Oculus Rift CV1 First Impressions

Discussion in 'Hardware Building/Buying/Usage Advice' started by MarcG, Nov 1, 2016.

  1. MarcG

    MarcG Registered

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    The Beginning:
    Firstly the Box is pretty cool, the Rift sort of sits there demanding to be used immediately, but first you gotta install Oculus Home and by that you need to download the setup file. This is where I stumbled a bit as even though it was only 800mb it still took 25minutes on my shoddy connection, so I spent this time unravelling the Rift & Sensor stuff and checking out the Xbox Wireless Controller...which is handy as my current one is on it's last legs!
    After the download completes you're taken through a very simple setup wizard, everything is straight forward and easy to understand, then you're thrust into the first little Demos which are pretty neat and give you the first glimpse of what VR is all about.

    Enough of that, it's Driving Time!
    Once I got settled and messed with the head adjustments to get it fitting right I dived into Assetto Corsa, after faffing with a few settings I managed to get it going 3rd time of asking as the first 2 attempts I had all sorts of graphical issues, can't remember what I did exactly but 3rd time's a charm.
    So I sat there in my favourite car the Escort RS1800 MkI at my favourite and local track Brands Hatch, the first thing that hits you is the shockingly low resolution and Pixelation, not having tried VR at all before purchase this came as both a shock and an expected shock from what I'd read pre-purchase, so I kinda expected it but didn't if you know what I mean.
    I put that to the back of my mind for the time being and looked around the bland cockpit (this is a 1970s car remember!), then it was finally time to drive...and this is where all thoughts of Res & Pixels vanished and the first (of many) Keanu Reeves style "WOAH!" moments as immediately I realised I'd been playing racing sims all wrong since the dawn of gaming!

    I looked around as I exited the pits and waited for the slightly annoying Auto Pit Speed to disengage then I thrust forward like a boy possessed towards Paddock Hill Bend, looking right to the Apex and smiling from ear to ear I slid the back end out on the cold tires and raced down the hill - now you know that feeling in your tummy you get from Roller coasters or going over Hump Back bridges? well I got exactly that feeling going down then back up towards Druids...Immense feeling and another "WOAH!" moment.
    I continued on for a few flying laps getting quite literally getting used to my new found surroundings before exiting to load another car. It should be noted here AC currently uses your normal monitor for all Menus, VR only when at the track, this is Early WIP for kunos so fully understandable.
    I chose the Lotus 78 and another Keanu moment as I got a slight sense of claustrophobia, you are really in that tight as hell cockpit peering over the sides at your front wheels, it's so cool words can't really express the feeling! A few laps of classic Monza and I was delighted with the recent AC sounds upgrade, the Rifts headphones are actually pretty decent and fit very nicely over my ears, then the realisation that I'd find it hard to ever race without a VR headset on became a reality - but in reality I'm yet to try so I'll save that for later.

    The sensation of being in a cockpit, looking around, pinpointing apexes, seeing cars besides you is just simply incredible, but at tracks with long straights the low res & pixelation really does show up badly in the far distance.
    After the lotus I dove into another boyhood dream car the Lamborghini Countach...here I am at Classic Silverstone actually sat in this car, I couldn't believe it! Same with the Ferrari F40, I dreamt as a kid growing up in the 1980s of driving these beasts and this time I actually was, and this is a feeling I never got with a flatscreen, it never even came close to what emotions where flying through my head at that point.

    Tweaking the nipples:
    A bit more reading on google and I managed to make AC look better by adjusting the Pixel count in the oculus.ini and playing with the in game settings, whilst no amount of tweaking will rid the low res & glaringly obvious pixels it does go a long way in helping to make the game look better. But it's not long before the immersion takes over any graphical flaws and that's where VR wins hands down, unlike with a flat old monitor you get the feeling of actually being in the car now, you are actually racing it as you would (almost) in real life and when in the heat of battle during a race all those flaws are forgotten.

    Should've gone to Specsavers:
    That's what I'd be saying to Oculus regarding their Minimum Specs, as per mine (on the left under my avatar) I'm technically below (overclocked CPU) but I'm running AC with medium to high details and getting a solid 90fps, the only slow FPS parts are race starts as with every game, other than that it's plain sailing and I'm not finished yet with tweaking settings to get a final look. My GPU is running around 80% and the CPU 70% so I have plenty of room to play with yet, same with Elite (more on that below) and other games, so if you're on the cusp of minimum specs I dare say you'll be just fine, as are other users I've found on google.
    Speaking of eyes, your peripheral vision is limited to the sides, up down is OK but you lose a certain amount so you find yourself turning your head more to look at the cars racing alongside you and this takes some getting used too.

