04-05-2017 04:41 PM
My Playstation VR Journal; An Entertainment Life Changer
I had never intended to buy the Sony VR because at that time, last year October, I scoffed at the idea of a console gaming company creating VR because I had believed VR requires the power of a I7 quad-core 1080 Nvidia PC to do it justice.
For three years I was waiting patiently for the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive. When the Oculus Rift headset was available at BestBuy, I hesitated because of the price and the lack of controllers. When the Oculus controllers became available, I hesitated again because of the availability of games that uses those controllers. When the price dropped by a couple of hundreds of dollars, I hesitated because I still needed a PC that was powerful enough to run VR costing at least $2k. The HTC Vive was online order only and of course I hesitated because I didn't know what games would be enticing enough for my HTC investments. I always hear that most of the Oculus Rifts and Vive games were demos rather than full games; I consider full games to be like Resident Evil 7 for instance.
So after years of waiting without VR becoming ubiquitous, I ended up buying a $30 VR Headsets for my iphone 6s Plus, The apps were very limited and I had to jury rig an ice cream stick with tin foil wraps for touch input at the top of my goggles, but it was enough to make me salivate for the real deal.
I kept a close eye on the Oculus Rift on the Best Buy site as all it would take is to hit "confirm order" for one of these puppies but I still had to build a proper PC and I am a Shuttle PC type of guy of which the barebone PC that I wanted, the SZ170R8, was always back ordered despite it being announced at the begining of 2016; thus I was stymied. Even today in 2017, the SZ170R8 is still not readily available.
I am a racing game addict and by accident I was reading an article on racing games and DriveClub VR came up. I spent the whole evening voraciously reading and watching videos of DriveClub VR and this was at the end of Oct when the Sony VR just came out.
With an excitement like a kid on Christmas day, I checked the availability of the Playstation VR at BestBuy and by a stroke of luck even though everyone in the world says they are sold out, I managed to reserve the pieces I needed to complete a full VR system, albeit a $100 more because the VR kit was sold out so I had to buy my VR piece-wise, at full price, however I managed to pick up a G29 steering wheel on sale (a $100 savings).
After setting it all up, cable goes here, there and here and there, and putting on my headset, I was immediately lost in VR nirvana for the next few days; I was hooked; line, sinker and wallet. In DriveClub VR you could feel the wind against your face as your race down the raceway with the windows open; I had a fan blowing in my face.
From the begining of November till the middle of January, I was in a buying frenzy mainly due to my OCD of trying to complete things that fits together as you will read about shortly. Of course I had to buy up all the available VR games including games that made me nauseous like Robinson, Valkyrie and Battle Zone. As I mentioned on another post, I returned the Playstation Slim for the Playstation Pro which made me buy a 4k HDR TV and because of the HDR TV and the lack of HDMI inputs I had to buy a new receiver, because of the Playstation 4k HDR I had to buy 20+ PS4 games :-P to take advantage of the 4kHDR capabilities, because of the DriveClub VR I had to buy a gaming chair with built in bluetooth sub-woofer so the sound would rattle my rear and I would be truly immersed in a VR world, a second swivel gaming chair was needed for Eve Valkyrie and Battle Zone because you need to swivel to see behind and beside you, the G29 needed a steering mount and so on. By the time I got through all the sales on Black Friday, Christmas, Boxing Day, New Year sale, week after new year, I was loaded with well over 30+ PS4 games which included Battlefield 1 and 4, farcry, TitanFall 2, Rise ofthe Tomb Raider, etc along with Xim4 with a 502 mouse and G13 keyboard; most of the games are still shrink wrapped today because I don't have enough time to play them all.
In total, I spent more than what it would have costed me for the Oculus Rift & new PC but my entertainment center is now totally re-vamped with 4k Netflix TV, 4k Playstation games and crisp 5.1 surround sound that even the neighbour can enjoy at 3am in the morning.
One of the greatest advantages of buying the Playstation VR is the fact that after you are bored with VR, you still have millions of non-vr games to buy and play. In fact if you play the PS4 games inside the headset using the Virtual screen, it makes you feel like you are playing on a large theatre screen. All first person view games can be made to feel VR-like including all racing games because of this headset theatre screen.
In addition with the Xim4 I had basically moved all my PC gaming over to the Playstation which included games like Far Cry, BioShock, Doom and so on. I'll miss the cheats on my PC but for the first time in my life, I'll slowly work through the games as they were meant to be played instead of going through them in god mode.
