The Oculus Rift virtual reality headset could change the way we play video games – making the VR future hinted at in so many sci-fi films a modern-day reality. While I’m not entirely convinced the technology will take off, demos like this new video from developer Kit 2 are certainly swaying my opinion in a positive direction.
The developer shows off the new STEM pack, which works with the headset to provide full-motion tracking for each of the user’s hands by allowing us to live out our nerd fantasies and actually simulate the clutching of a lightsaber.
The demo is not a licensed LucasArts project, but it’s not a stretch to imagine that we’d eventually see a Star Wars lightsaber game on the Oculus Rift (or Sony’s Project Morpheus) at some point in the future. The video gives us a basic idea of what such a game would look like.
The player in the demo grabs an assortment of lightsabers and deflects laser blasts from a drone droid. The tracking fidelity of the Oculus Rift looks to be pretty spot on, which is one of the key barriers in getting a first-person VR melee combat game to work. Granted, it’s just one droid and there’s no frenetic combat happening in the demo, but it’s still impressive.
Here’s the description of the new STEM pack for my techie friends:
“This is one of the first videos in which we show our STEM Pack, which is mounted to the strap of the Oculus Rift DK2 to provide full position and orientation tracking for the user’s head. STEM Controllers provide tracking for each hand. The lightsaber or sword is the true test for a one-to-one motion tracking system in VR, because it requires low latency, and almost perfect tracking of both position and orientation between your physical and your virtual self as you perform swipes, slashes, blocks and counters with the lightsaber. The STEM System and the SixenseVR SDK make this experience possible, and also make it easy for developers to create these types of applications quickly. The experience is a fantasy, but it feels natural because of the near-perfect hand-eye coordination that the SixenseVR SDK provides.”
You can see how awesome this is for yourself in the video below. Note the two-image element of the video is not how you’d see the game if you were actually wearing the headset. Oh, and if you’re like me, you’re probably wondering if the player can grab a lightsaber for each hand. Jump to the 2:30 mark to find the answer to that question.
So, what do you guys think? Are you excited about a gaming future where you wave your arms around while wearing a VR headset for hours, or are you content to just keep sitting on the couch pushing buttons on your controller?
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