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woah last won the day on July 18 2010

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  1. Thanks, you saved me some of my time. That sounds horrible.
  2. Just updated the topic with both videos. Trailer Short interview with Geoff Keighley My early (and almost certainly premature) impressions based on just the trailer: The production values are quite insane for a VR game and the basic interactions look solid and rewarding. However, as I detailed in the original post, I'm thinking the kinds of interactions one can perform will be quite limited by their concerns about sim sickness. I didn't see anything in the video that involved smooth locomotion or that used VR interaction in a novel way like Boneworks. The crowbar was also strangely absent from the trailer. I got this vibe from the interview that the developers weren't happy about something or weren't necessarily convinced about the state of the game (or maybe they're just burned out from overworking themselves) I think this will be an awesome first time VR experience but I don't think this kind of content will be sustainable in the long term. It's the common tension between making a VR game interactively novel and making it accessible. There's probably a good chance someone will be able to mod in flat support down the line.
  3. Oh yeah, jumping straight into something like a Rally game would be a disaster for most people. Smooth rotation like that is even harder to tolerate than smooth translational movement (forward, back, left, right), though sometimes the frame of reference provided by cockpits does help. In the past I couldn't play that kind of game but at this point I'm accustomed to racing around tight tracks at 1000+ km/h in BallisticNG without any issues. It takes some dedication to build up to that though. Generally you want to start with something that uses pure translational smooth locomotion like Onward or Pavlov, using the "VR legs" training regimen I outlined above. Most people can work up to that pretty quickly. One uses instant incremental rotations of ~45 degrees mapped to the joystick to turn (this doesn't cause simulator sickness like smooth rotation would) and their head/body for everything in between. I'm quite amazed and disappointed that no current VR platform has a built in "VR legs training" application. Regardless, simulator sickness is still the biggest roadblock for VR. I think we could still have millions of VR users even with this problem but at some point we'll hit a threshold where more casual users just won't bother. Other things like the fixed focus (you can't focus properly in today's VR headsets) or the lacking haptic feedback seem solveable.
  4. It's definitely being designed with the Index controllers in mind but it will work fine with the Vive, Rift, Rift S, Cosmos, WMR, etc etc as well, which you can get for between $200 and $400. As long as it's compatible with SteamVR it should work. Hell, Facebook dropped support for the old Oculus development kit but even that still works through SteamVR. I think Valve's major ambition with making the Index was to push the technology forward.
  5. I think the main trouble with this is that if you're actually trying to take advantage of VR input you can't really map the interactions to flat/desktop input devices in a way that isn't clunky. VR games seem to be trending toward highly dynamic physics based interaction methods where you need input closer to the expressiveness/fidelity that your actual hands provide. Instead of the typical approach of defining a small set of preset actions bound to keys/buttons and animations to go along with them, the player's body (as inferred from at least the hands and head) and the environment itself are defined at a more granular level as objects in the physics engine, and then you let the physics engine play out all of the different possibilities. If you tried to map these sorts of dynamic interactions onto mouse and keyboard, you'll basically be manipulating your character as you would 3d models in a 3d editor. Of course we're no where near the fidelity of actual hands and fingers, the software implementations are still immature, and input is still pretty clunky because current gen motion controllers aren't able to provide a sense of directional or rotation forces (so you have no feedback beyond vibration). But despite all of this, what the Boneworks devs and Blade & Sorcery devs are doing right now is still quite amazing. The lasting appeal of VR seems to be the interaction mechanics afforded by this kind of input and while the spectacle of VR perspective itself is cool it's actually more important for putting these interactions in the correct perspective so they become intuitive (and of course modern VR's visuals still have a ton of issues). With respect to movement, what you say was the dominant belief in early 2016 but ever since Onward came out ~late 2016 VR games have transitioned to the regular smooth locomotion you're accustomed to in flat gaming. What makes it comfortable is (1) controller relative smooth locomotion with careful use of acceleration/inertia and (2) a "VR legs" training period where you gradually build yourself up