First Impressions Of The HTC Vive And Virtual Reality

First Impressions Of The HTC Vive And Virtual Reality

Does it live up to the hype?

I’ve been waiting a long time for the HTC Vive. From the moment it appeared on the Steam store webpage, I dreamt about unboxing one of my very own. I watched countless videos of lucky testers trying out the DK2 prototypes. I lapped up every taste of virtual reality I could get from demos in Microsoft and Best Buy stores. As of three days ago, I finally have one. My hype level was in outer space, and the Vive still blew me away. No amount of gameplay videos can prepare you for what it’s like. Virtual reality (VR) is indescribably cool.

Setting up the Vive is a bit less euphoric than using it. After putting in some elbow grease to clear the absolute minimum area required for room-scale play, I had to figure out where to mount the two base stations that track the Vive HMD (head-mounted display) and two controllers. I drilled one into a wooden support in one corner of the room. The other is currently attached to the remains of a makeshift bike rack wedged between the floor and ceiling in the other corner.

With the base stations set up and powered and my play area cleared, I donned the HMD and was immediately blown away by what is essentially a glorified main menu. The SteamVR Home application is a virtual house with a virtual balcony overlooking some virtual mountains. A wall in the house displays and launches the VR games in your library. I spent quite some time just looking around in awe and tossing around the simple objects scattered around the room. I made each of my family members put on the HMD just to look out at the mountains.

VR tricks your brain into thinking you’re there, so it takes some time to get used to navigating the room-scale play area without hitting anything. I had heard many horror stories of broken monitors, ceiling lights and noses, so I made sure to respect the boundary visualizations displayed in-game. It’s disorienting at first, but the longer I played the better I got at navigating within the Vive while still keeping track of my real-world location.

Another thing that takes some getting used to is locomotion. Moving within the virtual world is referred to as locomotion and different games handle it differently. In some games, you move by pointing with the controller and teleporting. Other games use the trackpad to move the player in the direction you’re pushing, much like a conventional console game. Some games make you move your arms in a running motion to move. My favorite so far is teleportation, solely because it is the only one that doesn’t make me feel dizzy and sick. Smoothly moving the character in-game while not moving in real-life is incredibly disorienting. While more experience with those locomotion modes is known to reduce adverse reactions, I’ll be sticking with teleportation for now.

The major downsides of the Vive are the resolution of the screen and god rays. The HTC Vive has a screen resolution of 2160 x 1200 pixels (1080 x 1200 pixels per eye). This is low enough to clearly see individual pixels in-game, and makes seeing faraway objects nearly impossible. God rays are light artifacts that appear when viewing the screen through the Vive’s round lenses. They are most apparent when looking at bright objects or text. Cleaning the lenses regularly with the included cloth helps, but doesn’t remove them entirely.

Despite these negatives, watching Vive gameplay doesn’t compare to being in the HMD. Sure, you won’t see god rays in a video and the resolution will be better, but after a few minutes of play, my brain stopped registering the downsides. I was too busy having fun and being completely, utterly immersed. Taking off the HMD after a long play session is a surreal experience. You’re telling me, after all that, I was in my living room the whole time?

Even my mom, who is generally skeptical of my expensive taste in video games, tried out the Vive. All she did was look around in Google Earth, but even that is a breathtaking experience in VR. She crouched down to look at our house, and reached out to try to touch virtual mountains. Some choice words were uttered when she found herself on the edge of a cliff.

I could write an article about all the fun games and breathtaking experiences the Vive has to offer. But the truth is, any expectations you have for the Vive are probably selling it short. Go out and try it—you won’t regret it.

Cover Image Credit: Charlie Jirik

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25 Responses To Your Friend Who Doesn't Text Back

Omg thanks for responding so quickly...oh, wait.

We all have that friend. That friend we love to death, but if we are sure of anything in this world, it’s that they will not respond to your text because they suck at texting. That moment when you see “Read 1:04 p.m.” and you’re like “and???? Helloooooooo!”

These are 25 responses for that dear friend.

1. Lol thanks for tagging me in that FB post, now text me tf back.

2. OMG, wait you met Chris Hemsworth and he’s professing his love to you??!! No? Okay, then you can def text me back.

3. Hey I’m coming to help you since you obviously broke your thumbs and can’t respond.

4. Lolol thanks for responding. I’ll just continue the conversation with myself. That’s cool.

5. Good chat.

6. Yeah I wouldn’t know how to respond either, pizza topping selection is a thought-provoking process. Take your time. Meditate on it.

7. The classic: ^^^^^^^^^

8. I hope you’re writing me the 8th Harry Potter novel.

9. That was a yes or no question. This isn’t difficult. You wouldn’t do well with ‘Sophie’s Choice.’

10. Omg, did you pass out from the excitement of getting a text from me? Totally understandable. Text me when you regain consciousness, love.

