The Hidden Dangers Of VR Gaming And How I Broke My PC and htc vive

With the rebirth of virtual reality many experiences have been made and you hear the wonders of how immersive it is to play within VR being able to walk around and feel like you’re inside of the games environments and there are many good examples of how various games use the technology to create some rather unique and immersive experiences

However what you never hear is the hidden dangers of playing in such a fashion, because while you are immersed in the gameworld you are completely oblivious to the real world around you and it does advise that you have to make sure that your playing area is completely clear of anything so as to provide the safest possible experience but the realities of the hardware and the often small environments gamers have to constrain themselves into it’s not quite that simple.

My htc vive is a wired headset like many and while I’ve seen many gamers wire their sets to come down from the ceiling so as to minimise the wiring to trip over I hadn’t got around to installing such safety features in my setup, and while I was being cautious in my movements to ensure I wouldn’t fall over and trip over the wires there are other reasons to ensure your wires are completely out of the way as I learnt in my lsat experience within VR

I had an unfortunate experience in the game tea with god, an upcoming VR title where you couldn’t teleport around which made it a clever roguelike experience where the game would adapt the world around you to create twisting mazes of rooms and corridoors for you to explore hiding things around corners and up lifts and elevated platforms to disguise the true size of your environment, however all this walking and twisting and turning caused me to ever so slightly pull my computer further and further to the brink of oblivion and while I was wearing my vr headset and immersed in the gameworld I had no clue in the real world I was pulling my pc closer to the edge of the desk every time I got slightly caught up and slightly pulled on the cables until at the end of the stream it came to a sudden crashing early close when my pc came slamming down from almost 6ft off the floor where I keep it.

As it fell I found several smashed up pieces of plastic which I have yet to identify which parts of the computer they smashed off from, and it did destroy the primary hard drive leading to having to restore hardware and software as well as a new windows installation.

Since restoring the pc I sadly discovered that more than just the plastic breaking (which could be any number of future problems and other things that got broken as a result) that the falling pc yanked the link box power supply in such a way that it broke off inside the link box

I have since attempted to replace the power supply which has caused it’s own series of problems as firstly the replacement part I ordered was sent instead a power supply for the base station, which is a completely different and bigger psu socket, so I had to order another again, along with a new link box as the socket is broken in the link box itself making both unuseable.

Since then of course I have replaced all of these and attempted to boot up VR and it turns out that somehow the fall crashing the pc while the headset was active has also caused some sort of error within the headset itself and I’ve not been able to get it to function correctly despite replacing these parts as it just comes up a series of broken and blurred pixels as opposed to being able to see anything actually running within the VR software which means I will have to replace even more of the hardware by also buying another VR headset so this has turned out to be quite a costly endevour.

This could have been more serious as if I had been unfortunately placed within the room I could have been below where the pc came crashing down and it could have landed on me, either breaking a foot or a leg or even worse it could have fallen on my head as it was at a height it would’ve collided with me if I had been underneath it.

Since my incident I have actually learnt that there are other’s who’ve had similar incidents within VR with some people smacking the lightbulb/lamp and smashing that unaware while within VR, incidents of people accidentally smacking and kicking holes into the walls and into their electrical sockets as well as others destroying furniture that despite being outisde of the boundaries they do end up smashing into unaware.

Sadly I’m not a big well known entity who can just eat the cost of such an incident so this has been a significant setback for myself and I try to focus on the fact that at least I didn’t get injured from this but it is frustrating that not only did my pc take significant damage from this but the headset despite every effort to replace parts and fix has been somehow damaged by this in such a way that I practically have to replace everything and pay double just to be able to continue with VR gaming.

I would definitely suggest if you’re planning on getting VR don’t opt for the older cheaper hardware that remains wired and hazardous and wait for the cost of wireless technologies to come down before proceeding as this will minimise some issues, but in other ways drawing smaller than your actual zone so you ensure you cannot possibly ever breach outside and knock into anything unaware would be another thing you could do although I understand especially with uk smaller houses that’s not really possible

More than anything though absolutely make sure your pc is nailed down somewhere safe where it cannot be pulled over while you’re moving around unaware and perhaps regularly check that everything is good in the real world when you do step into virtual reality as it is so easy to not realise what chaos you may be causing as you blunder around in the virtual world.

The costs may be more than you bargained for, as your expensive gaming pc could completely get destroyed, and thankfully mine was salvageable as that could’ve been so bad as well as any medical costs from injuries you might occur as this could’ve been even a deathly experience if this had gone wrong as if this fell on my head things could’ve gone very wrong let alone expensive, and destroying the vr headset entirely so it needs replacing also is just a horrible experience to have had to suffer through.

Be sure to be aware and safe and ensure there’s nothing that can possibly go wrong, no furniture you can smash while you’re playing, your pc is in a very safe place where it can’t be pulled about by the cables to somewhere dangerous to itself and you, and be sure you won’t have any costly mistakes.

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