It’s hard to believe the Oculus Rift is over a year old already. It was one of the biggest launches of the year and yet, by most accounts, it was still early days. The year since has provided an opportunity for the headset to stretch its wings a bit.
A number of high-profile games have launched on the hardware and it’s finally received motion controllers in the form of Oculus Touch. Oculus Touch is a pair of tracked controllers that give you the feeling that your virtual hands are actually your own. Intuitive actions in VR feel as natural as using your real hands. It takes interaction to the next level.
Video – Oculus Rift VR Review
Oculus Rift + Touch Virtual Reality System Features
– Get 6 free titles, including: Robo Recall, Luckyʼs Tale, Quill, Medium, Dead and Buried, and Toybox.
– Riftʼs ultra low-latency tracking offers unparalleled immersion.
– The Oculus Touch controllers bring your hands into VR, letting you interact naturally with the virtual world.
– NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti/AMD Radeon RX 470 or greater Graphics Card Required and a RAM of 8 GB+ RAM.
– Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newer Operating System required.
– Windows PC and internet connection required – review recommended specs to confirm system compatibility.
Our Oculus Rift + Touch Virtual Reality System Review
For those who have experienced the Oculus Rift, now owned by Facebook, they are bragging about how lifelike the experience is. When one realizes that the experiences that they have in real life can be transferred to that of a virtual reality experience, that tells you something about just how lifelike the VR really is, especially with this Oculus Rift.
The Oculus Rift is not only big in experience, but it takes up a bit of your living room as you are unpacking it and setting it up, with all of the cables and necessary gear. For most geeks, it is an easy enough installation along the lines of a computer installation, but for those who are not comfortable with techie things, there may be a need for some help in the Oculus Rift VR installation department. Likely, you have a friend or family member who is willing to help you, especially if they get a turn at the virtual reality experience as well.
On the social side of things, Facebook introduced a new Avatar SDK that will give you more control of your virtual lookalike, and small tweaks to how streaming works will allow you to see what your friends and viewers are saying during a stream while you’re still in-game.
OK, before we dive too deep into the virtues of VR, let’s take a moment to talk about the most important aspect to consider before deciding to buy a Rift of your own: minimum PC requirement.
If you’ve been following the virtual reality scene you probably know this already, but the Oculus Rift requires a wired connection to a PC in order to have enough power to drive two 1080×1200 resolution images to each lens inside the headset.
It can’t just be any old run-of-the-mill PC, either – you’re going to need a top of the line gaming PC to enjoy everything the Rift has to offer. The minimum specs at present are an Intel i3-6100 or higher, and GPUs can now start from the Nvidia GTX 960.
Video – Oculus Rift – Step into Rift
What Exactly Is The Oculus Rift
The Oculus Rift headset is simple and understated. It’s a plain black rectangular visor with rounded edges and little visual flair. The front panel is completely flat, marked only with an Oculus logo. The sides of the visor are similarly flat, and connect to arms that pivot slightly up and down and attach to the three-strap harness for securing the device on your head.
The headset has a strap that extends from each arm around the sides of your head, with a third strap extending from the top of the visor over the top of your head, meeting at a padded triangle in the back. The straps are held in place with hook-and-loop fasteners, and can be easily adjusted. A set of on-ear headphones sit on the arms, able to separately pivot and flip up and down to properly fit on your ears.
On its own, the headset is fairly light and comfortable. You can wear glasses with the Rift, but it will make the fit a bit tighter. I saw where somebody used glasses when testing the headset, and they said it helped ensure that they saw crisp and accurate visuals. But it also made putting the Rift on and taking it off a bit awkward, and depending on the size of your frames, they could hurt your ability to wear the headset for long periods of time.
The headset connects to your PC directly through a lengthy cable that splits off near the end into HDMI and USB 3.0 connectors. The cable winds down the left strap before running clear of the headset. It’s a little more awkward than the over-the-top-of-the-head cable of the HTC Vive, and I found myself struggling to find a comfortable position where the cable didn’t sit distractingly on my shoulder. But it’s not nearly as big a concern in use as the HTC Vive’s cable, since the Vive is designed to work when you’re walking around a set area.
The Rift on its own uses a single external sensor, a black cylinder that sits on a nine-inch-tall metal desktop stand. The sensor can tilt up and down, and must be placed where it can maintain a clear view of the headset when in use. A second, identical sensor tracks the Oculus Touch controllers, and the two sensors work in tandem to improve tracking for all of the devices and cover a larger area than the stationary position just one sensor allows.
Once you’re up and running, a 2,160-by-1,200 OLED panel is used to produce a 1,080-by-1,200 picture for each eye, separated by the lenses in the headset (just like the Vive). The lenses can be adjusted using a small lever on the right underside of the visor.
