Oculus Elite: The good, the bad and the ugly.

Warning: superlatives incoming!

Just spent my first weekend with the Oculus Rift and I have to say the experience has exceeded all my expectations. It's an absolute game changer, a total paradigm shift, the world will never be the same again! I thought I'd share some of the things I've learned for the benefit of other newcomers to Oculus and also ask a few questions of those more experienced. I'll endeavour to keep this post updated as I continue to learn new things.



The Good

As many others have said before me, the difference between looking at the game on a 2D screen (irrespective of how big or how curved that screen might be) and genuinely feeling like you're actually IN the game is utterly transformative. The sense of scale you get about the cockpit, your ship, the stations, stellar bodies and the galaxy beyond is jaw dropping and worth every single penny. You will see detail in the cockpit that you never knew existed. If you move your face really close to your hands you can examine the stitching in the gloves!

Outside of ED the other Oculus "experiences" (kind of a cringeworthy name for app's/games/programs in Oculus VR but actually quite close to the truth) that I've tried (Showdown, Dreamdeck, Lost, Bigscreen beta and Lucky's Tale) have all been absolutely breathtaking, there's many many more still to try, and it's still really early days for VR. I think we're going to see some TRULY amazing things being released in the coming years.



The Bad

There are some issues you're going to run into with Elite. If you're already a HOTAS user (and frankly, for VR, you really ought to be one now) then you'll probably have to do some serious re-binding (I know - tedious right? especially if you've already been through this process once before).

Note: I'm using the Thrustmaster T.Flight Hotas X (https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B001CXYMFS).

The first and most significant thing you'll probably run into is using the galaxy and system maps. If, like me, you've been using the mouse for this then you'll almost certainly find this just isn't going to work (if you're already navigating with the HOTAS then you can probably skip this bit). The problem is that the galaxy map is now in 3D. You're not looking AT it, you're IN it. If you imagine that the mouse cursor is now moving in 2 dimensions around a glass surface in front of your eyes then you'll perhaps see the problem. There's almost zero correlation between the cursor and the stars you're trying to click on (which appear both behind and in front of that piece of glass). The same is also true (to a lesser extent) of the system map. Consequently what I've tried to do is to find a reasonably intuitive solution that covers both maps. Since the Galaxy map bindings for X-axis and Y-axis translation are what also affect moving around the System map I've used my primary joystick pitch and roll axis for this. I've then got joystick twist rotating the galaxy. So far so good. Personally I find the next most important control is zoom (which also applies to the System map) so I've mapped that to the main throttle axis. The only other axis we're then left with are the paddles behind the throttle. Now by default I've already got these changing tabs in multi-tabbed panels (e.g. in the left-hand panel of the galaxy map) so I've had to bind them in combination with a "shift" button as digital inputs (otherwise I lose the ability to change tabs). I'm using shifted paddle inputs to pitch the galaxy map up and down. This is slightly non-intuitive but in practice you don't need to use a pitch control very much, but you do still need it because when you first enter the galaxy map you'll want to pitch it up just a little bit so you can see the grid (which you should probably turn on). Now all we need are controls to move the galaxy map vertically. The thumbstick on the main joystick was the obvious choice for this but, because that thumbstick is the default control for navigating around menus (e.g. the little menu that pops up next to a selected system with route plot, bookmark, etc), again I've had to bind it in conjunction with a "shift" button (the same one as the paddle for consistency).

That's about it for galaxy and system map bindings. It really is well worth spending some time on this, getting the controls intuitive for you. I was really quite frustrated with ED in VR until I did this but now it's brilliant.

One other thing about navigation which was a major concern of mine was - how on earth will I be able to type in system names (or use the keyboard at all) given that I'm no touch typist. Well you may have heard (or discovered) that, when wearing the Oculus, there's a fairly large gap around your nose. Well I have to say I've found this invaluable. Not only is it not really a problem (for me at least) in terms of light polution, but it allows you to peer down past your nose and locate your fingers on the keyboard (as well as being able to find the Oculus remote when you've forgotten where you put it).

There are a few other, non-map related things I wanted to mention on the subject of bindings.

