Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Dirt Rally VR, Shon's Car Mechanic Simulator

Dirt Rally VR

  • One of the main reasons that I bought a Rift was to play driving games and they finally released a patch to add VR to the game.
  • I can easily say the best VR game that I've played.
  • They took their time and fully added VR support, this isn't some half-baked addon, the update was over 10G so it touched nearly every file in the game and it shows.
  • When you start up the game you are in what looks to be a tire with a huge screen in front of you showing you the intro video and the menus.  It's really slick, Codemasters has always done a good job with their menus.
  • Since this is VR there is a possibility that you may get a little motion sick so they rate each track with a comfort meter.  I tried the lowest level and after 2 races I did feel a bit of motion sickness but after I played the game more I haven't experienced that feeling again.  Your body should adjust to VR it might take a bit of time.  
  • Once the race begins and you are in the cockpit of the car it just feels awesome.  Looking around and seeing your co-driver with their cheat sheets as they start telling you about the race is just cool.
  • While I was revving up the engine I looked down and they drivers leg was matching my motion of the gas pedal.
  • The actual racing feels perfect, I'm able to really get a feel for the track and can hit corners much better and also the sense of speed and motion is greater so you can make subtle gas/brake adjustments quicker.
  • My first race I hit a water puddle and it completely obstructed my view and as soon as my wipers swept across my screen I saw a fence post and plowed right into it.  It was an intense moment as I thought I was really there.
  • The graphics look really nice, it still has the screen door effect but I really don't notice it at all since the tracks are full of curves and the environment envelopes the track.  I noticed it much more in Assetto Corsa since you can look far off into the distance.  There is a trick in the Oculus debugger that will allow you to increase the pixel density that will make the games look better with the cost of performance.  I haven't tried that yet but will in the future.  
  • I am really impressed with this version of the game and it has made my track times much better.  
  • Kudos to Codemasters. 

