How a VR gunstock can improve gameplay

What is a VR gunstock?

A VR gunstock allows the player to mount the console controllers to a VR gunstock to improve the immersive feeling of holding a real gun in your hands. The main benefit of this is that it will improve your aiming accuracy and allows a more immersive experience for the player. I have been reviewing gaming console FPS shooter guns for a while and VR with a gunstock hands down is the best FPS experience a gamer can have in my opinion.

In VR, the more you can give your sensors the feeling of the real world environment, the better the virtual reality experience will be. Just watch this video for an example of how effective the real-world inputs can make the experience more realistic like you are really there.

VR gunstocks have been getting more popular over the last 10 years. Gaming developers are constantly adapting their games more and more to improve the immersive experience gamers are looking for in those first-person shooters (FPS) games. The industry is growing year on year with new gaming titles coming out all the time.

Will a VR gunstock improve my gameplay

In a nutshell, yes. I was playing Pavlov for 3 months and was useless. I designed and developed a VR gunstock to try it out and within a week I was averaging in the top 5 of all games I played in terms of kills and headshots. That’s right, it’s all about the headshots. Most of the leading competition gamers are now using gunstocks so that for me says it all.

Without a VR gunstock, you are required to hold the controllers in front of you and they need to be in the correct preposition so that the in-game gun registers what you are trying to do. Now, some of the top gamers use this method as it does come with some benefits, however, I could not master this technique at all. Forget about headshots, I couldn’t even hit the players, I was just cannon fodder to everyone else and this left me very frustrated.

Benefits of NOT using a VR gunstock

  • Quicker reload times
  • Quicker reaction speed
  • Easier to use equipment like grenades and knives.

To be good without a VR gunstock you will be relying on muscle memory to learn how to hold the gun and this can take a lot of time and practice.

Benefits of using a VR gunstock

  • Better aim and accuracy
  • Improved steady hand with sniper rifles
  • More immersive and realistic feeling in-game (makes me feel like Rambo)
  • Having the edge over the competition

What types of gunstock are available

In my opinion, the types of VR gunstocks are broken down into three categories which we will go into more detail with.

  • Top mounted magnetic VR gunstocks
  • Bottom-mounted magnetic VR gunstocks
  • Free hand (Semi Magnetic) VR gunstocks

Top mounted magnetic VR gunstocks

These types of gunstocks allow you to magnetically connect the controllers to the gunstock. This is achieved with the magnets mounted on the top of the controller and also additional magnets positioned on the bottom of the gunstock.

Top Mounted Vr gunstock

When I started to develop the VR-HS VR gus sock, the original design started with top-mounted magnetic gunstock. The reason why I started on this path was simply the look of the gunstock. I designed it around the M16 as I loved the look of a real gun in my hands when playing.

This design came with many flaws as I soon realized when it was in testing, also after some research, the flaws seemed to exist with other designed top-mounted gunstocks as well.

The first issue was tracking, this was due to the gunstock being mounted on top of the controllers for the oculus and valve index. As the tracking sensors for both console controllers are mounted at the top of the controller where the gunstock sits, it is blocking the controller trackers. This issue becomes a real problem when you are in-game and the gunstock is intermittent when tracking. Now, when you are in an intense FPS game like Pavlov then reaction time is critical and if the gun is not tracking correctly then you have no chance. Straight away I knew the top-mounted VR gunstock is not the way to go as this issue will always affect me no matter what top-mounted VR gunstock I tested.

The next issue was the feeling of connecting the front leading hand controller to the magnet mount on the VR gunstock after a reload. The movement for this action after a reload is for the player to reach forward, align and push up the controller to mount the magnetic cup to the gunstock. My problem with this is it’s an unnatural feeling when using a real gun. Remember you cannot see what you are doing as you have the headset on so this technique also requires muscle memory to perfect it to be competitive.

Don’t get me wrong, this technique can be perfected, and again, some of the pros have taken this route and mastered it but I couldn’t help but think it could be better and more realistic. I kept getting shot every time I had to do a reload and got very frustrated when trying to master this technique.

Lastly is the weight of the gun, I do want an amount of weight so it feels like I’m holding something solid in my hands but not too much where it gets in the way of gameplay. All the material needed to make this VR gunstock look real, massively affected the weight of the overall gunstock. I thought I would look awesome with a real gun in my hands but in the real world when playing VR fps games, you are in a room on your own with no one watching and even you cannot see the gun while playing. So what is the point of having a real-looking gun in your hands, it just needs to feel real.

Bottom-mounted VR gunstocks

This is a different style of VR gunstock and is probably the most popular. The bottom-mounted magnetic gunstock works in reverse to the one reviewed above. The magnets are now connected to the bottom of the gaming controller via a bracket and connect to the top of the VR gunstock. So for the player to connect the controller to the gunstock, you will need to reach out and align and magnetically connect the controller by pushing down on the gunstock so the magnets lock together.

Straight away my thinking was this will remove the tracking issue and indeed it did. There are several designs available like this and the most popular one is the Protube VR. This gun is used by most of the top competitive players and if not this one, then it’s some other bottom-mounted VR gunstock. I think this is due to the reasons mentioned above, if you have tracking issues with your gunstock then you have no chance of being competitive.

After testing this design I knew I was on the right track as it was lighter, with no tracking issues so I just needed to master the muscle memory of connecting the leading front hand down towards the magnets after a reload. After a while, I did get better at this but again could not help but think that it’s again not a natural feeling when holding the front of a gun. So I went back to the drawing board to see if this could be redesigned to give even more of an immersive feeling.

Free hand (Semi Magnetic) VR gunstocks

VR gunstock

So again after a lot of trial and error “and oodles of 3D printing” I finally had a design that give me everything I need with no downfalls. I decided to go magnetic on the rear hand and then a simple cup for the front hand that the VR controller can fit into. This still allows you to fully control the VR gunstock but comes with many benefits.

  • Feels more natural to reach up and grab the front of the gun.
  • Quicker as not looking to connect magnets
  • No extra equipment is needed for the front controller
  • No Tracking Issues
  • Overall better immersive and realistic VR experience

As for the rest of the gun design, this was engineered so that the VR gunstock can be adapted to the different styles of in-game guns and also the different games themselves. I have tested this with most guns in pavlov, contractors and onward and you can really get a good match on the feel of the gun being in your hands.

VR-HS VR gunstock in action

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