Minecraft gets native Oculus Rift support

Minecraft is such a ubiquitous cultural touchstone these days that it was only a matter of time before it officially arrived on a PC-powered VR headset. Now, that day is here. Minecraft Windows 10 Edition Beta can run natively on the Oculus Rift. Mojang team member Saxs Persson goes so far as to call the game "an innovation platform that goes everywhere and does everything" in a behind-the-scenes video that highlights how the company adapted the game to VR, and far be it from us to argue.

VR support isn't the only major feature in this release of Minecraft. With the Windows 10 Beta Edition, players can now enjoy cross-platform multiplayer on the Rift and Gear VR headsets, along with Android, iOS, and Windows 10 devices. Mojang also promises to add support for the Oculus Touch controllers for free when those peripherals arrive later this year.

I'm away from TR's Oculus Rift at the moment, but I'm interested to see how Minecraft's first-person perspective—a genre that's sometimes a barf engine in VR—translates to the Rift and its Xbox controller as soon as I return from the Intel Developer Forum this weekend. Minecraft Windows 10 Beta Edition is available as a free upgrade for existing Minecraft owners, and it's $9.99 for the uninitiated on the Windows and Oculus stores. As the name implies, the game only runs on Microsoft's latest OS. 

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    • The Egg
    • 3 years ago

    Just in case you wanted to bring original Wolfenstein 3D graphics closer to your eyeballs.

    • psuedonymous
    • 3 years ago

    I’m really loving the ‘sticky mining’ option (Look away when mining a block to the next block you want to interact with, while still mining the previously selected block). Avoids spending a long time staring at single blocks to keep them selected.

    • Hattig
    • 3 years ago

    So given this is basically the codebase that is shared between mobile versions and windows 10 edition, I hope that some form of the VR support will come to the mobile VR products, rough as they often are (Google Cardboard, LG 360 WeDidItAllWrong, etc).

      • psuedonymous
      • 3 years ago

      The GearVR version has been out for quite some time. Daydream might be coming, but I wouldn’t bet on Cardboard due to it’s low quality (extremely high latency, no minimum performance guarantee, inconsistent optical setup).

    • JosiahBradley
    • 3 years ago

    Looks like the fragmentation is beginning. Microsoft has billions and only supports 2 HMDs and the least competitive ones at that. Maybe Tim was right…

    • Duct Tape Dude
    • 3 years ago

    I just tried this out. It works very well in fact, and it comes off as quite polished for a VR beta.
    The only rough edges are in the character rendering/clipping, but overall it’s probably among the best VR experiences thus far. Minecraft’s native pixely-ness jives quite well with the lowish-res screens of VR and the UI is very useable. Feels like it was built for this from the start.

    • brucethemoose
    • 3 years ago

    Eh, maybe I’m a snob, but I can’t play Minecraft without Forge mods anymore. So the W10 edition was never in the cards for me anyway, and VR isn’t gonna change that.

      • GrimDanfango
      • 3 years ago

      I suspect that somewhere down the line, Microsoft is very likely planning to try and *entice* as many players as possible over to the Win 10 edition, and thus an ecosystem they can exert much more control over.
      I’m not sure what other forms the carrots-on-sticks will take, but I doubt VR support will be the last of them. The classic version will likely get less and less attention as time goes on.

        • Srsly_Bro
        • 3 years ago

        Minecraft Classic was out before current version of Minecraft. Minecraft Classic is an actual game.

        • brucethemoose
        • 3 years ago

        That’s almost a good thing.

        Mojang’s constant refactoring has been the bane of Minecraft modders for ages, and Minecraft is in the unique position where modders have created 100x more content than the devs have.

        Not everyone cares about that, and those people will switch to the W10 version… But Microsoft will have to pry the Java version from our cold, dead hands.

    • GrimDanfango
    • 3 years ago

    As great an idea as I wish it could be, I still feel this is just yet another example on the long, long line of 1st-person-movement games that developers mistakenly figure will be a great fit for VR.

    You can see how bad a fit any of these games are when the first consideration is how best to hack and abstract the control scheme to avoid making people hurl instantly, be it jump-rotation as in this, or warping in place of running.
    The simple fact is, if you make your viewpoint move by pushing a button/stick, rather than by moving your own body, it’s going to cause motion sickness, and using any of those hacks to work around that is just going to make what might have been a great game before, into a disjointed inconvenience.

    The exception is vehicle-based 1st-person games… but that relies on two things to avoid sickness:
    – There being some visible reference frame, static relative to the pilot – typically the cockpit.
    – The motion of the vehicle being accurately physically simulated – avoiding any unnatural motion discontinuity.

    That’s why racing games and flight sims do so well in VR… they’re about the only genres of game that were already accidentally designed to fit the strengths of VR before VR existed.

    All 1st-person-shooter games, and games like Minecraft, which borrow the same basic control scheme, aren’t remotely close to a true physical simulation of how people move around – they’re a wild and unnatural abstraction of real-world movement, ignoring limits of the human body, true simulated inertia, etc, etc – all for the sake of pacing and fun, obviously, and rightly so… but unfortunately that just doesn’t fly when it comes to providing a comfortable VR experience.

    Besides cockpit-based sims, which are already glorious, VR needs its own genres… and attempting to shoehorn it into even the ones which *look* ideal on the surface is only going to muddy the waters and ultimately convince people VR isn’t great… when it really, truly is!

    Minecraft will not catch on in VR, and at worst, it’ll cause more people to write it off.

      • Duct Tape Dude
      • 3 years ago

      Have you tried it? The controls are among the best in first person (ie: not cockpit) VR I’ve experienced thus far. Instead of smooth panning which is prone to making your stomach woozy, the panning instantly jumps, and while it sounds jarring it’s much easier to get used to. Plus it starts you in a virtual room as if you’re playing on a TV, and you optionally go into the world as if walking through your TV.

      Maybe it won’t catch on, but it’s a darn good example of how first-person VR SHOULD be done. There’s clearly a lot of thought and experimenting that went into this.

    • Srsly_Bro
    • 3 years ago

    You always have to watch out for the Cave Sheep.

    This looks awesome, and as someone who already has probably played thousands of hours in this game, this doesn’t do anything for me at the same time. Maybe if VR solutions weren’t so expensive, this could be justified.

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