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plasticman

Carmack's DIY VR-Headset at E3

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QuakCon happened. They had a "virtual insanity" panel featuring Carmack, Michael Abrash (Valve) and Palmer Luckey (Oculus), all hosted by "low level expert" (36:00-36:50) Todd Hollenshead:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gaqQdyfAz8&feature=plcp

 

It's an overall interesting panel, but what still bugs me most about it is the controller question. How do you use a controller whith your view completely covered by a headset?

 

Some bits about this in the Q&A start at 52:57, especially from 56:00 to 57:00, where Carmack talks about a kinect-like approach to make your hands visible inside the VR space. Since there is no tactile feedback one would still be limited to "wizardly sorcery gestures" -- sounds like Arx Fatalis to me, lol. :smile:

 

The channel has also this year's XL Carmack Keynote (over three hours) and a game design panel with Todd Howard, Arkane's Raphael Colantonio plus some other guys.

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Hm, TDM is very unlikely to run with the BFG edition, so someone should probably get one of these and build support for it into TDM.


"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

 

"Remember: If the game lets you do it, it's not cheating." -- Xarax

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Virtual reality in games is an old dream, but I think we are getting closer. Specially If Carmack saw something in this rift thing.

 

However, augmented reality is a different story. I really believe we're not there yet and this project glass will disappoint. Unless people are willing to walk around with something the size of that Rift helmet on the streets! then AR is just a matter of adding a camera and a computer to that thing (in today's language that means adding something the size of a pendrive to it)

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Ouph! 640 x 800 Pixels per eye. Outch!! That's way too little and what's even worse is that the Oculus Rift is supposed to give a big field of view, so the Pixels will be HUGE!!

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Hmm, yeah, will have to wait and see. I recall that Doom 3 as a game was one that still looked pretty great in low resolutions, so maybe that is influencing the "acceptability" of this


shadowdark50.gif keep50.gif

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Nah, you have to consider that the screenspace of your computer display only takes up 40 ° or less of your horizontal field of view whereas the Oculus Rift grants you 90 ° fov. So essentially, playing D3 in 640 x 800 on the Rift would be like playing D3 in approximately 320 x 200 (less actually) on your Full HD LCD-widescreen. :D I doubt anyone would enjoy that... They really need a 4K display or something like that for it to be a pleasant experience.

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Graphics with VR will always be worse than in a regular monitor because you need a much larger resolution. Would be nice to have some kind of adaptive resolution because we really don't need as much resolution on the corners and on the middle.

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JC mentioned (somewhere, I've not sat through the vid above yet) that the plan was likely to switch to an HD screen as soon as they became available (which apparently is soonish) and then do something funky with the optics so that pixels were concentrated in the centre of your view - resolution would be low around the periphery but reasonably good where it matters.

Edited by jay pettitt

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VERY interesting! Thanks. I can actually use that at work! :)

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I can't wait for a mature consumer-oriented version of the Oculus Rift, which will supposedly have a better resolution per eye, a greater FOV, and more responsive head tracking (in the latest kickstarter update, they talk about how they've created their own headtracking sensor which has a latency of 2ms!). Depth perception and peripheral vision in FPSs and racing games will be just downright amazing, and for the consumer version there is mention of weapon tracking on the Oculus Rift wiki (I don't really expect it to happen for the first consumer version, but it doesn't seem too far fetched to expect it in the not too distant future) as well as positional head tracking (again, probably not going to happen in the first consumer release; devs on IRC say it's still up in the air how to do it, but possibly with an external reference point like the PS move). If the device is as good as eurogamer and the like say it is, it would seem that the possibilities it enables could be somewhat revolutionary, e.g. for peripherals that would otherwise be awkward without the "awareness" that depth perception, a full FOV, and headtracking permit. I think the advances this could eventually bring extend far beyond just a better, more immersive viewing system.

 

 

 

One area in which I'm really excited for its application is the cockpit view of racing games or simulators: In today's games, this always feels way too claustrophobic to me--even with a triple monitor setup. It's not just the FOV, but also the lack of depth perception and lack of the ability to easily look about (and, say, use more than one window or change your viewpoint). I could see the oculus rift making a huge difference here, and coupled with a racing wheel or joystick it could make for a pretty awesome experience (Wipeout would be my game of choice). The same goes for flight and space simulators.

