Gaming With Touch

If you’ve already got a Rift, adding Touch is going to massively enhance your VR experience. You’ll be upgrading from seated, controller-based gameplay to standing or even roomscale experiences where your hands are now part of the game. Using highly tracked motion controllers makes the virtual world more intuitive and more immersive.

The company has said that the reason they didn’t release Touch when the Rift first launched is primarily because they were waiting for content to mature. Indeed, the company is launching Touch with an impressive lineup of 53 titles, with a few more high profile games coming later in 2017. 22 of those 53 were games we already saw on SteamVR, leaving 31 brand new titles for the Touch launch. We haven’t been able to play everything yet, but we’ve already found some early standouts.

Super Hot VR

This Oculus exclusive uses a unique slow motion mechanic which will make you feel like Neo from The Matrix. In Super Hot, time only moves when you do. If you stand still, everything is frozen. As you begin to move, your enemies do too.

The game starts a bit bland, but quickly ratchets up to awesomeness as you’re dodging incoming bullets that are whizzing by your head while trying to fire back. The game becomes a fascinating dance of acting and pausing to assess the situation, then acting again. Despite all the action, it almost plays like a puzzle game at times as you figure out just how you should approach each fight scene. You will feel like a bad-ass in no time, and you might try to move in stop and start motions for a few minutes after returning to the real world…

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Quill

Quill, which every Touch owner will get for free, is nothing short of spectacular. I thought initially that there would be a lot of overlap between Oculus Medium and Quill (both art-focused in-house projects from Oculus), but Quill does seem to firmly own its own style—Medium is to clay as Quill is to sketching. Quill also feels like a substantial artist’s tool, even more so than Medium, with powerful layer system, brush styles and opacities, exporting, and capturing functionality.

Sketching is an extremely accessible medium, and that’s recreated in Quill. But just like the same piece of paper and pencil can make a stick figure or a detailed human body, in the right hands, Quill can do amazing things. One of the pre-loaded scenes is jaw-dropping in it’s style, skill, and complexity. It might be the first VR art masterpiece.

Robo Recall

Robo Recall is another Touch exclusive that will launch for free in 2017. Although we’ve only had a chance to play a demo version (not available to the public), we absolutely can’t wait to get our hands on the full thing. The combination of crisp, UE4 powered graphics with rich visual and audio design makes this game a blast. There’s awesome weapons to wield—which feel especially great with Touch’s ergonomics—and tons of action to make for yourself amidst the highly interactive enemies.


Disclosure: Oculus provided Road to VR with a Touch for review.

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  • Tom

    Damn it, Ben! Can’t you proofread your articles at least once?! Always so many typos and this article is is no exception. It’s hard to believe you are the Executive Editor.
    I like the writing but invest a few minutes to proofread the text otherwise you loose credibility.Thanks.

    • Matt R

      ” is is no exception” ……Really!

      • Varmintbaby

        I know right.. lol. If that’s not the pot calling the kettle black I don’t know what is….

        • Asaku

          Tom isn’t an Executive Editor…

          No offence intended.

        • Tom

          My mistake doesn’t invalidate my point that Ben’s articles are riddled with typos. And I don’t call myself an Executive editor of a “news publication”…

    • Mark Batcheler

      I’m not 100% confident saying this as I’m not sure if this is different outside of the UK (for example), however, shouldn’t “loose” be “lose”?

      • Hawk1290

        0 for 2, You’re correct Mark. Tom you’re losing credibility! ;)

    • wowgivemeabreak

      loose credibility. Yeah, too bad he doesn’t have tight credibility

    • benz145

      Hey Tom, everyone is susceptible to typos in their own work, even if they proofread it (it’s a quirk of the human brain that you tend to overlook the same errors you made the first time while proofreading). This was fully proofread by two people, but errors still get through. I’ll do another pass after having averted my eyes for a few hours now and probably catch a few more. Thanks for letting us know though.

