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Bonelab has launched - reviews and impressions

RuneSR2
Level 15

Today's launch trailer:

 

 

- and the game does have some nice dynamic shadows:

 

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- and it has the same fake Questified volumetric light like Red Matter 2 - see how my hand is not illuminated even so close to the lamp:

 

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The game is much more demanding the Boneworks. I just finished Boneworks and I could use res 500% and 2xMSAA, all other settings maxed, still got solid 90 fps. With Bonelab, it kinda feels like my oc'ed RTX 3090 is the bare minimum for acceptable image quality, lol.

 

Devs stated that system requirements were similar for Boneworks and Bonelab, must be the joke of the century 🙂

 

For Bonelab I'm using SteamVR res 200% and res 1.2 in-game (might equal res 240%). I get solid 90 fps for now with these settings:

 

MSAAx1 (looks fine with SteamVR res 200%)

SMAA = disabled (does not look better activated)

HBAO = low (does not look better using higher settings)

Shadow res on Ultra

Shadow cascade = 4

Volumetric lights = High (Ultra takes too much performance)

Screen space refections = med

Bloom = high

Lod bias 3.0

Res = 1.2 (probably will multiply with the SteamVR res 200% = 240%. In-game res is easier for fine-tuning as it takes effect immediately. If I change SteamVR res then I need to restart the game before it's applied)

 

If prefer high res to high msaa, high res clears up the image quality and provides antialiasing, while high MSAA removes jaggies but not the blur from low res. So push res as high as possible, and lower msaa as much as possible. 2c.

 

Btw, have been playing the game for 90 minutes, not sure I'm very fond of it, Boneworks impressed me much more - but I may need to play Bonelab more. Many are disappointed on Steam, and average rating on Steam just got under 80%. Boneworks has 92% positive rating on Steam based on nearly 30k ratings. 

  

 

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"

11 REPLIES 11

RuneSR2
Level 15

So the "war" is ongoing, the SteamVR version is getting quite bad ratings. Many think it's a very bad Quest port. Some can't get their controllers to work properly, some think everything is severely downgraded especially for the physics compared to Boneworks. 

Personally I neither dislike or like Bonelab - feels much like Boneworks on my rig, but about 2-3 times as gpu demanding without graphics looking significantly better. Still I'm using res 240% in bonelab, and res 500% in Boneworks, and even if res 500% is the max-deluxe-version, lol, then res 240% also looks fine. If I had a slower gpu, my experience might be a lot worse - but right now the RTX 3090 lifts the Bonelab quality to acceptable levels for the image quality.  

 

Let's have the current numbers:

 

Steam: 77% positive ratings based on 2,000 ratings

Rift: 98% average rating based on 112 ratings (pretty impressive)

Quest 2: 94% average rating based on 2,400 ratings

 

Now, these numbers are interesting - seems Stress Level Zero may have underestimated the power of PCVR, right now the number of reviews for PCVR is very close to the number of ratings for Quest 2 standalone. 

 

There are many harsh words about the Steam version, which some feel have been heavily Questified, and it may have been - but Boneworks was a very low-poly game too (that's why I can use an insane Index res 500%), although it did have more high-res textures. Physics also were bad in Boneworks, I finished the game this week, and the irritating physics and weightless easily-moving boxes did fuel some hypertension occasionally, lol.  

 

Also Bonelab only seems to be about 4 hours long - and some say there's no story (but many strange mini-games), much more a tech demo than Boneworks. 

 

I'm doing an experiment - I'm refunding the Steam version, and I'll buy the Rift version later today. Might not be able to play it as my OpenXR is bound to Steam (and being stubborn, I'm not going to reverse that just for Bonelab), so we'll see if I'll be refunding the Rift version too soon, lol. 

 

It's my impression that Boneworks for PCVR is much better than Bonelab - also based on reading tons of posts and ratings on Steam. Bonelab feels like more of the same, for those on the fence maybe wait for a sale - and get or replay Boneworks instead. 2c. 

