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Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Headset Blows Past Kickstarter Goal

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the use-it-with-your-flying-car dept.

Displays 122

Virtual reality headsets have historically been very disappointing. While the concept has been fun and interesting, the technological realities never quite lived up to expectations, and hardware developers largely gave up on research into this kind of device. However, it's been long enough that display technology has caught up to our ambitions. So, where are our VR headsets? Well, hobbyist Palmer Luckey asked that same question, and when he couldn't find a good answer, he decided to build one himself. He and his team have built a prototype, and they just launched a Kickstarter campaign to distribute developer kits. The campaign blew past its $250,000 goal in hours. What's interesting about this particular campaign is that Palmer took the Oculus Rift to various development studios and managed to get enthusiastic endorsements from some big names, including Cliff Bleszinski, Gabe Newell, and John Carmack.

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Another balloon... (0)

stanlyb (1839382) | about 2 years ago | (#40848497)

No, thank you. Don't send me any ads. My eyes are my most precious thing, and i am not going to blow them just to show off.

Re:Another balloon... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40848535)

How exactly this kit is supposed to "blow them"?

Re:Another balloon... (1)

stanlyb (1839382) | about 2 years ago | (#40849723)

Literally. Any high frequency wave is pretty much bad for the eyes. And the effect is cumulative.

The link to Oculus Rift (1)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851343)

http://oculusvr.com/ [oculusvr.com]

I'm afraid it might be Slashdotted soon
 

Re:Another balloon... (1)

durrr (1316311) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851897)

I have some pretty unfortunate news to tell you in regards to the nature of visible light....

So it turns out (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40848509)

that when you publish a kickstarter campaign on HN, Reddit and probably here, too, that it maxes out pretty quickly. Hmmm, who fucking thought?

Re:So it turns out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40848675)

You have to give the guy credit. Regardless of whether the product will actually perform, it has been marketed extremely well.

It looks good, has a catchy name, and has BIG endorsements. It has already gone viral. I would not be surprised to see it blow past $1million before the 30 day deadline.

Re:So it turns out (2)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851209)

I'd say it's more likely to blow past the $1 million mark sometime tomorrow morning.

Finally! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40848517)

Good job, Palmer.

I'll believe it (2, Interesting)

skovnymfe (1671822) | about 2 years ago | (#40848545)

when I see it. Too many times we've been promised the world with super cool VR goggles and helmets and appendages. Also, if I have to go buy a console first, no sale.

Re:I'll believe it (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#40848607)

If it can't be done with today's supply of commodified physically-small-but-high-resolution displays and cheap accelerometers, we might as well just give up and wait for Snow Crash's computers that paint directly on our retinas with lasers...

Re:I'll believe it (2)

kiddygrinder (605598) | about 2 years ago | (#40849189)

they figured out a way to draw on retinas with lasers years ago, wonder why that never caught on.

Re:I'll believe it (2)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about 2 years ago | (#40849587)

I imagine it has to do with painting your retinas with lasers. ;)

Only kidding. I know Brother has been working on retinal imaging displays, and I got the impression the Google glasses might use the same technique.

http://www.brother.com/en/news/2008/rid/ [brother.com]

Re:I'll believe it (1)

GNious (953874) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852647)

Also, if I have to go buy a console first, no sale.

I think there is a console on Kickstarter too, so you can doubly invest in things that aren't guaranteed to move forward!

HAHAHA (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40848609)

I would bet cash money that a lot of the people who pledged on that KS thought they were getting a Rift for their ten bucks. Oh dear.

one person (2)

nazsco (695026) | about 2 years ago | (#40849467)

Carmack is active in the development thread at the vr forum... The kickstater was just a means so he could give money anonymously and also motivate the guy.

Re:one person (3, Insightful)

ThePeices (635180) | about 2 years ago | (#40849997)

If Carmack was giving money anonymously, how do you know it was him?

Re:one person (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40851921)

Yeah...through 2,700 accounts? I mean, is he just spending his time these days creating kickstarter accounts and talking to himself in the comments section? Never mind that he'd have had to have planned this well in advance. Many of those accounts have backed a bunch of projects, and been around for months, if not years.

I'm not a backer myself, partly because I'd feel compelled to actually try to develop a game for the system if I shelled out the $300 for it, partly because I can only wish I had $300 to spare on something like that... Also partially because I'm a bit skeptical of their claims about the device.

Re:HAHAHA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40851877)

The statistics say no. Only 273 people, or about 10% of backers, actually selected the $10 level. So far, about 1650 people have actually pledged at the levels that will get them an actual Oculus Rift. So I'd take that bet, depending, of course, on your definition of 'a lot'. I mean, 273 people is a lot if you get them together in, say, a house, but by virtually any other definition, this can be conclusively declared false.

ugly specs. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40848627)

field of vision seems awesome but the resolution for it is very low 1280x800 (640x800 per eye).
I guess it will be good for driving and flying simulators but not for looking or killing snipers in an FPS.

Re:ugly specs. (1)

narcc (412956) | about 2 years ago | (#40848849)

640x800 should be more than adequate for a game.

