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Half-Life: Alyx


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38 minutes ago, JPL said:

Why can’t the articulation of the arms just follow what the hands are doing? Just some generalised natural movement.

 

I saw a video the other day for a VR game called Boneworks, which does this. But even in the dev's own video, there are places it looks distractingly weird - watch this part for about 10 seconds to see what I mean. I'm not saying Valve couldn't have done a better job of it if they'd tried it, but I do think it's quite a hard problem to solve.

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1 hour ago, wavey said:

 

I saw a video the other day for a VR game called Boneworks, which does this. But even in the dev's own video, there are places it looks distractingly weird - watch this part for about 10 seconds to see what I mean. I'm not saying Valve couldn't have done a better job of it if they'd tried it, but I do think it's quite a hard problem to solve.

Yeah, that does look bonkers to be fair. I’m just not sure why it can’t mimic how your hands connect to your arms in the real world. Some of the contorted hand movements in that video don’t look anything like how you could move your hands in reality, so maybe it’s a current limitation of the accuracy of the tracking in the controllers.

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Another thing about arms is that they'll need to be rendered. In a VR world, that render budget is already very stretched. The fidelity of the world is worth a lot more than the part of your body you can't control, won't spend much time looking at, and isn't mapped precisely to your movements.

 

Hands are the exception because they're needed - if you didn't have them, you couldn't grab anything with precision. You'd be flailing as if blindfolded.

 

It becomes as second nature as the traditional hand+gun effect used in FPS, holding the gun in way that nobody ever actually holds it in real life, but we're just used to from years of gaming.

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Some games do render arms and they do have anomalies as you move your hands - Star Trek Bridge Commander for instance. Without proper mocap it will always glitch out at some point.

 

So it can be a design choice to avoid that disconnect or render budget.

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 Kerry Davis gave a good talk about door opening mechanics which raised some interesting discoveries they made early in development regarding hand tracking and the player's kinesthetic sense. The player's VR hand can be guided fairly far from where it actually is IRL without them noticing, with a VR arm attached I'd imagine it would be more incongruous. He talks about it a little more around the 36 minute mark. They've definitely put the effort in and thought this stuff through.

 

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As suggested there are lots of VR games that model your arms, and they can all look weird at points. It's just a design decision whether to render arms, torso etc. A bit like some FPS games render parts of the player model so you can see your legs, whereas others don't. 

 

I think the important thing is that while it looks weird in a video it's not actually that weird when you are in VR to have disembodied hands.

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1 hour ago, JPL said:

Yeah, that does look bonkers to be fair. I’m just not sure why it can’t mimic how your hands connect to your arms in the real world. Some of the contorted hand movements in that video don’t look anything like how you could move your hands in reality, so maybe it’s a current limitation of the accuracy of the tracking in the controllers.

 

It's difficult because as suggested the movement of you hands does have some automomy from the movement of your body. I can for example retain my head and hand in the same position yet change the position of my arm (by rotating my torso and therefore moving my shoulders with out my head or hand moving). Or I can rotate my wrist in numerous ways and yet not move my arm at all. You can track the position and angle of the hand perfectly and still only be able to aproximate what the arm might be doing even if you knew the bone lengths of a specific person.

 

The other issue, as suggest in the video above is that at some points you want cheat, and not really do what the person is actually doing, i.e. you want them to push a button but they actually push past it (as there is nothing actually stopping them from doing that) but the representation in the game stops the hand. Which adds additional factors.

 

You have to remember that VR isn't doing body tracking (like kinect did) it's just tracking the position and orientation of the headset and the controllers.

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3 hours ago, Strafe said:


I think on the whole you’re right, I can’t think of any examples off the top of my head, bar Farpoint (a VR shooter no less) where the playable character talks throughout.

 

Actually I'd completely forgotten that about Farpoint. I don't remember finding that weird at all, so it's probably a complete non issue.

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The main character speaks in plenty of first person games - Duke Nukem, Far Cry 3 and 4, Firewatch, Halo, Mirror's Edge, Bioshock Infinite, the latter Deus Ex titles, etc. While much dialogue in the genre occurs in cut-scenes, I don't think that's to do with a disconnect for the player, more that the games in question follow the usual formula of conveying story through cut-scenes or radio links during action downtime, rather than fully choreographed, playable scenes like Half Life opts for.

 

Batman speaks in Batman: Arkham VR, and I didn't notice any weird feelings there. I don't expect to find any here.

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11 hours ago, Broker said:


I assume that if they’re offering movement solutions that are totally static not all configurations will include the ducking and leaning? So with two motion controllers I think you probably could do what you’re describing on a normal screen.


all movement solutions will allow ducking and leaning.  In Vr your head is tracked via the headset so any change in height direction will be translated into movement.  I.e. ducking and leaning

 

5 hours ago, JPL said:

Why don’t they render arms (and a body) then? Wouldn’t that feel more realistic?


A current VR game called Raw data (quite a good game) renders hands and arms but it can be glitchy at times as current VR solutions have to guess what your forearms/elbows are doing. They use a technique called inverse kinetics or something to calculate what your arms are doing based on your hand movements 

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3 hours ago, JPL said:

Yeah, I know of inverse kinematics. I’m sure they’ll figure out how to make it work in time. If VR hangs around that long, of course.

not without mocap on arms/elbows they won't

 

hold your hands out and turn them in 45 degrees

 

now you can move your arms to be directly behind them or at angle - VR has no clue where your arms are as no tracking points without mocap.

 

And VR is fine and has a future, I find some of the reactions to VR here quite amusing (especially compared to the VR threads where people have actually used it extensively) - as if it is some untested gimmick. 

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6 hours ago, Fry Crayola said:

Another thing about arms is that they'll need to be rendered. In a VR world, that render budget is already very stretched. The fidelity of the world is worth a lot more than the part of your body you can't control, won't spend much time looking at, and isn't mapped precisely to your movements.

 

Hands are the exception because they're needed - if you didn't have them, you couldn't grab anything with precision. You'd be flailing as if blindfolded.

 

It becomes as second nature as the traditional hand+gun effect used in FPS, holding the gun in way that nobody ever actually holds it in real life, but we're just used to from years of gaming.

 

giant-cardboard-robot-arms-kit-5914.jpg.9703d8a345133ddc2c0a498ce4efb456.jpg

 

giant-robot-cardboards-arms-300x250.jpg.102eca7b593a61d4666f4ef0cb5a5c49.jpg

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7 hours ago, Hamus said:

 

That was a level in an alien game right?

 

You'd last about 10 seconds.


AvP2 had a face-hugger mission - it was first-person like the others, but the camera was low to the floor and you could move insanely fast and walk on walls... although dying was pretty easy and I think the mission ended once you found a victim. :D 

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It's probably fair to assume that the monsters and mechanics are really going to fuck with you in this.  Headcrabs and Limpets translate in a fairly nasty way to VR.   The designed for VR baddies are just going to be nasty.  Awesome!

 

Just need to work out how I can afford a Rift S.  My PC is just at minimum spec for this.

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9 hours ago, Clipper said:

hold your hands out and turn them in 45 degrees

 

now you can move your arms to be directly behind them or at angle - VR has no clue where your arms are as no tracking points without mocap.

 

If the company that solves this doesn't demo it by having their CEO do the Birdie Dance in VR on a conference stage I'll be very disappointed.

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