Oculus Touch

For a long time it seemed that virtual reality gaming was going to go the way of the jet pack: anticipated, planned, designed – but simply not practical for actual use in the real world. But, at last, it seems that virtual reality gaming is not just around the corner, it is here!

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First of all, banish thoughts of clunky, chunky metallic gloves, loaded with electrodes, sensors and wires – but do hold on to the memory of those immense, bulky goggles that look like something you would use to do a little spot-welding at the weekend! Those big eyepieces are necessary to give you a full field of vision in the game, allowing your peripheral vision to come into play and make the virtual world all the more realistic and less claustrophobic than it might otherwise be. However, even the googles have received a modern-day makeover and are smaller and lighter than you might expect them to be, now looking more like scuba googles than a welding-mask.

So much for the headset – onto the lack of gloves. Oculus Touch have created half-moon shaped hand-held controllers, one for each hand. The controllers are not tethered to each other and both are the same size and shape. The controllers feature – two on each controller – the AB/ XY buttons that will be familiar old friends to all gamers. These buttons have been modified though, so that they can sense your finger’s mere proximity, and they are now ultra-sensitive. There are also super-sensitive sensors under the triggers that relay information about whether your fingers are actually touching them or not.

As you move through the virtual world, the operation of these controllers is so intuitive that it is easy to forget that you are holding a controller at all. Far from the old ‘press and hold to carry’ operation of standard games controllers in which you are seldom permitted to forget that you are holding a controller and that controller is doing the picking up, carrying, dropping or throwing, the Oculus Touch controllers make you think that your virtual hands are your real hands and using them requires no more effort or conscious thought than your own flesh-and-blood hands. Those sensors mentioned above tell the controller whether you have stretched out your hand to pick something up, closed your hand around it – even how tightly you are holding the object – or if you have relaxed your hold in order to drop or place the object. The controllers stay in your hands thanks to the half-moon shape which circles your hand, keeping them in place even if you open your hands to drop or throw items – and there is a safety strap just in case of over-enthusiastic game-play!Modern internet connection, using super-fast fibre optic broadband, is sure to help game-play run smoothly and seamlessly – giving the player more ‘reality’ than ‘virtuality’!

The physical dimensions of the controllers and mask make Oculus easy to store and even easier to wear (even on the hottest days when gloves are definitely a no-no!). The graphics are crystal-clear and sharp and the controllers so non-intrusive that gameplay feels more realistic than any other platform on the market at present.

 

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