VR Dev – Part 9: Reflections on the Rift Experience

Posted: April 15, 2013 in VR Dev
Tags: , , , ,

Hey Rifters!

What a week!

Its strange to know that I have only had my Rift dev kit for 7 days, with everything that has happened. One first impressions vid turned into two, which turned into a ridiculous number of videos, views, and comments. Oh, and an article on PCGamer.com:


A huge THANK YOU to all the folks who have watched my videos, subscribed, left feedback and encouraging words. Words fail to express how moved I am!

So, a different type of blog entry this time around. I wanted to discuss some impressions and observations after week 1 of Rifting. Discussed in this video are:

Getting Acclimated

-Looking around before beginning the game experience really helps. Force the player to do this, but nest it inside of the game narrative… kind of like Halo?
-Recommended game order: Tiny Room > Tuscany > Microstar > Dear Esther > Mirror’s Edge > TF2 > Skyrim
-Stay hydrated! Water, Ginger Ale, and frequent breaks are good.

Visible Area

-Not looking at a lot of the screen at all!
-FOV : 108 – 112 feels great, depending on the game and what lens cups you are using.
-“Rift Peripheral Vision”, when you are able to see a little more looking straight than to the side. Gameplay application for this?

My best estimate of the RPV (Rift Peripheral Vision) of all three lens cups, A, B, and C:  http://i.imgur.com/iUiwRl7.jpg


-Giving the player options are key
-Controller hierarchy: Hydra > Controller > Mouse & Keyboard
-Learned behavior: using the mouse/analog stick to accelerate turns. Analogous to spinning around the body?

The Game Narrative

– Camera “head bob” is not such a bad thing! In fact, I prefer it. Glide motion still makes me dizzy, even after a week of play.
– Cutscenes are probably best Half Life 2 style – let the player keep control. However, slow and steady camera movements work well. Avoid fast motion and radical rotation.
– Transitions are best when there is a fade to black or fade to white effect. Clean cuts are not as jarring as I expected them to be, but fade outs are better.
-Sound cannot be overstated. Make the environment immersive with high quality, realistic stereo sound.
-Horror implications? Rift peripheral + sound exploitation = NOPE. XD

So that pretty much covers it. This next week will be more on my own development progress with my game project. Also, I plan on a regular bi-weekly video release schedule for gameplay stuff on my YouTube Channel.

Honeymoon’s over, time to do the REALLY fun stuff – creating a world of my own!

Until the Next VR Experiment,

–Cymatic Bruce

  1. Matthew Fuller says:

    Hey, I just saw your latest skyrim video and you said you were getting about 25-35 fps in that game outdoors, but around 40-50 inside. Did you notice the latency outside? Also, what are your system specs.

    When you posted the skyrim vid, I had to subscribe. Very useful info. Thank you! I cannot wait until the commercial rift comes out. Looks very addictive, glad I am waiting a year for the commercial version.

    • Thank you for watching, and thanks for the sub! I am running a Asus ROG Laptop G74sx, i7, 8gb ram, GeForce 560m 2gb. While playing Skyrim, I did not notice any frame rate issues – it was fantastic the entire time!

      • Matthew Fuller says:

        Oh wow, that is quite a beefy laptop! It beats my 4 year old desktop to shreds. That is good to know…sigh.

        I love being an early adopter, but I had to return my rift. I know there are major delays with many developers getting their rift, so I was happy to return mine so an actual developer could get their hands on it. But, I am thinking there is a kind of development I can do without knowing any programming: how to write well for VR.

        I am practicing right now by watching my favorite tv shows and writing them in narrative form. Next, I get a couple of friends to read what I wrote and then get them to watch the original set of scenes. They then rate how well the written word is translated. I then look at the original writing.

        There are clearly a lot of variables, but I am hoping on making a new kind of novel built around stereoscopic static imagery. And I have a new kind of literature that is perfect for the rift: anachronistic science fiction – which means science fiction set in the past.

  2. VRKarl says:

    Hey Bruce!
    These are some great insights.

    Very interesting about the head-bobbing, but I could also see how sliding forward smoothly would feel weird.
    In one of the GDC talks it was mentioned that going up and down stairs (or ramps) is pretty disturbing to some users. Have you noticed this? It was mentioned along with the “don’t mess with the horizon” rule.

    Keep em coming!

  3. John says:

    Hi there. Just found your channel and blog. Cool stuff.

    What you think about playing with scale? Like, making the scenario small so the player feel like a Colossus, or, the other way around, making the scenario big so the player feel small (like a pixie maybe =P).

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