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Another Gear VR Review

Someguitarist
Level 2
If you're like me and spend all your time reading about VR at work and can't access Reddit, you might want to read a bit more about Gear VR so here's my take on it since mine just got delivered last night. FYI; I spent a *lot* of time with my DK1, but decided to skip the DK2 and wait for the CV so I haven't really seen the resolution/low persistence/positional tracking of the DK2.

I think the most incredibly important thing that Samsung/Oculus got right was the ease of use. I feel like I could give this to my parents and they would be able to figure out how to work it and navigate through things. The Gear VR comes in it's own carry case, and plugging the phone into the front of the device and clipping it in is pretty straight-forward. Once on, you're asked to download some updates and you're good to go!

The focus wheel is an interesting touch. I have found myself fiddling with it far too much, before settling with somewhere closer to the far left. It didn't seem particularly clear to me where it should be set or why. I just moved it back and forth until I found something somewhat comfortable, but kept fiddling throughout.

Same with the straps. I feel like the straps dig into my ears a bit more, and that it's trying to hold the Gear a bit *too* high up for me to hit the sweet spot. Maybe with some more playing around I'll be able to get it just right.

Once I got all that situated, I was treated to a REALLY amazing video of the Earth, that changed to a scenic landscape, that changed to being with an (Indian?) family. Nothing really clicked 'till I saw the family. That was a pretty solid feeling of presence. Ironically, that was also the moment I decided I should probably be hearing something. Nowhere in the startup did it mention putting on headphones or plugging them into your phone, so don't forget to do that!

Quick summary of content I tried;

The 3d Videos - Probably the best bit of content available. A *little* fuzzy, but when you see an actual person it looks pretty amazing. I believe that this is going to be the way to go for the Gear VR going forward. Great sense of presence and the scene around you. The musician bit was a *little* boring after a few minutes, but just taking in the room was a great experience. Same with Cirque de Soleil.

Oculus Cinema - Also incredibly impressive. Probably the closest I came to presence was sitting the the theater or on the moon watching trailers. The 3d trailers looked great, and I could easily see myself watching a full movie in there. I've just got to get around to finding out how to encode one or something now.

3d Photo View - Skimmed through a bunch of these. Pretty cool. Not stereoscopic 3d though? I imagine it's just a single sphere rendered twice. Interesting, but not as good as the video.


Now for the disappointing bit. Let me preface this by saying that I absolutely love the work people have put into their project and the content and whatnot and much appreciated, but this is where the limitations of the phone come into full swing.

BluVR had some *really* impressive models that looked great! But the whole ocean just looks so empty. The artic section attempts to spice it up a bit by adding really flat icebergs, but even then I just couldn't shake the empty feeling. Compared to something like OceanRift on the DK1, I'd definitely take the blurrier screen and high persistence to have a computer hardware backing with more content.

Titans of Space was one of my favorite DK1 experiences. Completely blew me away on DK1, and it's my go-to showpiece for what the technology can do. On the Gear VR though, the limitations are just so-so much. Doing away with stereoscopic 3d is a tough sell. The ship has been reduced to a chair on a floating platform. You can't even see all the planets at once. It looks like there is an option for that, but it says 'locked' likely due to the limitations of phone.

I want to stress that neither of these were bad experience at all (drash, don't beat me up!) but just compared to what I've seen on the DK1 (Not even the DK2, mind you) these experience are more of 'Oh, neat' rather than the 'Oh my god.' that they were before.

It makes me think that the future of this device (this iteration, anyways) should be mostly focused on 3d video capturing techniques. I feel like a game or an app that incorporates captured 3d video instead of attempting to render everything might find significantly more immersion and more success. But I also look forward to being proven wrong.

All in all - I love the little thing. I already had a Note 3, but I love the Note 4 and this just sweetens the deal. Oculus Cinema looks amazing, the 3d videos are pretty amazing, the apps are pretty neat if nothing else, and I managed to go through about 3 hours of content using 80% of battery. Only got warm during Titans of Space, but never had any overheating messages.

Also, 3d popup notifications for things on the phone were pretty cool. Good job Oculus, Samsung, and all the devs! I'm looking forward to trying some more content tonight.
20 REPLIES 20

HomerS66
Level 4
Did you switch on the 3D cockpit in the settings of Titans of Space? Looks more impressive that way. And Ocean Rift just got released for Gear VR.
I actually did buy the Gear VR for watching movies in a huge virtual cinema but i actually am even more impressed by the games. Anshar Wars, Bombsquad, James Legacy look boring in pics but awesome in VR.

