My official request for direct porting of Vive controllers to keyboard and game system controllers.

MainFragger
Pioneer

My official request for direct porting of Vive controllers to keyboard...

So..you have some kick butt games on your system.  Skyrim, Elderscrolls Online, Dragon Age: Inquistion, Darksiders I and II, and various other games.  You are able to add them to your SteamVR library and play them in theater mode.  Great!  Well..no..not really.

 

First you have to mod your games so you can head track and see them in stereoscopic 3D.  And you have to pay an extra $40 to do that, if you uses VORPX (which is currently the most popular way to do this).   After spending $800 on a Vive and $950 on a desktop system..I'm not gonna lie..that $40 doesn't sting because I can't afford it.. It stings because I feel like it should never have been necessary.  I'll come back to that..

 

Second, after you have done all that..you now have to STILL use a keyboard (which is really awkward to pull off when you are wearing a visor) or a game system controller (only slightly less awkward.)  

 

I have all of these awesome games on my system, and the Vive controllers are completely useless for ANY of them.  

 

One of the reasons I was willing to spend $800 on a Vive over $600 for a rift was that it came with the controllers.  It looked like a more finished solution.  To an extent, I'd suppose thats true.  But without direct controll of my pc for windows navigate or game/app controlling, this product feels like its not finished.  I feel like I wanted a crispy solid pizza, and what is on the table is techncially pizza, but it is droopy and runny and well, a mess.

 

You can run your games in Theater mode, but if you can't use the Vive controllers to control them, what's the point, really?   I don't feel like this is the experience I was hoping for.  I am not saying this to express disappointment.  I have found other uses for the Vive that are much less disappointing.  But I AM encouraging you to realize that you have to fix this issue.   If you have to Hire the guy that created VORPX and work with him, DO IT!  Or create an accessory that allows the Vive to communicate directly to a wireless device that links to the USB port that translates Vive controllers keybaord controlls and Xbox360 controlls as well as other game systems.   Either way, until you do this, the Vive feels very, very unfinished..

 

 

17 REPLIES
Community

Re: My official request for direct porting of Vive controllers to keyb...

First, moved here as this isn't Technical Support, it's a feature request. Smiley Happy

 

Vive was designed and created to allow you to experience virtual reality. Any method of projecting what are designed as 2D experiences into a three-dimensional world is essentially,  a hack. Now, that's a very welcome hack; it's a great way to re-experience games you already own. However, it's not what Vive (or Theater Mode) was designed for.

 

The Vive controllers are designed specifically for virtual reality experiences, which require an entirely different set of player movements to traditional keyboard, gamepads etc (which essentially haven't changed since their inception). They weren't designed to be used with existing games, as the Vive wasn't supposed to be used with them either. It's why developers like Bethesda are taking their time to make VR-ready versions of Fallout 4 and Doom - it's not enough to just 'tweak it' and hope it works. The experience is going to be sub-optimal at best. I honestly can't even think of how the Vive controller could be used to control games that require a gamepad in a useful way - there aren't even enough equivalent buttons, for starters.

 

While I completely understand why you want to experience existing games in VR, that's not something we're focused on. That's looking back, not looking forward. Speaking for myself while I'd love to (for example) walk around Tamriel in VR, I know I need to wait for a VR-specific experience to do that well. Otherwise it'll be sort of like... expecting black and white, standard def TV to look amazing on a modern 4K TV.

 

Totally get where you're coming from, though. I want a VR version of every game I love. Some of which I'll get, one day. Smiley Happy

MainFragger
Pioneer

Re: My official request for direct porting of Vive controllers to keyb...

OK..I get everything you are saying.  BUT if you already have most of a bridge built, why wouldn't you pave it? 

 

As far as the controller goes, the left controller just needs to support up, down, left, right (by swiping on the dpad), trigger, bumper left and bumper right, and dpad functions (depressing the dpad).  Which seems pretty doable.  On the right controller you just need pan features on the top of the dpad (swiping), some menu options (<|  or |> on xbox controller) on the dpad (clicking), trigger, right and left bumper.  

