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Oculus Rift Raises Another $16 Million

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the all-about-the-benjamins dept.

Displays 104

Craefter writes "It seems that the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset caught the attention of investors after its showing at E3 this year. Spark Capital and Matrix Partners were able to push $16 million at Oculus VR in the hopes that the product will live up to the hype. The HD unit looks a bit more slick than the ski-goggles-with-a-tablet-glued-to-it prototype, but the device would look even more appealing if the next-gen consoles would commit to supporting it. (We all know how well the PS3's 'wave-stick' did as an afterthought.) That said, major titles like the 9-year-old Half-Life 2 and the 6-year-old Team Fortress 2 are getting full support for the device. Hopefully some developers are looking into support for the Oculus Rift as a launch feature, rather than an addition years after the fact. IA bit like the EAX standard from Soundblaster. That worked out well too."

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Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (2, Interesting)

Sonny Yatsen (603655) | about a year ago | (#44044395)

I am really looking forward to the Oculus' public release, but I really hope they fix the lag in head tracking that results in motion sickness or dizziness in the users. As a guy who used to get nauseous after a few hours of Duke Nukem or Doom, that'd be a pretty major negative in determining whether I will buy one or not.

Also, I'm glad we've finally hit Johnny Mnemonic levels of tech in real life. Bring on the talking dolphins.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44044485)

A lot of games solve this with a crosshair pip you can focus on, kind of like an artificial horizon.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (1)

sanman2 (928866) | about a year ago | (#44045767)

Meh, probably the next generation of youngsters who will grow up with their eyeballs glued to VR headsets will overcome the problem. It'll only be us old-timers who feel the motion sickness then.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44048375)

Cars, planes, boats, video games, whatever...bring it on, I can handle anything. Motion sickness only affects weak people.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (3, Insightful)

Alejux (2800513) | about a year ago | (#44044489)

There are a lot of things that will help reducing motion sickness. One of the main ones is perfect tracking, which means both low latency and positional tracking. These are two things that will likely be solved for the consumer version. Another thing that will help a lot, is related to the content you'll play. Games that have very unrealistic motion (I.E. super fast running and jumping) will tend to induce more sickness, while others that have more realistic motion, will be less likely to. Also, from what I've been hearing, the more you get used to the experience, the less likely you are to get sick. I've seen some people create an immunity to sickness after the the first 2 or 3 days using it.

One word: Dramamine (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about a year ago | (#44048925)

Since motion sickness pre-exists VR there are also pre-existing solutions. If it's cool enough I predict a sharp spike in the sale of motion sickness pills, shortly to be followed with a surge in our understanding of the health effects of prolonged acute usage.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (2)

Trepidity (597) | about a year ago | (#44044549)

Although I agree, your comparison,

As a guy who used to get nauseous after a few hours of Duke Nukem or Doom, that'd be a pretty major negative

...suggests that it may not be a big issue for sales, since Duke Nukem and Doom were not exactly commercial failures over the motion-sickness issue.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (2)

backslashdot (95548) | about a year ago | (#44044575)

Have you tried the Rift? The kickstarter dev version has low latency .. it's not a problem at all at least for me and a few others I know who tried it.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (1)

durrr (1316311) | about a year ago | (#44044815)

There's a difference between trying it in some of the leisurely demo levels and playing something like TF2 with it.
The latter is much more intensive, and I'm not sure it's entirely just tracking lag or something that's at fault here.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#44049129)

You should read what valve had to say about integrating the rift, themselves. They discovered they couldn't just read the rift's state at input processing time. They had to do it once then, then again at render time, because 2 milliseconds made a huge difference. Code makes as much a difference as the system itself. TF2 still suffers from absurd running speed syndrome(the walking heavy moves about like you'd feel a jogging speed would be), and isn't a suggested first game for that reason.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44053703)

TF2 is intensive??? Bahahahahahaha! Time to upgrade from that Pentium III, guy.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (4, Interesting)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a year ago | (#44045333)

I tried the dev version of the rift, and I could only do it for about 10 minutes at a time before feeling like I was going to puke. I wasn't the only one either. I was actually at a rift demo party and it seemed like half the people if not more, had the same issues I did. I don't know if it was the latency that was making me sick or something else, but I would really like this thing to work better. I want to play some VR FPS.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (1)

lookingglass (2935519) | about a year ago | (#44045777)

What induce motion sickness in the rift, or car, or airplane is a disconnect between what your eyes see and what your body feels (or does not). The latency on the rift is low enough to actually not really matter in the equation. The only way to fix this for most is by training, however there will always be a subgroup that will never be comfortable using the rift, and short of rewiring the brain won't be fixable either.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (2)

Reapy (688651) | about a year ago | (#44046221)

Isn't the problem with the rift right now that it has no positional tracking yet? From what I've read the thing most inducing the motion sickness is not keeping track of your head moving around in space, basically the rift can only act as though you are swiveling the camera around, not panning it. Since our heads move around so much normally, that not being represented in the rift is what is causing the puke factor.

