Hands On With The HTC Vive

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Harvey Norman in Carrickmines recently demoed the HTC Vive virtual reality headset. Naturally, we were eager to try it out for ourselves to see how it will change how we experience video games and other media.

One worry many people may have about virtual reality headsets is actually putting the various bits and pieces on. While there was an assistant on hand to pop on the headphones after we’d put on the headset, before handing us the Touch controllers, it seems like it won’t be much of an issue to do it solo. One clever feature of the HTC Vive is that you can see the Touch controllers meaning you’ll be able to pick them up from the ground if you are on your own.

 

 

The other concern is that you could bump into your surroundings. And believe us, with a premium TV off to the side, we were a bit nervous about that! But again, the Vive takes this into account. There are sensors that you put around your play area and when you stray too close to the edge, a subtle grid appears in the virtual world to warn you not to wander any further.

What impressed us most about the HTC Vive was how intuitive the whole thing is. Between the freedom to move around and the accuracy of the controllers, everything felt quite natural. And the games being demoed were the perfect showcase for this.

Job Simulator, for example, had us moving around a cubicle and completing basic, but essential office tasks…like grabbing a cup of coffee and eating doughnuts. This was the perfect demo to show off the capabilities and accuracy of the Touch controllers and, to my shame, I opened my mouth when eating a virtual doughnut!

Everyone enjoys messing around with painting tools, regardless of artistic talent. Tilt Brush is a far cry from the days of MS Paint, but it is a wonderful way to unleash your inner artist. The whole 3D space is your canvas, which is unusual at first, but you quickly adapt and the freedom is incredible. My finished product could be described as abstract at best, but some people are putting together incredible pieces.

 

 

One of the highlights of the experience was Space Pirate Trainer. It feels great to dual-wield pistols when using the Touch controllers and as the difficulty ramped up, I was getting more into the spirit of moving around the space to dodge and duck incoming shots.

It was a great experience to play around with the HTC Vive and the time absolutely flew. I’m looking forward to seeing what game and interactive experience developers can do with the freedom and intuitiveness of virtual reality.

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Posts from the Harvey Norman blog team.

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