that took the stage at today’s Oculus Connect 2.—At yesterday’s Oculus developer conference here, I got some hands-on time with Oculus’s newest virtual reality hardware and software, from the Rift to the Gear VR and Touch. Microsoft, who now owns everything to do with Minecraft, didn’t pay him for the work, but as the head technology guy at Oculus VR he felt it was important enough to be worth his time. ‘I think [Minecraft is] the single most important application that we can do for virtual reality, to make sure that we have an army of fanatic, passionate supporters that will advocate why VR is great,’ he said. ‘This is why you want to do some of it every single day.

Everybody that work on that at Oculus and Facebook, you all have my deepest thanks for making this happen.’ The other reason it’s weird is because Minecraft creator Notch was originally working on Minecraft VR Edition for Oculus Rift, but stopped when Facebook bought company Oculus VR for $2 billion. Now, back to ignoring Quiet because D.D. obviously is much better.” Interestingly, Persson had been vocal about his dislike for the social media service, Facebook, which now has a partnership with the game.

You can see his reaction to today’s news in the tweet below, with the reference to Quiet and D.D. implying he finds playing Metal Gear Solid V more interesting. The Minecraft announcement was made at a Oculus Rift press event last night in the US, where they were showing off the Oculus Touch controller and the new Oculus Medium virtual sculpting tool. But soon after things started to click, some combination of whirring backgrounds, rapidly changing physics, my novice level of control over maneuvering the headset and the weight and heat associated with simply wearing the Rift, led to my feeling, well…sick.

Instead of the overwhelmingly immersive worlds created for the Rift, Gear VR games tapped into what all the most popular mobile games have in common: They’re easy to pick up and play. Of course, running games off a mobile app means sound and graphics aren’t up to the standards of the Rift, but the portable, $99 Gear is a device with a very different mission statement than its big brother. The Gear is meant to be used socially, with lobbies that you and your friends can sit in while watching streaming content, and even Netflix integration. While a neat trick, and exciting to try out, ultimately, if given a choice between watching a movie or League of Legends livestream in a virtual room, or my real room, I will always choose the one that doesn’t require me to wear goggles.

Adjusting to not only being in this world, but also getting my hands positioned on the controllers properly was a chore, even with someone helping out. Having your hands in the game with you not only makes for a more immersive experience, allowing you to interact with the world around you, but in my time with the hardware, it also made the transition from the real world to the virtual one less jarring and disconcerting.

The fact that learning where the buttons are is the most difficult part of using Oculus Touch is phenomenal and speaks to the refined haptics experience. Again, the buttons and triggers took some getting used to, but once you master them, it’s easy to pluck a bullet out of mid-air, teleport across the map, and flick it back at your enemy.

Bullet Train was a blast, and I wish I had more time with it, especially as I was still working to master some of the multi-hand motions, like cocking a shotgun. We then got to see a series of actual, real world sculptors use the software, paired with Oculus Touch, to create simply astounding pieces of virtual art.

In what is a recurring note, the actual button and trigger controls were admittedly somewhat confusing, and I only barely had the hang of them by the time I was finished. But in several ways, sculpting and creating in Medium is far easier than in real life, not just because of the wealth of tools, but because of the moments when Medium foregoes realistic physics in favor of ease of use. While shaving an edge down, pulling some clay out or even just painting, you can use your other hand to rotate your creation, with no fear of bending or breaking a protuberance or dropping it to the floor. With the newest additions to its lineup, however—portable, affordable VR and real, working haptics—Oculus is making steady, sizable steps toward the future it is so excitedly hyping.

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