Meta wants to prove that its Meta Quest 2 VR (formerly Oculus Quest 2) headset isn’t what underpowered hardware game developers might believe. And it does with a PC game demo from 2014.
For Oculus Connect 2014, Epic Games created Showdown, a PC VR demo using Unreal Engine 4 (UE4). It was designed to show off the awesome levels of detail a VR setup could provide.
The experience shows a high-octane scenario slowed down to bullet-time to emphasize the action as a team of soldiers battles a rampaging robot. Fiery smoke trails behind the missiles the robot launches, and rubble and cars are thrown in various directions due to the resulting explosions. It looks and feels like a war zone.
Some elements look a little dated today, but back then, this was the best PC VR setups could achieve – setups that consisted of an Oculus Rift headset connected to a PC with a GTX 980 or similar GPU.
Now, about eight years later, Meta has managed to get a severely scaled down version of the Showdown demo to run on its Quest 2 hardware at a smooth 90 FPS –
identical to the original (via On the way to virtual reality).
Graphics aren’t everything
Meta wasn’t doing this just for a fun comeback. Its optimization efforts have been listed in Oculus blog posts for developers so other creators can emulate what he did with Showdown in their own games.
While it’s fun to joke that this is an almost eight-year-old demo, getting Showdown to work on the Quest 2 is no small feat.
The Quest 2’s Snapdragon XR2 chip isn’t quite as powerful as the hardware Showdown was designed for, and the details of how that was removed are long enough to fill in. not onebut two long blog posts full of technical jargon.
As seen in the video captured by Road to VR above, the new demo is quite similar to the original, but with some drops in quality. Objects in the world look a lot more polygonal, and textures and lighting aren’t as impressive – but Showdown is still just as busy with objects and debris flying around the player.
For some gamers, PS2-era graphics will be a tough pill to swallow, but in our own experience, visuals aren’t what make or break a VR game.
Take Resident Evil 4 VR. It looks graphically identical to the classic GameCube version, but the nifty immersive features and adrenaline rush you feel when monsters close in on you were more than enough to keep us as engaged as if we were playing a PS5 or Xbox Series title. X.
Also, VR game graphics don’t have to be hit as hard if developers create less busy environments. While the latest electronic mixtape courses in Beat Saber are little more than laser light shows, they are some of the most breathtaking and fun to play in the game to date.
Hopefully the Showdown demo and the promise of more powerful hardware with Project Cambria and the Meta Quest 3 will encourage other developers to create VR ports for the Quest 2, but we’ll have to wait and see.
In the meantime, why not discover the best Quest 2 games already playable on the platform?