Sorry for the update delay...
So far, my journey with the Valve Index has been awesome.
I initially bought the Index and hooked it up to my existing computer, and it worked fine, though some games were a little jittery. They looked amazing though.
After a few months, I decided I needed a CPU upgrade, seeing as my Intel i5-4590 was pretty much the minimum spec for the Index.
So I bought myself a nice new, freshly released AMD Ryzen 9 3900x, which also required a new motherboard and RAM. All in, the PC upgrade cost another £1000!!
My old PC has been turned back into my game server, which I originally built it for anyway. Running a couple of Minecraft servers on it.
Moving from the old PC to the new one was amazing. I could not only play all my games much smoother, but I could also up the refresh rate on the Index itself to the higher 120 and 144hz modes without the games stuttering!
There have been a lot of people complaining about the joysticks being a bit dodgy on the Index controllers, not clicking when pushed in certain directions etc. and I do have that issue with my left controller, but I only have a couple of games that need the joystick clicked whilst it is in the up/forward position, so it's not that much of an issue for me.
Setting up the play area is a doddle. I have a small bedroom where my PC lives, so if I want to play room scale games I need to move everything downstairs to our extension or front room. Both of which are still fairly small areas, but large enough to get the minimum room scale size mapped out.
In the front room I also need to put something over the large mirror or the VR world will sometimes fly off to the side, making you feel ill.
People often complain about the black levels for the Index. But I have no complaints there at all. No, they're not jet black, but they look jet black compared to the rest of the display. It's only if you compare that blackness to the little bit of headset you can see around the screen when you notice it is just dark grey afterall.
Adjusting the headset for other people is very simple.
There is an IPD adjustment slider, so just measure the distance between people's pupils before they play and set the slider correctly for them. Adjusting the head band is simple. I get people to put the eyepiece on, make sure it is crisp and clear while holding it in place, then tighten up the head band using the velcro on top and twisty knob on the back.
Then there is field of view. My friend likes to have the FOV as large as possible, so he moves the lenses in until they pretty much touch his eyeballs. My mum on the other hand, wears her glasses whilst playing, so the lenses are moved further out so that her glasses don't scratch them.
My niece is only 9 years old and has a tiny head, so when she plays, we put the little squishy pad in the back of the head band, and then she can play comfortably too.
The refresh rate differences can be quite large whilst playing. I initially just had it set to 90hz, and everything played fine. Then I upped it to 120hz, and the difference in percieved clarity was astounding. Things moving around the screen just look clearer.
Moving up to 144hz from 120 wasn't as much of a change, plus a few games don't like the higher refresh rate, so I tend to keep it at 120hz now.
Currently my PC is set up in the extension so that I can play my VR games. Hopefully I'll get my step-dad to join us one day. He suffers from vertigo though and is a little wary of things that can mess with his sense of balance.
The games I've played so far with the Index:
- Beat Saber
Most time probably spent in this game, along with my mum and anybody else who's been round whilst I've had the Index set up.
Really comes into it's own when you install custom songs, and the new 360 degree mode is insane!
Setting the super sampling to 300% and the image is amazing. Also, the higher refresh rates the Index can use really help this game.
- Super Hot VR
Really fun game that gets you contorting all over the place to avoid being shot by the red guys. Space to move around is handy but not needed in most situations.
The Index controllers are used well here, with full finger tracking. Throwing weapons and items at the various red dudes is fun and very intuitive.
- Fruit Ninja VR
I bought this mainly for my aunty as she is addicted to the mobile version. It is fun and can get hectic. I do like how you can bat away the bombs with the side of your swords, though there is no vibration feedback when you hit things, so it doesn't feel as good as Beat Saber for instance.
- Pavlov VR
I initially played the free demo version of this, but the full game was only like £6 so I picked it up.
Brilliant fun shooting guns. My friend and I spent the first few times playing without even leaving the shooting range!
My first time in a public match was in a TTT game, and the map looked like a Minecraft castle!
It supports the Index controllers and other people can see your fingers wiggling too, so you can give them the finger if they get on your nerves
I love this game so much on the normal flat screen, and after my initial play with the PSVR headset, I had to see what difference the Index made. It is just stunning. The down side is that it doesn't fully support the VR controllers, so you need to either use mouse and keyboard or a regular controller such as the PS4 one.
Also, out of the box, the VR experience isn't brilliant, but there are a few mods that fix most of the problems.
