Developer: HTC, Valve
Release Date: April 5th, 2016
Category: PC/Headset and controllers
Hold on to your butts, everyone! There’s a new way to game entering the gaming world! How would you like to actually be fully immersed in the game? To see the world in the eyes of the hero? Well, look no further than the HTC Vive! Ladies and gentlemen… I bring you… Virtual Reality! This… Excuse me – THIS! Is the answer to your prayers! That voice in your head, that you probably shut out and pushed to the back of your mind, that has always expressed its one wish… To really be there. To be actually standing in the world in which you game. To literally be the hero! And not let some avatar get all the praise. To navigate, to point and shoot, to play fetch with a virtual dog, to see the world through the eyes of the inhabitants of the virtual landscape!
Ever since videogames became a commonplace hobby among us, developers have always dreamed of a way to immerse us as much as we can into the games they were making. Hell! We even made movies and TV shows about that sort of thing! But now, that time has come. Allow me to try and persuade you into worshiping HTC and Valve for this amazing innovation!
First, what’s this thing consist of? I will explain each important piece and what they do.
We have the most obvious, and largest piece, the Vive headset itself. It goes over your eyes and rests on your nose comfortably. Velcro straps keep the device attached to your face. There are cords connecting from the device itself that are strapped to the back of your head and the cords are long enough to not only reach your PC, but it gives you enough for a room-scale experience. The headset is not very heavy either, so don’t worry about toppling over. There is a camera that rests toward the bottom of the headset made to track movement and controllers.
Speaking of which, let’s get into the controllers now. Ever seen a Wii remote? It’s like that, but totally different and way cooler.
Just keep that in mind, okay? Every Vive comes equipped with two of these babies. They have a menu button and an apps button. They have a track pad, that can act as directional buttons. They have two “grip” buttons on opposite sides of the controller’s grip part, and last, but not least, a trigger button that rests on the bottom front of the controller within reach of your index finger.
FUN FACT: If you’re not holding an item/weapon in any game, the headset will show your controllers in the game.
These controllers use tracking technology that syncs with your headset as well as for the base stations.
Now, the base stations (or Lighthouses, as they have recently been called) are immensely important. These little guys are responsible for setting the perimeter of your virtual experience. That, and they help set the stage to-scale with your height, so everything runs like it should, putting you in the game. They are able to make the perimeter in standing room, or room-scale, in other words, small space or big space.
Don’t think you will be left to figure out the setup and controls by yourself! Besides manuals, there is a room setup program that helps you step by step to setting up the system properly. Once all the lights are green, you’re ready to begin! You’ll then be greeted with a tutorial in the Aperture Science Lab. Once you are acquainted with the controls, you are ready for anything!
When it comes to actually playing a game with the HTC Vive, you do not absolutely have to have a game running right away. In fact, if you don’t have a game running with the device on, the Vive places you in what’s called the Hub. You can open your Steam library through here, and even use the store to purchase more games, if you’d like. How’s that for convenience?
The fun doesn’t even stop there. The Hub has customization options as well. Thanks to the Steam Workshop, users from around the world have created some really neat environments available to download for the Hub, the base stations within the hub, and even for your controllers within the Hub. Don’t see anything that really clicks with you? That’s fine. Using the Workshop, you can make your own design! And you can make it available for others to use as well. This is a great way to immerse yourself in an environment that can rev you up for your next adventure!
I really hope I just sold you on getting your hands on an HTC Vive. It really is worth the high price. At the time I purchased mine, it was $850.95. I enjoy playing my games using this device. Its immersion factor is at 11/10! I highly recommend it.
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