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Dr Seuss

Virtual Reality...Please educate me

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Alright, I am considering getting into virtual reality, as I have heard really good things about it. But before I go up and buy a 500$ headset, I want to know what I can to know if I'm making a mistake by buying one thing over the other, etc.

First question. What virtual reality headset should I get? I would assume pc-powered vr is better, and I would much rather pc anyways, but is there a difference on the brands? I've been looking at the Occulus Rift S, as it's in my budget and it's pc powered, are there any other brands that I should know about that is better?

Second Question: I've heard of something called "screen door effect" that people complain about on VR, I've looked it up and kinda know what it is, but is that a problem anymore? Did they fix it? 

Third Question: I've heard of a pc/laptop being "VR ready". What does that mean? Do you have to have certain programs installed to do vr? Or is it just saying that it fits the vr requirements? 

Fourth Question: Is VR worth it with the build I have? Here's my build: CPU: Intel I5-4590, 12gb ddr3 ram, GTX 970. It's not technically a full gaming pc, but it fits the reccommended requirements for VR. I'm not looking at going all out in vr, I just want to experience what everyone is talking about. Is that possible without changing my build?

Fifth Question: Is there a time of the year to buy where it is cheaper? 

Sixth Question: Any other things I should be aware of when it comes to vr?

 

Thanks ahead of time, I'm trying not to be clueless, so any info is appreciated

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Regarding Q3, "VR Ready" is just a marketing buzzword. It means nothing at all. Heck, you can even slap a VR Ready sticker on a piece of tempered glass.


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1) The Valve Index is the best of the best right now. Personally I have the Samsung Odyssey+ and can vouch for it. One thing to note with the Rift S is that there is no mechanical IPD adjustment. This figure is the distance your pupils are from one another and Facebook says the Rift S is calibrated for people between 56mm and 74mm. If you are outside that range you might have trouble with the Rift S. 

 

2) SDE is on a model by model basis still. Some are better about it than others. Generally, the higher resolution the screen, the better the effect will be. 

 

3) Download SteamVR performance test. VR ready doesn't really mean much for hardware but you do generally want your games to have head tracking and support for the controllers. 

 

4) It's been my experience that most games that have performance issues on lower end hardware also have issues on the higher end. 

 

5) idk

 

6) There is a lack of 'serious games.' I am having fun with Boneworks, and I'm constantly in elite:dangerous or No Man's Sky. However, 90% of my VR game library are party trick games that I show to guests or the family when they visit. For spending 500$ I think most people would be better off upgrading some other component of their PC. That said, if those kinds of games are your kind of thing then you ought to have a look at the Oculus Quest since it's wireless and doesn't need a computer. 


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That rig would struggle with a lot of VR content TBH.


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7 hours ago, Dr Seuss said:

Alright, I am considering getting into virtual reality, as I have heard really good things about it.

I think it's actually on it's way back out, as none of the VR products ever became market viable, and even the best ones are simply better due to additional feature sets ( The Vive Cosmos https://www.vive.com/us/product/vive-cosmos/features/ is 700 USD) and there's no standardization on what they do. So one piece of software supports head tracking and eye tracking, and another only does head tracking, and so forth. 

 

There's also no software out there that isn't just a vanilla port of a standard 3D game to use the HMD, that doesn't really immerse you in it.

 

So to answer 1. I don't think you should invest in VR unless there are games that you actually want to play that are either VR-exclusive or VR-enhanced in a way that you're willing to learn.

 

2. The screen door effect is because the screen is inches from your face, even a 24" 4K computer screen you can still see this if you put your face within 3" of the screen, which is about where a HMD is. I don't believe there will be viable VR kit without a screen door until 8K HDR kit comes down to small screens, which may still be a while. Most small screens are 2K (1080p) and we're not there.

 

3. No such thing as "VR-Ready" that just means the hardware is "good enough" for the worst VR experience in the same way that "minimum requirements" for 30 years have meant "you can run it but it will be not a pleasant experience."

 

4. That build is too low spec. You need a i7 or i9 with at least a 7th generation CPU to make use of a GPU that is capable, and only the entry level is nVidia GTX 1070 for low resolution VR. Remember, since the way VR kit works, is that it takes one view field, cuts it in half, and then applies a distortion to it to work with the lens in the HMD, so effectively the GPU has to render each scene twice, thus the GPU requirements immediately double, and double in a way that simply moving to a higher resolution wouldn't. I probably wouldn't invest in VR unless you want to spend money on a new build especially to do VR to be honest.

 

5. No, unless something amazing comes out in the next 2 years, an entire game console generation will have gone by with almost nothing to show for it in VR tech.

