Meta Quest 2: The first five VR games support Hand Tracking 2.0
Hand Tracking 2.0 for Meta Quest 2 is available and you can test the first VR apps with better hand tracking performance. More are to follow soon.
The new hand and finger detection started on April 19, 2022. It tracks more reliably with fast hand movements and even with partially covered hands. Gesture recognition also works better. You can find more detailed information and comparison videos in our article about Hand Tracking 2.0.
Meta gave selected studios advance access to the technology so they could implement it in their VR games and provide feedback. As a result, the first titles to benefit from the feature are already available.
Following is a list of VR games that have already or will soon receive an update that unlocks the improved hand tracking. Note: Meta Quest 1 is not supported. Also, firmware version 39.0 or higher must be installed to use the new hand tracking. The firmware has been gradually distributed to Quest users since April 11. It may take two weeks or more for it to reach everyone.
The VR game received support for hand tracking in late 2020 and can be played through entirely with your own hands, according to Owlchemy Labs.
Vacation Simulator's standard hand tracking left a mixed impression in my first review. The new version should fix some of the problems. The latest update 1.3.0-38104 brings support for hand tracking 2.0, so you can try it out for yourself to see if the technology is now mature enough to play this virtual reality classic without complaints.
If you read MIXED regularly, you know I'm a big fan of this timelessly beautiful 3D puzzle game. With and without VR controllers.
In Spring 2021, Cubism already received support for hand tracking - and now comes Hand Tracking 2.0. Here's what Cubism developer Thomas van Bouwel has to say about the improvements.
“This update to hand tracking is a big step forward in tracking quality and makes playing Cubism with hands feel a lot more stable and consistent. Previously, Cubism’s hand tracking relied on smoothing the hand data input to produce a stable input method. Furthermore, players needed to be taught not to cross their hands since this negatively affected tracking. This is all improved with the latest hand tracking—which is consistent enough for me to turn off hand smoothing by default.”
Unplugged: Air Guitar
The air guitar simulation probably benefits the most from hand tracking 2.0. The new hand and finger tracking is so much better that the studio responsible was able to rework all the tracks and make them more challenging.
“The update to hand tracking is a very big deal for us. Unplugged is a game that intensively uses hand tracking for an authentic sense of air guitar gameplay. There are a lot of fast hand movements and rapid chord changes among others. Since the beginning, we wanted to make the players feel like they were playing actual air guitar. Even though we managed to achieve very solid and accurate gameplay using the older version of hand tracking, we had to put some limitations on our gameplay. This needed to be done in order to provide a smooth experience that's not interrupted by any issues that such a new technology might has from time to time. With the latest update, hand tracking is so accurate and responsive that we could include all the perks we couldn’t before: fast changes of finger positions, plus an increased -and more realistic number of notes that makes the songs feel way more authentic.”
The Hand Tracking update is expected to be released soon. Apparently, the studio is waiting until firmware version 39.0 is rolled out to all Quest users.
Hand Physics Lab
Hand Physics Lab is hand tracking innovation in its purest form. How far can current hand tracking technology be pushed and what new forms of interaction does it enable? The unique and fascinating VR game explores these questions.
The title can frustrate in places because of the current limitations of quest hand tracking. This is intentional: Developer Dennys Kuhnert wanted to explore the limits of quest hand tracking with Hand Physics Lab from the beginning. Hand Tracking 2.0 could take hand tracking to a new level.
"One of the biggest challenges when building a hands-first application is the reliability and accuracy of hand tracking provided by the system. Hand Physics Lab was designed to highlight what was possible at the time and to challenge the user to play with the limitations of the technology. With this big improvement, we hope more people will discover what hand tracking has to offer to immersive experiences," Kuhnert says. The developer calls the new hand tracking a "big step forward for natural and intuitive interactions with hands".
I've asked Kuhnert about when we can expect his Hand Tracking 2.0 update but didn't hear back yet. As soon as I do, I'll update the article.
Liteboxer is based on the Liteboxer boxing device from 2020. The workout is reminiscent of the old amusement park game Whac-a-Mole - only much faster and with more punches, similar to training on a punching bag. The app measures accuracy, timing, and power (presumably through acceleration). You can read more about it in our Liteboxer news.
With Hand Tracking 2.0, the workout experience works "flawless", according to the devs. "Our workouts require a lot of quick punches to be thrown, and it's imperative for hand-tracking to keep up with the rigorous pace. We're really happy with this latest update and excited about the overall direction hand-tracking is headed on the Quest platform."
Meta expects more apps to support Hand Tracking 2.0 and its related presence platform in the future, and promises more updates. With this hand tracking update and even more capabilities coming soon, we can begin to explore what the metaverse might look like", Meta writes.