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Author Topic: HTC Vive (The Discussion Thread!)  (Read 4391 times)

Offline tebakutis

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HTC Vive (The Discussion Thread!)
« on: March 18, 2016, 12:36:43 AM »
EDIT: Changed the title!

I'm not sure how many people here have been following developments in virtual reality tech (I've been following developments and blogging about VR game design for some time) but since we have a lot of UK folks on the forums, I wanted to point out that starting today, a number of shops in the UK are now demoing the HTC Vive (one of several advanced VR headsets available this year - the HTC Vive, the Oculus Rift, and the Playstation Morpheus). If you're curious where you can find a Vive, here's a list:

http://arstechnica.co.uk/gadgets/2016/03/htc-vive-retail-demo-march-17/

The fact that current VR works so well is one of those things that is really impossible to explain with just words. It's one of those technologies where you can't understand how real it feels until you actually try it. It really is shockingly close to a holodeck, though one limited to sound and visuals (not touch).

Though I initially planned to buy an Oculus Rift (I actually own an Oculus DevKits, and used it extensively to fly around in Elite: Dangerous VR) the Vive ended up stealing my loyalty both because of their Lighthouse system (which allows you to walk around) and the fact that, unlike Oculus, they ship with hand controllers at launch, which allows all of their games to incorporate those. Hand controllers offer a massive boost in immersion and dramatically increase a sense of "presence".

You can read one blogger's recent impression of the Vive here, though there's lots of others if you Google it.

http://www.stuff.tv/htc/vive/review

Anyway, if anyone on here is near one of these locations, I would strongly encourage you to go try out a Vive. It still kind of boggles my mind that we've come this far in virtual reality this fast. And if you do try it, I'd love to know what you think.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2016, 05:13:35 AM by tebakutis »
T. Eric Bakutis: 2014 Compton Crook Finalist and author of Tales of the Five Provinces

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Book 2: Demonkin
Book 3: Bloodmender

Offline tebakutis

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Re: HTC Vive Now Demoing in the UK
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2016, 02:44:13 PM »
Got my confirmation e-mail yesterday, with tracking data. My Vive arrives tomorrow. Tomorrow! I have not been this excited about something since I was a kid on Christmas morning. As some of you have gathered, I am evangelizing the hell out of VR.

I think my first few games will likely be Call of the Starseed (I've heard very good things), Hover Junkers (because who doesn't want to be in an episode of Firefly), Budget Cuts (obviously) and the last ... undecided. Leaning toward either Arizona Sunshine or Space Pirate Trainer VR because shooting things in VR looks really fun.

And then of course I'm curious about Windlands, I get Fantastic Contraption out of the gate, and naturally, I will continue to fly in Elite: Dangerous, except now at much higher fidelity.

For those not in the UK, selected Gamestops have begun to demo the HTC Vive in the states. You can find a list here.

http://www.gamestop.com/gs/pages/events/HTCVIVE-Demo/

So a brief summary of each...


Call of the Starseed: http://store.steampowered.com/app/270130/
You're lost on an island (Myst style) searching for your sister. From the trailers and reviews, puzzles abound. Except you're actually solving those puzzles while THERE, on the island.


Hover Junkers: http://store.steampowered.com/app/380220/
You're flying a hoverplatform made of junk, building defenses, and ducking behind them as you get in running gunfights with other players online. Multiplayer VR! Looks fun (and tiring!)


Budget Cuts: http://store.steampowered.com/app/400940/
You have to find your job application in the middle of an empty complex filled with homicidal robots. You have a Portal gun and knife-throwing skills. Good luck!


Arizona Sunshine: http://store.steampowered.com/app/342180/
You shoot zombies. But those zombies are actually RUNNING AT YOUR FACE.


Space Pirate Trainer VR: http://store.steampowered.com/app/418650/
More shooting, but this time your enemies are floating drones. And every time they shoot at you, the whole world slows down to bullet time, and you have to dodge the incoming blasts, Neo from The Matrix style.


Windlands VR: http://store.steampowered.com/app/428370/
You ARE Spiderman.


Fantastic Contraption: http://store.steampowered.com/app/386690/
I suppose being super creative and building things is cool too.


Elite: Dangerous: http://store.steampowered.com/app/359320/
I actually played this for months on my Oculus DK2. It's the game that sold me on VR as a real platform and not a gimmick. Except now, I'll be playing at much higher fidelity, and I can walk around my ship, and I can fly down and land on planets.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2016, 02:47:31 PM by tebakutis »
T. Eric Bakutis: 2014 Compton Crook Finalist and author of Tales of the Five Provinces

Book 1: Glyphbinder
Book 2: Demonkin
Book 3: Bloodmender

Offline m3mnoch

Re: HTC Vive Now Demoing in the UK
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2016, 03:01:02 PM »
space pirate trainer is RIDICULOUS.  i love watching people play it on our vive in the vr lab.

