Groundbreaking virtual reality headset Oculus Rift has been in the hands of software developers for just a few months, and already it's been used to create some incredible simulations and gaming experiences. But a new first-person-shooter demo may offer the most immersive experience yet, letting players duck, fire around virtual crates, and rotate their guns in their hands. The "Hydra Cover Shooter" demo built by Australian developer Teddy Lipowitz utilizes two Razer Hydra motion controllers in addition to the Oculus headset: one joystick in the user's hand to move forwards and backwards and to fire; and a wand controller strapped on the player's chest that controls up and down movement. Lipowotz told Wired that the most difficult part was getting the headset and motion controllers to communicate reliably.
Once players have it all set up, they're thrust into the middle of a hostile firefight against robots armed with plasma rifles. "To survive, you'll need to pop up from behind cover and take your shots, or blind fire around corners and hope to hit them," Lipowitz explains. The game, built using the Unreal Developers Kit, clearly evokes previous arcade cover shooters such as the Time Crisis series and lesser-known Police 911, which used light guns.
Yet in Lipowitz's system, the positional tracking is so good and the virtual reality experience so immersive, it pushes the demo into the territory of being physically dangerous to players who are especially absorbed. "Please be careful when playing this demo," Lipowitz warned players on the Oculus developer forums, "lots of people try to support themselves on the crates when they try to stand up or when leaning up against a column, but find there is nothing there." He said that his wife knocked over a glass of wine while playing an earlier demo of the system. Check out his previous work on the system below and on his YouTube channel.