VR! My first experience was playing the tech demos on the Occulus DK1, and since then I've been following Valves progress on their technology powering the HTC Vive. There are even some particularly good presentations from GDC.

I've been thinking about picking up a head unit when the next iteration of headsets come out (which seem to be a thing, but had the opportunity to borrow a friends Vive for a week and give it a go.

In short: I was blown away. I was confident the tracking would make the experience work, but wasn't ready for just how well it works especially at room scale. Wireless headsets (assuming the added latency doesn't break presence) and higher resolution in the next generation are going to take it that next step further.

Now I've had to give the headset back for everyone else at work to have a poke around with, I've made a quick list of the content I tried during the week and my off-the-cuff reaction. Hopefully someone else finds this useful!

Video Apps

SLIVER.tv - eSports app, lets you watch matches in the game environment with the stream as well. Was nifty, free and worth a look at.

Vive Video - Pretty solid video viewer, I didn’t have any 360 video and I’m pretty sure the only stuff out there is midget pr0n anyway, but if you want to watch your moviez in faux-3d-cinema, this is a thing.

Steam 360 Video Player - Didn’t have a browsing UI so gave up. Looked reasonably shite.

Design

Tilt Brush - Cool but not worth paying $$ for. I played with the equivalent of this in “The Lab” (which is free) for longer.

Blocks - “SketchUp for VR”. This was surprisingly hard on my graphics card, free so worth a crack but very meh.

Demos

Fantasynth: Chez Nous - Yes, yes, YES! I love me some demoscene stuff, and this is right up my alley. Fantastic quality. Freebie.

Surge - Way shitter than Fantasynth. Suspect this would look better on a better card?

Games

The Lab - YES! And it’s free. This was the best VR content I played by /far/. There’s a great archery casual game and an arcade game that are worth a couple of hours of virtual smashing.

The Wire - Great little freebie, very frustrating version of a real world toy. Would definitely give this a crack.

Fruit Ninja: VR - Bought this for the wife, who didn’t end up playing it. Translates well to VR, I fail at two handed coordination though so didn’t get a lot of it. Probably not worth the $$.

Portal Stories: VR - Portal but you’re the test subject. YES! FREE! The absolute best thing about this is the “vintage escalator experience” which hit me in the Portal 2 feels (fanboy moment). I watched that about 3 or 4 times.

SUPERHOT VR - YES! Way better in VR than the original version. A++ would crush skulls again.

Keep talking and nobody explodes - Okay I didn’t try this one, but I own it already. I can't help imagine playing in VR adds to the intensity of bomb defusal.

Tabletop simulator - I didn’t try this one in VR either, from having played a few rounds of Zombicide on the PC, I suspect the novelty will wear off quickly.

Rez Infinite - YES! I already owned this game, and it’s clearly built for VR. Amazing visual style and would probably be great for staring off into space at.

Obduction - I already owned this story-based puzzler, and it supports VR. The “hopscotch” style movement controls absolutely distract from story-based gameplay. I had about 3 seconds of d-pad directional control and couldn’t get it to switch. If you could get the controls right though, this game is pretty awesome and visually a great fit for VR.

Random

IKEA VR Pancake Kitchen - I was weirdly excited about this but it crashed every time I tried to load it. It’s the VR game that never was for me. Maybe one day I can enjoy virtual pancakes in a swedish setting.

VRChat - Potato graphics and it streams everything so on my potato internet totally not worth it. I hear it’s cool, in the way Second Life was.

Okay, so it looks like I'm babysitting my housemate's EVE account until he gets home, so I just had to make the setup work:

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From left to right: Laptop running EVE-Mon; EVE running on work laptop; EVE running on PC.

I'm using Synergy so I can control everything from the one set of keyboard/mice. I had a bit of an issue with EVE dropping out when it was losing focus, but there's an option in Synergy to stop this from happening.

This is just begging to be played, but it's downtime now which is CCP's way of reminding us all that we have to eat, and take care of all those other bodily functions.

Okay so I've been guilty of every six months picking up EVE-Online and playing it for a day or so before getting sick of it.

And I've succumbed yet again, but this time it feels a little bit different. I'm approaching the game with a clear plan for what I want to acheive and am having a longer-than-usual run.

But in order for me to progress, I think I'm going to need to get some mates playing cooperatively so we can do group missions, etc - making it easier for the group as a whole to progress. And therein lies the problem, I think. I've always tried to play EVE by myself, but it's really a group-based game.

image

Incidentally, my corporation - House of Awesome - is now recruiting, so drop in and join in the fun ;)

id software have released their entire back catalogue on Steam, which means I'm now the proud owner of.... id's entire back catalogue... image

So as a few people have noticed, I've removed the placeholder from the front of the website - which has been in place for the last year and a half, sneakily updating itself to say the website will be back within a month. In a whimsical moment of motivation I installed Drupal and ported what little I have of my old content.

Please bear with me (if there is, indeed anyone reading this) as the site gets poked and prodded into something a little more interesting. The general idea of the site is to share anything interesting, usually with a technical bias. Nothing too introverted, I promise.

In the last... while since I've posted - quite a lot has been going on in my life. I've recently left my post at Surgiware and taken on a position at iiNet, a nice big ISP/Telco in the city which, amongst other things means that I'm earning more than a peanuts per year (w00t!).

I've also spent a lot of time rebuilding and rebranding the WALAN events we run locally here every three/four months of every year. Whilst we've fixed a lot of problems and have much better prospects than we did a year or so ago, I notice that we still spend considerably more time managing the organisation than we do actually getting stuff done. Too many chiefs and all that. Either way, there's some big stuff in the works once we finish our current project staffing the LAN Party at the GO3 Electronic Entertainment Expo 2007.

This is the personal website of Will Dowling, a Solutions Architect hailing from Perth, Western Australia.

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