 

Then of course you have FPSs, both Shooters and Sneakers: aside from the obvious implications of greatly improved immersiveness, there's the ability to look about independent of your reticule (hopefully developers will give you the ability to quickly toggle the headtracking and also the synchronization between the reticule and optical axis), catch sight of things in your peripheral vision, peer around corners or over balconies, better determine your visibility with depth perception ... it goes on and on. And if weapon/hand tracking is achieved (Leap Motion device?), then perhaps one would be able to manually take blind shots around a corner; toss a grenade in a multitude of ways, or catch one and toss it back; manually pickpocket, blackjack, swordfight, shoot arrows, or do some creative mantling with the confidence that depth perception allows.

 

Of course some of this stuff is pretty far fetched given that the hardware has to be just right and that there are a lot of software problems which will need creative solutions. For instance, if you're talking about sword fighting, one issue is that there is no haptic feedback, and although you could treat the player's input as a "suggestion" to where the weapon should be ingame (keeping things as 1:1 as possible, but, for example, imposing limits on the velocity and acceleration with which something can be manipulated), unregulated movement would still leave many scenarios where the player could apply "suggestions" that are unrealistic. In turn, you might remedy this by penalizing the player if they become too out of sync with the ingame weapon. For example, one drops their weapon if they don't attempt to simulate the trajectory and orientation of a sword being deflected from a shield, or likewise one's hand slips if they're wielding a massive broadsword and attempt to swing it about with the dexterity of a dagger. The challenge to the player then, in addition to their swordsmanship, would be to gain a feel for each weapon and balance the reward of attaining, say, more velocity, with the risk of a penalty for being unrealistic (too "greedy"). As the magnitude of the reward increases, so could the potential for the risk.

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The perfect game for it that I play it would be IL-2 (WWII dogfighting flight sim). I already wanted to buy a IR-head-tracker just for the regular monitor (it simulates mouse movement), because you need to look around constantly to survive, so of course it'd be all the better if it were just set up to a VR-headset.


What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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Things are progressing. Allthough shipping is expected in May, some devs allready play tricks on their staff with the Rift:

 

 

interesting panel, btw. They talk very open about the problem of handling user input, I like that. There's that wing commander guy also, but I want an X-Wing game designed for the Rift, meh.

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Flight simulators... I think these will be an even better fit for this thing than first person games. It only needs head movement.

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This quote is the reason the oculus rift is so potentially great for Dark Mod:

 

Exploration and immersion are the two most impressive aspects of Oculus Rift -- arguably its defining features -- and Team Fortress 2's VR Mode highlights neither.

 

... But we do.

 

Edit: To elaborate, the reason I think we'll fit with it while so few other contemp games won't is because our interface is so minimal & you don't act thru it (like via a crosshair), and even what is there (the gem, health & inventory) is easy to turn off (or by context) & it still be very playable. Have to see about the BJ & sword though.


What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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Think you're right here. Like they say in the panel (I linked in #40) games don't simply transfer to the Rift, the challenge for devolopers is to design a specific game concept around the Rift. The average fast paced ultra violent FPS seems to be the worst candidate.

 

TDM could really shine here with a focus on exploration and adventure-like aspects of gameplay. The difficult part would be handling the keyboard input. At the moment I need to see my keyboard to play (dedicated keys for lockpicks, lantern, spyglass (wait -- spyglass! how would that transfer to the rift? it's not binocular, so shouldn't it turn off the left eye?) lean forward, use, etc.); but maybe this can be simplified, haven't tried.

 

The best fit for the Rift are games that simulate anything where you sit in a chair. An application for the masses would most likely be a racing game. The plus is, racing games can be quite simple in terms of user input and I think there are already controllers out there (steering wheels and such).

 

The other thing would be flight/space sims like Chris Robert's upcoming Star Citizen. But handling the input in one of those generally more complex games is a problem that really needs to be sorted out first. I remember the X-Wing series used to depend heavily on several layers of keyboard input.

