Subject: Displays, Shows and Expos | June 12, 2013 - 05:24 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: Oculus, oculus rift, VR, E3
I have been a big proponent of the Oculus Rift and its move into the world of consumer-ready VR (virtual reality) technology. I saw it for the first time at Quakecon 2012 where Palmer Luckey and John Carmack sat on stage and addressed the new direction. Since then we saw it at CES and finally got in our own developer kit last month for some extended hands-on.
While I have definitely been impressed with the Rift in nearly every way while using it, the first thing anyone says when putting on the headset for the first time is about the graphics - the resolution of the unit was just too low and it creates a "screen door" effect because of it. As I wrote in my first preview:
I will say that the low resolution is definitely a barrier for me. Each eye is only seeing a 640x800 resolution in this version of the kit and that close up you can definitely see each pixel. Even worse, this creates a screen door effect that is basically like looking through a window with a screen installed. It's not great but you could get used to it if you had to; I am just hoping the higher resolution version of this kit is closer.
At E3 2013 the team at Oculus was able to put together a very early prototype of an HD version of the screen. By using a new 1920x1080 display each eye is able to see 960x1080; roughly twice the pixel density of the initial developer kit.
I got to spend some time with the higher resolution model today and I have to say that the difference is striking - and instantly noticeable. Gone was the obvious screen door effect and I was able to focus purely on the content. The content itself was new as well - Oculus and Epic were showing the Unreal Engine 4 integration with a custom version of the Elemental demo. The colors were crisp, the effects were amazing and only in a couple of rare instances of solid white color did we notice the black lines that plagued the first version.
As of now Oculus doesn't have plans to offer an updated developer kit with the 1080p screen installed but you just never know. They are still looking at several different phone screens and haven't made any final decisions on which direction to go but they are definitely close.
When I inquired about improvements on head tracking latency and accuracy to aid in motion sickness concerns (like I seem to have) Oculus was hesitant to say there was any single fix. Instead, a combination of lower latency, better hardware and even better thought out content were key to reducing these effects in gamers.
Subject: General Tech | May 2, 2013 - 11:59 AM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, Indiegogo, corair, obsidian, 350d, mATX, frame rating, 4k, titan, 7990, 690, Oculus, rift, VR, 3d, amd, amd fx, vishera, hUMA, hsa
PC Perspective Podcast #249 - 05/02/2013
Join us this week as we discuss the Corsair 350D, Frame Rating in 4K, the Oculus Rift and more!
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Hosts: Josh Walrath, Allyn Malventano, Scott Michaud and Morry Teitelman
Program length: 1:04:02
Week in Review:
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Our first thoughts and impressions
Since first hearing about the Kickstarter project that raised nearly 2.5 million dollars from over 9,500 contributors, I have eagerly been awaiting the arrival of my Oculus Rift development kit. Not because I plan on quitting the hardware review business to start working on a new 3D, VR-ready gaming project but just because as a technology enthusiast I need to see the new, fun gadgets and what they might mean for the future of gaming.
I have read other user's accounts of their time with the Oculus Rift, including a great write up in a Q&A form Ben Kuchera over at Penny Arcade Report, but I needed my own hands-on time with the consumer-oriented VR (virtual reality) product. Having tried it for very short periods of time at both Quakecon 2012 and CES 2013 (less than 5 minutes) I wanted to see how it performed and more importantly, how my body reacted to it.
I don't consider myself a person that gets motion sick. Really, I don't. I fly all the time, sit in the back of busses, ride roller coasters, watch 3D movies and play fast-paced PC games on large screens. The only instances I tend to get any kind of unease with motion is on what I call "roundy-round" rides, the kind that simply go in circles over and over. Think about something like this, The Scrambler, or the Teacups at Disney World. How would I react to time with the Oculus Rift, this was my biggest fear...
For now I don't want to get into the politics of the Rift, how John Carmack was initially a huge proponent of the project then backed off on how close we might be the higher-quality consumer version of the device. We'll cover those aspects in a future story. For now I only had time for some first impressions.
Watch the video above for a walk through of the development kit as well as some of the demos, as best can be demonstrated in a 2D plane!
Subject: General Tech, Displays | November 28, 2012 - 05:07 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: oculus rift, Oculus
When John Carmack, Gabe Newell, and the former designer formerly known as CliffyB endorse something, it holds more clout than your typical Kickstarter project.
The Oculus Rift is a set of VR-style glasses which enclose two screens with one for each eye. You are able to track head movement to look around. You are able to see in 3D without a loss of contrast or vibrancy or otherwise introduce visual artifacts -- provided it lives up to the hype and testimony.
The Oculus was originally expected to ship at some point in December although backers just received contact by email (I have been unable to find a linkable source as of publishing) that first shipments will be available in March.
Apparently the original 5.6” LCD displays that were used for the prototypes have been discontinued by their manufacturer. The new display performs better than the original but adds an extra 30 grams of weight.
Oculus also decided to design their own VR sensors to track head motion. The new sensor polls 1000 times per second and adds a magnetometer, likely to be utilized as a compass, alongside the accelerometer and gyroscope found on the original prototype. I am not too certain how that will affect much of the core functionality but should allow for some interesting side projects.
If you held out through the duration of the Kickstarter funding period, the Oculus is available for pre-order with those units expected to ship in April.
3+ Hours of discussion later...
The beginning of QuakeCon is always started by several hours of John Carmack talking about very technical things. This two hour keynote typically runs into the three to four hour range, and it was no different this time. John certainly has the gift of gab when it comes to his projects, but unlike others his gab is chock full of useful information, often quite beyond the understanding of those in the audience.
The first topic of discussion was that of last year’s Rage launch. John was quite apologetic about how it went, especially in terms of PC support. For a good portion of users out there, it simply would not work due to driver issues on the AMD side. The amount of lessons they learned from Rage were tremendous. iD simply cannot afford to release two games in one decade. Rage took some six plus years of development. Consider that Doom 3 was released in 2004, and we did not see Rage until Fall 2011. The technology in Rage is a big step up due to the use of iD Tech 5, and the art assets of the title are very impressive.
iD also made some big mistakes in how they have marketed the title. Many people were assuming that it would be a title more in line with Bethesda’s Fallout 3 with a lot of RPG type missions and storyline. Instead of a 80 hour title that one would expect, it was a 10+ hour action title. So marketing needs to create a better representation of what the game entails. They also need to stay a bit more focused on what they will be delivering, and be able to do so in a timely manner.
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