Some solutions mentioned were basically trackIR like tech and its equivalents. I recall carmack talking about it saying trackIR was really good but you sort of fall off a cliff as you turn too far, but that eventually they would figure something out that would degrade more gracefully.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44046443)

You don't need to rewire anything, just smoke some weed. It's the best motion sickness cure around, IMO.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (2)

lxs (131946) | about a year ago | (#44048091)

And if you smoke enough you don't even need a VR headset to achieve full immersion.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (1)

Craefter (71540) | about a year ago | (#44047847)

This. Your "inner eye" just has to get used to it. I can remember the first time I saw the original Doom, looking over somebody's shoulder, I got motion sickness within a couple of minutes. Now when I want to play an FPS I know I have to get used to it over a week or so, slowly build up the time I can play before I get sick. I guess a system like the Rift wouldn't be any different. It will never be able to simulate all your senses so you just have to get used to it.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year ago | (#44048983)

My wife gets severe motion sickness, which is a challenge on Pennsylvania roads. For those who aren't familiar, most non-highway PA roads are basically just old farmers paths that have been worn down and eventually paved. They tend to hug the terrain and follow creeks. Fun to drive, bad for motion sickness.

One trick that I suggested and seems to work is pretending to drive the car. I noticed that most people don't get motion sick when they drive, only when they are in the passenger or rear seats. By pretending to drive the car, literally holding up your arms and operating an imaginary steering wheel, you can trick your brain into linking the motion sensations with what you see.

So the next time you start feeling a bit motion sick, pretend that you are driving the car. Sure, you might look a bit silly, but less silly than horking out the window of a car.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (1)

Hast (24833) | about a year ago | (#44048945)

I find that it depends a lot on the demo you are trying.

The included Tuscany demo is very slow paced and most people have no problem handling that. I think out of 30+ people I have demoed my dev kit to only two people have gotten sick from that. Games like HL2 is a lot worse though, and I'm not sure why. I think speed has something to do with it, but it might also be that the rather cramped settings you are playing in aggravates the problem of not tracking head position. (Basically, when you sway your head side to side the game world doesn't match. This effect is more noticeable on things which are close to you in the world.)

I have also found that a few demos I have tried have had noticeable lag. These make me sick very quickly.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44044587)

Did it stop you buying/playing Doom/Duke Nukem?

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (4, Informative)

virgnarus (1949790) | about a year ago | (#44044629)

The dev kit version already has latency tackled very well, so it's not really much of an issue. The HD prototype even further reduced it as well as adding the high res and removal of the screen door effect of the dev kit versions (due to low res display) that would exacerbate the issue.

Though understand that a lot of the motion sickness comes from the sudden, jarring and quick motions that are common with games nowadays. Games and demos being developed for the Rift are being designed with slower movement in mind to alleviate strain that the eyes may have. It really comes down not so much to the Rift itself but the developers and how they decide to design their games. Rift would work a whole lot better with Halo than it would Unreal Tournament.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (1)

chispito (1870390) | about a year ago | (#44044693)

Rift would work a whole lot better with Halo than it would Unreal Tournament.

I suspect that the most successful and enjoyable VR games will be sandboxes and MMOs. I'd rather visit alien worlds for the sake of exploration than blowing stuff up.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (1)

robthebloke (1308483) | about a year ago | (#44044967)

I suspect that the most successful and enjoyable VR games will be sandboxes and MMOs.

The most successful early adopter of technology has historically been the porn industry.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (2)

dubbreak (623656) | about a year ago | (#44045549)

I suspect that the most successful and enjoyable VR games will be sandboxes and MMOs. I'd rather visit alien worlds for the sake of exploration than blowing stuff up.

The most successful early adopter of technology has historically been the porn industry.

I suspect the female body is like an alien world to many slashdotters. A world they'd like to explore but most likely won't get a chance to in their lifetime.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (3, Informative)

am 2k (217885) | about a year ago | (#44045557)

The most successful early adopter of technology has historically been the porn industry.

There you go [wickedparadise.com] .

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (1)

virgnarus (1949790) | about a year ago | (#44045731)

That's what I recall they covered in the SXSW Panel Discussion [youtube.com] , that certain genres like adventure and exploration games are going to greatly benefit from the Rift.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (1)

macson_g (1551397) | about a year ago | (#44047977)

You could join Space Marines to

See exotic planets, meet interesting and stimulating sentient beings of an ancient culture... and kill them.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (1)

am 2k (217885) | about a year ago | (#44045575)

The dev kit version already has latency tackled very well, so it's not really much of an issue.

As someone who owns the dev kit, I have to disagree. The Unity3D-Demo they ship with it is the best one, but all the other things I've tried (including the Minecraft mod) have a very high latency, which leads to motion sickness really quickly. If you turn your head very slowly, it's ok, but natural movement is awkward.

