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 VR general state of release rant: Square peg -> Round hole 
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Binocular Vision CONFIRMED!
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I've been watching the VR situation this past few years from the sidelines while living without a gaming setup to force myself to focus on learning digital art for the last 2 years. I had been and am still a massive proponent of 3D since i first got my totally awesome 2010 Sony "crosstalk" NX711: "extra crosstalk edition", which surprisingly easily beat out my Dell 30" for gaming, sometimes even in 2D because of the massive FOV increase. I felt that if people could just see good 3D that they would "get it" and be able to extrapolate what it could do for immersive games such as story driven games. Especially when combined with a bigger screen FOV which sizes the world up to closer to real world dimensions on the 2d side of things, thus complimenting and better matching the information 3D provides.

There is a lot of good news, for example, if you look at the comments on AngryJoe's recent Sony VR review or the PSVR forums, there are tons of pro-VR comments like: "WOW guys i had no idea it was like this, its incredible!" and i've even seen a comment saying something to the effect of "i can't go back to 2D after trying this". There are even fanatical pro-VR comments. Over-all the PS4 release i think is fantastic for VR and 3D in general. While i think VR/3D is now here to stay, my rant concerns the effectiveness of the current thrust into mainstream. I think they screwed up a tad bit.

I think there are two main types of gamers, those that are into perhaps more traditional styles of gameplay, for points/score and competitive and social aspects, which i think most console gamers fit into. And on the other end are the immersion gamers, who play to have an interesting experience, playing story-driven games, roleplaying, or playing visually engaging games such as Crysis/Halflifes/Metro and enjoying the "experience" aspect" of them. Of course we're all sitting somewhere differently on that scale.

So if a VR headset itself provides more immersion into the game world. Which category of gamer would benefit most from this tech? Seems like immersion gamers to me = square peg. What games are being released for the release of VR? Seems like mostly casual, fast paced, rack up the points, low detail type games = round hole. So, it seems like we are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole to me at the moment.

I know there are exceptions here, but what bothers me most is this lack of a good first person game offering a Halflife-like experience. And why only one post-release VR patch(Eathan Carter)? A Metro 2033 VR patch would have blown some people's loving minds. Is everybody too busy masturbating in VR now? What is going on? Even a 3rd person game like Mass Effect, so SO many people would enjoy revisiting that game in 3D, they would go crazy some people, experiencing 3D/VR for the first time AND re-playing ME, a beloved game for many. What about old games, like Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, released in 2004, which would run very VERY nicely on current hardware! I'm completely biased here because these are some of my favorite games, but why are there no post-release VR patches for great old games? I can't believe nobody thought this was a worthwhile idea to spend some dev money to make these games simply viewable through the device then re-release them for $10 to $20 dollars as VR editions, without any hand tracking mechanics, which are imo gimmicky, but i haven't tried them yet.

Also, what is going on with this teleportation-movement poop. I understand it could have a place for some games, no problem with that, but did people think we were going to stop wanting to go on heroic adventures? I thought VR was made to get you further into heroic adventures. How does Luke Skywalker or Han Solo or Indiana Jones or Garret or Garalt do his/her thing without running and sprinting all the time? Or a band of D&D adventurers or Dovakiin in Skyrim. Many fun games are walking simulators, like DayZ or some MMOs. Teleportation? Are they loving serious? Are you telling me that im first and foremost an massive immersion gamer and VR was not made for games i play?

Space and many cockpit games aren't going to help VR succeed in the mainstream i don't think. Pause a space game in the middle of combat and look at your available options, which probably amount to *continue turning toward the enemy icon and shoot* , now pause a Battlefield game during combat, with a tank somewhere on the left, 3 guys to the right and one forward a ways, and one possibly on your tail and examine the massive increase in available elements to consider, including terrain/structures and your available weapons.

I'd like to introduce these devs to a concept:

Abstraction: "a general idea or quality rather than an actual person, object, or event : an abstract idea or quality" (one of 3,000 versions...)

Does anyone think of moving your thumb forward or pressing a key when deciding to move forward in a game? I know i don't, i just think "move forward" and my brain takes care of the rest. While it might take some getting used to in VR while using a hand tracked device, i have no doubt our brains will get used to it and not even think about after awhile. We can learn, hell, my Dad can't couldn't even pan around a 3rd person character to look around at the environment. I remember playing Quake 1 with arrow keys. I had a headache my first day of 3D use, then no more for 2,000 hours of 3D gaming. Surely every day in the world, a new fisherman gets sick his first day, then acclimates. We gets used to things, surely our brains will learn and then do the work automatically with whatever setup system the come up with for proper movement.

