Pulse #2, Feb 2 2014 - Page 12

BLINDLY SEARCHING FOR EJECT By Malleovic “What I would like to see is this Amazing Sim Setup completely obsoleted and replaced by the Oculus Rift. With fully functional cockpit instrumentation you WILL be sitting in the cockpit, everything will work, and all you still need will be the controllers (stick&rudder)” - From The Forums My biggest worry for the Rift is highlighted in that quote, and I can’t figure out how they’re going to solve it without additional peripherals for your hands and virtual buttons. With the vast array of options and controls present in a cockpit and thus mapped to obscure keys on your keyboard (the availability of which may change from ship to ship) what happens when the Rift prevents you from seeing any of them in the real physical world and you’re required to touch them with your equally unseen real physical hands? The end result is that you will find yourself fumbling blindly for them, losing precious milliseconds in combat and potentially your very virtual life. I’m not saying that the Rift is not going to be spectacular. We already know that it is. But beyond very basic dogfighting with some kind of gamepad, control stick, or the small number of buttons on your keyboard needed for basic control and weapons, I just don’t think the Rift will be practical. Not for anything even mildly complex, for the same reason that controllers aren’t and for the same reason that they don’t build modern military aircraft with cockpits featuring a control stick, rudder pedals, and ten buttons. There are too many distinct and important tasks that you will need to be able to do quickly without the extra burden of having to hunt for a button by touch alone. Now I know that I’m going to be inundated by hordes of people claiming that they’ve “been playing games for x many decades without looking at the keyboard” and I want to applaud them in advance for their amazing skills that mere mortals like I could never hope to match, yadda yadda yadda. I’d like to submit that most of you who fall into that category are referring to games that require fewer than 15 different mapped keys, 10 games which might even be playable using a controller exclusively. I sincerely hope that SC is not going to be one of those games. Again, a controller + keyboard or HOTAS + keyboard setup would be fine for the same reason that a mouse and keyboard would be fine (because you need lots of buttons to control a spaceship in a SIM), but I submit that the Oculus Rift will not be friendly to the keyboard as a large array of important functions mapped to keys which (braille reading gamers excused) will all (Return, Space, Shift, et all excused) feel the same to the touch. I’m curious to know if anyone else has thought about this and reached a similar conclusion. What do you think? Will we all buy Oculus Rifts and just get used to it, developing the skills necessary to move our unseen hands quickly from a controller, stick, or the WASD keys to an essential key as quickly as it’s needed? Or will we discover that quick energy management, shield arrangement, weapon switching, ammo switching, targeting, communications, and even EJECT will all feel a lot harder to distinguish in th e heat of battle when we can’t use any hand-eye coordination to find them?