Re:ugly specs. (1, Interesting)

Grave (8234) | about 2 years ago | (#40849661)

640x800 seems low, but you're talking about a screen that is half the size (or less) of a modern cell phone - I suspect that, even being only an inch or two from your eye, you won't be making out individual pixels very easily.

Very low angular resolution (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40850457)

You've got it back to front.

640x800 isn't too bad when at arms' length because all those pixels are crammed into a small angular window in the visual field, so the angular equivalent to "DPI" (typically Dots Per Degree, or DPD) within that small field is quite high.

In contrast, when the field of view is a huge 110 degrees as in the Oculus Rift, those 640 horizontal pixels are spread out over a much larger angular field, perhaps 25 times larger or more, so the DPD is 25 times smaller than if those 640 pixels were on a small portable device screen held at arms' length.

The end result will inevitably be highly blocky, unless the consumer device has much higher resolution than these prototypes.

Re:ugly specs. (1)

fractoid (1076465) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852507)

These are my issue with it. First, they're marketing it as "1280x800" but it's not, it's 640x800x2 and that's pretty misleading. Second, that means that (especially with the FoV they're quoting) the horizontal pixel density is going to be very low.

It'll be interesting to see how it stands up to the Sony HMZ-T1...

Re:ugly specs. (1)

justforgetme (1814588) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853043)

I'm sceptical about the resolution as well. Even though I think that the perceived resolution will not be as shabby.
Here's why: Your sight works by comparing the input from both eyes. When You look at the world you do not
effectively perceive the input of each eye separately but a blend of both eyes' inputs.

With that as context the perceived resolution should not be 640x800 but in the range between that and
1280x1600. Obviously there is a lot of extrapolating going on inside everybody's optical perception clusters so
while the input detail will be about 1M pixels the perceived image clarity should be from 0.5M pixels to 2M pixels.
Perception is a very tricky thing. One thing is for sure though even if the device manages to trick your brain into
thinking it sees clearer that it actually does 2M pixels is no where near reality. Still, should be good enough for
games since those do not need the whole reality shebang to be enjoyable.

So... (3, Interesting)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#40848633)

Who else isn't surprised that demand for a more effective reality-attenuator remains robust?

Carmack (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40848657)

Carmack is deeply involved with Oculus. He posts on their forums with his ideas and Oculus runs Doom 3. The guys from the verge got to play with a prototype:

http://www.theverge.com/2012/5/30/3052191/doom-3-bfg-edition-announced-for-the-fall-we-try-it-with-john

This could be a game changer. VR headsets done right.

Re:Carmack (3, Interesting)

nschubach (922175) | about 2 years ago | (#40848869)

What bothers me is that the headset looks like it turns your character based on your head position in the video. It should be like a free look so you can be pointed down a hallway and looking around.

Re:Carmack (1)

EdIII (1114411) | about 2 years ago | (#40849033)

I think that can be fixed and the developer SDK should allow to choose between modes.

Yeah, it would make strafing pretty difficult. More than likely a simple keypress will change how that works in game.

Re:Carmack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40849507)

Keep in mind though if it's doom3 you're talking about, that the targeting reticle is tied to the center of the screen, so if you mouselook it DOES do that normally. I agree though if this takes off more games will need to decouple their targetting reticle from the screen and start having it move independently (so you can finish off that enemy while you're already sweeping for the next kill.)

Re:Carmack (3, Informative)

Jarik C-Bol (894741) | about 2 years ago | (#40850179)

video says that the headset is essentially 'mouse look' with the feet and gun movements operated via the controller.

Re:Carmack (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 2 years ago | (#40850611)

But if you watch the video, you can see the gun follow the head piece, right before he puts it on and even during some of the other scenes. Maybe it's different now (and I hope it is.)

Re:Carmack (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40848971)

I was wondering about an earlier /. story,
http://slashdot.org/story/12/06/06/1934217/john-carmack-is-building-a-virtual-reality-headset

Is this the same project?

Re:Carmack (1)

Tr3vin (1220548) | about 2 years ago | (#40849991)

It isn't the same project but there has been some back and forth between Carmack and the guy behind this device. Carmack has had some hands on time with earlier prototypes and they will be showing them off at QuakeCon but Carmack isn't focusing on a commercially viable VR solution as far as I know. Most of the stuff I have seen from him has been working to improve the technology by reducing latency as much as possible.

Re:Carmack (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 2 years ago | (#40853061)

The latency better be low otherwise a lot of people are going to get motion sickness, headaches etc...

The tragedy was... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40848681)

The most disappointing thing, looking back on the history of the technology, was that virtual reality software was all software rendering, which was obviously terrible, doubly so because stereoscopic 3D needed to render two viewpoints, and processors at the time could barely manage a decent frame rate with only one viewpoint. So people lost interest.Understandably so. The tragedy is that stereoscopic VR helmets faded from the marketplace less than a year (!) before the introduction of the first 3D accelerator cards, which would finally have delivered enough polygons per second to make the technology actually practical.

