Articles

AMD & NVIDIA GPU VR Performance: Onward Mil-Sim

Author:Kyle Bennett

Date: Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Downpour Interactive is the company behind the Early Access Game, Onward. It is a self-proclaimed Mil-Sim shooter title. The big thing about this is it looks to be the first VR game that has solid support for multiplayer missions. HTC Vive currently required. What video card do we need this time around for best performance?

What is Onward?

Onward uses the Unity Game Engine and will be the second GPU-intensive title added to our VR Leaderboard and requires use of an HTC Vive system. Onward is going to conjure up memories of Counterstrike and Arma III. A lot of folks will argue that Onward steps beyond being a game and is very close to being a true VR Military Simulation, and that is exactly how it is billed by its creator.

Onward is a Mil-Sim paced tactical multiplayer shooter, being developed for virtual reality head mounted displays. Players will use coordination, communication, and marksmanship skill to complete objectives in online infantry combat.

After spending about 6 hours inside Onward, there is no doubt in my mind that this is one of the most immersive and "correct" titles we have played in VR to date. As you might have guessed, Onward is a multiplayer title as well. This adds an additional element to VR gaming that makes the experience so much more immersive. Suddenly you realize that you are standing in the desert with a buddy that lives on the other side of the continent having a chat about your gear loadout and "shootin' the shit" about what happened last week at work. Then when he pulls out his sidearm unexpectedly and quickly brings it up to your nose...you duck quickly and instinctively.

Downpour Interactive is responsible for developing Onward, which is currently an Early Access Game on Steam, and it is suggested that it will be in development for up to a year. From what I can tell the company is currently a one man team, but is now actively looking to put a few more hands on deck. Onward is truly the epitome of an "indie game."

Onward is a room scale game that uses the Vive motion controllers. This is not a game you are just going to jump into and play. It is too complicated to play effectively without going through the tutorial at the least. Onward has you use the motion controllers more than any other game I have played yet. You use your body and HMD height to determine if you are standing, crouching, or prone. You are suited up with coms, grenades, extra magazines, meds, melee weapons, an electronic map, not to mention your rifle and sidearm. The rifle handling mechanics are excellent and very instinctive if you have handled a rifle before. Things like even loading your weapon are not just like pushing "R" on your keyboard. Open the breach, puts a round into the chamber, close the breach, switching hands now make the next step easier, then cycle the bolt on the M249 machine gun. On the M4, you will need to drop out your current magazine, grab a new mag, insert the mag and cycle the charging handle.

If locomotion sensitive acceleration is a concern to you, Onward might not be your game. Most VR games that we have experienced use Blink, Sprint, or Teleport to move through the environment. Onward actually has you walk or run from point to point. You can even actually circle strafe without much effort. (Video by Mastrshadow here.) Some folks are having serious issues with this and motion sickness. The fact of the matter, in a title like this, moving through the map in a realistic manner is paramount to making the simulation work in VR. I have not had any issues at all, however running up stairs or jumping off platforms sometimes give me a "woah" moment. I have read and gotten feedback from other players that walking in place while you are moving is enough to fool your inner ear enough to combat motion sickness.

Below is the Tutorial video put together by the developer, Dante Buckley. It is surely worth a watch if you are considering buying this title, and it is nearly a requirement if you are going to play the game.