    Is it time for VR right now?
    I'd say no, that may come as a shock after I've lorded it up above but remember VR is still very much in its infancy, the low res and Pixelation could be enough to put people off completely, and looking around at what games are available it soon becomes obvious that Cockpit based games (car/plane/space/boat etc) are the only ones worth using for it right now. Which is alright for us Sim Racers here, but as someone said to me a wise man would wait for the 2nd Gen headsets, resolutions will be better, lessons will be further learnt and more importantly games will look better and that will add a bit more to the already amazing immersion feeling. This is where I think Studio397 have got the timing right for RF2, they'll incorporate it early next year ready for the next gen. But as we all know there are many people out there who argue that RF2 has "poor" graphics...well in VR it's not going to be any better at all and that will put people off. Even the lovely looking AC looks very dumbed down compared to a decent flatscreen. But if like me you're only interested in the feeling and racing and don't care much for graphics then by all means give VR a chance now if you have the cash...speaking of which...

    Is it worth £550?
    No, essentially you're buying a 20 year old flatscreen resolution CRT monitor which is strapped to your face! I mean you can get a 28" 4K Monitor for £440 from Overclockers. But like all early incarnations of technology the price is always pumped right up, back in about 1999 I bought a Diamond Rio 64mb MP3 Player (which was barely enough to hold two albums!) for £200 and this Rift is exactly like that, waaaaay overpriced for what you actually get and that's where next gen and perhaps another manufacturer on the market will help prices drop down. If you have the cash lying around, or like me it's a "now or never" purchase then sure go ahead and grab one, because the immersion is worth it but you better be prepared to get a lot of usage out of it to warrant the cost.

    Conclusion:
    Since last Thursday I've managed only about 15 hours in various games with the vast majority of that time taking it on/off and fiddling with settings, so this is a pure first impressions post in that respect. I'm glad I bought it, not only as above I kinda had too (moving house early next year £££) but I did want too in the end. I'm thoroughly enjoying AC, I did try iRacing (which worked well enough) but my Sub expires soon and I doubt I'll return just yet and I only just got PCars free Edition so can't comment on that too much either. I do think this is the future for Sim Racing though, as earlier I can't imagine using a flatscreen again but I will try and report back on that, but what it needs is time to develop and by that the 2nd Gen and maybe even after that are worth waiting for if you're currently in two minds over getting one.

    Any Questions just shout, I'll come back and post further thoughts as time goes by.

    Other Games:
    Elite Dangerous is simply fantastic and produced countless "WOAH!" moments, the newly altered Neutron Stars are both Epic & Scary at the same time, the ability to wonder around your cockpit is great (eeww headless avatar!), currently I'm 7000ly away from the Bubble so yet to experience Stations up close but I have driven the Buggy around which again was great.

    War Thunder is an easy to pick up Flight (and Tank/Army) Sim which does well in showcasing what it's like to be flying with a Rift, the graphics in this are very good and I've enjoyed a couple of decent battles and can see myself playing more of it. If you're after something a bit more in depth then DCS is a good choice but it's too in depth for my liking.

    Don't download "Emily Wants To Play" whatever you do,I played this on Halloween....BIG mistake, it did actually scare the crap outta me...just YouTube people playing it....seriously s**t scary :D
     
  2. Eddy

    Eddy Member

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    Thank you Marc, great read.

    Do you by chance wear glasses? i'm planning on getting Oculus or Vive Q1 but i've read Vive should be better for people wearing glasses because there is more room between lences and eyes so more room for glasses. Any thoughts on this?
     
  3. MarcG

    MarcG Registered

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    I don't mate no but I have seen on one of the sim review websites different lenses for the rift I think so you might not have to wear glasses, almost like prescription lenses. Can't find the link right now unfortunately.

    I could try it later with a pair of sunglasses and report back later for you :)
     
  4. pkelly

    pkelly Registered

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  5. MarcG

    MarcG Registered

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    My sunglasses are bigger than regular spectacles do not worth comparing, i would highly recommend a "try before you buy" if you must wear glasses, alternatively contact lenses should be alright if you can wear them.

    I've ordered a couple of VR Covers https://vrcover.com/ to limit the sweat stains on the rift.
    Although a cheap sleeping mask with holes cut in would probably be good enough!
     
  6. Eddy

    Eddy Member

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    Thanks for trying Marc.
     