 

If you have been inside of Skryim in either VorpX, and seen what it looks like and JUST had problems with the controls.. everything you are claiming might make sense to the industry, but for a consumer its just plain lame.  Bethesda probably wants to move forward, and would rather put out a new game to sell than backtrack to Skyrim.   Which means, what was intended is less relevant than what can be done about it.  And truthfully, there are TONS of games that work with VorpX that will NEVER have VR versions released.  Games that would would otherwise be great in VR (even in theater mode) if the controllers just worked right.  That means a new wireless accessory that ports the controllers direct to USB worth making and selling..  Think abou this..people still play Atari 2600, Collecovision, The original Nintendo Game with the Robot, Neo-Geo, Pinball games, Sega Jaguar, Games on the Amiga/Apple IIc/Commodore 60/TRS-80's... and more..

 

How do you leave that on the table?  Your first buyers are early adapters, but at some point the guy's just behind the Jones' are gonna want to buy these sytems, too.  And when they get it, if it doesn't work on just about everything out of the box..its going to go right back into the box.. Because they won't accept your answer, and sooner or later, if you don't do this, Rift will or someone else..and the will return your product and go that way.  I use to have a boss that use to say, "Its an agonizing practice to gain customers, but it takes almost nothing to lose them"...

Community

Re: My official request for direct porting of Vive controllers to keyb...

I understand what you're saying, but I think it's a little... off.

 

You suggest consumers who buy something will be upset if "it doesn't work on just about everything out of the box". That's sort of like suggesting someone buying a DVD player was upset it didn't play VHS tapes. Although at the same time, really what we're doing here is adding a DVD player to an existing VHS setup. In other words... you can still play your PC games on your PC. But no, you can't play them in this entirely new way of experiencing games/apps/whatever that you just bought - your Vive. If we suggested / marketed the fact that Vive would transform existing games into a new experience and that didn't work - fair play! You'd have every right to be annoyed (and so would others). That's not what Vive offers, though.

 

 

As a new feature (or arguably, an extension / combination of existing features) your suggestion is great and I'm sure there's a market there, but I'd guess it's a small one. I think most people are happy with their existing PC games, but when they try VR, they want something new. It might be the old game in a new and improved state, but there's no software in the world that can do that for every game. They're just fundamentally different ways to experience something.

 

As for the controllers, I don't think they'd be easily repurposed but if some enterprising dev wanted to give it a go, I think they might. Thing is though, they know that a decent alternative solution exists - gamepads. Now, if someone marketed a gamepad with VR presence - ie you see them in VR like Vive controllers - I think that could be cool. We'll have to see. But with the Vive controllers as they exist, and the next generation Vive controllers we saw at Steam DevDays, I don't see Vive going 'backwards' towards existing controller patterns, but rather forward to new ways of experiencing VR.

MainFragger
Pioneer

Re: My official request for direct porting of Vive controllers to keyb...

Show me somene who has played every single game in existance.  Every game is a new experience, VR or otherwise.   If it works in VR its just a more enjoyable experience.  And I dare you to try Skyrim with VorpX and still try to argue that THATS not a new experience, even though you have played the game before.

 

This might be a little off color, but I think you'll understand the analogy I am trying to draw.. Someone asked me about VR Porn, and my response was, "Watching porn on tv is watching a flat image on a screen that is a few feet away, and has a certain turn on level..but VR porn is like between between the model's legs..which has a much much bigger turn on level.."    The same thing goes for ANY of the Elderscrolls, Witcher or Dragon Age games.   You said that you are looking for a new experience?  I would argue that if you haven't run through Skyrim with VorpX in Skryim, you may have played the game, but you didn't experience it.  And if no one ever fixes this, then no one will ever really experience it.  THAT would be crying shame.   Oh by the way, can you point me to the current SteamVR or VivePort game that CAN be played with a controller that comes close to the quality of any of the games I just listed?  No? Nothing?  Well, then it seems you have a gap to fill until that DOES occur.  You think this is looking back? I think its looking forward.  Because you need something to work well until something better comes along to actually look forward to, or none of the more casual gamers will be around long enough for you to benefit from those games when they come out 2 or 3 years from now.. (I'm assuming anything kick butt, we're going to hear advertised at LEAST a year in advance..and so far, I haven't heard any such ads..so I believe games like that are even further out..)

MainFragger
Pioneer

Re: My official request for direct porting of Vive controllers to keyb...