to that kind of movement over the span of several days. The trick is to only play up until you start to feel strange (not sick) and then stop for several hours before trying again. In my experience, after about 5-7 days of even a single exposure per day most people are OK with smooth locomotion and the result is that you can do so much more in VR. After getting regular translational smooth locomotion down you can graduate to more extreme games like Windlands 2 or Jet Island. Don't get me wrong, that training period is still a huge roadblock for VR and some people fundamentally just can't get their VR legs or won't have the patience/persistence to try. But the dominant VR FPSs that people currently play don't even support teleportation anymore (e.g. Pavlov VR, the second most popular VR game by player numbers). Teleportation is just too immersion breaking and clunky. Younger people seem to have a much easier time acclimating to smooth locomotion. And eventually there may be some hardware solutions to the problem as well. As for the price, yeah that's still an issue--costs about $350 for a decent VR system now--but it's not unheard of for new technology. These things start out expensive, clunky, uncomfortable, etc etc only appealing to an enthusiast market and then they gradually expand as the hardware and software mature over many years (with feedback from enthusiasts being critical). Same thing happened with e.g. computer games and smartphones, they take a decade+ to really hit the masses. And VR hardware still has to improve a lot in ergonomics, visual comfort, visual fidelity, haptics, etc etc and this basically has to happen in the high end. There was way too much VR hype early on for what the tech currently has to offer. And if anything Facebook's break even pricing is very unusual for a market that's this immature ... but I think they're trying to corner the market through predatory pricing (as well as getting impatient with the rate of VR adoption, being a publicly traded company and all of that)
  6. EDIT: Trailer is up Interview with the team: --- original post belo Rumors say March 2020 release. I'm both excited and terrified. It's really difficult to make a good VR game. On one hand the Kerry Davis VR game development presentation shows they're trying to tackle the nuances of VR interaction that really bring virtual worlds to life. But on the other hand Valve has been very cautious about inducing sim sickness in the past. The limitations imposed on the player to prevent sim sickness are in conflict with player agency and interaction is (IMO) VR's strongest value proposition. One gets accustomed to the spectacle of the VR perspective and the visuals in today's headsets have just as many downsides as upsides, so you really have to do something more to take advantage of VR. Really curious about what they're going to do.
  7. woah

    DR VR

    Regarding VR editors (e.g. Dark Radiant VR), right now VR is pretty awful for any sort of productivity applications. Lacking pixel density and the inability to interact with your immediate real world environment are the obvious things but the main thing is actually the lack of variable focus, which makes desktop usage, UI interaction, and reading text a really uncomfortable experience. Lens anomalies (distortion, chromatic aberration, glare, god rays) are also really apparent when interacting with flat UIs in current gen VR. You'll still want to use mouse and keyboard as well--motion controllers are terrible for anything that requires finely controlled interactions and we still haven't figured out text input either, which is essential. The whole Minority Report UI thing is only cool for 5 minutes--after that you realize how much energy expenditure is required for even the most basic of inputs and it's incredibly fatiguing. Today, the main thing I see devs using VR for during development is to properly get a feel for the scale of things, which works quite well. But even then, most VR developers do a good chunk of their development through a typical desktop mode because it's just so much faster, convenient, and less fatiguing. Overall I think AR will be a bigger deal when it comes to optimizing development workflows--whether it's in the form of a VR headset with *very good* passthrough or just AR glasses/a visor. VR input will get better as well but I wonder if it will ever get good enough to fully realize the dream of being able to "sculpt" 3D objects in VR because without some sort of grounded device that restrains your arm/hand/fingers you will just clip through the virtual object. High resolution feedback/response over many haptic dimensions is absolutely essential to that experience and there seems to be some sort of uncanny valley effect that happens when trying to simulate hand/fingers with high fidelity. Perhaps the most viable alternative I've seen to this is from a company that is using multiple LRAs to simulate the sensation of positional and rotational forces through an ungrounded motion controller. Depending on how well this can be perfected this may give you a sufficient degree of feedback but even then I think it will still be conveyed through an abstraction rather than directly trying to simulate hands.