Re:The tragedy was... (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#40848909)

Except they didn't. I kept my old VFX-1. Later hooked to a VooDoo rush (only 3d accelerated card with a VESA feature connector, pallet bugs keep it running in software anyhow) on a 1GHz CPU. Games for the VFX-1 were designed for 66MHz CPUs.

Even at 200fps VR helmets have been pukey (200 fps was kind of pointless with 60Hz screen refresh). IMHO What's needed is a way of stimulating the inner ear electronically. Until then software needs to be written to minimize the puke factor. Helicopter sims are almost ideal for VR helmet games. Up remains more or less up. Mechwarrior was also good for the same reason.

Also note: I don't get motion sick IRL.

I wish them luck.

Re:The tragedy was... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40849705)

Search through the archives, I believe there either was an article or a conversation in the comments for one about galvanic stimulation of the inner ear (it was used for something more mundane, like helping people with motion sickness, or training/recalibrating people whose inner ear had been damaged.) and they explicitly mentioned the potential it had for solving the nausea effects of VR headsets. This would've been in the '00-'01 era (the discussions at the time mostly centered around descent and whatever that cheap VR headset was from the mid 90s.)

Re:The tragedy was... (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | more than 2 years ago | (#40850799)

That cheap headset was the VFX-1. Descent 2 was a puke fest in VR.

Re:The tragedy was... (1)

Tr3vin (1220548) | about 2 years ago | (#40850033)

As long as you reduce latency and improve tracking you won't be as pukey. Unfortunately, there is only so much you can do in software since most of the delay comes from refreshing the screen and getting the actual tracking information. You can be running at a high of a frequency as you want and won't see any improvements if you still have to wait on the hardware to provide data and display content.

90s (4, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#40848701)

VR goggles have been promised to be the future of computers since the 90s. Since before the internet was a household term, even. And yet time and time again they fail to work. The reason is that our technology just isn't as sophisticated as our eyes. We have hundred megapixel vision, realtime depth perception, motion sensing, and they scan at around 200 frames per second. The amount of information our visual cortex processes and compresses for other parts of our brain make most supercomputers look stupid by comparison.

It took millions of years to develop Human Eyeball v1.0. It's pretty arrogant to assume we'll just write a business proposal and KAZAM! (-_-) But hey, keep trying guys. In another 50 years or so, they might have evolved to the point where people don't get headaches using them.

Re:90s (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40848731)

1.0? More like v29836.232321.91872g

Re:90s (2)

u38cg (607297) | about 2 years ago | (#40848779)

The problem is focus. You're being asked to use your eyes as if things are metres away but the point of focus is centimetres away. It would be possible to fix using microlens arrays but the cost would be an order of magnitude higher and there are still open problems needing solved first.

Re:90s (2)

jensen404 (717086) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851831)

When you adjust the focusing lens in this headset, the apparent distance of the screen will be an infinite distance, not centimeteres. With the low resolution of the screen and the small size of human pupils, there shouldn't be any problems with the focus point being different than the convergence point, except perhaps when an object is simulated as being centimeters from your face.

Re:90s (4, Interesting)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#40848889)

Low enough latency with accurate enough eye tracking might take some of that strain off. Human vision has some interesting quirks [xkcd.com] , and if you focus your rendering power where and when it matters, I'd bet you could make do with a lot less resources. Calling our vision hundreds of megapixels with 200fps just isn't fact. For example, we don't see anything at all when our eyes saccade [wikipedia.org] , the brain stops looking at input while the scenery is still in relative motion. This could be exploited, by only drawing when our eyes are not in saccade (of course you need to analyze relative motion of objects with where the eye is going. Read that wiki link for more on that, particularly the bits talking about fast moving objects. Still more reading here. [wikipedia.org]

Basically, if you can track the eye and perhaps even motor feedback (if we get that far, yea) we can exploit all these eye motions. Drawing the full screen at a full rate all the time is extremely wasteful.

I can't say anything about the motor feedback. Given the recent bionic eye [extremetech.com] work, and brain implants [biotele.com] restoring a facsimile of vision, that might not be as far off as you think. We have basic working eye tracking already and a visor is the ideal environment for such a thing anyway.

Re:90s (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40849029)

Fixed focus. 110 degree field of vision. Less pixels than an eyeball. Lame.

Re:90s (1)

Earl_Parvisjam (2621029) | about 2 years ago | (#40849153)

VR goggles have been promised to be the future of computers since the 90s. Since before the internet was a household term, even. And yet time and time again they fail to work. The reason is that our technology just isn't as sophisticated as our eyes. We have hundred megapixel vision, realtime depth perception, motion sensing, and they scan at around 200 frames per second. The amount of information our visual cortex processes and compresses for other parts of our brain make most supercomputers look stupid by comparison.

It took millions of years to develop Human Eyeball v1.0. It's pretty arrogant to assume we'll just write a business proposal and KAZAM! (-_-) But hey, keep trying guys. In another 50 years or so, they might have evolved to the point where people don't get headaches using them.

We can say the same thing for wireless communicators and look where that's gotten us...

