Wednesday, May 4, 2016



In my last blog I mentioned that I decided to cancel my Vive Pre-order and I did that on Tuesday of last week.  On Saturday I got a shipping notice that my Vive would be here on Tuesday, I guess I didn't cancel on time and actually I'm glad I didn't.


  • The Rift was very easy to install as it was basically just a sensor and a headset.  The Vive has 2 base stations, 2 controllers, a breakout box, and the headset so there was more to setup, but overall it was pretty easy as well. 
  • The base stations are what allows the full room VR experience.  They are 2 small boxes that are mounted on opposite sides of your room that tracks your movement in the VR space.  They connect wireless to the Vive so you only have to connect them to a power source and not to your PC.  They do however need to see each other and the max distance is 16 feet so if you have more room than that you need to connect them together with a sync cable.  My room's width is 21 feet and I really didn't feel like crawling under the floor to run the cable. Luckily after mounting them to my walls they seemed to work fine without the cable.  I did get a message on the PC that they were too far apart but I didn't notice any problems while playing.  
  • After those were setup I connected the breakout box to my PC using an HDMI and a USB cable  The headset plugged into the box and the PC downloaded the software and now it was time to setup my play space.
  • I took one of the controllers and mapped out the area that I had cleared after moving my ping pong table and it gave me a 7x6 rectangle of space to play in.  The bigger the better.  
  • Headset Hardware
  • The headset is a bit bigger and heavier than the Rift, but it does have a camera so it has more functionality.  
  • The straps are elastic vs the more rigid straps on the Rift, but I was able to  get a comfortable fit very quickly even when moving around and the headset remained in a good focused position.  
  • The inner material on the Vive is a soft foam that feels better on my skin than the Rift.  I do need to get some covers or something though because you do sweat when playing.  
  • The cable that comes out of the Vive is a bit thick and is around 15 feet long, but I didn't find it distracting.  Even though I'm moving around a lot I didn't trip over the cable once and stepping over and around it felt second nature in about 10 minutes.  
  • I do wish the Vive had the built-in headsets like the Rift has as those are awesome.  It ships with some earbuds that are not great so I had to use my wireless headphones that worked fine, but added more weight to my head.  You can connect regular headphones to the Vive as it does have an audio cable built into it's cables, but then you have the headset cable to deal with. 
  • I did notice the weight difference of the Vive when I first put it on,  but once I started playing it was not bothersome. 
  • The front facing camera is a nice feature, I can turn it on and actually see my surroundings without having to take off my headset, which is useful in using my computer or finding my headphones.  
  • You can connect your phone to the Vive so that if you get a phone call or text it will notify you inside the headset, I didn't set that up last night so I did miss a text, sorry Mitch.  
  • Once you get everything setup it has a cool tutorial in VR that instructs you on how to use the contorllers and the interface. Creating balloon animals with the controller and batting them around was a cool first experience. 

Headset Performance

  • Just like with the Rift the first time I put it on it was awesome but the added immersion of walking around the VR space 
  • quickly put my initial Rift experience to shame.  
  • I didn't think walking around would make that much of a difference but combined with the interaction of the controllers I really felt that I was in a new world. 
  • The Vive does have the same screen door effect but I didn't notice it as much as the Rift.  I am getting used to it so it doesn't bother me as much as it used to.  
  • The FOV seems a bit larger than the Rift so I get to see more of the world which is a nice thing.  
  • In the setup you map your play area and it uses that mapping to alert you when you are getting close to your boundaries.  It puts up a blue grid that outlines a wall which is pretty slick.
  • I've read reviews and opinions about how more comfortable the Rift was over the Vive, but for me it was the opposite. It was heavier but I found that it fit better and since I wasn't stationary the feeling of having a headset on was diminished.  It was a bit more difficult to take on and off due to the external headphones but it wasn't a big issue. 
  • Controller Performance
  • It's a shame that the Rift didn't ship with controllers as they do make a huge difference in the experience.  
  • The controllers do look bulky but they feel great in your hands.  There are only 5 buttons and a track pad which is similar to the one's on the steam controller so it felt familiar.  
  • They are location mapped so they show up in your view in VR and the mapping seems great as I was able to shoot where I pointed and it didn't feel off as it does with the PS motion controllers or the Wii.  
  • They do have haptic feedback which is amazing.  When you touch something in the VR world you do feel like you've touched something.  The effect is subtle but works very well.  