      • Zerofool

        Ben (and the rest of the editors), I can recommend a neat approach that greatly helps in this – text-to-speech software. You can catch such mind-trick-y cases. The speech synthesis tech has come a long way and some of the voices sound really human-like, almost indistinguishable (22kHz ones). I’m not giving names to avoid being accused of promoting a certain product, but give some of them a try, you won’t regret it ;)

        • The ones I tried all sound a bit dodgy, can you recommend any?

          • Zerofool

            Sure, but only because you asked :). For the last 8+ years I’ve been using “Daniel” from ScanSoft/Nuance at +3 speed setting (it’s too slow otherwise). Haven’t found a better sounding one (to my taste) so far.

          • Thanks. Will take a look. It is actually for somebody I know with failing sight but does not like the robotic voices of computers. Worth a shot to look at :)

          • Zerofool

            Sure, you’re welcome. There’s an online demo for trying the voices out. Daniel is in the British English category. But feel free to try other ones as well. After all, it’s a matter of taste.

            http://www.nuance.com/landing-pages/playground/Vocalizer_Demo2/vocalizer_modal.html?demo=true

      • Tom

        I see what you are saying. Brain sure can play tricks. I even made some errors in my initial comment. :)
        I sure do appreciate what you are doing. It’s just that your articles don’t deserve having those blemishes that you leave in them. :)
        (English is my second language so please excuse any more errors from my side ;)

    • perfectlyreasonabletoo

      “otherwise you loose credibility”

      “loose”

    • Harry Cox

  • Matt R

    A very informative and honest review. I look forward to trying my Touch controllers out tomorrow.

  • Mysticeti

    > it should be noted that this Sensor has the same length cable as the one that comes with the Rift

    Which is how long?

    • Tom

      if a quick search online proves accurate 2.5m (or 8.2ft). Admittedly I’m too lazy to measure mine even though it’s sitting right next to me.

      • Mysticeti

        Thanks man. All my searches ended up at people talking about USB extension cables, not the actual sensor cable itself.

  • Get Schwifty!

    “I was surprised to find that with just two Sensors I was able to completely fill the ‘roomscale’ space that Oculus recommends when using three cameras.”

    I’m not in the least, devs have been doing this for months on end, and in large enough spaces to easily qualify as “room scale” even with just two cameras with good tracking. Not too surprised really that adding the fourth camera doesn’t extend distance, but it’s there for additional tracking accuracy more than anything. Any tracking system is going to devolve quickly at it’s limit, so that is not too surprising.

    I find the comments that there is no real difference with the Touch controllers vs. Vive to be a bit hard to buy and seems to assuage the fears of the Vive contingent, it’s perhaps one of the few reviews (formal and not) who haven’t felt the Touch controllers are significantly more ergonomic and immersive than the wands. I suspect this comes from using the wands long enough that you just get used to them and look past their weaknesses but that is my opinion. If there was no real difference in use then I highly doubt HTC would go to the effort to rework their design. Just seeing something more resembling a “hand” than a raptor-like wand is nice as well.

    So in the final analysis, it comes down to a better ergonomic Touch controller with less room-scale size by a couple of feet ultimately between the two systems at this point in time. What will be ultimately interesting is whatever reviews say good or bad, the public now will have access and we’ll know how things really shake out.

    Ben, when can we expect a fourth camera test?

    • Get Derp!

      “I was surprised to find that with just two Sensors I was able to
      completely fill the ‘roomscale’ space that Oculus recommends when using
      three cameras.”

      It means that additional cameras are for tracking accuracy not tracking volume. At least that’s the dev’s intention.

      • Get Schwifty!

        I got that, just saying two cameras for room scale is known to work well, a 3rd well placed camera should only enhance tracking capability.

    • wowgivemeabreak

      I took his comment to mean the Touch controllers are much more ergonomic and natural but the performance with things like tracking isn’t much different and that seems logical to me.

    • benz145

      Touch IS significantly more ergonomic, wonderful to use, and as I said, is a “much preferred over the Vive’s wand design.”

