At Oculus Connect 6, we had the opportunity to try out many of the new things announced at the event, as well as check out the latest work by developers and creators working in the VR space. In this article and video, we highlight some of the most interesting things we saw.
Cas and Chary VR is a YouTube channel hosted by Netherland-based duo Casandra Vuong and Chary Keijzer who have been documenting their VR journeys since 2016. We at Road to VR have become fans of their informative work over the years and are excited to announce that we’ll be bringing our audience a curated selection of their content under the banner ‘Cas & Chary Present’.
Game Announcements at OC6
- Vader Immortal – Episode II is now available for $10 on the Oculus Quest and Rift platforms
- Asgard’s Wrath will release on October 10
- Stormland will release on November 14
- Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond is Respawn Entertainment’s VR game, set for early 2020 release
- A game based on the Boneworks universe is coming to the Oculus Quest
- Horizon will be Facebook’s upcoming social VR game
Facebook announced that they are building AR glasses. However, they are still in the early stages, so this will take a couple more years. In the meantime, they’ve announced an ambitious mapping project called LiveMaps which aims to serve as the foundation of how their AR glasses will track and understand the real world.
The Oculus Link is an upcoming software update that allows you to connect a cable from the Oculus Quest to a VR-ready PC. With it, you can play PC VR games on your Oculus Quest with ease.
At the event, there were two booth setups for the Link. In one, you were able to play Asgard’s Wrath and in the other Stormland. In both booths, there was a 5 meter (about 16-foot) USB-C to USB-C cable.
I tried the Agard’s Wrath demo, and the game was completely playable. I did notice some video compression before starting the game in the Oculus Rift Home environment, but not so much during the game.
The Oculus Link software is set to arrive in November. To use it, you will need a compatible USB 3 cable. Oculus will also release its own optical fiber USB-C cable later this year.
Oculus Hand Tracking
Oculus announced they are adding hand tracking to the Oculus Quest, and you won’t need to buy anything extra for it. They are going to use the inside-out tracking cameras that are already on the headset to track your hands. This means that once released, you’ll only need to update your headset’s software to be able to use it.
During OC6, we were able to try out one of the hand tracking demos. The demo I played was a room-scale Wizard’s experience. Everywhere around me were tables with interactive magical objects. There was stuff to touch, pinch, hold or throw. At some point, my hands even transformed into Octopus tentacles, which was a strangely immersive feeling.
The hand tracking could track each finger accurate enough. Though, I did notice a couple of limitations. Moving my hands over or close to each other caused my hands to disappear. The tracking also seemed to have a slight latency. The game was still playable, and I think it is worth noting that this could improve over time with software updates as Oculus has done in the past with its other tracking technology..
I think this feature will be great for business solutions, healthcare, educational apps, or watching movies. I have my doubts if hand tracking in its current state will be used a lot for gaming, but time will tell.
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Above are the things we tried that were announced by Oculus. However, we also met up with developers and creators to talk about their upcoming games and hardware. Here are five more VR highlights that we discovered at OC6:
Etee Controllers (Hardware)
TG0 is working on the etee controllers. These are lightweight controllers with a proprietary plastic surface that is capacitive, which can track each finger and detect how much pressure is applied.
You put your fingers through the handle, allowing you to open your hands without dropping the controllers. During the event, I tried a demo where I could see how it tracked on their laptop. In its current form, there are no buttons. Talking to the developer, they say they can add buttons based on feedback.
A business version of these controllers goes for £1,500. The developers are aiming for a consumer version for $200, which could make this a competitor to the Valve Index controllers.
Does Mario Kart meets Mad Max sound appealing to you? Death Lap by OZWE is a VR combat racing game with an art style much like the movie Mad Max or Borderlands. It has over-the-top combat with creative vehicle designs. Each car has its strengths and weaknesses.
A player has the option to sit in the car in first or third-person. Using the joystick, you steer. With your other hand, you hold a weapon that you use to defend yourself. You can also press buttons in the car to shoot a special power or launch a pickup bonus.
I’ve tried out a demo during OC6 and I found the races to be fast-paced, intense, and a bit frantic. Even so, I did not feel motion sick.
Death Lap is playable in single and multiplayer, and integrated VoIP allows players to communicate with their opponents. The game will release on the Oculus Quest and Rift platforms.
vCoder Hero is an educational VR puzzle-action game by Keith and Angela Patterson, this year’s Oculus Launch Pad Scholarship recipients. In vCoder, you learn the fundamentals of coding by playing a game. In this game, a rogue AI infected a virtual world. It is up to you to locate the bugs, hack the system, and rewrite the code to save it.
The game has bright and cartoon-ish graphics. It consists of drag and drop elements, so there isn’t actual coding involved. Instead, you’ll learn the logic behind it, which is essential if you want to start coding. There is no release date yet.
Pixel Ripped 1995
The sequel to Pixel Ripped 1989, and again a homage to retro gaming. This time it’s a nostalgic trip to the year 1995. A historical time when the first generation of home console players were maturing from teenager to adult. During that time, games were evolving from 16-bit to the 32-bit era and from 2D to 3D environments.
Pixel Ripped stands out in its way of transporting the player from a 2D to 3D world regularly – something that feels formidable in virtual reality. In this sequel, the player plays as a boy who is in love with a retro console game. He plays this retro game on a television in his bedroom. It is the player’s task to keep attention on the 3D environment and avoid their mother – who just wants the boy to go to sleep – while trying to beat the game-in-a-game as well.
Pixel Ripped 1995 will be available on all major VR headsets: Playstation VR, SteamVR, and Oculus Rift, and Quest platforms.
Pistol Whip is an upcoming rhythm VR game that is also part first-person shooter. In this game, you only use one controller where you wield a gun. The game moves forward automatically, like an endless runner game. You’ll need to defend yourself against the Superhot-like guys that are shooting at you. Everything moves with the music. Even when you dodge a bullet, that bullet follows the beat. Pistol Whip has excellent flow and makes you feel like John Wick in a movie.
Cloudhead Games are developing the game; you might know them from their beautiful VR puzzle game The Gallery. The game is set to release before the end of the year.
Disclosure: Facebook covered Cas and Chary’s travel and accommodations to attend Oculus Connect 6.