Oculus Quest owners can now wave their hands in the air to exert magic forces, play music on a xylophone by simply pressing their fingers against an invisible instrument, turn the dials by pinching their fingers and move large distances by pointing where they want to go.
Altz Dynamics’ Waltz of the Wizard was one of the first generations of consumer virtual reality games from 2016 to work with fully tracked controllers. Now it becomes one of the first games to adapt these features to outdoor manual tracking system without controller on Quest. Facebook deployed v17 Quest system software this week and with it the first games approved by Oculus compatible with the experimental entry system. The latest update where Waltz arrives alongside The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets as the two become the first games complete with functionality. While the latter is largely a stationary game, Waltz uses a “telepath“Movement system and gesture recognition to bring the magic playing field of the game to a whole new entry system.
I spent time with v17 on my quest in a well-lit room with the latest version of Waltz of the Wizard, testing the new entry system and its limits on current material. If you have a Quest, make sure you have version 17 of Quest software, and you can download the latest version of the game now to test it yourself.
If you don’t have the Assistant Waltz or a quest, how does manual tracking without a controller work? Here is an overview of what I experienced.
An imperfect but exciting new start for VR interaction
I captured the video above showing 11 minutes of continuous gameplay on Quest after spending around 45 minutes getting to know the gestures that Aldin Dynamics uses for controllerless interaction.
I was in a well-lit room and the hand tracking seemed to be significantly improved compared to the experimental quest updates since December. However, I found myself having to try several interactions several times and I couldn’t master a few with this amount of practice. Grabbing virtual objects with just a pinch didn’t always seem natural and I couldn’t get all of my interactions to register as expected. You can see in the video above that it’s far from perfect. Waving my hand too quickly at the wrong angle and I wouldn’t touch an object with my hand the way I wanted, and Aldin’s motion system sometimes popped up when I didn’t want to invoke it. Other times, I couldn’t get the path he was drawing on the ground to go exactly where I wanted.
Although it is regularly frustrating and clearly far from being robust enough to be the only entry system for a Quest – at least on current hardware – manual tracking remains a remarkable demonstration and an exciting first step. Over and over again while I waved my arms in the air, or let butterflies land on my fingertips, or tossed virtual objects into a bowl, I found myself remembering an all too familiar feeling that reminded of previous demos – to turn the head a first prototype of Rift, supported on a hydra Razer suspended from my neck for a position monitoring, holding controllers Vive and walking in a room. Tracking Quest’s hands in Waltz of the Wizard is the next step on this journey.
Magic in your hands
VR is indistinguishable from magic and, in the first year of Quest, only the most experienced magicians have been allowed by Facebook to make money from their craft. Facebook conservation strategy has worked for dozens of magic makers who have learned through countless attempts to perfect their craftsmanship how to turn a pair of portable controllers into ninja stars, bows, pistols, sabers and so many other tools and toys.
While the wizard’s hand tracking and waltz show that, for the moment, the lighting has to be right for this new magic to work, and that people have to carefully position their hands so that the illusion is maintained, its deployment on that of Quest- birthday is a promise from Facebook, this will not always be the case.
Hand tracking without a controller is a chance for new magicians to start creating illusions that will one day impress an even wider audience.
This story originally appeared on Uploadvr.com. Copyright 2020