1) In some of the Graphics and Control settings menus you'll find options that can both be expanded (by clicking on their little plus sign) but that also have a choice input alongside the option (e.g. graphics quality). These are impossible to expand by default without recourse to the mouse since clicking the UI accept button simply triggers the choice input. There is however a separate "UI Nested Toggle" binding under "Interface Mode" that allows you to assign a separate button to the function of expanding these options.

2) Up until now I've been using the "Mouse widget" option to place a small dot in the center of my screen that I use for things like aligning my path through the mailslot. I've found that this no longer seems so useful in VR (for the same reason the mouse cursor doesn't really work in the 3D galaxy map) and have turned it off. This was fixed in 2.2 so I've now turned my mouse widget back on.

3) I've noticed people complaining about the side panels sometimes opening up and obscuring your view when you don't want them to. I know you can permanently change which panels open when you look at them in the options menu but generally I like the behaviour (for the side panels at least). What I have discovered however is that if they do popup unexpectedly, you can just quickly press your UI Focus button to close them again.

Edit: further discoveries ...

If you keep your "UI Focus" button held down when looking left and right to enjoy the view it will prevent the side panels from opening at all.

Thanks to munial for pointing this out.
4) I've found that looking up at the Comms panel to be able to interact with it is generally fine but that sometimes, if I'm reading a "Tip Off" message for example, it can switch back to the first tab again unless I keep my head really still. To fix this use "UI Focus + Thumbstick Up" to open the panel permanently. Don't forget to press "UI Focus" again to dismiss the panel when you've finished reading otherwise you'll find that many of your controls no longer respond.

There are possibly some other "discoveries" I've forgotten in which case I'll come back and edit this post retrospectively.



The Ugly

And now to the problems I don't know how to solve (and that I'm not sure can be solved).

The first is the resolution of the Oculus display. Don't get me wrong, it's good (and can be improved by following some of the tips described elsewhere in the forum - e.g. "Getting the best DK2/CV1/Vive experience"), but it's just not as good as I'm used to (I run a 1920x1080p screen, on Ultra settings at 60fps). I've been a huge fan of the graphics in this game and get a massive kick out of simply admiring the gorgeous sights it has to offer. I frequently contribute to the Screenie(s) and Planet Showcase threads but I fear that seeing graphics at the quality of those highlighted in the following video may well be a thing of the past.

[video=youtube_share;ZSzcai0SFd0]https://youtu.be/ZSzcai0SFd0[/video]
The other thing is motion sickness. Again, don't get me wrong, generally I've been fine. But one thing I absolutely loved doing prior to the Oculus was Buggy racing - driving (or rather flying) at high speed across low-G terrain.

[video=youtube_share;zwX8eRtKBoc]https://youtu.be/zwX8eRtKBoc[/video]
I could (and have) done it for hours. But in the Oculus? No way, uh uh, not happening. The minute I leave the ground and have to do some roll correction I just wanna hurl. The sensation of someone twisting my brain around in my head is HUGE and I just don't think I'm going to be able to get past it. And on the subject of SRV roll - I don't know why but the sensitivity of the joystick input has increased MASSIVELY with the Oculus. Previously I could use the full range of the joystick roll input to control SRV spin, but now the tiniest movement (and counter correction) when I'm off the ground seems to result in wild almost uncontrollable rocking motions and I'm having to use tiny movements, barely outside of the stick's physical deadzone, to control it. Anyone have any idea how to change this?

Edit: on the subject of motion sickness, I know it's been said by many people many times before but having a decent framerate really does help in this regard. If you're getting 60fps and think it "looks" fine but still suffer motion sickness, try reducing quality in favour of framerate to get closer to the magic 90fps (or experiment with the Oculus ASW/Asynchronous Spawewarp stuff which "reprojects" 45fps to simulate 90fps). I've found that although I don't conciously perceive much difference, my subconcious sure as hell does and has a much better time of it.
These two problems leave me with a very real quandry. I love the Oculus and believe it's money well spent - but do I actually want continue to play ED with it? I'm honestly not sure.

Which brings me to a question for which I'm hoping there's a simple answer (so I can switch between VR and non-VR as the mood takes me).

