I'm a professional game developer from Wakefield, England, working as a senior programmer for Rebellion North.
I'm a married father of five and I a also sometimes do Retroburn stuff.
Martin 'Bytrix' Caine
Father. C++ Games Programmer. Cyclist. Guitarist.
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Monday, May 20th 2013 / Gaming

Day Nine With The Oculus Rift - Demos

Today I thought I'd experiment a bit with a few of the smaller demos being developed by the Oculus Rift community.

Rather annoyingly it's actually pretty hard to find downloads for the demos that are available. There are various forums out there with threads and videos but in the end I found riftenabled.com which gives a nice list of games in development or released with the download links.

So, before trying these demos I'd found some settings on a forum for enabling Rift support in Hawken. I edited my configs and loaded up the game.

First off, it looked horribly skewed, settings are definitely not right with it. I stuck with it and followed the other robot outside (playing the training mission) and when the doors opened and I saw outside it was as if I could suddenly focus and the outside world looked 3D (to some extent) but the guns and my cockpit were wrong.

I followed the robot for a short while, flew around, generally messed about. It didn't really look 3D as the two images I were seeing were definitely wrong. This view of the other robot looked pretty cool though:

I'd had enough of Hawken (I'll try it when they release official Rift support) so started downloading a few of these demos.

I started with one called SkyRifters, a dogfighting game where you fly around the mountains with other players. The view from the plane's cockpit actually felt pretty good but every now and then when banking it felt as if the plane was moving too fast and felt a bit weird.

Next I tried a little driving demo called RiftRacer. This was actually really fun.

I drove around a bit, knocked over some cones and went jumping over the ramps. I did manage to flip the car a few times though.

And I got a little bored after a while and started crashing up the other cars. This was one of the best Rift experiences I've had, it felt very natural being in the driver's position in the car and looking around while driving and jumping from ramps.

Next I tried a small demo called ArchiVirtual. It's just a small demo with a bunch of geometry flying round the place making shapes, plinths and general architecture. It's cool to watch but that's all there is to it.

Then I tried a small demo called Blue Marble, you start inside some sort of space ship and you are contained within a small space capsule yourself.

The capsule flies out of the ship and begins it's journey through space. You have no control over the capsule but you can look around which spins the capsule round as it follows it's path. This actually feels pretty natural unlike most other occasions I've experienced where the movement is taken away from the user.

There are a bunch of space objects which fly past, ending with you passing the moon just before the capsule shuts down. It's only a couple of minutes but this did feel pretty cool and I think they could make it in to a much longer experience if it sped up and even flew off to other planets!

Next my Wife Laura had a go on the EPIC Citadel Roller Coaster demo. I haven't tried this myself since I'm so prone to the motion sickness but she actually seemed to handle it well. I mentioned how some people on the forums had said it's very hard to do the rollercoaster demo standing up so she tried that and almost fell over trying to find the chair just after the big drop!

So, probably my biggest update but only because I tried many small demos. I hope to find some more to try tomorrow and will likely play some more Half-Life 2 as I'm enjoying that with the Rift.

I had tried to install a Parallax mapping mod for Doom 3 based on some recommendations, but I don't think the hacked version with Rift support will render the Parallax maps as I couldn't tell any difference in-game.

I thought I should also mention my motion sickness and nausea. I've actually experienced very little over the past few days. Most of it certainly did come from mis-configuration and not using properly calibrated settings in the games I was trying. It might also be that I'm getting more used to the Rift but I am sometimes getting headaches after using it (but not the nausea that accompanied it on that first day).

If you found this post helpful please leave a comment below:
jdub1981 / 2013-08-10 22:06:47
riftracer has been the worst for me. 5 seconds in and instant nausea
david / 2013-11-14 04:10:17
Hi there, nice reviews will be getting some of these for sure.

Just wondering how you got epic citadel coaster working on mac?
Martin Caine / 2013-11-14 20:06:04
Hi David. I have my Macs running multiple operating systems and actually run all of these Oculus demos in Windows 7 or 8 running through Bootcamp.
TomH / 2014-12-28 09:20:16
Hi David,
I run a new mac (desktop) and the blue marble demo wont seem to work for me. It downloads and installs and boots up fine but then, once I have reached the menu where it says 'select music' with '[launch]' below, I can't work out how to launch. Pressed every button and clicked the mouse but nada. Cant find anything about this online. Any ideas? Thanks, T