HTC Vive rolled into town at SMU university last month, where Veena and I got to try out their latest demos with the developer headset. Here's a rundown of our experience:
Startup Room: HTC puts you in a white Matrix room surrounded by images of the games you will be trying shortly. To get you oriented with the controls and being in a virtual environment, they have you blow up balloons and toss them into the air. Once you feel comfortable they start your demo.
Blue Whale Experience: This was a beautiful and calming experience. Semi interactive as the fish respond to your movement on the deck of the wrecked ship, but your are in a bit of a fish bowl with the various sea creatures further away. The blue whale was stunning in its enormity. I felt tiny even though in reality I was wandering around a partitioned room on a university campus.
Job Simulator: The learning curve for me was somewhat steeper than the average joe, but it was my favorite part of the demo! As I got the hang of it I was able to toss donuts and fire people with ease. My favorite part was when I missed that the password was 101 and typed in a bunch of numbers to login to the computer only to have it say "Close Enough" and let me in anyway.
Zombie Shooter: I'll admit it, I'm terrible a first person shooter games. I get on Halo and run into walls because dual joysticks were never my thing. I figured now that my head is guiding the camera I might have some better luck at shoot-em-up games. Unfortunately with minimal shooting practice I was horribly inaccurate but enjoyed killing Zombies nonetheless. The only thing that I thought could be improved was the ability to hear where the zombies were coming from directionally (this might have just been due to the headphones not being surround sound). I'd be shooting in one direction then only notice the zombie on top of me when it's hand swiped the corner of where I was looking.
Tilt Brush: This is basically the ultimate paint program. You can create 3D images with animated brush strokes, like a streak of fire or shooting stars. I had fun just testing the different brushes, but I wished I felt like I could create a 3D picture a little easier (not that I had enough time to get adjusted). I basically was making blobs and writing peoples' names in the air with some difficulty.
I truly had a blast using the Vive for the first time, especially only having used Oculus once before this. The technology was intuitive and I loved how well it tracked you through the room. I cannot wait to purchase one of these in the future and hopefully get to develop some projects for the platform!