Re:90s (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40849301)

We'll never have technology as sophisticated as nature if we don't try.

Re:90s (1)

Max Threshold (540114) | about 2 years ago | (#40849573)

"In another 50 years or so, they might have evolved to the point where people don't get headaches using them."

And just how do you think that will happen if people don't keep experimenting?

Well they don't have to be as good as eyeballs (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 2 years ago | (#40849649)

However this unit sucks ass because, like all VR goggles that aren't ultra expensive, it is low rez. It is 640x800. Given the large image it will present to the viewer that translates to massive pixels. I've used VR headsets like that and it sucks.

They need to at least be talking resolutions on par with televisions, then there is something to talk about. No it won't be full human eye rez, but then you can give an experience that is "Better than a TV."

There will still be problems, focus being the big one (our 3D perception relies on separation, parallax and focus, these can only do the first two) but at least it'll be something worth looking at.

As it stands you'd probably get a better image just sitting close to a TV.

Low rez goggles are nothing new, I remember some company selling them for years as a "personal TV". Come and let me know when they've got HD at least.

Leap and Tobii (1)

Jacksgotskills (2682165) | more than 2 years ago | (#40850941)

I don't think 640x800 will be a problem. That's per eye for a start and not focusing on a single screen image. Plus this will work differently, it will wrap around your vision.

Really I'd like to see this paired with Tobii eye tracking http://www.tobii.com/ [tobii.com] which looked amazing the last demo I saw on line. You could maybe boost the detail where ever the eye look,s like normal eyes work, but I was thinking more game interaction since you can react and interact faster with something on screen just by looking - they should have this in main stream gaming co op games would really take off - i.e highlight an area of interest to your partner, or attack an enemy, or block an incoming attack, trace a path to use with your eyes. [or look in a direction and press a button to move towards it, movement seem to be the biggest problem this would be quit novel] etc.

Second, paired with Leap http://leapmotion.com/ [leapmotion.com] http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/05/gesture-controls-get-a-huge-boost-with-new-leap-interaction-system/ [wired.com] if one was placed on the headset facing down it could track arm and hand positions.

Then if you could track the headsets location in a room you could design games around an arena with real movement. Now that would be awesome.

You heard it here first.

Re:Leap and Tobii (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40851417)

You beat me to it with the reference to The Leap.

Re:Well they don't have to be as good as eyeballs (1)

jensen404 (717086) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851969)

Focus shouldn't be much too much of an issue until the displays are much higher resolution. The push for very high resolutions by smartphones has made this product possible at a low price. One or two display makers recently showed a a prototype of a screen with double the linear resolution of the one used in the Oculus. Beyond that, it may take a long while for even higher resolutions.

Re:90s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40851673)

In 50 years given the current advancements in many areas of technology we are likely to have simulated reality via nano machines attached to our optic nerve. Plus most of our lives will be living in a virtual world as this reality continues to lose it's meaning, so it's likely we'll solve many issues we face today.

Just saying...

Re:90s (1)

Tom (822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852367)

I actually think this one is promising, for two reasons.

One, it has a narrow focus on gaming. Narrow focus means it can concentrate on getting one thing done right, and gaming means its use case is something you can just stop doing when it becomes uncomfortable. It's not like sitting still and looking at a screen for hours would be specifically healthy.

Two, many of the problems are in areas where we've expanded our knowledge and abilities recently. Yeah, screens are still below the human resolution, but keep in mind that this is only within a small focus area, and the peripheral vision is much lower-resolution. I don't (yet) know how they handle the FOV of 110Â, but if they do it right, they provide a higher resolution in the center, and from the video it seems that could be the case. And the other is motion/head tracking, which has improved constantly over the years, and is important to avoid motion-sickness, which is largely caused by conflicting information about your orientation and position in space that your brain receives from the visual vs. other senses.

With all these kickstarter stories to inspire me (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40848763)

I'm going to come up with my own idea.

So far the only thing I've thought up has been to start a mission to find President Obama's REAL birth certificate.

I'll promise with enough funding to investigate the matter and locate the authentic item in its hidden storage place.

Then when I get enough money, I'll just say "Ah-hah, it's in the Hawaii Hall of Records" (or whatever they call it) and call it a day.

Think I can get that past the screening filters?

Another Kickstarter Slashvertisement? (2, Insightful)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#40848791)

Seriously, do we need a Slashdot story about every piece of Kickstarter vaporware that meets its funding goal? Here's an idea, how about we start running Slashdot stories when something from Kickstarter goes from rendering to shipping actual products. That will cut down stories like these tenfold. Cool ideas are dime a dozen, and it's nice to see these guys met their goal, but going from vision to prototype to product is something Kickstarters have proven to be problematic, especially for people who have no experience in business, product development, sales, and manufacturing.

Re:Another Kickstarter Slashvertisement? (1)

SinGunner (911891) | about 2 years ago | (#40849057)

WTFV and see the biggest names in computer gaming vocalizing their support, then calm your ass down about "slashvertisements".