  7. MarcG

    MarcG Registered

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    One thing I forgot to mention was the "blind" Gear & Button work, I've not once fumbled for the gear stick or any buttons on the T300. Muscle Memory in this respect works just fine, immediately I just knew where the Gear stick was and what button to press and its location. I don't have a Button Box but if you're used to using it well in advance then I dare say you'd get used to pressing buttons "blind" no problem when Racing.

    With Elite however I have fumbled a bit, purely because my seat is a bit further back than it is for racing and I use an Xbox Controller (which I can use just fine "blind"), so when I go for my T300 to open the Galaxy Map for example I'm momentarily searching for the wheel then correct button.
     
  8. elbo

    elbo Registered

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    Hi Marc,
    run virtual desktop and you won't have to take the rift off...you will see you menus in the rift. Sometimes the games does not relinquish the rift back to virtual desktop, just keep the rift remote near by and hit the oculus button to get back to virtual desktop.
     
  9. MarcG

    MarcG Registered

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    Do you mean the Windows built in Virtual one or the one you buy in Oculus Home?
     
  10. elbo

    elbo Registered

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    The one available on oculus store. There are a few alternatives (envelop, big screen, ect) but I have not tried these. Maybe they work also. Envelop is still free I think.
     
  11. MarcG

    MarcG Registered

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    cool thanks for the tip :) | had planned to get the Virtual Desktop at some point just not yet.
     
  12. Narrowbackwing

    Narrowbackwing Registered

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    Those VR covers Are pure sh-t , bad design , I will never use again ,just to annoying---- there will be new designs in the making that are made to fit cv1 , they will be the one to get .
     
  13. MarcG

    MarcG Registered

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    One thing I miss, having a Cuppa Tea when playing Elite! It's just hard with the Rift on full stop, having any drink for that matter. Even a cold drink with a straw you have to fumble around for your table only to knock your drink flying across the room when searching for it :p
    I may have to invest in some sort of strawed device like racing drivers use with their Helmets!
     
  14. MarcG

    MarcG Registered

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    Got mine today, a bit fiddly to put on but then I realised the comfort bit of the rift pops out so in the end they were easy to attach. Had a go in Elite and it fits just fine for me, the only thing I have to do is push the Nose part upwards but other than that they work as intended.
     
  15. Eddy

    Eddy Member

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    [​IMG]
    :D
     
  16. MarcG

    MarcG Registered

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    haha yeah something like that :D
     
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  17. MarcG

    MarcG Registered

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    The Switch between VR and Flat Screen:

    So it's been a couple of weeks now and with the Enduracers Mod release I was itching to race it so, so whilst the download was completing I spent a bit of time in AC racing the wonderful Maserati around Silverstone and generally enjoying life "inside the cockpit". I fired up RF2 and after a schoolboy error of not enough disk space I eventually got the mod installed and jumped in, chose the Aston Martin and Bathurst of course...ultimate combination!

    Immediately I said to myself "woah...this is SMALL!", my 27" widescreen monitor suddenly became very tiny and manually having to look left/right was an immediate "urgh!" moment. But on the other side of the fence it was nice to see sharp detailed graphics again, something I had missed since using VR.

    I settled back and drove out the pits and up Mountain Straight, almost straight away I caught myself "looking" around as though I had an HMD on and giggled away. Going over the top of the Mountain I gradually eased back into Flat Land World and proceeded to smack the wall at Skyline in spectacular fashion, I restarted and after a couple of clean laps I was back racing hard and fast. I did a quick race (very quick, crashed on Lap3!) and during this time I found using the Flat Screen as good as it was before VR came a long.

    Conclusion:

    Even though it was weird at the start it wasn't too long before I was used to re-finding Apexes the old way and "sensing" opponents around me, as above it's nice to see sharp clear graphics and I had missed the RF2 FFB & very good AI. Personally I don't foresee a problem switching between the two, others may not like it but I'm fine with it once the initial "weirdness" subsides.
     
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  18. rogue22

    rogue22 Registered

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    Good write up marc.

    For those who wear glasses, I have the HTC vive and had no issues, and I am very near sighted. I suspect Oculus works the same.

    How about elite dangerous when you first use the Hyperjump in VR. I almost crap my pants, was awesome.

    I also downloaded the bellows, I didn't last 3 minutes in there.
     
  19. MarcG

    MarcG Registered

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    Thanks :) yeah that makes me want to throw up when it starts Spinning towards the end! Also noticed I'm getting neck ache when fighting due to being able to look around so much more :D
     
  20. lokidan

    lokidan Registered

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    thanks marc great write up. My brother has literally just bought one and pretty much.mirrored what u said. I'm tempted.but think maybe its still too much in its infancy. But I can also imagine that "woah" feeling very much.
     

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