Virtual Reality

Good VR – VIVE Cosmos Gameplay and Custom Controller Setup!

New toys!

Today we got very lucky and were given the latest HTC VIVE Cosmos Virtual Reality Kit to try out, so we could see for ourselves what this new VR Headset can do, and how it compares to the current king of the VR hill – Vive Pro.

The new Vive Cosmo is a lot more travel friendly, gone are the lighthouse stations we needed to use our Vive OG & Pro VR systems, this has been replaced with a fancy new inside-out camera system that allows the headset to track itself, and for the wearer to be able to see what’s going on outside the headset with a push of a button on the headset – you just tap it to go into live view (You can also double top the right controllers Vive button for this).

Setup is a breeze, with the instructions placed right on the lid of the box when you open it up. These will take you through all the steps including configuration of the VR space you’ll be playing in, and access to all the games available via the Viveport and Steam services.

Excited to play, we rushed through all of the instructions so we could get right to the good stuff – this caused us a couple of “how to?” moments a little later in the journey though – so below are the two important pictures, just in case anyone else gets stuck for a moment like we did 🙂

You can re-pair a controller by pressing these two buttons simultaneously and use this button on the link box to turn on the VR Headset (both shown in the setup we skipped through)

With those quick setup notes out of the way let’s jump in and play some games!

The first stop for most will likely be to jump into the Viveport service, included in the box is a special code for this store that will activate a special subscription (or similar) so you can try out a bunch of different virtual reality movies, games and experiences.

You can filter to show only games compatible with the new Vive Cosmos.

You can also jump straight into Steam, the VR store here is crazy good to and contains all our of current favourites that we play on the Vive Pro.

So our Cosmos VR adventure begins with a bit of Blade and Sorcery, and it’s a perfect place to start as nothing tests get the blood pumping more than a furious telekinetic battle against warrior and wizard 🙂 It’s also the best game for checking out the movement tracking differences that come with the new design style of the Cosmos – after all it’s got to keep up with all the dodging, weaving, hacking, slashing, grabbing and running for our lives that happens in the game!

As the VIVE Cosmos is still super new, with some game titles you’ll have to setup a custom controller layout to play everything right away – the Cosmos controllers are already loaded into the Steam Controller Mapping tool for us to tweak + with community layouts available to use and edit as needed.  

For those new to VR controller mapping you can do this with the headset on, or from the desktop. Quick screenshots guide below showing our specific mapping for Blade & Sorcery!

Click the menu button top left, then navigate to ‘devices’ and onto ‘controller settings’.
Click the ‘show more applications’ button
Here you can create you own, or try a profile made by someone else playing the same game with a Cosmos.
You can edit everything on the controller but you don’t need to, just start out with the buttons you’ll need like ‘use’ and ‘move’ at first.
It will only show options that suit the button, and are in the game you want to play.

All setup it was time to go! Before we jumped in those we set Nvidia Shadowplay privacy settings to allow desktop capture so we could capture and share the test – see our YouTube video below as we check out the Vive Cosmos controllers in action while trying to stay alive in the medieval village battle! (system specs and more info about the test are in the description of the YouTube video)

Well, that escalated quickly!

Exhausted from our energetic battle we looked for another great game for testing – this time to check how the high resolution Vive Cosmos display handles text in a game – No Mans Sky – and we’re happy to report it’s all looking great.

It’s also a solid standing room VR system, and although not quite as good as the Vive Pro, which we kinda expected considering the significantly lower price of the Cosmos Virtual Reality Kit… Overall the Vive Cosmos is likely the best option price/performance wise if you’re looking to make a simulator VR setup, with its very high quality visuals and oh so easy tracking.

VR ON!

Good VR – HTC Vive Pro Available Now in NZ + VIVE DAY Bonus Games!

The new HTC Vive PRO VR Headset is available now in New Zealand, and better still, in addition to this new product release is an event known as VIVEDAY! The annual celebration from those top chaps at HTC Vive and with it comes a range of free games to download for your existing VR setup, or the new one 😛

This year they’re giving us four wonderful reasons to celebrate, we’ve setup direct links to the free downloads for each of the titles below so you can easily grab the ones you want – now that’s done let’s take a quick look at the games!