 

Btw, note that the Steam version does not support native Oculus drivers. My OpenXR is bound to Steam and the Index. When trying to start Bonelab using the Rift CV1 from Oculus home then SteamVR constantly started - sadly. 

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"

kojack
Volunteer Moderator
Volunteer Moderator

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There's potential for interesting mods, but otherwise I prefer Boneworks (better level design, better story, more environmental storytelling, less glitchy leg physics, more physics puzzles, less fog everywhere)

Author: Oculus Monitor,  Auto Oculus Touch,  Forum Dark Mode, Phantom Touch Remover,  X-Plane Fixer
Hardware: Threadripper 1950x, MSI Gaming Trio 2080TI, Asrock X399 Taich
Headsets: Wrap 1200VR, DK1, DK2, CV1, Rift-S, GearVR, Go, Quest, Quest 2, Reverb G2

I agree. Boneworks feels like the better game - even if it's 3 years old. 

 

Also that crane puzzle was weird. I think the BoneLab Hub should have been the first level with no crane - and then you could choose between mini-games, mods and story/campaign.

I think many will arrive at the Hub thinking they need to complete the boring and tedious mini-games to unlock the story. You only have two hours to refund, and thinking you need to complete the minigames may cause many to refund (I've read about several thinking they needed to complete the minigames).

In fact you do not have to finish the minigames, but you have to visit some to unlock the ball for the crane. For example for minigame 4, I just went in and out, not finishing anything, and the crane ball was released.

But the devs don't tell you anything - given proper info these minigames would cause much less frustration.

Also having many textures downgraded is annoying. Boneworks had the most amazing ultramersion textures, and while some textures in Bonelab are great, many are not.

Devs also added dynamic shadows, but only in a few select locations - feels like shadows are deactivated in most of the story levels.

I don't think it's a bad game, it's more like average and more of the same, and a great value if it was priced at $20-25, but not $40. It's been 3 years since I started playing the first Boneworks levels - if I restarted Boneworks that game might actually feel more fresh to me than Bonelab, and that kinda says a lot. 

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"

RuneSR2
Level 15

Also it's very strange to me that I can run Boneworks in an insane res 500% + 2xMSAA + all other in-game settings maxed in solid 90 fps, while I'm down to about res 200% in Bonelab with 1xMSAA, no SMAA and several other settings reduced - now if then Bonelab looked much better than Boneworks then that would be fine, but it does not - Bonelab looks worse, much more foggy and many more low-res texures. 

 

And it can't be that hard to make proper shadows all the way through the game, this is an example of nice dynamic shadows in Half-Life 2 made in 2004 - can't feel any performance impact of the shadows - and the shadows even look better than in Bonelab:

 

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Dynamic shadows in the Half-Life 2 VR mod 

 

- and even if Bonelab has improved lighting, Boneworks could do some magic too, like here:

 

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Light in Boneworks

 

- and these are some images to remember Boneworks - shot with Index res 500% + 2xMSAA:

 

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Polygon levels were low also in Boneworks, but I still feel that game looked much better. 

 

Btw, the amazing textures in Boneworks - this is my arm, see how you can see individual fibers:

 

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I just don't get that visuel kick and awe in Bonelab - but I did in Red Matter 2. 

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"

RuneSR2
Level 15

Btw, trying to share the pros and cons - found some more images on my drive. To me Bonelab for PCVR feels like a mix of high-end features and some very low-end assets and textures. It must be a very difficult job to make two versions of the same game, and I do get the feeling that Bonelab was made for the Quest, and then they made the PCVR version based on the Quest version. 

