Live Story: Week 3 – We Get Our Hands On Touch Controls

Moving into VR games requires us to experience and try out new technology, which is something we love to do. This week during development, we focused on touch controls. These types of controls replace your standard game controllers you may use for your Xbox or PlayStation. So instead of having a classic controller in your hand, you would actually have a headset along with a controller for each hand. The purpose of this set up is to allow the player to have a more immersive experience in the VR environment. Instead of a joystick on a controller to turn their view from left to right, the player would simply move their head from left to right. Instead of hitting a button on a controller to interact with an object, the player can actually reach out with each arm independently and interact with the object in a more realistic fashion.

For our particular game, we are experimenting with the HTC Vive Touch Controller System. Along with the headset, the controllers for each hand allow for a large amount of customization. Our developer, Pam Werrell, found them refreshingly nice to configure. “The controllers provide a touchpad, grip button, and trigger that can be programmed to make the user feel like they are actually manipulating objects and moving through the virtual world.” During the testing, it didn’t take long for the controllers to feel natural as you moved around within the environment. One of the cooler features is that the hand controls vibrate. Even though vibrating controls are a standard feature for most console controllers, it allows for some innovative uses within a VR environment. “The vibration feature on the controllers can be used to add a feeling of weight to an object or that the user is truly using the virtual item” says Pam, “we hope each person will feel more apart of the world we are creating.”

Overall, the team was pleased with the Vive controls. The hand controllers are high quality and feel natural in your hands. However, the buttons and touchpads are already showing wear from testing. When it comes to the tracking, the Vive is fantastic. The system is very reactive and accurate. We are excited to implement all the customizations this system has to offer within our VR environment.

Stay tuned until next week where we will talk about how we are going to use this technology and all it has to offer in our newest game.

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