It’s hard to imagine a more elegant and effective way to make use of virtual reality headsets than to hold a PlayStation VR or Oculus Rift headset in your hand and use your fingers to simulate a game.
The trick is to keep your hands free of other physical objects, like your eyes and the headset itself, so you don’t have to keep touching the screen to simulate movement.
If you’re using an HTC Vive or Oculus, however, it’s a bit more tricky.
With the new HTC Vive Pro, you can use the controller on a separate surface—the palm of the hand—while using the controller in a virtual space.
“The palm of a hand is not the best place for a VR controller to be,” Vive VR VP Joe Ludwig told Ars.
“I have to use a different hand to interact with the virtual world.”
In the Vive, it makes a lot of sense to use the palm to simulate handsets’ motion, so that you can actually move them around with the thumb and forefinger.
“It makes it really clear that the motion is coming from my palm and not the headset,” Ludwig said.
The Vive also uses the controller’s sensors to give you the feeling of using a hand to move virtual objects.
The sensor itself is small enough to fit on a standard-size PlayStation VR headset, which is small, but it also has a lot more room to move than an Oculus Rift.
The new controllers also include the ability to use gestures with the palm.
Gestures are similar to motion controls, and they’re pretty easy to use with the Vive.
For example, when you press the touchpad, you get the ability a thumb will “grab” the object you’re trying to reach, and a forefinger will move the hand back and forth.
You’ll also be able to use your thumb and pointer to drag objects around, or press up on the Touchpad’s home button to get a “grabbed object.”
The controller can also be used with other Vive-specific VR experiences, like the Vive-exclusive Roomscale VR, or with controllers that are built specifically for the Vive Pro.
Ludwig said the controllers’ motion controls are also “really useful for controllers for controllers,” because they make it easy to interact in other VR-specific ways.
The controllers work with HTC’s Vive controller, which works in the same way as a traditional controller.
You just put it in your hands and then hold the controllers in your palm while using them.
“That’s really the difference between a normal controller and a VR controllers,” Ludwig explained.
“A VR controller has an analog stick, and an analog thumbstick.”
The Vive controllers can also work with controllers from other VR manufacturers, like Valve, which makes the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, or Razer, which also makes the Oculus Rift and Vive.
The controller supports the Touchpads’ buttons, as well as the triggers on the Oculus Touchpad.
You can also use the Vive controllers in other games.
When you first pick up the Vive controller in your local store, you’ll get the Oculus-specific Touchpad and the HTC Touchpad in a bundle with a few other games that aren’t yet available for purchase.
“We wanted to do something that would really stand out,” Ludwig told me.
The bundled bundle comes with an Oculus-exclusive game called “Gauntlet,” which you can pick up for $14.99.
Ludwig says that if you already own the Vive headset, you won’t need the Oculus controller at all.
“You can just use your hand to control the game,” he said.
“If you have the Vive you’ll have the TouchPad in your pocket.”
Ludwig said he’s looking forward to bringing more VR experiences to Vive.
“Virtual reality is very interesting,” he told me, “and we’re just getting started.”