XR Devices Review

NameProsCons
Oculus Quest– Standalone
– Reasonable price for standalone
– Comfortable to wear
– Easy to set up and use
– Poor battery life
– Controller batteries are non-rechargeable
– Light leaks in from nose area
Pico Neo 2 Eye– Standalone
– Native eye-tracking technology in partnership with Tobii
– Able to wirelessly connect to PC
– Controllers don’t look very ergonomic
– Not actually yet released
Nintendo Labo VR Kit– Fresh method to creating different types of controllers with cardboard and Joy-cons
– Ability to create your own games with Toy-con Garage
– Limitations by the Nintendo Switch’s screen, such as low resolution and refresh rate
– Only 3DOF
HTC Vive Cosmos– High resolution and refresh rate
– Headset cameras removes any need for external base stations
– Modular faceplate design
– Requires gaming desktop PC with dedicated graphics card
– Light sensitivity problems
– Tethered
Sony Playstation VR– Large selection of games to play
– High refresh rate
– Requires external sensors
– Tethered
Valve Index – High resolution and refresh rate
– Practical new controllers, strapped around your hands instead of held
– Able to open and close hand s naturally instead of relying on abstractions like grip or trigger
– Requires gaming desktop PC
– Controllers lack tactile feedback
– Requires external sensors

Based on my current experiences with the HTC Vive and Oculus Quest, my preference is definitely for non-tethered VR headsets since the cable easily get’s tangled up and is easy to trip over. Ideally I would also prefer the VR device to not have to be dependent on a high-end PC to run.

It's easy to update your Oculus Quest.

Hence my preferred VR device would be the Oculus Quest, given its relatively cheap price compared to other standalone VR devices which provide 6DOF.

However, I am very interested in the Pico Neo 2 Eye which has the function of eye tracking since the common methods for gaze inputs is to have rotate the headset for the center pointer to “look” at objects, and look forward to seeing how it can perform.

NameProsCons
Tesseract Holoboard Enterprise Edition – High FOV at 82°
– Allows for teams to collaborate in MR
– Seems relatively cheap
– Requires a smartphone with Snapdragon 820 processor or above in order for this device to operate.
Magic Leap One – Standalone
– 6DOF
– Interchangeable components
– Features advanced eye-tracking, even blinks can be as a command function for the user
– Controller with force control and haptic feedback
– Pricey
– Only 40° FOV
– User has to carry the lightpack
Microsoft HoloLens2– Standalone, no external packs
– Gesturing and gaze tracking
– Improved FOV at 52° compared to HoloLens 1
– Pricey
Side-angle view of HoloLens 2 headset with light reflecting off visor

My pick for my preferred MR device would be the HoloLens2, it looks the most stylish and least clunky to put on. The hand gesture controls are also pretty cool.

My VR/MR Review

As the world of AR/VR/MR is new to me (having only fiddled with HWs a few times), I naturally turned to Google in search of the latest HWs for 2020.

Based on pcmag, these are the latest VR HWs for 2020 and their respective specifications and reviews:

Link: https://sea.pcmag.com/consumer-electronics-reviews-ratings-comparisons/10991/the-best-vr-headsets

Based on my previous experiences, I have always found that VR HWs are either clunky, headache-inducing or just too expensive for the normal consumer. I guess that’s why despite owning a gaming laptop and a PlayStation that are perfectly capable of supporting VR games, I never really bought into the hype.

That is until I bought a Nintendo Switch last year and found this really cool addition that Nintendo has introduced to the VR world:

Behold the Nintendo Labo VR Kit made for the Nintendo Switch:

Image result for nintendo labo vr

Before someone mocks the design and appeal of this product (I mean who has heard of a cardboard headset? Is this a copycat of the Google Cardboard VR?), hear me out on why this is one of my favourite VR HWs! However, we first need to understand Nintendo’s motivations behind creating such a product.

What Nintendo has done was truly bizarre at the time when this product was released. Like many gaming and PC companies, Nintendo wanted to enter the VR market, but it did not want to stand beside the slew of competitors such as Microsoft, Google, HTC, Sony, who were all more than capable of creating the best VRs HWs possible. Furthermore, Nintendo devices have always been geared towards a younger audience and its latest Nintendo Switch product doesn’t even have the graphical horsepower like most of its competition such as the Xbox and PlayStation counterparts. Thus, Nintendo did what it had to do, it created a VR headset that draws the users’ creativity at a much lower price point, geared towards its own unique target audience.

