We got our devkit on Thursday.. and spent a lot of Friday in the office finding fun things to do with it.
We found that the reactions are best from people who don’t really play video games, or use computers. The best reaction was from our friend Simon. We decided to play a joke on him. Everyone left the office, and I showed him the mask, and got him to wear it. Then while he had it on everyone came in and stood around him, so that when he took it off he’d be all suprised.
This didn’t really work because he’s kind of slow and hardly realised that 6 people had appeared out of nowhere. And he wasn’t that impressed with the rift because one of the lenses wasn’t in (something he failed to realise/mention).
But then we got him on the rollercoaster demo. And he went insane. Short hard breaths. Repeatedly squatting. Hands shaking uncontrollably. It was both hilarious and scary. Even afterwards, an hour later, he was still shaking.
This probably less of an indication of how real the Rift feels, and more an indication of how badly wired Simon’s brain is.
My personal experience is sickness. I tried it for about 20 minutes and felt very very sick. I think there’s two things that make me feel sick. Firstly and most obviously is movement. If I’m standing still and looking around I’m fine, but any movement is awful for me. Another related thing is how it doesn’t move when you move your head. For example, when moving your head closer to an object. This is probably expected – but it must confuse my brain and make me sick.
The sickness is that bad that even the thought of putting the mask on makes me feel sick. My brain has learned to avoid it. I’ve been told to ease myself in slowly.. but I don’t really know how to do that.
Beyond that I’ve got nothing else to say that hasn’t already been said. The resolution is an issue – but it’s something you can overlook (especially considering it’s a devkit). It gives a spectacular sense of scale. In Half-Life 2 when an NPC looks at me – I feel something deep in my chest that I feel in real life when strangers look at me – that I’ve never felt in a video game before. Like a prompt to react, to smile back or say hello.
This is the future of gaming. And I wouldn’t be surprised to see movies that we can look around in too in the near future.