Jumping into the deep ocean while actually feeling like you are there is the scariest thing I have done since visiting the Alien War total reality thing in the Trocadero in London as a teenager
- The Forest
Another of my favourite flat games. Playing this in VR is again so much scarier.
I've not yet had the guts to attempt fighting the cannibals whilst in VR, and sod getting close to the mutants!
When I first got the Index, there were controller issues in that it was impossible to pick anything up using the Index controller. But Endnight released a fix quite quickly, which also included a nice update to support individual finger tracking.
- Serious Sam VR: The First Encounter
I bought the Serious Sam VR pack when it was on sale over Christmas and I only got to play it for the first time this past weekend, so I've not had a chance to look at episodes 2 or 3 as yet.
The first encounter though looks amazing. And the weapons are so comically large. You start with a pistol the size of your forearm and a chainsaw that looks about 6 feet long!
The VR port was done really well, and they have given you all sorts of options for movement, so if you get queasy running around, you can switch to teleport instead, or have the view shrink down as you move.
Thankfully I don't seem to suffer from motion sickness in the Index, so I have free movement and the comfort mode disabled.
The damn monsters spawning around you can be so scary though. I screamed several times over the weekend thanks to big monsters literally spawning behind me as I turned around!
- Portal Stories
This is a free to play game set in the Portal universe and has you solving puzzles in the aperture labs. Unfortunately there are no actual portals in the game, but it is still fun for a quick romp.
- Chicks and Tricks
This was a free game initially but has since been made into a full payed game.
It is a two player game where one person is in VR with a big net, and the other person controls a fox with mouse and keyboard.
The foxes job is to eat as many chickens as possible coming out of the chicken coop, all while the VR player scoops up the chickens and puts them into pens, whilst also trying to bat the fox out of the area.
It is fun to play but you really need two people to play, and as yet, I've had nobody else to play with me.
- Alien Isolation
Another scary game. I've not had it fully working properly in VR yet as the mod I'm using was acting up, but I have managed to get in-game and walk around in VR, and it is sooo scary. I've not even seen the Alien yet and I was papping my pants
- Trackmania Turbo
This is a fun game normally, but the VR experience leaves much to be desired. You cannot sit inside the car as though you are the driver whilst in VR, so instead you're stuck out above and behind the car as you drive around.
I got very motion sick playing this and haven't touched it in VR since.
- No Man's Sky
I really need to have another play at this now I have my upgraded PC. I've only played it with my old one and the experience wasn't brilliant. Moving around, the world would vanish as my old CPU couldn't cope very well. I've heard that they've also released a few bug fixes to the VR since I last played it too. It did look beautiful though.
Using a mod, this is playable in VR, though I'm not sure how tall the character is supposed to be, as everything looks really squashed if you're at the default size, making you feel like a 2 foot tall person.
It runs amazing though.
- Payday 2
I only had a quick play on this. Why are all the other characters so tall? Am I playing as a child?
It does look fun, though I'd not really played the game at all before trying it in VR, so I didn't really know what the heck I was supposed to be doing.
- Rec Room
The first time I booted it up and went out into the main area, all I could hear were what sounded like children talking. I felt like that weirdo adult who you'd see hanging around the playground as a kid. So I quickly left the game.
My niece then showed me some of the mini games you can play on it. For a free game, this is surprisingly good. There are loads of little mini games to play.
I tend to ignore people unless they talk directly to me, and just go to the mini games, such as dodge ball, bowling, darts, wall climbing, a cool sword/bow and arrow thing where you have to run through a castle killing robot things.
My favourite game on it is the paintball area. Capture the flag in VR is so much fun, though this is one of the games where being able to click my joystick whilst pressing it upwards would be useful as that is how you run.
Lots of fun to be had if you can get over the idea that you're surrounded by children.
- The Lab
Loads of cool mini games, set in the Aperture labs and designed to teach you how to play VR games. Simply beautiful game.
- Megaton Rainfall
This one was not a VR game when it first came out, which was surprising, as it looked like it should have been one.
It is fun being able to flay around literally across the universe and back.
The only thing I don't like about the game is the god AI character as it is very preachy with un-skippable dialogue which seems to go on forever, but in order to get your powers, you need to interact with it!
- Tin Hearts
This little gem is beautiful and one of the best reasons to get the Index with it's increased resolution. Set the super sampling to 200% and the tiny little tin men look so amazing.
It is pretty much a Lemmings like puzzle game. You have two (or more) doors in the level and you have to make a path so that the tin soldiers can walk safely from their entrance to the exits. Sometimes you put blocks in their way, other times you move drums so that they can bounce a certain direction.