Someguitarist
Level 2
Oh, no, that's not switched on by default? I'll have to give it a another look!

That's great, that's just what I wanted to hear! I didn't get a bluetooth controller though. 😕 Yeah, I only had enough time to really try the two above before pesky ol' work got in the way. I look forward to trying the rest of those (that don't require a controller anyways) tonight!

brydaman
Level 3
Anshar Wars is my current favorite Gear VR launch title. Using a Moga Pro Power controller and a swiveling office chair I managed on 71 kills and a 3rd overall ranking.

I don't think I've ever spent more than 45 minutes in one sitting with the DK1 or DK2 but with the Gear VR I regularly spend 45 minutes every time I put it on.

Once the STEM system starts shipping and their Android SDK is released I'm sure Gear VR will provide the best overall VR experience until CV1 is released.

I have a Google Project Tango tablet coming today and I'm going to explore ways to use it to interface with Gear VR and see if there is a way to provide positional data with low enough latency to not break the experience 😄 .
Respect for the extraordinary / Disdain for the mundane :: contempt.net

JCat
Level 3
"contempt" wrote:


I don't think I've ever spent more than 45 minutes in one sitting with the DK1 or DK2 but with the Gear VR I regularly spend 45 minutes every time I put it on.
.


In a nutshell, that's been exactly my experience as well.

Someguitarist
Level 2
I have to agree with you. I am way more comfortable spending extended amounts of time in this than I thought I would be.

Maybe I should just pick up a bluetooth controller today as well...

HomerS66
Level 4
Without a BT controller you can't play Bombsquad, James Legacy, Herobound, Ocean Rift. You guys are just punishing yourselves 😉

pygmyowl
Level 2
So I've been lurking in these forums for many months now and only just started posting. I agree with a lot of what you're saying, SG, and I do think the future is bright for 360 video. I will say, however, that I was a bit disappointed with the Jaunt McCartney video and the Coldplay video. There was something in both of those that was making me go crosseyed. Maybe the stereoscopic elements. The Cirque de Soleil video and the VR Introduction didn't do this to me, nor did the Strangers, so I'm not sure what the deal is. (Also, I agree with you on Strangers, but I'm not a music person. I basically just watched the dog and the cigarette smoke while the dude sang whatever it was that he was singing.)

I did, however, get to experience my first bit of sim sickness. Not a huge fan of that. Seems to happen relatively rapidly for me when I'm in a first person game and I have control of the controller. I'm going to try to some tests and experiments to see if I can get my simulation legs. Some on the oculus threads have claimed that this can be done. If it can be done, it would be nice if Oculus could design an obstacle or training course that would slowly ease a user into the experience of sitting in a swivel chair and going up and down.

Happened with Dreadhalls -- which was by far the worst and fastest -- and Ocean Rift, but also to some extent James's Legacy, though the effect there is less pronounced. Amazingly, it didn't happen with Vanguard V or with Darknet (which has a bit of movement).

By far my favorite game applications -- also, i'm not a gamer here, so this is saying something -- are Darknet and Herobound. I think I could get into Ikarus when it comes out too. I like the stable God's eye point of view stuff, but James's Legacy makes me a bit queasy with the rotating planet approach.

In any case, this is a great first step for Oculus. I think it's incredibly impressive technology and I look forward to seeing how it develops going forward.

HomerS66
Level 4
I'm a VR newbie myself (since last friday) and i know what makes me feel uncomfortable pretty quickly. That is when your point of view turns without your head turning aswell. And when the turning is done slowly and smoothly, that is even worse. When it's done rapidly and jerkingly, it's still not great but atleast better.

That's why i always try to change the direction i'm moving to only with the svivelchair or headmovement and try to avoid to change it by a gamepad (works great in Ocean Rift). Also when i watch a 360 video and the cameraman turns the direction by himself, that is simsickness galore aswell. In this situation i try to move my head at the same speed in the same direction the camera turns but it's still a weird feeling. It also helps me to "dance" in my chair or move to a beat, which keeps my mind at ease and explains it in case something is a bit shaky.

Yeticrab
Level 3
"contempt" wrote:
Anshar Wars is my current favorite Gear VR launch title. Using a Moga Pro Power controller and a swiveling office chair I managed on 71 kills and a 3rd overall ranking.
I don't think I've ever spent more than 45 minutes in one sitting with the DK1 or DK2 but with the Gear VR I regularly spend 45 minutes every time I put it on.


How can you play Anshar Wars for 45 minutes without it overheating? 15 is about all I get.