Oculus Touch Review (2 Cam 360)

Precursor Notes

-This review is particularly nit-picky and as you can see, VERY long winded. Overall I’m very impressed by Touch. It’s unlike any tracked controller I’ve ever used, and I’ve spent many, many hours with both Wii and PS Move. I even played through the entirety of Bioshock Infinite with the Move controller.

-These impressions were assembled over the course of my first full week with them, playing between 1-2 hours every night.

-I only tried the Vive once for about 10 minutes at a Microsoft Store, so I can’t really compare tracking between the two systems. Although, from what I remember, the tracking quality was comparable.

-My play space dimensions are as follows: 2 camera diagonal, 9.5ft apart, ceiling mounted 6.5ft high, and angled down roughly 45 degrees. I use an 8ft diameter circular rug and tighten in the guardian system about half a foot from that, so a play space of about 7.5X7.5ft.

-The setup process gave my play space a moderate rating size. Basically big enough to do small roomscale.

First Session Impressions

-The setup process went great for me. Everyone’s experience on this will be different though seeing as it largely hinges on your play space. I had seen enough reviews and done enough research to have a pretty good idea of what I was getting into.

-The grip button feels buttery smooth and light. Actually seems to take more mental load to keep my finger raised off of it.

-Tracking is great so far!

-Analog Sticks are smaller than I expected. They’re kind of clicky and I don’t mean the click that’s supposed to happen when you press it down. Just moving the analog stick around makes it click a little bit. The analog stick also has an odd squishiness to it. You can see a little skirt of rubber at the base of the stick. I’m not sure why it’s there, but I’m guessing it has something to do with the fact that it only has one hand for support. All that said, it’s not very noticeable after after a few minutes, if you notice it at all.

-The face buttons feel nice to press, a little bit of squish to them. Very similar to Xbox One controller face buttons.

-The triggers also give a nod to the Xbox One controller. The length of motion is shorter, but collides with a nice feeling rubber type material. Hard to describe, but it has just a little bit of cushioning. I found it to be very satisfying.

-The rumble seemed about right for such a small, lightweight controller and basically gets the job done, nothing fancy.

-It takes some getting used to hand gestures.

-Before getting Touch, I watched a few videos where the controllers seemed to jitter a fair amount. I thought this was due to poor tracking, but I now realize the tracking is just so good, it’s picking up all the little twitches and shudders in my hand movement. Pretty amazing!

After Playing Arizona Sunshine

-This was a bit of a litmus test for my play space. Arizona Sunshine was designed with roomscale in mind and that becomes blatantly apparent after only 30 minutes with the game. There is no sense of a forward facing position in the game, at any point, I could be facing any which way. So far my two sensor setup is doing fine. There might the momentary odd hiccup here and there, but nothing game breaking. Usually happens when I reach beyond my play space boundaries where I don’t want my hands to be anyway.

After Extended Time with the Controllers

-They are melting into my hands. I don’t have to think about which gesture I want to use, I just do it naturally.

-That being said, throwing objects still feels a little awkward. I sort of have this mental check in my head where I say, “Alright, just release the grip button, don’t actually let go of the controller.”

-I noticed, depending on how it’s resting in my hands, the B and Y buttons respectively can be a strain to reach without readjusting my hand position.

-The face buttons, A/B/X/Y are grey font against the black finish of the controller body. It’s hard to make out the characters in low light environments. Ran into this problem while doing the tutorials for Quill.

-My hands have a tendency to get sweaty while holding the controllers for long periods of time. It’s seems to be more of an issue than with an Xbox One Controller. It could be because your entire hand is wrapped around the body thereby trapping more heat, but that’s just speculation.

-In regards to tracking, there are essentially two main issues I’ve come across. As you pass from view of both cameras to just one camera or vice versa, the controller will snap to a slightly different plane of motion, like there’s a virtual seam in space. This can be terribly annoying in drawing apps like Quill or Medium where you’re trying to draw a line, then it suddenly snaps over the seam and continues drawing from this new reference point. There is a tiny spot at the center of my play space where the two cameras will fight for priority over a controller, resulting in a noticeable jitter. I didn’t realize it was there until I had put in a solid hour or so into Arizona Sunshine. I was standing at the edge of my play space and my outreached hand was lined up right between the cameras. My hand was snapping back and forth as I tried to aim down the sights of my gun. A step forward helped. I am confident these types of tracking issues can be rectified with software updates (which I know are in the works) and keep in mind, I’m setup in an experimental configuration.

-I did want to spend a little time talking about Guardian, Oculus’ answer to Vive’s Chaperone system as I don’t see people bring it up all that much. During setup, Guardian will take whatever shape you draw. So I have a circle rug and my boundary goes around the circumference of that rug. The default style is just a light blue grid. Certain games are supposed to be able to tailor the look to match the aesthetic of the game, but I haven’t seen anyone take advantage of this feature yet. It’s also possible Oculus pulled it at the last moment. In the Oculus Overlay, you now have a couple settings for Guardian. You can choose to only see the floor outline, or not at all. There are no options to affect how quickly it comes into view. Because of this, you won’t really know you’re approaching your boundary until you are practically passing through it. I’d advise you pull Guardian in half a foot or so from the actual bounds of your play space. That should save your furniture and hands from any accidental destruction. You can not set a Ceiling boundary. Sucks for me cause I have a pretty low ceiling, but maybe that’s a personal problem.

Conclusion

-Using Touch for the first time gave me a very similar feeling to the first time I used the capacitive touch screen of the iPhone. It’s incredibly precise and glossy smooth. They are an absolute joy to use, and most of the time, you won’t have to think about the tracking unless you happen to venture too close to the edge of your play space.

-In terms of versatility, Touch makes the Xbox One controller feel antiquated, a controller that’s the product of decades of iteration and refinement.

-I eagerly await the day when Touch and the controllers sure to follow its lead, become the new standard. Even experiences that don’t particularly gain anything from having tracked controllers will still benefit from the natural ability to use our hands from time to time.

-There are still some minor issues to iron out, but Kudos to Oculus for bringing such a refined piece of hardware to market. It is incredibly polished for a first generation device and I can’t wait to see what the future brings for them and for VR as a whole.

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