How the Oculus Rift works
I’ve tried my best to explain virtual reality in words and, on multiple occasions, have completely and utterly failed but, I’ll try my best. Imagine standing on the ledge of a 100-story building. Imagine looking down at the street below you. Imagine the tightening of your stomach and the sense of dread that you might, at any second, fall to your demise.
Now imagine taking one step forward. You’re falling, and the world is whipping before you. You’re scared but you also feel alive. The second right before you hit the ground is the worst – your brain is actually prepared for the moment by dumping adrenaline into your system as a mild painkiller.
But while all this is happening, you haven’t actually moved. You’ve been sitting in a chair in your own home, staring into a screen. Your biometrics have changed, but, geographically speaking, you’re exactly where you were 10 minutes ago.
This is what it’s like to use virtual reality, to get the experience of being somewhere else in a different time, a different place, sometimes as far as an alien world, all without ever leaving your home.
Oculus Rift Controls
The Oculus Touch motion controllers originally launched as an optional addition, but have since been added to the Rift package. They aren’t the only control options included in the box, though. The Oculus Remote is a small, rounded bar with a large, circular navigation pad and Back, Menu, and Up/Down buttons.
The remote helpfully features a lanyard to keep it attached to your wrist when you’re using the Rift. The Rift also includes an Xbox One wireless controller and a Microsoft Xbox Wireless Adapter for Windows with which you can use it, which is handy for VR games that use conventional, non-motion-based control schemes.
Each Oculus Touch controller is shaped like half of a conventional gamepad with a large ring built around it. The face of the controller is a flat, circular surface with an analog stick, two face buttons, and an additional, recessed menu button.
Two triggers are built into the smooth grip, below the circle; one rests comfortably under the index finger, while the other sits under the middle finger. A circular plastic loop extends around the controller’s face and in front of the grip, covering the top half of your hand without touching it.
Unlike some of the other popular controllers, which use built-in rechargeable batteries, each Touch controller is powered by a single AA battery that sits in a compartment behind a sliding door on the grip. According to Oculus, the battery can last up to 30 hours, or up to 20 hours with haptic feedback (which is enabled by default).
Video – Tested: Oculus Touch VR Controller
Oculus Touch Setup
The Touch set includes two controllers and an additional Oculus external sensor, all of which are now bundled in the combined Rift/Touch package. The sensor is the same cylindrical Webcam-like device mounted on a desktop stand that the Rift itself uses.
The second sensor is necessary for tracking the Touch controllers along with the headset. It’s yet another device to sit on your desk, another cable to manage, and another USB 3.0 port that needs to be used, but these inconveniences are standard among PC-tethered VR systems.
Because the two Rift sensors are positioned at either side in front of you, they’re a bit more limited than the HTC Vive’s wall-mounted sensors. The Vive’s sensors can be placed at opposing corners of a room to let you experience whole-room VR, while the Rift’s sensors limit you to a smaller area. They still offer a wider space than the stationary gameplay positions the standalone Rift and its single sensor could handle.
Setting up the Touch controllers is effectively just an extra step in the middle of configuring the Rift headset. The Oculus software’s setup process will ask if you have the Touch controllers, then prompt you to plug in the second sensor and pair the controllers by holding two buttons until they appear on the screen. Once that’s done, you can use them with the Rift
Once everything’s set up, the Oculus software takes you through a simple tutorial on how to use the Touch controllers. They appear in virtual space exactly where they are in the real world. The tutorial finishes with a physics-based demo that puts you in a small room filled with retro-styled technology and a robot.
The robot hands you discs you can grab and then insert into a drive on a holographic display that makes different objects appear. It’s simple and engaging, and shows off just how the Oculus Touch translates your movements to the virtual world.
This is where the design of the Touch controllers and the accuracy of the sensors start to shine. Pulling the index finger trigger moves your virtual index finger, pulling the middle finger trigger opens and closes the other fingers of your hand, and moving the analog stick or pressing the face buttons flexes your thumb.
The finger movement tracking is incredibly sensitive, so you can see your thumb starting to move as soon as you touch the stick or buttons, before you even activate them. It’s a simple, natural control scheme that works well in both physics-based games that require you to manipulate virtual objects, and in menus where you can simply point at items with your finger to select them.
Oculus Rift + Touch Package Included Games
Robo Recall is an action-packed VR first-person shooter with visceral Touch gameplay and an in-depth scoring system. Earn the high score by using creative combat tactics and skill shots as you teleport through city streets and rooftops in an awe-inspiring ballet of bullets. Tear apart your interactive robot foes and use them to fend off the enemy onslaught. Unlock, customize and test weapons before taking on advanced challenges that put your newfound skills to the test!
