By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
The 3dRudder is finally available for the PS4! It’s been available for a while for PC users, but when I’ve been virtual reality gaming on a console, I can’t think of any other uses other than to drive a tank instead of actually walking. Although I am still skeptical of using your feet (while seated) to emulate motion in an imaginary world, I feel the idea is not perfect in the long run.
It’s a shame navigating VR space for the home consumer is primitive. Go to CES, a military base or an arcade in South Asia, the likelihood of finding a hamster ball to walk around in for that illusion is better. Dedicated centres are not available worldwide. The better idea is to wait for holodecks which sadly won’t be coming anytime soon.
For now, gamers have to make do with low fi trinkets to pretend they are in a fantasy or wartime environment. The movie Ready Player One at least got the tech right for full on immersion. I’m surprised no hardware game developer jumped on the idea. Essentially, players are walking on a matrix of trackballs to monitor foot motion (and if players are running or jumping). Until the right invention comes along, the 3DRudder is all we VR users (Oculus Rift included) have for gaming environments.
Sadly the games like Batman Arkham VR and Doom 3D can’t take advantage. The PC version of the latter can, but this look is for PS4 users. Unless the code is rewritten to include this input device’s signal, most of the currently available VR games are incompatible. With those that are, the software company was provided with development kits early on.
At present, approximately 35 games are compatible with this foot control. Space Junkies, Firewall Zero Hour, Intruders: Hide and Seek and Sairento VR are just a sampling of what’s available, and more titles will be added. While not all the games sound all that exciting, at least Skyrim is there for me to keep adventuring!