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Thanksgiving: Thank You VR Community

November 23, 2017

So it’s Thanksgiving and I’m sure we all have a ton of REAL stuff to be thankful for: our health, our families, the food on the table.

But today I’d like to say Thank You to the VR community.

Just last year, after a nearly 20 year absence, Virtual Reality made a comeback and after recieving the PlayStation VR as a Christmas gift I am convinced that while standard screen and controller gaming will NEVER go away and never should, Virtual Reality is absolutely “the future”.

…unfortunately that future is still 2 or 3 years away (I’m thinking next console generation).

Look, the technology is THERE and it works shockingly well. Can it be improved? Sure, but for the most part that’s not necessary. Rather, VR has 3 main hurdles to overcome:

1 – Price is Too High

2 – Not Enough Games

3 – Motion Sickness

I’ve heard more than a few people suggest just putting the whole thing back in the box and waiting another decade or so. That is the worst idea. See, back in the 90s when we quit making VR headsets, guess what? The prices for headsets were between $500-$1000. When we picked back up again in 2016, guess what the price of headsets were? $500-$1000. The price stagnated. Why? Because no one was making VR headsets. The technology hadn’t been dusted off and refined in a while, there was no demand for certain specialty parts, and the production pipeline had not yet been refined. If we stop making VR right now? It will be the same deal.

No, we need to push ahead. The more VR headsets we make, the more we can refine the technology, smooth out the production pipeline, and offer higher quality headsets at a lower price. But in order to do that, we need guinea pigs. We need people who can’t wait and just gotta have a VR headset even though there’s “nothing” on it. As such…

 

THANK YOU, VR COMMUNITY!

Thank you for taking a risk. Thank you for buying headsets at a rather high price so you could be one of the first. Thank you for toughing it out through these early days of VR when many games are more mini-game than real game. Thank you for providing feedback to developers and helping unravel the mysteries of how to do VR right.

Without consumers there is no point in producing product. Why make VR games if no one will buy them? So you being there and supporting these games and developers in this most experimental time is giving headset producers a reason to keep making headsets and giving game devs a reason to experiment with VR.

VR community? YOU are bringing down the price of VR.

Which brings us to…

 

THANK YOU, VR GAME DEVS!

Egad I can’t believe you all are really doing this. Right now, VR is a big risk. Though it has an “okay” install base with something around 1.5 to 2 million PSVRs sold worldwide making it one of the best selling peripherals of all time, we’re still not talking about that many players. AAA games pretty much bank on selling 3 million units minimum and aim for closer to 5 million. With less than 2 million PSVRs in the wild, AAA game studios do not see the point in even ATTEMPTING VR.

But you, you crazy indie devs with a dream, you’re doing it. I totally get it too: You tried VR, you’re hooked, and you wanna contribute to it. You don’t wanna let something with this much potential die off just because no one was making games for it. So you contributed, you helped add just a few more games to the pile and now the PSVR, the most curated of all VR platforms, has well over 100 games in just one year.

I think that’s the most amazing thing people forget: ONE YEAR. We have had VR for ONE YEAR. It’s easy to forget considering we’ve been hearing about the Occulus for YEARS but that was the beta version. The actual consumer grade Occulus Rift, alone with the Vive and PSVR, came out only one year ago. We have had ONE YEAR of this new age of consumer grade VR and we already have over 100 games on its most curated platform and FAR more on Steam. We’ve already come so far. VR is quickly clawing its way out of the tech demo and mini-game ghetto and real meaty games are showing up.

Raw Data in particular is incredible, FFXV: Monster of the Deep is a real full fishing game, and Skyrim VR is…well…all of Skyrim in VR (and with improved combat which turns the game from something I hated into something I actually ENJOY). I’ve already spoken at length about how much I like Mortal Blitz, though the full game could use more varied environments. Sparc, meanwhile, perfectly realizes and explains why motion controls have so much potential by being a legit SPORT in virtual reality. Now Rec Room is providing a social sandbox for every VR owner to have fun together in for free. Resident Evil 7 showed how it’s possible to add VR support to a AAA game and Far Point gave us a taste of what a AAA first person shooter in VR would be like. Korix showed how far one man’s dream can go.

…and StarBlood Arena shows the tenacity of a single developer to try and keep a dream alive. Egad, Whitemoon Dreams, are you all okay?

What’s even more amazing, however, is how VR game devs keep showing up on Reddit and talking with the community! From update blogs, to listening to requests and patching in features. Raw Data wouldn’t be anywhere near the game it is now if the developers hadn’t patched in a smooth movement option and smooth turning is now promised for Skyrim VR. Not to mention Ancient Amuletor now has a left handed option thanks to developers listening to fan complaints. In these early days of VR, patching has never been more important. You never know when a design decision that sounds great on paper utterly ruins the game for half of your audience.