Also, just to address your DVD to VHS analogy.. When DVD players came out, many of them WERE DVD/VHS hybrids, because they knew there was going to be a period of transition and not enough of a catalog to totally break away from the VHS standard.

 

Even Blu-ray players still play regular DVD's..  

 

And for the record, for me the biggest weakness of this unit is that it doesn't have a secondary HDMI port on it to run a blu-ray player or Xbox360 to.  My $300 Omimo Uranus did.  And I know..yada yada, something about the frame rate..yada yada.. something about the resolution or the HDMI 1.4 standard..  In the end, its a function that I was hoping for, and kind of expecting in a $800 unit, that isn't there.. I am an audio/video snob.  I love the idea of being able to take my glasses and just watch a 3D movie directly off of my 3D blu-ray player and not even needing to start up my computer..   Thats your next accessory/assignment.  

A unit with a built in Android like Steam OS that can independantly run video sources of any kind to the VR Visors, and convert it to side-by-side 3D that the glasses can play in 3D.

 

 

Community

Re: My official request for direct porting of Vive controllers to keyb...

I experienced Skyrim the way it was created to be experienced - in 2D on a monitor. Smiley Happy It wasn't created to be experienced in VR. It just wasn't. Again, there's literally no software available (no disrespect to VorpX) that can instantly convert a 2D game to a total VR experience. They're completely different things.

 

Sure, some games will work great with VorpX and I think that's awesome - but it would take a significant amount of time to develop something that might work with previously existing games. Development time that I think is better spent pushing VR forward and helping other developers create amazing VR-specific experiences. That's looking forward. Smiley Wink

 

Finally, there's two things you need to remember.

 

One, and it's easy to forget this in today's fast-paced world... but Vive has been on the market for less than a year. (Heck, it's only just over six months.) While dev kits were available before that, they weren't available a long time before that. To create the kind of massive, sprawling game you're talking about (like Skyrim) in traditional, completely established, understood form - ie a 3D game played in a 2D space - takes a fully staffed development team like Bethesda literally years to create.

 

In other words: you won't get a VR-ready version of any game like that for at least a year post-release of Vive. (See: Doom and Fallout 4 VR versions, which Bethesda haven't committed to a release date on beyond '2017', last I checked.) I think between now and that day you'll see some amazing VR-based experiences - in fact I think we already have - but you're just not going to get that level of polish and studio production values for a while.

 

Second thing: you mentioned 'casual gamers'. The fact is, we're all early adopters here in VR. (Talking about Vive, Oculus, PSVR etc.) We're utilizing cutting edge hardware (expensive PCs or consoles). We're not 'casual gamers'. The casual gamer crowd may well pick up a mobile headset or similar right now, see something cool in VR and then decide to go for a Vive. They might also wait a year or so. And that's fine. While it'd be awesome to wave a wand and say "All PC games are now VR ready!" it's just not possible.

 

Bottom line: I understand and appreciate that you want to play existing PC games on Vive. It's not a simple thing to do. It's not likely to be something that gets a lot of development time (although hey, I'm not in charge of that and I'll pass on the feedback, so who knows). And personally, just me talking? I'd much rather experience something new and different in VR for now, and then get those 'rich game' experiences in a while when developers know what they're doing.

 

We're in the early era of a new type of interactive experience. It'll take a while to come up to speed.

 

As always though, I love to hear other points of view on this. Smiley Happy

Community

Re: My official request for direct porting of Vive controllers to keyb...


MainFragger wrote:

 

 

And for the record, for me the biggest weakness of this unit is that it doesn't have a secondary HDMI port on it to run a blu-ray player or Xbox360 to.  My $300 Omimo Uranus did.  And I know..yada yada, something about the frame rate..yada yada.. something about the resolution or the HDMI 1.4 standard..  In the end, its a function that I was hoping for, and kind of expecting in a $800 unit, that isn't there.. I am an audio/video snob.  I love the idea of being able to take my glasses and just watch a 3D movie directly off of my 3D blu-ray player and not even needing to start up my computer..   Thats your next accessory/assignment.  

A unit with a built in Android like Steam OS that can independantly run video sources of any kind to the VR Visors, and convert it to side-by-side 3D that the glasses can play in 3D.