 

6. You still need controllers for some kits and we're not get there for real 6DOF, and very few games actually use 6DOF (mostly space shooters, of which none are VR. edit: I take that back I forgot about flight sims.) to begin with, so that might not really be an issue. What is an issue is that we're still doing "buttons" rather than gloves with haptic feedback, so a VR experience doesn't feel different enough from a Xbox One experience to justify the investment.

 

Admittedly that sequel to Halflife 2, Alyx looks like it might be the first game that actually uses VR as intended. Most everything else seems like they're either half baked tech demos or tacked-on to FPS games and that's just not a reason to spend more money than a game console.

 

Steam lists 4006 titles that are VR-only, of which 3063 are games, and 2040 are listed as indie, and 44 as MMO. So up to you.

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I've been in the vr game for a while, so maybe I can help with this.

1.

You want to get a pc-powered headset. Standalone vr is very limited in its capabilities and the headsets will (and some already have) become obsolete very quickly.

PC-powered vr so far has a great history of compatibility and you can improve the experience going forward when you upgrade your hardware in the future.

 

Which exact headset to buy is a bit harder to answer. For your specific case I would recommend looking for pre-owned options. You should be able to get something like the original vive at a decent price by now.

Buying new will quickly exceed any sensible budget for what you want to do.

 

Make sure you buy a kit that supports full room scale and has proper vr controllers, both are crucial to getting a good vr experience.

 

2.

The screen door effect is simply the result of the relatively low resolution that most vr hmds offer. In my experience it does not keep vr from being enjoyable at all though.

Most vr game developers are well aware of the resolution issues and make sure that their games work around it.

The only way to fix the screen door effect is to use more high resolution screens which comes with a hefty increase in performance requirements.

 

3.

"vr ready" is a marketing term and pretty much meaningless. You can run vr with any reasonably strong PC. The required software is provided by the manufacturers of the hmd and usually valve.

 

4.

That build is very close to the PC I had when I started using vr. I was running an i7-4770, 16GB DDR3, and a GTX 970 as well.

The hardware is just about sufficient to get started with vr.

You will have to tweak some settings in your games and you will not be able to run most games at high settings.

For the future, any current day medium spec PC will do. The performance hurdle to enter vr is not really much of a thing anymore with current hardware.

 

5.

If you are buying used, now-ish is a good time. A lot of people are upgrading to an index for Alyx and will probably sell their old hmd for it.

If you are buying new, the usual times for discounts on electronics apply.

 

6.

Even if you don't have much space, "room scale" vr will make for the best experience. Most room scale games can be played while standing with just enough room around you to stretch your arms out.

I cannot stress enough how important this is.
Room scale allows your to freely turn, kneel, and otherwise move your body without losing tracking. It is much more immersive than pressing buttons to accomplish that, even if you can't walk around.

 

VR as a whole is in a quite interesting phase right now. The past couple years have mostly seen somewhat experimental titles as devs were coming to grips with it. 

We are now at the point where it has really sunk in that VR is not just a new kind of controller, but an entirely new medium and we are getting the first games that really make full use of what it can offer.

Many of the games that have come out so far are more "this thing but in vr" or "let's treat vr like it's a normal game with more restricted movement", but thankfully we are now leaving that behind.

VR releases have been damn good lately and it seems like Alyx will do for vr what HL1 has done for shooters and HL2 has done for physics.

 

Since you want to "experience vr", valve has made a game/experience that is perfect for getting you started. You can get "The Lab" for free on steam. The whole thing is a nice sample platter of various vr activities with very high production value.

 

If you want to look further into vr and maybe get more specific advice on what hmd to buy and where I recommend visiting the vr related subs on reddit.

https://www.reddit.com/r/virtualreality/ is a god starting point as the sidebar points to a lot of relevant places.

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Your specs are good enough to run most VR content but you are right on the entry level line.  A better GPU around GTX 1070 performance levels or better would give you some wiggle room for higher graphics settings or some super sampling without tanking your frame rate.

 

an Oculus Rift S or Oculus Quest with Oculus Link cable would be the best bet in your situation as pairing an Index with your current build doesn't make a lot of sense performance wise.

 

The Quest with Link cable will be a bit more expensive than the Rift S but does allow physical IPD adjustment if your pupils are not in the sweet spot for the Rift S static lenses and allows for the play of native Quest games totally wirelessly along with your PC VR games via the Link cable.

 

If you do go the Oculus route and might switch to a different manufacturer in the future, consider buying your games on Steam instead of the Oculus store.

There is a 3rd party app called ReVive that will allow you to play Oculus store games on other headsets but their is no guarantee that will be around forever.

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