Your preferred VR headset?

Now that a VR Panzer game has been confirmed, what is your preferred headset to play VR games with? I’ve only tried the HTC Vive and that was only for an hour or two.

Of course no platforms have been announced for Panzer Dragoon Voyage Record, but I thought it be worth starting the discussion around different headset options and their pros and cons.

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For new users in my opinion there are 2 to 4 options.

  1. The Valve Index as an all around premium kit. It has a high resolution LCD based HMD that can go up to 144hz (though you’ll be hard pressed to find the PC hardware to play demanding VR games at that framerate), it offers a physical IPD (interpupillary distance) switch to match your eyes, it uses the same impeccable lighthouse tracking solution they pioneered with the Vive using 2 base stations you have to plug in a power outlet (with no connection to the PC necessary) and arrange in a way that covers the whole room, and the famous controllers that offer the usual assortment of buttons, analog sticks, trackpads and finger tracking thanks to proximity, touch and force sensors.

  2. The Oculus Rift S which normally costs less than half what the Index does. The HMD uses a single LCD screen so the IPD is handled by software which isn’t as effective in edge cases, the screen only goes up to 80hz, the controllers lack extensive finger tracking as only your index and thumb can be tracked by which touch-sensitive control/trigger they’re over (or none, which means you’re pointing or doing a thumbs up etc.) and the rest, your “grip” with the other 3 fingers, is handled by an analog trigger you press with the middle finger. I’ve sort of focused on the things it does worse than the Index here but I’d say this kit has the best price to quality/features ratio. The controllers were the best for immersion until Index released and the Index controllers alone cost almost as much as the full Rift S kit. It’s a near perfect middle ground. It’s also one of the most comfortable to wear with the halo design pioneered by Sony and licensed by Lenovo with whom Oculus collaborated.

  3. Alternatively to the Rift S and for a similar price you can get an Oculus Quest which has even lower hz (72) yet OLED screens and a physical IPD switch, far worse comfort, but also the ability to work as a stand alone VR console style device with any low end games specifically ported to its mobile chipset. It uses the same controllers as the Rift S and you will need a separately sold high quality USB cable to use it for PC VR games. There’s very slight lag to the controls compared to a native PC VR kit as it wasn’t initially meant for such a feature but if being able to take it in other rooms away from your PC, share it easily, play its (lagless) native games without cables in the way and what not are important to the user it’s a no brainer still. The weak mobile specs do mean it’s likely to miss out on many games, so you will definitely need to resort to using it in conjunction with your gaming PC.

  4. Mostly for Americans, the Samsung Odyssey or Odyssey + which was part of Microsoft’s Windows Mixed Reality initiative. It was once a premium product thanks to its high quality HMD with a physical IPD switch (the only WMR kit to have this iirc) and adjusted controllers (the only company to enhance their build and ergonomics as others used the vanilla Microsoft design) that are similar to, but not as good as, Oculus controllers. The hand tracking isn’t as good as Rift S either but you can get one of these discounted to like 200-250 if you’re in the USA so if you’re strapped for cash the trade off is solid. These things weren’t released in Europe but there are other WMR kits available. You’ll need to look up reviews to see if they’re worthwhile as the quality varies a lot (ACER was the cheapest pos for example yet even that is overpriced in some places, the Lenovo Explorer was ok, etc.) despite the same base capabilities (in terms of controller features and tracking quality) but if you can’t find them for much, much lower prices than a Rift S I’d say it’s not worth it.

I can’t recommend HTC/Vive products now. They’re still good for previous owners as they used the same tracking technology as the Valve Index so they can upgrade to the Index controllers to replace the obsolete, clunky Vive wands but for new users it makes little sense to not go full Index right off the bat. The Cosmos line has better controllers matching the design of WMR/Oculus for the most part but the tracking quality so far has proven far, far inferior which means it’s not worth looking at regardless of potentially better screen specifications. Cosmos Elite goes back to lighthouse tracking but also the wands.

If HTC had updated controllers for their lighthouse kits they would be worth looking into. You could look into mixing and matching parts, a Vive or Pimax premium high resolution/high fov HMD, Index controllers, base stations from any company that sells them (whether v1.0 or v2.0 makes little difference for a home user), but it seems like more hassle than it’s worth over getting a full Index kit.