The Nintendo Labo VR is a cardboard VR headset that introduces features and accessories you think only a company such a DIY company such as IKEA would think of. There are a range of things to build and customize the VR headset with accessories such as a Blaster, an Elephant, and even a Bird! These accessories make the VR experience a truly unique one as they complement the cartoony and kid-friendly characteristics of a typical Nintendo game. With a battery life depending on the Switch console itself as well as graphic limitations, it is a good entry-point for experiencing the VR world without worrying about charging ever so often.

As such, this product taps on the creativity and imagination in you to experience a world of VR that is unlike many traditional VR headsets. Thus, it is one of my favourite VR HWs.

Now that we have covered a VR HW that is more for entry-level VR experiences, the next entry for my favourite MR HW will be more serious in terms of specifications in order to blur the lines between reality and virtual reality perfectly.

My favourite mixed-reality HW has to be the Asus Windows MR headset (HC102)

Image result for Asus Windows Mixed Reality VR

Looks like something from the future, doesn’t it?

At less than 400g (according to Asus’ website), it is by far one of the lighter MR headsets and it features a design that is ergonomic and elegant. One can simply just flip up the visor and take a short breather when required; a plus for usability and user safety. However, the best part of this headset is the fact that it is cheaper than most of its competitors such as Samsung as well as an easy setup that doesn’t require too much horsepower on your computer.

This makes it affordable and available to the average consumer who just wants to get in on the action whilst getting the same refresh rates and sufficient visuals that a MR headset needs.

As you can see from my choices, I am particularly fond of companies that go out of their way to create something unique, comfortable and affordable for consumers. Sure, my favourites don’t provide the most graphically intense visuals or the best possible experience. However, what is important to gamers and consumers is the illusion of a virtual/mixed world that seems real enough to get you in on the action.

Author: Darren Sim A0136233N

Images are sourced from Google or the products’ respective websites.

VR/MR headsets review

List of VR headsets:

HeadsetProcessor typeUpfront Cost (USD)DoF head-trackingResolutionRefresh rateBattery life
Oculus Rift SExternal PC39961,280 by 1,440 80HzUnlimited 
Oculus QuestIn-built Snapdragon 835 processor499 (128GB)61,440 by 1,60072Hz3648mAh (2-3 hrs)
HTC ViveExternal PC49961,080 by 1,20090HzUnlimited
Lenovo Mirage Solo In-built Snapdragon 835 processor39961,280 by 1,440 75Hz4000mAh (2.5 hr)
Google Daydream ViewEternal mobile devices493Depends on phone Depends on phoneDepends on phone
Google CardboardExternal mobile devices153Depends on phoneDepends on phoneDepends on phone

Note: 3 DoF head-tracking means you can only track rotational movement. 6 DoF head-tracking means you can track both position and rotation.

Preferred VR headset:

I look out for 3 main things in a VR headset, which are cost, convenience and games supported.

I rate games supported > cost > convenience because I feel that the best VR headset should provide me with a pleasant game experience with the games I want to play at a reasonable price.

However, since my taste in VR games are usually compatible with most VR devices, cost and convenience will be the deciding factor to my prefered VR headset.

In terms of cost, Google Daydream View seems to offer the best value because it uses mobile devices as its processor. Since mobile devices can do other things besides playing VR games, its value is far greater than standalone VR headsets such as Oculus Quest/ Lenovo Mirage Solo where the extra cost for in-built processor can only be used to power VR related content. 

Google Daydream View also has better materials which makes it more lasting than Google Cardboard and hence its worth the extra price. Not to mention the aesthetics of Google Daydream looks much better than that of Cardboard, providing a soft comfortable feel akin to wearing a sleeping mask.

In terms of convenience, Google Daydream View wins over wired headsets like Oculus Rift S/HTC Vive as it is so much easier to set up with it and there are no wire management to be done. Google Daydream View is also much more portable compared to Oculus Rift S/HTC Vive which means that I can enjoy my VR games anywhere, anytime.

Though the battery life of Google Daydream View is only as long as your mobile phone can hold which is usually around 2.5 hrs, I feel that it is a sufficient gaming time for me.

Hence my prefered VR headsets would be the Google Daydream View due to its low cost and portability.  

