Subject: General Tech | April 22, 2017 - 02:37 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Oculus, oculus rift
Oculus has updated their Oculus App to version 1.14. This release has two noteworthy features: full support for 360-degree tracking with three sensors, and the Touch controller can now be used with some, but not all, games that were previously gamepad-exclusive. For the latter, you will need to check with each specific game in the Oculus store, where it will be listed with a “Touch (as gamepad)” tag.
As for the former, Oculus has been allowing 2- (like the Vive) and 3-sensor setups for 360-degree tracking for a while, but experimentally. They have apparently settled on the three-sensor setup for final support, though. According to their documentation, they recommend that two of the sensors are plugged into USB 3.0 or higher, while leaving the third on USB 2. Specifically, the USB 2-connected sensor will be the one behind the user, with the two USB 3.0 sensors sitting out in front; to visualize this, imagine stereo speakers sitting on either side of your TV, with only one surround sound speaker behind the user. It will be interesting to see how Oculus two-sensor, Oculus three-sensor, and Vive two-sensor compares, especially since the last two are (in the case of Oculus, now) officially supported, but the first one isn’t.
While I don’t currently have a Rift, Oculus apparently delivers updates on a staggered schedule. Don’t be surprised if your system isn’t pushed to the new version immediately.
Subject: General Tech | October 7, 2016 - 01:56 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: oculus rift
The Rift just got a lot more expensive to set up for those of you who prefer it to the Vive. The kit has expanded its requirements and prices for those who would like the ability to move around in VR and those who want something more accurate than the basic remote. To upgrade your remote is $199 and the additional sensor to track your body movement is $79. While that is not too bad as they are additional features it seems that Oculus had the incredibly bad taste to use a proprietary audio connector. That means if you want upgraded audio that is receiving from the same source as your video you need to fork over an additional $49. As The Register points out, this is somewhat more than the originally quoted $350 price tag for a functional VR headset.
"It's bad enough that the basic system costs $599 – almost double the expected price of $350. Today, the Facebook-owned biz revealed a range of accessories that will push its cost even higher."
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Never explain, never apologize: Microsoft silent on Outlook.com email server grief @ The Register
- Radeon Vulkan Driver Added To Mesa, Fresh Radeon Vulkan vs. OpenGL Benchmarks + AMDGPU-PRO @ Phoronix
- The FBI wants to unlock another iPhone and is making big deal out of it @ The Inquirer
- Kaby Lake and VR to push PC market to growth in 2017 @ The Inquirer
Subject: Systems | September 1, 2016 - 05:43 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: system build, htc vive, oculus rift, VR
Over at The Tech Report is a new build log, taking you through the steps of building a VR Ready machine. The intent is to build a machine capable of giving you very good performance on a Rift or Vive, while leaving you with enough money to purchase said headset and accoutrements. If money is no object then by all means pick up a couple of Titans or 1080s, but you don't necessarily need to. As with our guides the components included are to give you a guide as to what you will need, if you have a preferred vendor you can substitute all you desire.
"The arrival of Oculus' Rift and HTC's Vive VR headsets is as good an occasion as any to build a brand-new PC, so we tapped MSI and Corsair to help us assemble a system worthy of those headsets' stiff system requirements. See how it all came together in our build log."
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- Titan X Pascal SLI at 5K @ Kitguru
- Shuttle XPC Cube SZ170R8 w/ i5-6600K @ techPowerUp
- Shuttle SH110R4 Mini PC barebones @ Kitguru
Subject: General Tech | July 21, 2016 - 01:02 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: rx 460, polaris 11, oculus rift, amd
TechARP spotting something unexpected at the Radeon RX 480 launch in Malaysia, a Radeon RX 460. One suspects that the picture below does not represent its final form but it does give you an idea of the dimensions and the outputs which seem to include DVI, DP and HDMI. TechARP were given some of the specs of this AMD Polaris 11 GPU based card, 14 Compute Units, 2 GB of GDDR5 memory on a 128-bit memory bus.
The biggest takeaway is what AMD was doing with it, this was powering an Oculus Rift VR demo so it is safe to say this card meets at least the minimum specs for the headset. Drop by for more pictures and a video.
"We just stumbled upon an actual Radeon RX 460 graphics card. AMD was using it to power a virtual reality demo on an Oculus VR headset. That was our first encounter with the Radeon RX 460, so we had to take off the perspex cover to take a closer look!"