I myself have the original Oculus Rift with an extra tracker for 360/room scale VR (it came with 2 out of the box which were mostly for front-facing VR similar to PSVR, but with way better tracking, the outdated Move Sony chose to retrofit for PSVR sadly handicapped it heavily). I don’t see a reason to upgrade yet. It was a hassle to set up and needed a lot of USB ports so it would make no sense for new users compared to newer products but it’s not something I need to redo often (and it’s quick for me now that I know it well). It offers great tracking quality, slightly better built controllers than later Oculus products which revised them, 90hz OLED screens with a physical IPD switch, etc. Comfort is so so. The main drawback is the resolution but I need to upgrade my PC to handle higher than that anyway, I will probably do that some time this or the next year and then in another couple years I could see if any company offers a considerably better VR kit for a modest price similar to what I got this for back then. Perhaps an Oculus Rift S 2 or Oculus Quest 2 (which could well be one and the same, as long as the PC connection for the latter is native and not streamed over USB this time) or a hypothetical Index Lite or new competitors.

Games are available in stores like Steam, Viveport and the Oculus Store. Developers tend to use the SteamVR/OpenVR api so they’re often compatible with all hardware. For Oculus there’s the Oculus SDK, usually available only on the Oculus store version but some times also as an option on Steam releases. Regardless SteamVR/OpenVR can handle Oculus products on its own just fine so it’s not necessary, some devs only do it because some users report better performance with the Oculus SDK. Older or new but probably not high quality VR games might only support specific kits (always listed in the Steam pages) but you can often make do with some control rebinding to map your own device’s inputs as corresponding inputs on the devices they do explicitly support. Hand angles and such might be off in this case. Either way, it’s not a problem for most well produced games. WMR kits are the least likely to be explicitly supported as they sold the least, unless Microsoft does anything to revive interest in the initiative. The Oculus Store only works with Oculus hardware officially but there’s a fan application, Revive, for other devices to be able to use it and therefor get to play some of the many high quality VR games Oculus has funded/developed with decent control remapping as long as you have anything better than the Vive wands. Oculus hardware works in other stores and can be expected to be supported for a long time thanks to forward thinking design (the controllers, unlike Vive wands, are still good with compatible layouts and inputs) and the fact it holds like 50% VR market share on Steam, alognside the likelihood more casual users don’t even go on Steam, just Oculus store, plus the Quest has proven capable of selling some games even better than PC and if a game does get a Quest port it’s a no brainer to match it with a Rift/S compatible version.

Native Quest ports are only available through the built in Oculus store and are often cross buy with the PC version on the store. Otherwise when used with a PC it can run games from other stores just the same as any PC VR kit. It also enjoys a very good Wii style homebrew community with a whole unofficial store set up for free releases. In some ways it has surpassed PC VR homebrew as things like Lambda1VR (a Half-Life 1 VR conversion) are superior to equivalent efforts on PC, for now.

With that said it’s a bad period, everything notable is sold out, restocks are slow due to the corona virus, etc. You might be able to find Oculus products in some smaller stores that haven’t marked them up to take advantage of the situation. Index was only really available through Valve so it’s a no go until it’s restocked. Vive products are probably more readily available but a compromise.

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I’ve been using an Oculus Rift CV1 for a little over 2 years now. I have two room sensors facing in front of me and mounted up on a shelf at medium height. And it still works well in my relatively small play space. As far as the quality of the headset goes, it is indeed very comfortable. It fits on your head nice and snug with the weight distributed evenly. The screen has two Pentile OLED displays, 1080×1200 resolution per eye, a 90 Hz refresh rate, and a 110° field of view. This looks very clear and nice for all games. And during these 2 and a half years I’ve never had a technical or hardware issue with the headset. Everything is still working perfectly like it was right out of the box!

Now, there is not much difference with the Oculus Rift S (its successor). Aside from having sensor free head tracking. Meaning, you won’t have to buy and set up those pesky room sensors. But, if you are just starting out in VR I would in fact recommend the Oculus Rift S. Because, it gets rid of some of the god rays (minor reflections of light that can sometimes pop up from time to time depending on the graphic fidelity of a certain game.) But, these so-called god rays are almost non-intrusive. So I wouldn’t worry about it too much.

So, I can’t speak for the Index (although I might like to try it one day). I can say Oculus Rift S would be the middle ground: Comfort, sensor free, high quality screen, lasting quality. It’s definitely made well.

Just know this Solo, if you want to get into VR you most likely will have to buy a gaming PC. One that is VR ready. If you do decide to take the dive, just make sure you plan out your gaming PC carefully, because you want to at least have that PC for at lest 7 years. And I know you will want to try out that new Panzer Dragoon VR game that is coming out!

