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Meet the VR enthusiast who spent $15,000 to make Skyrim as immersive as possible

Skyrim
(Image credit: Bethesda)

A Skyrim player is using a $15,000 VR setup to make Bethesda's iconic RPG "the most immersive experience possible."

Streamer and TikTok user GingasVR shared their setup in a recent video. Decked out in full Dark Brotherhood cosplay, the process starts with an HTC Vive headset and a heavily modded version of SkyrimVR. 

Those mods are central to the experience - Gingas says that "the real problem with SkyrimVR and FalloutVR is that to make them playable VR games, you need to use a lot of mods." One of those mods provides better item physics. Another adds Full Body Inverse Kinematics, allowing the Dovahkiin to match Gingas' actual body movements, as captured by three Vive trackers. 

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One of the most important mods included in the project is Immersive Winds. Once installed and hooked up to some cheap standing fans, Gingas says that "depending on the location and/or weather in the game, the fans will periodically blow faster or slower so it can simulate wind in-game on your body. It may seem silly, but it really makes it feel like you're in that world."

The mod list continues with programs that allow for voice recognition. That means that Gingas can issue instructions to NPCs like long-suffering companion Lydia using their actual voice, and even perform the Dovahkiin's shouts and have the effects replicated in-game. The setup is rounded out by a haptic vest intended to replicate physical sensation - when the Dovahkiin takes damage from a bandit's sword or a dragon's breath, Gingas feels it through the vest. The strangest feeling, however, comes when they need to eat in-game to replenish health, as the vest allows you to "literally feel the food going down into your stomach."

Assuming you already own the base hardware required, Gingas suggests that a simple VR kit will set you back around $400. For a setup this immersive, however, Gingas estimates they've spent up to $15,000 over the past five years since buying their first headset. They make clear, however, that their gear - which they use for content creation and research on their YouTube and Twitch channels - is far more than most people need to have fun in virtual reality.

SkyrimVR clearly has a huge amount of immersive potential, and Gingas has also spent thousands of hours improving on the FalloutVR experience, but they want to see the technology move even further forward. Even with virtual reality versions available and mods installed, Skyrim and Fallout 4 weren't originally developed with VR in mind, and while they might make for incredible experiences, "at the end of the day, they're just mods." 

Half-Life: Alyx is widely considered to be the best VR game on the market right now, but Gingas says that they're hoping someone makes a large open world like a Bethesda game, but with modern mechanics for 2021. Eventually, the tech might go even further, as Gingas' own experiments with social VR have shown. They say: "It's a complete revolution in the way in which we communicate with each other. You can now literally be in the same room with another person hundreds of miles away and be able to hug them, high five them, collaborate, without ever leaving your home.

Even if you don't have $15k spare, here are some of the best VR games you can enjoy right now.

Ali Jones

I'm GamesRadar's deputy news editor, working with Ben T across our gaming news articles. I started my journalistic career while getting my degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick, where I also worked as Games Editor on the student newspaper, The Boar. Since then, I've run the news sections at PCGamesN and Kotaku UK, and also regularly contributed to PC Gamer. As you might be able to tell, PC is my platform of choice, so you can regularly find me playing League of Legends or Steam's latest indie hit.