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If all goes according to plan, my Playstation VR bundle will be delivered today. Yup, I finally went for it.

My first experience in VR was Dactyl Nightmare, which came out in 1991 I believe. It was an arcade machine and if I’m remembering right it cost $10 to play it. We look back and laugh at the graphics now but I remember being BLOWN AWAY by the experience and I couldn’t wait to see where VR went. Of course it went pretty much nowhere for the next few decades.

At one point I cobbled together a home-brew VR setup using a Nintendo Powerglove and Sega 3D Glasses. This was my one and only brush with “maker”-dom. I had to solder together a little circuit box to get all this to work (I didn’t design it, just downloaded the plans from GEnie or Compuserve). And it did work, but it was pretty low fidelity. I do remember playing ‘VR handball’ in my bedroom though.

When Sony announced PSVR I was pretty excited about it, but when it launched I balked and backed away. I had a few issues that concerned me:

1) Isolation: My PS4 is in the living room. Usually when I’m playing a game, Angela (and Lola Thunderpaws, for that matter) are in the room with me and I tend to talk to them as I play. Or rub their bellies. Mostly Lola’s belly but hey we’re all adults here. I wasn’t sure I wanted to immerse myself in a world and leave them behind. I’m still not… this is still one of my concerns.

2) Motion sickness: I sometimes get sick playing shooters. I’m worried I’ll get sick in PSVR too. After reading up on using the contraption, and talking to my friend Scopique, I think I can overcome it. I hope I can anyway. People talk a lot about getting “VR Legs” from using VR, plus I think the game devs are getting better about offering ‘comfort’ settings.

3) HDR: When PSVR shipped I’d just invested in a new TV with HDR for playing PS4 games. The version 1 PSVR didn’t pass through HDR signals so I would have had to disconnect it when I wasn’t using it. Knowing me, I knew I’d never bother to set it up if that was the case. There’s now a newer SKU out that DOES pass HDR through the little breakout box, so this is no longer a problem.

4) Cost: Sony is running a deal right now. The Skyrim bundle is $100 off plus I did some other creative financing to bring the effective cost down another $70 for me.

Anyway, I’ve been interrupted 3 times trying to write this post and I have to get to work. I kind of have forgotten the point of it. Suffice to say, I’m both excited and a little nervous about this project. Worst case, I get horribly ill and can’t use it and have to sell it, I guess. Best case, I get transported back to that day in 1991 when my mind was blown by my first VR experience.



Comments:
7
  • “‘VR handball’ in my bedroom”

    OK Pete XD

    But, here’s what I’ve found using the PSVR and a PC based headset

    1. It’s not as isolating as you think, because you can let others see what you see. With the PSVR, if you have the TV on, anyone in the room will get the HDR effects while you get the lower-res versions through the HMD. And so long as you don’t use headphones, you can hear what people in the room are saying.

    2. Motion sickness does happen, but there’s mitigating factors: For example, using room audio as opposed to earbuds helps by reminding your brain that you’re in a room and NOT in the fighter jet. Moving forward isn’t usually an issue except for the split second you start, and then things are OK. Turning by snap increments or teleporting are two nausea-reducing methods developers are using. Flight sims like EVE Valkyrie are going to be the worst offenders, so if you try that (it’s on the demo disk you’ll get), use room audio and not the earbuds!

    • Thanks!

      One other thing I read is to point a fan at your face. I guess it both keeps you a little cooler and it kind of gives you a stationary reference point.

      I think my “Duh” issue up to now, and that got knocked out of my brain thanks to you, is the idea that headphones are OPTIONAL. I just had it stuck in my brain that it was a complete isolation tank experience because… I dunno why. Watching too many movies.

      Being about to hear (and of course talk) should help a lot.

  • Skyrim bundle? So I take it you’ll be playing Skyrim VR? VERY interested to hear your impressions on that one!