Subject: General Tech | August 20, 2016 - 05:36 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: mozilla, webvr, Oculus
Earlier this month, the W3C published an Editor's Draft for WebVR 1.0. The specification has not yet been ratified, but the proposal is backed by engineers from Mozilla and Google. It enables the use of VR headsets in the web browser, including all the security required, such as isolating input to a single tab (in case you need to input a password while the HMD is on your face).
Firefox Nightly, as of August 16th, now supports the draft 1.0 specification.
The browser currently supports Oculus CV1 and DK2 on Windows. It does not work with DK1, although Oculus provided backers of that KickStarter with a CV1 anyway, and it does not (yet) support the HTC Vive. It also only deals with the headset itself, not any motion controllers. I guess, if your application requires this functionality, you will need to keep working on native applications for a little while longer.
Subject: Graphics Cards | July 6, 2016 - 05:10 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: VR, Oculus, nvidia, graphics drivers, DiRT Rally
A Game Ready Driver has just launched for DiRT Rally VR. GeForce Drivers 368.69 WHQL increments upon the last release, obviously adding optimizations for DiRT Rally VR, but it also includes a few new SLI profiles (Armored Warfare, Dangerous Golf, iRacing: Motorsport Simulator, Lost Ark, and Tiger Knight) and probably other bug fixes.
The update doesn't yet have a release date, but it should be soon. According to NVIDIA's blog post, it sounds like it will come first to the Oculus Store, but arrive on Steam later this month. I haven't been following the game too heavily, but there doesn't seem to be any announcement about official HTC Vive support that I can find.
You can pick them up at NVIDIA's website or through GeForce Experience. Thankfully, the GeForce Experience 3 Beta seems to pick up on new drivers much quicker than the previous version.
Subject: General Tech | July 2, 2016 - 09:21 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: valve, htc, steam, steamvr, vive, Oculus, oculus rift
According to the Steam Hardware Survey, the HTC Vive is dominating the Oculus Rift by more than a factor of two (0.15% to 0.06%). More-so, its rate of change is also double that of Oculus (0.06% to 0.03%). If these numbers are accurate, this means that the SteamVR is massively overtaking Oculus SDK in terms of both amount and rate of change.
Now the questions are “why?” and “what does that mean?”
The most obvious reason, to me, is that HTC has much better availability than Oculus. For the last month, they announced that the Vive ships within two-to-three business days. If you look at Oculus? The website tells you to expect it in August. It is currently the second day of July. While a month is not too long of a time to wait, it would make sense that a consumer would look at the two options and say “Yeah, the this week one, please.”
If that's the case, then the platform battle could be decided simply by retail availability. It wouldn't be decided by a Valve-developed first-party game. It wouldn't be decided by DRM locking games into an exclusive deal. It would simply be decided by “you can buy this one”. That is, unless Oculus ramps up production soon. At that point, we'll need to look back at hardware surveys (not just Steam's) and see what the split is. They could catch up. They could be left behind. Who knows? It could be another factor altogether.
For now, the Vive seems like it's the crowd favorite.
Subject: Displays | June 25, 2016 - 02:23 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: valve, oculus rift, Oculus, htc vive
Facebook has disabled their software check that prevents Oculus Store games from running without an Oculus Rift being connected. Further, Motherboard has directly quoted an Oculus spokesperson as saying “We won't use hardware checks as part of DRM on PC in the future”. This check prevented these games from running on the HTC Vive using the user-created tool, Revive, until the creator of Revive disabled the DRM in response.
Oculus will continue to develop their DRM itself, of course. They have also been approaching developers to make Oculus-exclusive content, and I expect that will continue. This is where we get into a little bit of a debate that has been brewing online. Some believe that, due to the size of the potential market, exclusivity could bring content to life that otherwise would not be viable. While that does have some merit to muse over, I cannot see how that would be any better (for society) than all the platform holders pitching in to an open incubation fund. This way, art will not locked away unless it absolutely requires a specific feature that some platforms cannot provide, and consumers will have a larger pool of content to justify the initial purchase.
That topic aside, Oculus has not pledged that they won't interfere with third-parties that want to support Oculus-exclusive titles on other headsets. A hardware check will not be involved, now or in the future, though.
Subject: General Tech | April 7, 2016 - 02:47 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: VR, vive, video, tesla p100, steamvr, Spectre 13.3, rift, podcast, perfmon, pascal, Oculus, nvidia, htc, hp, GP100, Bristol Ridge, APU, amd
PC Perspective Podcast #394 - 04/07/2016
Join us this week as we discuss measuring VR Performance, NVIDIA's Pascal GP100, Bristol Ridge APUs and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the Store (audio only)
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader (audio only)
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
This episode of the PC Perspective Podcast is sponsored by Lenovo!
