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VR Headset - Which one is the best ?

polycounter lvl 10
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SnowInChina polycounter lvl 10
so there's a lot of VR headsets out there, but which package is actually the best ? and what about the upcoming ones like the htc cosmos ?
anything you could recommend ? i am mainly interested in sets that are compatible with a pc, no consoles or mobile only.

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  • rollin
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    rollin interpolator
    I worked with nearly every Headset type in the past or was able to test it out and personally I wouldn't buy one yet.

    However - I would suggest an inside-out tracking solution bc it frees you from a big source of frustration: setting up the outside-in cameras). 
    The Oculus Rift S is quite good but the oculus software is not my taste (imo unnecessary bloated, annoyingly designed, unresponsive, etc.)
    The head mount design from Sony (which the Oculus Rift S uses too) is imo the best solution yet as you don't have to press the headset against your face.

    But as I said I would just wait a bit longer. The technology is good but it needs to become still lighter and more comfortable (e.g. less hot).
    At least in my opinion
  • SnowInChina
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    SnowInChina polycounter lvl 10
    thanks for your input
    thing with waiting longer sadly holds true for every technology to an extend and it won't bother me buying a new device in 1 or 2 years from now.
    right now i am developing on a vive pro at work, but i am not really happy with the lighthouse technology, so for my private purchase i was leaning towards the new htc cosmos, but since i didn't have the chance yet to test the inside out tracking, i can't really say whats better.
    i heard there were some prototypes going around and hoped someone here had a chance to test them.
    as far as i know the cosmos uses a similar (the same?) mounting system as the occulus
    but maybe there are some other devices which are woth it ? until now i could only test the htc vive & htc vive pro
  • Octo
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    Octo polycounter lvl 14
    It depends on what features are most important to you, and which problems bug you.
    From most reviews I've seen  everyone agrees what the Valve index gives the best overall experience.
    But it is also very costly and uses lighthouse tracking (2.0) which you don't like.
    Check some comparison charts and decide what works for you.
    https://www.pcgamer.com/uk/best-vr-headset/
    https://www.cnet.com/news/best-vr-headsets-for-2019/
  • rollin
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    rollin interpolator
    Our inside-out tests where more promising then the lighthouse setup or the old oculus cameras. 

    And you get room scale "for free".
    And with Oculus you get nice camera-footage overlay when leaving the room "area"


  • SnowInChina
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    SnowInChina polycounter lvl 10
    rollin said:
    Our inside-out tests where more promising then the lighthouse setup or the old oculus cameras. 

    And you get room scale "for free".
    And with Oculus you get nice camera-footage overlay when leaving the room "area"


    ok, that's surprising
    i always thought the lighthouse tracking would be better than camera tracking
    guess i will wait for htc cosmos reviews and if they screwed it up i can still get the occulus s until something better is made
  • rollin
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    rollin interpolator
    I was also surprised.
    However the simple fact that the inside-out can way more easily find the "out" then the outside-in can find the "in" (==the headset) makes it a more robust approach.
    All in all I think the cosmos will jump on the same train as the Rift S, with a similar head-mount, controllers, etc. But just being able to skip the Oculus software makes it superior in my opinion ;)  
  • Prime8
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    Prime8 greentooth
    I'm in a similar situation, I have a Vive Pro at work but looking for inside-out devices to be more flexible when it comes to installation.
    Hopefully I can get a Rift S for testing anytime soon. Will let you know.
  • another caveman
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    another caveman polycounter lvl 7
    Right now as of today, Valve Index seem to be on top. Now it also depends on how you use your headset. (as said above)
    Check its specs but also its controllers. They did quite a good job on it.

    Here a full list to compare them all easily.




  • MikeF
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    MikeF polycounter lvl 15
    Have to recommend the index here as well. I have every headset on the market including a cosmos and the index is hands down my favorite for comfort, tracking reliability and visuals. Next runner up would the original rift before they switched to inside out, that thing is still incredibly comfortable, great controllers and the reliability of outside in tracking (though at the hassle of setting up external trackers)
  • SnowInChina
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    SnowInChina polycounter lvl 10
    Prime8 said:
    I'm in a similar situation, I have a Vive Pro at work but looking for inside-out devices to be more flexible when it comes to installation.
    Hopefully I can get a Rift S for testing anytime soon. Will let you know.
    thx mate, would be nice, i would love to hear how the occulus s compares to the vive pro

