Image Credit: LIV (found on https://vrscout.com/news/oculus-quest-mixed-reality-tools/)
Virtual Reality used to be a niche technology that came with many shortcomings: price of necessary equipment, complexity and discomfort of use, lack of games and experiences…
Cardboard-based VR headsets helped more people discover the joy of feeling immersed in 360-degrees environments, thanks to their very low price and the fact that most people are already equipped with a smartphone that can make it work. But the immersion only went so far: the quality of games and experiences that support them is very variable, and most importantly: the interactivity is very limited.
The Oculus Quest VR headset is a game changer because:
Overall, it’s a great compromise between cardboard-based VR headsets and the most immersive (but expensive) VR equipment available to date. It allows the best level of immersion. The only (minor) drawback compared to higher-end headsets is that the quality of graphics is a bit lower, both in terms of resolution and in terms of details of the 3D environments.
For ~$400 (i.e. cheaper than most VR headsets), you can experience 6 degrees of freedom (a.k.a. “6DoF”, as illustrated on the image below), meaning that the VR experiences respond not only to the movements of your head, but also to the movement of your whole body. I.e. when physically walk forward, the character you incarnate in the experience also walks forward. The same applies to your hands, thanks to the 3d-positioned controllers.
You don’t need to own a gaming PC (which is usually the case with higher-end VR headsets), the Oculus Quest is as self-contained as a game console. As long as it’s connected to WiFi, you can turn it on and play immediately.
You don’t need to install radars (which is the case for many higher-end VR headsets) in the corners of the room in which you plan to use the headset, because Oculus Quest embeds cameras to locate itself and the two controllers within your room, in real time. This makes it easy to carry the headset with you and let friends and family try it, in any room.
So, if you want to enjoy immersive VR games and experience in the comfort of your home, buying an Oculus Quest is a no-brainer!
If you recently bought an Oculus Quest, welcome to the club!
Here are a few tips and recommendations for you:
You can play seated, either by changing game settings or reducing your height in your Oculus profile
Long-press Oculus button to re-center the view in direction of your choice
Chat and discover experiences with other Oculus Quest users from all around the world, on the “Oculus Quest” Facebook group.
Lenses are sensitive to scratches. If you usually wear glasses, use the provided spacer, or (like me) don’t wear them while you’re in the headset.
You “side load” games and experiences that are not listed on the official Oculus store by installing SideQuest on PC or Mac.
After doing so, check out these awesome games and experiences:
Descent Alps is a ski simulator in which you turn by leaning your weight in the direction of the turn.
The Oculus Quest is a standalone VR headset, meaning that it does not need to be connected to a PC in order to work.
That said, there is a much wider selection of VR games available on Steam, and you can experience them with your Oculus Quest if you have a Windows-based PC computer (including cloud-based, e.g. Shadow).
There are several ways to connect the headset with the PC, including Oculus Link and Virtual Desktop. I’ve been very satisfied by the latter.
Requirements: a PC powerful enough to run VR experiences, Steam running on Windows, a good 5 GHz WiFi router.
To play PCVR games running on my Shadow (cloud-based PC) via Virtual Desktop, I followed the following tutorials:
Unfortunately, playing PCVR games on the Oculus Quest usually requires more setup than native games installed from the Oculus store. The most frustrating problems I’ve faced were about setting up controls. Indeed, there are different cases:
First, try to enable “gamepad emulation” in Virtual Desktop and restart the game.
If the emulated layout is not practical enough, follow these steps:
If you are trying to play a game which has many more controls than the Oculus Touch controllers provides, there are other options:
When you start a game from Steam (or from Virtual Desktop) right after booting your PC, the game will start SteamVR, and SteamVR will steal the focus (or foreground) of the user interface, putting the game in the background. The easiest way to prevent this is to run SteamVR manually before starting the game. Otherwise, switch back to the “Desktop” and click on the game’s icon, from Window’s taskbar, to put the game back into the foreground.
When your Oculus Quest is in “stationary” mode (i.e. not in “room scale”), it happens that the height of the headset is not sent correctly to the game by Virtual Desktop. In that case, switch the Oculus Quest to “room scale”, and then back to “stationary” mode. When you go back to the game, the height of your POV (point of view) should be fixed.
Otherwise: if you have not enabled “gamepad emulation” in Virtual Desktop, you can use SteamVR’s shortcut to reset the view: push both sticks for ~2 seconds.
Learn how to create your own VR game or experience with A-Frame: Learn A-Frame (WebVR) - YouTube
For instance, I’m learning it step by step, by developing a space exploration and shooting game inspired by “Descent”: glitch.com/~pitch-gaudy-acai.
Learning how to find, create and/or import 3D models into a a-frame scene:
You can also create VR games and experiences with Unity, or create rooms directly in VR (e.g. in RecRoom or VRChat), but I’ve not tried that yet.