11. Omg what a witty and clever response. Nothing. So philosophical.

12. The only excuse I’ll accept is if you’re eating guac and don’t want to get it on your phone. Because avocados are life.

13. I love it when you do that adorable thing when you don’t text me back for hours. So cute.

14. Okay I’ll answer for you. Yes, you’re going out tonight. Glad we had this convo.

15. In the time it has taken you to respond, dinosaurs could have retaken the earth.


17. The dramatic but also very valid response: That’s what happens when you don’t respond for 30 minutes. People die.

18. I apologize for asking if you were coming to watch Bachelor, clearly the decision has caused you serious reflection on your priorities. I’m sorry to have caused you this existential crisis.

19. Sorry I annoyed you with my friendship. But like plz respond…

20. Your response time is longer than Ross and Rachel’s entire relationship. 10 seasons. You couldn’t text me back for 10 seasons?!!

21. Wait. You’re responding too fast. I can’t keep up. Hang on. Don’t respond so quickly. Jeez.

22. A subtle but perfectly placed gif. What will you go with? The classic eye roll perhaps or maybe a “you suck.”

23. Did you fall off a cliff? Wait, you don’t exercise. Pause your Netflix and respond b*tch.

24. Omg I WON THE LOTTERY. *responds* Lol now you respond…

25. And my personal favorite and go to, Did you text me and then decide to THROW YOUR PHONE ACROSS THE OCEAN?! Lol swim fast, I need an answer.

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5 Reasons Why You Should Switch From PC To Mac

I'm not proud I feel this way... but I do.


I know that quite literally speaking Apple is the capitalist devil; however, they might just be on to something. Honestly, I'm not the type of person to drop any money on a laptop because being the youngest in my family has taught me that hand-me-downs are more than just clothes and the whole process really does save a lot of money. As I've been gearing up to go to grad school and experiencing a number of random black outs from my Old Gal, it became clear that I'd need a real new laptop this time. All in all, being 21 has taught me very few things so far, but I have officially learned that the world of hand-me-down laptops was just child's play. This Brand New s*** is the real deal.

Technological advancement is wild.

Even Obama knows.

About a decade ago, I was still logging onto AIM and playing pinball on my family's desktop. Now I have a computer that I turn on by touching with my fingerprint and a bad thing that I don't even know how to coherently explain without using sound effects. All of which is technology I don't understand.

They look good.

Patenting Intensifies

I've always prided myself on being immune to the trap that is sleek, minimalist design, but honestly, after downgrading from my clunky Dell, I can honestly say I feel 100% cooler carrying my MacBook Pro around. Even just typing on it feels different. And before you say anything about how superficial this revelation is, please note that my Dell had a News display screen and was so heavy that it began to hurt my back. When I was studying abroad in South Korea this summer, Most times I chose to leave it in my dorm instead of going through the gruesome task of taking it anywhere with me. Yes, I could've lifted weights. Yes, I could've gone to the gym. No, I could not have 'just picked a lighter computer' (because of the whole hand-me-down thing). So yes. I'm enjoying this.

It's so easy.

That was easy button.

Apple and Android users alike stick to their old systems through the rationalization of the difficulty of switching; however, it is much more simple than it seems. Especially if you are someone who has an iPhone but uses windows systems. Although there are some interface things I'm getting used to-- why on Earth would you even need the command button? Like am I blackoutssupposed to memorize all these shortcuts?-- overall, most of the things make sense in the grand scheme of usage and the system that it is in.

The Apple system is so enticing.

Steve Jobs was really about taking as much of your money as possible.

It is crazy that someone with an Apple Watch, Mac, and iPhone could download an app and make a to-do list or tell Siri some bright idea they got while laying in bed at 3 am and access it from any of their devices at any time the next day. Say you forgot your phone at home? Don't worry. If you have internet or a cellular connection, you can receive your messages and calls right to your wrist (or laptop). Overall, the system makes life easier by maximizing your ability to make the most out of the technology available to you.

Apps really do make your life better.

There really is an app for everything.

We've all heard someone somewhere say something along the lines of "Apps are the future of technology, And I mean. They were low-key right. There is literally an app for everything. From note-taking, to organization, to money management, to design, to almost anything you can think blackouts. And multiple versions of the same app, which sync your devices together, making your only obstacle literally Yourself and your willingness to use them. Someone tell apple to hire me to write a commercial please.

Yes, the price point is high. Yes, Apple has become a company that can get away with being less innovative and increasingly more expensive compared to its opponents. Yes, their reputation affords them the room to do almost anything-- or not do anything-- and get away with it. With merchandise like this; however, I am surprised it is only as bad as it is now. Might as well take advantage of the system while we can still (barely) afford to, no?

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