Ideas and Musings, My Noodle

Adventures in Echo VR, Part 1

I started a new game on my Oculus Quest, Echo VR. It’s a free game that looked like a lot of fun. The tag line? “Battle Robots in Zero Gravity”.

Since it’s the apocalypse, I’ve been spending A LOT of time alone and it pretty much drives me nuts. Echo is a multi-player game/experience. I can go be with people! I can actually try to connect a bit. In a fun environment. Maybe I can actually have a little bit of fun. WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH THAT!

I decided to document this adventure for you. You may be thinking about getting a VR headset or are just curious at what it takes. Especially for a 56-year-old woman, living alone, without any cats…

Sept 13, 2020

I finished with Vader Immortal Episode I. Very exciting, with a nice cliffhanger. I thought about going to grab Episode II, but I really like to prolong the excitement, stir up some cravings, enjoy the anticipation; so, I went ahead and selected Echo VR as my next game. It’s free, looks interesting, so why not?

But I didn’t install it yet.

Want to know about the delights of anticipation? Go to: The Acquisition Thrill Formula.

Sept 14, 2020

I installed and got inside Echo VR. First, I had to go through the training program. That was fun all on its own, and it took a long time because I had to learn to use the controls and figure out how to maneuver around. The training program just waited for me to figure out each thing. It’s hard to move around in Zero Gravity! I kept bumping into things or getting lost.

We got to the punching and blocking part of the training program and for some reason I got stuck on the blocking. I WAS DOING IT RIGHT! But for some reason I was doing it wrong. I’m still not sure what I did right but it finally let me continue.

I was allowed in the lounge. There I floated around trying out my controls for a while. Other people were coming in, going to the terminal, setting up their next game and leaving. I don’t think anyone wants me on their team yet, so I didn’t even bother.

I saw three kids. They were giggling together and playing with a ball. I want to play with the ball! So, I go over to them and ask them what they’re doing.

I’m ignored.

I ask again.

I’m still ignored.

I’m feeling a bit left out because they’re having fun with the ball and I want to play too.

Then, someone else comes in and lures me to the Brawler Room. I follow him in, and he hides behind a cube and peeks out at me.

Echo VR Lounge – Brawler Room in back

I have no idea what he wants from me. He’s clearly trying to communicate. I try to talk to him.

My microphone is clearly not working.

I don’t know what this guy wants, and I’m overstimulated as it is, so, I punch him in the face and leave VR.

Sorry, dude.

Note to Self: These are other people you’re dealing with, not a program. Don’t randomly punch people in the face. It’s not nice.

Sept 20, 2020

This time I went straight to the lounge area. I had some fun practicing moving around and using the controls. My goal is to be able to fly really fast and stop and turn on a dime. You know, like In the Harry Potter series when Harry catches the Rememberal, or whatever it was, while he was riding his broom for the first time.  I want to quit crashing into walls and stuff and be in control of myself.

Gosh, this must be what being a baby feels like.

Then I see the Character Room. This is the place you can change your skin, you know, how you look. I go in there and am playing with the changing my look. I made myself orange and gave myself the number ‘03”, because in ComedySportz my number is “3 going on 4”.  But I looked down at myself and I was still grey. I hadn’t changed at all!

People kept coming in and changing their appearance and it worked for them! I kept asking them how to save my changes. No one responded.

My mic still wasn’t working.

So, I got up behind one of them to see what they were doing, and he turned and looked at me like WTF? Clearly, they can actually see me. I was wondering…

I spent entirely too much time in that room, trying to figure out how to save my changes. Since there was a hologram of what I was supposed to look like, I tried to get inside it. That didn’t work. I crawled all over the device I was using looking for a Save button. That didn’t work. I shook the device. (yeah, I can do that) That didn’t work.

Finally, I said, “fuck it” and left. I guess I’ll just have to stay grey, like a newbie.

I floated around the lounge for a while trying to grab a hold of the green dinosaur that was floating around. It’s harder than you think!

There were a couple of kids in the lounge and they took to teasing me “Karin42! Karin42! Ha ha ha” I need a better name. No idea how to change it.

Then I saw the Training Room.

Another Echo Got a Goal!

It’s a big room, about 4 stories tall and just as wide. There were lots of things for a newbie to crash into but there was also the goal and a disk in the room. It’s a place to practice with the disk.

My game became “go really fast and grab the disk” and I played that for a while. I notice that if I’m holding the disk, my booster button doesn’t work. There’s something very wrong about this. I need to write a bug. Just because I’m holding the disk, I shouldn’t have to be limited in movement!

Someone came in and decided I needed more training and showed me some strategies for throwing the disk for a while. Then POOF! He was gone. (Gotta get used to that)

I practiced my moving around again, and as I held onto one of the walls, I watched another newbie attached to the ceiling, laughing hysterically, telling the room that it was his first time. I feel ya, dude.

At least his mic worked.

A Newbie Echo crawling all over the Lounge

Then two guys came in and started playing a game together with the disk. My game became, when they throw the disk into the goal, I try to get it when it bounces. Yes, I was playing fetch. Woof!

