PC VR, The Future is Here!

Can’t wait, gonna be so good.


You can reserve it on steam right now to get 10% off!

Apparently the game being announced caused a considerable increase in sales of the Valve Index . It seems like this game is already a system seller, something VR in general is in need off. I still only have a PS VR but Sony’s headset is in need of an upgrade on the PS5 if it wants to stay in the competition.

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Recent cool/ish stuff (I maintain the PC VR thread on gaf - it’s a $hithole, I just want to promote VR - if you care to stay up to date daily, I also post everything in the VR thread on metacouncil though I didn’t start it).























BBC Half-Life Alyx coverage.

Uuurrrgh it looks so great but at the same time I just can’t justify VR for it.



















My impressions for Alyx, I’m nearing the end while taking it slow. I have to say I do have a few minor complaints compared to other VR games I enjoyed. It kind of shows that the game and/or its technology have been in development for a long time as some design decisions have that “early VR software” feel. They’ve done a good job adapting the systems to contemporary VR methods but there are still traces of how it wasn’t originally meant to be that intense/free in locomotion options and what not.

There are for example a couple instances per level, more on some, where even though you’re using free locomotion pressing forward will just teleport you through the obstacle/situation with a fade out/fade in and accompanying sound effect of the action you didn’t really do/see. That only happens rarely and in all other cases they’ve adapted the game to free locomotion very well, you can vault over stuff, crouch under obstacles and drop off ledges seamlessly. Jumping across gaps however can also only be done with a teleportation interface and that’s just weird as some sections do have a bit of platforming to them. If they feared the abuse of a physical jump they could have done it Zelda style or something, pressing forward where you need it and unable to do it at will at any other time. There are also invisible walls to stop you from falling off some ledges and stuff, that’s also just weird, it rarely restricts you from going to places you think you should be able to but it’s still weird it doesn’t just let you naturally fall to your death.

The above obviously mostly doesn’t really apply if you’re among the people that get motion sickness in VR and therefor always resort to using the teleportation based locomotion options, those are consistent.

Besides that the guns and tools are attached to your hand rather than physically held with an active input so that they drop if you let go like other objects do. It’s a pure old school inventory system where you hold a button to bring up the wheel with the guns/tools then hover your hand over the one you want and release the button to have it attached to your hand. A quick press will toggle between a free hand and the last thing you were holding a la MGS. That’s contrary to most other modern VR FPS where you can conveniently attach things to various slots on your body (even if it’s invisible in some of them, or optional) and your guns behave just like other objects, being able to let go or toss them or whatever which makes it feel more immersing and physical. The backpack for storing stuff and grabbing ammo to reload with works well.

Edit: the above also means you can’t switch hands on the fly, you have to choose the dominant hand that will be handling the tool/guns from the settings menu/when first starting the game. Also the vaulting over is very gamey, you just press the right stick forward to match your left stick while walking against the object you want to climb, not physically do anything as in other games where you grab and push against the environment for similar actions. All the actual interactions with stuff/puzzles/objects are fairly well done.

Finally, this is Oculus (and potentially similarly non-Index) specific but once again the default hand pose is a very flat open palm hand, so at your normal resting position where you have your fingers around the controller and your index finger resting on (but not pressing in) the index trigger, it gets a very unnatural default pose where your last 3 fingers are open/flat (as you don’t press the grip trigger with your middle finger unless you want to grab something), your thumb is appropriately tracked by which input it’s resting on (or do a thumbs up if it’s on nothing) and the index finger is sadly constantly curled in way too much because the trigger it’s resting on is touch sensitive and they’ve somehow decided to use it as a full trigger pull input. That just looks off and like your natural resting pose is almost a constant “ok” signal or something. You get over it and personally I now will myself to not touch the index finger trigger at all when not actually using it but yeah, it could be handled better so it only bends the index finger if you’re actually pressing it in and maybe have all the fingers a little bit bent in more naturally as the default. For an Index-first game with all its finger tracking and all that jazz, it’s okay and doesn’t negatively affect playability.

Still, it’s the most polished single player story based VR FPS/adventure and just like you’d expect a Half-Life game to be in VR with all that entails like amazing vistas, cool scripted sequences, NPCs and interactions, great atmosphere and intense combat (and loading screens). There’s the occasional glitch as I fell through the floor twice and noticed other physics bork and the occasional less well designed spot as I sort of missed a brief supposed to be impressive/surprising boss activation event because I was busy looking around as the area’s visual design and layout didn’t divert my gaze where it should have.

So yeah, it’s overall a great Half-Life game but if it could get the VR basics more like Onward and other more intuitive and physical shooters that would make it perfect. The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners gets very close to being this but maintains some Boneworks-like jank (not nearly as much, it’s awesome) and doesn’t have the high production values Valve could afford here. I’m still really glad it reviews so well, the ~15k user reviews on Steam are 98% positive and the critic review aggregators pin it at over 90% too.

The game also sports a seated and an one-handed mode, it’s very nice of them to be inclusive like this.



Just beat Alyx today! Great game!

Cons:

What I didn’t like was the locomotion options. Why not just have an option to run forward instead of slowly walking everywhere? It felt like I had weights inside my pockets the entire game. Sure, I could just teleport everywhere, but that feels un-natural. Maybe a patch can add a full on run option in the future?

I also had various times where my left hand would completely disappear. This happened to me 3 times throughout my 20 hour playthrough. I had to completely reset the game.

Pros:

Best VR shooter hands down: Story, gameplay and atmosphere are top notch. Shooting the 3 weapons feels intuitive and like you are handling a gun in real life. Little touches like having to load in a clip and pull back the gun make it feel even more exciting as you get caught in tough situations! The Chapter called Jeff, was fantastic, as it made you hide from a monster while you cover your mouth; trying not to make noise or get caught!

Voice acting is all high caliber and nothing feels forced. The story is what you would expect from a Half Life game and gets the job done. In the end this VR game is worth your time and a showcase of what VR can truly do. A few tweaks here and there and this will be the standard for what all VR shooters use as their blueprint!






























































































Is Star Wars: Squadrons going to have VR support?

Yep, that’s why it’s in here.


It now sounds a bit nicer than I expected after all. They kinda have to try to fuck it up. They seem to have power management in, inertia in, in some capacity at least, different classes and some kind of objectives in mp even though it’s still just 5 v 5, it has to be fun at worst, if not exactly have longevity. Also they’ve yet to confirm the leak rumblings before the announcement where people said it’s “focused” on the multiplayer so perhaps the campaigns won’t be so bad, simple or short like the tacked on Battlefront II stuff. Hopefully…