Re:Another Kickstarter Slashvertisement? (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#40849327)

Vocalizing support and shipping a product are two different things. The only prototype I've seen of this thing is held together with duct tape. Yeah maybe it works and it's cool, but it's a far cry from shipping thousands of working units, especially with $400k in funding.

Which is another worrying point... why did they set their funding goal at $250k? Do they honestly think that is enough? I don't see any indications on their website they have any other financial backing, so Kickstarter looks like their only source. They better hope they keep blowing past that $400k they have now, because they're going to need an order of magnitude more to get thousands of these units out there.

Re:Another Kickstarter Slashvertisement? (1)

SinGunner (911891) | about 2 years ago | (#40849687)

I believe their initial goal is just to get the dev kit (your duct tape version). Maybe they'll add stretch goals now that their initial goal was blown away within hours of posting.

Re:Another Kickstarter Slashvertisement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40851143)

The only prototype I've seen of this thing is held together with duct tape.

What a hurdle. I'm sure that's the only thing they could come up with instead of an easily-replaceable temporary solution allowing them to work on the technical aspects and get to proof-of-concept more easily.
You expect them to make some plastic injection molds just so they can start building interest with their proof-of-concept? The Missing Matter is in your skull.

Re:Another Kickstarter Slashvertisement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40851451)

works and it's cool, but it's a far cry from shipping thousands of working units, especially with $400k in funding.

.

Thank God you weren't responsible for funding the Wright Bros. "....Manned flight, my ass. I told Orville and I told Wilbur- That thing will never fly.

Re:Another Kickstarter Slashvertisement? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40849065)

especially for people who have no experience in business, product development, sales, and manufacturing.

Riiiiiight, John Carmack has none of the above.

Re:Another Kickstarter Slashvertisement? (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | about 2 years ago | (#40849271)

I'm not saying the team behind this doesn't have the chops, maybe they do maybe they don't. But Kickstarter in general has proven to be a place where projects go overbudget and schedules are perpetually pushed back.

All we know about the team behind this project is that it's "led by a number of successful video game veterans and virtual reality visionaries" and "The company was founded by Palmer Luckey and veterans of RedOctane, developers of the acclaimed Guitar Hero series, Scaleform, the #1 user interface software in the gaming, and Gaikai, the cloud gaming company," Okay, they have some gaming industry credendials there, but notice only one name drop, who I've never heard of. Also note John Carmack isn't part of the team, but more or less just endorsed the product.

Re:Another Kickstarter Slashvertisement? (2)

SinGunner (911891) | about 2 years ago | (#40849329)

Fuck Carmack! Gaben STOOD UP and told you to back this. When the man behind the revolution of PC gaming backs something, you need to quit bitching and get in line. Carmack has always been a crackpot, but Gabe has consistently backed the winning horse.

Re:Another Kickstarter Slashvertisement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40851779)

Carmack has always been about holodecks, this is simply the best technology we currently have that can deliver us closer to that experience. So naturally he would back this. Now Gabe on the other hand, he would have heard about this because of Michael Abrash. Last year he started work at Valve and decided he wanted to research head mounted displays, so he got a team going to research this area.

It's that cool to work at valve
http://blogs.valvesoftware.com/abrash/valve-how-i-got-here-what-its-like-and-what-im-doing-2/

Re:Another Kickstarter Slashvertisement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40851157)

I'm not saying the team behind this doesn't have the chops, maybe they do maybe they don't. But Kickstarter in general has proven to be a place where projects go overbudget and schedules are perpetually pushed back.

Which is completely unlike any other entrepreneurial business which is on fucking time and under fucking budget every fucking time. Kickstarter is a cesspool that poisons the eternal success that is small business.

Re:Another Kickstarter Slashvertisement? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40851751)

It's actually one guy who was doing 99% of the work before Carmack stumbled across his work and started the, well deserved imo, hype machine. Palmer is no longer alone in this endeavour and the retail product is all but set in concert for next year. It's suggested it'll be helped by a popular gaming hardware manufacturer who I believe would be Razor given their experimentation habits. I can say with a high degree of confidence this isn't vaporware, whether or not it catches on with the market is another thing altogether.

My interest: I'm an indie developer who's been waiting months for this to hit kickstarter! I've already pre ordered mine and between app gigs I've been designing a game from the ground up to use this. I'm trying to really capture the immersion factor and, being a tad bit insane over design, I'm making sure the game maintains immersion as much as possible.

Re:Another Kickstarter Slashvertisement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40849295)

So when Gabe from Valve talks about Windows 8 and How it's going to suck for the gaming industry, it's ok to talk about it even though Windows 8 isn't out yet. But when the same Gabe is sold on the new Oculus development, and /. runs an article on it which most of us nerds love because it's a cool idea, but it's also not out yet, then it's a dime a dozen vaporware waste. How about you don't click on the story if you don't like kickstarter ideas then. There are 40 stories right now on the font page for you that have nothing to do with kickstarter. The rest of us really enjoy these grass roots projects and ideas geting publicity and hope that they work out.

