Now available to the public, the Vive tracker ups the virtual ante with three new accessories.
Since its initial launch back in March, developers have been having an absolute field day with the Vive Tracker. After all, the magical little puck has been responsible for some of this years coolest VR peripherals. This included everything from a custom spray can VR controller for more accurate VR graffiti, to a real firehouse used to train firefighters on the cheap.
And while many of these home-brewed accessories are clever and neat, we’ve still yet to see the powerful trackers utilized in a legitimate peripheral readily available for consumer purchase. Thankfully that officially changed earlier this week with Vive announcing several new tracker accessory bundles now available for pre-order and purchase.
We had a chance to try out several of these unique VR accessories at VRWorld in NYC and the results are definitely positive.
Hyper Blaster Bundle
The first ever retro light gun for VR, the Hyper Blaster add-on is a gun/motion controller taken straight from the classic Duck Hunt video game in what I can only assume is an attempt at mounting a direct assault on our nostalgia. After being paired with the Vive Tracker, the gun then becomes compatible with a variety of shooter-based VR experiences such as Arizona Sunshine, The American Dream VR, Operation Warcade, TacticalAR and Practisism VR.
However the gun truly shines when used with Duck Season, a modern-day take on Duck Hunt that injects a bunch of insanely fun features and interesting, yet sometimes unsettling, Easter eggs into the classic. You’ll shoot down hordes of ducks using your new pistol, or maybe just spend 20 minutes whipping the virtual controller cord around like an idiot (The start menu is a living room plucked straight from the 80’s where you play around with some of the physics while sitting in front of an NES and CRT television).
Everything the 12-year-old you could possibly want packed into the modern rendition of the classic light gun is here, from the original off-white/orange color scheme to the actual weight and feel of the original. There’s even new haptic feedback functionality for a satisfying feeling of kick-back. The light gun is currently being implemented into an additional 10 experiences, so you’ll definitely be seeing this guy pop up a lot more in the future. The Hyper Blaster bundle will include Duck Season as a packed-in title, a Vive Tracker as well as the actual light gun for $149.99 via Amazon. Pre-orders are up now!
Racket Sports Set Bundle
Built primarily for Tennis and Ping Pong games, The Racket Sports Set features two controller models each designed to feel similar to that of actual paddles and rackets respectively. A simple, yet effective controller design places the Vive Tracker tightly screwed at the end of the paddle and racket, placing a realistic weight at each end.
Having the chance to try out the Ping Pong paddle accessory in a round of Virtual Sports from Vive Studios proved to be an excellent time. The powerful Vive Tracker coupled with the realistic handle of a physical paddle grip made for an engaging few matches that were pleasantly responsive and lag-free. The paddle and racket also feature haptic feedback in the handle which makes power-slamming a ball at my virtual foe an extremely satisfying experience. Along with Virtual Sports, both handles are currently compatible with six other VR titles with an additional five planned by the end of the year.
The bundle will include both the Ping Pong and Tennis handles, a Vive Tracker and a redemption code for Virtual Sports for $149.99. You can pre-order your bundle now at Amazon, Abt Electronics, BH Photo, Fry’s, Gamestop, Micro Center and NewEgg with more providers on the way. *Sweatbands not included.*
If you already have multiple Vive Trackers in your position then exit this page and go pick up a couple pairs of Vive Tracker TrackStraps from the people over at Rebuff Reality. The comfortable straps easily attaches to the Vive Tracker for a secure, but comfortable full body tracking. Each strap is designed to effectively support the weight of the Tracker while attached from various parts of the body such as the feet, wrists and waist.
After securing a total of five Trackers to my body (two on my wrists, two on my feet and one at my waist) I was loaded into the beginning stages of the exciting dinosaur adventure VR title, Island 359. There I was tasked with defending myself from hordes of extinct monsters with any weapon I could find. I was thoroughly enjoying my experience traveling throughout the lush greenery as my virtual body responded to every movement made by me in real life.
Then, as a group of small, ankle-biting creatures began to swarm around my feet, the operator at the event guiding me through the experience simply yelled, “Start kicking man!” The next several minutes were a blur of pure bliss as I gleefully kicked dozens of tiny virtual dinos with my actual legs; an experience I didn’t know I needed till just that moment. But then again I could have played around with the full body tracking in the character creator menu for hours, so maybe I’m a little biased.
Compatibility with Climbey, Holodance, High Fidelity and other additional titles is on the way. TrackStraps for the Vive Tracker are available now for $24.99 a pair and include a redemption code for the Dance Dance Revolution and Audioshield-inspired Redfoot Bluefoot Dancing for Steam.
So while these peripherals aren’t particularly groundbreaking, they still do an impressive job of enhancing immersion while in VR. Simplistic designs coupled with haptic feedback keep the prices low while still justifying the need of the racket and paddle. The TrackStraps, while just straps, still do an effective job of securing Trackers without breaking the bank.
Could you rig together your own concoction? Sure. But if you’re looking for a reasonably priced way to keep your valuable Trackers from flying across the room, why not pick up the ones being backed by Vive itself? As for the Hyper Blaster light gun, I think that purchase pretty much speaks for itself.