New Quest 2 Feature Found in Files, Lets Players See Real Life Obstructions
VR is fantastic, but it requires some room to play. Usually, a dedicated play space is set aside for VR users, especially with headsets with mounted base stations like the Index. However, all-in-one headsets like the Oculus Quest 2 don’t need a dedicated space and can be moved around wherever the player wants.
However, for those who want to use VR in their living room, there are obstructions within the play space that they’re going to have to worry about unless they want to accidentally punch their coffee table. Some games even require an absurd amount of play space, like Space Pirate Arena, which requires a whopping 33ft x 33ft play space, seeing that full physical locomotion is part of the game’s world. To add some more safety to the headset, Oculus is working on a new form of safety in the game. This mode is called Space Sense, however, it’s not implemented into the headset just yet, but the files are included in the firmware, as well as some more information about how this new feature is going to work.
Space Sense Explained
Space Sense is a new feature implemented into the headset that tells the player if something is within the boundaries of the headset. Even though it’s not implemented into the actual firmware for the Quest 2, Space Sense, and its videos explaining the feature, are lying dormant in the files for the headset itself. Twitter user @Basti564 found the files inside of the new update for the headset and posted his findings on Twitter.
The way the feature works is that when an object is within nine feet of the headset inside of the boundaries, the outline of the object is put into the VR landscape to show the player so they don’t accidentally hit the object while playing the game. This also works to show other people who might be inside of the play space while the person is playing. This feature could reduce the number of collisions from a player to a bystander, however, while it is solid, it also has its weaknesses.
Space Sense Weaknesses
One of the major flaws of Space Sense is the fact that the Quest has inside-out tracking, meaning that the headset can only see in front of the player, and not behind the player like base stations. This means that a major blind spot for the headset is behind the player, and if they swing to the back, they’re more likely to hit the bystander even if Space Sense is turned on. However, unless the Quest 2 has extra trackers outside of the headset, or a new model comes with trackers for behind the player, this is going to stay.
Another weakness of the headset is the way that Space Sense looks. For players who want to be completely immersed in virtual reality, Space Sense can be turned off. This obviously means that there’s a higher likelihood that someone without Space Sense is going to accidentally hit a bystander.
Regardless, Space Sense seems like the logical step in the direction for VR safety. With Oculus doing this, there’s a chance that other manufacturers are going to start looking into safety on their headsets as well.