With 360 videos from various App sources as well as 360 youtube videos plus various VR demos, this is probably one of the best entertainment investment that you can buy; you can even watch NetFlix on a 100 foot TV screen inside the headset.
My life has definitely changed, for the poorer, with the purchase of the Playstation VR as I was the guy that would never have buy a 4k TV (waste of money) nor would I have even thought of changing my decade old Amplifier as I would watch movies on my computer screen through pc speakers.
The secret to all this nirvana is that I'm a Semi-Retired Divorced man.
I've also discovered that after I quit smoking, 2 packs a day, I had over $600/month extra to spend on my toys, plus an extra 10 to 15 minutes per hour from the 2 or 3 smoke breaks I use to take. Although I may be a couch-gaming potatoe, I am expecting, with the purchase of Fruit Ninja VR, I will soon be an expert swordsman along with six-pack abs.
If you set your priorities right and limit your food intake to ramin noodles 25cents per day (just kidding, it's ramin noodles with eggs and vegies 40 cents), all of this is affordable.
Would I do this all over again?
The Oculus Rift + PC purchase would not have required such a drastic change as it only involves a PC and monitor and I would have just sat in my office chair with just my VR headset on, not knowing that in my alternate reality, I had racing seats that rumbles with a virtual engine.
Occasionally I still think of getting a HTC Vive or an Oculus Rift, but there isn't a game that are on those systems exclusively. The sharper quality on the other VR systems is definitely a lure, but when you play a great VR title like Resident Evil 7 (I played the demo) the graphics are as sharp as you would need to be horrified and you definitely don't need a sharper graphic knife. When you are playing DriveClub VR, at times it may feel like the world is bit blurry but all this is forgotten when you are neck to neck with the car beside you; for the first generation of VR, It is good enough.
I've yet to play Resident Evil 7 which is currently on my to-do list but I hate playing this horror game alone.... I had bought it and returned it un-opened. I have plans to buy it again since I have a $10 voucher from my Reward Zone but since I have so many other games to play, I am just waiting for it to go on sale; then I'll buy it again and play it during the daytime without a stereo headset on; loud horror music is better played very softly through 5.1 surround sound. It is also a good thing that I'm divorced otherwise my other half would probably come screaming at me, to take out the garbage, in the middle of this horror game and thus causing a heart attack.
Thanks for reading my Journal which is only posted on the Best Buy forum mainly because I bought all my VR stuff from Best Buy.
04-18-2017 04:55 PM
Here is the current follow-up of the Sony VR in my life, as if you wanted to know and care :-P but for those who are lurking (and I do see the read count go up) and find my posts entertaining, here is my latest adveture.
Today I am planning to re-design the layout of my living room so I morph the layout on demand.
Probably the first step is to make my couch mobile. This involves visiting a place called Home-De and figuring out the best method of making my couch move easier whether I get 8 x tri-dollies (little wheels that fits beneath the legs of the furniture) or sliders.
This decision came about when I discover that the reason that I'm not playing with my expensive VR system is NOT due to the fact that I'm spending all my time with the Nintendo Switch, but rather my laziness in moving the TV around even though I had installed wheels on my Sanus TV stand, the whole stand is heavy and the cords all around must be carefully moved out of the way as I drag the TV into position.
To make this morphing easier the best choice is to make the TV stationary along with the 5.1 speakers. The couch can dragged in as needed for close-up Nintendo Switch games, Non-VR Playstation HDR games or just Netflix and chill. When the couch is not in use, it can be dragged away to the far wall and the gaming chairs can be moved in. In fact the gaming chairs can be used for both VR and non-vr if needed but I just find curling up on the couch or even lying down, like the old days, comforting. The gaming chair, although nice, doesn't allow curling up.
On my to-play list is ping pong VR after buying it on sale and it will require moving the couch away with nothing in front of the TV. I've also ordered a pre-played version of Dirt Rally from BestBuy just so I can get the VR DLC from Sony and the playing of this game requires moving in the steering wheel on its wheel-stand pro and the floor gaming chair.
Yup, going to fight traffic right now just to get those wheels; it has been far too long not playing with my dusty VR.
04-21-2017 11:31 AM
Do you use your headset for movies at all?
I do once in awhile mainly for curiousity sake. Now that you reminded me, I might just do it for StarWars from Netflix just so I can feel the theatre atsmosphere. Although it may seem like a 100 foot screen, it has those dots that you have to ignore but you do ignore it as you look at the huge screen.