So thank you VR game devs. Thank you for taking a risk on VR and thank you for listening to your consumers and patching your games to accommodate.

VR game devs? YOU are making “enough games” for VR.

 

But there’s one last group of people I need to thank:

 

THANK YOU DETERMINED PEOPLE WITH MOTION SICKNESS!

I don’t know any other way to put it. I’m lucky, no game in VR has made me really motion sick, but I showed the PSVR to a friend and he instantly got ill with a single step. Motion sickness in VR is not to be taken lightly, but you all have shown that it CAN be overcome!

See, this is where we need more help: We need more researchers studying what makes people sick in VR and the best ways to avoid it. I know some research has been done and I thank those researchers, but more is clearly still necessary.

But while all of that is going on, the personal experiences and anecdotes provided by motion sickness sufferers on Reddit have helped shed light on VR’s most complex, confusing, and definitive problem.

According to the tales I hear, Dramamine CAN be used to overcome motion sickness in VR but of course you do NOT want to be taking medicine just to play videogames every time. Thankfully, prolonged exposure to VR eventually gives people their “VR Legs” and it stops bothering them. But how do you tolerate VR while it makes you sick? Well that’s apparently a combination of playing good stationary and teleport movement based games and…chewing on ginger candies?

Apparently you just chillax in virtual reality, standing in one place, until eventually it just stops bothering you and you can move smoothly in it? I admit I do not know the full details.

The interesting thing is that all of these people tell different stories about what aspects of VR make them sick, which games make them sick, and so on. It really shows how individualized the motion sickness problem is and going forward, a full suite of VR comfort options will need to be necessary both to turn ON for those with problems and to turn OFF once everyone gets their VR legs.

But either way, thankyou for your determination in sticking with VR even though it makes you physically ill. That cannot be an easy task and I applaud your tenacity.

Determined and tenacious people with motion sickness, YOU are helping solve the motion sickness problem

 

 

So in conclusion, thank you all for making VR a thing. Thanks for toughing it out, thanks for sticking with it. If it weren’t for all of you, VR would have no future no matter how awesome it is. Everything starts from somewhere, a single step. You can’t instantly have hundreds of top quality AAA games in VR right at launch and expect it to work perfectly for everyone.

Perhaps that’s the thing people forget: You had to have Atari before you could have Nintendo and you had to have the NES before you could have a SNES and eventually a PS1. Videogames have been evolving for decades. You can’t just magically skip to PS4 right at the start.

Same thing with VR. Except since VR is an accessory to gaming and the base technology has evolved so much, we’re making much faster progress. In one year we’ve cleared the Atari 2600 age of VR (simple mini-games) and are rapidly dashing towards mid to late NES era of VR (more complex and fleshed out games). Keep it up, I’m predicting some real classics on the horizon next year (I hear Sairento is good and can’t wait to play it in PSVR)!

So Thank You, VR community.

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SO MANY STREAMS!

August 22, 2015

So! I don’t update nearly enough! Yeah I’ve been Streaming recently with friends and having a grand old time. I’m new to this so there have been hiccups but if you wanna see a smattering of random games? Well I’ve been throwing these on YouTube.

Here’s the Backlog!

8/11/2015: DOA5 Beach Party Lobby with DanFan and viewers!

8/16/2015: Random Games with Under the Pale

Part 1: Street Fighter EX3 & Urban Reign

Part 2: Some Urban Reign

Part 3: (NO AUDIO! Dunno what happened so you may as well skip this)

8/19/2015: GEL & Whitefolks’ Streamception

A noble experiment where I play Jet X2O while Whitefolks streams Urban Champion and Super Mario Bros. 2

8/20/2015: Random Games with Under the Pale and DanFan

Part 1: PS2 – Jet X2O & Splashdown 2 w/Under the Pale & Seek and Destroy, Freaky Flyers, Under the Skin w/DanFan

Part 2: Rave Master

Part 3: Bloody Roar: Primal Fury & Whirl Tour

Dungeon Fighter Online, The Best MMO Ever, Is Playable Again!

April 11, 2015

So, about 10 years ago I think, an incredible MMO was released in Korea. It was called Dungeon & Fighter. I waited FIVE YEARS for a US release and we got it…only to have it shut down due to horrible mismanagement. A year later the company that originally released the game ran an Alpha Test, taking the old US version and putting it up again on Global servers to see what happens.

The response was tremendous and they decided to try a proper GLOBAL release. Said Global release is now in Open Beta.

However, gotta be honest, I had a busy couple weeks and didn’t have a chance to post this really: The first Open Beta closes on Monday and there appear to be some good benefits to playing the first Open Beta and collecting some Danjin Coins before the Second Open Beta starts. It’s free so grab it here:

http://www.dfoneople.com/

Of course the second reason why I pose this is that Neople posted a somewhat scary Facebook post. While they have a solid hardcore player base, they need to GROW their player base as well and right now (as they’re still in Beta and judging the financial viability of this venture) they’re relying entire on Word Of Mouth so I figured I need to lend my mouth to the cause.

