My time with Grand Theft Auto 5 on the Omni

sutekiBsutekiB Posts: 1,069
edited September 2015 in Lounge
Hi guys,

I was at Virtuix’s office in Houston recently, and had the awesome chance to try Grand Theft Auto 5 on the Omni! They filmed me and uploaded my session. It has since been viewed over 1.5 million times!

If you haven’t seen it yet, here it is:

I thought people might be curious to know what this experience was like so I wrote down my impressions soon after and posted the following on reddit:

When I got on and began to play GTA V, I could see that indeed this is not a ‘VR ready’ game. It doesn’t natively support a head-mounted display (HMD), and there are some elements that may trigger nausea in people who are more sensitive to simulator sickness than I am – in particular the head bobbing and animations during fist-fights, as well as getting in and out of vehicles (basically any motion that isn’t fully under your control). I had some difficulty seeing the phone interface when I was outside of a car and this could be an issue when attempting the missions. There may be some features of the injection-driver that was used that could have helped with that, but I did not explore all of the settings in my limited time with it.

Despite these initial concerns, I ended up having a blast in what proved to be one of my most compelling VR experiences so far. I wish I could have stayed in there longer, to explore more of this world while I had access to the Omni, which did feel like the best way to experience the mean and dirty streets of Los Santos.
I started outside a strip-club, which may have been a joke to see if I would go in, but feeling a little self-conscious I decided to try some ‘grand theft convenience store’ instead.
Without thinking about it I looked twice before crossing the road - normally I would tend to be cavalier with my character’s well-being. That sense of being personally-involved and directly responsible for my actions in VR is always powerful, especially in a game like Grand Theft Auto V, where Rockstar has once again lavished an incredible amount of detail onto their massive open-world sandbox. I don’t remember ever being so immersed in a videogame.
Turning and moving on the Omni felt natural and easy; thanks to my past experience on the device I was already quite confident with the low friction base and shoes that make locomotion possible without any moving parts.

My interactions with the residents of Los Santos were completely transformed by walking amongst them. I found the insults directed at me hilarious, and when I came across a group talking to each other I wanted to stand there and eavesdrop on their conversation.
A moment later I had moved out of the sun and into one of the game’s many accessible buildings – an all-day supermarket. The atmosphere here was completely different, and it made the encounter with the shopkeeper more intense than I expected; when he drew his gun on me my survival instincts kicked in and I took him out with my automatic weapon.
With the heist having gone wrong I quickly escaped the store and found myself shooting any potential witnesses to my crime. A pang of guilt followed, but I quickly reminded myself that it was a videogame after all, and there was no harm in enjoying a little fantasy violence. Those who say otherwise should really learn to trust that an adult’s ability to distinguish right from wrong isn’t affected by the things they do in their leisure time, but by traumatic experiences - particularly those already suffered in childhood.

Aiming was really easy using the head-tracking, although I’d forgotten to adjust it at the beginning so in real life I was actually looking further down than I should have been. When I realized this later on I quickly fixed it; this is another foible of games that don’t natively support VR headsets.
I then stole a car - although as a Brit I made the classic mistake of getting in on the wrong side; and attempted to leave the area before the cops found me. Sitting down was more comfortable now with Virtuix’s improved harness design. Driving was fun, and I liked being able to turn my head inside the car. Rockstar deserves a huge amount of credit for redesigning the interiors to take into account their new first-person mode, which made this demo possible.

I quickly reached a bottleneck, collided with some other vehicles and span out of control. There was no hope but to run away before the police caught up. I could hear the approaching sirens and panicked, taking out some more witnesses with my remaining ammo before trying to complete my getaway on foot.
Things did not end well for me as you can imagine, and here my demo ended; but I was left wanting to play the rest of the game like this. To be able to explore a living, breathing virtual city with my own two feet would have been impossible a few years ago, but there I was doing it.

Playing GTA V showed me the enormous potential of AAA games if they were made for VR, and that potential is wonderful. Really, those moments you spend imagining yourself somewhere else… they can happen in virtual reality. I hope big developers like Rockstar will try their own games in VR with an Omni and see it too!

The future is very bright, and it’s almost here. We just need to keep getting the message out!
Community Manager at Virtuix


  • Sponge101Sponge101 Posts: 477
    I really enjoyed reading your experience with GTA 5 and congrats for being the first person to publicly use the Omni with GTA 5. I hope to experience this myself very soon.
  • GTA V is breathtaking in vr. I play it all the time, mostly just cruising about to be honest. It's the closest gaming experience Ive had so far in VR that really captures the feeling of being in a living breathing world, and the potential for this concept of gaming experience to be pushed specifically for vr in the future is mouth wateringly exciting! I agree with your sentiment about fantasy violence, Im as meek as a kitten in real life but when I play GTA V in my dk2 I enjoy getting in touch with my inner serial killer. Im not the kind that walks down the road spraying bullets left and right until the cops come mind you, I prefer to cruise around waiting for someone to say something to me or catch my eye in a peculiar way, then I stalk 'em until the moment is right and no-one is looking down a dark alley or a quiet road and then its a quick silenced bullet in the back of the head...another victim, another unsolved murder statistic...nobody knows, and iin Los Santos, nobody cares..
  • @TonySpaniels That sounds awesome. I love being able to make up your own stories in the crazy world of GTA. I have to try this now!
  • TonySpanielsTonySpaniels Posts: 15
    edited September 2015
    Last week I stumbled across an oldish man walking his dog around Sandy Shores one late afternoon...then the dog started barking at me..I baseball batted the dog to death (not my usual MO but it was deliciously satisfying) and shot the man right in the face as he stared at me in disbelief. It struck me how quiet it was afterwards as I looked at the bloodied corpses..not one bird song, not a honking of car horn, nothing, except a soft breeze blowing dust across the ground.
  • @TonySpaniels You do realize if someone Googles your name, this post is gonna show up? :p

    Let me guess, you got a one star wanted level and had to walk behind a building for ten seconds until the cops quit looking? Love GTA logic.
  • Haha, its ok, Tony Spaniels isnt my actual name. No self respecting Grand Theft Psycho would be that careless ;)

    You dont get a star if you arent seen doing the deed. Pretty sure thats the case..
  • Well then, you've committed the perfect crime!
  • That's the way I like it.
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