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Oculus Rift and other VR headsets


woah
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First off, I know there are some other threads which have diverged into conversation about the Oculus Rift, but they're pretty dated and I figured there should be a thread largely dedicated to the rift itself since I think most would agree that it's shaping up to be the most promising consumer-level VR headset out there.

 

But anyways I'm making this thread today because Oculus just unveiled their new prototype at CES--the "Crystal Cove"

 

http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/01/07/ces-oculus-rift-makes-evolutionary-leap-with-new-motion-tracking-hands-on

 

The IGN video player is garbage, so here's a youtube link to the video:

 

They now have positional headtracking and a new OLED display--two things I've been particularly excited about. The positional headtracking means they're no longer limited to rotational headtracking--now it's responsive to translation too (so in Thief one could lean around a corner / over a balustrade, peek through a keyhole, or perform a multitude of other precise actions). The OLED display should mean a very good contrast ratio and a low display response time in the microseconds (as far as I know, OLED is the closest we'll get to CRT level response times and contrast ratios for many years ... and having a technology that can actually display black again would be great for Thiefy games).

 

They've also reduced the overall latency and blurring--the IGN article stresses that this was the most significant improvement. From what I've picked up around the web, the devkit rift is ~45ms, this new prototype's latency is 30ms, and they expect to have the first consumer version's latency below 15ms (supposedly <20ms is the "holy grail").

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I am still a little sceptical about the Rift. Don't get me wrong, I am not one of those nay-sayers, but there is a certain downside to the whole concept, which I think will prevent the Rift from booming as much as everyone thinks.

 

A few months ago I paid a visit to the 3d innovation center of the heinrich-hertz-institute in Berlin. They showed a 180 degrees 3d projection, which is really immersive because your whole field of view is filled out with the virtual content. In fact, it was too immersive. After a few minutes I became a little dizzy and had to sit down (please note, I am 27 years old, so this is not a question of age ;) ).

 

After some thinking about it, I found a reasonable explanation for this. You see, having your peripheral vision filled out with virtual content disengages you from your feeling of presence. Your visual system tells you that you move when the camera moves, whereas all your other sensory functions tell you that you're remaining still. You have no point of reference anymore and your brain does not know which sensory functions to trust.This might be a little less severe in the case of games where you have a lot of control over what happens to the camera, but seeing how many people actually throw up from playing with the rift, I think my own observations and reasoning are pretty solid.

 

So in conclusion, the many people like me who cannot handle too much 3d immersion are better of with a regular VR-Headset with lower fov.

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I am still a little sceptical about the Rift. Don't get me wrong, I am not one of those nay-sayers, but there is a certain downside to the whole concept, which I think will prevent the Rift from booming as much as everyone thinks.

 

A few months ago I paid a visit to the 3d innovation center of the heinrich-hertz-institute in Berlin. They showed a 180 degrees 3d projection, which is really immersive because your whole field of view is filled out with the virtual content. In fact, it was too immersive. After a few minutes I became a little dizzy and had to sit down (please note, I am 27 years old, so this is not a question of age ;) ).

 

After some thinking about it, I found a reasonable explanation for this. You see, having your peripheral vision filled out with virtual content disengages you from your feeling of presence. Your visual system tells you that you move when the camera moves, whereas all your other sensory functions tell you that you're remaining still. You have no point of reference anymore and your brain does not know which sensory functions to trust.This might be a little less severe in the case of games where you have a lot of control over what happens to the camera, but seeing how many people actually throw up from playing with the rift, I think my own observations and reasoning are pretty solid.

 

So in conclusion, the many people like me who cannot handle too much 3d immersion are better of with a regular VR-Headset with lower fov.

 

I think that's one of the hardest challenges Oculus is facing. Any bit of inconsistency is noted by your brain and then you feel sick (of course it affects some people more than others). This is the reason why they're putting so much effort into reducing latency--the difference in the experience between 40ms and 20ms is huge; the brain is very sensitive. We can only hope they get it consistent enough to be tolerable.

 

And even if the hardware is optimal, the games will have to be very careful about how they treat the user. Some examples: (1) you're in a racing game and it suddenly freezes up or even just lags a bit; (2) there is a bug with the camera causing it to go wacky; (3) one's ingame head collides with a surface while one's actual head continues to move in that same direction (as if it is penetrating the virtual surface); (4) one falls "through a map" and experiences the all too common visual anomaly; (5) you're playing an online game and--as in the Half Life engine--the admin is permitted to execute commands on your client, perhaps unexpectedly setting your sensitivity to extremely high. There are tons of situations where the inconsistencies could cause one to lose their lunch.