How can I easily launch ED in non-VR mode (without rumaging around to rip its cables out of the back of the PC when I want to do so)? I'm using DrKaii's excellent little EDProfiler utility, but even if I apply a profile that has 3D turned off, the minute I launch Elite, Oculus Home pops up and I'm back in VR mode.

Edit: I've now found an answer to the above question.

Note: I've subsequently found that the following isn't absolutely necessary but I'm leaving it here as some may still find it useful (and I still use it to get around the NVDIA v-sync issue described further below).

You need to create two shortcuts on your desktop. For one you enter the command 'net stop OVRService' and label the shortcut "Oculus Off", and for the other you enter the command 'net start OVRService' and label the shortcut "Oculus On". Next you have to open the Properties of each shortcut, click on Advanced and tick "Run as administrator". Then, if you want to run ED without the Oculus you double-click the "Oculus Off" shortcut, use drkaii's EDProfiler to apply your non-VR graphics settings and bindings and then launch ED. Alternatively, if you want to run ED with the Oculus then you double-click the "Oculus On" shortcut and again use EDProfiler to pick your VR settings (making sure that 3D is set to "HMD headphones") and launch ED. The only other thing you might have to do is set the appropriate default playback device from your audio settings (via a right-click on the tool tray speaker icon) to get the sound coming out of the right set of headphones.



Edit: I've also spotted that having the OVRService pop up Oculus Home seems to prevent the NVIDIA vertical-sync option from working (I set this for edlauncher.exe rather than use the in-game vertical sync because it appears to reduce vertical shearing effects). Stopping the service fixes this problem.
Anyway, thanks for listening, hope some of you have learned a few things, hope some more of you can teach me a few things and I'll no doubt come back and add to this post over the coming weeks and months.

o7
 
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With regards to the buggy, it used to make me feel absolutely nauseous if I did it for more than 5 minutes and I started getting hot for some reason. Now I can drive around for hours without it affecting me. You basically need to train yourself slowly to adjust to it, do it for 5 minutes and stop, do something else for a while, do it for 5 minutes again, until you are not affected, then do it a little longer until you are no longer affected by it long enough to enjoy it again. Also start by driving slow, and increase the speed slowly.
 
With regards to the buggy, it used to make me feel absolutely nauseous if I did it for more than 5 minutes and I started getting hot for some reason. Now I can drive around for hours without it affecting me. You basically need to train yourself slowly to adjust to it, do it for 5 minutes and stop, do something else for a while, do it for 5 minutes again, until you are not affected, then do it a little longer until you are no longer affected by it long enough to enjoy it again. Also start by driving slow, and increase the speed slowly.
Thanks, I was kinda hoping this might be the case. I'll give it a go. Did you suffer the same increase in joystick roll input sensitivity by any chance? I think I could manage much better in VR if rolling wasn't quite so damn sensitive now.
 
The experiences people are having with the Rift seem incredibly subjective.

I've not had a single issue with motion sickness. First couple of days and I am barrel rolling through asteroids and launching SRVs off cliffs with the same madness I normally do. Not a single uneasy feeling. Those who do get the sickness generally mention getting over it over time.

The galaxy map...no okay, that's collectively an awful experience to get used to. The thing to remember is that there is still the 2D grid, which if it isn't turned on, TURN IT ON NOW. That 2D grid becomes your tool for selecting systems and without it you're lost. Instead move near the systems you want to get to, move the cursor with your joystick across the 2D grid, and if it comes into contact with the "stalk" thing that reaches from systems to the grid, it highlights the systems for selection.

Still a pain in the backside.

On the other hand the only real issue I have with the Rift is the physical kit. It's a lovely piece of equipment but are we telling me that in the 21st Century, in the time of VR development, we couldn't handle a) comfortable foam against your face or b) a solution to the gap where your nose goes? I don't mind light leakage because I can close curtains etc., but every time I breath without directing my exhalation as downwards as I can, I fog up the lenses on the inside.

FFFUUUUU----

Otherwise, 11/10. With you OP, describing the sense of scale is just not doable. If you need moar quality and haven't seen the VR quality thread, there's some excellent tips in there.
 