Offline tebakutis

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Re: HTC Vive Now Demoing in the UK
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2016, 04:05:11 PM »
That's absolutely where I'm leaning, despite the fact it's Early Access.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIEuB7H9TOE" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WIEuB7H9TOE</a>
T. Eric Bakutis: 2014 Compton Crook Finalist and author of Tales of the Five Provinces

Book 1: Glyphbinder
Book 2: Demonkin
Book 3: Bloodmender

Offline tebakutis

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Re: HTC Vive Now Demoing in the UK
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2016, 04:05:45 AM »
So, I've officially had my Vive for a week. It is absolutely as amazing, if not more so, than I expected.

Here are the highlights of the (many) things I have done.

- I *just* finished playing 18 holes of the most surreal mini-golf course you can imagine. In addition to the standards you'd expect, such as windmills, it had roaming Roombas that acted as mobile obstacles, tiny cannons (you would putt your ball into them, and they would fire it to various places), entire bridges that zipped back and forth (you had to time your putting so the bridge was in the right place), multi-level courses (one I played was four stories), and lots of other nuttiness. It was surreal and, oddly, felt eerily similar to real minigolf (note for @m3mnoch ... pick up Cloudlands Mini-Golf so we can play multiplayer).

- I have spent at least 7 hours (total) punching music in the face. Basically, you take any song you own, or stream songs online. Each beat of those songs is then rendered as a blue or orange ball or series of balls that rains down on you like, well ... giant blue or orange balls, I guess. You have two "audioshields", one blue, one orange. You must punch the orange balls with the orange shield, and the blue balls with the blue shield, but they cross over and come faster or slower. It's oddly hypnotic and also some great cardio.

- I snuck through and/or teleported through an empty office filled with killer robots to find my job application. I ducked down behind desks (so the robots wouldn't see me, obviously!), teleported behind them, tossed knives at them (I'm not very good at tossing knives) and even (eventually) got a cool crossbow with which I was much better.

- I stood at a spaceport and defended my ship from waves of drones using two hand-held laser guns with multiple modes. I dodged bullets in bullet time (like Neo in the Matrix) or pulled a shield off my back to deflect them. I have only gotten to Wave 10. I am not as good as this game as I'd like to be, but it's still amazing fun.

- I stood on a castle battlement and shot a longbow at a horde of incredibly cute minion attackers, holding the bow in one hand and drawing back the arrows with the other. It is crazy how real and impressive it feels.

- I used a slingshot to shoot personality cores (it's what we call "calibrating") at a giant warehouse of boxes and exploding barrels. Some cores thanked me before they flew into the void. Some cursed me. One told me a great noir PI story. Eventually, I did about 15 million worth of damage, and was fired.

- I failed to repair a robot.

- I painted stars and fire in three dimensions, walking around inside the painting as I did so.

- I built several fantastic contraptions (still need to get back to that one!)

So, yeah. Virtual reality is "real". It's just nuts how cool it feels. As the costs of headsets and computers get more reasonable and technology improves, we're all going to be steadily progressing into a world where we can hop into the Matrix.

If you get the chance to try out a Vive in the wild, DO NOT pass up the opportunity to do so.
T. Eric Bakutis: 2014 Compton Crook Finalist and author of Tales of the Five Provinces

Book 1: Glyphbinder
Book 2: Demonkin
Book 3: Bloodmender

Offline m3mnoch

Re: HTC Vive Now Demoing in the UK
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2016, 02:26:10 PM »
note for @m3mnoch ... pick up Cloudlands Mini-Golf so we can play multiplayer

ooooh!  i'm a sucker for online mulitplayer games.  added it to our queue!

Offline ultamentkiller

Re: HTC Vive Now Demoing in the UK
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2016, 03:52:02 PM »
Wow. I had no idea this was a thing. I've heard scattered things about VR, but that's pretty awesome!

Also, I'm tired. I heard HTC, and instantly thought of the drug. Although I guess it is a drug in a way...

Offline tebakutis

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Re: HTC Vive Now Demoing in the UK
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2016, 03:00:27 AM »
Wow. I had no idea this was a thing. I've heard scattered things about VR, but that's pretty awesome!

Also, I'm tired. I heard HTC, and instantly thought of the drug. Although I guess it is a drug in a way...

Haha, the argument could be made!

