Recently I just picked up the Oculus Rift. Great VR device and the potentials are endless for how it can be used.
I wont go into a full detail review on the device, you can find that at many other places. What I will talk about today are the limitations I have with my current software environment.
I love simming: flight sims, train sims, racing sims, etc. I’ve been using a TrackIR and it’s compatible with nearly every sim I have. It basically tracks your head and changes the scale of what you are looking at to the monitor you’re looking at. Basically, if you want to look 90 degrees to your left, you rotate your head 45 degrees while you stare at the screen in front of you. It’s a workaround to VR that has been in use for years.
VR, on the other hand, has been a game changer. You are “In” the cockpit looking at the guages the world around you…it leaves a lasting impression that using anything else simply is just not the same experience.
The problem? It’s not fully supported yet by many programs.
Out of the box, I can get these games to run fine in VR:
Euro/American Truck Sim
Nearly every other game can be played in VR Mode in a wide/curve screen “Theater Mode”, which is hard to explain. Basically your monitor suddenly turns into a giant cinema display (which can be played in a “cinema” environment as well!). It makes gaming “feel” like a whole new experience even though in reality I’m sitting in front of my monitor in my boxers.
The programs I use most often, that will not work are:
And that’s what makes this all frustrating. While I should be grateful that I can play many of those other games. Being unable to play X-Plane in VR has been frustrating. Sims like DCS are amazing, yet they are focused on combat and use a completly different set of keybindings which means I’ll have to learn a lot more to get back up in the air…and of course I have things shooting at me which makes it a little more stressful than just a quick VFR flight around Seattle.
Last night I found a plug-in for Flight Simulator X called FlyInside. It’s limited to a 15 minute demo but from what I saw it was exactly what I was looking for. Downside? I’d have to purchase it for full functionality at $40, then go back to FSX and repurchase some scenery and aircraft that I already own for X-Plane. I also had serious frame rate issues under FSX with my old hardware setup and some installation/registry issues on some addons (although that may no longer be a problem with my new setup). So there has to be a bit more tweaking involved.
Train Simulator still won’t work, but I can live without it.
Those are some of my first-world gripes. I’m definitly not regretting the Oculus Rift purchase one bit…it’s something that has to be experienced that text or a YouTube video cannot fully describe.