If you have the room to spare you should get a 3rd sensor to set up full 360 degree VR legaia. I was with two sensors for months and it was a more than worthwhile upgrade. Some people were saying you can do 360 VR with 2 well placed sensors, front and back, but in my experience it was impossible, as soon as any hand was visible only by one sensor as I turned around tracking quality/rate degraded too much. Anyway, many games are that much more immersing when you can instinctively turn in any direction yourself rather than revert to analog stick artificial turning. And if you plan on ever doing that you best try to find one while they’re still somewhat available in stores, have it price watched or something to jump on a potential sale, they’re only gonna get rarer and marked up further as time passes since the CV1 is not being sold any more officially. The extra tracker comes with a USB extension cable iirc, so you can run the cable all the way to somewhere behind you. I’ve also invested in some super cheap wall mounts for all 3 sensors and ceiling cable pulleys to take the cable off my feet and have it drop down from the middle of my ceiling and directly on my head instead (no dangling in front of my arms or anything which would be worse than having it at my feet, as I’ve seen some people do on youtube, haha). Either way it was cool with the 2 sensors still.

Yeah, I noticed a lot of CV1 accessories and the headset itself is almost discontinued now…after the foam around the rim wares out and I use my last replacement, I’m probably going to get an Oculus Rift S.

I’m gathering this based on the discussion so far. Do you think PSVR is not much of an option? There’s the PS5 coming out soon so maybe we’ll see an updated headset launching with it?

The PSVR as it is now is very low end and I wouldn’t recommend it. The screen resolution is very bad and the move controllers are horrible.

Unless they design and release a true VR headset with all the bells and whistles, for PS5 I would definitely not recommend it.

Ah okay then if you intend to just replace your whole kit.

I don’t consider the S enough of an upgrade so I’ll be waiting for the next mid-range kits to arrive before retiring my Rift. I actually got a nice pu-leather replacement for the foam early on and forgot about it. It was overpriced because back then only one company made them for Rift, most seemed to make Vive accessories, it was by VRCover iirc, but overall it was a must have as the default foam was definitely yucky after a few sweaty sessions, haha. This one just needs to be wiped down and it’s good as new.

There’s the option of the Quest Solo, it’s much lower end than even a PS4 spec wise when used stand alone but as far as the VR experience goes its capabilities are much like PC VR. There are some pretty good games on it, either made for Quest (first and then ported to PC too) like Journey of the Gods, Drop Dead and Shadow Point or made for PC first then ported to Quest like Superhot VR, Pistol Whip and Apex Construct. It’s definitely too weak for some games to be ported (no Alyx for Quest, or Stormland, for sure), or ported very well (Robo Recall kind of looks bad), but it’s still cool. It’s more worthwhile if you do intend to also get a gaming PC or laptop at some point as there’s no telling when it might be superseded by a Quest 2 with support for ported/new games dwindling past that point (assuming a Quest 2 sells well and existing owners upgrade of course). For now however it’s alive and kicking.

I imagine a PSVR2 will be much like the Rift S/Quest in capabilities, I don’t see Sony fucking it up with retrofitting Move again. We’ll see how it goes though, inside out tracking as on Rift S is apparently not easy to pull off well, seeing how HTC botched it with the Cosmos line. Also it’s definitely not coming alongside the PS5 launch, it could be mid-generation by the time they do launch it.

I imagine the new Panzer VR game will still be some time away, so the sensible move is to wait until nearer the time before buying. We don’t even know which platforms it’s coming out on. It’s good to discuss the current options though.

As far as PC hardware goes, my understanding is that VR is quite performance intensive. So I’m wondering how viable a gaming laptop or non-gaming laptop with an eGPU actually is for VR? This might be a case of it being better to build a seperate machine for VR and high end gaming (especially as I use a Mac laptop as my main machine and these are typically not suited for high performance gaming).

Well it’s not worth getting into VR for one game even if it’s Panzer Dragoon :stuck_out_tongue:

It might suck too, even. We’ll see. Hopefully not.

It’s intensive yes but laptops and PCs are getting better all the time.

Specs vary individually per game just as any PC game even though kit manufacturers list their own reqs. Alyx has impressively low requirements with an i5/ryzen 5 and GTX 1060 GPU, I’d say already a 1080 level GPU and older i7 equivalent are a must have for many games and they’re only gonna increase over time.

I’d probably get into other VR games too. I already have Rez Infinite and Tetris Effect, but haven’t had the opportunity to play those games in VR.

Panzer Dragoon Voyage Record might indeed disappoint, but I’ll no doubt play it, even if I sell the headset later. I bought an Xbox One at launch to play Crimson Dragon and sold the system soon afterward.

3 posts were split to a new topic: Selling/keeping old games and systems