Though it’s been a few months since the Zombies on the Holodeck alpha was released, I still think it’s one of the best game experiences in the Oculus Rift thus far. Don’t get me wrong — there are some other really cool ‘experiences’ that folks have made of the Rift, but Zombies on the Holodeck has some real gameplay elements which show what the future of VR gaming might be like. One unfortunate issue with the original alpha was lack of calibration. The team has been working on a new build which greatly improves the gunplay thanks to a calibration system for the Razer Hydra.
Wielding two-handed weapons in Zombies on the Holodeck is a lot of fun with the Razer Hydra, but it rarely ever felt like you were holding a gun up to your shoulder. With the lack of calibration, you’d often end up awkwardly holding your hands out in front of you to get the gun in the right place inside the game. The disconnect between the virtual world and physical wasn’t good for immersion.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been chatting with Graham Matuszewski, one of the software engineers with Project Holodeck, and have been providing feedback to help improve the experience. Matuszewski provided a new build that allows for calibration, similar to what you find in the Sixense Tuscany demo.
Once you’ve got the calibration set tightly, two-handed gun usage feels great! Now you feel like you’re really shouldering the weapons that you are using. The sniper rifle, which was previously awkward/difficult to use, is now extremely easy to shoulder and look down the sights, and quite satisfying to use!
The team still has some work to do to make calibration more user-friendly. They’ve not said when the new build of Zombies on the Holodeck will be publicly released, but they did give me permission to show you what it’s like.
Project Holodeck Producer James Iliff tells me, “We have a lot of new features and levels planned for Zombies but unfortunately we won’t be able to start on them until after summer.” I’m looking forward to it!