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Great post, will add some of my usage thoughts when I get a chance.

You can see what is free in the store by just browsing it on your phone, not in VR so that might help.

I've also had a lot of overheating issues sometimes after a little as 5-10mins on an S6E which is incredibly frustrating but I think I'm getting to the bottom of this now.

Have a look here for further information and help with this very good reddit post.

https://m.reddit.com/r/GearVR/comments/3vxlsh/sidebar_content_or_sticky_recommendation/

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They seem to have rather botched the launch of this in the UK. A couple of weeks before Christmas and only from their own site? Daft.

Yep - and out of stock until yesterday anyway. No other UK retailer had them either.

I would have thought the GearVR being pulled out over Christmas gatherings would have helped. Apparently it really did the numbers (selling out everywhere) after Thanksgiving in the states.

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Interesting stuff. cheers Mike!

Has anyone tried out any headsets with the iPhone? I've just had a look and there are loads of them. Ranging from a fiver to about £100, but is it worth paying more, or paying bugger all to give it a try first?

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Few more from my travels...

VR Karts

This should have been a no brainer really, but I have to say it failed in many critical areas. Firstly, there very little sense of being there (quite how some games manage this and other don't I can't put my finger on).

Secondly its the handling that doesn't work for me - turning is just too sudden with absolutely no inertia. It's very 'binary' - something akin to PS1 driving games. There's a distinct lack of speed as well.

Shame really, as it looks the part - and the shooting mechanic is quite nice - but it didn't delivery on its potential for me.

Samsung Internet Browser:

I can certainly see a future where you are sat at a desk surrounded by webpages and various feeds/email etc. in a Minority Report style - but sadly this isn't it. Whilst the 'Ok Google' voice method of text input is fine, browsing the internet isn't a particularly pleasant experience. The webpages are a little small and the resolution isn't really there.

At this stage there's no advantage to using VR to browse webpages. It's an interesting concept for 5 minutes, but you'll never load it up again:

MILKVR (and other VR photo and movie players)

​There's an enormous amount of VR video players on the store for some reason, each with their own content (usually streamed). I think they are all vying to become the default content providers for this.

Unfortunately I haven't got on well with 360 videos - as typically they are extremely poor quality (compression wise), often just in 2D, and seem to lack any sort of presence. A novelty at best. I tried out the celebrated video 'Catatonic' where you are being wheeled through a 1940s mental asylum - but its just didn't work for me.

The 360 photos are a curious one as well. Some provide an interesting view of a world, but others just feel like you're a tiny man floating inside a Dyson sphere where a photo is pasted onto the inside of a mile wide sphere.

MilkVR is the best one as you can import your own files from a variety of sources directly onto the phone, so I think this will become the default video player.

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Interesting stuff. cheers Mike!

Mike? I ain't no Mike.

Regarding other headsets, I've not tried them (except for the deadful 'cardboard'). I'm going to speculate that 3rd party offerings won't have the ecosystem that Samsung/Oculus have developed (i.e. a central hub from which all curated experiences are launched), so it could be hit and miss and perhaps fiddly having to take the phone in and out of the headsets. The games and experiences will probably be a bit poor as well (but I've no idea).

Hope Apple join the race at some point - as I had to purchase another phone just for this (but, like I said, I don't regret it for a second).

Oh, one slight pain with GearVR is getting the phone in and out of the headset - it's a RIGHT pain in the arse. On top of that, by the time you've struggled to get all the connectors lined up and you've snapped the catches shut it announces that you need to take the phone out and 'unlock' it. Fucking hell.

Also, the bluetooth keeps dropping out, so I've had to restart the phone a few times. This may just be an issue I'm having though.

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Ha, for some reason Uncle Clive became Uncle Mike in my mind at 1AM, sorry! :)

You can call me whatever you like flower lamb. It's all good.

Zen Zone:

Surprised this isn't free, but its a reasonable example of the types of experiences that could form a large part of the VR catalogue in the future (in concept anyway). My natural aversion to the new age probably worked against me so the relaxation techniques didn't do that much for me ("Visualize a healing light!")

