EVE: Valkyrie - hands-on at CES 2016 on Oculus Rift

There's one game arguably at the forefront of the VR revolution and that's EVE: Valkyrie. Among a crowd of VR enthusiasts at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, Shacknews gave it a look.

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One game above many others has been the talk of virtual reality circles. While EVE Online has been around for many years, it's developer CCP's spin-off that has been drawing attention for its proficient application of the virtual reality idea. The game has undergone some major visual and logistical changes since it first debuted as a Unity-built effort in April 2013. EVE: Valkyrie now puts players in the cockpit of their own starfighter in Unreal Engine 4 and throws them right into the vacuum of space, where they'll immediately fight for survival.

With Oculus Rift's final release date on the horizon, it means that Valkyrie is likewise almost finished. The near-finished state showed in the demo that I tried out at this year's Consumer Electronics Show. The demo was already unlike anything I had seen out of virtual reality thus far, as I was able to look around and feel like I was in the middle of a space station and, soon enough, feel like I was in the very middle of a galactic dogfight.

The sole disconnect for VR users might be the use of the Xbox controller (360, in the case of this demo) to navigate the fighter. Like Lucky's Tale before it, I had to quickly unlearn an old gaming staple: the right analog stick is not for the camera. You are the camera now. The idea here was to seek out enemy fighters and shoot them down with the right trigger or lock onto them by gazing at them and firing homing missiles. It's an intuitive idea and one I was able to grasp quickly.

There are a few ideas that CCP implements to help make up for some of the "gaming logic" ideas that needed to be tossed out for the sake of VR. For example, audio design and the ship's diagnostics systems is meant to help guide players towards objectives, since the game does not feature a traditional HUD. That's something of a double-edged sword, as it amplifies the realistic element, but also means you won't have a traditional radar to indicate your position on the map. You'll mostly have to determine your position based on instinct.

There are many more elements to EVE: Valkyrie that I wasn't able to try out in my short time with the game. There are numerous game modes, different ship classes, and an entire progression system. This was meant as a way to introduce me to the action and it did its job of convincing me of what VR is truly capable of. It was also remarkable to see the nausea element taken down to near-zero, which CCP's Adam Kahn attributed mostly to settling in and sitting down.

"To start with, I think we had something that worked really well because of the fact that you're sitting in a ship and you're sitting in a chair," Kahn told Shacknews. "That's one of the main reasons people don't have a problem, because even when we were running on the first dev kit, people didn't have a problem. So all the physical changes and technological changes that Oculus has enabled with low persistance, higher framerates, higher resolution certainly helps, but we think that the simulation nature, your brain understands that you're in a cockpit, is the main driver of that."

Kahn had some more to tell Shacknews, including information about single-player content and post-launch support, and that interview can be seen below. EVE: Valkyrie willl release in March and will be packed into all consumer versions of the Oculus Rift. Meanwhile, those with Oculus Rift dev kits will be able to assist CCP in its final push to release when EVE: Valkyrie begins its last alpha test on January 18.

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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    January 13, 2016 12:00 PM

    Ozzie Mejia posted a new article, EVE: Valkyrie - hands-on at CES 2016 on Oculus Rift

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      January 13, 2016 3:39 PM

      Weird about the part that you had to look at enemies to lock on to them, vs having them in the center of the cockpit reticule. Seems like they aren't just giving you vision control, but also tying targeting to it, which is different from all other Simulation games with head tracking so far.

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        January 13, 2016 3:40 PM

        seems to make sense to me, there's no reason an advanced spacecraft would need to be physically oriented toward a target to lock on surely? ...then again it probably wouldn't need a pilot either but that wouldn't be fun

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          January 13, 2016 3:58 PM

          Yes, but you kind of lose the freedom to look where you want because now where you're looking is tied to how well you do? I dunno it almost seems less immersive?

          I guess we'll see. Either way I'm looking forward to it

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        January 13, 2016 4:10 PM

        this is how the HMD on many modern aircraft works, notably the Apache attack chopper. basically you can target things by just looking at them, so literally anywhere you can see, you can shoot.

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          January 13, 2016 4:10 PM

          ah, meant to reply to GloriousCow but it works here too i guess

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            January 13, 2016 4:25 PM

            Oh really? Interesting! I'm cautiously optimistic then

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        January 13, 2016 5:22 PM

        Believe it or not, there are real targeting systems in combat aircraft that work this way.

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      January 13, 2016 4:17 PM

      The only VR game I want to play so far, but not enough for new PC and Rift.

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      January 13, 2016 4:32 PM

      Is this gonna be the modern version of Descent and cause epic amounts of VR barfing?

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        January 13, 2016 5:11 PM

        to be forever known as Varfing

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