Google Daydream View

List of MR headsets:

HeadsetCost (USD)Field of ViewResolution ControlsOS
HoloLens 23,50052 by 502k– Hand tracking
– Voice recognition
Windows Holographic OS
Magic Leap 12,29543 by 301280 by 960– Physical controller
– Hand tracking
Lumin OS
Holokit30 + supported mobile phone76Depends on phone– Gesture tracking with manomotion 
– External bluetooth controller
Holokit + phone OS
Occipital Bridge399 + supported iphone120Depends on iphone– Bridge controllerBridge Engine + iphone OS

Preferred MR headset:

For MR headset, I would look into 4 things – interface, processing power, graphic quality and control.

I personally rank them as such: control > processing power > graphic quality > interface.

In terms of interface, I am personally more familiar with windows interface and windows OS, hence I find the interfaces of HoloLens 2 more intuitive to use than Magic Leap 1.

In terms of processing power, HoloLens 2 being backed by microsoft provides remote rendering for microsoft azure cloud subscribers, which enabled more powerful processing and hence allows greater interactivity. This cloud processing power also has the potential to surpass any mobile processing power that mobile MR headsets such as Holokit and Occipital Bridge has to offer, making HoloLens 2 having the best processing power out of all the headsets.

In terms of graphic qualtity, HoloLens 2 has a higher resolution and a larger field of view than Magic Leap 1, providing a clearer augmented reality imagery with a greater effective area of AR. Though HoloLens 2 has a smaller field of view compared to mobile MR headsets, it compensates with a much higher holographic image quality of 2K resolution.

In terms of controls, HoloLens 2 has better hand tracking control system that tracks fingers, enabling more interactions to be made possible, such as playing an augmented reality piano without the need of a controller. This enabled organic interactions that feels natural and intuitive.

The Magic Leap 1 hand tracking is much inferior and only tracks 8 predefined gestural commands, hence its main source of input is through a controller.

Occipital bridge and Holokit both enabled interactions but via an external bluetooth controller. Holokit does provides some gesture inputs through monomotion but its tracking are limited to predefined gestures.

Thus, my preferred choice of MR headset would be the HoloLens 2. Although it is much more expensive and is currently only available for corporate purchase, its specifications and features are much better than that of Magic Leap 1. Having a superior hand tracking that enabled organic interactions without any wires provides a seemless MR experience which are not replicatable by any of the other MR headsets currently. I believe if the HoloLens 2 continues to develop, it will eventually be commercialised to the masses which would bring down its price.

Lastly, a quick shoutout on latest list of AR headwear:

HeadwearCost (USD)
Vuzix Blade Smart Glasses799
Epson MOVERIO BT-300699
Everysight Raptor649

VR & MR. Which are my personal favourite?

Back in 2016, the first few VR devices were clunky, unwieldy and restrictive. My first encounter with VR, Oculus Rift DK2 (on the left), was no exception. It has two wires sticking out of the console which made head movement restrictive. It (and its camera accessory) had to connect to a computer, which reduced its portability. It itself required a rather powerful graphic card to power it, which made the barrier of entry really high.

Now, in 2020, introducing the Oculus Quest (on the right).

Wires? Gone. Requirement of a high-end graphics card? Gone.

It’s hard to not love the advancement of VR technology with the release of Oculus Quest. VR experiences lie on the Immersion and Presence factors, and when motion is restrictive, the VR experience is dampened. The Oculus Quest solves that and a number of problems of its predecessors and even improves the immersion with the exclusion of controllers.

Yes, you heard it. Controllers? Gone.

With all those features packed in a portable headset, Oculus Quest is now my personal favourite (for now).

And while I never really encountered Mixed Reality devices in real life before, this particular device caught my eye for the same reasons as Oculus Quest, the Hololens 2

Like the Oculus Quest, there is no need for a high-end PC to power it as it has its own mini processor. It’s portable, lightweight and it has hand tracking. While other MR devices may have similar functions, one edge the Hololens 2 has over its competitors is the amount of support it is given from its parent company (Microsoft), in terms of the UX/UI of the internal OS and developer support.

While the Hololens 2 also triumphs in price (Approx 3k, competitors price less), the technology of Hololens 2 makes every dollar count.