One of the modes involves sitting in a Zen garden, which is quite pretty - but lacks any sort of graphical awe (early PS2 level visuals) - which I would have though essential for an app like this. You can pick up a rake and play around in the sand, but I didn't find that interesting on any level.

Smash Hit:

A free game, and a good one at that. Great presence (I ducked quite a few times) and a good sensation of speed. Really simple controls - just move your head and tap the side of the headset to shoot.

Basically you travel down a corridor aiming a cones to shoot, and trying to blow away the glass panels that block your path. Surprising engrossing - especially given that its free. A good one for demoing with:

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Oculus Arcade:

Not a recreation of the grimy old arcades of yesteryear with the ability to upload MAME ROMS sadly, but its worth investigating. Largely from a novelty perspective - but I could definitely see myself building my dream arcade at some point in the future on the Oculus rift . Worth having a go just so you can dream of the future.

Essentially you can choose between three arcades: SEGA, NAMCO and Midway. Once in a room, you see all the cabs spread out and you can choose one to play on. You then appear at the machine of choice. Good presence - works well.

You get 20 minutes free play on each machine, and after that you have the option to purchase the game outright. Maybe a couple of quid a game, if that:

Current games available:

Bandai Namco:
Pac-Man – (1980)
Galaga – (1981)
Sega:
Sonic The Hedgehog – (1991)
Sonic The Hedgehog 2 – (1992)
Sonic Spinball – (1993)
Altered Beast – (1988)
Golden Axe – (1989)
Phantasy Star II – (1989)
Shinobi III – (1993)
Streets of Rage – (1991)
Streets of Rage 2 – (1992)
Virtua Fighter 2 – (1994)
Ecco The Dolphin – (1992)
Midway:
Gauntlet – (1985)
Gauntlet 2 – (1986)
Defender – (1981)
Joust – (1982)
Spy Hunter – (1983)
APB – (1987)
Root Beer Tapper – (1983)
Rampage – (1986)

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Esper 2

Didnt get on with this especially well. Despite it being a single room game I never got sense of being there that I did with other games. The mechanics basically involve some interesting physics puzzles. Ill need to return to it, but it didnt seem essential to me:

I'm interested to hear more of your thoughts on this. I made Esper 1 and 2, and would love to know what you think gives the game less presence than the others, and what your biggest criticisms were.

Forgive me if im wrong, but I'm curious that from reading what you've said, it sounds like you're talking about Esper 1, as that is a single room game, but Esper 2 takes place across a variety of locations and makes a lot of improvements over the first in terms of room scale, controls, and general level of polish.

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I'm interested to hear more of your thoughts on this. I made Esper 1 and 2, and would love to know what you think gives the game less presence than the others, and what your biggest criticisms were.

Forgive me if im wrong, but I'm curious that from reading what you've said, it sounds like you're talking about Esper 1, as that is a single room game, but Esper 2 takes place across a variety of locations and makes a lot of improvements over the first in terms of room scale, controls, and general level of polish.

It was Esper 2 I was playing (haven't played the first one). I guess what I meant by 'single room game' was not to be taken literally, I meant each scenario takes place in a single 'room' - and I'd therefore expect a little more sense of 'place' (lower engine requirements would lead to more details/objects or something)

I thought the puzzles were interesting, and as I've said I do need to return to it (the above were my initial thoughts), but I struggled with the forward and backward manipulation of objects (at the time I was using the touchpad with mixed results). If I recall correctly, the game seems to imply you pull objects close to you just using your head - but I could never get that to work properly.

Regarding 'presence' (the new "SKU"!) - I just didn't get the same sense of place as I did in other games - and I'm not sure I can articulate to you why. If you take a look at the desk in the selection menu of 'Omega Agent' - it feels absolutely solid - and looking around the room you can almost 'feel' the walls are there, and that you're sat at a desk. There's something not quite right with the scale or depth of the environments in Esper. Hard to be specific, I'll update my thoughts when I get back to it for you.