 

So we do get some very bad textures here and there - at least I don't recall such quality from Boneworks:

 

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Low-res wood texture in Bonelab

 

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Low-res ground textures in Bonelab - but you'll find many high-res textures too

 

Some walls have a blurry low-res base texture covered with some finer details:

 

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Low-res base textures covered with some finer details in Bonelab

 

You still have some ultramersion textures - check out these weapons:

 

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Ultramersion textures on weapons 

- and then there are the occasionally very low-poly assets, like this vase being a decagon (12 sides) not round at all:

 

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- and an extremely low-poly panel like this:

 

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See how the buttons aren't round, these are more decagons (12 sides)

 

But stepping back, you don't notice these finer details - and there are great sights - and high-poly models - a nice shadows - too:

 

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On the last screenshot you do have nice dynamic shadows, but note the total lack of 3D grass, it's just flat textures

 

All in all, Bonelab feels average - the best Quest port this year definitely is Red Matter 2, it's much better than Bonelab. I'd recommend getting Bonelab on sale - there are many other great games to play in the meantime, and I better get back to:

 

download (7).jpgA screenshot I took using Index res 500% + 4xMSAA, still solid 90 fps, can't do that in Bonelab

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"

RuneSR2
Level 15

What is the setting "Screen Space Reflections"? - See how the monitor is reflected in the shiny surface of the table - here are medium, high and ultra settings for Screen Space Reflections - but I'm not telling in which order they are shown 🙂

 

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The (more or less) fun thing about "screen space reflections" is that using ultra or high will cause a profound performance impact. If you can't see any great difference don't use tons of gpu resources on the High or Ultra setting - just use the medium setting. Low or off does reduce the quality significantly, but the medium setting looks fine to me.  

Same with other settings - don't blindly think that Ultra or High is best - if you can't see any difference, don't push for higher settings (especially HBAO, MSAA and SMAA) - or you'll end up needing a RTX 5090 for features you can't see. 2c.

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"

RuneSR2
Level 15

Seems PCVR is just as strong as Quest if you sell the right stuff - check out today's numbers:

 

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Today the number of ratings for each platform is similar 😮 - Usually Quest 2 has many more ratings than PCVR. Ultrawings 2 devs even complained that their game sold 10 times better for the Quest platform than for PCVR:

 

https://www.roadtovr.com/ultrawings-2-sales-quest-2-10-times-pc-vr/

 

- but it seems if you make games and apps of high interest, PCVR is very strong - not dead at all 😎

 

Also I don't recall any Quest game having more ratings than Alyx, PCVR may be a slumbering force and it takes some skill to wake it. (Beat Saber has 45k ratings for Quest, Alyx has 64k ratings for PCVR.) 

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"

kojack
Volunteer Moderator
Volunteer Moderator

I finished Bonelab today, back around in New Game+ (which is the same, you just keep the avatar changer).

 

Most of it got better in the last scene. Suddenly there was environmental storytelling, avatars were useful, it was going through a building with a purpose. It felt like Boneworks again. Shame it took until the last part of the game to get its act together.

 

Hopefully their next games 98.6 Dead FM and Hall of the Machine King will focus more on the narrative side and be a cohesive experience.

Author: Oculus Monitor,  Auto Oculus Touch,  Forum Dark Mode, Phantom Touch Remover,  X-Plane Fixer
Hardware: Threadripper 1950x, MSI Gaming Trio 2080TI, Asrock X399 Taich
Headsets: Wrap 1200VR, DK1, DK2, CV1, Rift-S, GearVR, Go, Quest, Quest 2, Reverb G2

RuneSR2
Level 15

Road To VR just rated Bonelab an extremely mediocre 2.5/5 (=50%):

 

"Bonelab is similar to its predecessor in key ways—both the good and the bad. The game's physics driven world can be refreshingly immersive in the way that almost everything interacts together. But physics sometimes make the game less fun and even frustrating to play, especially when it comes to the game's many climbing segments. While there's lots on offer, including a campaign and several replayable mini-modes, they all suffer from the same core problems which is boring enemies with little variety, poor encounter & puzzle design, and bland weapons. In lieu of having those things provided for you, you'll have to extract your own fun by challenging yourself to execute stylish kills and physics-shenanigans with the game's all-you-can eat slo-mo feature. While the game repeats most of Boneworks key issues, this time around if offers proper modding support which could improve things significantly— that is... if the game's community is willing to spend the time building the toys this sandbox should have had from the start. "

https://www.roadtovr.com/bonelab-review-quest-2-oculus-steam/

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"