On the other hand the only real issue I have with the Rift is the physical kit. It's a lovely piece of equipment but are we telling me that in the 21st Century, in the time of VR development, we couldn't handle a) comfortable foam against your face or b) a solution to the gap where your nose goes? I don't mind light leakage because I can close curtains etc., but every time I breath without directing my exhalation as downwards as I can, I fog up the lenses on the inside.
Like I said, after some initial concern I found that I actually quite like the nose gap (although I totally take your point about steaming the lenses up). But if you don't like it, you might be interested in this ..

https://vrcover.com/product/oculus-rift-vr-cover/

.. which some people have said will solve the problem. Do some research tho' as it's had some terrible reviews (as well as some good ones).
 
I have been playing using a Rift for some months now, and when I am asked about it I say it is a game changer (immersion in the Pacific Ocean!). I have the same issue with the motion sickness, but I am slowly getting used to it (although I don't use the buggy much anyway). The other problem/challenge is I am now going to learn how to touch type!
 
I had the same problem with the Homido VR, the interest thing is that with the VR, I had motion sickness when closing to planets and while using the SRV, but when I use the same in a 50" inch LG 3D TV side by side and very close to me (about 1.2 meters of distance to the TV), I dont have any motion sickness at all!. The other thing is that the TV screen refresh is better than the VR, and the antialiasing of the TV for the low res letter fonts is MUCHHHHH better than the one of any VR set. (remember that the passive 3D set, have to cut both resolution in half, half in X axis and half in Y for the polarized lines of the TV)
 
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I believe it is very easy to explain the motion sickness. Your real sense of balance is in the inner ear, but you also have a visual sense of balance. Under normal circumstances these are in sync, but when you are using VR these can get out of step (especially, in my case, when using the SRV), and this can upset your balance systems, which in turn upsets your stomach.
 
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I believe it is very easy to explain the motion sickness. Your real sense of balance is in the inner ear, but you also have a visual sense of balance. Under normal circumstances these are in sync, but when you are using VR these can get out of step (especially, in my case, when using the SRV), and this can upset your balance systems, which in turn upsets your stomach.
I agree, is the difference between how your Vestibular system understand what is receiving through your eyes and what is happening IRL in the inner ear. I had motion sickness in game, and dont have IRL while snorkeling and Im upside down or in any position underwater.
 
https://vrcover.com/product/oculus-rift-vr-cover/

.. which some people have said will solve the problem. Do some research tho' as it's had some terrible reviews (as well as some good ones).
I bought one, and they actually send you 2 in the little pouch. They're beautifully made, nice material and essentially totally useless. Unless there's a real problem with mine, they don't actually fit that well, doesn't add any extra padding and doesn't block the "nose" hole... They are very well made though :)
 
The only motion sickness in ED I ever felt was in the SRV for about the first couple of minutes but I soon got over it. I found it best to drive slowly on a reasonably flat surface to start with and then speed things up and go over bumps and ridges after you got used to it. Now I can fly over ridges and bounce up and down like a mad roller coaster ride with no ill effects.

The VR covers are not very good as they don't fit and tuck in on both side of the foam. So where the cover rests on the forehead it keeps getting scrunched up. The nose piece also just hangs loosely. Nor does it add much if anything in the way of extra padding. I keep meaning to get my sewing machine out and make my own. The Vive ones fit a lot better though, just the Rift ones that aren't much cop.
 
Thanks, I was kinda hoping this might be the case. I'll give it a go. Did you suffer the same increase in joystick roll input sensitivity by any chance? I think I could manage much better in VR if rolling wasn't quite so damn sensitive now.
When I first got the RIFT (DK2), I was getting sense of vertigo in the Coriolis stations when rolling trying to get to my landing pad, all of that is long gone now, I roll and stuff no problem. Just remember to take things slow and eventually it will be fine. I recently got project cars and its amazing in the rift as well, however I was getting the same feeling I had in the SRV, but that went away after a few sessions, just keep it short.
 
I bought one, and they actually send you 2 in the little pouch. They're beautifully made, nice material and essentially totally useless. Unless there's a real problem with mine, they don't actually fit that well, doesn't add any extra padding and doesn't block the "nose" hole... They are very well made though :)
I'm assuming you watched their little video about how to put the thing on ..

