Free Oculus Rift Experiences – 2017 Review

photo of Oculus Rift VR headset

The retail version of the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headset finally showed up in 2016, after several advancement kits and a number of years of work. Ever since, the outstanding Oculus Touch motion controllers have been contributed to the Rift as a single $598 bundle, slashing $100 each from the original cost of both the headset and the controllers. The Oculus Rift stays practical and immersive, if you have a computer system that can manage it. With the addition of the Oculus Touch controllers, the Rift is more attractive than the now nearly identically priced HTC Vive, though the Sony PlayStation VR is our Editors’ Choice for its ease of use as well as lower price.Free Oculus Rift Experiences

Prior to we get started, just a note that you can discover the headset on its own for around $499, though we strongly advise getting it with the Oculus Touch controllers. The controllers are readily available by themselves for $99.

 

What You Need

Official requirements for the Rift$ 399.00 at Amazon are nearly identical to the requirements for the HTC Vive. Oculus suggests an Intel i5-4590 or better CPU, an Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 or much better video card, at least 8GB of RAM, an HDMI 1.3 output, 3 USB 3.0 ports, and one USB 2.0 port. One of those ports is for the extra sensor of the Oculus Touch controller, and you can set up the Rift itself with just 2 USB 3.0 ports: one for the headset and one for the external sensing unit. I evaluated it utilizing the Origin EON17-X, which has a Core i7 6700K CPU overclocked to 4.5 GHz, an 8GB GeForce GTX 980M graphics card, and 16GB of RAM.

 

Oculus Rift Design

The Oculus Rift headset is basic and downplayed. It’s a plain black rectangular visor with rounded edges and little visual flair. The front panel is completely flat, significant just with an Oculus logo design. The sides of the visor are likewise flat, and connect to arms that pivot a little up and down and connect to the three-strap harness for securing the gadget on your head.

A strap extends from each arm around the sides of your head, with a 3rd strap extending from the top of the visor over the top of your head, conference at a padded triangle in the back. The straps are held in location with hook-and-loop fasteners, and can be quickly changed. A set of on-ear earphones rest on the arms, able to independently pivot and turn up and down to effectively fit on your ears.

By itself, the headset is fairly light and comfy. You can wear glasses with the Rift, however it will make the fit a bit tighter. I used my glasses when evaluating the headset, which assisted guarantee that I saw crisp and precise visuals. But it also made putting the Rift on and taking it off a bit uncomfortable, and depending upon the size of your frames, they might hurt your ability to use the headset for extended periods of time.

The headset links to your PC straight through a lengthy cable television that splits off near completion into HDMI and USB 3.0 connectors. The cable unwind the left strap before running clear of the headset. It’s a little bit more uncomfortable than the over-the-top-of-the-head cable of the HTC Vive, and I found myself having a hard time to find a comfortable position where the cable television didn’t sit distractingly on my shoulder. But it’s not almost as huge an issue in usage as the HTC Vive’s cable television, since the Vive is created to work when you’re walking around a set location.

The Rift by itself usages a single external sensing unit, a black cylinder that rests on a nine-inch-tall metal desktop stand. The sensing unit can tilt up and down, and need to be placed where it can preserve a clear view of the headset when in use. A 2nd, similar sensing unit tracks the Oculus Touch controllers, and the two sensing units operate in tandem to improve tracking for all the gadgets and cover a bigger area than the fixed position just one sensing unit allows.

As soon as you’re working, a 2,160-by-1,200 OLED panel is used to produce a 1,080-by-1,200 photo for each eye, separated by the lenses in the headset (much like the Vive). The lenses can be changed utilizing a little lever on the ideal underside of the visor. More on the visual themselves in a bit.

 

Controls

The Oculus Touch motion controllers originally released as an optional addition, but have actually since been added to the $598 Rift package. They aren’t the only control options consisted of in the box, though. The Oculus Remote is a little, rounded bar with a large, circular navigation pad and Back, Menu, and Up/Down buttons. The remote helpfully features a lanyard to keep it attached to your wrist when you’re utilizing the Rift. The Rift also includes an Xbox One wireless controller and a Microsoft Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows with which you can utilize it, which is handy for VR video games that use conventional, non-motion-based control plans.

With the Oculus Touch controllers, the Rift’s controls reach parity with the HTC Vive’s, which has actually consisted of movement manages from the box since its launch. We enter into more detail in our evaluation of the Oculus Touch, however it’s an extremely comfy, natural-feeling control scheme with responsive physical components like analog sticks and face buttons in addition to motion tracking.Free Oculus Rift Experiences

 

Setup

Setting up the Rift is basic. You have to download the Oculus setup software application on your PC, which will then walk you through the fairly couple of steps needed to get going. First, plug the headset and sensors into your computer system, using an HDMI and 3 USB 3.0 ports. Second, sync the remote by taking out the battery tab and pushing a button. Lastly (and additionally), plug the Xbox One receiver into a USB 2.0 port and set the gamepad with it. Once these actions are total, you can slip the headset on and delve into the Oculus software application.

At this point in the setup process, you can play any software available on the Oculus Store, but you can go further with fairly little hassle. By setting the Oculus software to load apps from unknown sources, you can get the headset to deal with SteamVR, much like the HTC Vive uses. The launch of Oculus Touch means you can now use all SteamVR games that support movement controls with the Rift. They sign up as HTC Vive movement controllers when you set them up for Steam, and work flawlessly with Vive-compatible video games.