The large headset screen was also the reason that I went ahead to buy all the normal PS4 racing games because that was what we use to do when we played racing games with a wheel and your nose plastered against a 60 inch LCD TV monitor :-P (or at least I did).
04-21-2017 07:12 PM
I think everyone thinks you just see a large 100 foot screen that moves with you as you turn your head, that isn't so.
What makes this feel like a huge screen is the fact that the screen stays where it is when you first started it up and as you turn your head left of right, the screen is to your right when you turn left and left when you turn right... just like a normal theatre screen. I don't recall if you move forward whether or not the screen comes closer but I believe that should be the case because everything is suppose to be static while you the viewer is allowed to move around.
More crazy is the fact that you can watch 360 degree movies where the action is usually in front of you but you can look around while the camera moves forward to see people staring at you (the camera actually).
Joshua Bell VR Experience
Sit back, relax and enjoy a personal recital by award-winning violinist Joshua Bell. Performing Brahms’ “Hungarian Dance No. 1”, Joshua is accompanied by classical pianist Sam Haywood to deliver a truly unforgettable virtual reality experience.
• More than just a 360-degree video: state of the art technology allows the video and audio to adapt to subtle changes in your location.
• Immerse yourself in the experience: in every direction, Air Studios’ stunning Lyndhurst Hall is faithfully rendered in full 3D.
04-21-2017 11:18 PM
I will keep following your journal! It's cool to see how you arranged your room to provide you a better immersion into the game, I heard that Gran Turismo Sport will be pretty awesome too!
07-18-2017 05:36 PM
So an update to this journal.
I have completely revamped and redesign the layout of my living room but despite the new layoutI haven't been playing much VR for the last few months; I've been too busy playing my favorite Lengend of Zelda game Breath of the wild.
- adding tri-dolly wheels to my very very old family couch, that I inherited from my divorce, so I could move my lying down couch closer to the TV to give me a large screen effect, or to move it away so I could move in my Game Chairs in.
- changed from old sony receiver to STRDN1060, follow-up change to STRDN1080 when the STRDN1060 didn't pass through the 4k as promised.
- change-over my 5.1 bose satellite surround sound speakers over to the Bose 601/301 with Bose 161 high-wall mounted front speakers for DATMOS surround sound supported by my new Sony Receiver. Incredible sound from Okja which is the only netflix movie with Datmos surround sound.
I have been posting mainly in the "TV & Home Theatre" because most of my changes had to do with home theatre.
Killer App 1:
Now one thing that I posted in there that I should have mentioned in here, is that sometime in March, Sony put out a patch update that provided 3d movie support; so I went on a 3d purchase craze.
This is the killer App!
Watching 3d Avatar up close and personal is like nothing that I've ever experienced. I saw 3d Avatar when it was first released in the theatres and it had always been on my ownership bucketlist to own a copy along with a 3d tv. The problem was that I never got around to buying a 3d tv when it was popular and now it is too late as nobody wants to make a 3d tv anymore. However with the PSVR support 3d, it has been a blast watching all the old 3d movies that are fairly cheap to buy... some as low as $15.
Watching 3D Gravity was riveting!! I kid you not.
The thing about 3d on your VR is the up close and personal effect that you get with the movie. Everything is basically inches away from your face. You feel like you are sitting in the front row of the 3d theatre with very little loss in quality even though the resolution of the VR is not that great, but you don't notice it because you are totally imersed into the movie.
Killer App 2:
Alright, the other killer App is the Sony Playstation itself.
E3 started this Sale of Games and unfortunately for me, I ended up picking up dozens of old PS 4 games which also caused a problem in filling up my 1TB drive. It turned out that all my disc copy versions of my game were being patched and copied to my hard drive despite that I have the disc copy, which I thought I would be playing off the disc thus saving room on my hard drive for the digital copies from the store. Lesson learn. Farpoint (16GB), Dragon Age Inquisition (48GB), Fallout 4 (35GB) and more.
So without hesitation, I had to pick up a WD 8TB USB external drive. The max size upgrade internally is 2TB and then you had to make sure that the 2.5 inch drive was thin enough to fit. Thus the external USB drive was the best method of Hard drive expansion and also luckily for me, the patch that made this possible was also released in March.
