How to do table tennis in unity

Daniel's blog: To play warm in virtual reality

A multiplayer match in Eleven Table Tennis VR (© Eleven Table Tennis VR / Koch)

A multiplayer match in Eleven Table Tennis VR (© Eleven Table Tennis VR / Koch)

December 7th, 2020 - Editor Daniel Koch has been out and about in virtual reality every now and then for two and a half years, doing what he likes to do in real life: playing table tennis. As table tennis in the hall is almost impossible because of the lockdown, at least in North Rhine-Westphalia, he takes up the topic of "VR table tennis" using the game "Eleven Table Tennis VR" in his blog and explains from his point of view what is there is possible.

"You don't care about virtual reality until you've tried the whole thing." This is roughly the first sentence in an article on virtual reality in a large German computer game magazine, and I think it is also suitable for my entry. That this magazine reports on virtual reality cannot be taken for granted, because even among computer gamers, as far as I know, "VR" is still viewed with suspicion. But once you have immersed yourself in it, you are usually hooked by how realistic a lot feels. This is exactly what happened to me when I wore VR glasses for the first time more than four years ago. At that time I knew: I want to have something like that too! It took a good year and a half to get there. Because I first had to invest in a new computer - a lot was or was demanded for that time - and only then in the VR glasses themselves, an Oculus Rift. So if you didn't tend to go for the cheaper Playstation version, at that time more than 1,000 euros could be due for the complete equipment.

I noticed that the purchase was definitely worth it when I played Eleven Table Tennis VR for the first time - this blog is supposed to be about this game. Among the table tennis games for VR glasses, it is the best rated and, with approx. 4.5 out of 5 stars, also takes one of the top places among all other VR games. And it deserves it. Why? Even for me as a table tennis player in real life - with 1,429 TTR points at an admittedly manageable level - Eleven Table Tennis VR feels realistic, much more realistic than I would have expected before the first game, although I already know the virtual reality quite well knew and she can be trusted a lot. The “haptic feedback”, which gives you feedback by briefly vibrating the touch controller when you hit the ball with the racket, makes a lot of difference here.

My Opinion: By realistic rotation closer to TT than z. B. Clickball
But what is much more decisive: The game reproduces the rotation factor in particular very well. Overcut, undercut and side cut balls can be played realistically at Eleven Table Tennis VR with all intermediate variants. Based on my personal experience, I would say realistic that the game comes close to reality by 80 percent or even more (if a specific number makes sense at all). The ball often moves as one would expect in reality: In the vast majority of cases, an undercut ball cannot simply be countered with Eleven Table Tennis VR, but at least has to go slightly over the ball or just play an undercut ball back. In my opinion, it is even more difficult to play a topspin on an undercut ball in Eleven Table Tennis VR, here you often have to hit the ball at a fairly high point so that it goes over the net (see second video). A stip surcharge z. B. at Eleven Table Tennis VR is assumed as one would be used to in reality. If you hit the ball very 'thinly', so if you touch it more easily, you will also generate more cut in virtual reality. For me, Eleven Table Tennis VR is even a little closer to table tennis than z. B. Clickball, even if I have only played this table tennis variant for about two hours in my life (and also liked it very much!).

I. E. of course not that, as already indicated above, there are not moments in which one would expect a different ball behavior. But these moments are limited at Eleven Table Tennis VR. The whole thing feels more like standing at the 'plate' with a different racket than your own for a normal table tennis match. As a table tennis player, you quickly get used to the small differences to the game in reality, so you soon notice which strokes are possible and which are not. This is made easier by the fact that the properties of the racket in Eleven Table Tennis VR can be set quite finely using controls in the menu. Just like deciding how much speed, how much rotation and how much control your rubber should have in reality (see first video).

Effects on your own playing style in real life?
Playing in virtual reality even seems so real to me that in the past I have 'abused' it every now and then to play a few balls in advance before point games - knowing that in the hall, especially during away games ( Six-pair cross system), probably again only ten, at best 15 minutes of break-in time would jump out. Although my racket felt a little heavier in reality, the whole thing missed its purpose as well as: As someone who always takes a long time to warm up, I had to go through the hall before the first ball in the hall Unit in virtual reality has more feel for the ball than normally before the first, usually very tough, strokes.

The bottom line is that I would go so far as to claim that players, especially in the hobby area or even lower club sports, can definitely improve their skills with Eleven Table Tennis VR - especially, as mentioned, with regard to the rotation factor. A study at the University of South Australia found something similar. I, too, would like to explore the whole thing myself with test subjects (e.g. students who have to learn table tennis within a short period of time) in the sports course that I started in addition to work, if the opportunity should somehow arise ...

In my case, at least, I think my responsiveness has improved a bit. Also by the fact that you hit the ball after the opponent's backstroke in online matches against players farther away, e.g. B. from Asia with modest internet connections sometimes only sees the delay when he comes up on his own half of the table and then of course has to react quickly. Nevertheless, one or the other will ask: Can't the 'gimmick' in virtual reality also have negative effects on one's own game in reality? I cannot make a definite statement about this yet. In my case it is the case that you may already take over hits from one 'reality' to a certain extent in the other, but adapt to the game in reality or virtual reality after a few minutes. Nevertheless, I have z. With Eleven Table Tennis VR, for example, I have had good experiences with a simple, fast roll-up. I now play this more often in reality as a 'surprise serve'. In the past, I never paid much attention to playing angles when playing table tennis. Since playing a good angle in virtual reality has an advantage because many don't have a lot of space to the sides in their rooms, it often occurs there and in reality I have adopted that a little bit.

Conclusion: great addition to real table tennis
As you have noticed in the course of the blog, I am a big fan of table tennis in virtual reality, at least of Eleven Table Tennis VR. Racket Fury, probably the second best table tennis game in virtual reality, I have not yet played, but I have been told by passionate players of both games that it does not come close to Eleven Table Tennis VR. I am pleased that - perhaps due to the lockdowns - more and more registrants are appearing at Eleven Table Tennis VR, almost 125,000 now. And that there are more and more (club) table tennis players among them and the level rises as a result. Nevertheless, the average table tennis player can cut a very good figure at Eleven Table Tennis VR. Before a major update in 2020 that set the ranking points to zero, I even found myself in the top 20 "in the world" with almost 1,000 ranking points. The ranking system in Eleven Table Tennis VR is based on an Elo number, similar to the TTR value. After the update, I earned just over 800 points again and will soon be able to start in the first of the four German 'leagues' (to the German Eleven-TT Facebook group), which has been around since March. So my conclusion is: Playing in virtual reality, especially in Eleven Table Tennis VR, is a lot of fun and a great addition to what happens in the hall in reality - because it comes very close to reality. I even trust VR table tennis that it could even be used as a supplementary training method in the next 10 to 20 years in some form (e.g. in reaction training) in competitive sports ...

Here is a video about general features of Eleven Table Tennis VR:



Here is a video with a multiplayer match (two winning sets):

Have you ever tried table tennis in virtual reality? Please tell us about your experiences!

(DK)