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)

Thursday, 14 July 2016

HTC VIVE has entered the building

Sooo… it is there. <3

The day before yesterday, the new PC arrived and was totally up to expectations. A stupendously fast, quiet machine with top of the notch processing power. I never have owned a similar expensive machine ever before. Luckily, I did check the hardware before switching it on, because one RAM module was lodged off. No problems, though. It took the night to transfer and install everything from my old system.

Yesterday, the HTC VIVE and the Hotas X arrived. It was so tough being at work all day, fully knowing that the VIVE had already arrived and was waiting in my garage (very courageous service of the delivery serves, considering the packages none too small value, but I don’t mind!). Wohooo, what a party! However, patience was still required.

It takes a while to install the VIVE´s hardware, namely the two “lighthouse boxes”. Considering those, it took me most of my time to find proper screws, as I did not want to drill them into a wall, but into the wooden ceiling. It was a bit confusing to see them having a mini USB port which they actually don´t use; I spent quite some time looking for according cables. Also, the big package had a kind of a "secret" box in it, which I only found late and which had the still missing pieces of equipment. I admit, without the online-manual, I would probably have given up, so, fellows, turn on the computer after you installed the lighthouse boxes, grab the online instructions, plug and switch on exactly as that online manual tells you!

After about two hours, the HTC VIVE was ready to go. Firing up the tutorial, all my expectiations were fully met. AWESOME! After some time in the game The Lab/Longbow I was out of breath, sweaty, arms hurting, und just sat down and watched the desktop landscape. 

Watched the landscape. 

This is kind of the hallmark of VR, you feel being somewhere else. After some choosing, I decided for that default background where you float high above and look down on our beautiful blue planet. Heaven, literally.

After I was done with everything the experimental game The Lab had to offer, fantastic experiences, all of it, and the controllers were finally completely sucked out of there feeble initial battery power, I focused on Elite: Dangerous. I haven´t touched this game since before Horizons came out. First, I had to launch it once more normally to enable VR in the options. And then I gave it a spin in the training missions, together with my equally freshly bought Hotas X joystick. Quite a change from my mouse&keyboard gameplay which I had always had done before. But I still do have muscular memory from my old days with the Wing Commander games, and it quickly clicked.

However, shamefully I must admit, Elite: Dangerous made me slightly nauseous. Not sure if it is the reported graphical problems which apparently only the HTC VIVE has, or if it is just the fact that I was doing crazy loops and twists and turns all the time. I would for sure get nauseous if I attempted such maneuvers in real life! However, I also have the slight feeling that the graphic display could be slightly more stable and less flickery/blurry at times, as I noted in comparison with the absolutely perfect experience which I had in The Lab.

Nevertheless, I did persist and only left my pilot seat on already early morning. Yawn. Totally worth it!

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