There’s been some criticism of VR being too fiddly recently, from the initial setup to the space required to the trailing wires of death stalking you as you play. According to Adam Kraver, architect programmer on Project Arena for CCP, it’s not really an issue – people will make the effort if they care.
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Speaking to PCGN at EVE Fanfest, Kraver explains, “Everyday people do an enormous number of ridiculously complex and difficult things just to get through their day. Like cooking – that requires an entire room in your house and a special machine to keep things cold; and then you’ve gotta have this thing that makes these super-hot surfaces.
“So if you’re passionate about that you can do [VR]. If you’re passionate about this and interested in this, you’re just gonna do it.”
It’s a fair point, as I am rather passionate about using food to not die of starvation, which is exactly the same as playing a game while wearing a sense-reducing head clamp.
“It’s not rocket science,” continues Kraver. “Yeah, it can be fiddly, but guess what: so was my first VCR. So I think there’s potential to underestimate people’s willingness to deal with the difficulties to get at the things they want.
“When I first started playing console gaming it was on my television, and the way I had to do that, I had to drag the tiny black & white TV from the kitchen to my room, I had to screw the little game adapter onto the back, do the thing, slide the thing, turn the knobs to get it just right and then I’d play on a grainy black & white TV with this really awful controller that gives you blisters.”
I remember the faff of playing a Commodore 64 back in the day, having to rewind your games – which were on tapes – before you could even get to the epilepsy-inducing loading screens. This point certainly works better than the kitchen one.
“And I loved it… lots of people loved it,” Kraver goes on. “That stuff was really expensive back in the day – you know, people forget how relatively cheap games are now for what you get. I think the people that see [VR] will want it. They’ll go through the pain.
“For an enormous amount of people, it will be worth it. And the beauty of it is, yeah, it’s a little bit painful to do, but tomorrow it’s gonna be a little less painful, and the next day it’s gonna be a little less painful.
“And we’re seeing that from the Oculus to the Vive. You know, when I first got my DK2 [Oculus dev kit] it was pretty fiddly to make the whole thing come together, and now I got my Rift, plugged it in, it did its thing and I was like ‘cool, I’m good to go’. So it’s just gonna get better.”
If you’re willing to jump in at this early stage, you have to take it as it is, basically. Yes, the technology will get better and become less painful, but are you willing to wait? If not, it might be time to knock a wall down and erect a VR room, right next to that high-tec kitchen.