If i had known that they were going to focus on teleportation for movement when they announced VR, i would have told them to save themselves the trouble. Once again, a rhetorical question: Are you telling me that im first and foremost a massive immersion-style gamer and VR was not made for games i play?

Games that i think would have been incredible experiences for VR gamers, with only basic 3D and headtracking (from my PC gamer perspective):
Metro 2033
Mass Effect
Skyrim
Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
Portal 1/2
Dark Messiah of Might and Magic
Halflife 2
Soma
many horror games (i don't play these)
Witchers
Chivalry
Hawken

Wheres the loving ALIEN ISOLATION VR PATCH FOR FUCKS SAKE!!!

EDIT: Edited out some of my copy/paste 3D Vision forum contextual stuff and clarified a bit.

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Tue Nov 01, 2016 2:32 pm
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[While im at it, this was an interesting post on the PSVR forums that gets right at what many are feeling.]

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[Here is a well thought out post from the PSVR forums in my opinion relates to what im trying to get at.]

PSVR is great, but the developers are woefully unaware of what constitutes an experience people actually want to have, and I think some of it is caused by a basic epistemological problem, i.e. they have no idea what "immersion" means. Consequently, the game selection sucks. It's absolutely awful. Sure, most of it is "neat," but "neat" isn't good.

Here's what I mean. "Immersion" is not anatomical mimicry, yet developers seem to have watched The Lawnmower Man when they were younger and now think that VR should be about simulating anatomical motions. This is not immersion. Immersion is an intellectual state, and is created by being absorbed by informed decisions such that you forget about your external context. For example, Chess is one of the most enduring games in history. Why? It is literally nothing but a sequence of complicated, informed decisions. Every "move" in Chess is not only the product of analysis and informed decision, it completely alters the context for the opponent and requires new analysis and a new informed decision. It is the act of analysis and informed decision that subdues the mental processes of the brain, enslaves them such that the player is incapable of thinking about anything else. One can play a game of Chess and be totally unaware of the passage of time, or anything else happening beyond the complex context of the chess set. THAT is immersion.

The same thing happens in a movie or a book, but in a movie or book the "informed decision" is vicarious - you anticipate the character encountering context, encountering obstacles, and having make an informed decision. The game player's "what will I do," is replaced by, "what will the protagonist do?" At root, it's the same experience, but vicarious.

Developers for VR might have technical expertise, but they seem wholly unaware of what makes a good game, let alone what makes a good story. Instead, they're entirely focused on gimmick, and this is why virtually every game that has been made, or is being made for VR, is crap. Oh, they're "neat," but "neat" isn't good.

For some ridiculous reason, developers think that if they mimic anatomical function, if they "simulate" anatomical movement, they have created "immersion." First, this is not immersion. Immersion is when your brain is focused on informed decisions at the expense of extraneous factors...such as anything occurring outside the game or movie. Virtual Reality doesn't exist to create immersion. It exists to augment EXISTING immersion by making you feel like "you are there." There is no point in "being there" if there is not enough happening to totally absorb your intellect.

So what we get is a bunch of developers creating games that reduce gaming complexity to the level of a chimpanzee playing dopey games with motion controllers. Motion controllers, in so far as they attempt to mimic your real life moment, are reducing the number of things you can control. Compare the menus and submenus, walking, jumping, shooting, reloading, strafing, and talking one does in an open world game such as Fallout or Skyrim to the ridiculously simplistic nonsense that appears in a motion controller VR game. Simply by using a motion controller the number of options in a game has been reduced by a magnitude of order of ten, if not a hundred. The reason I play games is because a very simple thing like a controller allows me to direct dozens, if not hundreds of variables, deftly. That's why I'd rather use a mouse and keyboard on a computer than talking...because it is easier to manipulate a complex array of variables with a mouse and keyboard than it is by talking. Voice controls are a neat gimmick that simulate "natural" activity...but they take away control. Taking away that controller and substituting a gimmick whose sole purpose is to mimic the most banal anatomical movements is absurd. I "used" to feel like Batman...in non-VR games...but developers thought I'd feel more like Batman if Batman was reduced to spinning tables, rotating 3d objects like a toddler in a play pen, pounding piano keys, and basically standing around while narration tells me how interesting everything is. No, I never felt like Batman. But sleeping dogs sure made me feel like Wei Shen and a total ass kicker.

