20 years ago, Quake revolutionised first person gaming with its fully 3D engine, non-stop action and multiplayer gaming.
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Mixing gothic horror with Sci-Fi elements, it challenged players with surviving through 32 levels packed with ingenious traps, enemies environments. No doubt you’ve played the game already, and if not it’s available on Steam for less than a coffee and sandwich. Let’s discuss the all-important stuff: how it plays on the Oculus Rift.
Ported by Dominic Szablewski, and made available for free from his website, it takes only minutes to download and setup. Once you’re in the game, open the console (~ key), then type vr_enabled 1 to enable Oculus Rift support.
Surprisingly, this is one of the most natural VR experiences we’ve come across yet. Perhaps it’s the low-resolution textures that seem purpose built for the 1280×800 Oculus Rift display, or maybe it’s the stripped back gameplay that harks back to an earlier era in gaming. Whatever it is, Quake is a blast to play on the Rift. The typical latency blur is hidden by the dimly-lit levels, yet the blocky enemies appear well defined and easy to recognize. As a result you’ll be blasting your way through the game at the same speed you were all those years ago.
Exploring these environments in full 3D after so many years is incredibly immersive. When the Shambler stomps towards you with it’s arms outstretched it’s literally towering above your head, and when a Fiend leaps into your face you’ll jump back in your chair. The ability to peer over ledges and around corners further adds to the immersion. You might notice in our video and screenshots that the weapons appear to be floating on-screen. In-game this doesn’t appear to be the case, as the bottom of the weapon barrel is just out of view.
So, how does movement and control work? The horizontal view is mapped directly to the mouse, with the vertical and roll view locked to the movement of your head. On paper this sounds counter-intuitive, but it works a treat, preventing motion sickness and enabling the player to respond to attacks quickly and efficiently. Before you’ve even left the initial starting area you’ll be looking around with ease and leaping through portals at blazing speed.
If there’s one area for improvement it’s the interface. It resides slightly before your natural field of view, so you’ll really need to peer downwards to see health and weapon stats — and even then it appears blurred. A quick tweak to the ini file could probably alleviate this, but in the meantime it means your field of view is almost clutter free, adding to the immersion.
Here’s a game that’s nearly 20 years old, but one that feels at home on the Oculus Rift. To date, it’s the best gaming experience we’ve had on the Oculus Rift.
A great example of how to take a classic game and bring it to 3D virtual reality.
Ratings in depth
Oculus Rift Experience