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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Why tanacon was a Failure

As Philip DeFranco cautioned in his video a day before the event, "there is the possibility that it becomes a complete sh*t show."


Over the past several months, there have been several scandals on YouTube, from Logan Paul and Ricegum offending cultures on their trips to Japan and China, respectively, to, most recently, Tanacon.

Originally the idea of YouTuber Tana Mongeau, who has racked up about 3.6 million subscribers and is known for her story-time formatted videos, Tanacon was a reaction to the long-running Vidcon. While Vidcon has its own independent issues from over the years, Mongeau released a video in the beginning of April titled "Why I Won't Be Attending Vidcon 2018: A Rant." The hour-long rant of Mongeau's personal problems with Vidcon concludes with her proposing - though I doubt, at the time, that she meant it seriously - that she would hold her own convention that would be run with the fans of YouTube creators in mind. Mongeau said that she wanted her convention to be better and freer than Vidcon.

Naturally, Mongeau's large following latched onto the idea, and other well-known creators came to her support, which, in turn, birthed Tanacon. Scheduled to run concurrently with and in close proximity to Vidcon in Anaheim, California, Tanacon held a line-up of many well-known creators from Shane Dawson and Casey Neistat, to Bella Thorne and Ricky Dillon. When paired together with promised free tickets (though attendees could purchase VIP for $65 in exchange for extra perks including a gift bag and skipping lines), it seemed that Tanacon had the promise of success. Though, as Philip DeFranco cautioned in his video a day before the event, "there is the possibility that it becomes a complete sh*t show."

The next day saw 5-thousand people standing in a hot parking lot outside of the convention at the Marriott without water or food. Footage from the event shows teenage girls revealing severe sunburns, chanting for refunds, and utter chaos both in and outside the convention, stemming from general dissatisfaction with the organization of the event. Ultimately, the event was shut down as a fire safety hazard, and the following days of Tanacon were shut down.

But where did Tanacon go so wrong when so many people supported it and hoped that it would succeed? In a revealing 3-part docu-series, Shane Dawson interviewed girls who attended the event, the CEO of Good Times, and Mongeau. On the whole, I admire Dawson's series, beginning with a video titled "The Truth About Tanacon," and I applaud Dawson and his team for talking to several different parties to try and find what really happened at Tanacon, and who is to blame for the failure.

Throughout the series, behind the finger-pointing between CEO of Good Times Michael Weist and Mongeau, it is clear that there is not any one party at fault for the failure. Instead, I think the failure comes from two young people - Weist and Mongeau are only 21 and 20 years old, respectfully - who had good intentions but were blinded by their own agendas. I do remain slightly critical of trusting Dawson's word alone, as he clearly wants to help Mongeau, as a personal friend, and Weist appears only through a screen in the series, and fear that there is even a slight bias towards Mongeau.

However, Dawson makes a good point by claiming that Tanacon came out of revenge against Vidcon, and she was irresponsible for insisting that the event happens at the same time as Vidcon, instead of taking time into account. On the other hand, however, I do feel that more responsibility falls to Weist. For example, Weist claims, in Dawson's series, that he was told that the venue would be able to hold 5,000 attendees, though the maximum capacity on the website is listed as a little over one-thousand, and he signed a contract for the same amount. On the same account, Weist insists that he thought there would be 91 security guards to cover the event, though a record shows that only as many as 25 security guards were on duty at the same time.

Therefore, I can only conclude that Tanacon was the perfect storm of inexperience and poor planning. Neither Weist nor Mongeau were prepared to host an event to such caliber, and all parties involved are lucky that no one who attended was severely hurt.

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