    MikeF said:
    Have to recommend the index here as well. I have every headset on the market including a cosmos and the index is hands down my favorite for comfort, tracking reliability and visuals. Next runner up would the original rift before they switched to inside out, that thing is still incredibly comfortable, great controllers and the reliability of outside in tracking (though at the hassle of setting up external trackers)
    i assume you have the cosmos dev kit since its not released until later
    could you compare it to the vive pro, cons and pros ? or did you have to sign a nda ?
    comfort is not my top priority since i could propably 3d print some more comfortable parts if needs to be, i rate visuals and tracking more important,

  • MikeF
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    MikeF polycounter lvl 15
  • SnowInChina
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    SnowInChina polycounter lvl 10
    Right now as of today, Valve Index seem to be on top. Now it also depends on how you use your headset. (as said above)
    Check its specs but also its controllers. They did quite a good job on it.

    Here a full list to compare them all easily.




    yeah, i've seen the comparisons on paper,
    but sadly that doesn't really tell you how good the headset is
    lets say i trust the reviews of people in the industry more than youtube reviews and advertisements from the manufacturer ;)
  • another caveman
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    another caveman polycounter lvl 7
    I am about to order mine (gotta find a workaround as they do not ship to Canada), I'll let you guys know about it if you'd like.
    Here some good demo :



  • SnowInChina
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    SnowInChina polycounter lvl 10
    holy cow
    while i can see the potential as a developer
    i am not too sure this is the best advertisement for vr, i can already see the media headlines
  • AlecMoody
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    AlecMoody ngon master
    Doing VR development, I have a ton of headsets. For the money, the rift S is my favorite. The visual quality is a big step forward from the original rift and its relatively comfortable. The controllers are functionally the same as the original touch controller but the build quality isn't quite as nice. The big thing is the setup is so much lower effort. My old rift setup was 4 tracking cameras being run off of a dedicated 4 channel USB 3.0 card. Mounting the sensors and running the cables for that + dealing with USB extensions was a huge pain in the butt. Rift S is just plug in and go.

    FWIW WMR inside out tracking has more latency and isn't as good as the rift S.
  • musashidan
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    musashidan high dynamic range
    Haven't looked into this in a while as I didn't think that the tech was quite there yet. The biggest disappointment was the concept of 'teleporting'. Is this still the common approach or has it been overcome and actually walking around the world is commonplace? Most of what I saw before was like those 90s arcade games where you stay on one screen and shoot everyone and then automatically teleport to the next screen and repeat the process....
  • Eric Chadwick
    Most people experience unpleasant vertigo when their view moves but the body doesn't. Teleport seems to be the most popular solution for it, and doesn't require extra hardware (like 3dRudder or the like).
  • musashidan
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    musashidan high dynamic range
    Most people experience unpleasant vertigo when their view moves but the body doesn't. Teleport seems to be the most popular solution for it, and doesn't require extra hardware (like 3dRudder or the like).
    Yeah, I read about the seasickness from 'moving without moving', but teleporting just seems like a crappy workaround that would take you completely out of the experience. Maybe some sort of 2m2 omnidirectional treadmill?
  • SnowInChina
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    SnowInChina polycounter lvl 10
    sadly we still have a long way to actual NerveGear :(
  • Eric Chadwick
    Check out 3dRudder. There are other ones like it, Sprintr VR, etc.
  • pior
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    pior veteran polycounter
    "Haven't looked into this in a while as I didn't think that the tech was quite there yet. The biggest disappointment was the concept of 'teleporting' "

    Interestingly enough, a good VR experience doesn't necessarily need to be first person with motion control shooting to be begin with - 3D platformers and thirdperson shooters are actually fantastic in VR.

    I guess what I am getting at is ... even if there is still no absolutely flawless solution for first person movement and shooting, VR is imho perfectly mature for other types of gameplay. Playing Mario Galaxy in VR is nothing short of mindblowing really.

    The Serious Sam VR ports are also very playable and offer a lot of options to tweak the experience to ones liking (teleporting VS gamepad style movement, and many other little tweaks - some of which going against the assumed "good VR practices" but working surprisingly well). A much better experience overall than the teleport-centric VR port of the recent Doom game for instance.

    First person flying can work very well too (IronMan style). But then there's no  way to hold/aim a gun since the hands are used for thrusting ...

    Budget Cuts works around the teleporting issue very cleverly too, and it fits the stealth gameplay perfectly.

