PSVR Day 7

Things are still going well with PSVR. I’ve yet to have any severe motion sickness, though a demo of RIGS Combat Evolved came pretty close. I’m still working my way through a ton of demos and freebies and have yet to really sink into any one game for a good length of time.

At some point I gotta do that.

Today I ‘discovered’ a VR genre that I’m going to call virtual tabletop games. I mentioned Tumble VR in my last post and that fits into this genre too. What I mean by virtual tabletop is games that take place on a (virtual) surface that you kind of hover over. It’s a genre that would work well for AR or mixed reality, too. Two examples.

The first was Fantastic Contraption which is a VR version of the game that most of us have played in some form or other. If you’re old, think The Incredible Machine. You have a box of ‘parts’ and you have to put together a machine to achieve some kind of goal. There’s a room-scale version of this for the Vive where you make life-sized machines, but the PSVR version has you working at a smaller scale. My workspace was virtually maybe 2.5′ x 2.5′ (though you can have it as big or small as you like) and I played sitting down. Grabbing and resizing parts and snapping them together worked great with the Move controllers. I’m putting this one on my Wishlist, for sure.

The other was Dino Frontier which is a real time strategy game along the lines of The Settlers or something. So you’re overseeing this undeveloped landscape and you order tiny people to cut down trees or gather food. As they create resources you use them to build sawmills and saloons and such to keep the people housed, fed and happy. You’ve played this kind of game before. Then add dinosaurs that you can capture and train to help you run the colony. Why? I dunno. Cuz dinosaurs I guess.

The UI for Dino Frontier is amazing. Your move controllers become hands in the world and you twist your arm to check your wristwatch and that opens an info screen with quests goals and resource counts and such. You can quickly zoom in or out and pan the map around. Your menu kind of floats overhead above the action, but the various buildings under your control have buttons and things to grab that all work really well. The UI is completely intuitive.

Why do you need this game in VR? I guess you really don’t but it just looks so cool to peer down at these people and look around. Another one for my Wishlist.

Of course (now I’m repeating everyone who has ever written about VR) the only way to really understand is to play. PSVR has the social screen, of course, and I played a video of Dino Frontier captured off the social screen and it just looked like a mess. You really need to be “in” the game to appreciate it.

The nice thing about this virtual tabletop genre is that anyone can play them. Since you don’t move, there’s really no chance of disorientation or motion sickness. The biggest ‘problem’ I had was that my arms got tired, but that’s more about what a lazy slug I am than about the games!

Anyway, everything is still real positive on the PSVR front. Still a fan!

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