A quick review on XR devices

Seeing the step up from the Oculus Rift DK1 to the HTC Vive Pro, the visual quality hasn’t quite improved as much as I expected in 5 years. However, the industry has gone on ahead, with 6DoF, really decent tracking controls and higher refresh rates. More specifically, they have continued developing VR applications, with Valve even releasing a new Half-Life game. Who would’ve thought?

The most exciting trend to me is the development of a budget series of headsets, which definitely didn’t quite exist till recently. The Google Cardboard doesn’t quite count if we’re going to be talking full headsets with motion controls.

Much as cheap Android phones and televisions brought about the new medium to the mass market, it would be terribly safe to say that VR is going to be a thing in the next few years, and that’s why I would like to highlight one of the more prominent mid-range headsets, the Oculus Quest.

The Quest has entered the list of recommendations for the “VR-newbie”, partially offering the experience of the big boys like the Vive and Rift when connected to a PC, yet being an all-in-one package that is also wireless. It may not boast 90Hz+ refresh rates, but it sits squarely at the mid-range with its price. The PC link was a later update, coming in on November 2019, and likely helped boost the headset to its current status of entry-level king.

On the end of MR/AR, there are a few major points to me that I find important in an MR/AR experience. Firstly, as someone who does not wear glasses (weird flex, sorry), I absolutely can not stand the feeling of wearing glasses, and this makes products like the holo-lens and other smart-glasses extremely unappealing to me. Secondly, I currently do not see much value in having an always-on AR application as an average consumer who already spends most of his time looking at a screen anyway. This is not to discount the benefits to those who require assistance in their daily lives, for whom I feel MR/AR has the most use for.

With that in mind, I find the humble(?) smartphone of today to be my preferred way of augmenting reality. Of course, everyone has one these days, and most new smartphones offer multiple cameras which have been used for depth-sensing for selfies. Given that everyone walks around with their smartphones out anyway, I feel they are currently the best way to apply MR/AR applications and have good reach to users.

Preferences in recent headsets

Some recent smartglasses and headsets I think are great are:

  • Microsoft HoloLens 2
  • Magic Leap 1
  • Solos smartglasses
  • Vuzix Blade
  • Epson Moverio
  • Nintendo Labo VR
  • HP Reverb
  • Oculus Quest
  • Oculus Go
  • Pimax Vision 8K Plus
  • Google Daydream
  • Playstation VR
HP Reverb

My choice of an MR headset is The HP Reverb. The headset provides a wide FOV of 114 degrees with two very crisp 2.9 inch displays of 2160×2160 each. The displays also have a high refresh rate of 90Hz. It’s quite light at 500g, and is said to be quite comfortable to wear due to adjustable support runs along the top and sides of the head. It has built-in headphones which are removable for auditory immersion. Although it’s more expensive than some of the competing MR headsets, the added FOV and high screen resolution shows what’s possible and is important in encouraging other companies to produce better headsets, which can help drive down the price in the long run.

Nintendo Labo

The Nintendo Labo VR is a build a simple headset kit for playing a variety of min-games on the Nintendo Switch. It’s very versatile and allows users to create their own mini-games, and is very accessible to beginners while still providing an immersive experience. It does a great job being more than a VR headset just for the sake of VR – it allows people to create novel experiences for themselves. It’s got a low price tag of $80 USD, so it makes a great companion to the Switch, and is able to tackle the large market of family entertainment.

Alto’s Odyssey

Alto’s Odyssey is a nice mobile game available on both Android and iOS. It is the finalist of 2019 Independent Game Festival under excellence of visual art and excellence of audio.

The game is about an endless sandboarding adventure. The background is a beautiful and ever-changing natural landscape. The player has to jump to cross the obstacles and cliffs along the way. It is designed to be enjoyed by returning player and newcomers alike.

The next adventure awaits

Link to the game: http://www.altosodyssey.com

Lens 1: Essential Experience

The essential experience of Odyssey is to expand and build upon the feelings of being alone to an adventure in nature. Besides, it also encourages the player to step out of their comfort zone to explore the beyond of the world. This kind of experience is achieved by the fluid physics-based actions of the sandboarding, procedurally changed backgrounds, dynamic lighting and weather effects, and the beautiful background audio.

 

Lens 2 & 3: Suprise & Fun

Odyssey surprises player along the way with various natural phenomena and wildlife. The player has to jump. During the jump, the player can enjoy the fluid physics-based action in the air. Besides, the player can also control the body to land fluidly and successfully.

