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A love of VR, but why?

Pixie40
Level 10

I've mentioned this before. But I first became interested in VR back in the late 80's and early 90's. The PBS program Newton's Apple did a segment on the Dactyl VR arcade machine, and it got mentioned once or twice on the news as well. And that caught my interest. Granted, it wasn't until 2019 when I finally got to try VR for myself via Playstation VR. And immediately I knew VR was meant for me. But I didn't feel that compelled to pick up many PSVR apps. And of the few I did get, it was mostly Tetris Effect that held my attention in terms of VR. The few other games I had were fun, but that was the one I kept going back to. Still, I knew VR was for me. There just weren't many games on PSVR that I felt were "must have" titles. A few I was interested in, sure. But nothing i really had to have.

 

Then 2020 came in like a wrecking ball that had been vomited on by The Plague from the game Dead by Daylight. And with it, what little social life I had went up in smoke. I initially bought a Quest 1 mostly as a Beat Saber machine, to be honest. I was still happy with PSVR, and I was more interested in PCVR. After all, that's why I bought a VR capable gaming computer in 2019. And right from the "first steps" app that runs the first time you boot up a Quest I was in love. It was everything I dreamed of, and more. I almost immediately bought Arizona Sunshine again, this time for the Quest. And it was great fun. Far more fun then I had on PSVR, in part due to better tracking of the controllers.

 

I bought Beat Saber, because it was my intended exercise routine to help me lose weight. And it's done a superb job so far. More often then I ever expected would happen I've found myself sore the next day after getting carried away and playing Beat Saber for an hour or two instead of just 15 minutes. Or playing Beat Saber, then Creed: Rise to Glory, then another roomscale VR game that's very active. Or jumping back in for just a few more songs not even half an hour after my workout. Since April 2020 I've lost nearly 100 pounds so far, and I'm keeping it off. I've gone from wearing 50 inch waist pants to needing a belt when wearing 38 inch waist pants. I've got more energy, more stamina, and am generally healthier then I have in nearly 20 years. And for that alone, I'd love VR. But it's not the only way VR has affected my life.

 

I like to call myself an outgoing introvert. I can be quite socially active, but I'm just as happy, if not more happy, to spend my time reading a book or working on short stories that may never get published anywhere. What little social needs I had, they were being met by my local Pathfinder Society Organized Play lodge. Then the pandemic hit, and that got shut down. I was going stir crazy, even though I rarely go out to begin with. It was getting to the point where I ordered food through services like Door Dash too often just for a minute or two of interaction through a closed storm door with the delivery driver.

 

When my Quest arrived back in April of 2020, at first I just did my exercise and a few single player apps. But then I decided to try out Big Screen, and almost immediately got into a conversation with a complete stranger. We bonded over a mutual love of classic Doctor Who. Since then, I've found myself spending a fair amount of time in programs like Big Screen, Venues, and Alt Space just hanging out and chatting with people. And now Horizons has been added to that list. And this social interaction with complete strangers has helped me stay sane during the pandemic. And that's still not everything VR has done for me in the last year and a half.

 

I'd long resigned myself to the fact I'll never travel much further from home then my dad's place. I'd love to travel the world, or at least just visit various places across the USA. I don't have a car, or a driver's license. And even if I did have a car, I can't afford to do it. And yet, I regularly visit the international Space Station and gaze down upon the earth in wonder. I've walked across the surface of Mars and visited the Moon Landing site. I've strode across the Great Wall of China, explored the African wilds, and even visited Tokyo, Japan. I've visited world famous museums too. Things I never thought I'd get a chance to experience.

 

With all the amazing and mundane things VR has brought into my life, I can honestly say I love it. This new technology has changed my life in ways I never expected. Which makes me wonder, how has it affected others? I know others love VR just as much as I do. But why? How has it changed your lives?

Lo, a quest! I seek the threads of my future in the seeds of the past.
8 REPLIES 8

RuneSR2
Level 15

"How has it changed your lives?"

 

It has stopped me from watching TV, lol - I pay for Netflix each month, but I almost never use it (but the wife does). Would be nice having time for such things - but VR takes up nearly all of my available sparetime. But with wife and kids I don't have much sparetime - maybe 1-2 hours every evening.

 

Thus VR has greatly changed what I do in my sparetime - my backlog is gigantic, yesterday I was thinking that if I stopped buying new VR content now, I would have enough content to last for the next 5 years or so (and much longer if I start to play Elite, No Man's Sky and Skyrim, lol).

Valve Index & Oculus Rift CV1, Asus Strix OC RTX™ 3090, i9-10900K (5.3Ghz), 32GB 3200MHz, 8TB
"Ask not what VR can do for you, but what you can do for VR"

dburne
Level 15

I bought into VR in Jan 2017 for one reason only - Flight Sims.

