Is it fire-breathing or simply a powerful method of artistic expression?
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Lately, there’s been an interesting trend in the design and development of virtual reality headsets in the form of the Steam VR (now HTC Vive) and Oculus Rift (now Oculus Rift CV1), both of which are now shipping with a set of motion controllers. While each has got their pros and cons, we’ve decided to explore these two new VR systems from the perspective of the people making them – and the people actually using them.
Lucky Company is a relatively new game currently being developed by the team behind the excellent RTS SimCity BuildIt, which has had a long history of success on PC and consoles since launch more than 20 years ago. The game’s developers were a bit surprised by the response this launch of the Oculus Rift DK1 had, and thought they’d run into a few difficulties. The first was the lack of a proper controller. While both the Oculus Rift DK1 and HTC Vive have included a head-mounted display (HMD) in the form of an external headset, the Steam VR system was not ready until a year or so after building its own hardware.
As a result, while most of the game had been built using Unreal Engine 4, Lucky Company used the Unity engine for building. That is a decision the team have now abandoned, following comments in forums that had asked which way they would prefer the game was handled. The solution they’d come up with was very pragmatic – the game is designed for VR, they explained, it needs to be as comfortable as a traditional, non-VR gaming experience can be, and the new controllers are just one means of doing that.
It didn’t go down that well initially, with some players saying they didn’t like the idea of using controllers to move the camera, which wasn’t really the point of the game. The developers also thought the lack of a proper controller made sense, because the goal would be to keep the game accessible to a more moderate audience, rather than the kind of “techies” who are now so much a part of the “gamer” community. But for many who played, the idea of simply looking around using the controllers to see what’s around them was