 

My best guess is still they will bundle the Rift with some sort of Kinect-like device to track your hands. Allthough there would be no tactile feedback, it would still be a very direct way of interacting with the simulation, without being limited to just one game or genre.

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The best fit for the Rift would definitely be flight sims, driving and mech type games where you're in a fixed seated position, but I would absolutely love to play an already immersive game like TDM with this.

 

There's been no mention from the devs about a custom control system, but something that would work quite well would be the leap motion controller (https://www.leapmotion.com). Imagine swinging the blackjack, bringing the spyglass up to your eye or drawing a bowstring by imitating those exact actions, this would work very well with the Rift to avoid breaking immersion. One obvious downside is that you would probably need to have gestures for player movement (or use one hand for WASD and another with the leap).

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Unfortunately, the D3 BFG edition will no longer be supported by the Rift, so someone needs to re-integrate support for it when the Rift is available. TDM could have support for it, too, either copied from BFG edition, or from our own code, but in both cases we need someone with access to such a dev-kit...


"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

 

"Remember: If the game lets you do it, it's not cheating." -- Xarax

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Unfortunately, the D3 BFG edition will no longer be supported by the Rift,

You have that backwards: the BFG edition lacks support for the current version of the Rift.

 

There have been some necessary changes in hardware and it looks like noone at id had time to implement that yet.

That has become a minor problem for Oculus since the BFG-Edition was part of their Kickstarter pledges (a Rift DK + D3 BFG ready to rumble). They just prefer shipping the Rift without waiting for id to deliver. Eventually it will happen.

 

I do not expect any TDM hacker to touch this before the Rift consumer devices become available.

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You have that backwards: the BFG edition lacks support for the current version of the Rift.

 

Yeah, my bad. But the end-effect is the same - it doesn't work together.

 

There have been some necessary changes in hardware and it looks like noone at id had time to implement that yet.

That has become a minor problem for Oculus since the BFG-Edition was part of their Kickstarter pledges (a Rift DK + D3 BFG ready to rumble). They just prefer shipping the Rift without waiting for id to deliver. Eventually it will happen.

 

I do not expect any TDM hacker to touch this before the Rift consumer devices become available.

 

It would have been nice, tho. Can't be that hard to support it, and we would gain massive PR from this move.


"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

 

"Remember: If the game lets you do it, it's not cheating." -- Xarax

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But the end-effect is the same - it doesn't work together.

 

Quoting Shacknews: "This announcement doesn't mean it isn't coming at all, just not for launch."

 

There's been no mention from the devs about a custom control system, but something that would work quite well would be the leap motion controller (https://www.leapmotion.com).

That leapmotion thingy looks quite responsive and precise. Something like this is the key to get your hands dirty in VR.

:smile:

Imagine swinging the blackjack, bringing the spyglass up to your eye or drawing a bowstring by imitating those exact actions, this would work very well with the Rift to avoid breaking immersion. One obvious downside is that you would probably need to have gestures for player movement (or use one hand for WASD and another with the leap).

...requires nothing less than a complete redesign of these weapons and tools. Also I guess the lack of tactile feedback actually breaks immersion, more than the abstract method using a mouse and keyboard.

 

It's a little bit like when you play a real guitar and compare that to a Guitar Hero controller. While the controller sucks big time, it is still better than playing a virtual guitar by tracking finger movement in nothing but thin air.

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...requires nothing less than a complete redesign of these weapons and tools. Also I guess the lack of tactile feedback actually breaks immersion, more than the abstract method using a mouse and keyboard.

 

It's a little bit like when you play a real guitar and compare that to a Guitar Hero controller. While the controller sucks big time, it is still better than playing a virtual guitar by tracking finger movement in nothing but thin air.

 

Sure, the weapons would need to be tracked using the leap motion api instead of playing an animation, but the weapons themselves wouldn't need to be changed.

 

I'm not convinced the lack of tactile feedback would necessarily break immersion, Wii sports (e.g. Tennis) manages to provide an experience that's no worse than traditional control systems. It's definitely not the holy grail, but without some kind of tracking sensor like this, VR headsets would at best give you all the immersiveness of a disembodied eyeball :-/

 

 

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