Video – Robo Recall Oculus Rift VR + Touch Gameplay
Lucky’s Tale is a delightful platforming adventure game designed exclusively for the Oculus Rift. Join Lucky as he runs, jumps, climbs and spins his way through a bright, colorful world filled with thrilling challenges, wacky creatures, and all the shiny things a little fox could ever want!
Video – Lucky’s Tale VR Oculus Touch Gameplay
Quill allows users to paint in virtual reality on an infinitely scalable canvas – with rich color tools and different brushes. Quill is designed to be expressive, precise and to let the artist’s “hand” come through clearly – whether that’s a watercolor style, pencil style, oil painting style or other.
Video – Quill by Oculus
Oculus Medium is an immersive VR experience that lets you sculpt, model, paint, and create tangible objects in a VR environment. Medium lets you create expressive works of art, whether you’re a total beginner, an aspiring creative, or a professional artist. Medium uses Touch controllers to enable intuitive hand gestures and movement for a natural, tactile experience.
Video – Professional Sculpting in Virtual Reality with Oculus Medium
Dead and Buried
Step into a world full of gunslingers and ghosts in Dead and Buried. Grab your Touch controllers and become the best gunslinger in the wild west in this multiplayer action shooter. Battle it out in the old saloon. Rob a runaway train. Team up with other bandits and defend against hordes of ghastly creatures. Finally, you can live out your wild west fantasies thanks to virtual reality.
Video – Dead and Buried VR Oculus Touch Gameplay
Toybox, a fan-favorite demo experience, is now available to play at home! This is one of the best ways to showcase the power of social interaction in VR. Light fireworks, drive tanks in zero gravity, and interact with a variety of gadgets and games with a friend—wherever they are.
Video – Toybox Gameplay Oculus Rift & Touch
Oculus Rift Pros and Cons
In deciphering the pros and cons of the VR platform, there are interesting outcomes. The main cons fall in the area of confusion (i.e. installation), and of course, the price. However, for those who have the money and the geeky know-how, there are the pros. Those pros and bragging level of the virtual reality experience seem to be through the roof. It appears that they may make VR worth every penny for those addicted to that VR experience.
One could hope that over time, this platform becomes a little more affordable and maybe a little less clunky. After all, even Facebook has improved in those areas, hasn’t it?
For the observer, looking at the Oculus Rift setup on their friend’s face, in their home, it may seem odd. It may be a case of seeing the friend with the funny-looking viewer on their face. This may seem to be the strangest thing they have ever experienced. But, as Oculus Rift declares on their home page, that all is well. Simply step into the Oculus Rift and it is an entirely different experience. There are also many different types of experiences from which to choose, all of which provide some level of realism.
Does it really matter how funny-looking a viewer may appear to be, from the outside? After all, when looking through the viewer takes you to worlds that were previously unknown, that is all that matters, right? You are entering a place that used to be the stuff of dreams and the ingenuity of science and science-fiction. And, it was the fodder for Hollywood script writers. Now is the opportunity to experience what the world was meant to be, at least that of the Virtual Reality world.
Video – Over 30 Full Games Launching with Oculus Touch
What Oculus Rift + Touch Virtual Reality System Customers Say
Video – Oculus Rift Review, Games & Gameplay – Is It Worth It?
Oculus Rift + Touch Virtual Reality System Conclusion
The Oculus Rift comfortably produces an immersive, crisp virtual reality experience that will continue to improve with the development of new software, which has been steadily coming out on both the Oculus store and SteamVR. The release of the Oculus Touch controllers and the addition of them to the headset package further adds to the value.
So, if you are looking for some high-end VR today – and don’t mind splurging – the Oculus Rift with Touch controls has the simplest setup (basically plug-and-play), the best ergonomics (both headset and controls), integrated audio and virtual reality’s premier content library.
The closest thing we have to a gripe is its imperfect larger-space tracking. Even with that minor caveat, though, the Rift’s handling of smaller-room/standing VR is terrific – and the corresponding content is phenomenal and plentiful.
Oculus Rift + Touch Virtual Reality System
- Get 6 free titles, including: Robo Recall, Luckyʼs Tale, Quill, Medium, Dead and Buried, and Toybox
- Riftʼs ultra low-latency tracking offers unparalleled immersion
- The Oculus Touch controllers bring your hands into VR, letting you interact naturally with the virtual world
- NVIDIA GTX 1050Ti/AMD Radeon RX 470 or greater Graphics Card Required and a RAM of 8 GB+ RAM
- Windows 8.1 or Windows 7 SP1 64 bit or newer Operating System required