  8. https://twitter.com/KevinMackArt/status/1101234908402409473
  9. I'm aware of that research but I just think this is going to take a long time. I think we will be really lucky if we get variable focus by the time second generation headsets come around ~2024. My stance on things is that we'll be fortunate if the high end enthusiast market sustains itself until that time--I think variable focus will breach a certain threshold of comfort and immersion that will make the technology desireable as a pure substitute for monitors in traditional gamepad/M&K gaming (still with snap rotation) and some desktop applications. I'm also really hoping that anti-simsickness tech like this pans out https://www.defenseone.com/technology/2018/11/inventor-may-have-cured-motion-sickness-without-drugs-and-could-mean-lot-us-military/152960/ . I love VR and I use a Valve Index every day. I am not dismissing the technology overall--just trying to be realistic. New technologies like this almost always start in the high end and gradually expand to wider markets as both the hardware and software experience improves and is shaped by the experience of early adopters. The real question is whether or not short term profit obsessed corporations like FB, Google, MS, and Sony will have the patience for that. MS is already pivoting to enterprise and there is no sign of VR for their next console. Google Daydream is practically dead and they seem to have largely lost interest in the tech--I suspect they're going to focus on AR (and they should). Sony's public comments and leaked patents seem to suggest that they might try to stick it out--but again they are smart enough to not release a pure VR platform. A leaked email from a few years ago reveals that Zuckerberg expected he would have tens of millions of users right now--in retrospect that is laughable. What I see FB doing is waiting 2 to 3 years after an absurdly overhyped first generation of hardware and then getting impatient and launching mainstream consumer focused and aggressively subsidized products when the technology is too early for that. Hence the leaks late last year about the whole "race to the bottom" thing and the Rift 2 being cancelled, I think not coincidentally timed with the departure of the Oculus co-founder Brendan Iribe. I still don't understand why standalone must be the goal for VR. It's solving problems that don't exist. Aside from enterprise/business applications and frequent travelers, how many consumers are actually going to regularly use VR outside of a dedicated playspace in their home? It's enough of a pain in the ass to just carry a cellphone around with you, let alone take it out of your pocket, occupy your attention with it, and fumble around with a crappy touchscreen UI whenever you get pinged. But carrying around a full VR headset? That people running around in large open fields or warehouses with VR headsets on will be anything but a very niche or occassional OOHE application sounds nuts to me. On the other hand, you throw on e.g. a PSVR2 with inside-out tracking, it wakes up your console from sleep within moments, and the 802.11ay wireless (which will have negligible latency) gives you all of the power of a PS5 ... that you would've bought anyway even if you weren't interested in VR. And that PSVR2 would not have the costs of shoehorning decent processing into such a small device--it would likely cost less than or equal to the cost of the standalone device with much better specs. As for advances in processing giving standalone the edge, while I am skeptical of Carmack's understanding of people, their tolerances and what they desire, I do trust his outlook on technology and he stated in this very interview that he thinks fundamental limits to the performance of silicon will bottleneck us well before mobile chipsets get anywhere near today's desktop performance. And again, we're already struggling with VR here. Eyetracking and foveated rendering will help but we're still looking at a dramatic increase in pixel density, FOV, and physics processing loads. On the other hand, I think AR makes complete sense even in a limited rendition if they can get the form factor small enough. Just being able to do basic things like go to the grocery store and nearly effortlessly and seamlessly identify and check off items would be transformational (vs the absurdity of trying to do this via a clunky smartphone app and UI). Nevermind all of the obvious media, entertainment, and communication based applications of AR. It fits the business model of the aforementioned corporations to an absolutely frightening extent--AR will be something you wear nearly every waking hour and they will have moment to moment access to everything you're doing. There are still a lot of technical challenges here, such as occlusion, but this is the holy grail for them (short of some BCI-based interface). It will be interesting if they can resist the urge to make everyone look like a branded tool or borg--I think this will be a major selling point for the early versions.
