Flieger, grüß' mir die Sonne, grüß' mir die Sterne und grüß' mir den Mond. Dein Leben, das ist ein Schweben, durch die Ferne, die keiner bewohnt! - Hans Albers, F.P.1 antwortet nicht (Adaptation in the 80s: Extrabreit)

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Oculus Rift news around the E3

Waiting is sometimes frustrating. When I started this blog almost a year ago, by writing about my experiences with the game Elite: Dangerous, it was always with the prospect that this game in combination with the Oculus Rift will provide for a revolutionary experience in a virtual world. My test of the DK2 during the Elite: Dangerous Premiere Event confirmed my theory. However, the development of both the Oculus Rift, as well - at least as I am concerned - of Elite: Dangerous as one of the best possible experiences with the Oculus Rift, are still going on. Also, this being the main reason why my game time with Elite: Dangerous is on hold. I can power play already in lots of games, this is not really the revolutionary gaming which I got initally hooked for with Elite: Dangerous. I want the full virtual reality experience, and a free universe where you can go everywhere, i.e. including in Elite: Dangerous the feature of being able to land on planets is a must, if you adhere to this vision.

Scanning the news about the E3, there´s of course as usual lots of mainstream crap and no-content-news, but a nice surprise is the news about an Oculus Rift controller. Oculus Rift already mentioned several times that they are working on it. It looks good, those folks have a sound idea of how virtual reality could be properly accessed, and it is well received. Here is a nice article on IGN.

So, the idea is to bring your sense of presence into a virtual environment and also bring at least your hands along. There are already ideas and prototypes about some hand-motion-capturing tools, but it seems Oculus Rift went a way which is both conservative, by make it more resemble to a classic game controller, as well as innovative, by translating and linking these controller movements as best as possible into virtual hand movements.

BTW, game controllers in general have since long been amazing me how crappy they are. I mean, an avid gamer will easily spend 10 hours on a good day working with such a device. And they are at least from an ergonomical point of view, but also in terms of control options, a plain piece of shit. The best ergonomic sollution which I had found for me when I still played on consoles was the old SEGA Mega Drive controller, by holding it between thumbs and index fingers of both hands and pushing the controls with index and middle and ring fingers from both hands. But this "thing" they have for the Sony PS, X-Box, Nintendo, etc., I do not understand how people can accept to be reduced in their game experience to using only their thumbs, 90% of the time?!?

As full blooded PC Gamer, my right hand mouse has at least index and middle finger active, the rest guides the mouse itself, while the left hand rests fully on the middle of the keyboard, with all five fingers active. Instead of WASD, I have ZGHJ (on a German QWERTZ-layout) as the central keys, with action buttons keyed to all sourrounding keys, including down-far-off onces for my pinkie. No current mainstream console controller can get near this a strong level of control.

I am very curious if the Oculus Rift controller will be able to improve the control experience, with that neat trick of simulating your main hand movements, and having four fingers each from both left and right hand active. And the design looks very ergonomic, on top!

- ergonomically sound, reminds me of those highly professional foil-fencing handles

It looks good, both visual and in theory already. Need to test it! Preferably with the - finally getting close to release - Oculus Rift!

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