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano
Program length: 1:32:19
Week in Review:
0:46:25 This week’s podcast is brought to you by Casper. Use code PCPER at checkout for $50 towards your order!
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Subject: General Tech | April 4, 2016 - 01:35 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: Privacy, rift, Oculus, facebook
As expected, Facebook has added some questionable features to the Oculus Rift and if any of it surprises you then you haven't been paying attention. The Register went through it to pull out a variety of terms than many may find questionable. Your usage will be tracked while you are using the headset and just like Facebook and many other social media apps it will use the data collected for targeted advertising. There does not seem to be any incognito mode, so think twice before using the Rift for certain applications unless you want some interesting adverts showing up on your Facebook page.
A Slashdot post points out a different concern for content creators, if you use the Oculus to create something original then while Oculus can't claim to own it, it can use it without your consent and without having to pay you for for using it. Again, this should not be surprising but if you weren't aware of the possibility, you should consider these T&C's before picking the Rift.
"THOSE OF a weak disposition should look away. News has reached us that face fun virtual reality machine, and eye of Facebook, the Oculus Rift has features that track things that people do, and use the information for the purposes of advertising."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Winbond, C-Media enter Oculus supply chain, says report @ DigiTimes
- Boosty uses mobile signal to improve shonky broadband connections @ The Inquirer
- Top Firefox extensions can hide silent malware using easy pre-fab tool @ The Register
- Microsoft lures top Linux exec from Oracle to Redmond @ The Register
- Doogee S1 Smartwatch @ TechARP
- NikKTech & Scythe Keep It Cool EU Giveaway
Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | March 28, 2016 - 11:24 PM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: pcper, hardware, technology, review, Oculus, rift, Kickstarter, nvidia, geforce, GTX 980 Ti
It's Oculus Rift launch day and the team and I spent the afternoon setting up the Rift, running through a set of game play environments and getting some good first impressions on performance, experience and more. Oh, and we entered a green screen into the mix today as well.
Subject: Editorial | March 28, 2016 - 08:44 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: windows 10, Oculus, microsoft
— Tim Sweeney (@TimSweeneyEpic) March 28, 2016
... and so am I.
When you develop software, you will always be reliant upon platforms. You use their interfaces to make your hardware do stuff. People who maintain these will almost always do so with certain conditions. In iOS's case, you must have all of your content certified by Apple before it can be installed. In Linux's case, if you make any changes to the platform and distribute them, you need to also release what those changes are.
Sometimes, they are enforced with copyright law. Recently, some platform vendors use chains of trust with strong, mathematical keys. This means that, unless Apple, Microsoft, Oculus, or whoever else made a mistake, members of society can be entirely locked out of creating and installing content.
This has pros and cons.
On the one hand, it can be used to revoke malware authors, scammers, and so forth. These platforms, being more compact, are usually easier to develop for, and might even be portable across deeper platforms, like x86 or ARM.
On the other hand, it can be used to revoke anything else. Imagine that you live in a jurisdiction where the government wants to ban encryption software. Imagine you live in a jurisdiction where the government wants to ban art featuring characters who are LGBT. Imagine you just want to use your hardware in a way that the vendor does not support, such as our attempts to measure UWP application performance.
We need to be extra careful when dealing with good intentions. These are the situations where people will ignore potential abuses because they are blinded by their justifications. This should not be taken lightly, because when you build something, you build it for everyone to use and abuse, intentionally, or even blinded by their own justifications, which often oppose yours.
For art and continued usability, Microsoft, Oculus, and everyone else needs to ensure that their platforms cannot be abused. They are not a government, and they have no legal requirement to grant users free expression, but these choices can have genuine harm. As owners of platforms, you should respect the power that your platform enables society to wield, and implement safeguards so that you can continue to provide it going forward.
Subject: Graphics Cards | March 28, 2016 - 10:20 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: vive, valve, steamvr, rift, Oculus, nvidia, htc, amd
As the first Oculus Rift retail units begin hitting hands in the US and abroad, both AMD and NVIDIA have released new drivers to help gamers ease into the world of VR gaming.