  10. It was a good interview, he's a lot better at talking to less technical people now. Interesting perspective on why he's interested in VR. You can tell that he gets shit for not transitioning to a purely managerial position but I respect that he's adamant about sticking to his passions. Little disappointed that he left Joe with the impression that you can't really do smooth locomotion in VR. I get that Carmack is basically only concerned about bringing VR to "the masses", but more intense gamers (e.g. the type that would play Quake competitively) will build up to it. In my experience it takes most gamers a about a week with daily exposure of 10 to 30 minutes to get translational movement down, but you need to be consistent and careful to not push until you're actually sick--which is the actual hard part because most casuals are impatient and not very dedicated. However I have to wonder if this push to bring VR to the masses will fail because I'm not so confident that the masses, casual gamers, etc etc that Carmack wants will be interested in VR for quite some time. First there are all of its current discomforts--visual, ergonomics, and sim sickness. Second, it currently suffers from certain critical limitations, e.g. fears of sim sickness lead developers to dramatically reduce player agency, the lack of variable focus makes it difficult to interact with things in the near field, and the lack of positional/rotational haptic feedback makes certain actions clunky. Lastly, it isolates you from your surrounding environment and many applications require a decently sized space and high energy input. All of these things scream to me "still high end/enthusiast". Rather, I think the more realistic scenario is that VR continues in the high end and gradually expands as problems like the above are addressed. I just doubt that FB has the patience for that--I expect them to transition to pure AR at some point because that is *certainly* a technology for the masses even in a limited form (as long as it doesn't make you look like a borg) Lastly, this whole focus on standalone VR is pretty absurd to me. I mean, yes Carmack is right that Quest is an incredible device--it is technically quite amazing (I've used it)--but wireless and a dedicated external processing box will be just as convenient. In addition, VR is dramatically increasing processing loads, and not just for stereoscopic, high fov, high resolution, high fps graphics processing but also with respect to physics and interaction--when you give players less abstract and higher fidelity inputs the simulation itself must also expand and converge on something higher fidelity. I'm not sure how Carmack squares the dramatic increase in processing demands with something that is, as he says, ~1/50th of the power of desktop PCs--which are already struggling. I mean, I consider myself a hardcore VR enthusiast with rock solid VR legs--I'm regularly zipping around at 800km/h around tight turns in BallisticNG with its VR cockpit view, but the Quest's 72hz display made me feel pretty bad (not to mention it's often motion smoothing from a lower fps up to 72). A traditional console with a flat mode makes way more sense for the reasons noted above, and also in terms of price: people are going to buy the next iteration of their console anyway--independent of any VR-related desires--as very few people are willing to completely replace flat gaming with VR right now, and thus there is no cost advantage to standalone for most everyone. It's just anecdotal but I bought my brother a Quest a few months back. He tried using it maybe 8 times but ultimately put it back in the box. At the end of the day he's tired and doesn't want to wear something fatiguing. Right now I'm hoping he might use it for exercise--I think that's the only salvageable use case for him (which was my original intention anyway)
  11. I didn't mean to say that Thief was indie but rather that its patient form of gameplay may not have been financially successful even in its time. I personally had a lot of trouble finding anyone that could tolerate it. But it was posed as a question because I'm genuinely not sure. LGS shut down due to financial issues but the Thief 2 wiki indicates the game sold 220k copies by Nov 2000 and this was considered ""commercial acclaim." There are of course plenty of indie titles that are taking a generic route but it doesn't change the fact that this is where developers are trying new things.