I played 1.5 hours of Audioshield last night when I meant to just punch one or two songs. So yes, as VR experiences improve, they are certainly going to be binged in the same ways as other types of entertainment.

I think the first company to successfully combine VR with an MMORPG is going to make a killing. But the tech (and install base) to do that is still years away. If I were to bet on anyone to tackle it, I'd bet on Sony, as they will have the largest target install base (anyone who has a PS4 can get PSVR cheap) of people who might be able to support the population needed for an MMORPG.

But five years from now? Ten years? I literally cannot imagine how far or how quickly the tech will progress, only that it will do so. And in a tangential benefit, gamers may actually be a bit healthier due to getting lots more exercise. :0
T. Eric Bakutis: 2014 Compton Crook Finalist and author of Tales of the Five Provinces

Book 1: Glyphbinder
Book 2: Demonkin
Book 3: Bloodmender

Offline tebakutis

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Re: HTC Vive Now Demoing in the UK
« Reply #8 on: May 10, 2016, 04:59:18 AM »
@m3mnoch, download AltSpaceVR right now on Steam and try it (it's free). Just walk up and start conversations with people, ask them what system they're using and how they're liking it. It's a shared platform for people with Vive, Oculus, GearVR, and even just keyboard/mouse setups.

I just spent almost two hours playing discball with random people, tossing pumpkins around and hitting them with hammers in a virtual tavern, chatting about VR with lots of cool early adopters, and actually interacting with real people in virtual reality. Also, people stacked cups on my head. Which was cool.

As a "proof of concept" for what social VR (aka the Matrix) could be like in 5 years, it's mindblowing. This is the type of experience Facebook was thinking about when they bought Oculus.
T. Eric Bakutis: 2014 Compton Crook Finalist and author of Tales of the Five Provinces

Book 1: Glyphbinder
Book 2: Demonkin
Book 3: Bloodmender

Offline m3mnoch

Re: HTC Vive Now Demoing in the UK
« Reply #9 on: May 10, 2016, 02:25:46 PM »
@m3mnoch, download AltSpaceVR right now on Steam and try it (it's free). Just walk up and start conversations with people, ask them what system they're using and how they're liking it. It's a shared platform for people with Vive, Oculus, GearVR, and even just keyboard/mouse setups.

I just spent almost two hours playing discball with random people, tossing pumpkins around and hitting them with hammers in a virtual tavern, chatting about VR with lots of cool early adopters, and actually interacting with real people in virtual reality. Also, people stacked cups on my head. Which was cool.

As a "proof of concept" for what social VR (aka the Matrix) could be like in 5 years, it's mindblowing. This is the type of experience Facebook was thinking about when they bought Oculus.

right on. i'm in san antonio today for the spurs game, but i'll totally check it out when i'm back in the office.

i love having a vr scout pointing me at all the awesome!

Offline tebakutis

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Re: HTC Vive Now Demoing in the UK
« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2016, 03:00:03 PM »
right on. i'm in san antonio today for the spurs game, but i'll totally check it out when i'm back in the office.

i love having a vr scout pointing me at all the awesome!

The thing that really hit me yesterday, while trying it out, is not that is particularly relevatory in terms of stuff you can do (you can do the standard stuff ... pick up objects, smack them with other objects, and so on, which you can do in a number of games) but how easy it is to communicate with other players.

When I was hanging out in that tavern, with 8 other people, we were all just chatting - like you would chat with people in the same room with you in real life. The majority of us had Vives, and both Vive controllers move in real time for everyone present as you move them. So we could shrug with them, fist bump, toss objects to each other, wave, and so on. Altspace would also track head movements, so I could nod or shake my head, and others would see it, allowing me to do that as I talked.

Between being able to just talk to anyone in proximity to you (via the Vive's built in microphone), hear them talk back (via streaming audio in game) and communicate, not with typing, or emotes, but the way people communicate - we're in proximity, we chat and gesture - made it really hit me how close we are to enabling The Matrix. Yes, the avatars in AltSpace are very primitive and limited, but graphics and GPUs will improve, and it's not a huge stretch by any means to combine something like AltSpace (where multiple people inhabit a shared space) with something like Rite of Steel (which is a great dungeon crawler where you search for treasure and fight skeletons).

It would be relatively straightforward to get into a VR space, with two of your friends, and go through a dungeon fighting skeletons as the holy trinity (tank, DPS, healer) all in VR. As avatars get more advanced and we gain the hardware to track more parts of the body (feet, hands, facial expressions) the shared spaces are going to feel more and more real.