Lens 4: Curiosity

Odyssey offers the player with a small screen into a much bigger world, through the endless sandhill and procedurally changed backgrounds. The game tries and boils down the essence of immersion. It wants to offer a place where the player can escape.

Lens 5: Endogenous Value

Along the way, the player can collect coins for a higher point. The coins are placed creatively to encourage the players to jump and control the body accordingly. Sometimes it also leads players to a second way to do sandboarding rather than on the sandhill.

Mechanics:

The procedure of Odyssey is quite simple. As the player is on an endless sandboarding adventure, player just need to tap to jump over the obstacles or cliff and hold to control the body before landing. There will be several goals for player to accomplish at each level. The game is over when the player fail to jump over the obstacle or cliff. With the collected coins, the player can buy some special packages to help recover from the death or delay the timer and so on. The game is easy to learn but difficult to master.

Aesthetics:

Odyssey has built a beautiful polygon wild world. The world is expanding endlessly through a small window. Environments is changing accordingly. The background audio matches the action of player, which helps the player to be immersed inside the wild world and control the actions better. It has received critical acclaim as a “piece of interactive art”.

Story:

Odyssey is mainly about adventure. While the world is expanding procedurally through the small window, the player is encouraged to explore and continue this endless adventure.

Technology:

Odessey is designed in Unity 3D, and then taps into Metal 2 for iOS. The game is now available on both Android and iOS. Besides, the game is well achieved with a silky 60 frame-per-second. Metal 2 allows much more access to the GPU compared with OpenGL. During the game, the view never stutters or shakes.

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt

Image result for witcher 3 screenshot

After completing The Witcher 3 I felt a deep loss. I truly became its protagonist Geralt of Rivia; and by the time a legendary career of slaying monsters had come to an end, it was as if a chapter of my own life had ended as well.

A Witcher is a genetically modified professional monster killer. The game follows Geralt on his various quests and contracts, and the friends (and many foes) encountered on the way.

Official gameplay:

Official website: https://thewitcher.com/en/witcher3

The Lens of Surprise:

Geralt is only compensated for contracts on specific monsters, however, other monsters are uninclined to leave you alone as you explore or transit through the open world. Some of your greatest bouts will start running into a dark swamp ill-prepared and low on health. Contracts themselves can often be much more complicated than initially presented. A degree of adaptability and creativity is needed to be successful in quests.

As per typical in role-playing games, characters accumulate new skills and hone existing ones with time. Geralt’s are physical and combat oriented at first, however more magical and mysterious as the game progresses.

The story is also filled with twists and turns. We begin the game looking for an ashen-haired girl who is later revealed to be Geralt’s long lost adopted daughter Ciri – an incredibly powerful young Witcher.

The Lens of Fun:

An obvious source of entertainment is the freedom of choice we posses within the game, furthermore – being able to see the consequences of said choices manifest in plot changes, Geralt’s relationships and available contracts.

Isolated situations are also uniquely thrilling. Awesome fight progressions and visceral combat options make for an intoxicating interactive experience. The exhilaration of facing danger and ordinarily impossible feats is achieved perfectly.

The Lens of Unification:

The world (The Continent) is fictitious, yet the setting greatly resembles a Dark-Age-like time period. Playing as Geralt in this environment is a cohesive and holistic experience. His clothing and weaponry are thematically accurate and even supporting and background characters have nuanced attires and dialects depending on where you are in The Continent. Whether it be on an island in Skellige or in a quaint tavern in Novigrad, your surroundings are detailed and consistent.

The lore in the world is also very detailed, this becomes apparent as you venture to farther lands and collect a wealth of information on the places, people and creatures you encounter. This attention to detail in both the visual non-visual realms of game design create a foundation for the exciting but, importantly, convincing narrative.

The Lens of the Player:

This game is more than entertainment. The enchanting element is its ability to make its players feel powerful and important. Many look to manufactured fantasies when reality is mundane or disappointing. The more believable the fantasy, the greater the escape.

In The Witcher 3, you are Geralt: a powerful and confident man, known the world over for your bravery, strength and success. You are held in high regard by your peers who reside with you in the great castle Kaer Morhen.

Fun is an ultimately superficial lens, achieved by the most trivial games. The degree of control you have over your life in The Witcher compared to (for argument’s sake) the lack of control you have over your own is an irresistible trade. In the game, a player can be seen and heard as they intend; Pursue travel and career risk and romantic relationships with very literally, just the press of a button.