First up, Front Defense

From the opening salvo, Front Defense uses the power of VR and the precision of Vive’s room-scale to deliver one of the most intense war shooter experiences ever created. Created by Vive Studios’ first-party developer Fantahorn Studio, Front Defense is a highly polished, arcade-style room-scale VR shooter set in the final days of World War II’s European theatre. Front Defense immerses players in the role of an Allied Forces hero fighting the last relentless onslaught by the Axis in a fictional European town. Hunker down behind well-armed positions as you duck, dive, switch and reload weapons, throw grenades, and man-mounted guns to fight back the enemy assault. Use heavy weaponry against increasingly brutal enemy soldiers, arm the Bazooka or call in airstrikes against armoured cars and heavy tanks, and man the thunderous 50-Cal to take down suicidal Stuka dive bombers.

• Experience an intense WWII shooter as never before in a superbly polished game designed explicitly for Vive’s room-scale VR and precision tracking
• Defend strategic positions in a beautifully detailed European town slowly being destroyed by a brutal enemy
• Seamlessly switch between a variety of weapons, from light and heavy firearms to mounted machine guns
• Use bazookas, grenades or call in airstrikes to take on an entire armoured division, from well-armed infantry to armoured cars, tanks and dive bombers
• Take on the mysterious Axis super weapon in an epic boss fight finale
• Increasingly challenging stages and global leaderboards deliver hours of gameplay and high replay value

Coming in at number two, Front Defense Heroes

Front Defense: Heroes, is the multiplayer version of the VR shooting game above and can support online battles with up to 5 VS 5 players. Armed with classic WWII weapons and intuitive controls you’re able to explore the battlefield freely, make strategic movement decisions and engage in a realistic combat. Charging, jumping, hunkering down and crawling forward are no longer just animations shown after buttons are pressed. In this game, players need to use their own extremities in combination with the intuitive Vive controllers, dodging incoming fire to survive the fierce battles!

• 3 different multiplayer fighting modes: Deathmatch, Flag, and Defend/Offend.

And number three Super Puzzle Galaxy Lite

Strap a VIVE to your face. Solve puzzles in outer space. (In that order) Come play with the sands of fun in our outer-space physics sandbox. Sculpt sand in 32 levels to direct the ball into the goal in this physics puzzle game. Jump over danger and phase through obstacles using special abilities in the 16 devious challenge levels. Devise ever-faster ways to solve levels and rule the leaderboards. (please note this is the LITE version, and is different to the STEAM version of the game)

And to round our list off, Arcade Saga

Futuristic and action-packed, this compilation game uses 360⁰ gaming, motion controls and positional audio with a nod to Arcade games of the past. Leaderboards for all allow you to gauge your progress against friends and family. Arcade Saga allows you to take the role of a newly sentient being and battle for survival against A.I. Overlords determined to destroy you and your free-thinking. Through 3 different futuristic sports you’ll harness your reactions and strategic thinking to shoot and dodge viruses, break firewall bricks and spin data-balls past the Overlords and their minions. You will need to use your reflexes, wits and changing strategies to survive.

• 3 action games built specifically for VR in one package – Fracture (40 levels), Smash (20 levels), and Bowshot (24 levels)

Well, that is a pretty good games bonus isn’t it, VIVEDAY promotions run from today until the 8th of April so get in quick and you can check out the latest in the NZ HTC Vive VR Store and be sure to keep your eyes on our GGPC PC Gaming Blog for the latest!

GAME ON!

Good Gaming PC – HP Omen X Compact PC VR Backpack

Small form factor gaming performance received a massive boost with the recently released Nvidia 10 series opening new doors to what’s possible performance wise, while keeping things really small – and those talented techs at HP Omen Gaming have taken this into the immersive VR space with the latest version of the virtual reality backpack PC – designing a full kit they call the OMEN X that leaps us ahead of the ones we tried just a few months ago during Computex 2017 – and they were pretty darn good!

Packing (pun intended) a powerful 8GB GTX 1080 graphics paired with the intel i7-7820HK this small gaming PC has the got power to deliver exceptional gaming performance, punching with the same strength as much, much larger systems 🙂

The dock is a very clever addition, it not only adds functionality but also lets you keep your keyboard and mouse connected so you can dock the OMEN X and get jump straight into 4K desktop gaming as well. This convenience works both ways of course, simply take the OMEN X system out of the desktop dock, then clip it onto the super comfy backpack unit and you’re ready to dive straight into VR, making the most out of your HTC Vive with the freedom to move 🙂 They’ve also tackled battery life in a good way with two hip-mounted power packs providing enough power for a good gaming session, the kit includes 4x battery packs which are quick release as well, allowing you to hot swap quickly one by one and stay in game!

The new OMEN X Compact PC VR Backpacks will be available for everyone to try for themselves at the NZ techXpo 2017 which is set for mid-August at the Vodafone Events Centre in Auckland, come along and join the GGPC team as we get hands on with the latest and best in tech!