Misconception: "There's no killer app." Wrong. The killer apps have already been written, and they've existed for as many as ten to fifteen years, but developers are too proud and too obsessed with gimmickry to support them. There are many excuses being given for why games people actually play are not being made: nausea, frame rate issues, and developers not knowing if VR will be popular. And that's what they are...excuses. There are literally dozens, if not hundreds of last gen games that would be fantastic in VR, would be relatively easy to make run at 60fps on PSVR, but developers aren't doing it because they're stuck with their strange obsession with anatomical simulation.

VR is not about immersion. It's about "being there." Immersion is an intellectual experience about analyzing a context and making decisions, and that process being so compelling you forget about your "real world" context. The killer apps are everywhere, and they're simply being ignored by people who don't understand what VR does. They're failure to understand this is going to be lived out as a number of years where developers fumble around making crappy games the masses won't buy until the market laboriously and finally gets through to them, "oh, yeah, the players really did just want Skyrim after all...gosh, I totally thought it was motion controlled ski-ball, but how was I supposed to know?" Perhaps by thinking.

Motion controllers don't create immersion, they reduce gameplay by reducing the number of things you have control over, and therefore reduce the number of things that are utilized in making an informed decision. Developers are exchanging complex and immersive gameplay for gimmick that reduces the player to the level of cognitively disabled child. Sure, these games are "neato." They also suck.

Killer Apps that were ignored by Sony: Fallout 3, Skyrim, No Man's Sky as a $30 launch title, Little Big Planet, basically anything last gen....

But no. We've got to watch devs fumble around with their motion controller and anatomical simulation nonsense until the market beats them over the head with the obvious: dude, we just want the games we already play...but in VR. Stop with the crap, we don't care if it's last gen graphics.

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Wed Nov 02, 2016 3:48 pm
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Hello! That was a lot of text, and it feels as if I'm looking at myself a few years back :D

Half-Life 2 did exist in VR back in 2014, and it was a glorious and worthwhile experience, good memories for sure. At that time I was prodding developers to simply add a VR mode with artificial locomotion to my old favorite games, quite like this post. I even debated people that it's not a waste of time on Twitter ;)

During 2013-2016 I played a plethora of tech demos, experiments and a number of full games in VR. Most of them seated, most of them with a gamepad. In this mode I had managed to get my VR legs, this with the DK1 and later the DK2, and it was fine for me. It took me two weeks to get there, with first very short stints of HL2 and working my way up to being able to be in there indefinitely. This is why I was super eager to play all my old favorites in VR.

Then I got the Vive, I had to get it as I knew how much I enjoyed motion controllers with the Hydra, I had those before the DK1, and the virtually unlimited tracking with the laser system was just too exciting to ignore. I've now played Vive games, quite a few, for a little more than 7 months. My old views of what I want in VR have changed quite a bit.

First and foremost, the immersion-type gamer you mention is pretty much me, on the Bartle player chart I'm an Explorer, I like diving into games systems, climb outside of maps, try to see the inside of the game. VR has been a friggin hoot for me as I can push my head through walls and walk outside of vehicles in driving games etc. I also greatly enjoy things like simply exploration of the environment, character progression, a solid narrative. Not all of those are needed, but they add up. Because of this I've been hooked on immersive tech like S3D gaming and then VR since as long as I can remember, in the beginning it was instead high frame-rate, as that was immersive to me, still is.

So, what have I found myself to enjoy, now when consumer VR is here? Well it's become quite easy actually. From preferred to unpreferred, top to bottom.

  • Actual 1:1 room-scale, the world doesn't feel more solid than this, you actually move about the space, I get transported.
  • Teleportation, while first I was skeptical, as it is an absolute zero-nausea way to move, I prefer it. It can be done in a crap way that cheapens the experience though, or not.
  • Artificial locomotion, I still enjoy this in short stints, it does remove me more from the experience though as it affects me negatively fairly quickly, even with all my previous experience sitting down.
  • Third person moving camera, to be honest, this is also uncomfortable even if I have spent many many hours with this previously, maybe because of the better fidelity headsets now.

And this is from being a proponent for artificial locomotion and game conversions for years.