 

Despite my enthusiasm, there is definitely a part of me that doubts whether or not the increased immersion and new possibilities permitted by such technology will be worth the potential discomfort. The only thing I know is that if I ever get one I will have a bucket next to me at all times :)

Edited by woah
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I agree with Rich. People get used to things, I think. As for myself anyway, I remember easing into a VR headset for an extended period... I felt the weird spatial feelings that come with it, but it wasn't exactly queasy and I think I'd get used to it. The real issue I recall is that your eye is focusing on a close-up image, really flexing the lens, so it can strain after a while. But I think that'd just become an issue if you did it for like 10 hour straight. Maybe it's good I'm not playing FPS like I did back in the day where such a stretch wouldn't be unheard of.

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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Usually, lenses are used to make the imagery appear in a bigger distance than the actual display in order to avoid that close-up focusing issue. There are still some other issues related to focusing and eye vergence that all stereoscopic displays exhibit, however.

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I would love to try one of these with the Darkmod, so to that end I emailed tthem!

 

From: b1k3rdude

Sent: 08 January 2014 16:40

To: 'support@oculusvr.com'

Subject: Game & Mod support:

 

Hello

 

I am one of the team members for a project call The Darkmod (TDM), may I ask if there are any TDM players among your team and if so we would love to see an in-game video!

 

Kind regards

 

biker

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Got a reply, so will head over to thier forum to see if anyone is playing or is willing to play our mod :-)

 

Neil (Oculus VR Support)

Jan 08 09:57 AM

Hello,

We are pretty busy working on our product, though you are welcome to inquire with our forum community at:

https://developer.oculusvr.com/forums/

Thanks,

Neil

Oculus VR Support

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http://hardware.slashdot.org/story/14/01/08/1358206/new-oculus-rift-prototype-features-head-tracking-reduced-motion-blur-hd-amoled-display

 

Was about to post this on my status.

 

So if the latency between frames is ~15ms, does that mean that the device will be displaying around 60 FPS? Most newer GPUs should be able to pump out 60 FPS at 1080p... and if you have an older GPU you can just stick to Thief 2, TDM and Oblivion with this...

 

Also I've heard talk of adding Oculus Rift "support" to TDM. Will it be easy? I imagine that the device itself tries to adjust the 1920x1080 image to conform to your field of vision, maybe with some manual adjustment necessary in a control panel. And the movement of the device would translate directly to mouse movement in the case of TDM and many other games.

 

So for TDM to support Oculus, will it have to create a new section in the config file for Oculus FOV-related settings and either a setting that enables Rift to take over mouse movement or automatic detection of the device?

 

Would players go into puke mode if they tilted their Oculus-wrapped face and moved the mouse at the same time?

 

How would you replace left click, right click, and the scrollwheel to rid yourself of the mouse entirely? For scrollwheel I'd go back to '[' and ']' for cycling through the inventory. Maybe "enter" for right click.

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I think disabling the mouse altogether would be more trouble than otherwise--I'd imagine it would be awkward and one would quickly strain their neck (assuming bodily rotation is controlled by rotating one's head to an extremity at the left or right). Instead one would let the mouse control their virtual body's forward facing orientation and use the rift's positional headtracking to allow the freedom of simultaneously orienting one's virtual head. This would be much more natural and would permit interesting combinations (for example, one could run down a hallway and look over their shoulder behind them).

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Just want to point out that there was also a WIP upper body (and optionally full body) tracking suit at CES 2014 called the PrioVR, and it was being demo'd with the older devkit version of the Oculus Rift. It's being developed by YEI technologies. They actually had a kickstarter a while back and it failed, but they plan to try again in February now that their technology is more refined. Below is a video of the suit, but I must warn you that based on the impressions I've read their presentation doesn't seem to do the suit justice.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0881ORh3Cg

 

I've been told that there will be 2 or so more revisions of the hardware before they start the Kickstarter again, and they're working on hand/individual finger tracking but there's nothing to announce on that yet. Here's an impression from someone at CES

 

The folks behind PrioVR had a busy booth all CES, and it was still busy today! I snagged an interview with Paul Yost, head of R&D. After the interview I got to try it! They strapped me into the upper body suit + DK1 Rift, and put me into a simple zombie shooting demo.

The tracking is spot on. each of my arm joints were articulated in game, which allowed me to do things I never experienced in VR before: shrug my shoulders, rotate my shoulder in its socket, make explicit signals with my arms and hands. This opens up exciting possibilities for non-verbal communication in VR. I controlled the game with two Wii Nunchucks that were plugged into a control box on my chest. Sometimes the nunchuck would unplug - the socket had become loose after hundreds of CES users demoing the unit, understandable. The control box was wirelessly communicating with a base connected to a laptop, surprising because of the incredibly low latency. ALL of the sensors stayed with me the entire time - no jitter, no misreads, no confusion. I would like to see a quicker set up, which they are working on. So freaking cool

 

Source: http://www.reddit.co..._day_3_wrap_up/

 

 

I imagine getting one of these suits synced up with an Oculus Rift with headtracking would be an amazing experience.