Even this morning, thinking back on it last night, it feels like I was actually present in space with those other people, talking, stacking things, smacking pumpkins, and socializing. I don't think it will be long before someone figures out how to combine the social aspects of VR shown in Altspace into an MMORPG format, and then we're in the world of .Hack/Sign and Sword Art Online.
T. Eric Bakutis: 2014 Compton Crook Finalist and author of Tales of the Five Provinces

Book 1: Glyphbinder
Book 2: Demonkin
Book 3: Bloodmender

Offline tebakutis

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Re: HTC Vive Now Demoing in the UK
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2016, 02:59:39 PM »
This article on Polygon claims the Playstation 4 has sold more than 40 million units.

http://www.polygon.com/2016/5/26/11783776/sony-playstation-40-million-units

The HTC Vive is amazing, and the Oculus Rift will start to approach its awesomeness when it releases it touch controllers, but as I've seen in several articles, I think Playstation Morpheus is what's going to take VR "mainstream". If even a fraction of the 40 million user install base buy Morpheus (which is even cheaper than the Oculus, including touch controllers) you're going to have a huge explosion in the popularity of VR. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens there.

Latest VR recommendations:

- Call of the Starseed is incredible, and the most polished and immersive VR experience I've played to date. It's absolutely worth the price. My jaw was literally hanging open for the last ten minutes. Get it!

- Portal Stories: VR is short (maybe 30 minutes) but super fun. It really does feel like being in the Portal universe. It's absolutely free, though you do need to own a copy of Portal 2 to play it.

At some point, maybe after Balticon this weekend, I'm going to sit down and write another blog post about how incredible the Vive is. I haven't done it yet because I've been too busy playing it.

Also @m3mnoch, if you've gotten AltSpace and tried it out, let me know when you're up at the office and want to hop on. We'll play some frisbee golf. :)
T. Eric Bakutis: 2014 Compton Crook Finalist and author of Tales of the Five Provinces

Book 1: Glyphbinder
Book 2: Demonkin
Book 3: Bloodmender

Offline m3mnoch

Re: HTC Vive Now Demoing in the UK
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2016, 03:52:31 PM »
Also @m3mnoch, if you've gotten AltSpace and tried it out, let me know when you're up at the office and want to hop on. We'll play some frisbee golf. :)

honestly, it'll probably be a bit.  i'm on a stupid deathmarch right now.  i've got to roll off this current project and onto another soon and i've got a hard-stop ship date.  boo.

but i want to!

Offline tebakutis

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Re: HTC Vive Now Demoing in the UK
« Reply #13 on: June 07, 2016, 04:57:13 AM »
EDIT: I apologize for the ads at the start of the video, I forget about those since I use Adblock. :0 Since Audioshield uses existing music, Youtube automatically monetized the video for the rights holder.

As I continue to evangelize VR (and the HTC Vive in particular) one thing I've found difficult is to describe the experiences available (which are awesome!). Since I have a FRAPS license from way back, I decided to download it to my Vive machine and start capturing videos from various experiences.

The video below is from a game called Audioshield. You choose an MP3 in your home collection, then stand on a stage. Audioshield converts the song into a series of beats (represented by orange and blue balls) and then sends those beats flying at you at high velocity.

You have two shields, a blue shield (held in your left hand) and an orange shield (held in your right hand). To destroy the beats, you have to punch them with the matching shield (blue shield for blue beats, etc). The end result is incredibly fun, and while the algorithm that creates the order in which the notes come at you works better with some songs than others, it's still fun to be able to punch any song you own.

In this video, the song I'm punching is "Above" by The Blue Man Group.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBqGEl-PUjQ" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBqGEl-PUjQ</a>

I'll continue to capture various experiences (I'm going to be using them for blog posts) but I'll post them here, because I really do want people to understand how powerful and awesome virtual reality now is, even at this super early stage.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2016, 05:18:36 AM by tebakutis »
T. Eric Bakutis: 2014 Compton Crook Finalist and author of Tales of the Five Provinces

Book 1: Glyphbinder
Book 2: Demonkin
Book 3: Bloodmender

Offline Jmack

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Re: HTC Vive (The Discussion Thread!)
« Reply #14 on: June 07, 2016, 11:38:29 AM »
Watched! That was cool, Eric.
Now, what I want to see is one of these for a hard bop jazz piece with a freaking awesome saxophone solo.
"A Night in Tunisia" by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers?
(I worked from home yesterday, and spent the day soaking in jazz from all over the timeline. God bless streaming music services.  8))
Change, when it comes, will step lightly before it kicks like thunder. (GRMatthews)
You are being naive if you think that any sweet and light theme cannot be strangled and force fed it's own flesh. (Nora)

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