May 21, 2013

Nifty Rift-y

Guess what I got last week ? Yes, it's an Oculus Rift.

From the moment I saw John Carmack extolling the virtues of the Rift I knew I had to get in on the Kickstarter. And last week my Rift finally arrived.

I'm not going to write a lengthy post here talking about the Rift in detail. I basically want to do two things: share some experiences, and give some pointers (especially for those of us 'stuck' on Macs).

So first, some experiences. Yes, the Rift is as impressive as they say. The sense of depth is amazing. You're easily fooled into thinking you're really, physically, somewhere other than where you were a moment before. And this can be very disorienting as well. My favourite Rift application right now has to be Minecrift (which, lucky me, saw a Mac release last week), and I can only play this for short bursts of time before getting some feelings of nausea. Looking around is not the problem, it's moving around which does it. Especially quick movements feel really unnatural when you're really sitting down. But being there, in a Minecraft world, is amazing fun.

Now for some pointers. There are not as many Rift-enabled applications yet for the Mac as there are for PC, and I had a hard time finding them at first. But there are two sites which make your life easier: The Rift List, and Rift enabled. Both sites see frequent updates, and both allow you to filter out Mac applications. My favourites so far ? Spacewalk, which lets you explore the ISS from the outside (and boy is that thing big!). Then there is First Law, which is a basic space shooter. And Blue Marble, in which you're again in space, but which sports the best graphics I've seen so far.