 

 


I get where you're coming from here, and that may be a fair point - better video support is something we're working towards and will get improved in the future. Of course, playing a 2D image with a fixed resolution and framerate in a virtual space is a lot easier in some ways than trying to do the same with a lot of different games.

 

(Note I didn't say it should convert to 3D on the fly. Ask a Hollywood post-2D-to-3D conversion house how easy that is. Although it'll happen one day I'm sure. I look forward to 3D Charlie Chaplin flicks. Smiley Wink )

MainFragger
Pioneer

Re: My official request for direct porting of Vive controllers to keyb...

First of all, this is my second attempt to reply to you.  I typed a looooong reply last night, and as I got toward the end my finger bumped something on my flimsy wireless keyboard and my browser closed on me..grrrrr..

 

About Skyrim and VorpX..If the controls worked right, VorpX creates a stereographic 360 degree head tracked environment that might not be the technical definition of being "in VR".  But its close enough that if you marketed it that way, no one that didn't work for Vive, Steam, VorpX, or Bethesda would question it.   The first time I tried it, tears of joy came to my eyes.  I felt like I was actually IN Skyrim.  You are seriously underselling the experience.  And I might be beating a dead horse here, but I feel like I can't oversell the experience enough.   If I had to create an analogy for your argument, its like ok... Finding out that "The Mona Lisa" was really created by a special mechanical tool that Leonardo DeVinci used to discolor paper instead of using paint, and then claiming, "Well, then this isn't a Leonard DeVinci painting, and as such should have no value and shouldn't be in a museam"  In the meantime, try to find one museaum that wouldn't want such a beautiful piece of work in their collection..

 

As far as 2D-3D conversion goes, I actually have some personal experience with this.  I am a photographer, and I have often created stereo pairs or side-by-side images by hand with my  Canon 20D camera (plus I have a 3D bloggie.) .   Holllywood level productions do a lot of tweeking of 2D to 3D conversions, but you can actually get at least a minimal effect my merely taking a portion of a single image, and pasting into a field so that it is shifted over by about 10 percent from the other part of the image to create the stereo pair.  Yes, you will get mixed results by doing so, and it still tends to be a little flat, even though you can sort of see a bit of a 3D effect.  When using 3D glasses on an actual 3D image,  if you move the perspective should shift a bit according to your position of viewing, and when you use this method, that doesn't really happen much.   Another way to created the same process with a still camera is to do what some people refer to as "Cha-Cha", which is take a picture, shift the camera over a bit, take a second picture.  In order for the 3D to work right, you kind of have to maintain roughly a 30:1 ratio of "scene width" to distance between the center of the lenses.. Then you just use software to align and merge/stitch the two images. 

http://phereo.com/s/?ss=MainFragger 

With video, its similar to still photography, except you generally have to use two actual camcorders or a camcorder with two lenses.

 

There ARE softwares that convert 2D to 3D on the fly.  Like TriDef or Cyberlink PowerDVD for blu-ray.. and probably many others. 

 

I use TriDef for my Commander Freevi Flightdeck 3d glasses free tablet.  Their gallery displays my 3D images, but also converts my 2D images to 3D in the gallery.  

 

I guess my over all point is that all of the technologies and software do what I had hoped exist...we just need to controls ported over.  Once that is done, I think you will find that what software was intended for is a little less relevant than what it can do with minor tweaks.  You have a loooooong way to go before there are Skyrim Level virtual games out there.  So don't you think in the mean time, we should make what games that exist now that are close enough to work "VR Like" to work?  At this point, your customers are going to probably be your best advertisors.  Think about that, really seriously.   

 

 

Community

Re: My official request for direct porting of Vive controllers to keyb...

I feel like I should point out this debate is mostly academic. I'll pass on your feedback, but I have to point out there isn't a massive, community wide desire to improve Vive's controls to make them more console-like at this point. (Or if there is, it's very quiet.)

 

I'm not dismissing your idea at all, and I feel like you've educated me in a lot of ways which I really appreciate. Smiley Happy In a perfect world I think we'd go ahead and do something like this. It's not a perfect world though, and I think you'd agree that no-one else in the VR space is making a major play for this right now, which does suggest 'the market has spoken'.

