I’m very, very fond of hand-tracking on Oculus Quest, even if it’s often utterly broken. Between the empty grasps of thin air and pinches of fingers you can feel something; the beginnings of the future. Tea For God’s new hand-tracking update demonstrates that perfectly, even if it is a bit of a buggy mess.
We knew this side-loaded room scale gem would be getting support for Facebook’s experimental new feature. We just didn’t realize it would be this soon; developer Void Zone released an initial build earlier this week. Tea For God seems like the ideal candidate for hand-tracking as it doesn’t require any artificial locomotion; every step and skip you make must first be made in real life.
Sure enough, moments of Tea For God with hand-tracking are pure magic. Traipsing through the game’s procedural labyrinths, which mystically morph every time you round a corner to ensure you never run out of walking room, is thrillingly immersive. Gone is the familiar curl of fingers around a controller, replaced with hands that intuitively twitch and fidget to mirror your every motion. It’s quite a thing to behold.
It’s when you need to do, well, anything other than walk or push buttons, that things fall apart a bit. The game’s list of gestures, for example, take some memorization and this early version can have trouble picking up specific inputs. Though the absence of controllers is often a delight, you’d kill for one when you need to summon a menu.
Not to mention that firefights are rendered practically impossible. It’s far too easy to obscure the tips of your fingers from the Quest’s cameras, making it a real battle to aim and then squeeze your index finger to fire a gun. I simply couldn’t get the angle I needed to fight far off enemies and, if I did, there was a good chance I then couldn’t get the gun to fire. Fortunately Void Zone did put melee combat in a few weeks ago, making close-encounters much more enjoyable.
There’s much more work to be done, then, but that goes for Quest’s hand-tracking in general, not just Tea For God. This is a jittery, stubborn mess of an experiment. Equally, though, it’s a bit of a marvellous miracle.
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