Serpentine Belt

  • Speaking of cars my serpentine belt broke yesterday and I attempted to fix it myself.
  • I had been hearing scraping noises recently and thought I was me running over something in the road.
  • Nope it was my belt just shredding to pieces.
  • I can say that I am grateful for a praying mother as the belt finally broke when I was backing out of my driveway returning to work from lunch. If this happened while I was driving.....
  • I had to walk to the parts store and luckily one is really close but the Levy hill is a bear to climb. 
  • I picked up my belt and got a 19mm socket for the tension rod but bought the larger socket version, First mistake.
  • On some of the videos they mentioned that you can take off the front passenger wheel to make it easier.  As I was taking off the lug nuts one of the bolts broke off. Yay!  Second Mistake.  
  • There are 6 different pulleys that I have to wrap the belt around so that takes some time to get the cable on 5 of them. Once that is done I tried using the larger socket and just knew it wouldn't fit.  I was right, I could get the socket on but not the ratchet.  
  • So I walked back down to the store and exchanged the part, No price different though!!!
  • Get the socket on and pull the tension bolt and there is not enough torque to get the belt on.  I find a curtain rod that fits over the ratchet and use that to help pull down the ratchet, but it's still not enough as the rod hits the car frame. 
  • Now I'm wondering if I got the right belt.  I walked to another store which was farther away and the belt I had was the right one, but I was able to rent a serpentine belt toolset. Third Mistake. 
  • I carry that back home and it doesn't even have a 19mm socket, so much for a complete kit.  It does have a larger bar that I can use, but it's too long and just like the curtain rod it hits my car.  
  • I did try a small wrench that I could attach to the ratchet but it was difficult to grip but I did press it down quite far but just not enough.  
  • I did this for about 2 hours and still wasn't convinced that I had the right belt.  It just didn't feel right that I had to press down that hard.  I knew it had to be tight but this was ridiculous.  None of the videos seemed this tough.  
  • I look over at my battery and notice that one of the arms of the  positive post clamp has broken in two.  Third Mistake. 
  • One video I found mentioned taking off part of the engine bracer so that I could get a better angle at the tension bolt.  
  • As I was trying to remove the bolts the car came off the jack.  Fourth Mistake.  
  • I get it hoisted back up and now probably I messed something else up.  
  • It was around 6 at this time and I was tired so I got cleaned up and was going to get a pvc pipe to use as better leverage the next day.  
  • I just couldn't stop though, my girlfriend came over and took me to another part store and yes I did have the right belt,  Arrggh.
  • I went to Lowes and got a PVC pipe thinking this would be the finisher.  
  • Got back and used the pipe and it's still not enough leverage.  I am really pressing down this tension bolt and fear I might break it, Fifth Mistake.  
  • JK I didn't break it. 
  • It was 10pm now and I'm just about to give up and I thought I'd try one more time with a different pulley I hadn't tried.  
  • It was under the car but somehow I managed to get a lip of the belt over the pulley and from there able to get it fully on.
  • I started the car and the belt moved the parts and I was ecstatic.
  • I put the tire back on with 4 lug nuts hoping that would be enough.
  • I fixed the battery clamp barely.  The fly nut in the package was too big for the bolt provided.  Luckily I still had the old one. 
  • It was 11 now and I took anouther shower and just sat in my recliner listening to music and drinking water for about 45 minutes.  Half falling asleep I dragged myself to bed and was sore all over. This had been a long day.
  • The total cost.  $60 and 10 hours of hard labor.  
  • I love my job.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Edge of Nowhere (Oculus)
  • Insomniac, who made the Ratchet and Clank games, have 3 VR titles in development and since it's from a major developer it feels like a real game and not just a tech demo. 
  • The game is a 3rd person action game and you are positioned behind the character at all times.  
  • It is a seated experience and you play with a controller.  I was playing in my racing chair but moved to my drum throne so that I could easily turn around and look behind me and it made the game and experience so much better. I do suggest sitting in a chair you can swivel around in easily for VR games.  
  • The game is set in the Artic and you are traversing the environment by climbing and avoiding enemies who can only hear you so it felt a bit like the Last of Us. 
  • I've only put in an hour and so far I've enjoyed it, the story is interesting and although the game play is nothing new they do have some supernatural elements which allows them to do some interesting things in VR.  
  • I'm looking forward to their 3rd VR game which is basically a Harry Potter sorcerer battle.  
The Brookhaven Experiment (VIVE)
  • I really like on the rail shooting games but the tech has never been good enough.  I thought the Wii would be perfect but it was never sensitive enough and I could never get the PS3 motion controllers calibrated correctly so that I could look down the sights and hit what I was looking at.  
  • ​I think VR is the perfect tech for this type of game but I'm not sure that I'm ready for it.  
  • ​It isn't quite an on rails shooter but it's close enough.  You start in one location and have to defeat waves of enemies then you move to a different location.  
  • Since you are in the game the creatures are coming in from everywhere and of course they will sneak up on you and I have to admit I did shout out a couple of times.  
  • All levels are at night so you have a flash light that you want to use minimally so more creatures wont appear so you are constantly trying to listen to find out where the creatures are and quickly turning the light on/off.  It's an experience that I did have to take breaks after a level or two.
  • ​There are many different weapons and upgrades and I was happy to get the laser sight.  The shooting feels really good and you can aim down the sight and hit what you are aiming at.  
  • This genre has some great potential and I wish they would port the House of the Dead and the Resident Evil shooter games ​as they were great.  
​Assetto Corsa​ (Oculus) 
  • Finally got this working in VR.  When I first tried it I didn't know that the menu's don't show up in VR so I thought it wasn't working.   
  • I tweaked a few graphics settings and the game really looks great in VR, so much better than Project Cars.
  • The detail of the cars is amazing.  It's fun just sitting in the car looking around the cabin.  I tried an open wheel car and just watched the tires and the wheel components move as I turned the wheel.  
  • ​In VR you also get a better feeling for how fast you are moving so it makes braking and hitting the apex of a turn much easier.
  • I did notice a couple of times though that I felt a bit queasy.  When I setup the resolution it only went up to 60hz so that could be the issue.  I need to run FRAPS to see what my FPS is.  
  • Dirt Rally is supposed to have it implemented sometime soon and I can't wait.  Racing in Vr is going to be awesome.