Of course, they got to it before me because I’d overshoot myself and crash into the wall. But once, just once, I got there before them. One of them punched me in the head and took it from me. See? This is why I’m not ready to play the actual game yet!

I was finally ready to leave so out I came. I can totally see why this game can be addicting. Good thing I’m trying to limit myself. I have a hard time getting overexcited as it is. I just can’t seem to relax after getting excited. This is a game to play first thing in the morning, on weekends since I have to work during the week.

Once out I started looking for more information online.

  • How to change my skin
  • How to change my screen name
  • Why my booster button doesn’t work when I’m holding the disk (I still don’t know)
  • Why doesn’t my mic work? (I still don’t know)

Damn this is fun.

I found an article about a guy with Asperger’s syndrome who has been using VR and has been getting better with social situations. They also have been using VR for PTSD recovery. I wonder if there’s an app for PTSD over “Stupid people in groups attacking me”?

Probably the weirdest thing about Echo VR is that I forget I’m actually in the real world. It’s a very strange experience, and shocking when I run into something that’s not in VR. Like a wall…

Sept 22, 2020

Very stressed out so I got into Echo VR just so I could be someplace else and float around for a while. I’d found out how to change my skin, so I did that. Now I’m redish, with ‘03’ as my number.

What I look like in the Lounge

I was going to change my name to my Subgenius name but when I googled it, just to make sure, there’s a rapper named BLUEFACE Sister Kali! And a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence named Sister Kali! And a show dog named “Kali de Rouge”. What the fuck? My full name, and titles, is: The Reverend Saint Sister Kali de Rouge.  I’m the original! Damnit! Karin42 just doesn’t cut it.

Sept 27, 2020

Today the goal is to learn to move around in the space, so I did that. I zoomed all over the place going around obstacles, going up and down, stopping on a dime. My friend Nate would have gotten sick, that’s some crazy stuff.

I actually threw the disc a few times with someone guarding the goal. I don’t have my technique down yet so the other Echo could grab it right away. And most of the time I missed entirely. The other guys kept taking the disc away from me. And once I grabbed some guy who took my disc by the foot and held him back. That was very exciting! Take my disc my ass!

Side Note: Even though I supposedly can just turn in a circle, I still managed to slam my wrist on the corner of the wall. I need something more than the VR grid thingy to keep me safe! That hurt!

I still don’t know why I can’t boost and hold the disc at the same time. Sigh.

But I figured out my microphone! There’s a button for that! I just have to click and hold. I talked to some kid who verified he could hear me. He was very interested in finding an Echo named “Salt and Pepper Daddy” which made me worried that someone is going in there to get at the kids. I told him I hadn’t, so he punched me in the head and left. It could be his dad or something, but he was all over the place asking people if they’d seen “Salt and Pepper Daddy”.

People really like to punch each other in there. Sometimes for no reason at all. There I am, stuck in the wall, all discombobulated, and someone just comes up to me and punches me. I watched a Tips and Tricks video and the host mentioned that there are some people in Echo VR that are bruisers and that if you watch closely, you can figure out who they are.

I wonder if it’s somehow letting people get their aggression out. I know that once I figure out moving and throwing and punching and stealing and being able to track everyone else, I’ll do the AI version of the game for a while, then when I get good at that, I’ll do a match. Then I’ll be punching everyone in the head like everyone else does. The first time was emotional, I get a pass.

It really is fun. I’ve been looking forward to Sunday all week.

Oct 4, 2020

I wasn’t going to get into Echo VR today because I’d taken a trip down to downtown Seattle to see how much damage there still was due to the riots. Still lots of damage. I figured that was enough excitement.

So, I played Beat Saber for a while, and THEN I couldn’t help myself, I got into Echo VR.

I wasn’t there too long. I went straight to the training arena and flew around and played with the disk.

A group of young men showed up and figured out I was a girl. So many women get riled up when males start acting like males. I tend to enjoy it myself.

First, they realized I have no idea how to throw the disk, so we had to have some training on that. First, I need to quit trying to throw the disk like a Frisbee. Check.

My personal disk – No one can take it from me

Then came the time when they all started acting crazy, you know…

…to impress me.

“I can play…upside down!”

And there goes an upside-down Echo unit, to the amazement of myself and the other young men. I felt like I belonged.

I didn’t have the heart to tell them I was 56. Maybe it doesn’t matter? I’m still worried about “Salt and Pepper Daddy.”

Then, POOF, they were gone. People just disappearing is a bit disconcerting… I’m still enjoying it though.

I think next time, I’m going to practice with the disk more. I have a personal disk that I don’t have to chase. I’ll just throw it a million times, in different ways, to see what I can do.

Oct 9, 2020

I got set up with SideQuest which not only lets you install VR programs that are not officially part of Quest, but also lets you stream your session so other people can watch. No audio though, but odds are that’ll come soon.

I also got another program that will make a video of whatever window you want so I can make a recording of my session. That’s how I got the images for this post! It was actually what I was seeing while I was in there!

In hindsight, that was an awful lot of IT crap for Karin. I don’t like screwing with IT stuff. I guess I was motivated.

That’s it for Part 1, we’ll see if I ever leave the lounge/training area. If I do, there’ll be Part 2.