    As for recommendations : I am personally perfectly happy with a first gen HTC Vive, but that's probably a case of blissful ignorance since I haven't tried anything newer than that.  Works perfectly well though, and the fact that the base stations are passive (no need to be plugged into the computer since the headset tracks them) makes it the second best solution - not as good as a fully standalone setup, but not that inconvenient either.
  • musashidan
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    musashidan high dynamic range
    Check out 3dRudder. There are other ones like it, Sprintr VR, etc.
    These seem like half-arsed approaches. The Sprintr VR is from 4 years ago. Very surprised that the problem of teleporting still hasn't been resolved.

    @Pior funny that you should mention Mario as it's very incidental to the idea of moving in VR. When I was a kid the family went on holiday to America and when we were at 6 Flags there was a huge Mario Expo as Mario World 3 was being released on the NES. At one of the booths, there was a NES demo of a running game, but the character was controlled by you actually running in place on a 1m2 mat on the floor in front of the NES. This has always stuck in my mind and I've wondered ever since VR made a big comeback why there isn't a similar tech to that mat from 20-odd years ago, but obviously more like a threadmill?

    I'm definitely going to get a headset soon enough, but it's more for the experience of sculpting in VR(software doesn't quite seem there yet either) or building environments in UE4.

    I'm a HUGE Mario fan though so Galaxy in VR would be amazing I'm sure.

    I suppose the dream of walking(NOT teleporting) around ancient Rome will have to wait...... :)
  • danr
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    danr interpolator
    For straight 1st person on the ground, moving forward and back is generally okay, as is moving in the direction you’re looking. The real killer is yaw - ie, turning with the stick as you would in a 1st person shooter. It always feels unnatural and weird, and that way sickness lies. 

    A while back i did some tests with the camera in the head of a full body rig and drove all movement controls through realistic animation, just as you would in a 3rd person game, and it was actually much better for comfort. Obviously caused problems for gameplay though, it’s difficult to present what you need when you’re not ‘gliding’. 

    Floating is also much better for movement, especially when you can put the view inside some kind of helmet or cockpit that lags a bit behind your head. A combination of obscuring peripheral vision on turns and working ease-in-out into the control scheme works wonders. 

    Teleporting is fine to me when it’s thematic, sci-fi and fantasy, where you get the magical blips and associated fx. No problems with something like Robo recall for example. It does tend to break the immersion in a realistic presentation though
  • Prime8
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    Prime8 greentooth

    Yeah, I read about the seasickness from 'moving without moving', but teleporting just seems like a crappy workaround that would take you completely out of the experience. Maybe some sort of 2m2 omnidirectional treadmill?

    I think teleporting will be the standard navigation for a bit longer, plus limited movement within your physical space.
    When moving freely in 1st person, even if you don't suffer from motion sickness or got used to it, it is still very tiring.

  • another caveman
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    another caveman polycounter lvl 7
    Walking / running using controllers seems to work just fine!


    Also you can use some jetpack moves, or OneWheel moves to try and reduce this issue, that requires a full body track I believe, but some mods to the Valve Index allow that.

    Also I can't remember who posted that or if it even was here, so... this looks promising for those who want to play seated :








  • pior
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    pior veteran polycounter
    To be fair when it comes to VR input and navigation, "seems like it works just fine" can mean anything ranging from blissfully mindlowing to pukebucket fest.

    The delicious irony of Onward is that the devs ignored everything that was considered "VR-safe" at the time and threw it all out of the window to make their own thing aimed at people with solid VR legs - and they ended up defining one of the later accepted standards, at least for hardcore VR enthusiasts. Very interesting stuff.
  • another caveman
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    another caveman polycounter lvl 7
    @pior what are these 'vr-safe' policies we talk of?
    I think I see what you mean. I also like to see VR with a new approach, not trying to bring back values from 'standard' flat gaming.
    VR can in a way be seen as crafting activities, I mean yes they are game but lets take the Onwards example again it feels as close to Airsoft as to Videogaming
  • zachagreg
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    zachagreg ngon master
    @another caveman I believe what pior is talking about is in reference to comfort in vr. There is a design philosophy associated with vr that is to maintain comfort for the player due to things like fatigue, eye strain, body movements/speed, surrounding environment, and motion sickness. A lot of people view it as a balancing act to say there has to be a maintainable level of comfort in order to enjoy the experience and it is the designers and devs jobs to accomplish that. Others say it is up to the player to be able to do something or be willing to withstand certain conditions in order for the experience to be enjoyed. This video talks about it and I believe there were some more specific talks about this at GDC 2018 from Ready At Dawn.



  • another caveman
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    another caveman polycounter lvl 7
    This is worth watching if you consider getting a headset.