Sorry if you felt I was a bit critical (suddenly embarrassed the developer pops up here). The game seems to truly understand VR and the experiences that can work well - but, as I said, purely from a presence perspective it didn't quite do it for me.

As I said, I will return to it though - it was intriguing enough for me to give further investigation.

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Oculus Arcade:

Essentially you can choose between three arcades: SEGA, NAMCO and Midway. Once in a room, you see all the cabs spread out and you can choose one to play on. You then appear at the machine of choice. Good presence - works well.

Sega:
Sonic The Hedgehog – (1991)
Sonic The Hedgehog 2 – (1992)
Sonic Spinball – (1993)
Altered Beast – (1988)
Golden Axe – (1989)
Phantasy Star II – (1989)
Shinobi III – (1993)
Streets of Rage – (1991)
Streets of Rage 2 – (1992)
Virtua Fighter 2 – (1994)
Ecco The Dolphin – (1992)

Somebody might want to raise a case with trading standards or the ASA for misadvertising, they seem to have swapped all the real classic arcade games in this particular arcade for some home console games. The only defence being it's simulating a Mega-Tech/Mega Play cab :P

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Somebody might want to raise a case with trading standards or the ASA for misadvertising, they seem to have swapped all the real classic arcade games in this particular arcade for some home console games. The only defence being it's simulating a Mega-Tech/Mega Play cab :P

Yeah - Virtual Fighter appears to be the Megadrive version!

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Does the Gear VR do any sort of positional movement? i.e. if you lean forward, does the view change? I find that's a big part of presence.

Nope. There's no external calibration - so yeah - if you do lean into something it doesn't get bigger. It's not had a profound effect on presence for me (none of the GearVR games encourage, or require it, so they've sidestepped the issue)

I'm guessing it could use the phone camera in a future update - but perhaps that's just too hit and miss.

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It was Esper 2 I was playing (haven't played the first one). I guess what I meant by 'single room game' was not to be taken literally, I meant each scenario takes place in a single 'room' - and I'd therefore expect therefore a little more sense of 'place' (lower engine requirements would lead to more details/objects or something)

I thought the puzzles were interesting, and as I've said I do need to return to it (the above were my initial thoughts), but I struggled with the forward and backward manipulation of objects (at the time I was using the touchpad with mixed results). If I recall correctly, the game seems to imply you pull objects close to you just using your head - but I could never get that to work properly.

Regarding 'presence' (the new "SKU"!) - I just didn't get the same sense of place as I did in other games - and I'm not sure I can articulate to you why. If you take a look at the desk in the selection menu of 'Omega Agent' - it feels absolutely solid - and looking around the room you can almost 'feel' the walls are there, and that you're sat at a desk. There's something not quite right with the scale or depth of the environments in Esper. Hard to be specific, I'll update my thoughts when I get back to it for you.

Sorry if you felt I was a bit critical (suddenly embarrassed the developer pops up here). The game seems to truly understand VR and the experiences that can work well - but, as I said, purely from a presence perspective it didn't quite do it for me.

As I said, I will return to it though - it was intriguing enough for me to give further investigation.

Awesome, thanks for the critique. I'll take a look at Omega Agent.

And please don't feel embarrassed, your posts here are a fantastic rundown of the first set of GearVR games, and it makes sense that you can't give each one a full in depth review, I'm just being selfish.

Please let me know if you have any further thoughts, and don't feel like you have to be nice. I prefer the critical views as they tend to be more specific than the positive ones.

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Awesome, thanks for the critique. I'll take a look at Omega Agent.

And please don't feel embarrassed, your posts here are a fantastic rundown of the first set of GearVR games, and it makes sense that you can't give each one a full in depth review, I'm just being selfish.

Please let me know if you have any further thoughts, and don't feel like you have to be nice. I prefer the critical views as they tend to be more specific than the positive ones.