However, the worst is movement in the vertical axis, because there's no corresponding motion feeling. I guess you can get used to that, but I haven't used it enough yet. Some folks who have tried it just needed to walk down some virtual stairs to get really sick for hours.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (1)

virgnarus (1949790) | about a year ago | (#44045679)

Are you talking about the VorpX/VireIO drivers for games that don't officially support Rift? If so, I can understand why that would be a problem, since the drivers are still being worked on and are not fleshed out entirely. I hear that VireIO is the worst of the two but that's only because it's also the earliest and rudimentary.

Btw, what computer are you using to render the games? I know framerate is a factor in it all.

One last thing is that Palmer did mention in a panel discussion at SXSW that he's interested in looking at things like inner ear stimulation methods to emulate motion and position. Though he's also aware that's just one of many ways to approach the same problem, and that he's willing to experiment in anything as long as it means getting something feasible for a consumer product.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (1)

am 2k (217885) | about a year ago | (#44048029)

Are you talking about the VorpX/VireIO drivers for games that don't officially support Rift?

No, but I definitely want to try those out when I have time.

Btw, what computer are you using to render the games? I know framerate is a factor in it all.

Yes, I'm using a MacBook Pro Retina, which is actually recommended as the mobile platform by Oculus. The lag is worse in Mac OS X than Windows, maybe that's just a beta driver issue, though.

One last thing is that Palmer did mention in a panel discussion at SXSW that he's interested in looking at things like inner ear stimulation methods to emulate motion and position.

Yes, that's the one thing I think could change the experience significantly, fixing those issues. Reducing lag only helps to prolong the interaction until the nausea crops up again.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (1)

Hast (24833) | about a year ago | (#44049141)

My experience is that for the best experience you really need a powerful graphics card. If you get lag you will get motion sickness. (Or at least I do.)

For that reason I think if you want to use a laptop as a real demo station you'll need a gaming laptop with a fast GPU. Ideally you'd want a desktop most likely.

It might be worth checking how many FPS you get on your setup. I believe you want at least 60 FPS.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44053753)

So you're using a piece of shit toy computer and whining about Oculus. lol

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44044671)

That's exactly one of the issues that Carmack stepped in to solve.
Google some of his articles on the Oculus, it's a great read.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44044775)

I have a Rift SDK.
The latency is not bad honestly.
There are a couple of issues which seem to cause a bit of sickness for me though:
1) gliding movements - and especially unexpected strafing - make you ill.
2) It's hard to get the rift into perfect focus.
3) Your eyes have a tendency to dart around and because the 3D effect is so realistic, it tries to refocus to the new distance - which doesn't work all that great. Personally, I hope this problem will not be made worse in the 1080p version.
Overall though, I love the rift and will definitely buy the 1080p verison.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (1)

citizenr (871508) | about a year ago | (#44046311)

Fix? you mean you tried Oculus and it was broken? No? Then WHY WOULD YOU WRITE THAT POST? ...

Tracking is one of the few things Oculus got right - there is no lag, no noticeable latency.

Display on the other hand is TERRIBAD. Lets hope screenshot of door effect on HD unit is real, it looks good.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44046735)

if you can't play duke 3d I doubt you can play any game with this..
that being said, I get no motion sickness from the rift even if used with(with the hack dll's) mirrors edge.. the lag isn't bad.

for long playing, you don't actually want to use the head tracking that much anyways(it's better for your neck if you watch up/down with the controller(mouse)..

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047253)

As a guy who used to get nauseous after a few hours of Duke Nukem or Doom, that'd be a pretty major negative in determining whether I will buy one or not.

Motion sickness [wikipedia.org] is a problem with you, not the device.
In general your brain misinterprets the situation when it gets mixed signals from your eyes and the rest of your body, essentially you rely a bit too much on sight for balance.
The usual ways to avoid motion sickness applies but keeping your eyes closed might not be what you want to do.
Try chewing gum, for some reason this works for a lot of people. Otherwise regular travel pills could help.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year ago | (#44051395)

essentially you rely a bit too much on sight for balance.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. Balance based on visual cues allows us to preemptively compensate for pending shifts in balance. It also allows us to more quickly react to sudden or rapid changes instead of relying on fluids stimulating sensory hairs.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44053805)

No it doesn't. You are trying to twist your handicap into some kind of extraordinary capability because you don't like admitting that you have a problem. People who don't get motion sick can keep their balance better than you can.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year ago | (#44056983)

Personally, the only time I've ever experienced even the slightest bit of motion sickness was after eating an Italian hoagie that had warmed to 80 degrees while I was riding on a KC-135A during a training mission. I'm talking about the fact that human physiology in general relies a great deal on visual cues to keep balance and THAT is an advantage over some physiological scenario where visual feedback to maintaining balance was reduced. I took your use of the term 'you' as the general 'all humans' rather than the specific individual 'you'.

Your response, however, is pretty rabid. Did someone with motion sickness push you in the dirt as a child?

