Handson with EVR, a spaceship dogfighting game demo built for Oculus Rift

We've seen plenty of demos showcasing the Oculus Rift, but actual gameplay experience with the VR headset has been tough to come by. We first heard about a spaceship dogfighting game called EVR being built for the Oculus Rift by game studio CCP a couple months ago. And, today at E3 we finally got to put a dev unit to its intended use playing the game.

As we noted before, it's a Wing Commander-style game featuring 3v3 gameplay in open space and amongst asteroid field. Upon donning the Oculus Rift and a pair of Razer Kraken headphones, we found ourselves sitting in the cockpit of our very own starfighter. Looking around, we could see the sides of the launch tube, our digital hands manning the flight controls, and looking down revealed our legs and even the popped collar of our flight jacket. In previous Rift demos, we couldn't see our digital avatar, but being able to do so in EVR really added to the immersiveness of the experience.

Once we shot off into space, however, Rift-based gameplay really began to shine. We've never been particularly adept at flight sims on flat screens -- performing barrel rolls and flying in a loop have caused many a crash in our day. However, we experienced no such disorientation when we executed similar maneuvers in EVR due to our ability to change our view as we looked out of our ship's canopy. Additionally, EVR takes advantage of the Rift's three-axis motion tracking by allowing you to target enemies by moving your head to look at them. In practical terms, this meant that we could be flying in one direction, while locking on and firing missiles at an enemy flying perpendicular to us simply by tracking it with our gaze. Overall, the demo was thoroughly enjoyable, and gave us a taste of what the Oculus Rift brings to a gaming experience.

So, will we see EVR built out to a fully fleshed title? Maybe. Its makers built the game using 20-percent time at work and put in plenty of hours on the weekend to put it together in seven weeks. While they'd love to build a full game, it'll remain a design exercise until Rift is closer to a commercial reality, when CCP will make the final call. However, the game has been designed with higher-res displays in mind, and they've had it running at 1080p on flat screens, so it's ready for future Oculus Rift hardware.

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Hands-on with EVR, a spaceship dogfighting game demo built for Oculus Rift