Up first is AMD, with Radeon Software Crimson Edition 16.3.2. It adds support for Oculus SDK v1.3 and the Radeon Pro Duo...for all none of you that have that product in your hands. AMD claims that this driver will offer "the most stable and compatible driver for developing VR experiences on the Rift to-date." AMD tells us that the latest implementation of LiquidVR features in the software help the SDKs and VR games at release take better advantage of AMD Radeon GPUs. This includes capabilities like asynchronous shaders (which AMD thinks should be capitalized for some reason??) and Quick Response Queue (which I think refers to the ability to process without context change penalties) to help Oculus implement Asynchronous Timewarp.
NVIDIA's release is a bit more substantial, with GeForce Game Ready 364.72 WHQL drivers adding support for the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and improvements for Dark Souls III, Killer Instinct, Paragon early access and even Quantum Break.
For the optimum experience when using the Oculus Rift, and when playing the thirty games launching alongside the headset, upgrade to today's VR-optimized Game Ready driver. Whether you're playing Chronos, Elite Dangerous, EVE: Valkyrie, or any of the other VR titles, you'll want our latest driver to minimize latency, improve performance, and add support for our newest VRWorks features that further enhance your experience.
Today's Game Ready driver also supports the HTC Vive Virtual Reality headset, which launches next week. As with the Oculus Rift, our new driver optimizes and improves the experience, and adds support for the latest Virtual Reality-enhancing technology.
Good to see both GPU vendors giving us new drivers for the release of the Oculus Rift...let's hope it pans out well and the response from the first buyers is positive!
A system worthy of VR!
Early this year I started getting request after request for hardware suggestions for upcoming PC builds for VR. The excitement surrounding the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive has caught fire across all spectrums of technology, from PC enthusiasts to gaming enthusiasts to just those of you interested in a technology that has been "right around the corner" for decades. The requests for build suggestions spanned our normal readership as well as those that had previously only focused on console gaming, and thus the need for a selection of build guides began.
I launched build guides for $900 and $1500 price points earlier in the week, but today we look at the flagship option, targeting a budget of $2500. Though this is a pricey system that should not be undertaken lightly, it is far from a "crazy expensive" build with multiple GPUs, multiple CPUs or high dollar items unnecessary for gaming and VR.
With that in mind, let's jump right into the information you are looking for: the components we recommend.
|VR Build Guide
$2500 Spring 2016
|Component||Amazon.com Link||B&H Photo Link|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-5930K||$527||$578|
|Motherboard||ASUS X99-A USB 3.1||$264||$259|
|Memory||Corsair Dominator Platinum 16GB DDR4-3000||$169|
|Graphics Card||ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Ti STRIX||$659||$669|
|Storage||512GB Samsung 950 Pro
Western Digital Red 4TB
|Power Supply||Corsair HX750i Platinum||$144||$149|
|CPU Cooler||Corsair H100i v2||$107||$107|
|Case||Corsair Carbide 600C||$149||$141|
|Total Price||Full cart - $2,519|
For those of you interested in a bit more detail on the why of the parts selection, rather than just the what, I have some additional information for you.
Unlike the previous two builds that used Intel's consumer Skylake processors, our $2500 build moves to the Haswell-E platform, an enthusiast design that comes from the realm of workstation products. The Core i7-5930K is a 6-core processor with HyperThreading, allowing for 12 addressable threads. Though we are targeting this machine for VR gaming, the move to this processor will mean better performance for other tasks as well including video encoding, photo editing and more. It's unlocked too - so if you want to stretch that clock speed up via overclocking, you have the flexibility for that.
Update: Several people have pointed out that the Core i7-5820K is a very similar processor to the 5930K, with a $100-150 price advantage. It's another great option if you are looking to save a bit more money, and you don't expect to want/need the additional PCI Express lanes the 5930K offers (40 lanes versus 28 lanes).
With the transition to Haswell-E we have an ASUS X99-A USB 3.1 motherboard. This board is the first in our VR builds to support not just 2-Way SLI and CrossFire but 3-Way as well if we find that VR games and engines are able to consistently and properly integrate support for multi-GPU. This recently updated board from ASUS includes USB 3.1 support as you can tell from the name, includes 8 slots for DDR4 memory and offers enough PCIe lanes for expansion in all directions.
Looking to build a PC for the very first time, or need a refresher? You can find our recent step-by-step build videos to help you through the process right here!!
For our graphics card we have gone with the ASUS GeForce GTX 980 Ti Strix. The 980 Ti is the fastest single GPU solution on the market today and with 6GB of memory on-board should be able to handle anything that VR can toss at it. In terms of compute performance the 980 Ti is more than 40% faster than the GTX 980, the GPU used in our $1500 solution. The Strix integration uses a custom cooler that performs much better than the stock solution and is quieter.