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (1)

White Flame (1074973) | about a year ago | (#44047805)

Motion sickness will require greater than 60fps. John Carmack (and others) have also toyed with the notion of having 60fps rendering, and far greater time resolution adjusting that single-frame render in accordance with head tracking.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about a year ago | (#44049379)

Bring on the talking dolphins.

They did that in one of our lab at work, but all they said was "So long and thanks for all the fish". The next day, the dolphins were just... gone.

Re:Hope they will fix the motion sickness problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44049633)

I think the bulk of the motion sickness is a result of the lack of accelerative forces felt by the inner ear during periods where you're expecting them (this is especially a problem in standard FPS formats where starting/stopping offers very sudden movement response.) The tracking by itself is excellent, and if you remain motionless and only redirect your orientation, I suspect that you could use the Rift for extended periods without issue. The demos that I've had almost no trouble with seem to not just be the slower moving ones, but the ones that have the user floating and changing speed with some form of thruster/propulsion, as the bulk of the time is spent moving at constant velocities with very gradual periods of acceleration.

I have a suspicion that the number of people who are going to be susceptible to motion sickness is probably going to be underrepresented until the devkit really starts making its rounds a bit more. Right now the bulk of the word of mouth from the Rift are by those who have tried it at trade shows where they're limited to 5-10 minutes of use, which is probably a good sweet spot for getting a thrilling experience before the ill effects have a chance to kick in. There's still going to be a lot of risk trying to take it commercial as the broader mainstream audience will probably not be quite as open to the idea of feeling physically ill after using it for entirely too long in their first session. (Admittedly, I probably tried muscling through my motion sickness the first day with my devkit, and paid the price for it by having to lay down for an hour.)
 
That said, it's certainly capable of delivering compelling experiences. It's a rare occasion where something can prompt an audible gasp and leave you a bit awestruck, and the Rift is able to do that over and over again, and this ability will likely be improved as resolution and refresh rates (120hz would be nice) advance. The next couple years of display panel advances are going to offer huge jumps in immersion as we're really only at the bare minimum right now for an acceptable experience.

Geeze (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44044519)

No one wants this shit. The problems inherent in all stereoscopic displays exist, and these kinds of things always fail for gaming. Novelty at best.

Captcha: infinite - infinite focal point

Re:Geeze (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44045451)

The reasons that HMDs never took off for gaming are low resolution, small field of view, high cost and poor head tracking. These are all things that the Oculus fixes.

If it gets released at $300 or less, I'll buy it on day one and so will many other people.

Re:Geeze (1)

sanman2 (928866) | about a year ago | (#44045867)

Get rid of your Nintendo VirtualBoy then. Things have come a long way since then.

Only $16 million? I'm surprised the people at Oculus haven't raised ten times that amount, given that this is going to be the next big wave in gaming. It certainly wasn't going to be that Wii U tablet thing.

MetaAR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44048549)

The next big thing is gonna be the metaAR [meta-view.com] for the simple fact that you can't walk around on the street in VR glasses.
I figured that out right after I pressed submit on the Oculus order form. As usual.
(At least I'll be able to read books the way I always wanted to without building a half-sphere to the top of my bed.)

Re:MetaAR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44051071)

actually, scrap that. Next big thing is contact lenses: http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/153083-multi-focal-ar-contact-lenses-work-for-both-near-and-far

Re:MetaAR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44053843)

The URL meta-view.com leads to a blank grey page with a small red ribbon graphic that says "Press Release" in the upper right corner. Either overly minimalistic or shitty web designers.

Like Google Glass (0)

stevez67 (2374822) | about a year ago | (#44044529)

I predict Oculus will have marginal appeal. A few geeks and nerds will get one, realize its limitations and minimal usefulness, at which point it will be marginalized and eventually replaced by the next techi device.

HD is not enough (0)

backslashdot (95548) | about a year ago | (#44044535)

1920 x 1080 is not enough (960 x 1080 per eye ..not counting the lost edges). The resolution on the kickstarter dev headsets looks horrible (granted its not 1920x1080) .. but I am 1000% sure that there's no way boosting up to merely 1920x1080 is going to fix it. In my opinion, they are going to need at least 4K .. possibly as high as 8K .. and that's assuming they use some sort of a diffusion sheet to get rid of the screen door grid effect.

Re:HD is not enough (4, Interesting)

Alejux (2800513) | about a year ago | (#44044613)

Don't knock it off before you try it. People who tried the the 1080 version loved it (pretty much all the screen-door effect is gone). Plus, there's no point having a 4K or 8K resolution with our current level of graphics processing power, since one of the main requirements for a good VR is at least 60fps. These will come in a few years. Until then, people will enjoy the hell out of playing video games from within, instead of watching it through a rectangle.

Re:HD is not enough (-1)

ikaruga (2725453) | about a year ago | (#44044799)

Please don't trust opinions you read on the internet. Most people who tried it were either journalists(which won't complain about it as it's a "hot" item and they don't want to displease the "hivemind" and lose readers), some game devs(mostly for a similar reason) and fanboys. Plus there is no competition so there is nothing to direct compare it against. The best I can come up with is the HMZ which is designed as a personal display(basically a big 3DTV only you can see) for movies and games, not a VR device. Don't get me wrong, it's a great device. Just overhyped as hell.

