PAX Aus 2013: Hands-On: The Oculus Rift

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

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Oculus Rift - Table

One of the many things Jodie and I got to do at PAX Australia was try out the Oculus Rift. We had already got our hands on it at Computer Games Boot Camp the week before, but this time, we were able to talk more about the system with the people at the booth.

For those unaware, the Oculus Rift is a pair of virtual reality glasses that, when worn, make you feel like you’re in the game; rather than using a control stick to move the camera, you physically turn your head and look around to view the world around you.

They had both Team Fortress 2 and Mirror’s Edge running at PAX; I went for the former, as I was warned that anyone who has not played Mirror’s Edge before (like me) should not try it on the Oculus Rift.

Oculus Rift - Team Fortress 2

This is basically what it was like.

The Oculus Rift itself is used to rotate the camera, but I still had to use a controller to move my character and use my weapons. It was pretty cool being able to look around freely while I was running around, but I found that I got motion sickness really easily. The guys at the booth told me that it’s very common for the Oculus Rift to induce motion sickness, though how long it takes for it to rear its head and the severity of it varies from person to person. He also added that the more he’s used it, the less he’s experienced motion sickness.

A game I got to try at Computer Games Boot Camp was Proton Ball, specifically designed for the Oculus Rift. A ball would bounce towards me, and I’d have to tilt my head to move a virtual block in front of it to knock it back, trying to eliminate all the blocks I could see in front of me.

I found that this game did not give me motion sickness at all, and was quite fun to play. This makes me think that games specifically designed for the Oculus Rift, such as Proton Ball, will not be as sickness-inducing as games like Mirror’s Edge and Team Fortress 2. 

I really enjoyed this piece of technology, and I can’t wait to see what they do with it in the future. Virtual reality is something I’ve wanted to see since I was 10 and decided I wanted to hug a real Arcanine. They are available for pre-order for developers now.

Oculus Rift - Goggles

  • Xanedis

    I have to say, hugging a real Arcanine is an admirable goal.

    • Charlotte Buckingham

      They’re so cute and fluffy!

      I’d also really like to see a virtual reality Monster Hunter some day. You may think I’m nuts, but I’d love to give that a shot.

    • Xanedis

      Anything hardcore for Oculus Rift is something I would happily get my grubby mitts on. Definitely could see the allure of Monster Hunter style game, played with your friends while wearing the Oculus Rift. Practicality issues would probably come up, but that’s why we have brains :D.
      I do hope that Virtual Reality becomes a big thing, it certainly is being followed closely by some rather big moneymakers.

    • Maybe they’ll invent a haptic body suit.

  • Richard_Blaziken

    Heh, not a knock or anything at Oculus Rift, but it’s funny that the game designed for it sounds exactly like the game designed for the Power Glove way back when.