Regarding the PSVR post, I'm not sure what to say :p The person wants _more_ abstraction, plenty of buttons instead of doing anatomical actions. Sounds like someone who should just keep playing monitor games to me, what is the point of VR if we cannot interact as non-abstracted as possible? If I want to play a game with the direct multi-command control that controllers allow, I'll play a screen game, even if that might be on a huge virtual screen in S3D inside VR.

I'm also not sure if immersion is the same for every person, to me it's not as simple as that, the chess immersion is based on focus to me, and book immersion is based on imagination. Some people are incapable of experiencing those things to that immersive degree, the mind consuming level. Immersion by transportation, when you lose track of the real world and accept the virtual as a substitute, is real to me. It doesn't consume my intellect to such a degree I forget about reality, it simply replaces it.

That motion controllers would reduce immersion is the complete reverse of my experience, but I guess it reduces the intellectual load that can cause you to lose track of your surroundings, something that to me is quite different.

TL:DR; I've been rambling now, but I'll try to summarize what I think, this coming from a VR gamer that has tried way too many things over the years. To me locomotion is a real issue, there is a vocal group that hates teleportation and some who cannot do VR without it, the best option is to have both. Ignoring teleportation excludes a lot of people, and even with my experience I tend to avoid things that clash with my senses, at least since room-scale became a thing. Motion controllers to me has been another immersion multiplier, not a dumb down. Sure they do not enable the exact same games we have played before, not with the same UI. The whole user interaction flow has to be reworked, moved into 3D, react to 3D space motions instead of pixel perfect clicks. If a player prefers the current PC/controller interface to get immersion, then playing existing games might be as good as it will get. To me controller games in VR went from being all VR was, to something I haven't touched since I got the Vive. How well the PSVR works I don't know as I don't own it, YouTubers seem disappointed in the tracking which I'm betting might cause some clashes with what we think of as immersion.

Phew :p by now I have forgotten what I wrote at the top of this post, and what you wrote in your post, hopefully this isn't a confusing mess of text. Cheers!


Sun Nov 06, 2016 5:28 am
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Binocular Vision CONFIRMED!
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Yeah, im in the "Explorer" category as well except i try to avoid all information pertaining to knows how its made, for both movies and games. Or at least i did before trying to become a 3D artist. I just prefer to remain in ignorance about that stuff. I even have second thoughts about trying to become a digital artist because of it.

Why no basic 3D mode either for the PSVR or even the Rift/Vive. With such a big screen, the 2D image will match right up the information the 3D provides, giving great looking 3D that i bet tons of people would love who lacked a 3D Vision/Tridef setup.

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Wed Nov 09, 2016 8:43 pm
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Libertine wrote:
Games that i think would have been incredible experiences for VR gamers, with only basic 3D and headtracking (from my PC gamer perspective):
Metro 2033
Mass Effect
Skyrim
Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay
Portal 1/2
Dark Messiah of Might and Magic
Halflife 2
Soma
many horror games (i don't play these)
Witchers
Chivalry
Hawken

Wheres the loving ALIEN ISOLATION VR PATCH FOR FUCKS SAKE!!!


Exactly is my choice of games, just i would put it little differently..

1) Witcher 3
2) Mass Effect 3
3) Mass Effect 2
4) Skyrim SE
5) Portal 2,1
6) DEAD SPACE 3,2
7) METRO 2033
8) CHIVALRY
9) HAWKEN
10) SOMA

Real problem is that Developers of these games and publishers may not see VR as potential Market JUST YET! There may/may not be problems of
camera, object placement, pace of game play, render pattern and god knows what involved in converting them to VR READY
. Still i believe SONY and
FACEBOOK has enough money in their kitty to promote such ports. we already seen with CHRONOS and EDGE OF NOWHERE that 3RD PERSON CAMERA
KEPT STEADY AT DISTANCE IS COMFY IN VR. why GAME NO 1,2,3,4,5,6 can't have such patch/mod is beyond me.

METRO 2033 is different story as this game involve fist person fast movement and may be sickening to some.

HAWKEN, ALIEN ISOLATION was made with VR in mind so its just TOO DUMB to not to do them VR.

I think its all about VR INSTALL BASE,(*And demand of such VR install base for it) before we see such things materialize.

How about MASS EFFECT ANDROMEDA in VR? i would be totally sold out even if they release Small mission+Hanger and In Interstellar ship MEET THE CREW VR Experience along with full
version game.like Star Wars Battlefront did with X Wing VR Mission, I can very much expect this to happen
.


Thu Nov 10, 2016 7:51 am
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