  • SnowInChina
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    SnowInChina polycounter lvl 10
    thanks for the video
    i am not sure what i should think about hand tracking for games, somehow i think the feedback is kinda important, even if its only a vibration for now (at least on consumer hardware)
    but i am happy that they are developing in the right direction
  • another caveman
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    another caveman polycounter lvl 7
    That and the fact it prolly stops whenever your hands are out of your sight.
    Pretty happy with Valve Index so far!
    Quest has pretty good features coming indeed :) Looks like a good "start"
  • another caveman
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    another caveman polycounter lvl 7

    Here for more on hands tracking!



  • lefix
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    lefix polycounter lvl 11
    Any thoughts on the quest? I have heard some good things about it. Since my only computer at home is currently a macbook, do I even have other options? Is the quest a good option in the first place? From what I gathered in the video above, there is some cool stuff coming.
  • MikeF
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    MikeF polycounter lvl 15
    the quest is pretty good and with the pc link coming next month it should be a decent replacement for the rift. The biggest downside is comfort since its a bit front heavy but you get used to it. Of every headset on the market the quest is my favorite for a quick session. From turning it on to ingame you're looking at about 30 seconds with no hassles of driver updates, cables, external software or OS issues. Its also great for the portability.

    Now actually developing for it is a whole other thing. You've got an incredibly tight drawcall budget, only 2gb of ram (practically though more like 1.5 before you start crashing) so you need to work with it like you would a galaxy S8. There's also the issue of store curation which means you'l have to be pre aproved by oculus before you can use their platform tools or publish on the store unless you go the route of sideloading. 

    My game was a launch title for quest and in the 5 months or so since release its become our #1 platform so i'm certain this kind of format is where things will be headed from here on out.
  • Dataday
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    Dataday polycounter lvl 8
    lefix said:
    Any thoughts on the quest? I have heard some good things about it. Since my only computer at home is currently a macbook, do I even have other options? Is the quest a good option in the first place? From what I gathered in the video above, there is some cool stuff coming.
    Linus covered it pretty well:
    (The TLDW: Lots of potential, lower refresh rate + short battery life. Good as an option that offers mobile and later PC based content. Not the premium headset on the market over all though, which would be the Index and even that is a bit flawed.)


  • rollin
  • Prime8
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    Prime8 greentooth
    I received a Vive Cosmos, but couldn't test it because the sofware (Viveport) installation fails.
    Unfortuenately the Vive support only comes up with "disable anti-virus and firewall", while handing me from one service staff to the next... :/

    The Vive Pro runs on Steam without Viveport, but that doesn't work with the Cosmos.

  • another caveman
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    another caveman polycounter lvl 7
    Can you go with SteamVR instead?

    You could try posting on Reddit (r/virtualreality r/vive etc)  and/or Discord: https://discord.gg/tpaKap

  • SnowInChina
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    SnowInChina polycounter lvl 10
    btw
    what's up with the pimax 5k & 8k VR headsets ? nobodys talking about them
    on paper they look decent, especially the fov looks amazing on paper
    whats wrong with them ?
  • Obscura
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    Obscura godlike master sticky
    It doesn't seem to be supported by any major render engine for some reason. Also, I believe that graphics cards just arent there yet. We are struggling making 60 fps on 4k so at this point, talking about anything higher res makes no sense.
  • Prime8
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    Prime8 greentooth
    Can you go with SteamVR instead?

    You could try posting on Reddit (r/virtualreality r/vive etc)  and/or Discord: https://discord.gg/tpaKap

    SteamVR doesn't detect the Cosmos headset, it does work with the Pro though. For Cosmos it seems to be mandatory to install Viveport.
  • Prime8
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    Prime8 greentooth
    Finally we managed to setup the Viveport software, at least in an corporate environment it's a mess. I assume installing it on a home PC is less of a pain, though the software itself is cumbersome and annoying.
    I didn't have much time to test yet, my first impression.

    I like the device itself.
    Pros
    - image quality is really good
    - screendoor effect is nearly gone
    - smooth image
    - tracking works well (might depend strongly on environment and lighting)
    - comfortable to wear
    - being able tilt up the display is great

    Cons
    - Viveport software
    - Controllers feel cheap
    - uses AA batteries, I prefer USB rechargeable fixed batteries (like Vive Pro controller)
    - lots of LED tribal lights, but might be used for tracking?!

    We just use one VR application which is working fine, therefore I cannot commend on any compatibility issues.
  • rollin
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    rollin interpolator
    Thx for your review!
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