[video=youtube_share;LV8jCrc4Fu8]https://youtu.be/LV8jCrc4Fu8[/video]
I gather there's no padding to improve comfort (at the moment) but I would have thought the bit of cloth across the bridge of the nose might have served to block some light out. They actually seem like good guys and are well aware of the negative feedback so I wouldn't be at all surprised if they refine their design and release a new version. The major plus for me (although I'm not about to buy one - yet) is the idea that the cover would be washable. I'm encouraging everyone I know to come and try my Oculus so god knows what's the accumulated face grime is going to be like in a year's time. :eek:
 
Nice, had a similar first weekend and loved most of it.
Absolutely with you on the need for an easy mode switch. When faced with a long ride in SC it's a bit annoying not being able to return to the 2d world for a smoke without the risk of setting fire to myself.
 
Nice, had a similar first weekend and loved most of it.
Absolutely with you on the need for an easy mode switch. When faced with a long ride in SC it's a bit annoying not being able to return to the 2d world for a smoke without the risk of setting fire to myself.
I tried to give this one a go myself without the mode switch. I'm generally quite dexterous, so no problem.

Rolled up. Sort of. It's a good effort for not being able to see.

Lighter at the ready...yup, lit the wrong end and promptly jabbed the unlit end into my ashtray.

I'll take the Rift off next time.
 
Nice, had a similar first weekend and loved most of it.
Absolutely with you on the need for an easy mode switch. When faced with a long ride in SC it's a bit annoying not being able to return to the 2d world for a smoke without the risk of setting fire to myself.
I've got a couple of ideas that I'm going to try out. One is to disable the USB driver that the Oculus is connected to, prior to launching the game. It's just possible that this will be a software equivalent to unplugging it. The other idea is to have a look at the running processes in task manager. There must be something that's starting up Oculus Home when I start Elite and I'm wondering if it's just a process that I can kill prior to launch (unless it's wired into the ED game code itself ... in which case ... Dear FD, please fix it for me).
 
There's really nothing wrong with the 2160 x 1200 resolution of the Oculus Rift. It's actually SUPERIOR to a standard 1920 x 1080 display, and is an INSANE feat of engineering considering the size of the two actual screens involved. If you move in and look at something in game physically close up, this really comes to light.

That's not to say there's not a problem to overcome: screen door effect [which I don't really notice in Elite] is a product of the screens at their current resolution needing to be approx 8" from the eye to appear "retina". Obviously, if they could increase pixel density it would lower this, but they're already EXTREMELY small screens.....
 
I've got a couple of ideas that I'm going to try out. One is to disable the USB driver that the Oculus is connected to, prior to launching the game. It's just possible that this will be a software equivalent to unplugging it. The other idea is to have a look at the running processes in task manager. There must be something that's starting up Oculus Home when I start Elite and I'm wondering if it's just a process that I can kill prior to launch (unless it's wired into the ED game code itself ... in which case ... Dear FD, please fix it for me).
You may have missed my reply to you in the ED Profiler thread - You will need to stop the Oculus VR Runtime Service (Windows background service) - this will prevent the Oculus app from running when you start ED. I have two icons on my taskbar set up to start/stop the service.
 
I love the nose gap. I use a fan to blow air on me, both for cooling and to help with motion sickness - like rolling down the window in a car - and the gap allows air to flow up into the Rift and prevents the lenses from fogging.

I wonder if turning off the HUD in the SRV would help with motion sickness - as long as you're just out for a Sunday drive and not collecting materials. My problem is going cross-eyed when the HUD, projected out in front of the SRV, intersects with the ground.
 
You may have missed my reply to you in the ED Profiler thread - You will need to stop the Oculus VR Runtime Service (Windows background service) - this will prevent the Oculus app from running when you start ED. I have two icons on my taskbar set up to start/stop the service.
I did indeed miss that post. Thank you sir, you have just totally made my day! Now if I can just get the wife (who's laughing like a drain as I type this and occasionally shouting "yay!") off Lucky's Tale long enough to try that out! :p

Edit: P.S. could you tell me how those two icons work? Are there DOS commands to start and stop services?
 
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