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AMD & NVIDIA GPU VR Performance: Pool Nation VR

Author:Kyle Bennett

Date: Friday , October 07, 2016

If shooting pool is a passion of yours, then Pool Nation VR should be on your list if you own an HTC Vive. Even if you are not a pool shark, this title will likely lure you in to spending many hours shooting stick. But to make it look stunning, you will need a heavy duty GPU up to the task.

What is Pool Nation VR?

Pool Nation VR uses the Unreal Engine 4 and will be the eighth GPU-intensive title added to the HardOCP VR Leaderboard (our second UE4 title) and requires use of an HTC Vive system. Pool Nation VR is obviously about playing pool in Virtual Reality, but there can be a lot more to it, if you wish.

Built from the ground up for VR, Pool Nation VR is the coolest VR space on the VIVE, hangout at the air hockey tables, shoot some pool, throw a few rounds of darts, take part in the time-honored pastime of throwing empty beer bottles against the wall... and we won't make you clean up the mess!

As well as shooting pool against other live players in VR, you can also take on AI competitors that can level up to match your skill level. You can play air hockey, which does not really jive very well with the HMD (Head Mounted Display) in my opinion, and the controller movement is a bit off for my taste. The ski ball game is spot on however, and challenging. The dart game, which I did not spend a lot of time with, is a solid game to play as well.

I spent a lot of time shooting pool this week as that is what we are going to focus on today. In Pool Nation VR, you are inside a virtual bar where you and others can congregate. After striking up a conversation, you can of course have a game with a real person. Admittedly, I did not mess around with the multiplayer mode, as I had work to get done.

Cherry Pop Games is the UK company that is responsible for PNVR. That said, some of the nomenclature and general barroom rules of the game are a tad bit different that what you will find at your local beer hall, at least here in Texas. However, you will not find the phraseology to be a barrier to play.

Pool Nation VR is a standing or room scale game that uses the Vive motion controllers. Playing in a "standing only" environment might be a bit of a challenge as moving around physically makes the gameplay so much better. I have a fairly large 3m x 2m area to play in and found myself having to reposition many times, as you get a bit wrapped up in the environment quickly. There are NPCs hanging out, empty beer bottles, and a very believable atmosphere full of background noise. The space is very believable too, as it is not cartoonish in any way.