While the Rift now has motion controls, it doesn’t quite support the exact same whole-room VR as the Vive. You can utilize it while sitting, standing, or within a location specified by the two sensing units included with the Rift and Touch. It supports a smaller space than the Vive’s wall-mountable sensors do, but this is a small sacrifice; given that the HTC Vive is tethered to your linked computer with a cable television much like the Rift, in fact walking around with the headset on requires you to be very careful not to journey over the dragging wire. It’s an immersion-breaker that hurts the experience of otherwise complimentary movement in VR. The Rift’s head tracking, along with Touch controller tracking, work effectively within the area the sensing units permit.

 

The Oculus Experience

The Rift shares the exact same resolution and refresh rate as the Vive, and as such the experience is extremely similar in between the 2. Like the Vive, the Rift produces a crisp photo with smooth motion and head tracking. In screening, the 3D effect of the stereoscopic images truly provided me the sense that the virtual objects I was looking at were really in front of me. Eventually, the Rift headset is a display, so smoothness and visual fidelity will depend on the power of your computer and sophistication of the software. In terms of hardware, however, the Rift produces a compelling virtual experience for the eyes.

I played a couple of VR titles readily available on the Oculus shop, consisting of EVE: Valkyrie, Farlands, and Lucky’s Tale. I also tried Adventure Time: Magic Man’s Head Games and Virtual Desktop, launched through SteamVR

EVE: Valkyrie is the star of the launch titles for the Oculus Rift. It’s an online, multiplayer area dogfighting game sent in the EVE universe. You play a cloned pilot who runs sorties with your team versus other, comparable squads. It comes down to the area version of team deathmatch in any first-person shooter, but it’s an appealing and relatively deep flight video game.

The format is ideal for utilizing the Rift while sitting. The view puts you in the cockpit of your picked space fighter, and you can freely look around it while staying in place. The video game itself is controlled with the Xbox One gamepad, piloting the ship with the dual analog sticks and firing with the triggers. Essentially, the VR aspect of the game is unneeded; the experience is in fact just like playing a dogfighting video game on a typical screen, simply with the ability to look easily around your cockpit (which does not offer any substantial tactical advantage). However, the immersiveness the Rift uses in totally engulfing you in this cockpit viewpoint really makes the video game feel more interesting and tense.

It isn’t a complicated financial MMO like EVE itself, and the style of fight is a bit arcade-like in how ships fly and fire, but it’s satisfying to fly around in space, shooting at people while they shoot at you. It feels like one of the most total games made particularly with VR in mind.

Farlands is a xenobiological play ground. You play a scientist on an alien world, trying to find new life kinds. You can scan different animals by looking at them, and enhance your understanding of them by feeding them foods they want. It has a very mellow quality, trying to find alien animals and seeing them eat to gradually and steadily unlock new environments to check out. While the idea appears perfect for motion controls, it was simple to play with a conventional gamepad, utilizing a reticle in the center of your view to highlight objects and walk around.Free Oculus Rift Experiences

Lucky’s Tale is a standard cartoony third-person platformer where you manage an animation fox as he goes through various levels aiming to save his pet pig. It’s an appealing experience that does not truly require VR at all. Using the Rift in a game like this lets you take a look around quickly from your above-the-action perspective. Nevertheless, you cannot easily move the cam to get a better view of a provided position relative to the character you’re controlling, which showed to be very frustrating when trying to get Lucky to collect lines of coins embeded in specific arcs in 3D space; without the ability to pan around Lucky, I could not easily align my dives.

Our review of the Oculus Touch goes into detail of what Oculus Rift games that support Touch resemble, however to sum up the experience, the optional Touch controllers make things like spray-painting walls, intending weapons, and using telekinetic powers feel really natural.

 

SteamVR

I ran Adventure Time: Magic Man’s Head Games (ATMMHG) on SteamVR to see if the Rift might manage it as smoothly as the Vive does. While SteamVR isn’t the Rift’s native platform, it displayed the user interface and loaded the video game completely, and I found it was simply as smooth and immersive as it is on the Vive (though, like with Lucky’s Tale, the real worth of playing stated third-person platformer in VR is still doubtful).

I likewise attempted Virtual Desktop, a program that projects your computer’s screen in front of you in virtual area. It was simply as practical and intriguing as it was with the HTC Vive, revealing my monitor as a giant, curved display screen around me. The software can also generate a flat screen, as well as reveal your desktop deem a television mounted on the wall of a house theater. It’s a handy way to make VR useful, even without VR-specific software. If you wish to see a video and it’s not readily available on a client for the Oculus Rift or on SteamVR, you can just pack it with Virtual Desktop.

The only drawback is the resolution of the screen. Given that the Rift shows a 1,080-by-1,200 photo to each eye, and the virtual screen appears as a floating object, it’s in fact smaller than the headset’s per-eye resolution. That indicates text can appear fuzzy and grainy unless you discover a sweet area from which to look at the screen, and reading can trigger eye stress. That stated, viewing video on Hulu and Netflix is extremely cool.

 

Final Thoughts

The Oculus Rift comfortably produces an immersive, crisp virtual reality experience that will continue to enhance with the advancement of new software application, which has been steadily coming out on both the Oculus shop and SteamVR. The release of the Oculus Touch controllers and the addition of them to the $600 headset package even more adds to the value, though the HTC Vive’s recent cut to $599 puts them on equal footing in price and functions. Both are technically outstanding, powerful VR headsets, but our Editors’ Choice remains the PlayStation VR for its lower rate and ease of usage (though it just works with the PlayStation 4, rather than a PC).

If you wish to attempt virtual reality, but you don’t want to spend at least $400, the Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream View are strong choices. They’re smartphone-based VR headsets that use a few of the best mobile VR experiences you can presently get for around $100. Nevertheless, you require a suitable phone to utilize them.Free Oculus Rift Experiences