It is a room scale game but also utilises teleportation to get to places if you can't physically walk there in your play area. Also it doesn't support finger tracking with the Index controllers so your hands are just solid hand shapes.
- Job Simulator
This one I bought for my niece to play as she was loving watching other people play it on Youtube, such as DanTDM.
It is a fun little game when you do various jobs in a robot world, from making food to serving at a shop to fixing cars.
- Richie's Plank Experience
This is a weird one. I even brought in a long plank of wood, measured it out and got people to walk on it whilst playing the game. It adds so much more realism to have an actual plank beneath your feet.
My mum was sweating buckets while walking the plank as she was terrified.
My aunty was too scared to even leave the lift to get onto the plank!
- Budget Cuts
Set in a robot world, you have to try to escape your boring job. It looks good with nice clear graphics. I'm enjoying just having to hide from the bad robots, or having to literally crawl around whilst navigating crawl spaces above ceilings.
This is a must have for VR players. you play a Human sized god-like creature whilst also taking control via the your controllers of a small mouse.
It is pretty much a playform game, but the camera is free roaming wherever you want to look.
Every so often there is something in the way, or blocks that need to be moved, which is where the VR player comes in.
The graphics are spectacular, and ramping the super sampling makes them look even better!
And being VR, you can move around instead of staying in the normal play area. It does help to look around too as there are hidden secrets in a lot of areas.
- Dodge the Wall!
This was a free game, pretty much the Dale Winton Hole in the Wall game.
The graphics are very basic, though the hands are well done and support finger tracking for the Index.
- Epic Roller Coasters
Another free game. although only one roller coaster is free. The others are paid DLC.
It was an ok experience. My first time I got very motion sick though, and I have since uninstalled the game.
A fun bow and arrow game. You're in an arena and have various things appear around you that you need to shoot with your arrows.
As the waves go on, the things get more difficult, going from basic cubes all the way to ninjas with throwing stars.
When you shoot things, they often fire back a projectile that you need to dodge, and also throw them if you don't hit the target quickly enough.
You can work up quite a sweat playing this game
- Robinson: The Journey
Another beautiful game, I've not played it much but what I've seen so far has impressed me, though it was a little stuttery on my old PC.
The controls weren't designed for the Index controllers, so there are a couple of issues, but nothing too bad. It is another game I've not played since my PC upgrade though so going back to it might have better results.
- Rick and Morty: Virtual Rickality
This is a fun game with simple but clear visuals. You do need a bit of space to play though. I tried playing in my bedroom using standing room only, but due to my lighthouses not being able to see below the level of my bed, I was unable to pick up anything laying on the floor, and so I couldn't get past the "wash my clothes" section.
- Google Earth VR
It's Google Earth in VR.
If you enjoy looking at places on the normal Google Earth, being able to fly to them in VR is brilliant. Plus it tends to extrapolate buildings and trees
into 3D shapes, so you can see slightly bumpy 3D representations of the places you're looking at
- Carly and the Reaperman
This is a game I recently bought as it supports two players on the same PC.
It looks a lot like Moss, only set in the Human world, and the tiny character is a little girl named Carly.
This time however, the tiny character is controlled by the keyboard and mouse, while the VR player moves around the world, lifting things, moving objects etc.
Since I've nobody to play with me with it yet, I've only had a look at the first area, but the visuals are beautiful, and I've not even ramped up the fidelity using super sampling yet!
- Aperture Hand Lab
Another test lab from Aperture Science, designed to show how the index controllers work.
- God Hand
A strange game where you need to protect a crystal in the centre of a town from invading goblins.
It is a fun little game, though the screams of the goblins puts my rabbits on edge, so I've not played it in a while for their sakes.
Using Revive to play Oculus only games
- Echo VR (Echo Combat)
This is a cool game, it is a multiplayer combat game set in zero gravity. You pull yourself around the level and push off of walls and objects to get places.
Using the same graphics as Lone Echo (Which I'm planning on getting) it looks beautiful.
It doesn't have full finger tracking, what with it being an Oculus game. I can only play it because I'm using the Revive program to trick it into thinking my Index is an Oculus headset.
- Oculus First Contact
This is a cool little demo to show off how VR works for new users.
It is pretty much interacting with a little robot. Making shapes and throwing things around.
Wow, that got a little longer than I expected!
Anyhow, that's my experience with the Valve Index so far.
I like it, it is good.