The Lens of the Elemental Tetrad:

The Witcher 3 exemplifies the axioms of good game design. We are drawn into the game by hyper-realistic character and world aesthetics, a thematically complete universe of which we are the centre. A captivating and malleable story with seamless gameplay maintains our emotional investment in the game.

The game was created with the REDengine 3, CD Projekt Red’s game engine specifically designed for nonlinear open world role-playing video games. The engine runs on top of both 32 and 64-bit Windows, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

Image result for witcher 3 wallpaper

Deus Ex

The cover art of the game Deus Ex

Introduction

The original Deus Ex released in the year 2000 surprised the first-person shooter world by combining complex role-playing elements with the smooth combat afforded by Unreal Engine at the time. It, along with the Elder Scrolls series went on to define the role-playing first person genre and destroyed the notion that fantasy or science fiction games had to be straight or “on rails” like many games at the time. The game went on to spawn multiple sequels which were mostly successful.

Gameplay – The player engages some enemy soldiers. Note the UI elements. The element in the upper left represents player health, which compartmentalizes damage done the body, At the bottom is the quick inventory and ammo counter. On the right are various augmentations(skills) that can be activated.

Analysis of Game Elements Through Lenses

Story

Deus Ex is set in a dystopian future where science has allowed humans to modify physical aspects of themselves – through augmentations. The story follows JC Denton who is a member of an international peacekeeping force called UNATCO who is tasked to neutralise terrorists that are attempting to steal medicine meant to treat an ongoing plague that has infected thousands.

However, things are not as they seem. Throughout the story, the player can uncover the dark sinister truth not only behind the plague but also about who really controls the world. The story is easy to follow with the game’s AI characters ready to fill the player in on more details should they choose to ask the appropriate questions and an information vault mechanic that keeps track of various story elements the player has discovered. This is combined with the intricate, branching, emotion rich drama sequences filled with betrayal, deceit but also catharsis, camaraderie and a sense of accomplishment after completing each plot thread and seeing them coalesce into the games different endings. I’d say this fills the Lens of Expected Value and Meaningful Choice.

The setting, characters and conflict are completely believable elements to exist in the conflict of their time with most story threads leading to resolutions that satisfy the player.

Aesthethics

Deus Ex was visually unappealing for the time. The Elder Scrolls series among other games had better graphics, however the game made up for the lack in fidelity with other aspects.

Firstly, the environments were true to life and realistic. The game takes the player on an international trip with locations such as the poor districts of New York, the ostentatious streets of Hong Kong, the lavish estates of Paris. Each environment is huge for the time and no space is wasted. Each corner may have a different kind of secret or story bead to follow. A dark alley might reveal a vendor, fun challenge or lead to a sewer laboratory where a clandestine government agency is experimenting on homeless people for nefarious purposes. Lens 2: Surprise and Lens 4: Curiosity can be said to be satisfied here.

Secondly, the audio. All the dialog sequences in the game are voiced well and audio cues such as footsteps, gun sounds, doors opening etc, were the best at the time. Being a role-playing game this element is critical to develop the mood and emotions that a player might feel to the environment or develop a connection to the game’s many characters.

Thirdly, the UI. The UI might feel cluttered and janky today with it being fixed in resolution (thus the higher the res you run your game on the smaller it becomes) but for the time it felt appropriate that a super-augmented police agent would have a UI that presents everything at his disposal in little boxes at the edge of his screen. Perhaps it was the influence of science fiction of the time such as Robocop.

Lastly, the mechanics. The game allowed a player to progress in different ways not just in the story but in combat sequences as well. Different skills and augmentations allowed players to approach conflict and resolve them in unique ways, whether it be a stealthy takedown or avoidance of enemies, guns-blazing invincible super soldier-like romping, remote hacking of computer systems and robots that do your job for you or dialog. Yes, dialog is THE most important mechanic of this game. Often conflict can be resolved or made significantly easier if you walk around and talk. That bum on the street may just know of a secret passage into that heavily guarded enemy hideout…(Lens 6: Problem Solving)

Combined, these basic elements lend to a very engrossing and replayable game, with each playthrough teaching players new areas or tricks they may have missed out if they played differently. The only part of the tetrad missing is technology. It can be argued that the decision to base the game on Unreal was a good decision as it has been ported to almost any device that can run the Unreal engine such as consoles and mobile phones.

