Category Archives: VR/AR

HoloVCS – Play Atari 2600 Pitfall! in 3D on a Looking Glass Portrait

Have a Looking Glass screen and want to try the above thing? Well, you can!

Download for Windows (~70 MB)

Github source

To run this, you need:

  • A Looking Glass holographic display device connected to a Windows computer via hdmi (designed for the Portrait, but in theory it should run on all of them…)
  • The Holoplay driver installed
  • A beefy ass graphics card
  • The pitfall 2600 rom (.a26 file) which needs to be put in the /atari2600 dir. For legal reasons I can’t include it.

I’ve only tested with the Looking Glass Portrait and the OG 8.9. They both seem to run around the same speed, with the OG 8.9 being too zoomed in initially. (try the – key to zoom out?)

How to set it up and play it

When it starts, it will show a menu with the hotkeys, but here they:

Gamepad/Arrow keys: Move
Ctrl/Button A: Jump
Return: Reset game
Num 0 through 5: Set frameskip (higher makes the game run faster)
A: Adjust audio to match game speed (experimental but can help with audio problems)
-/+: Zoom in/out. Hoping this will help with other Looking Glass sizes.
S: Save state
L: Load state

Speed is a bit too slow even on my 3090, so good luck. The frameskip options help though.

If you have problems, check the log.txt file. (created in the root dir where HoloVCS.exe is)

Q. Does it support other games besides Pitfall!?

A. Well, yes and no, yes it should emulate any VCS game, but the 3D layer processing is designed for Pitfall! so I’m sure it would be… quite the experience

Q. I noticed you’re using Stella’s libretro interface, does this mean I can pop in a NES emulator or whatever by replacing the dll?

A. In theory yes, but because pixel sizes/input/etc are kind of hard coded for the VCS I’m sure it’s going to hilariously explode.

Q. The snake is mostly invisible!

A. This is a known bug, sorry. I mean, it’s a ghost snake now

Q. The 3D effect is sort of cool, can I play this in VR?

A. Not yet but would be really easy to add support for that! Would run much faster too.

Got a Vive Pro – initial thoughts

Is it worth the money? How different is it?

So I broke down and got a Vive Pro despite its exorbitant price tag. Is it worth it?  Well… probably not, unless you’ve got money to burn.

I hate the idea of playing something like Skyrim VR with the old Vive when I know I could be seeing something prettier if I had better hardware.  It’s like that feeling of sadness I had playing Quest For Glory 2 before I had a sound card; I knew I was missing out on some of the experience.

It’s got some nifty tech inside that may be useful later though – dual cameras for AR stuff and Hololens-like collider detection as well as eventual 10×10 meter room support when the new base stations are released. (a 10×10 VR play space in Japan? let me pause to laugh uncontrollably followed by a single tear down the cheek)

In a year they’ll probably have one neat package with all the new stuff, so better for most to wait for that.

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I felt like the optics were slightly blurrier on the peripheral areas as compared to the original.  Might be my imagination or something specific to my eyes, dunno.  I took some pics through the lenses with both devices with this setup to compare:


It’s all quite scientific, let me assure you. Yeah.

I couldn’t really notice a different in the edge lens distortion from the pics.  Here’s a comparison of the square from the middle, you can see there really is less screen-door effect now though.

Pics are from Skyrim VR

My NVidia 1080ti seems to run content at the same FPS as the old Vive, so so no real downside to the switch I guess.  It seems about equally as comfortable as the original Vive, that is to say, extremely uncomfortable.

4/24 2018 Update: HTC has announced an “aimed at the enterprise” $1399 Vive Pro full kit that includes the new 2.0 base stations and controllers, which in theory will offer better tracking and huge spaces.  A word of warning – unless they just started shipping with a new cable, the Vive Pro cable is the same length as the Vive, meaning larger spaces wouldn’t do you much good until the wireless addon is released later this year. (?)