Virtual Reality: The Great Escape

Are you tired of staring at a monitor to play your games?  Do you want to exercise more, but also want to play games?  Perhaps you simply want to go somewhere far away, and escape the world.  Well, I’ve got something to show you!  Virtual Reality:  The Great Escape.

 

What is Virtual Reality?

Virtual Reality is “the computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way by a person using special electronic equipment, such as a helmet with a screen inside or gloves fitted with sensors.” (Oxford).  I mean, seriously.  Imagine putting on oversized glasses and being able to walk around in the worlds you once new only through a 2D screen.

Just by strapping a headset onto your head, you can experience quite literally anything from simulations generated by your computer!  Depending on the kind of specs your running can great affect your experience, but each headset requires different computer specifications.  Some… need no computer at all.  So, let’s talk about the different types of Virtual Reality Headsets.

 

What Types of Virtual Reality Headsets are There?

Well, the first “Virtual Reality” Experience I can recall is when those cheap stand-alone phone VR headsets were a thing.  You would simply put your phone into a shell that would trap to your head.  Your phone would split its screen in two and display the same image in each eye… but when you turn, the image turned with it.  Putting you in that place.  Although… it was just a still image.  Eventually, videos of these experiences, like roller-coasters, became popular and made there way into the library of virtual reality videos/images.

At one point, Google sold a $15 cardboard box that could be folded into a virtual reality headset.  Remember those?  I don’t think they’re around anymore…  Similar to the regular phone VR headsets.  They’re certainly not as popular as “mainstream virtual reality.”  What do I mean by “mainstream”?  Well… let me explain by showing you the real deal popular headsets currently on the market.

 

Oculus Quest 2

The Oculus Quest 2 has become one of the most popular virtual reality headsets in recent times.  This is due to several factors.  One being, it’s cheap!  I mean really cheap, at $299 only.  Making it one of the cheapest VR headsets ever.  (The Rift S, which I will talk about here soon, recently dropped to $299 as well.)

The second is that it is completely stand-alone.  No cables.  No need for a computer.  That’s right, $299 and you have the freedom of VR!  At a cost of course…  You will not get the same performance from the Quest 2 as you would any other VR headset connected to a computer.  One thing I should mention is that you technically can play PC VR games on the Quest 2 with the included PC Link cable.

However, to many people, this is the perfect option.  It means that they can play VR without having wires laying around, or without having to spend the extra cache on a computer to run games.  It speaks volumes when you see sales spike for a device that may not perform as well as a wired device, but it just goes to show that it is much more convenient for the majority of people.  Hence why the Rift S is no longer in production…  But we’ll talk about that next.  For now, here are the specs for the Quest 2.

Quest 2

  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Resolution: 1832 x 1920
  • Refresh rate: 90 Hz
  • Storage: 64GB / 256GB
  • Integrated speakers and microphone
  • 2-3 hours battery life
  • Adjustable IPD with three settings for 58, 63 and 68mm

 

 

Oculus Rift S

This is the VR Headset I currently own.  I first started on the original rift.  When I put the headset on, it felt like I was in for maybe 15 minutes when I was really in there for hours.  I was completely lost in these epic worlds.  Anyway, the Rift S is the most recent addition to the Oculus PC VR line-up.  It is no longer in production, but if you’re lucky, you can snag one of them now for only $299.  It’s $100 off so definitely act fast!  It requires 1x Display Port and 1x USB 3.0 connection from your computer.

One nice feature about this headset as compared to its predecessor as well as many other headsets is that it has the sensors required to play an track the controllers built into the headset!  It is truly small and very ergonomic, as well as the controller.  They take up minimal real-estate in your room, and the cable is not as annoying as some may make it out to be.

So long that you have the minimum/recommended specs to run this headset, I will always recommend this headset a 10/10 must have.  There are many other PC VR headsets out there, such as the Valve Index, HP Reverb G2, and the HTC Vive.  Today, I am only talking about the Rift S.  Definitely go check out some more PC VR headsets once you’re done here!  Here are the specs, and the system requirements for the Rift S.

