Saturday, 23 April 2016 00:00

HTC Vive and VR, in General

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Speaking as a Valve Fanboy, the new game “The Lab” is quite exciting, with exceedingly cool VR experiences and quite a lot of that classic Portal humor that an abundance of people enjoy, myself included.

At present, I don’t own a HTC Vive, but thanks to the power of YouTube I’ve seen what The Lab has to offer and it’s pretty neat.

From what I have seen the best part is the Slingshot game with several fully-voiced Portal cores, some of which are voiced by Justin Roiland (creator of Rick and Morty), that you interact with and shoot Angry Birds-style. The other encounters in the tech demo are the Dota 2 Secret Shop, Robot Repair, Longbow, Xortex, 3D Human Body, 3D Solar System Model, the various Postcard scenes and the Lab itself, the hub which allows access to the other demonstrations.

Along with The Lab, there has been an explosion of virtual reality-based games and VR support for popular games such as Surgeon Simulator. No doubt there are plenty of people in therapy already over the horror games, such as The Visitor.

The HTC Vive was in development for quite a long time, now that it has moved off into retail perhaps we will see more focus on Valve developing games, non-VR ones, because honestly I, like many others, can’t afford to buy an $800 headset. That’s looking at the situation negatively though. The Valve Corporation has simply become a video game hardware company for the past couple years, with the Steam Box, Steam Controller and now the HTC Vive.

I fully expect Valve to create more virtual reality support within their popular titles, much like making Team Fortress 2 compatible when the Oculus Rift came out, and the virtual reality Spectator Mode for Dota 2, teased recently with the Vive release.

Perhaps, Left for Dead 3 will have support for the Vive, along with the other headsets. Wishful thinking, but maybe even Half-Life 3 will be suited for VR as well.

When virtual reality was introduced into the mainstream with the Nintendo Virtual Boy, it was considered a bit of a joke and is seen as a complete failure, both commercially and it set VR development back for a few decades. Until now, where we have two amazing mainstream headsets, that once popularity picks up, beyond the early adopters, will have more reasonable and competitive prices. Currently VR headsets are still seen as niche, but Valve and HTC give the impression that they want to change that.

It is still fairly early to tell whether or not the Vive will be a complete success, but with Valve’s seal of approval it appears likely. Considering the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift are first generation headsets, the virtual reality technology, controllers, comfort, design and the relating games will be refined with time. With the price tag and presently few games for the platform, it is seemingly best to hold off, unless you’re a VR enthusiast, then by all means, but remember, deliveries are backordered for months.

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Jonathan Chagnon

Jonathan is a writer at heart, with video games and reading being his main hobbies. Ever since elementary school, he had a passion for writing and books in general. His first video game console was a secondhand SNES from a yard sale. After that he was hooked in by friends and currently plays the most popular genre, the MOBA. Yet his favorites are still single-player games like Batman:Arkham Asylum, Half-Life 2, Pokemon Emerald and Portal 2.