As promised here is a topic not listed on our tracker. As a gamer, I have been watching Virtual Reality since it was released in April 2016, and even since it was announced before that. Of course at the time my laptop was never going to support it so I would of course need to upgrade my computer.
The best part about this was that later in 2016 I did just that, I got a new computer in September of 2016. I was over-joyed at having a computer and have even made twitch streams on it. Well here we are in July, just after a year of release, enough time for games to get launched, and all the bugs to be worked out, and I finally decided on getting the HTC Vive.
There really wasn’t much hardware that came with the set. We get the headset, two controllers, two base stations, mounting brackets, The link box and chargers, cables and other obvious bits. It didn’t actually take me long to get it mounted on the wall and follow the two page instructions on how to mount and angle the base stations. I found an easy to follow walk-through but looking at the hardware it isn’t too hard in my opinion. The link box for example has one side that is orange, and the vive has orange ended cables, it made sense to me that they connect.
The time killer for me was the software downloads. Sure I expected to install the viveport software, and of course since I am steam person, I needed steamVR. My internet is decent for gaming, so the install went smoothly. However redeeming the bundle code took more effort, viveport wanted me to login, but once I logged in I couldn’t actually complete the code redemption. I actually had to signout and then “continue as guest” for the redemption, which quickly gave me codes to then redeem a second time in viveport. This felt a bit redundant, I should have just needed to enter it once into vive port to get all of the bundle, but instead I had to provide one code, to recive two codes, just to enter each of them into the software.
After completing the redemption process, the download showed its true colors, and I cant stress enough about the speed. I noticed speeds as high as 1 MB/s… it never seemed to go past that, I looked far and wide to make sure there wasn’t a throttle or anything, and it turns out that the servers might just be bad. I mustered through it and got Richie’s Plank Expereience to install.
Watching my friends (Karateka included), play this and seeing there reaction, lead me to my turn. And although we didn’t have our own plank, the immersion was still there. I looked down and instantly thought about how high I was. It even took a moment for me to actually step off, and after I completed the step, even though I physically wasn’t moving, my body still felt something and it seemed really weird falling from a sky scrapper. I even got creative in sky writing, my only complaint about the whole experience both watching and playing is that the game seemed to crash frequently when changing games, and sometimes going back to the ground floor wouldn’t load the elevator, which resulted in a lot game restarts.
The next game that I played I got for free from steam, and of course downloaded much faster, and it was setup in the Portal Universe, which instantly got my attention as I have played both portal and portal 2. This was a good thing because although it was free it did require Portal 2 to be installed and is considered a mod. Portal Stories: VR, took me on an extremely immersive experience teleporting, moving our friend the companion cube around the various levels. Yes this game is short consisting of only ten levels, but the puzzles increased in difficulty, and also involved our ever so friendly turrets who make wonderful dialog when caught on fire. These buddies had me on the floor because well I didn’t want to die in the virtual world. I continue to be fascinated by the graphics and the immersion that is felt while playing the games.
These two games alone make me happy to have purchased the Vive; however my journey isn’t over, because the next game was not free, but being part of the steam summer sale was a nice grab. AirMech Command was my next game, this is an interesting real-time strategy game. When I fired it up, I was immediately surprised about how massive the scene was, it actually felt like I had a big table in front of me at waist height. I managed to complete the tutorial and a level, and am still overwhelmed with the size of the map, I may have been giant to some of the people, but even zoomed out I still had to scroll the map. Another purchase I was not disappointed in.
Overall Room Scaled setup with the Vive was not hard, and although I had a few hiccups that I didn’t mention here, as they were really my fault and shouldn’t really affect others opinion, each game had me immersed in graphics and had my body confused even though I never left the safety of my home.