One thing I have always had an interest in is how companies try to bring more immersion and ways of handling locomotion to the VR medium. This is where companies like Cybershoes and their products come into play, by releasing products that try to offer both. We have finally tested out their product, so what did we make of it?
Whats in the box?
Cybershoes offer a number of options when it comes to their product. For this review we will be looking at the Gaming Station. In the box with this package you get the Cybershoes and the wireless receiver for your PC, the Cybercarpet, Cyberchair and the gaslift, a cable management system and all the wires needed to make it run.
Getting it ready for use
When it comes to assembly, you will start by building the Cyberchair, this is really simple and is just like building an office chair. Attach the level for controlling the gas lift to the base of seat with the screws provided, then attach the gaslift to the base of the chair and then place the seat onto the top – all is done.
Now comes the more tricky part, as you are rotating when using these, it is recommended to use a pully system for your cable management to keep the wires off the floor. They do provide you with a pully as part of this package, but you will need to suspend this yourself. Over on their website they do offer a recommended lamp stand for the product, but this must be purchased separately or you can find your own way to use this. This could be the part that will require some work to get it ready to go. Unfortunately, for this review, we did not need to use this as we already have the KIWI Design pully system in place, so we can not recommend the best way to do this.
With this out of the way, you will now need to get it set-up on your PC, this is pretty much as straight forward as anything else. Head over to their website and download the software for Cybershoes and install it, plug in the receiver and turn on the shoes. Then open Steam VR, and you should see the Cybershoes logo,
The Cyberchair is more of a stool in design than a chair, with the seat being covered in a decent quality leather effect material, that will have some ware to it. With a solid base and very responsive gaslift system for adjusting the chair to the required height for you.
The carpet that is supplied is of a high-quality and a thick-pile. You might be wondering why do the supply you with this, this is because in initial testing the team realised that some carpets will cause static, that caused issues with the performance of the product. Therefore, the Cybercarpet is non-static meaning you get the full performance the product offers.
The shoes themselves are made a very thick and sturdy plastic – including the roller that is used to record your movement. This was going to be required in order to protect the magic on the inside that makes them work, with you run on the spot with them on.
In order to keep them on your foot (we recommend wearing shoes with them) there is a leather effect loop with some foam padding. This is attached to thick rubber bindings on each side, one that is used for tightening it to your foot using the winch system to get the perfect fit for each users foot.
Using the Cybershoes
Before going into games it is recommended you go to the dashboard in Steam, click Cybershoes and calibrate them in order to get them working correctly. When doing this the games you launch should find the Cybershoes and they should work straight away with no messing about. However, if you find the game is not working you can go into the settings and controls and download the Cybershoes binding if one is available.
You will also get two options when using them, you can either follow the head mounted display (HMD) or to follow the Cybershoes, each makes the experience of playing games using them different.
If you use follow HMD option, where ever you are looking you will walk in that direction, but this includes when turning your head to look you will start to walk that way. If you use follow the Cybershoes, this will allow you look around while walking and also allow you to strafe in the games. It is really going to depend on which you prefer.
When it comes to my preference, I found as I was working out and getting used to using them I used follow the HMD, as accidentality strafing was a bit jarring – but this was down to being new to using them. Once I had got used to the motion needed and getting them working correctly, I switched over to follow the Cybershoes and it is now much more natural feeling, having the freedom to look around while walking.
Now, one massive thing you will need to take into account with the Cybershoes, is although this are used seated, it does involve physical exertion. With this in mind you will get tired using the product, when playing it to review we found every thirty to forty minutes we needed a break. However, one nice thing is if you want to keep playing you can just take over with the usual analogue movement from your controllers – so you don’t have to stop playing if you don’t want to while you give your legs a rest.
The immersion and benefits
Given this is tech that is attached to your foot, it’s not possible to place all your weight on the tech given it’s read by rollers on the bottom of the device – so, as aforementioned you will need to use a seat that rotate with them. Where you might think seated play can be immersion breaking, the fact you are still performing a walking motion while rotating, the immersion is great and you soon get over the fact you are seated.
Meaning one of the benefits is, you feel immersed with having to physically perform the walking motion to move in the games – adding a new level to the possible immersion in the medium. Also as mentioned this does take some physical exertion to use, which is offering some exercise while playing your games – highlighted by the fact you do need to rest while playing.
At the moment there is officially 32 games that have been tested by Cybershoes themselves and have confirmed support. These come across a number of genres and of course with these registering through Steam VR directly, there is the possibility of them working with most games – if you or someone else creates a binding outside of the team behind them. With the product also bringing support for Revive, meaning you can play your Oculus exclusives with them through Steam VR.
Adding to these supported games is going to be essential for the product, but we know the team at Cybershoes is already working on more bindings for upcoming games, and I am sure more and more will be added following the products Amazon release on 2nd December.
For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a review code does not affect my judgement of the game.