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Why I’m not (yet) excited by the Oculus Rift

Posted by CaptainBinky | Posted in Games, Stuff | Posted on 11-08-2014

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Let’s forget about the Facebook acquisition – that one aspect is enough to make me not want to buy one – but for the purposes of this blog, “Oculus Rift” is short-hand for any VR headset.

I have a spinal condition which makes it difficult to walk and to move generally. Basically, imagine that your central spine and hips have been replaced by an inflexible metal pole, and that’s essentially what it’s like. It doesn’t affect my life at all – obviously mobility issues have an effect, but I mean that it’s not something which bothers me which is why I almost never actually talk about it.

VR is tremendously exciting – the idea of actually putting yourself in a game world and experience it in a tangible way (Richard Cobbett has written an excellent post about the Oculus DK2 covering exactly this and more) has long been a dream of gaming.

However, playing Elite:Dangerous right now – I’m using an X52 Pro joystick – I can look around the cockpit with a simple flick of my thumb. Swapping between in-game control screens is quick and easy. Plug me into an Oculus, however… My neck’s ‘pitch’ control limits me to about 2 degrees up and about 5 degrees down. ‘Yaw’ I have about 15 degrees left and 2 degrees right. I have no ability to perform ‘roll’. And for that range of motion, what I definitely can’t do is turn with any kind of speed unless I want it to hurt. While I could continue using the joystick thumb stick for cockpit looking, this is quite likely to trigger nausea with a fully immersive headset so, more likely, I’d just have to put up with a limited range of head-look in-game.

As I said, in the real-world this doesn’t bother me particularly. But in a VR environment I’m pretty sure it would. I think I’d feel considerably more frustrated by my (lack of) mobility plugged into a device which, unlike in the real world, cannot recognise that I am primarily using eye direction to determine what I’m looking at.

It’s possible that these are empty fears, that the 3D effect alone will be sufficient to squash any frustrations. But never more so than with technological advances like these has something made me feel a little sad about a physical disability that up until now, had never bothered me. :(

3 comments on “Why I’m not (yet) excited by the Oculus Rift

  1. Rev Kyle on said:

    I’m glad you have a spinal condition and can’t experience it, it’s so fun to play Elite: Dangerous in the Rift and I’m glad you’re missing out.

    • Corey Hughes on said:

      Way to live on the edge bro, I bet you felt such a thrill typing that out… Too bad you would be too much of a pussy to say anything to his face.

      I can’t help but be curious as to what’s going on in your life that would compel you to go online and be deliberately rude to someone for no reason. Maybe it gave you a little hard-on? Maybe you’re depressed and looking for ways to lash out?

      What a waste of words.

  2. caocao on said:

    yeah eye direction is something i always thought was missing in games…

    one thing that ticked me off is,
    i remember playing Crysis 1 , it has a depth of field effect, so that whatever youre AIMING at is in focus, and other things are not focused…

    well guess what, what iam Aiming at with the gun, and what my eye is looking at is TOTALLY different things…
    like.. i want to keep my gun on a doorway right, cause i know some guys gonna come thru it.. but i want to look in the background in case some enemies come over that hill or whatever…

    cant, just cant… the characters eyes are always focused on the gun aim point – STUPID!!!

    ive Never tried occulus rift … but i bet some dummies that are going to use it wont think of this situation..

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