      Presence (as I often write it with a capital P), is something special, it’s different than “immersion”, it’s a deep state of subconscious immersion that is achieved when certain minimum thresholds are achieved. Oculus knows this well (http://www.roadtovr.com/oculus-shares-5-key-ingredients-for-presence-in-virtual-reality/). It’s generally agreed that both Rift and Vive can create Presence.

      So for them to claim that Touch has “Hand Presence” and allude that Vive’s controllers do not, means they think Touch passes some threshold that convinces your subconscious that your virtual hands are your own—some threshold that Vive controllers simply don’t pass. This I have not found to be true, even if Touch has a huge lead in ergonomic and functional design. Both controllers work well for motion tracked VR input, and even if Touch has a lead, as I said, “…is there a significant experiential difference between the two that puts Touch into some new class? Not really. Touch is an easy choice from a design and ergonomics standpoint, but feels no more usable for VR motion input than Vive’s controllers.”

      Thanks for asking this actually, it reminded me that not everyone would be familiar with the backstory of Presence and what it means in the context of VR — I’ve added some of this comment to the review for clarity.

      • Get Schwifty!

        Thanks for fleshing it out; I understood where you were coming from, and I suspect this quality of “hand presence” is somewhat subjective and I would be the first to admit is something of a marketing ploy to a degree. I would _think_ that a better ergonomic design would lead to a greater sense of “hand presence” but if that is not the case, that is disappointing somewhat but I suspect will come down to the user, as some folks may be more sensitive to the difference in sensation of holding a wand vs. the Touch.

        Still want to know if we can get a 4th sensor test ;)

        EDIT: I wonder if the quality of “hand presence” might in large part depend upon software that is designed using the Touch from the ground up… but I would think the test software you used would be. I suspected there might be a difference between say Vive-controller based titles vs. those designed with Touch from the start, but it sounds like you’re saying it didn’t seem that different.

        • ummm…

          as a vive owner id hazard to say there is a bit more hand presence with the touch, at least in most experiences. so, with that said, im happy about the new vive controllers under development. enjoy the touch bud!

          • Get Schwifty!

            Thanks mate !

  • Mysticeti

    “The default setup that Oculus recommends consists of two Sensors spaced 3-6 feet apart directly in front of you.”

    Does the setup complain if the Sensors are placed further apart? Say 9 feet?

    • benz145

      Good question. It will complain but generally you can skip ahead anyway and set up the Sensors as you’d like.

      • Mysticeti

        Thanks!

    • Jona Adams

      Yes it does.

  • wowgivemeabreak

    Thanks for the review and I am giddy to get my controllers. I got my Rift recently and haven’t used it much but I think it is great and have thought how awesome it should be with motion controllers so here’s hoping the reality lives up to what I think it should be like.

    I also look forward to the day we have high res displays and wireless headsets with inside out tracking. The res right now is decent but it just makes me really want a future high res display with much less pixel grid being visible for the increased immersion.

    The wired aspect is one reason why I don’t care too much about room scale even though I like the concept. I have an 8×9 foot space in my room and have walked around a bit using the Rift and I just don’t care much for having to deal with a cord hanging from my head since I find it to be a bit annoying and I keep thinking I will get too far away and it will be yanked out. I also have a slight concern while walking around I may be getting close to hitting something. I realize there is now going to be a system to show your boundaries but that might not change how my mind works and I can’t just shut off that cautious awareness part of my brain. Hopefully more moving around the area and getting used to my surroundings will lessen that issue for me.

    I’d really like that treadmill like tech to advance (forget the name of the product) and work well as that would be something I’d want to use in vr as the idea of being able to run around is very appealing.

  • perfectlyreasonabletoo

    They’re certainly elegant and lightweight but as wii and vive owners will attest, durability is also very important. That outer ring looks terribly flimsy.

    • Jona Adams

      Flimsy? No, it’s quite rigid.

    • DM

      The outer ring is solid, doesn’t even creak or flex when you try to flex it. It’s very well made and completely sturdy.

  • Sebastien Mathieu

    Thanks Ben! don’t mind them your article are well written!! can’t wait to receive my touch and compared them to my vive’s controller!!