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I have to say, these full upper body tracking things seem antiquated and complicated for no reason and its funny they're just coming to market.

 

With the state of camera tracking already where it is and the likes of the new Oculus sporting IR LEDs all over it, why would a company not just make a lycra or similar shirt with gloves that has IR reflective dots on it that an IR cam can illuminate and do away with all the wires/motion trackers/straps/acclerometers/etc.

 

Seems like an utter waste of development and money what they're doing in the post above. I'd wager that product never gets to market and if it does will not be popular or cheap or sell many units.

 

The more that can be done solely in software with fast computing resources, the more easily adaptable it is to updates, easier to produce, easier to wear, cheaper to market, etc.

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http://games.slashdot.org/story/14/01/13/2048231/ces-2014-ohio-company-is-bringing-military-grade-motion-sensors-to-gaming

 

According to the above, they are using a sensor setup due to the delays of an optical based system--and I guess the Oculus Rift's head tracking has such low latency due to the white LEDs. But as you say, why not do the same for a full body suit? Aside from the obvious problems with occlusion (which could be a big problem I suppose if you're looking for very good accuracy), the interview notes that this was technology "refitted" from military applications (so they probably didn't start with the idea of creating a full body motion suit, but rather "how can we apply this technology elsewhere?"). Personally I'm all for low latency and higher accuracy even it means I'd have to put on a suit, but I do wonder if they will have any problems with "drift" given they lack the reference point a optical based system provides.

 

 

Also, other news in VR: At Dev Days Valve demo'd its own VR headset prototype. People are saying it's as good (or better according to some comments) than the Oculus Rift "Crystal Cove" prototype. They also said they plan to develop their OS around the use of VR and provide standard interfaces for developers. Perhaps if Valve can get the jump on the other consoles with it, VR could be a major and unique appeal of their OS.

Edited by woah
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  • 1 month later...

I thought this was an interesting and very accessible explanation of some of the challenges with designing, configuring and setting up a VR headset (and it also notes some of the problems that may not have been solved by Oculus yet and the ramifications of them). It covers things like how the anatomy of each user (e.g. eye separation) affects the appearance of the projected image and how to correct for it, the motivation for using curved displays, etc etc. I encourage you to watch it if you're at all curious about this stuff. Only very basic knowledge of computer graphics is necessary.

 

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Fascinating video. I'm glad he said he's unaware whether the Oculus lenses exibit that behavior but at least for me I have a pretty average symmetric face so I should be good to go, which is all I'm concerned about.

 

I can see how that would be a production issue though. I wonder why they just don't add degrations and make the lens itself able to be moved left to right in a holder and affixed for best position. Increases production costs and obviously if they can solve it with software that's the way to go but it seems like an easy problem to solve if you can just move the lenses closer or further apart along the parabola of the frame.

Edited by Lux
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  • 1 month later...

http://www.engadget.com/2014/05/01/zenimax-claims-oculus-stole/

 

Trouble at Oculus.

 

The man who co-created Doom, who co-founded id Software, and who later left id Software for Oculus VR, is being accused by his former employer of taking intellectual property with him to Oculus VR. Lawyers for id Software's parent company, Zenimax Media, sent claims to Oculus VR stating, "It was only through the concerted efforts of Mr. Carmack, using technology developed over many years at, and owned by, ZeniMax, that [Oculus founder] Mr. Luckey was able to transform his garage-based pipe dream into a working reality." The Wall Street Journal obtained copies of the correspondence.
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I'm sure they'll just quickly settle it to get rid of it. That's what FB always does. Throw masses of money at a problem to make it go away.

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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I think its funny that he was one of the founders of id, they sold to Zenimax, and now this happened. I still wish he hadn't sold out and he kept building new game engines for us, the PC community.

--- War does not decide who is right, war decides who is left.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

That is built off the BFG version of the engine, and TDM is built off the SDK version, and IIRC it makes a difference.

But of course since the source is all released anything is possible with enough time & energy.

Maybe someone will take a look.

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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  • 4 weeks later...

Alien: Isolation is a new title coming out in the fall; round abouts October 7, I believe. It is suppose to fully support Oculus.

 

Isn't Oculus suppose to come out this fall as well? Maybe this is a release title? Pure speculation on my part but a good reason to look forward to Oct. 7 for sure.

 

EDIT: Or maybe not.

Edited by Lux
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