Here is some more Tech News from around the web:
- Microsoft ordered to fix 'excessively intrusive, insecure' Windows 10 @ The Register
- Microsoft tweaks TCP stack in Windows Server and Windows 10 @ The Register
- Making Graphene More Practical @ Hack a Day
- Verizon Begins Charging a Fee Just to Use an Older Router @ Slashdot
- Gorilla Glass 5 promises to survive selfie-height drops - most of the time @ The Inquirer
- Digitimes Research: SoftBank chairman overoptimistic about benefits from acquiring ARM
- Really Scary Telecoms Stuff? Nah – telephony's just an app @ The Register
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 | March 31, 2016 - 01:17 PM | Ken Addison
Tagged: podcast, video, VR, htc vive, oculus rift, vive pre, evga, SC17, logitech, g900, phil spencer, uwp, asus, echelon, gtx 950, acer, Predator, z850
PC Perspective Podcast #393 - 03/31/2016
Join us this week as we discuss the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, EVGA SC17 Notebook, UWP games and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
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Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, and Josh Walrath
Program length: 1:37:33
Week in Review:
0:45:10 This episode of PC Perspective Podcast is brought to you by Braintree. Even the best mobile app won’t work without the right payments API. That’s where the Braintree v.0 SDK comes in. One amazingly simple integration gives you every way to pay. Try out the sandbox and see for yourself at braintreepayments.com/pcper
0:57:35 EVGA 650W GQ Power Supply Review
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Ryan: Heat shrink tubing
Subject: Displays, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2016 - 05:04 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Oculus, oculus rift, oculus touch, CES, CES 2016
Oculus has finally announced that the Rift will launch on March 28th for $599 USD. If you were an original backer on Kickstarter, then this kit will be given to you for free. DK2 purchasers do not receive this gift, but I guess the company was relatively established by that point. Pre-orders have now opened, although the kit will be available (albeit at “limited locations”) through typical retail channels in April. Finally, making good on their “$1500” announcement earlier this year, systems that meet the minimum requirements, and bundle the Oculus Rift, will be available for pre-order that start at $1499.
Okay, so let's unpack this.
The elephant in the room is the price. It's steep. If you are even moderately patient, you can pick up a GeForce 980 Ti for the same amount. (As I write this, I'm looking at a Gigabyte 980 Ti with a custom cooler for $599.99 on Amazon.) For that price, you get the headset (with its two 1080x1200 OLED screens, microphone, and headphones), an Xbox One controller, a sensor, and a newly-announced Oculus Remote. You cannot purchase the Oculus Rift without an Xbox One controller, which is unfortunate for current owners of Xbox One controllers.
Who has two thumbs and bought an Xbox One Elite controller? This guy.
The benefit of including a (regular) Xbox One controller is that Oculus Rift developers can rely on each customer having access to a solid PC gamepad. Without it, some percentage of users might (and when you deal with large sample spaces, probability increasingly becomes a distribution) have just a mouse and keyboard. I'd also expect that Microsoft would provide them a bit of a discount for at least the volume, with the ties between Microsoft and Facebook possibly coming into play, too.
Unlike the HTC Vive, the Oculus Rift will not ship with its motion controller (called the “Oculus Touch”). That will be delayed until later in the year, which also means that some fraction of the user base will never have it. This is a concern for cross-compatibility between the Rift and the Vive, but not nearly as bad as it would have been if Oculus didn't have any motion control option at all. Developers would be looking at a “release on both Wii and PS2” situation, only with a (likely) much smaller install base.
And a final point: What about the other uses of Oculus?
The Oculus Remote controls the interface and media.
This announcement is gaming-centric, to say the very least. Oculus has said that the Rift is “primarily a gaming device” and, apparently, Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus, strongly believes in gaming for the device. In my opinion though, it could be very useful, especially in professional applications. If the OLED screens have sufficient color and resolution, then desktop space becomes infinite. You don't need an additional monitor to map additional virtual space to your environment. While that's probably not something that Facebook could do alone, they could encourage the parties who influence these decisions with tech demos, peripherals, and so forth.
They still don't seem to be. This could be a concern since their primary competitors, Microsoft and even Valve/HTC, already have non-zero amounts of progress in that space. I'd be curious to hear whether they have any plans at all moving forward, even if those plans are to be reactionary.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: General Tech | December 31, 2015 - 07:49 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: Oculus, oculus rift, oculus touch, vive vr
Valve and Oculus are targeting roughly the same window to release the consumer editions of their respective VR equipment. While technical information will likely wait until next week, we are hearing about delays ahead of CES. In the Vive's case, they couldn't afford to wait until the show, because it was supposed to launch in Holiday 2015. That has been revised to April.
But this is about Oculus. Their headset is still expected to arrive on time, which is enough for many experiences. The Xbox One controller is supposedly the default for this platform. This puts them out of the running for motion-control software, as seen on the Vive, though. Oculus is developing their own, called the Oculus Touch. They said they were launching without it and that it is optional. We now know that this will be in the second half of the year, which could be as early as the “few months after the Rift” as we were told, or as late as a year from now.
We're already hearing concerns about incompatibility between the two systems, since it will lead to some level of platform-exclusivity. Lead time could help a platform gain ground, unless consumers outright refuse to buy in to any of them in case it ends up being the Betamax or HD-DVD. I'm not sure what we, as consumers, can do to prevent any of these negative outcomes, but it's something we need to be mindful of, especially throughout 2016.
Subject: General Tech, Displays | August 13, 2015 - 06:51 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
availability of the beta version of their GameWorks VR. As mentioned on this podcast, until now your GPU has treated the Oculus as a secondary monitor but with this update your graphics driver will directly talk to the Oculus as a separate device, which should help greatly with latency and development of the tricks and treats yet to be discovered when programming for this type of interface.
Tagged: nvidia, oculus rift, gameworks vr
NVIDIA's Gameworks VR, as well as AMD's LiquidVR will provide a platform for developers to program for the Oculus Rift as well as the competeing products from other companies. The new beta SDK from NVIDIA has been updated to support VR SLI and is compatible with the new 350.60 Game Ready drivers. Programmers working with the Maxwell architecture will benefit from Multi-Res Shading which should increase the performance of your current programs. Follow the links if you are interested in developing for Oculus, otherwise wait patiently for the day you can pre-order them.