Eyes-on with Oculus Rift VR

IndieCade featured a dedicated booth for the Oculus Rift VR and now seemed like as good a time as any to try it out and get some first-hand impressions of Nostrum, Dumpy: Going Elephants, and Dreadhalls, as well as impressions of the peripheral itself.


IndieCade was home to standout gaming titles and next-gen consoles, but the event also hosted the exciting Oculus Rift VR peripheral. This was my first opportunity to get my hands on the highly-praised headset, though I must confess I felt somewhat anxious. Even decades later, I had flashbacks (and headaches) recalling the failed Nintendo Virtual Boy and wondered if this would be a similar experience.

After trying it out with several games, I walked away amazed. This is not the gimmicky peripheral I was expecting. Oculus Rift showed amazing potential and a level of immersion that I had never experienced before.

The first impression that I got when playing the games on-hand was that the Oculus Rift completely eliminates the notion of faulty camera work. With this device, you are the camera. With no noticeable latency to speak of, you can check out the environment simply by turning your head.

Dumpy: Going Elephants was a rather unique experience for Rift. You are in control of an elephant, and as you move along, you can see your trunk swinging in front of you. Dumpy allows you to go on a pachyderm rampage, knocking objects over, Godzilla-style--all in VR!

"What we wanted to do with the Rift was to make a game that's playable for anybody who just walks up and plays it and also uses the core affordances of the Rift, which is head movement and the depth and immersion that you get from VR," explained Dumpy co-creator Brian Schrank. Schrank adds that working with the Rift has been a simple process, because of how well it works with Unity. "All of the technical stuff is taken care of, so you're really just dealing with design issues and using the Rift effectively."

Horror game Dreadhalls also shows off Oculus' potential. Set in a dimly-lit castle dungeon, you must explore, with random ambient noises emanating from every corner. The idea is to trudge forward with a controller and use it to explore, never knowing what's lurking in the shadows. Sure enough, as I walked forward, I was attacked by a large monster that jumped out of nowhere. This was the moment that I saw the Rift for what it could be. It was a fairly routine gaming moment, but because the headset had me fully immersed in the moment, it felt far more realistic and the scare was much more intense.

I'm pleased to say that the Oculus Rift VR has won me over. It's one thing to hear about the peripheral's potential, but it's an entirely different thing to strap one on and experience it personally. This is a potential game-changer for first-person experiences, especially in genres like horror.

Oculus Rift VR is still in development and the final version is expected to be ready in 2014.

Senior Editor

Ozzie has been playing video games since picking up his first NES controller at age 5. He has been into games ever since, only briefly stepping away during his college years. But he was pulled back in after spending years in QA circles for both THQ and Activision, mostly spending time helping to push forward the Guitar Hero series at its peak. Ozzie has become a big fan of platformers, puzzle games, shooters, and RPGs, just to name a few genres, but he’s also a huge sucker for anything with a good, compelling narrative behind it. Because what are video games if you can't enjoy a good story with a fresh Cherry Coke?

From The Chatty
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    October 11, 2013 12:30 PM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, Eyes-on with Oculus Rift VR.

    IndieCade featured a dedicated booth for the Oculus Rift VR and now seemed like as good a time as any to try it out and get some first-hand impressions of Nostrum, Dumpy: Going Elephants, and Dreadhalls, as well as impressions of the peripheral itself.

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      October 11, 2013 1:13 PM

      Don't forget to put if it 0wns or not in the article preview!!

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        October 11, 2013 1:25 PM

        Oh, you can probably read between the lines.

        It 0wns

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      October 11, 2013 1:22 PM

      Haha, that Dumpy game looks fun as fuck.

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        October 11, 2013 2:27 PM

        It's a fun little concept. It certainly made me want more.

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      October 11, 2013 1:43 PM

      I just hope games do not start to develop around VR like some are with a Kinect or Eye. Still feels like VR is a gimmick to me...

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        October 11, 2013 2:03 PM

        So you have not tried it yet, and you don't want developers to take the peripheral's strengths into account. Gotcha.

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      October 11, 2013 2:10 PM

      I want this on my face...literally.

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      October 11, 2013 3:03 PM

      Not to sound like the typical stoner, but do you think you will be able to play games with VR super blazed and not get sick? The Dumpy game made me think of this as it is full of bright colors and sounds.

      Also I've read a lot on VR, and people get headaches and get sick. I can barely play Mirror's Edge without getting a little nauseous, does that mean I won't be able to use VR without sucking it up and going through it?

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      October 11, 2013 3:10 PM

      how heavy does it feel?

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        October 11, 2013 3:13 PM

        It actually didn't feel all that heavy to me. I won't go so far as to say it was comfortable, but I wouldn't call it weighty or anything.

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        October 11, 2013 3:17 PM

        The devkit doesn't feel that heavy. I beat all of Quake 1 Ep 1 in a single session wearing it, and felt no real discomfort.

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      October 11, 2013 7:27 PM

      I don't trust it because it could hurt your eyes off

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      October 11, 2013 7:34 PM

      Countdown to the Dumpy mod that replaces your trunk with a penis...

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      October 14, 2013 3:42 AM

      First time i trusted an online job add and managed to make 90$ in 5 hours... ℰ­x­i­t­3­5­.­c­o­m

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      October 14, 2013 3:49 PM

      check out this mmo rpg which is compatible with the oculus...it's running an entire vr platform..god, if you can combine mmo_rpg_vr....I may fall in love...

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