When we broke the news about the VR sniper game, The Nest, we immediately recognized the team at Invrse Studios were onto something pretty special. Anyone that’s played a game like Space Pirate Trainer or Hover Junkers can tell you that with tracked hand controllers it really does feel like you’re holding a gun. You have the tactile feedback of holding the object, there is vibration when you shoot, and you pull a trigger — all reinforcing the idea that you’re really holding a weapon.
There is a missing layer of realism though, particularly when it comes to two-handed items, such as a larger rifle. Positioning the controllers out in front of you feels a bit unnatural and without a heavy object to rest against your shoulder, aiming is difficult. Especially when playing a sniper game that requires a steady hand, such as The Nest. In the video below, you can see the developers at Invrse Studios using an early prototype gun created from cardboard that houses the HTC Vive controllers.
Now this past weekend at VRLA, Invrse Studios debuted the VR-15 rifle controller, created by VRsenal (yeah, it’s actually called the VR-15, pretty cool, right?) You can see in the images at the top of this article and down below that it’s designed to resemble an actual rifle. They actually did a pretty great job.
You mount an HTC Vive controller into the top of the gun, which provides the tracking data, and then you can use a removable battery clip to charge the controller while it’s in use. You can see the clip in action below:
— Upload (@UploadVR) August 6, 2016
A press release from Invrse Studios outlines the VR-15’s features:
“Utilizing a wireless interface and paired with Valve lighthouse tracking via an HTC Vive controller, the VR-15 brings multiple analog joysticks, haptic feedback, and next-level immersion to room-scale VR.”
The gun should add an incredibly believable degree of realism to the overall experience of firing a two-handed rifle in VR, at least in relation to when you’re playing games like The Nest. Farpoint, the shooter that’s coming exclusively to the PS VR later this year, utilizes a similar, albeit standalone, gun peripheral known as the PS VR Aim, which dramatically improves that game’s experience. Valve also recently announced that they will begin the process of licensing the Steam VR tracking technology completely royalty free, which should ideally create the ability to manufacture similar standalone gun peripherals that don’t require you to slot your own controller into them. Admittedly, those new guns will likely come at a higher cost, though.