In regards to virtual reality video games, all developers promise to deliver quite the ‘immersive’ experience, but the fact of the matter is that it’s not always the case. Of course, if we’re talking about the Oculus Rift headset, then yes, that is exactly what you can expect. These high-tech VR goggles help you step into another world, where you can explore and just really enjoy.
Gone are the days of your typical gamepads and joysticks. Now are the days of high-tech virtual reality consoles and headsets. Seeing how far this technology has come, it’s not hard at all to imagine a virtual world similar to “The Matrix.”
Sixsense, known for developing the technology for motion-tracking in the Razer Hydra PC game controller, had a Kickstarter project back in 2013. This project was to develop a new motion-tracking controller that exceeded its goal in one day; $250,000. They called the controller the “STEM System”.
In the early stages of development, the prototype worked via two individual wand-like controllers. Each controller had an analog stick and a few buttons attached. To track a user’s head movements, a small device sat on top of the Oculus Rift headset. During this time, they were actually quite clunky. But that’s expected when working with ‘prototypes’ and is how developers can determine what and how to improve certain features.
You put the headset on and you’re in a new world, walking around and using the two arms that appeared once the controllers were calibrated, to pick various objects up as you walked.
To compare it to a Kinect camera; this opinion differs by each individual doing the comparison. What I like you may not like, and vice versa. However, in terms of wearing (or holding) a controller does come with one primary benefit and ‘pro’ via the Kinect –you can be positioned anywhere and still receive accurate movement tracking. Users want a seamless experience and part of that is offering superior movement-tracking ability.
Now the STEM system brings very impressive motion-tracking ability to the Oculus Rift headset. And sure, you can find some console and FP PC games that put you in a neat, beautiful environment, but it’s harder to really ‘connect’ with the experience with just a keyboard, gamepad or mouse.
Physically making subtle head movements can make such a serious difference in the user’s experience. The graphics are becoming better and better as the years pass in the world of VR technology. Back in 2013, Sixense offered to demos and the graphics paled in comparison to say, the graphics for Call of Duty: Ghosts or Grand Theft Auto V. However, the precision of the Oculus Rift and STEM system combined was pretty impressive.
I will also say, the controllers still needed some improvement. Rather than being able to pick something up naturally, having to push a button while also reaching down seemed arbitrary. And using an analog stick to move around…it was kind of weird, I won’t lie.
Here I will quote the CEO of Virtuix, Jan Goetgeluk, “In virtual reality, you don’t want to sit down and push buttons on a mouse.” His company was making a virtual reality treadmill at the time of that quote.