The Oculus Quest 2 can’t simulate weight, but VR hand tracking helps

Oculus Quest 2 developer Owlchemy Labs reveals how its upcoming multiplayer game handles item weight with hand tracking compared to controllers

A woman wearing the Meta Quest 2 VR headset looks at her hands without controllers, showcase hand tracking

Oculus Quest 2 fans had a surprise during Gamescom’s Opening Night Live presentation in August. Owlchemy Labs – best known for Vacation Simulator and Cosmonious High – teased a new multiplayer VR game with no traditional controller support. Built instead around VR hand-tracking technology, Owlchemy Labs tells PCGamesN more about how it’s using Quest hardware.

Speaking with Owlchemy Labs COO Andrew Eiche, we queried how the team’s using the best VR headset technology on Quest 2 to make a hand-tracking focused experience. When asked about conveying object weight and holding items through this technology, often achieved through haptic feedback in controllers, Eiche explains this is helped by our perception of different items, like coffee mugs.

“While [your mind] is looking for that response of the weight, that’s only for balance. It’s not as necessary for the concept of holding the mug,” Eiche explains. “Then you get to the heavier objects, so we’ve done some experimentation because there are certain properties of carrying heavy objects [that] have a visual representation. Even haptics don’t exactly fit it.”

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“If you hold a broom handle, there’s a natural stabilization that your body does but because it’s heavy on the end, it has a gyroscopic effect,” Eiche continues, detailing Vacation Simulator’s hand tracking support. “If you start to apply that like we did that with oars in Vacation Simulator, you put in this gyroscopic effect, so your wrist can’t flick and you suddenly see the end of the oar fly. The other example in some games is where you pick things up and the character’s arms just stay down. We’ve avoided this by trying not to make objects too heavy.”

It’s clear that hand tracking remains a focus for Meta, who recently updated the original Oculus Quest with hand tracking 2.0 support. While it’s unknown if Owlchemy Labs’ upcoming game supports the older Quest headset alongside Quest 2, we’d expect support for upcoming headsets like Meta Quest Pro and Oculus Quest 3. If you’re interested in learning more, we’ll send you the full interview soon.