Even though the developer's kit for the Oculus RIft has only been in circulation for a few months, enterprising devs have already used it to create some downright mind-blowing games and simulations. Today, I came across one of the most impressive - and immersive- game demos I've seen yet. It drives home the point that we are now closer to true virtual reality than we've ever been.
Known simply as "The Hydra Cover Shooter," the demo allows players to duck, fire around virtual crates, and even rotate their weapon in their hands. Created by Australian developer Teddy Lipowitz, the shooter makes use of both the Oculus Rift and the Razer Hydra motion controlers to bring players deeper into the game than ever before.
Built with the Unreal Engine 3, the title itself plays in a style that Time Crisis veterans will find immediately familiar. Players are thrown into a pitched firefight against hostile robots armed with powerful plasma rifles. In order to survive, Lipowitz explained, players will need to make careful use of cover and time their every shot. Alternatively, they can simply blind-fire around corners and hope their bullets connect with something.
Players look around using the Rift headset, while shooting and horizontal movement is controlled by a joystick held in the user's hand. A wand controller strapped to the chest controls movement up and down, allowing players to actually "duck" behind cover. Therein lies the danger:
See, Lipowitz has constructed a positional tracking system so accurate and a virtual reality experience so immersive that a player could potentially cause themselves physical harm if they don't pay close enough attention to what they're doing. Apparently, according to Lipowitz, a lot of people get immersed enough that that they attempt to lean on crates and columns visible within the game. Since these entities don't actually exist in the real world, a player who attempt to use them as supports naturally ends up flat on their face. Lipowitz's own wife, while playing the demo, ended up knocking over a glass of wine.
The next generation of gaming is on its way, and it's got nothing to do with either the PS4 or the Xbox One. Just think: if this is the sort of stuff we're seeing after only a few months, imagine what sort of stuff developers might start putting out after a few years. Coupled that with the fact that Oculus VR is hoping to eventually make the Rift free, and you can see exactly what's got me so excited. I can tell you one thing with surety: Lipowitz is merely the first of many.
Via The Verge