New technology is exciting. It’s hard not to get caught up in the wave of excitement surrounding things like virtual reality. There are systems aplenty to choose from and enough peripherals to confuse even the most in-the-know gamer. What do you need to create the ideal virtual reality experience?
Controllers Add Interactivity to VR Technology
In theory, you can experience the power of virtual reality technology with nothing more than a headset. But to do so is missing out on the gaming applications—most VR games will require some form of controller input to interact with them, though how in-depth you want to get is up to you.
The PlayStation VR system requires the Move controllers and a camera. Oculus Rift comes packaged with an Xbox One controller, and the HTC Vive uses proprietary controllers developed specifically for VR. For many games (including Loading Human, releasing for PlayStation VR and Oculus Rift) you’ll need handheld controllers for input and gaming, but handheld devices aren’t where unique controllers for VR end.
Haptic Controls Add Tactile Feedback to Virtual Reality
Haptic feedback is huge in virtual reality—if you can see and interact with the world as if you’re there, the next step is feeling the world. Loading Human, like many VR games, features incredible use of sound to ground players in a virtual space. While the sound itself is impressive, you get an even deeper sense of immersion from the story if you can feel that sound the way that you would in real life—and tools like the KOR-FX vest and Woojer system take that extra step.
KOR-FX is a vest that translates the sound of your favorite games into haptic feedback. In layman’s terms, the explosions and gunshots you hear in titles like Call of Duty or the vehicle engines of something like Forza make the vest rumble. Rather than just hearing the sound, you feel it. In games where sound is crucial to the experience, such as virtual reality, a simple full-body rumble can make for an incredibly immersive experience.
Similarly, the Woojer turns sound from any audio device into an experience that’s felt, not just heard. Unlike the KOR-FX, the Woojer is a small device that clips onto your shirt, producing a slight rumble effect to accompany your music, gaming, or movies. While that might sound like a downgrade from KOR-FX’s intensity, that’s not necessarily true; the reduced rumble means that smaller noises like speech don’t set it off, leaving the capability for more impactful noises like gunfire. Which device works best for you depends on how intense of an experience you want.
Movement Controls Add Physical Space to Virtual Reality Technology
Wandering through a virtual environment has some players concerned that they won’t have enough space to do so effectively. In fact, most virtual reality games can be played with minimal movement—usually just your hands and head—but that doesn’t mean you can’t play with physical space.
The HTC Vive, for example, has 3D room tracking that allows you to use your living room as a gaming space. The system will alert you if you are in danger of running into any objects, giving you a stress-free experience as you wander through virtual space. But if you’re living somewhere with limited space, that may not be ideal. Thankfully, there are other options if you want the feeling of movement in virtual reality.
The Virtuix Omni, available for preorder now, is a system that does exactly that. At 55 inches wide, this device can fit into smaller spaces with relative ease, allowing you to physically walk without running into objects or walls regardless of how big the room is. The system works with any PC VR game that uses keyboard or controller input, making it a versatile system. It allows players who might be cramped for space to actually walk through virtual worlds, a tempting system for those who want the height of immersion.
There’s also the Roto VR chair, which works with the games you’re playing to rotate and rumble with the effects of the game. Also available for preorder now, this seated system works well for players who suffer from VR-induced motion sickness, as it limits some of the problems of head movement tracking in-game. The system works will all VR headsets and features a nearly cordless design to prevent players from getting snagged. This system has a lot to offer for players looking for a seated VR experience with the feeling of physical movement.
VR Technology Enhances Gaming Experience with Additional Hardware
What VR technology is right for you? It depends on what you’re looking for. None of these systems are necessary to enjoy virtual reality, aside from a headset and some kind of controller input, but if you want an even deeper sense of immersion from games like Loading Human, haptic feedback or movement systems can provide that.
For people looking to really feel like they’re part of the VR worlds they play, systems like these make a powerful addition to their gaming setup. While they may not be for everybody, a treadmill, haptic controller, or other VR peripheral can be the perfect device to complete a gaming system.
Loading Human explores the powerful potential of virtual reality storytelling in its futuristic, emotional narrative. Preorder your copy today!