With all my disc games and plus my new digital games, my 8TB hard drive is currently filled to a bit over 1.5GB due to the fact that a lot of the older games are a lot smaller in size. It is only the newer games with all the textures, music and video that creates the massive game size. The 8TB usb drive should last me forever.
I have enough games to probably last me a lifetime. After Zelda on my Switch, I'll probably start up Final Fantasy XV on my PS4 in 4k HDR. I did buy the resident evil 7 and have started it up during the day. I got to the pitch black door at the back of the house and said.... "nope".... then took my visor off; perhaps someday...
Adversion to putting on the Headset
I did buy Farpoint and I did start playing the game with the gun. It is simply gorgeous. The gun that you hold in your hand is spectacular within the game. The movement controls are perfect as you have the dual motion control on the gun, left thumb (up front) and right thumb (at the back) that you spend years of training to move in 3d space. It fitted and operated like a glove.
However, I found myself feeling the aversion coming on. Let me get this straight. For most of the games including Robinson The Journey, I DO NOT get nauseated but.... I can feel the edge of it. There is this space above my head like a very very light headache that is warning you. I do get this light headiness from Resident Evil 7, Robinson, Farpoint. Anything that is a bit disconcerting. For the most part I believe that you can train to get out of this feeling.
This same feeling is also present in Breath of the Wild as it is in a 3d world without the 3d view. If you rotate your viewpoint around in Zelda, you can get nauseated but over time, this goes away and you can look at the underside of a tree for example without feeling even a twinge.
I've only felt the nauseated feeling once and I forgot which VR game gave me that feeling; perhaps it was during the early days when I first bought VR. The feeling stays with you for hours and it leaves you with that aversion feeling.
The other problem with VR headset is that it is as clausaphobic as you can get. Literally you have to feel your way around the outside world after you put on the helmet. Fumbling for the controllers beside you, are feeling your controller for the buttons especially the option button because that is the most used button on your controller and re-centers your view after your viewpoint gets skewed sideways repeatedly. Also you have to make sure the area around you is clear. as many times I have knocked over items on the table, like the remote control. There is also the cable and the other fact is that I have a long ponytail, yup, retired yuppy. that has to be threaded into the head band before I put on the VR helmet.
It is a lot of work to play VR games. It requires set up beforehand, changing the HDMI cable from HDR to VR input, putting required items around you so you can easily reach them. You need your controller, or controllers if they are the motion control ones. You need your headphones which goes on your head after you position your VR correctly, then you have to fumble with the headphone cord to plug it in with just your fingers feeling where the connection point on the cord is. You need a fiber cloth to clean your lenses because you will get fogging as well as finger prints because you jab your clumsy hands into the helmet trying to wipe your eyes. Your eyelashes leaves eyelash streaks on the lenas (just my imagination but yes it seems that my eyelashes hits the lens very often). Although I wear reading glasses, I found that I didn't need them within the VR.
It is a lot of work to play games in VR. Some games don't work very well in VR, like Chess Ultra which on the next check mate in 1, the motion controllers don't pick up the chess pieces and yes it is blurry because the resolution isn't very high.
Add all of this work with the slight feeling of aversion of being nauseated and you get this whole level of feeling that you don't want to play even though the VR games are fantastic.
Last part to this whole VR experience is that there isn't a single VR game that has a reason to play. Like I enjoy Driver Club VR immensely and will probably enjoy Dirt Rally as soon as I pick up the VR upgrade (got the used dirt Rally PS4 game from Best Buy), I loved Batman Arkham VR as well as Rush Blood (beautiful roller coaster effects). I love shooting. I did spend hours training in Valkyrie (love the virtualness of flying a spaceship looking up and around), same as BattleZone where you look and shoot all around you.
However in the end there isn't any purpose other than the VR training :-P
Of course I am an RPG player like legend of Zelda which immerses me in a world for months on end. None of the VR games passes the novelty level of playing but I do have intentions of heading back in when I complete the two RPG games on my list.
Last but not least:
The thing is, just the fact that it is a PS4 is a blessing because of the plethora of games that are on the system. I have bought $3 games that is will probably entertain my grandchildren when they visit in some far future (currently my grandchildren(s) are below the age of spending hours on end with their bachelor grandfather <3 years old). The fact that there is such a diversity of games including brand new VR games justifies the purchase of Sony over the Oculus Rift or Vive.
So that is it for my Journal. I doubt that much will change after this unless I post up photos of my setup, which involves a lot of moving around my couch.
Thanks again for reading... and let me know that you have read this.