Re:Another Kickstarter Slashvertisement? (1)

Lemming42 (931274) | more than 2 years ago | (#40850447)

Seriously, do we need a Slashdot story about every piece of Kickstarter vaporware that meets its funding goal?

How can it be vaporware if they've already built and distributed fully-operational prototypes to several individuals/companies?

Carmack's been tweeting about specs and improvements he's been making for months now.

Re:Another Kickstarter Slashvertisement? (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 2 years ago | (#40850653)

I dunno, maybe the same way Duke Nukem Forever was vaporware even though we saw screenshots and sneak previews of it for 14 years. The only images I see of it are renderings, and the only actual video of it I've seen the thing is cobbled together with headphones, Oakley snow goggles, and duct tape.

And where are you seeing these Tweets? The only two Tweets I see by Carmack in the past year regard the Oculus are "I should make it clear that I have no direct ties with Oculus; I endorse it is a wonderful advance in VR tech, but I'm not "backing it"." Tweeted today, and "Michael Abrash from Valve and Palmer Luckey from Oculus will be joining me for a VR/AR Panel discussion at #Quakecon next week." Tweeted last week. Carmack isn't even involved with the development of the product, so how has he been tweeting about improvements he's supposedly making for months now?

Re:Another Kickstarter Slashvertisement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40851113)

You're declaring it "vaporware" (with emphasis) at the point where it only just now initiated fund raising and met its initial goal.
As well as complaining that they have to get from vision to prototype and that interested and involved parties have no business experience.

Seriously, do we need a Slashdot story about every piece of Kickstarter vaporware that meets its funding goal?

Seriously, do we need a new comment thread for every crappy poster that fails to RTFA?

Re:Another Kickstarter Slashvertisement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40851427)

Honestly, yes, we do need a Slashdot story about every Kickstarter project that has produced working prototypes of a technology people have been envisioning for the last two decades. And we certainly need a Slashdot story about every Kickstarter project that has enthusiastic comments from several of the gaming industry's top figures.

Sure, this thing might turn into vaporware, but that doesn't mean I'm not excited to hear about it. People are talking about it, and that makes it News for Nerds.

I'm continually surprised by the number of articles that have highly rated comments complaining that the article wasn't actually interesting enough to post. What's the harm? Most of the articles on Slashdot aren't interesting to me. I don't feel a need to complain; I just don't read them.

Putting our money where our mouths are (4, Insightful)

lordofthechia (598872) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851825)

As a nerd who was heavily into consumer VR headsets and has been disappointed in the offerings available since the 90s, this excites me. Now consider that:

1. People here are highly interested in tech stuff (you know, stuff that matters)
2. Putting something here, to the attention of the 100s of thousands of Slashdot users increases the chances that a project such as this will reach its funding goal and you know, we get the story about it successfully shipping in the next year.
3. They already have a working prototype (must have missed the duct tape) and working software.
4. The developer units (you know if you pledge $300) ship in December.
5. Not all of us are cynical assholes and are willing to chip into other fellow geeks/techies/engineer's dreams.

So excuse us while we get excited over new tech and chip in any way we can to make it happen instead of bitching and moaning about it on a forum.

Now go check to see what things have been made possible via Kickstarter [makeuseof.com] . Even things for all to enjoy [kickstarter.com] .

Re:Another Kickstarter Slashvertisement? (1)

Tom (822) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852347)

From what I've seen in the video, they only want to go to prototype stage at this point in time, and they appear to already have some individual prototypes (no doubt manually assembled, etc.) that they have shown to people to convince them.

Yes, ideas are cheap. Which is why successful kickstarters show more than just the idea, they demonstrate you can pull it off, by showing an early version, a prototype, or whatever you have.

There are many, many kickstarter projects that don't reach their funding goals.

Its sucess depends on... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40848817)

Virtual porn, its as simple as that. It does not matter how much this is if they get some decent virtual porn it will be successful.

Sad a bit but that's life.

The next generation gaming console (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#40848835)

Now we know what we should expect from the next generation. 3D-TV does not do it for me for so many reasons -- TV is expensive, it's not portable and I haven't seen one that really impresses me.

Everything I saw about the kickstart video makes sense. The components needed to make the thing have only recently matured to the point where doing this is not only possible, but easy enough to make it into a consumer product. (You know, "retina displays" low-power, high performance GPUs and all that?)

As far as I was concerned, there WAS to be no "next gen game console." There might have been "next version" devices, but none of the next game consoles would have been a next generation in the sense that they would have offered new technology or new styles of gaming. After the XBox360, the latest playstation and the Wii, anything without a real VR setup will simply be an incremental improvement or, worse, a new way for the console market players to drag in more cash with streaming media and all that.

I can say now, based on this new thing, if the console makers aren't planning to include this technology or technology like it, they will lose.

Let's put it this way: If Sony did this, I would buy a Sony device without hesitation. (Anyone who knows me, knows that I am saying I would betray my own principles to play with this stuff.)

Re:The next generation gaming console (1)

jcgam69 (994690) | about 2 years ago | (#40849461)

Let's put it this way: If Sony did this, I would buy a Sony device without hesitation. (Anyone who knows me, knows that I am saying I would betray my own principles to play with this stuff.)

