Even as Sony, Valve, and Oculus VR struggle to create the most super-ultimate VR headset the hardcore crowd could imagine, Google and others are working to bring basic VR functionality to the masses. Now, with just a Nexus 5 smartphone, cardboard, and a computer, you can play Skyrim in 3D.
Google’s Cardboard project, announced earlier this year, has been promising something like this for a long time. It basically just acknowledges what Oculus Rift really is: two screens and some sensors in a face-shaped case. Phones provide an almost suspiciously perfect toolset for this job, filled with accelerometers and WiFi connection hardware.
The use of folded cardboard for the actual unit, as opposed to a cheap plastic shell sold for $30 or less, is almost certainly a temporary measure and serves to drive home the point that VR is, in physical terms, easy. The hard part of VR is in the coding which dictates how the screens, accelerometers, and detectors will all work together in real time — but such software problems are hardly your concern, as a modern online consumer.
To get your first (fairly buggy) look at Skyrim in DIY 3D, you’ll need a Nexus 5 (presumably other high-end smartphones would work as well, with a bit of work), and the oddly named video/sensor data streaming app Trinus Gyre. This handles most of the actual VR work of streaming video in one direction and sensor data in the other, and combined with a client-side Windows program it makes VR streaming a snap. The curious can check out the video below for a quick guide to using Trinus Gyre.
Skyrim is by no means the only game you can try to play in 3D with this setup, by the way. None of the games are supported (if it doesn’t work, your best recourse is probably to learn to code and fix it yourself), but even a janky experience ought to be enough to impress all but the most hardened of tech cynics. The biggest problem for Cardboard seems to be network lag — which is more an artifact of aging networking technology than flawed software.