Oculus is getting touchy. The virtual reality creator invited attendees at its second annual Oculus Connect conference to go hands on with games for the consumer rendition of its Oculus Rift headset using Oculus Touch hand-held controllers.
”The biggest challenge for us to solve was adding support for dual controllers,” said Nick Donaldson, senior designer at Epic Games. ”We never had the concept that the player would have more than one controller in their hands. Now, we can’t really imagine it any other way.”
Several of the demos on display at the three-day event this week are intended to launch early next year alongside the VR system, although Facebook-owned Oculus has yet to announce the system’s price or release date.
A look at five games utilizing Touch:
”Bullet Train”: The most polished of the demos on hand at Oculus Connect came from developer Epic Games, best known for the ”Gears of War” series.
”Bullet Train” is essentially an interactive version of ”The Matrix,” where users can teleport across a train station, shoot baddies, bend time and catch bullets.
The demo flawlessly showcased the Touch controllers’ ability to mirror hand movement, whether that meant gripping a shotgun or punching a soldier.
”Surgeon Simulator”: Bossa Studios’ surgery simulator series ventured into outer space at Oculus Connect with an ”Alien Autopsy”-inspired level.
In the wacky demo, players are space surgeons who must use various medical implements to remove an explosive organ from a big-eyed extraterrestrial.
The combination of an instinctual control scheme and some gravity-defying physics provided an extremely silly sense of presence for wannabe quacks.
”Dead and Buried”: This wild Western-themed shooting gallery put players above a canyon where everything is a target – from mine carts to lanterns.
The player is virtually armed with a pair of surprisingly intuitive six-shooters, which must be reloaded by actually flicking the Touch controllers.
”Dead and Buried” is ultimately gimmicky, but the demo’s shooting controls offered a glimpse at how precise a first-person shooter could feel inside Oculus.
”Pulsar Arena”: ”Tron” meets ”PaRappa the Rapper” in this overwhelming rhythm game where the goal is to blast floating balls along to a pulsating beat.
It’s basically a hyper take on tug-of-war set inside an hourglass-shaped stadium where players compete against a computer-controlled opponent.
With its flashy futuristic aesthetic, ”Pulsar Arena” proved to be an immersive experience. However, the minimalistic gameplay won’t leave any lasting VR legacy.
”I Expect You to Die”: Schell Games’ quirky spy simulator strands players in a deathtrap-filled car parked inside a gas-filled cargo plane. The mission? Escape!
The controllers are mimicked in the virtual driver’s seat as hands which can push buttons, grab bombs, turn keys and open the glove compartment.
”I Expect You to Die” is a maddeningly fun, tactile interactive experience, and it’s proof that problem solving in VR will shake and stir Oculus users.