And that is mostly what I have been doing ever since, except a lot more of it than I used to because it is so awesome.

I also now enjoy other VR games but flight sims are still my mainstay. They never get old nor have an ending.

Rift CV1| Rift S| Quest| Reverb G2| Index| Vive Pro 2

Zenbane
Level 15

Fantastic post, Pixie! 

 

Quest 2 has allowed me to stay in contact with friends/relatives in ways that were simply not happening prior. Going through RecRoom challenges with younger family members who live farther away has been awesome. Before now, I would only see them on special occasions (holidays, birthdays). But now we can and do hang out in VR often, and have memorial experiences with lots of laughing. All made possible thanks to the low cost of the Quest.

 

In my worklife, VR has certainly helped elevate my status and position amongst my colleagues and employer. I was very quick to start using VR for business back when the Rift CV1 launched in 2016. As some of my older posts on this forum show, I ran out and bought a 360 camera and started working with colleagues in real-estate to create 360 Walkthrough Experiences. I doubled down on that when GO came out.

 

In the Info Tech world, I have been pushing for VR Data Analytics, which is an entirely different animal. I have published my initial proposals and concepts, and continue to work on them today via the Unreal Engine.

 

Like you, I have also used VR for health and fitness. Shortly after using both Beat Saber and Creed to help with cardio and endurance, I started the fitness thread on this forum:

https://forums.oculusvr.com/t5/Off-Topic/Physical-Fitness-Training/m-p/740363#M18844

 

As of today, I have put on some decent muscle, lost over 25 pounds, and continue down the path of dieting and fitness. Now that the pandemic has started to let up a bit here in Texas, I have a regular group of rock climbers that I venture with.

 

I will always have a deep love for Gaming. It is what started me on my path of Software Engineering many years ago. I have a long history with Arcades, Consoles, and PC Gaming. Including plenty of time with Tournament play. But for me, while VR first lured me in with the elevated gaming aspect, my primary interest with VR resides within the realm of using this technology as an extension to social interactions and business innovation.

 

 

Health & Fitness is growing quickly with VR, and will probably be the next "big thing" for VR aside from gaming. Social Interactions will come next once we have better VR platforms to support it properly. And business innovation will come in last.

 

I don't use VR for Health & Fitness much these days  because I prefer going to the gym now; as well as exercising outdoors via swimming, running, and rock climbing. But it certainly was VR that helped kickstart my path towards healthier living! 

Nekto2
Level 9

Great post! 🙂

 

> And yet, I regularly visit the international Space Station and gaze down upon the earth in wonder.

 

It is strange, but most of that content was accessible on 2D screen or wall projector (even 3D projectors and monitors). But I it was rare to hear the word "visit" about 2D content. What it makes VR so different? Have you any ideas what VR has so powerful impact not like any screen or even cinema screen?

 

I think it has something to do with a size. It seems to be different impact on our brain to see an object in "real size" than to see it as a small copy on screen or even a very big copy on cinema screen (it is great also, but "not real").

You could test it even. If you have a photo of person you know (head only) you could open it on screen and change it's zoom until it gets "real". And that size of image will be like size of a real person you see "through the window" of monitor. Even you could pace a mirror near the monitor and show own photo for a test 🙂  (for 2D screen you could close 1 eye to compare)

 

> I've visited world famous museums too. Things I never thought I'd get a chance to experience.

 

Agree to this! And even if you could visit them in real you can't visit them fast one after another! 🙂

In VR you could jump other place like every 10 minutes!

(you could add some fan to blow on your face like a wind 🙂 and set a heater so it will be like a desert wind 😄 )

 

I like that even slight addition to virtual feelings will add a lot to impression (like sound, hand/body movements, wind, smell, temperature.....).

 

> I know others love VR just as much as I do. But why? How has it changed your lives?

 

It may be a new way to "travel to unknown'. People like to see new things and discover something not known before. And VR is like that "find unknown continent"  of modern life 😄

But ... now it will change from "VR" as a general term to more specific "gaming", "story", "art", "work", "education" .... with addition of "... in VR". So focus could change on more specific action.

 

> I've found myself spending a fair amount of time in programs like Big Screen, Venues, and Alt Space just hanging out and chatting with people. And now Horizons has been added to that list. 

 

Have you tried VRchat? That is a universe in itself 🙂

You could see videos to find out which communities are of interest. It's hard to find them if you are not searching for specific one. They are not on "most popular" list.

DaftnDirect
Volunteer Moderator
Volunteer Moderator

I enjoyed that read Pixie and I recognise a lot of what you said.

Right now I'm using the Quest to de-stress when away from home as I'm looking after my mum 4 days of the week. Just watching a movie on a virtual big-screen is so relaxing and takes you away from any problems in a way that a TV can't. The occasional visit to Venues does the same.