 

In the end I'm your envoy and I'll convey the message - and if anyone else out there feels strongly about this, I'd encourage them to make noise themselves. We could go back and forth forever, but I feel like it wouldn't be the best use of either of our time.

 

I will say though this is exactly the sort of conversation and discussion I hope we can all take part in here - civil, in-depth and with interesting info. So for that alone thank you, @MainFragger!

MainFragger
Pioneer

Re: My official request for direct porting of Vive controllers to keyb...

Well, interesting update.  I saw an post on VorpX's forums that mentions that they are working on porting the Vive controllers over to work with VorpX enabled games.  So, if you don't do it, VorpX might..

MainFragger
Pioneer

Re: My official request for direct porting of Vive controllers to keyb...

The statement about the industry not wanting a "console-like" controller is kind of ironic..because thats already what the controls are.   Basically they are an evolotion from Xbox controller to Steam controller to Vive.  They split it to two controllers, but just about every button on a game system controller is there on the Vive controller.   Software basically just polls an address/variable that the controller send information to.  All you have to do is link that map to the map of the buttons in the game.    And maybe do some tweaking to allow for button combinations.

 

The real trick is getting the controller to port to keyboard controlled games.   But I'd still imagine in the long run, thats more of the same..

MainFragger
Pioneer

Re: My official request for direct porting of Vive controllers to keyb...

Just a quick update.  VorpX's latest version hasn't released yet (as far as I know).  But until it does, I have been searching a lot of reddit sites that have been discussing using Skyrim in VR.  A good deal of them are trying to compare VorpX vs. Vierio vs. TriDef 3D. 

 

Its pretty amazing how many people are trying to do back flips to get their systems to work with Skyrim and Skyrim: SE. 

 

Vorpx is planning on releasing a new version before the end of the year (cutting it kind of close, but I saw a post from earlier today where they confirmed that that is the plan).  The new version will have Vive Controller support (also confirmed several times in posts over the past week)..finally, yay!   I  can't wait! 

stormgiant
Contributor

Re: My official request for direct porting of Vive controllers to keyb...

I agree with you, and the moderator saying its taking a step backwards isnt positive. I want to use my mouse and keyboard to play, and theather mode is not the answer. I tried to return my vive which my wife purchased in november as an xmas present, but they had no xmas policy so when I opened it up "buyer remorse" had expired. So now I have to remount it and place my beer in a safe distant so my "controller" dont hit my table or monitors or beer while I'm seated. He did say buyers remorse.

MainFragger
Pioneer

Re: My official request for direct porting of Vive controllers to keyb...

I kind of got stuck with the Vive because I ordered and fully expected my laptop to be able to handle it, and it didn't.  And by the time I could afford to get another desktop system to hook it to, my return period was over.    But had I realized, to begin with, that it wouldn't work with my blu-ray player or Xbox360, I probably would have waited longer before getting into VR.  Or I would have gone with the Glyph Avegant...

 

As it stands, I can't really complain too strongly.  I still manage to enjoy the experiences, the 360 videos, and some games on here.   I convert a lot of movies that were 2D to 3D with a conversion box and PVR recorder,  and save them as .mp4s, which I play using Simple VR Player.   I pretty much get my money's worth out of the unit just by doing that..

 

My biggest problem is that I have to admit, I'm always willing to spend money on expensive kick ass hardware, but once I do so, I am a horrible cheapskate when it comes to software.    There are very few games I'll admit to being worth $60.. and most of the time, even then, I'll wait till they are somewhere between $10 and $20 in the used bin before I break down and buy one.  Skyrim is the exception to that rule for me.  Its one of the few games I've bought for Xbox and THEN for PC (Dragon Age being the other).   Those two games are the game I've ever bought DLC for.    Which is part of the reason I pushed so hard for better support of it. 

 

Of course, the thing that sucks right now is that my whole VR rig is dismantled at the moment, until I know which room I am staying in at my friend's house.  He might have a rentor for his guest room, which means I'll have to move to the den.  I'm not setting it up just to have to break it down again, so I'm in a bit of a holding pattern until I know which room I'll be in.  The only reason I haven't had gaming withdrawal this week is there was plenty of viewing to catch up on between DVR, Netflix, and Amazon Prime video. 

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