Re:HD is not enough (4, Insightful)

Alejux (2800513) | about a year ago | (#44044887)

I don't trust the opinions of all journalists, but I do trust some. Also, there are currently over 6000 DK's out there, and I have communications with many of the people who have them. And NONE, absolutely NONE have found the Oculus Rift a bad experience. Most, even agreeing that the current 720p resolution is low, still have an amazing experience , being immersed in Virtual Reality. I have no doubt the consumer version will spread like wildfire when it's released. About the HMZ, it's absolutely a whole different animal. It's not a VR device. Not only it lacks head tracking, but it also has an extremely small FOV, is very heavy and costs nearly 3x what the Oculus does.

Re:HD is not enough (2)

Namarrgon (105036) | about a year ago | (#44045321)

Everyone I've shown my Rift to has been delighted by the experience of being inside the game world. The immersion is unquestionably impressive, despite the many flaws. Oculus nailed the important parts of delivering real VR (low-latency, high-FoV) at a cheap price - but I don't think their success is assured yet.

Things like resolution will certainly help, though most people quickly looked past the chunky screen-door effect, and I'm sure it'll get smaller, lighter and cheaper too. What concerns me is that all but one of the dozen-plus people I showed it to experienced some degree of simulator sickness within 15 minutes, including myself. Most of those had no prior problems with fast FPS games, and it appears to me to be tied largely to the greater immersion. This usually reduced a lot after a handful of sessions, but I feel that this may be a real barrier to adoption - professionals can work through that, but I think a lot of gamers and casual users will have one go, quickly feel sick, and be put off.

More appropriate game design will surely help, and by minimising lateral & spinning movements and sharp accelerations, I think people can be eased into it. But this is outside Oculus' control, many games will do it poorly at first, and I'm expecting a pretty severe backlash when it hits the market, given the current hype. I just hope VR will survive it.

Re:HD is not enough (1)

Krneki (1192201) | about a year ago | (#44046825)

The problem is what the eyes sees and what the body feels. I suspect the best games for Rift right now is where you sit down in the game, racing and flying simulations.

Re:HD is not enough (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | about a year ago | (#44047763)

Tell that to anyone who suffers from motion sickness.

Re:HD is not enough (1)

Krneki (1192201) | about a year ago | (#44048591)

I'm following reddit oculus rift and looks like the games I'm describing are much better regrading motion sickness. FPS are a different story.

Re:HD is not enough (1)

adolf (21054) | about a year ago | (#44047295)

I don't own a Rift, and I likely won't.

But:

What I remember from the Quake 1 days was this: The rendering was fisheyed. If I looked at a pillar, and then turned a few degrees to the right, the pillar got -bigger-: It consumed more pixels at the side of the screen, than it did in the middle of the screen.

This really bothered me at the time. I complained about it, and folks said "Well how ELSE would it be shown?"

And I'm all like "I don't care. That's not how I see things. And I hate it."

And then they're all "Whatever, fag."

Meanwhile, I'm sitting here, looking at a pillar in real life, and I turn my head (or my gaze) to the side, and it doesn't get bigger. It just moves over a bit in my field of vision, and doesn't look at at like looking through a magnified peephole in a door.

In retrospect, it is clear that this rendering method was done so that CPUs of the day could keep up at a reasonable framerate, as the periphery would require fewer polygons and thus render faster.

It also seems clear to me that something like Rift, which is intended to encompass the entire field of view, the system would need to be particularly careful about how it handled such things.

But then, output devices don't control fisheye. Game programmers do. Perhaps it can improve simply through better software design.

Re:HD is not enough (2)

Jaruzel (804522) | about a year ago | (#44047597)

OK, as a HEAVY Quake 1 and Quake 2 player and modder back in the day, I can say that with those engines at least, what you are describing is what you get when the FOV value is set too high. By default in id games, it's 90. A LOT of serious gamers up that to 120 or higher (so they can see more). As a result the fish-eye effect is enhanced and objects are stretched at the edge of the screen, and compressed in the centre.

In almost ALL games, FOV is user definable. A little bit of research at the time would have solved your issue completely.

-Jar

Re:HD is not enough (0)

citizenr (871508) | about a year ago | (#44046363)

there are currently over 6000 DK's out there, and I have communications with many of the people who have them. And NONE, absolutely NONE have found the Oculus Rift a bad experience.

You mean people that paid for X say X is great and has no flaws? Not a single screen door effect mention is a clue to reliability of those 6000 owners. It is simply put UNUSABLE for anything but developing content for future better versions.
Current dev kit is like a Virtualboy - neat gimmick that promises great things IF they can get better tech.