  12. Indie games are where it's at. That's where I find stuff that is technically and mechanically interesting, sometimes story-wise as well. With respect to larger developers, I stopped being bitter about this when I realized there's no good reason to expect them to produce anything different anyway. That would ultimately mean expecting the cultural norms of the masses to change ... and good luck with that. Did Thief 2 even break even in its day? Also can't expect indie developers to produce content at the scale of modern developers either. I'm personally more invigorated by gaming than I've been in many years with VR and that's about as indie as it gets. Insofar even the higher budget content that FB has commissioned is pretty/polished but rather uninteresting compared to the works of indie devs
  13. The major thing that is a counterpoint to this is Valve's VR ambitions. HLVR is quite clearly in development and they're pushing enthusiast VR hardware further than anyone else in the consumer space with the Index. The company's philosophy on this is that you establish something that proves to be compelling in the high end before addressing the major cost reduction matters for the wider markets. This is while other corps involved with VR are getting impatient and engaging in a "race to the bottom" under the assumption that VR's major roadblocks are in price and friction. Which is an approach that I think will ultimately fail because even as a big VR enthusiast I realize that VR is currently not yet good enough for wider markets at any price (IMO it needs variable focus, sim sickness mitigation tech, and haptics that convey translational/rotational forces--promising solutions for all are in the works but these are things that need to be paid for and "beta tested" by the high end). But the point here is that if they were only concerned about the most profitable path of least resistance they wouldn't even bother with VR as VR is quite the opposite of that. The $1000 price tag of the Index (and this is not a mistake--see Gabe's comments on "premature price reduction" going back to 2017) is evidence of this. They are investing a *ton* of resources into a market that quite transparently consists of mostly enthusiasts (for now anyway). Over a third of Valve's employees are working on VR related things. But supposing they were motivated to create another Half-Life, *could they* actually make something that lives up to HL's hype? The expectations are so absurdly high. And if you look a litter deeper, they do seem to be *trying* (many leaks over the years have suggested the development of games related to their major series but at some point the leaks dry up and the assumption is that those projects were cancelled). Both HL1 and HL2 paired major developments in gaming technology with an engaging storyline, high production values, and great gameplay. So first, could they even satisfy the latter three aspects? This is no small feat as the gaming market looks much different than it did around the time of HL2's release--the scale and production qualities of modern games remind me of something closer to big budget movies. Competing here doesn't seem to suit Valve's organizational structure which is anything but an assembly line of devs slaving away. And second, would making "just another Half-Life" game at modern production standards be enough? I seriously doubt it and I also doubt Valve's employees are even interested in something that is ordinary. Gamers are expecting something novel--there need to be major technical innovations paired with it. And what remains for *major* technical innovation in flat (desktop monitor) gaming? There certainly doesn't seem to be any low hanging fruit remaining. Personally I think in many ways gaming is currently bottlenecked by the medium through which it is experienced. VR removes some of those bottlenecks--and has at least temporarily added some of its own (but as I said above I think those will be overcome). Increased immersion is nice but more importantly VR is about expanding on the interaction space--giving us something closer to the complexity and dynamics of real life interactions (which the VR perspective is critical for). When I see what e.g. the Boneworks ( https://i.imgur.com/L0rwfrl.gifv ) and Blade & Sorcery devs are doing, creating the next iteration of Half-Life here totally makes sense (and Thief games as well ...). And sure enough, strings for "HLVR" prefixed to things like "crowbar" and "grabbity gloves" started showing in Source 2 binaries in late 2015 (and other leaks seemingly pertaining to HL3 came to a halt not too long before that). So I think this is what they are doing. EDIT: Literally just 10 minutes or so ago. When was the last time that Gabe has stated--in practically direct terms--that they have the intention of making HL3? At the Index launch party of all things. ""Maybe some day the number 2 will lead us to that shiny integer glowing on the mountain someplace ... you'll just have to see ..."
  14. For what it's worth I can't remember the last time I purchased a piece of hardware new. If you're in the US (just not sure about other countries), eBay is a great place to find good deals and there are people with too much money that just dump their hardware for cheap from time to time. I don't bother with auctions unless the item isn't in high demand--people get emotional about it and bid the item up higher than the market price. Also, if you buy Gigabyte, MSI, or EVGA you can often take advantage of transferable warranties. If you don't break the conditions of the "eBay Money Back Guarantee", they are really good about "Item Not As Described" claims. Just thoroughly check the condition of items, the item description, and the seller profile. The only thing that I would be careful about buying used is the PSU. I ran an experiment over the span of 12 months to see how cheaply I could build a high end VR gaming rig for my grandfather (for flight sims). I was able to get him a GTX 1070, i7 6700, Gigabyte GA-Z270XP-SLI mobo, 16GB RAM, 450W PSU, and a 500GB SSD for $400--all sourced from ebay. A few of ebay's random 10% off coupons did help.
  15. woah

    Thief 2 HD mod

    Would you say that the feel/character/tone/spirit/whatever-you-want-to-call-it of the original assets are preserved? Sometimes these HD packs are more impressive on a technical level but completely fall flat artistically and/or have an inconsistent feel.
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