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Hands-On With The HTC Vive

Kitchen Nightmares

Now it was time to put my virtual culinary skills to the test. The next demo was Owlchemy Labs’ VR game Job Simulator, and the job I was going to be simulating today was chef. Of all the demos I tried on the Vive, this one had the most things that you could do.

I found myself standing in a kitchen, and while the graphics were a lot less realistic than the preceding demo, the experience was just as impressive, but for different reasons. For the demo, I was instructed to make some soup in a limited amount of time, following a recipe displayed on a screen on the wall in front of me. Of course, I started off by completely ignoring the instructions.

In this demo, there was a cartoon representation of my hands, and the first thing I did was pick up the rolling pin with one and throw it as far as I could. I then picked up bottle of wine, accidentally dropped it, then bent down to try and pick up the broken glass (which I sadly couldn’t do). Next, I put another bottle of wine in the microwave behind me and zapped it, which turned it into a smoking pile of goop.

With time running out, I went back to trying get the soup made and started tossing ingredients into the pot. There weren’t enough mushrooms on the tablet, so I had to go in the fridge (that had a time-saving automatic opening door) to grab some more. As the clock ticked down, I started panicking that I wouldn’t get it done in time. In my haste, instead of figuring out that you can pick up the hot sauce and shake it over the pot to season the ingredients, I simply tossed the bottle in the pot. This still worked, and my ingredients were magically transformed in a can of soup that I quickly put on a tray at the pass to be whisked off by a robotic waiter.

Even though the graphics in this demo were a lot simpler than any of the others, my level of immersion was just as high because of the freedom of movement and level of interactivity this demo allowed. It didn’t matter if the tomato I picked up didn’t look like a real one. The fact that I could simply reach out with my arm and pick it up in virtual space the same way I would in meatspace meant that subconsciously I felt like I was actually there.

Also, the 360 degrees of movement that the Vive allows for meant that I could effortlessly navigate the game space with both of my hands, my feet and my body to get the task assigned to me done.

Out of all the demos I played, I’d have to say that I had the most fun playing the Job Simulator demo because it was the most interactive of them all. As we all know, gameplay always trumps visuals, even in VR.

  • CaedenV
    It is going to be pretty hard to figure out which VR headset to pick up next year. First I need to get a newer GPU to drive one though... no way my old GTX570 is going to be pushing two 1200p+ displays, especially at 90Hz lol.
    Reply
  • vertigo_2000
    I'm sold, take my money.
    Reply
  • spladam
    You cried? They moved you to tears with this tech? It sounds cool, but how do you know you are not still in VR?
    Reply
  • zerghumper
    Ok here's my question and no article on the Vive / Valve VR that I've read so far has answered it:

    Will games have to be written from the ground up to support the Vive, or like the Oculus Rift, can support be modded into a game? I know most of the features Vive brings to the table wouldn't be supported, but what about head-tracking? This is the one reason this decision is so difficult for me. I keep seeing developers being blown away by the Vive, but I wonder, will I be able to use it to go play minecraft, STALKER, Alien Isolation, and other games that already do support the Oculus?

    Either way this future excites me and I can't wait to see what games get made with this system in mind!
    Reply
  • DelightfulDucklings
    The main thing I want to know is if there will be a Vive that excludes the movement sensors as I personally don't have the space where my PC is setup to stand up and move around at all so I will be only able to sit. I'm sure they must have thought of this but I just haven't seen it mentioned much
    Reply
  • Hector M Torres
    Sitting inside a giant MecWarrior or flying a Space Fighter ( with simulated full 360 degree range of view/movement will be awesome ) , Tank battles , flying Jet fighters, i can see a few great games made so much better with this new tech,I can't wait !
    Reply
  • alex davies
    Ok here's my question and no article on the Vive / Valve VR that I've read so far has answered it:

    Will games have to be written from the ground up to support the Vive, or like the Oculus Rift, can support be modded into a game? I know most of the features Vive brings to the table wouldn't be supported, but what about head-tracking? This is the one reason this decision is so difficult for me. I keep seeing developers being blown away by the Vive, but I wonder, will I be able to use it to go play minecraft, STALKER, Alien Isolation, and other games that already do support the Oculus?

    Either way this future excites me and I can't wait to see what games get made with this system in mind!

    The Vive use's Valve's SteamVR platform, which is a set of APIs that any developer can support in their games, and any or all aspects of the platform can be incorporated. So if there is a game that just needs to use the Vive's head-tracking feature, there is no reason a developer can't just support that one feature.

    From what I understand the Vive is the first of hopefully many solutions built on SteamVR. There may be different versions of the Vive from HTC themselves (such as a kit without the controllers etc.), or there may be cheaper headsets from other manufacturers that are built on SteamVR.

    Either way, I think if one is questioning if games that currently support Oculus now will also support SteamVR in the future, I would say most definitely. That is, other than platform exclusives, which there surely will be a few of -- for example, I'm pretty sure EVE: Valkyrie will be Oculus and Morpheus only.
    Reply
  • alex davies
    The main thing I want to know is if there will be a Vive that excludes the movement sensors as I personally don't have the space where my PC is setup to stand up and move around at all so I will be only able to sit. I'm sure they must have thought of this but I just haven't seen it mentioned much

    I'm sure there'll either be a Vive starter kit minus the controllers, or another OEM will partner with Valve to make an entry-level SteamVR headset for sit down only gaming experiences.
    Reply
  • gaborbarla
    Interesting read Alex, I think now you need to quickly go and test the latest version of Oculus and give us feedback on it. I have disappointing review of the Vive before and glad to hear that you found the opposite. I really want this technology to succeed and we need fast and accurate tracking, high Hz, Hi-res screens, and no motion sickness. From your article it seems like they are on track with achieving this. Hope they don't scale it down due to commercial reasons. I rather spend 500-1000USD and get something decent. Anyways a comparison to the competitors from your perspective would be great. If I remember correctly the Vive requires some sensors/reflectors to be installed in the room where you use it which is something that we can get rid of eventually for sure.
    Reply
  • cats_Paw
    Ill wait untill there is a comparison by someone who I can call unbiased (dont know this reviewr, but Id better make sure).
    I will buy a VR, no doubt, but want the best one, even if I have to overpay a bit.
    I want to run it at high fps, no motion sickness, etc etc etc.
    Then I will fire up crysis for my unsuspecting new lady friend :D.
    Reply