Re:HD is not enough (1)

quintesse (654840) | about a year ago | (#44050467)

*You* might find it unacceptable, but most people I showed it to (non-gamers all of them) find it a really nice experience. Yes, they notice the low resolution and some of them even mention the screen door effect. Most of them even get nauseous. And still, what they *really* want is something to do! Ok, nice demos, but *now what*?

You seem to forget they made really nice and hugely popular games when all they had was 4-color 640x480 monitors.

Of course I want higher resolution VR without screen door, but only because it will allow us to do so much more with it.

The *only* real obstacle I see is what was mentioned before: the motion sickness. If we can't get that down to more acceptable levels I wonder how many people will feel like going through the "training" to get accostumed to it...

Re:HD is not enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44045475)

I trust John Carmack's opinion and he says it's great.

Re:HD is not enough (1)

abies (607076) | about a year ago | (#44049223)

Is he still saying that? Originally Carmack wanted to take over the Oculus if it proves to be a success and was shown middle finger - relations got a lot colder since then...

Re:HD is not enough (1)

strack (1051390) | about a year ago | (#44045559)

after 1080p, the best increment in screen output would be a 120hz refresh rate.

Re:HD is not enough (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44046741)

actually you would like 4k resolution for the device.

why? because it's half per eye.... I could drop down some effects for increased resolution. and it would make watching movies really fine.

Re:HD is not enough (1)

Krneki (1192201) | about a year ago | (#44046819)

a high-end PC can handle 4k res, this is why we have SLI.

Consoles on the other hand ... meh, who cares for them.

Re:HD is not enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44044643)

I agree. I own the devkit and the resolution is too low, and 1080p won't cut it either.

Re:HD is not enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44045885)

I use a polarized LCD for 3D. 1080p looks fine to me in either SBS or OAU formats.

Re:HD is not enough (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | about a year ago | (#44046193)

I'm guessing you don't have your screen 3" from your face, with magnifying lenses.

Re:HD is not enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44048415)

No, but my screen is about 10 times larger than the Oculus, so if anything, it should look worse.

Re:HD is not enough (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | about a year ago | (#44056039)

A 4.7" 720p phone at 12" viewing distance has an angular pixel size of about 0.91 arc-minutes, a 24" 1080p screen at 24" distance is about 1.56 arc-minutes (bigger apparent pixels), and pixels on a 5" 1080p screen on an Oculus Rift at 3" distance have an angular size of about 2.60 arc-minutes. Then there's magnification from the optics on top of that.

So no, even a 1080p Oculus Rift will have pixels that look around twice the size as the pixels on your monitor, and three times the size of the best phones. But it'll still be a huge improvement over the current 7" 720p Dev Kit, which is 5.46 arc-minutes.

Re:HD is not enough (1)

Mycroft_VIII (572950) | about a year ago | (#44044727)

There are plenty of clever things that can be done to mitigate the resolution issue. One of course is higher resolution. I recall a 3d simulator at an arcade decades ago that did just fine with much lower resolution.
      For example look up some of the fake 120hz schemes in use (I think true motion 120 is one of them).
Another is of course the quality of the display units themselves, as well as any associated optics.
4k and 8k (esp. per eye!) would be great. But I think we're a bit off from single card solutions to drive that in 3d games. 4way sli/crossfire with the latest dual gpu cards and lots of fast ram could probably do it though.

Mycroft

Re:HD is not enough (2)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about a year ago | (#44044831)

Try it before you get too locked into your position. I tried Sony's headset last year and almost forked over $800 for it. Same resolution as the current OR headsets. The main thing that kept me from buying it was the resolution. I agree that it's not sufficient. But it was close. And the consumer OR headsets will almost certainly be 1920x1080. That would be enough of a bump to look pretty darn good.

Would more pixels be better? Of course. But what do we have on the consumer market that can drive 4k displays? Nothin'. Okay, there are a few things that can upscale to 4k at 30Hz so I guess one could claim a few edge cases. And the Mac Pro will be able to improve on that by the end of the year. But that's it. There's simply no point in trying to make a 4k headset until we have something to plug it into and content to deliver.

Re:HD is not enough (1)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a year ago | (#44045357)

I think they should be doing at least dual vertical 1080P displays (one for each eye). I don't care if it costs a bit more, or if it needs a better video card. The most important thing is that it is as immersive as possible.

Re:HD is not enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44047027)

I agree with you this would be the best approach using projected available screens that are not custom made over the next 1.5 years.
2 HD screens would result in 4147200pixels (I'd root for them Galaxy S4 AMOLED screens (AMOLED has much higher refresh rates
resulting in less blur on fast looking around)

I doubt we'll see 7inchers going beyond the 1920x1200 new Nexus or the 2048x1536 ipad mini retina. 2.4-3MP..
Maybe, maybe we'd see a 2560x1440 7incher by next year. 3.7MP

The problem dual screen and 7inchers have:
You need specialized optics that are non-circular and do horizontal viewshifting (Interpupillary distance fixed, center of screen-halfes is wider out than pupils)

Re:HD is not enough (1)

ikaruga (2725453) | about a year ago | (#44048477)

I tried Sony's headset last year and almost forked over $800 for it. Same resolution as the current OR headsets.

