Beat Saber is one of my favorite VR games, even if the PC version of the title has been somewhat ignored in favor of PSVR development. Beat Saber launched on PC in 2018 and has become one of the most popular games on the platform. It’s a rhythm game where you use the Oculus or Vive controllers to simulate a light definitely-not-a-light saber. Striking red and blue targets from the specified vector registers a hit; failing to do so (or hitting a block from the wrong direction) is a miss. And now, Valve has apparently had to update Steam VR because Beat Saber players are actually capable of moving faster than the company believed humanly possible.
Beat Saber comes with a list of baked-in songs, but modders have cranked out a blizzard of their own hits, often at difficulty settings and speeds far in excess of anything in the original game. Examples of just how crazy this can get are provided below, courtesy of “Kyle’s Mom” from South Park (most definitely not the work-safe version):
If you’d prefer something with fewer cuss words and an at-least-as-nuts demonstration of speed, “Through the Fire and Flames” might be a better demo:
Just to make certain there’s no confusion: Neither of these videos are me. I have the eye-hand coordination of a mentally deficient sloth and the performance to match.
According to Valve, their software includes ‘sanity checks’ to make sure that various things aren’t happening that would be otherwise impossible. For example, the unit ignores tracking data that appears to come from behind the base station, since this would be physically impossible. Valve writes:
One of these checks relates to how fast we thought it was physically possible for someone to turn their wrist. It turns out that a properly motivated human using a light enough controller could go faster (3600 degrees/sec!) than we thought.
Rotating 3600 degrees per second is the equivalent of flicking one’s wrist 90 degrees in just 0.025 seconds. As Kotaku says: ” I would have guessed players with super twitch skills would be able to move fast, but not that fast.”
I’d love to blame my own Beat Saber performance on poor VR positional tracking. But given a demonstrated inability to move my wrists at the approximate speed of light, I’m pretty sure this bug fix isn’t going to fix much for me. Those of you with hypersonic gel-packed wrists or really good genes should enjoy the change.
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