Oculus hand tracking for the Quest moves out of beta this week

Cal Jeffrey

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Oculus announced on Monday that it was taking Quest hand tracking to "the next phase." The feature goes into general release with the next firmware update due out later this week. Developers working with the hand-tracking SDK can submit new games or updates implementing the feature starting May 28. Three studios already have patches for their apps ready to go.

Waltz of the Wizard, Elixir, and The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets all have updates coming when the feature goes live. The first two are magical potion-making games. The third is a puzzle game with the player interacting with objects and characters in a miniaturized world, somewhat similar to Moss.

Two interactive films using hand tracking are also slated for a May 28 release. Gloomy Eye is a love story between a zombie boy and a normal girl and features the voice of Colin Ferrell. The second is titled The Line, featured at the Vinice Film Festival last year.

"The Line portrays a world of miniatures where routine is paramount and everything is always the same—until it's not," reads the film's blurb.

More developers are undoubtedly implementing the feature, so we should see more titles going forward. It's no reason to discard your recently updated Touch controllers just yet, as too many games still rely on them. Plus there is only so much that can be done with hand gestures alone. However, now that developers can start working on hand-tracking technology in earnest, we are likely to see inventive ways to make physical controllers unnecessary.

One weakness of many VR games is the lack of an immersive way to perform actions. For example, in Skyrim VR, wielding swords, shields, or magic is somewhat well-done using PlayStation Move or Oculus Touch controllers. However, picking up objects by pointing your non-animated hand at it, pulling a trigger or pushing a button, and having the object float in front of you takes you entirely out of the experience.

Hand tracking can add a more realistic way to interact with virtual worlds. Being able to pick up and manipulate objects in a way that makes sense is more immersive and fun. It will be interesting to see what developers do with the tech.

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Evernessince

Posts: 4,992   +5,115
"One weakness of many VR games is the lack of an immersive way to perform actions. For example, in Skyrim VR, wielding swords, shields, or magic is somewhat well-done using PlayStation Move or Oculus Touch controllers. However, picking up objects by pointing your non-animated hand at it, pulling a trigger or pushing a button, and having the object float in front of you takes you entirely out of the experience.

Hand tracking can add a more realistic way to interact with virtual worlds. Being able to pick up and manipulate objects in a way that makes sense is more immersive and fun. It will be interesting to see what developers do with the tech."

I like techspot but the VR articles on here are not written by someone who really indulges in the medium.

SkyrimVR is a port and they didn't bother adding basic VR features like being able to pick up objects with your hands. Saying that VR games need this sort of feature when in fact a majority of titles do have it is simply misinformed.

 

Rayneofpayne

Posts: 93   +71
"One weakness of many VR games is the lack of an immersive way to perform actions. For example, in Skyrim VR, wielding swords, shields, or magic is somewhat well-done using PlayStation Move or Oculus Touch controllers. However, picking up objects by pointing your non-animated hand at it, pulling a trigger or pushing a button, and having the object float in front of you takes you entirely out of the experience.

Hand tracking can add a more realistic way to interact with virtual worlds. Being able to pick up and manipulate objects in a way that makes sense is more immersive and fun. It will be interesting to see what developers do with the tech."

I like techspot but the VR articles on here are not written by someone who really indulges in the medium.

SkyrimVR is a port and they didn't bother adding basic VR features like being able to pick up objects with your hands. Saying that VR games need this sort of feature when in fact a majority of titles do have it is simply misinformed.
Agreed, and TBH Half Life Alyx, Boneworks, WD:S&S is a prime example of how controllers work well while allowing for movement of hands/fingers within the game.
Finger hand tracking in this manner is only really good for small room experiences where you don't need locomotion beyond a small area, like roomscale, once you step up to anything of a larger scope not having input methods becomes a terrible proposition.
 
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Cal Jeffrey

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"One weakness of many VR games is the lack of an immersive way to perform actions. For example, in Skyrim VR, wielding swords, shields, or magic is somewhat well-done using PlayStation Move or Oculus Touch controllers. However, picking up objects by pointing your non-animated hand at it, pulling a trigger or pushing a button, and having the object float in front of you takes you entirely out of the experience.

Hand tracking can add a more realistic way to interact with virtual worlds. Being able to pick up and manipulate objects in a way that makes sense is more immersive and fun. It will be interesting to see what developers do with the tech."

I like techspot but the VR articles on here are not written by someone who really indulges in the medium.

SkyrimVR is a port and they didn't bother adding basic VR features like being able to pick up objects with your hands. Saying that VR games need this sort of feature when in fact a majority of titles do have it is simply misinformed.
While it is true that I have only recently begun delving into VR, I have played a lot of titles games and demos trying to find something fun. I have yet to find something that emulates hand tracking well. Blood and Truth is probably the best so far, as far as realistic movements that make sense, it does a good job. It also does a good job of animating the virtual hands, but that is not the same as mimicking full-hand movements like reaching out and grabbing an object. That is to say, you are still pushing a button to grab rather than closing your hand. Don't get me wrong. This is just fine for where we are in VR, but full-hand tracking could be a game-changer if it's done accurately and well.

I was not speaking for all or a majority of VR games. In fact, I started the paragraph in reference by saying "One weakness of many VR games..." This is true from what I have played. Many games and demos I've tried do not implement hand tracking well or at all, and many that do, don't animate the virtual hands well or at all. This also does not necessarily detract from the fun factor. For example, your "hand" in Moss is a glowing sphere, and manipulation is very limited and crude, but the game is still very fun.

I just think it is an exciting technology that I would love to see worked into games. Star Trek Bridge Crew would be awesome with full hand tracking. Don't get worked up; it does a good job with the controllers, it's just that the immersion factor would be so much higher were it my hands on the consoles and not the controllers. I'm still pulling a trigger to push a button instead of just pushing a button if that makes sense. lol

That all said, I still think the tech has a way to go yet. Developers are going to have to work out a gesture system or something that performs other things like walking, pulling up menus, and other things that you normally do with controller buttons, but this stuff will come. VR is still really young compared to the majority of other gaming technologies. Adoption rates have increased a lot over the last few years too, so this can add incentive to make those killer apps that are on the bleeding edge.

Thanks for the discussion, and as a noob to VR, I would love it if you shared some great titles to try out to "prove" hand tracking is "good." I have to admit, that since getting a headset, I'm having a hard time going back to regular games. It's become a bit of a drug for me.

EDIT: P.S. Where is my Johnny Mnemonic/Minority Report PC operating system? HAHA
 
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