Not same. The HMZ has two 720p displays. The current OR DK has one divided in half. Even their newest 1080p prototype, which is a 1080p display divided in half, has a smaller resolution than the HMZ if you count out the unused border pixels. Saying that the new OR is a Full HD device is like saying the 3DS resolution is 240x800.
Anyway the HMZ and OR are two very different products. They both fall under the head mount display category, but the OR is optimized for VR while the HMZ is optimized for movies/TV and "standard" non-immersive gaming.

. But what do we have on the consumer market that can drive 4k displays? Nothin'.

Eyeinfinity capable cards have been able to drive resolutions way beyond 4k using multiple monitors during real time gaming. VR headsets are very niche. People that buy these toys have a beast of a PC already. 4k is nothing. What we need are the actual displays. As for the Mac Pro part of your comment, the Mac Pro is advertising better/faster 4k video and image editing. 4k video output has been available for ages. On top of that the new Mac Pro is still a horrible gaming machine, as it uses workstation/server class components.

Re:HD is not enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44046973)

The amount of pixels you see on the upgraded prototype is actually a lot higher than simply the double you would expect from the screen boost.

Reason being:
With circular lenses centered over your pupil IPD (interpupillary distance) dictates that if you don't want to see the borders of your screen you can only cover a 5.6inch display. As the devkit is a 7inch screen a big chunk of its pixels aren't even used.

The HD prototype has a smaller screen (rumored near perfect 5.5 inches). Resulting in an increase of pixels visible of an estimated 3x...

Fun clip (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#44044557)

not Fun, but honest clip (1)

citizenr (871508) | about a year ago | (#44046407)

This one is less fun, but realistic from a point of view of FPS gamer.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NxCWwa7u7uM [youtube.com]

Re:not Fun, but honest clip (2)

Hast (24833) | about a year ago | (#44049509)

I found that more reminiscent of Louis CK's rant on "Everything is amazing and nobody is happy". :-)

There are some valid points though, the screen door is an issue on the dev kits. Personally I find that after a while you don't think about it too much. It feels more like watching "the real world" with a net in front of your eyes than a low resolution screen.

That the current screen is a compromise is not really a surprise to anyone who has followed the project. They had to swap screens as they started to produce the dev kits, so they went with a 7" screen because that was the best they could get with respect to resolution and refresh rate. Unfortunately it leaves a large part of the screen area unused as it's outside what you can actually see through the lenses.

IA bit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44044559)

Yea, they never did release updated drivers for EAX did they?

Add-on (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | about a year ago | (#44044649)

If you mounted cameras on the back of this thing, and fed them back into the display, it would be just like you where where you were!

Re:Add-on (2)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#44045063)

I would like to project Google Street View photography based on my GPS location and compass orientation. Then I would go walking on the streets (system powered by huge batteries) and trying to navigate my way around.

Re:Add-on (1)

Dysproxia (584031) | about a year ago | (#44047525)

Most of Street View pictures come from a height of 2.5 metres above driving lanes, so you might need to include a penny-farthing on your equipment list.

Very cool tech. (1)

Adult film producer (866485) | about a year ago | (#44044705)

First time I've seen this before. First thought that comes to mind is an application allowing two people wearing the devices to engage is some sort of electronically enhanced sexual experience.. I'm not really sure what that would entail as I haven't thought it through completely but there is something waiting to be found.

Re:Very cool tech. (2)

TsuruchiBrian (2731979) | about a year ago | (#44045371)

Finally a way for 2 lonely dudes to have sex with each other while both are looking at a VR woman. This is the end of the human race.

Re:Very cool tech. (1)

_merlin (160982) | about a year ago | (#44045415)

If you think you could engage in passionate sex while wearing kit like this, you must have some bizarre notion of what passionate sex entails.

Re:Very cool tech. (1)

Adult film producer (866485) | about a year ago | (#44048299)

Who said anything about passionate sex? not me. But for when couples have playtime this could be another fun toy :)

I was wondering that (4, Interesting)

ikaruga (2725453) | about a year ago | (#44044897)

It's been a year since the kickstarter funding and the company formation. They got 2.5M from kickstarter and I suppose another 2.5~3.5 as a personal investment from the current CEO. So they basically had around 6M in the bank at start.
Then they hired a lot of people. I think they have 20 employees in total if my sources are correct. Assuming a average of 100k/person including bonuses/insurance/etc that is at least 2M/year in expenses.
Then there is renting, utilities and taxes. That is another 500k/year at least.
And finally there is the actual development/deployment of the dev kit and promotion(E3 booths, CES, etc) as well as R&D infrastructure build up so there goes most of the rest of the money.
Without this VC investment, I feared they'd sell off and/or close doors in a question of months. I just hope the VCs don't let their "expertise" go out of control.