Ok, the Rubix cube was too big :-)

Let me play it some more over the break and I'll PM you my thoughts from a VR newbie. I didn't spend huge amounts of time on it (it's like when you've suddenly got a hundred toys to play with), so I didn't go into much detail.

Esper 2 has been very well received by the looks of it, so I'm maybe a lone voice.

My advice? Put the first 4 levels up for free.

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Awesome, thanks for the critique. I'll take a look at Omega Agent.

Remember to switch the control settings to swivel chair! :eyebrows:

How much has this cost you?

Hardware wise? A New Galaxy S6 cost me about £320 - and the headset (bearing in mind I had to import) cost £92. It's £80 on the Samsung store now.

The controller (MOGA Pro) was about £40.

I've spend maybe £30 on games and things, probably a bit less. My store is in dollars...

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I've been thinking about getting one of these for ages but was a bit put off.I couldn't find much online about what sort of software support it was getting so I started an ATF thread about it which received a single solitary reply along the lines of "its just an overpriced Google cardboard". Stupidly that put me off looking into it any further! Could be a good post-christmas toy.

I've been worrying about the cable on occulus for ages too.To be honest I think the future of consumer VR is going to be something more mobile and wire-free like this rather than something wired to a piece of technology as near-obsolete as a desktop home PC.

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That sounds remarkably reasonable. :) Is everything locked into Samsung hardware or are other Android devices compatible?

EDIT: Sorry, did my own googling. It's locked to select Samsung handsets, apparently.

Yep - Galaxy 6s. If you've already got one it's an absolute no brainer.

In all honesty I'd have been happy at the price I paid for all that if it was just Omega Agent glued into a headset, like some crazy kind of futuristic Tomytronic toy. Anything else is a bonus.

No doubt Oculus, Vive etc. will be a significantly more impressive systems (concerns about wires and the inability to use a swivel chair aside) - but I think mobile VR is a different proposition. It's cheap, can be easily transported (I can legitimately see myself using this for cinema viewing on my next holiday flight) - and relatively easy just to throw on and start pissing around with.

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I've been thinking about getting one if these for ages but was a bit put off.I couldn't find much online about what sort of software support it was getting so I started an ATF thread about it which received a single solitary reply along the lines of "its just an overpriced Google cardboard". Stupidly that put me off looking into it any further! Could be a good post-christmas toy.

I've been worrying about the cable on occulus for ages too.To be honest I think the future of consumer VR is going to be something more mobile and wire-free like this rather than something wired to a piece of technology as near-obsolete as a desktop home PC.

Oh, yeah - future phones are going to blow it out of the water - I genuinely believe this can sit alongside the bigger dedicated PC based rigs.

The support is fantastic thus far (it's Oculus, who have a great deal invested in this) - so I've no worries on that score.

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I tried one of these a little while back at Droidcon London, running Lands End. I couldn't stop telling the bemused Samsung rep how good it was. As you said, if you already own a compatible phone, it's dirt cheap -- almost a must-buy. And a very smart move from Oculus, because I think accessible VR like this will seed the market for Serious VR Rigs without ever significantly cannibalising from it.

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i don't think it will cannibalise the serious VR rig market, I think it (or similar devices) will end up being the market for serious (consumer) VR rigs. Seriously, do you guys think that when this tech goes mainstream it will be limited to the tiny proportion of people who own a high end gaming PC with a £400 GPU? Or even a console? The trend for everything in consumer tech (and industry tech as it happens) is moving towards Internet of Things, standalone, mobile devices. And I'm fairy sure that when VR takes off it is going to be the biggest consumer trend we have seen for a long time.

So where do you buy these? A Google search for "buy Samsung Gear vr" just throws up lots of out of stock listings for the old version (Innovator Edition).

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wow, £80!

I don't suppose there is any chance, whatsoever, that I might find one of these in a shop? PC World? They seem to be getting into their gadgets these days...

Would love to play with it with my nephew tomorrow. Pretty unlikely I know at this stage...

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