…because seriously, there are only two MMOs in the world to me now: Dungeon Fighter and PSO2. I swear if neither of these have a US release I am going to go nuts.

(author's note: Recommend Vindictus to me and I will rip out your innards.)

What is Dungeon Fighter and Why Should I Care?

DFO is not just any MMO but a 2D BEAT ‘EM UP MMO. Heck the NAME is a combination of Dungeons & Dragons and Street Fighter (Get it? Dungeon & Fighter?) and is indeed quite Shadow Over Mystara inspired. What makes this REALLY sing, however, is that you have a HUGE movelist and combos you can do with Street Fighter-style command inputs. Bigger than any other beat ’em up ever.

On top of that, the game is about 8 years old now. That means two things:

#1) It’ll run on nearly ANY computer. A friend of mine played it on a cheap Celeron PC he got from 1998.

#2) It has a LOT of content!

MMOs, unlike other games, can age VERY well. If an MMO is strongly supported, time allows them to iron out kinks with the original game and add more and more content. With this much time under its belt, DFO is basically massive and irreplaceable.

Basically, if you like Golden Axe, Shadow Over Mystara, Dragon’s Crown, ect. then you NEED to give this a chance!

What’s New Since We Last Played?

Well…apparently everything! See, while we were away the world kinda ended and all of the dungeons (and sprites?) are redone and updated. They’ve also added two Bonus Classes: Dark Knight and Creator. Dark Knight is a Slayer that can use a mix of other Slayer class moves in combo strings (seems kinda PSO2 inspired). Creator is a Mage that aims spells with the mouse (seems kinda The World Ends With You inspired).

Korea has also gotten the Female Slayer and Knight classes and the second Open Beta will give us the Knight.

So yeah! Go give it a shot this weekend!

GameMetabble – FitePad, Xrd, and XBone Interface Botches

December 22, 2014

WOW. It has been a WHILE since I last posted! Sorry folks, overly political thoughts tend to cause me to freeze up (that and getting crazy sick for over a week). Maybe I’ll post about them sometime. Either way here’s a decidedly non-political video about Guilty Gear Xrd, Smash Bros. fight pads, and just how damn terrible the XBone interface is because it really is the worst.

New Releases – April 2012

April 5, 2012

With the March release rush behind us it’s slow sailing from here on out. This month sees so few boxed releases worth a purchase it’s ridiculous! But there’s some downloadable goodness ahead, some push back, and most importantly: Xenoblade Chronicles!

04/03  Kinect Star Wars (Kinect)

Well here it is, the Kinect game everyone has been waiting for! Too bad reports have been…not good and I doubt it’s going to work very well. The Kinect just isn’t meant for this kind of game.

04/06    Xenoblade Chronicles (Wii)

Project Rainfall was a success and Xenoblade is coming to America! However, it’s a GameStop exclusive. Why? Well Nintendo probably felt that no one would order the minimum amount of copies necessary to make the game a financial success, so GameStop probably said “We’ll order the numbers you want if you make it exclusive to GameStop”. While I know many people are against the store, this is one time we need to put aside our hate and support the game. With over 90 hours of gameplay, a nearly Skyrim sized world, tons of sidequests, and being hailed as one of the best JRPGs of the generation, this is not a game you are going to want to miss. Better still, since it’s a Wii game it’s only $50! So, if you like JRPGs and you have a Wii, you NEED to buy this game. No exceptions.

04/10    Phantom Breaker (360)

Though it looks kinda crappy, Phantom Breaker is a simplified fighter with some serious potential made by the old Asuka 120% crew. The game might be pushed back though, but we should hopefully see it this month.

04/11   Skullgirls (XBLA, PSN)

Speaking of awesome fighters that get pushed back a lot, it’s Skullgirls! The indie darling fighter made by tournament players. The opinions on the game are very divisive. Some love the game, calling it the most balanced fighter ever made (despite having spent little or no time with it) while others consider it a complete joke. Whatever the case may be, I am excited to get to try it out. The visuals look amazing and I want to test the supposed balance the game touts. The tiny character roster, however, is disappointing.
04/17 The House of the Dead 4 (PSN)

With the PS3 being the only HD console that has a lightgun, I was wondering when this game would see it’s much needed console port. The Move is the perfect controller to handle it too (as the game features pointless waggling in some scenes on top of lightgun shooting) and with it being a PSN download it’ll probably be cheap too! Will go well with the PSN House of the Dead 3.
04/27  Akai Katana Shin (360)

Well…that was unexpected. It’s a Cave shooter coming to America courtesy of the recently opened US branch of Rising Star Games! Yes, they have confirmed it will get a boxed release. So, SHMUP fans? Get your wallets ready and prepare to support this game!