 

When it comes to being social though, I'd really like to meet up in VR with the friends I've made irl and none of them currently have headsets. I hope Facebook's emphasis on accessible VR eventually changes that and we can meet, many are spread out around the country now and most are working from home.

 

Venues is very limited and I don't have access to Horizon beta, so that's another thing that I hope will change my VR use and encourage others.

 

Visiting places in VR is enjoyable I agree and I'd like to see more apps like the National Geographic one. It's all just growing too slowly for me, whether it's down to the cost of some systems or there's still a perception that VR is for geeks, I don't know but it'll happen. When half of my friends have headsets (of any make) I'll be happy... and social again!

Intel 5820K OC@4Ghz, Titan X (Maxwell), 32GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4, ASRock X99 Taichi, Samsung 500Gb 960 Evo M.2, Corsair H100i v2 Cooler, Inateck KTU3FR-4P USB 3 card, Windows 10 Pro v20H2 (19043.1081)


@Nekto2 wrote:

Have you tried VRchat? That is a universe in itself 🙂

You could see videos to find out which communities are of interest. It's hard to find them if you are not searching for specific one. They are not on "most popular" list.


Tried it, and uninstalled with prejudice. Too many screaming foul mouthed kids.

Lo, a quest! I seek the threads of my future in the seeds of the past.

> Tried it, and uninstalled with prejudice. Too many screaming foul mouthed kids.

 

That is what popular rooms are. But there are many more rooms hidden from top lists with lot's of people to talk. They are not easy to find... There are meditations classes, conferences/presentations, dance classes, VR church and rooms for talk. Videos on the internet could point to exact room names or people.

Nekto2
Level 9

I think big part of love to VR is due to immersion. And immersion is closely tied to imagination.

And the key point is that you could select which part of it you will like to imaging and which will not.

As an example you could be immersed in a vr battle and imaging yourself inside, but then you will not like to imaging bullets hitting you or what comes after that. So it's up to you how immersed you will be. And you could learn to be more immersed like you do with books and movies. Ok... it could take time... 🙂

 

May be we need some "introductory app"? I think it would be cool 🙂

 

To start leaning vr immersion/imagination you should see something you like in real life as a first impression. That will drive you in so it will not ends on first impression. If you like cats then your first impression should be "cats in VR" (it could be vr 360 short video and some action you do after that, like pouring a water for a cat and watch it drinks). If you like to travel then you could see yourself on top of a mountain, in a desert, near ocean or at a waterfall (and take a virtual photo as an action to engage). Other short experiences could show known actors or singers at a close distance, dancing, playing music (you are inside a concert recording and then play some notes), draw a painting, real work environment meeting (prerecorded with a real topic on sales, design ... etc and someone asking you "what are your thoughts?"). If you like to meet new people in VR and discuss some topic than app could join you to a real talk with some people or at least prerecorded talk with some incites and smart arguments (so your first impression will not be "a room with kids" and you will know what to look for later).

You could provide a "search" if a person will not find first impression experience to select. Analyzing those searches and implementing them later.

 

Next step will be to show some real cases what is vr could be useful for this person. To be able select from fitness, communication, education etc....  Short experience (like a "math lesson") with some interaction. Not in general, but real examples you could select from a list like you do on first step (or there could be a link to smartphone app so someone will select that for you).

 

Last one should be some short new tip on how to learn immersion. It will not be about buttons or using UI. It will be tips for you how to help drive your imagination into VR. Those could be "do not forget you could close your eyes any time if you see something you do not like". Or "try to move sideways to see more depth of environment", "stretch your hand and try to touch something in VR", "take an object and look on it from all sides".  Those are tips you learn after a while. They will help you to stay in vr longer and have more comfortable feelings.

 

Next you could repeat those 3 steps (1F, 1U, 1N).

 

If every of those short experiences will have a direct vr url then people could share them also 🙂

Would be great to have some competition to create those short experiences.

 

Actually .... those short vr scenes with prerecorded avatar movement/voice/actions are like "posts in social media". But you could be inside! Not like any other social media.  🙂

You could rate and share them also.

And if you will add some own recordings to it that would be like "comments" (ok there we need some more research how to make it so it will not become "a crowd of voices" 😄  Some correct order to see replays one after another and comments selection to skip some).

 

Most people are not come to see "rooms". But lists of topics to talk in them could lead to longer discussions and more value. People will see why they want to be in.

You could not connect all people same time to a single room. So recordings and spectator modes (without avatar of voice) will be a great feature (same editing tools for recordings may be). Or even live casts to 2d media and smartphones. People could be able to switch from spectator mode to visitor if there are free slots for visitors become available to ask own questions.

 

How do you think? Will it help to make vr more popular? 🙂