I didn’t get much VR time this weekend because it was holiday decorating time and the living room was cluttered with storage crates full of lights, tinsel and ornaments. Still I think I’m settling into the VR lifestyle.
I ~think~ I’m done fiddling with my set-up for now. I never did find a way to use PSVR without moving furniture. The couch is a little too far away and there’s no place closer to put the camera, so I have to push the coffee table forward and slide an ottoman over in front of the couch and sit on that. Not ideal but not the end of the world either. Of course if I’m doing standing stuff I just need to move the coffee table which I’d have to do anyway. I’m playing around with the idea of getting some kind of tripod for the camera but I can’t find an extension cable for it. Amazon lists some but they’re all “no longer available.”
There’s no getting around the fact that PSVR is kind of fiddly, mostly due to the fact that it tracks using visible light. That means you have to be aware of reflections and other light sources. The Christmas lights play hell with it, for example; I have to turn them off while I’m using it. If you have a dedicated space for your VR endeavors it’s probably less bad but in a living room that gets a lot of use I think you’re always going to be tweaking/re-positioning things. Of course as with most tasks, it gets easier with practice.
Oddly the one thing that surprised me most was how dirty the lenses get. I guess they’re close enough to your eyes that eye-juice spatters on them or something (they can also fog up from it being hot and humid inside the visor). I know nothing has touched my lenses but still they have gunk on them. I ordered a Lens Pen from Amazon that should arrive today and hopefully that’ll help.
I haven’t been wearing my glasses in VR since the apparent focal length is at a distance that I can see OK without them. At some point Angela is going to make some “bumpers” to add to the visor; this is a thing I learned about on reddit. It’s easy to scratch the PSVR lenses by pulling the visor tight enough that the lenses hit your glasses, so folks modify the visor to prevent that from happening. It’s really just a foam bumper that your glasses would hit before they hit the lenses.
That reminds me, the PSVR sub-reddit is an AMAZING resource and, contrary to the overall reddit reputation, it’s actually a friendly and welcoming community.
I bought a little stand thing that charges 2 Move controllers, 2 PS4 Dualshocks, and holds the visor and a headset. Actually it isn’t that little but it keeps things nice and neat. I’m pretty happy with it except for the fact that getting the Dualshocks to seat in the charger can be a bit of a hassle. Still, very glad I got that.
Anyway, so I think I’m done buying accessories and moving stuff around. Last night I had my longest session. I lost track of time but it was somewhere between an hour and a half and two hours of wearing the visor. I was honestly surprised that it never really got uncomfortable or felt heavy or anything. The worst I can say is a few times my nose kind of itched and I couldn’t scratch it. 🙂
As for VR sickness, I’m doing much better than I thought I would. I’m still sticking to mostly static experiences though. I did try the EVE Valkyrie demo and while I was ok flying the ship, when we started really dogfighting with hard turns and stuff, I started feeling a little odd. But the demo was so short (time based, I guess?) that it ended before things got too bad.
Another thing that has surprised me was how quickly VR starts feeling normal. On day 1 I was ogling menus and stuff and just staring around in wonder. I’m already kind of past that; we get jaded so quickly! I also feel like I’m already moving past the “Doing ordinary things in VR is amazing” phase. I’m talking about games like Job Simulator that have you pushing virtual buttons and pulling virtual levers; on Day 1 just the act of grabbing something with my virtual hands was wow-ing me, but now I just assume I can grab things. Now I need an interesting reason to do so.
Basically I think I’m ready to move past experiences and start playing some games. Oddly the game that hooked me most last night was a demo of Thumper, which is a kind of rhythm game that is available in a non-VR form.
It’s visually fairly simple, you’re just flying down this little track. Honestly not something I would play in 2D, but VR makes it feel really special because you and this track are the entire world, if that makes sense. This is one I’ll definitely buy. The VR version of Rez was kind of the same way.
Another game I spent an odd amount of time with (I’ve been working through the two “Demo Disks” Sony has released) is Tumble VR, which is just a block-stacking game. Simple game, but the VR aspect makes it fun (which kind of goes against what I said about being over doing mundane things already, I guess).
There’s a product called, I think, Harmonix VR that mostly feels like a stoner app. Listen to music and watch trippy visuals, man! But it has a mode called Easel that lets you “paint” in the air and that is pretty darned cool since your creation can exist all around you.
I picked the right time to get into PSVR because there are all kinds of VR games on sale right now. I still have a ton of stuff to work through but I have to admit I’m looking forward to getting comfortable enough that I can start playing Skyrim.
TLDR version of this post I guess is… no regrets over picking up PSVR. I’m having a lot of fun with it, and I’m learning a lot about VR. It’s clear this is still a young technology with lots of room to improve and we’re already seeing that in other headsets, but for the price I’m really pleased with PSVR.
I guess I’ve become a VR believer.