Space Pirate Trainer With Windows VR Controllers Works Really Well

by David Jagneaux • October 2nd, 2017

About a week and a half ago I was at VRDC in San Francisco, CA and got the chance to see a bunch of upcoming games and technology. In addition to the likes of Fallout 4 VR and Skyworld, I also got to play around with the Windows VR motion controllers a bit more as well. The first demo I did with them at a Dell event left me impressed and we had mostly positive things to say about an event in the UK that showed off Superhot, but now we also got to put them through their paces on something a bit more intense: Space Pirate Trainer.

With its release out of Early Access and into a 1.0 post-launch state, Space Pirate Trainer is looking better than ever. When played on a Lenovo Windows VR headset using the same upcoming Windows VR motion controllers everything worked as intended.

Space Pirate Trainer is a very mobile game. To play it well you need to bob and weave from side to side, duck down below lasers, twist your body around, and generally contort yourself like Neo in The Matrix. Despite using only inside-out tracking without any external sensors or cameras at all, I’m happy to report the headset never lost track of my movement.

The controllers were a mostly similar story. In Space Pirate Trainer you can select from a variety of weapons and even use a shield in either of your two hands. For the demo I decided to go with the classic shield in the left hand and automatic gun in the right hand. This way I could focus on mowing down drones with ease while also being able to block bullets I have trouble getting out of the way of.

The big question at hand with this demo was how the controllers would perform when out of view of the headset’s internal front-facing inside-out tracking cameras. If my hands were off to the side, or behind my back, would the headset still know where they are located? Can I interact with objects that I can’t actively see in front of me?

Well, the jury is still out on this topic for the time being.

In a game like Space Pirate Trainer I didn’t notice any issues. I only ever had to reach out to the side a few times to hold my shield or take some shots, but generally I didn’t need to turn around too much. The once exception for controller movement is when I reach behind my shoulder to switch weapons and this action was a bit finicky. It eventually worked fine, but I had to repeat the motion once or twice to get it to register what I wanted.

One of our other reporters noted similar issues with Superhot when trying to reach over and grab something that wasn’t in his field of view. However, I can confirm that guns fired just fine even if I was extending my arms outside the range of the cameras. We’ll have to wait and see what the end result is once we get the chancee to have extended time with the controllers.

Let us know any questions or feedback you have about Space Pirate Trainer, Windows VR, or the upcoming motion controllers down in the comments below!

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