I have the SONY HMZ-T1 [sony.com] and it is fantastic. I use it with the PC and PS3. I haven't tried connecting a TrackIR but I don't see any reason why it wouldn't work.

Re:The next generation gaming console (1)

erroneus (253617) | about 2 years ago | (#40849911)

Too expensive and resolution is too low but I can see where that would be pretty close. The descriptioin of the device doesn't lead me to believe it will give a wide, surround-vision experience.

Alleged problem with HMZ-T1 and head tracking.. (2)

Junta (36770) | more than 2 years ago | (#40850879)

Carmack covered this, the latency on the HMZ-T1 is extraordinarily high. For movie playback and typical 3d gaming (the controls and results are so disconnected, we don't have such a strong physiological expectation of view moving with our controller input), no big deal. Problematic, however, for head tracking where our systems *really* expect the view and head movements to correlate closely and the lag is noticable.

Been burned before (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40848867)

I made the mistake of spending almost a grand on eMagin's HMD many years ago, which was rendered useless when Nvidia partnered with a new 3D display company and completely dropped support for existing 3D hardware the next year. It was awesome playing F.E.A.R. in 3D and being able to look around in-game, but a grand was a lot of money to play one game.

Re:Been burned before (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#40849025)

I got off cheap. Got the VFX-1 off the local distributor for $400. About a dozen games. Janes ATF. Commanche. Flight Unlimited II. Mechwarrior mercs. Descent 2.

Hooked to a 1GHz machine the games render screaming fast. Been years sense I powered it up though. I might just have to escort Mothra to monster Island one more time in Janes.

Derek Smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40848941)

Oh...my...god.... Derek Smart endorses the thing: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1523379957/oculus-rift-step-into-the-game/comments . Its officially awesome now people!

Re:Derek Smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40851947)

Aww, man!! Why'd he have to go and do something like that? Now I'm culturally obligated to dislike it!

been there done that 17years ago (2)

JustNiz (692889) | about 2 years ago | (#40849031)

Back in 1995, VR gaming had a brief surge.

I had a pair of Virtual i-o I-glasses that had a head tracker and resolution of 640x480 per eye, and cost less than $500 new.

What does Occulus bring to the table that wasnt already tried and failed back then? (in a much neater/lighter glasses-like package too I might add).

No gamer will take Occulus seriously with a resolution of only 640x800 per eye.

Even 17 years ago, my I-glasses with their similarly low res 640x480 seemed too crappy to use seriously, compared to the my monitor with its res of 1280x1024.

These days people are completely used to full HD 1920x1080. its become the defacto bare minimum spec for any kind of gaming display these days.

17 years later from I-glasses, still the best that can be done is 640x800 per eye? If so Occulus is dead in the water. To appeal to hardcore gamers, as a minimum it needs to be up around 1920x1080, if not better.

I'm not in any way associated with this auction but if you just wanna see what I-glasses look like:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/VIRTUAL-I-OS-IGLASSES-THESE-ARE-THE-ORIGINAL-1995-GLASSES-USED-ONLY-TWICE-/200799140740?pt=US_Video_Glasses&hash=item2ec08fbb84#ht_1314wt_1139 [ebay.com]

Re:been there done that 17years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40849445)

You had a monitor displaying 1280x1024 in 1995? Here I thought my monitor back then was cutting edge at 800x600...

Re:been there done that 17years ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40850993)

The standard 1-meg VESA card could support 1024x768 at 256 colors under Windows 3.1! It is, after all, 786432 bytes of memory.

In 1995 people were already buying their 133 MHz Pentiums with 15 inch monitors and 2-meg VESAs which could very well support the 1,310,720 bytes of memory required to run 1280x1024. According to the Omniscient Wiki, VESA 2.0 came out in November 1994 and could support up to 1600x1200.

For context: In 1996 people started buying Voodoo cards (early 3D accelerators from a defunct company called 3dfx). They made the old Tomb Raider less pixelated and worked well with the new 200 MHz Pentiums :)

Do bear in mind that the average person didn't know how to configure their graphics card or never even installed the graphics drivers that came in a floppy with their computer. Or stuck with really old hardware for as long as possible.

Better chance than most. (1)

z3d4r (598419) | about 2 years ago | (#40849045)

Other VR systems have come and gone, most without even registering on the radar.
For the more recent ones, its not because the systems themselves have been lacking. Rather it is the lack of software that utilizes the systems. Developers want people to buy their creations, so they work with what people already have in the way of hardware.

This latest attempt is focusing on getting game developers on board first, and seems to be pulling in some pretty big guns in the industry. If the plan works out, we'll see big name games that players want to play supporting this VR system. If that happens, many gamers will buy the headset.

My only critisism is that for it to be a trully gaming focused system, it needs headphones and microphone too.

Re:Better chance than most. (1)

quintesse (654840) | about 2 years ago | (#40849753)

Well this isn't the consumer model, that will come later and will most likely include headphones, who knows maybe even a mic, but this is probably more to see if the important tech can work out, headphones and mics are not the problem.