Re:I was wondering that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44046047)

I'm really surprised that they didn't receive an offer to be bought out. nVidia, AMD, and Nintendo (virtual boy. ya ya, I know..) must be eye-balling this tech. It's a serious game changer. No pun intended.

Re:I was wondering that (1)

ikaruga (2725453) | about a year ago | (#44048307)

They probably received. Just didn't accept. But the chances they didn't get offers is pretty big as well and for a number of reasons. The tech is relatively "new". The concept/design is just a rehash of VR from the 90's but with modern electronic components, but because it's been so far nonexistent in the consumer market it can be considered a novelty. And because of that nobody really knows how well it will do in the market. Here is a small list of uncertainties. There are much more than that but that is what I can take of the top of my head:

-While OR seems to be popular in the internet gaming microcosm, how is the average gamer is going to react to it? Is VR the next "motion controller"? Genuinely useful and interesting, sometimes over-hyped by the media but in the eventually becoming "boring" due to bad/repetitive execution or lack of innovative content?
-Is the business model sustainable? $300(or less) for a very niche device in a company that seems to be under a bubble effect doesn't look very good in the long term. The OR is too expensive for the average Joe but to cheap to print money on the niche market.
-OculusVR has no IP at all(other than a proprietary API and the brand). I could create a competing product prototype today using just scraps. If I can, sony/nintendo/etc can easily do and for much cheaper so there is no reason to pay millions for something you could build it yourself for a few hundred thousands. And if they do, OculusVR is dead as a company. Personally I actually want a competitor to appear soon(I support them but I'm not by any means a fan), I just hope is not an electronics Juggernaut that will destroy the "indie" competition.(although after this E3, I bet my ass sony will be showing off a VR solution(not the HMZ personal display) for the PS4 and maybe even Vita by the next E3.)
-It's a gaming device. An accessory. The gaming industry is worth tens of billions, but almost all this money is on the software side of the industry. Because I see those major consoles sometimes struggling to break even, I think it's safe to say that the OR challenge has just begun and they might actually have some really dark times in the future.
-Is immersion really the holy grail of gaming? Most of the best selling games are not even first person games. Not sure if I should have made a bullet point about it, but it reinforces the idea of niche content.

I applaud the initiative (I even bought a dev kit that hasn't arrived yet) but it's a high risk low return business.

Re:I was wondering that (1)

virgnarus (1949790) | about a year ago | (#44049421)

What I'm interested in is whether this will expedite getting a consumer version out due to increased staffing for R&D and production, or delay it further by increasing features to be implemented into the final product. TBH, I'd be happy either way.

How's this different? (1)

java_dev (894898) | about a year ago | (#44045871)

I remember Quake on the VFX1. Novel, but not practical for everyday gaming. How's this any different?

Re:How's this different? (2)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44046745)

I remember Quake on the VFX1. Novel, but not practical for everyday gaming. How's this any different?

because it's practical. it's that much better, even the dev unit.

Excellent. (1)

Jon Edgecombe (2848095) | about a year ago | (#44047495)

This couldn't come soon enough. Can't wait to play Amnesia on this, and when I say play, I mean up to the first dark corridor just before piss my pants and turn off the game.

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I miss EAX (1)

sabbede (2678435) | about a year ago | (#44048491)

Hardware positioning, occlusion and effects... It makes me sad every day that I have all this unused processing capacity sitting on my X-fi.

Re:I miss EAX (1)

Salamande (461392) | about a year ago | (#44049077)

And the funny thing is, EAX technology is a perfect fit for the Rift.

TF2 support .... (1)

King_TJ (85913) | about a year ago | (#44049483)

I have to say, TF2 is one of only a very FEW games I continuously come back to and play, over and over again. I never really get bored with it. Maybe I'm in the minority, but I get the idea an awful lot of people abandoned that game simply because they got their attention re-focused on the latest and greatest, shiny new releases.

But IMO, Team Fortress 2 checks all the boxes for a truly fun gaming experience. The 3D shooter category only has so many basic concepts for multiplayer play, anyway. You have your "Capture the Flag" mode, your "Deathmatch", your "Domination", and so on. The only thing that really changes when you pay your $50 for the latest one are the background scenery, design of the levels and the characters. You get some unique weapons too, once in a while, but even those are usually re-hashes of the same ideas 90% of the time.

To me, TF2 ensures plenty of people to play against at any time, because they gave the game away free and it runs well not only on multiple platforms, but has reasonable hardware requirements so even older machines can run it. The bandwidth usage isn't too bad either, so your people stuck on say, a 3mbit DSL connection, can still play it without issues.

I'd rather see more development on top of something great like TF2 than wasted "reinventing the wheel" on yet another FPS title that will just get played for a little while and scrapped.....

(The best thing Valve could do for TF2 though, IMO, is to release some more official levels for it. I've played a few really good custom made ones, but also a lot of buggy, not so well thought out ones that even crashed the game at times. It definitely doesn't have NEAR the enthusiastic level building community that we had for older classics like Quake. It could use an official "level pack" or two from Valve, even if they cost a few bucks to download.)

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