Software Impressions

  • The Vive uses Steam VR which is basically just the Steam window in VR so it's not as cool as the Oculus home space so there are improvements that need to be made in that aspect  
  • Getting in and out of games worked well and I didn't have the issues of the Rift where sometimes games didn't quit properly so I had take off my headset and stop them manually. 

Game Impressions

The Lab

  • This is a free download that is basically tech demos but it does have the comedic style of the Portal games so it's very entertaining.
  • In one game I was launching robots at crates, kind of like Angry Birds, and it was a lot of fun as each robot had a different personality and it would comment before I would launch them.  
  • Another I was standing on a mountain with my robot dog tossing sticks for him to fetch.  
  • The best game was controlling a small ship which was mapped to one of my controllers and I was in an arena shooting enemies while avoiding there shots.  It sounds a bit dull but in VR seeing the shots all around you is a cool experience. 

Space Pirate Trainer

  • You are basically standing on a ship deck holding dual laser pistols as flying robots are attacking you in waves.
  • The bullets come at you slowly so that you can dodge or pull a shield from your back to deflect them.   
  • It's still in early access, but It has an online leaderboard so it does promote replay.  


  • I love Audiosurf and this is made by the same developer so it feels very similar except that instead of racing on a track to your music you are blocking the beats of the music. 
  • You have one shield in each hand which is a different color, red and blue, and you must block the matching colored beats which are basically orbs, some beats are purple so you have to combine the shields  
  • The beats(orbs) can be just a single orb or sometimes they are grouped together in a pattern that you must match.  
  • This variance along with the haptic feedback feels awesome in VR as each orb hits your shield and explodes you feel the impact.  
  • The game is intense and by the end of 2 songs I was covered in sweat.  

Budget Cuts Demo

  • Just a demo but does show the cool games that will be coming to VR later this year.
  • Kind of a stealth game where you are moving around in a real world environment killing robots.  
  • You only have a small area that you can walk around in but if you want to move through the world you shoot a blob out of a gun that lets you look around the area and if it's clear you will teleport to that spot.  
  • From there you may need to find a key to open a lock that may be in a drawer that you must open and close using your controller. There are grates that must be removed and to look through them you must duck down so there is a lot of movement made by the player. 
  • I found some knives and was sneaking up on the robots and taking them out, one time looking over a second floor balcony the other a quick move behind the robot.  
  • I thought the Rift was cool enough and decided that I didn't want to try the Vive, but I'm glad that I did as I think the Vive is a better VR experience. 
  • The caveat is that you do need a fair amount of space to be able to play most games.  The Vive does support sitting and standing games just fine but after walking around in VR I kind of want that activity as it's different enough from just playing regular games.  
  • The Vive costs $200(+$100 with taxes and shipping) more than the Rift , but you do get everything you need to have a complete VR experience.  If you have to choose between the 2 and have the money I would recommend the Vive at this point.  
  • The Rift's controllers are supposed to come out this summer which will even the odds a bit but they will need another sensor to emulate full room VR and if that needs to be connected to the PC by a USB cable like the current one it might not be as clean of a setup. 
  • Once again even though the experiences are cool it is not going to replace they way you play games today. There are no 20 hour or even 8 hour plus games yet so the library of games is still a work in progress.  
  • And that is a major thing, VR games need to be built using the strengths of the platform and not just port over conventional games.  I want new ways to interact with gaming and right now it does satisfy that itch and in a couple of years I think the tech will be there so that the average person can enjoy VR without the high cost and developers will be able to create amazing games.   

New Releases - Not really much to choose this week,  my pick of the week would be SUPERHOT on the Xbox One. I'm just not into MOBA likes so Battleborn could be your cup of tea.  And remember Uncharted 4 comes out next week.


Airline Director 2
The Beggar's Ride
Castle Heist: Chapter 1
Color Chaos
Cyber City 2157: The Visual Novel
Earn to Die 2
Fantasy Tales Online
Fragments of Him
I and Me
Imhotep, Pyramid Builder
Kathy Rain
Liveza: Death of the Earth
Magic Quest
Mystery Castle
The Temporal Invasion
Spunk and Moxie
Yon Paradox


Coffin Dodgers
Neverending Nightmares
The Park
Push Me Pull You
Shadow Complex Remastered
Table Top Racing: World Tour

Xbox One

Coffin Dodgers
The Park


Neverending Nightmares
Ray Gigant

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