Everyone's already bitching.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40849393)

about the resolution specs. The specs that are for the pre-release, developer kit.

This is just a way for them to drum up hype and get input for the consumer model. If you get one and feel it's inadequate contact them. As of right now there will be 1,500+ dev kits out there in December and I'm sure the community will have something to say if something is horribly wrong with it, especially the larger names that are on board with it already.

Resolution... (1)

Bensam123 (1340765) | about 2 years ago | (#40849433)

Check out the resolution, 640x480 per eye and that's like two inches from your eye. You'll find more pixels on a iphone and that you hold two feet away from yourself.

Doesn't seem like something that would be worth it at that resolution. That's downright eye cancer waiting to happen.

I assume the SDK is C++???? (1)

Cutting_Crew (708624) | about 2 years ago | (#40849485)

since i dont see it mentioned.

Re:I assume the SDK is C++???? (1)

NoSleepDemon (1521253) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851909)

Nah it'll be in Javascript like everything is these days.

dumb question time (1)

wierd_w (1375923) | about 2 years ago | (#40849885)

I used to own a vfx-1. I have astigmatism really bad, and different levels of correction are required for each eye. As a consequence I could *NEVER* get a clear image through the HUD, and had eyestrain in under 5 minutes. (That and the 256 color palleted texture mode limitation of the VFC it used. Blech.)

This device looks like it will have similar focus issues.

Now for the stupid questions.

Google's project glass is an augmented reality system. Simply add an occulter in front of the eyes, ad IR illumination inside the occulter so that it can still track eye movements and focus, and use the augmented reality overly projection system to paint the whole image on each eye.

Why can't they do that instead of using LCD displays of such nasty resolutions, with fixed focus optics?

Why should I back occulus instead of waiting for project glass, and doing a fun hardware hack for fun and profit?

Re:dumb question time (1)

jeti (105266) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852857)

Those two are very different devices. The Glass projects a small image above your normal viewing area and tries to not get in the way of your perception of reality. The Rift tries to cover your entire viewing area and replace your perception of reality.

OT: kickstarter (1)

grumpyman (849537) | about 2 years ago | (#40850013)

The project seems pretty cool and exciting but OT, I'm sure many of you feel the same - the kickstarter stuff supposed to be a grassroot project support platform. I'm not sure if many projects have the resource to script and produce such a super slick video that is almost like an info-mercial.

Re:OT: kickstarter (1)

Lando (9348) | more than 2 years ago | (#40850949)

Well, I'd say that's the difference between people that are serious about a project and those that do things as a hobby. I'm not opposed to helping fund something that interests me, whether it be big business or Joe working out of mom's basement. What's really important is funding people that are doing stuff that I am interested in and are serious about the project, not just pulling in cash so they can play with their toys without producing anything or worse yet just trying to get money for nothing. With John and Gabe and others giving testimony about these guys, they are putting their reputations on the table to back these guys. Now, I have a lot of nerd-envy when it comes to Carmack, basically, he's the programmer I look up to, along with Abrash and both of them are on record supporting this device. The video is okay, but their testimony is priceless. Specs are a little low, but I'm going to throw in a few bucks in the hope that every little bit helps.

very successful precendent (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | more than 2 years ago | (#40851691)

The most popular VR headset caught on like wildfire, selling over 4 million units in Japan alone for the game The World...a game which resides inside the fake world created inside another game series called DOT HACK. Sorry, I had to, lol. Any DOT HACK fans out there?
The theory, however, is quite sounds and doesn't feel like some unrealistic projection of the future. I think it was only 2024 or something when even DOT HACK GU allegedly took place. They have fake news stories in the game about people being "public shut-ins" with the VR headsets on outside. They walk around and walk in front of cars and stuff, lol. It's just as good as any professional futurist's best guess (because they hired one) but more realistic seeming because they had to tell a story.

Sorry, I don't get the joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40852103)

Even now there are relatively cheap ($800) FULL HD HMD, why the heck should people fund a low resolution (800x600) project? designed for gamers by gamers?! I guess, if these so called gamers are from the 90's and miss the EGA/VGA resolutions...

Waste of money if you ask me.

Why is this taking so long? (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 2 years ago | (#40852225)

I was at Siggraph in 1998 (in Orlando) and a vendor there (no idea who) had a pretty cool setup: a set of off-the-shelf glasses that were totally reasonably sized, held onto your head with an elastic strap, and on the back was a gyro pack (that they made) that was about 1" x 2" maybe. They had it hooked up to a fast machine running GL Quake and it looked PERFECT. Or, at least, worlds better than some other crappy VR games I had seen where you had a thing the size of a bike helmet that ran at about 5-10 fps.

You could look and aim in Quake faster than you could with a mouse--literally, just as fast as you could (normally) move your head. I don't remember there being any lag at all. You would run and shoot with the keyboard and aim by looking. It was awesome. So why did they never take off? I'm sure they were expensive at the time but a year or two would have made them reasonable, especially back then when a computer that was even halfway decent for gaming started at well over a grand.

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