Rift S

  • Panel Type: Single Fast-Switch LCD 2560×1440
  • Supported Refresh: 80Hz
  • Display Connector: DisplayPort 1.2
  • USB Connector: 1x USB 3.0
  • Tracking: Inside out – 6DOF,
  • Audio: Integrated headphones in-strap and microphone
  • Lens Distance: Fixed

System Requirements:

Minimum computer requirements for Oculus Rift:

Processor: Intel i3-6100/AMD Ryzen 3 1200, FX4350 or greater
Graphics Card: NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti/AMD Radeon RX 470 or greater
Alternative Graphics Card: NVIDIA GTX 960 4 GB/AMD Radeon R9 290 or greater
Operating System: Windows 10
Memory: 8 GB RAM
USB Ports: 1 x USB 3.0 port
Video Output: Compatible Mini DisplayPort video output (Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort adapter included with Rift S)

Recommended computer specs for Oculus Rift:

Processor: Intel i5-4590/AMD Ryzen 5 1500X or greater
Graphics Card: NVIDIA GTX 1060/AMD Radeon RX 480 or greater
Alternative Graphics Card: NVIDIA GTX 970/AMD Radeon R9 290 or greater
Memory: 16 GB RAM
Operating System: Windows 10
USB Ports: 1 x USB 3.0 port (3x USB for Oculus Rift C1)
Video Output: Compatible DisplayPort

 

Sony PlayStation VR

For those of you with a PlayStation 4 and up, you can play VR on your machines using Sony PlayStation VR!  The PSVR has been around for a little while, so it is a tad bit dated, spec wise.  However, this headset is a great foot in the door for those of you who mainly console game, specifically PlayStation, and want to try VR.  Here are the specs!

PSVR

  • Product Name: PlayStation VR
  • Product Code: CUH-ZVR2 Series
  • Display: OLED
  • Display Size: 5.7 inches
  • Resolution: 1920 x RGB x 1080 (960 x RGB x 1080)
  • Refresh Rate: 120hz, 90hz
  • Field of View: Approx. 100 degrees
  • Microphone: Integrated
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, gyroscope
  • Connection: HDMI, USB

 

What Kind of Virtual Reality Games are There?

Well, there are quite literally hundreds of VR games at this point, and the number is only growing.  There for a while, there were not many games.  The ones that did exist were…  meh.  But, with the sudden rise in VR sales thanks to standalone VR headsets and it becoming more affordable and thus available to more families, more games have been released that are truly amazing!  Some of the more popular ones are Beat Saber, Lone Echo, and VRChat.  Although those games are cool and all, I have a few honorable mentions right off the bat.

 

Pavlov VR

This game is awesome.  Image playing CS:GO but being able to hold the guns, reload, duck, and aim yourself!  That’s essentially what this is.  Play by yourself, with friends, or even with bots!  It has game modes such as deathmatch, search and destroy, even zombies!  You can customize you weapons to be long-range, silent, or even semi-auto.

 

Windlands 2

This game has seriously changed the way I think of and play VR.  It is one of my favorite VR games to this day.  Essentially, you are the guardian of the ‘Windlands’ and you have to defeat bad guys.  Oh, but there is a catch…  You have grapple hooks and have to get around by swinging like Spider-Man!  Awesome right?  Try it for yourself.

 

Half Life: Alyx

This game is the reason to get VR.  I always heard people talk about how amazing this game is, but until I played it for myself…  I would’ve never fully grasped it.  Play as Alyx Vance, a teenager trying to save her father in a city swarming with aliens and corrupt military.  Utilize the gravity gloves, aka Russel’s, to grab things from a distance.  Oh, and say hi to Jeff for me.

 

Conclusion

Virtual Reality has truly changed the way I think about video games.  It puts you even further into the shoes of the characters you once only knew on a 2d screen.  Strap the headset on, and dive into different worlds.  Defeat bosses, race cars, heck even kick back and watch Netflix in your mansion if you wanted.  VR allows you to do whatever you want.  I admit, I even did my homework in VR once…   and it was totally worth it.   Almost makes you forget you are doing school.  Don’t believe me?  Try it for yourself!  And if you ever need a gaming PC to run VR, just give us a call.  We’ve been around the block a time or two when it comes to epic gaming builds.  Check out our blog on building a PC here!

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