I hope other appreciate this game as I did back in my childhood.

 

PUBG (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds) Game Reviews

Introduction

PUBG is an online multiplayer battle royale game. In this game, up to a hundred players will be placed into a resources randomly generated map which the players can choose the spot to scavenge. The players will need to scavenge for weapons and equipment including different types of gun, broadsword, grenades, medical kit and so on to kill others and/or heal themselves. Apart from the attack from players, the available safe area of the game’s map will decreases in size over time in order to force the players encounters. This game also has different play modes according to the attended team size including single, duo, squad whereas the last player or teams standing wins the round
Here is a link of a youtube video showing some moments in the game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g6h-p4mW5Ks

Experience

I used to play this game, especially last year vacation, I could spend a day on playing this game with my brother and friends but I have not played for several months. In general, I really enjoy this game since it has brought lots of funs for me.

Reasons I love this game

  • the fun of cooperating with my friends, being able to communicate and cooperate with my friends make us feel relax and pleasure
  • it is more about the experience than the results. good skill is not everything, although ‘have the chicken dinner’ will make us quite excited, we still get a lot of laughs from any kinds of stupid mistake we made
  • the vivid environment including settings, scene, sounds make us immerse in the nervous and irritative situation.

Reasons I quit this game

  • Break of fairness – increasing plugs make the game less attractive to me
  • not able to run at my laptop – my laptop configuration is not good enough to run this game smoothly, therefore each time I have to go to the internet bar which is really inconvenient and costly although being able to sit together with team member will enhance the coordination and enjoyment.
  • aesthetic fatigue – after a long time intensive period of playing this game, I fell somehow boring about this game which means I rarely get the feeling of excitement from the game any longer
  • The most important one – my friends quit this game, the meaning of this game for me is to play with my friend as a team, once my team has dissolved I also lose the interest of playing this game.

Lenses

Lens #43 – Cooperate

  • this game allows the player to compete as a group which needs the cooperation between friends.
  • the group could be formed randomly or specified by players.
  • the technology of remote voice communication built inside the game will allow the player to play with people from anywhere which is really convenient.

Lens #44 – Competition

  • as there is cooperation, there is also competition
  • within each match, there is competition among the player within this round
    • the setting of HP and safety area will force the player to encounter
    • outside the match, there is also ranking which is the competition among the whole players of the game
      • world Competition
      • ranking board with lots of data
  • there are people who are nor care about the ranking but there is also, and often, the majority of the players who really care about their ranking.

Lens #79 – Freedom

  • As a result of not having a story or background, a high degree of freedom is provided
  • there are no specific rules that require the player to finish a certain task or find a clue except one general goal – survive and win the game
  • actually, even the general goal is not compulsory, people may have different activities with different purpose. (for example, people may do not chase the champion but to having fun with friends )
  • this is one of the key reasons that I enjoy this game.

Lens #37 – Fairness

  • people can only spend money buying the outfit which will not affect the combat power
    • everyone is offered with the equal position of each match at the beginning
      the resources are generated randomly, the landing position is decided by the player
    • the safety area is generated after calculation but no one knows before it shows in the map
    • every player start the game without anything
  • people could report plugins and the game will punish the related accounts if it is real
  • Logically, it is really fair with the setting of offering an equal position however the problem in real life is the management of plugins is insufficient and the large amounts of plugins can ruin the game

Elemental Tetrad Summary

  • Story
    • no story setting like background or characters
    • focuses more on the interaction including competition and cooperation between players
  • Mechanism
    • common goal: kill the competitor and survive to the last to win the game
    • there are no specific rules instead it gives the player a great extent of freedom by
      • providing the various weapons, vehicles, equipment
      • the settings based on the real world, such as
        • people will lose HP if they jump from a high position, the points deducted increase with the height
        • people can swim in the sea/river but they need to take a breath
          the speed of moving will varies with the different vehicle used
  • Aesthetics
    • in general: realism rather than fantasy
    • mimic the real world to construct a lifelike environment so that the user can better immerse themselves in the game
      • different weathers have the corresponding effect
      • different maps, landforms
  • Technology
    • The 3D replay tools
      • allow players to zoom around the map after a match, tracking their own character, following enemies’ movements,
    • the voice communication tools