Missed the live stream? Here is the episode 29 recording with recap! This week, we checked out the latest DK2 demos released, as well as a few experiences that have been updated for DK2 including PolyRider and Euro Truck Sim 2. Quake II ended up much more comfortable and addictive than expected! Catch the video recording and written recap here.
Episode 29, – Intense Poly Rides, Sweet Truckin’ and The Beauty of Quake
The live stream began as it does every Sunday: with community conversation, playful banter, and various questions about VR in general. This Sunday, we talked about the multitude of VR peripherals including the newly announced Perception Neuron. The serious conversation was broken up by one of the most ridiculous subscriber freestyles of all time. After a few more questions, it was demo time:
4th floor studio
4th floor studio is a quite impressive photoreal demo created by a 3D artist that likes to model his living spaces. I felt extremely tall in the demo, but seeing all the little details on the shelves and on top of the fridge made the experience very cool. VR will be very useful for living space planning in the future.
Miku Beach Concert
This demo left me with confused feelings. It was super solid – the FPS was fantastic and there was very little of the judder that is so famous in Unity demos. However, watching Hatsune Miku and friends dance in bikinis is not exactly my cup of sake. The MMD dance is a very popular beginner demo in Japan, so I doubt this is the last encounter I will have with this interesting sub-genre.
Lava Inc. – Position controlled coaster
Lava Inc. comes from the rollercoaster pros over at ArchiVision (makers of Temple Coaster and Helix). The twist here is that the user controls the speed of the coaster by leaning forward or back. What results is one of the best demos for VR newbies. The user controls the pace of the experience, but still gets a good dose of excitement and depth.
PolyRider is quite simply one of the most fun demos out there. The quality of the soundtrack is tied directly to your performance in the race, which adds emotional incentive to do better and better each lap. The “racing along a tube” mechanic seen here and in Radial-G is a winner. The giant tube gives the user something to focus on, and stays very comfortable throughout the various twists and turns.
Euro Truck Sim 2
Euro Truck Sim 2 is one of the best VR sims out there. The experience is so grounded in the real that I unwillingly expected the lurch of deceleration as I brought my truck to a stop. The HD screen of the DK2 made the street signs and dashboard console readable, which is a huge win. The experience could use a bit of tweaking; torso size should be adjustable and some of the menus need to be enlarged to be readable. This title has the potential to be a huge VR hit by the time the consumer unit lands.
Quake II was the surprise of the stream. I was prepared to spend significant time tweaking controls and walkspeed. Instead, the action was intense, gripping, and most importantly comfortable. The control scheme here is similar to what Valve put forth in Half Life 2 and TF2, but seems to work so much better. The gun and arm of your avatar was placed near the middle of the screen, providing a frame of reference for the player as they run around the scene. Fantastic stuff!
SkyRoads is an awesome revamp of an old classic. It mixes the pixelized backgrounds of yester-year with crisp 3d platforms that zip past you. Navigating the small hovercraft over and around floating platforms was very fun. The game ran very slowly during the stream, due to a display issue or even the capture software. It ran fantastic before the stream, so I definitely encourage you to give it a try!
Resistance – Stealth VR
Unfortunately I was unable to stay in Resistance for more than a minute or two. The head tracking had very significant latency, likely due to the SDK issues that have been plaguing DK2 titles. The premise of the game is incredibly interesting; playing a game where sneaking and peering around corners are the gameplay staples sounds awesome! I look forward to visiting the title soon in a future stream.
Darkfield is in alpha, but is already shaping up to be quite the arcade shooter. The nicks and scratches on the ships canopy are a nice touch, and the sense of scale is fantastic! After long sessions in Elite with flight sticks, transitioning back to the Xbox controller was a small learning curve. However, I was soon twirling through space shooting down enemy bots like a true federation hero. Next time around, I definitely need to setup a multiplayer server!
Solar System Explorer
Solar System Explorer has been updated for the DK2, and it benefits greatly from the upgrade. I built models of the solar system with Styrofoam spheres as a kid, but I would have has a much better time learning about the planets in this demo. The great thing about SSE is that the planets are roughly positioned to scale, so a romp from Earth to Venus is several second of travel at thousands of km/hr. It is a (literal) blast!
Temple of Merk (SVVR Community Demo)
An SVVR Regular has been working on a melee combat title using the Razer Hydra called Temple of Merk. It has been upgraded for the DK2, featuring the ability to use a shield as well as dodging and ducking! A few battles into the tutorial level is all it takes to lose yourself to glorious battle. I can’t wait to see how this title grows and what it leads to.
Whirligig Video Player
Whirligig is a bare bones 3d video player, and it performs very well! It offers a multitude of projection modes, accomodates 3d stereoscopic as well as 2d media, and played everything I threw at it. It will fill in nicely as my no-frills video player for the train trips I take everyday.
Looks as if the third stream was a charm! No stream-stopping hardware issues this time around, just a plethora of addictive immersive fun.
I look forward to seeing you for the Elite Tuesday stream, August 12th at 10pm PDT!