The Reality of Virtual Reality
DISCLAIMER: I’m an investor in the Oculus Rift. I’m also a believer in the technology. I think it will be truly game changing, not only in games, but also in many, many other fields. I am NOT an official spokesperson for the technology and I consider many of the folks working on it to be friends, so please understand this is my personal opinion regarding the technology.
It seems like every time a good/great 3d game comes out one of the first things I almost always read on the Internet is
"OMG IMAGINE THIS ON THE OCULUS RIFT."
With the overwhelmingly positive response that Titanfall has gotten I’ve seen this train start up, once again.
It’s one of those things that drives me bonkers, kind of like when people refer to Lego as Legos. (Google it, dammit.)
You can’t just dump a game on the Oculus just like you can’t just throw a PC FPS on console without massive tuning. The pacing of the experience, the controls, everything needs to be re-tuned so much that you might as well just start from scratch for the Oculus.
A fast paced shooter simply doesn’t work well on the device. The device is so game changing that the experiences built for it need to be custom, unique and designed from the ground up FOR VIRTUAL REALITY. The experience needs to be much more like swimming through water or hopping around in low gravity as opposed to being an Olympic hurdler. Even horror games will need to be re-thought; instead of jump scares and intense “Outlast” experiences horror on the Rift will need to be the super subtle type otherwise your average person will only last 15 seconds in any given jump scare title before tearing the headset off.
Having seen the latest of what the tech has to offer (and I believe a myriad of experiences are going to continue to blossom for the emerging tech) there’s one sensation that I couldn’t get out of my head, and it’s the true feeling of flight. I have a recurring dream in which I’m being chased by a monster and if I concentrate hard enough I start flying up, up and away, gleefully flipping off whatever beast is in pursuit. In one of the recent demos, when I looked down, I had that very same sensation of flight and it was thrilling.
I have never, ever had that outside of a dream. Ever.
And for those of you who like to dismiss the tech saying “Oh it’s just like 3d, no one will want it” you obviously haven’t used it. When 3d is properly used in the theater for depth as opposed to a baseball coming at your face (See Avatar and Gravity for good uses) it is incredibly immersive. The problem is that most folks don’t really want it in their home. The effort of putting on the glasses isn’t worth the result in your average home setup outside of someone who has, well, an IMAX in their house.
The Rift is an IMAX in your house, and then some. The effort of putting on the headset leads to an overwhelmingly fantastic result. When you put on the latest demo and you crouch and lean around the new world around you your brain adapts, adjusts, and you’re there. I have memories of the places I visited in the latest demos. I felt like I could have reached out and touched things. It was the most magical experience I’ve had with technology since the first time I saw an Atari 2600 joystick manipulate pixels on my friend’s TV in their basement many, many years ago and decided then that I wanted to make games.
So, for the love of god, give the device more credit than just tossing random FPS games on it. It deserves much, much more. And you’re darned right I invested in it, because I’d like to think I know a good thing when I see it. :)
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