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John Carmack Joins Oculus VR As CTO

Unknown Lamer posted about 9 months ago | from the outerspace-to-innerspace dept.

Businesses 125

Guspaz writes "In a surprising move that in retrospect makes a lot of sense, Oculus VR has announced that John Carmack will be joining the company full-time as CTO. Carmack also tweeted that his time division would be 'Oculus over Id over Armadillo. Busy busy busy!'" From the press release, quoting John Carmack: "I have fond memories of the development work that led to a lot of great things in modern gaming — the intensity of the first person experience, LAN and internet play, game mods, and so on. Duct taping a strap and hot gluing sensors onto Palmer's early prototype Rift and writing the code to drive it ranks right up there. Now is a special time. I believe that VR will have a huge impact in the coming years, but everyone working today is a pioneer. The paradigms that everyone will take for granted in the future are being figured out today; probably by people reading this message. It's certainly not there yet. There is a lot more work to do, and there are problems we don't even know about that will need to be solved, but I am eager to work on them. It's going to be awesome!"

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125 comments

He wants to work at a startup again (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44498317)

How long has it been since Carmack had the chance to really get down and dirty with development work? Over the past few years it sounds like he's been chafing against the demands of corporate reality and yearning to get back to actually making cool stuff. Whether or not he is actually going to get a benefit out of a startup environment is debatable though (he has a sizable personal fortune).

Re:He wants to work at a startup again (3, Interesting)

Doug Otto (2821601) | about 9 months ago | (#44498355)

He also needs a cash infusion for Armadillo. This (potentially) gets him both.

Re:He wants to work at a startup again (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about 9 months ago | (#44498809)

Clarification needed. Why would Carmack's wholly owned company get funding due to successes at an unrelated company selling unrelated products he is an employee (and perhaps partner) at?

Re:He wants to work at a startup again (3, Informative)

Doug Otto (2821601) | about 9 months ago | (#44499179)

He mentioned a few days ago he's putting Armadillo in hibernation until he makes his next million. As CTO, he stands to make a fair amount of cash if things go well.

With Armadillo currently in hibernation, Carmack said he is actively looking for outside investors to restart work on the company’s rockets. “If we don’t wind up landing an investor, it’ll probably stay in hibernation until there’s another liquidity event where I’m comfortable throwing another million dollars a year into things,” he said. Funding Armadillo, he said, has “always been a negotiation with my wife,” he said, setting aside some “crazy money” to spend on it. “But I’ve basically expended my crazy money on Armadillo, so I don’t expect to see any rockets in the real near future unless we do wind up raising some investment money on it.”

Article [newspacejournal.com]

Re:He wants to work at a startup again (1)

Alejux (2800513) | about 9 months ago | (#44499569)

Someone like Carmack would not go to a startup company as a simple employee. He must have some serious stakes in the success of Oculus VR. If you want a good similar potential example, look at Eric Schmidt's $8 billion fortune. He wasn't the founder, you know.

Re:He wants to work at a startup again (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 9 months ago | (#44498369)

I think this is great.

Does the world really need Doom 4?

Although sucks to be everyone else at id software.

Re:He wants to work at a startup again (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 9 months ago | (#44498413)

Although sucks to be everyone else at id software.

Considering that ID has been sucking towards the bottom for awhile, it shouldn't matter. Really the only hope they had for continued existence was getting bought out by Zenimax(aka Bethesda).

Re:He wants to work at a startup again (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 9 months ago | (#44498533)

Quake 4 was not terrible. Rage was a bit of a let down though. the ending was bad, the open world driving was pointless. Had it been sold as a new dungeon crawler it would have been fine, but it tried to be something it was not.

Re:He wants to work at a startup again (1)

chronosan (1109639) | about 9 months ago | (#44498979)

I honestly had fun playing Rage, liked the aesthetics, the world, the driving could be fun sometimes. The biggest problem was that it was only 1/3 of a game.

Re:He wants to work at a startup again (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 9 months ago | (#44499677)

That is the fault of DLC... It is bullshit to buy a game for $60 and then extort more money from you for the rest of the game.

Re:He wants to work at a startup again (1)

jandrese (485) | about 9 months ago | (#44499571)

Rage suffered because it was clear that the developers were split between making a FPS and making a Carmageddon style driving game, so they tried to do both but ended up not having enough time to actually finish either. I think both parts of the game worked pretty well, but there wasn't enough meat to sustain it.

Re:He wants to work at a startup again (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 9 months ago | (#44499639)

Fully VR immersed Doom or other FPS? Oh....Hell.....Yeah.

Honestly these guys have the ability to completely disrupt the home video game ecosystem overnight, they just increased their chances drastically with him on the bridge...

Re:He wants to work at a startup again (1, Interesting)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 9 months ago | (#44498523)

He doubled down on mobile for awhile, his output was less then inspiring.

Re:He wants to work at a startup again (2, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | about 9 months ago | (#44498575)

Less than what? Good think that it then became inspiring?

Re:He wants to work at a startup again (-1, Troll)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 9 months ago | (#44498889)

Did you parse what i meant? If not ill be happy to clarify, but just being a little grammar bitch helps no one. Im not writing a thesis here. By bringing this up, you become noise in the signal.

Re:He wants to work at a startup again (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44499079)

It's one of the stupidest grammar mistakes someone can make. The two words don't even sound the same. One doesn't sound right where the other should be. You sound like a fucking idiot when using them incorrectly.

Re:He wants to work at a startup again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44499439)

It's one of the stupidest grammar mistakes someone can make. The two words don't even sound the same. One doesn't sound right where the other should be. You sound like a fucking idiot when using them incorrectly.

Might as well kill yourself now. Bad grammar will never go away!

Re:He wants to work at a startup again (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44499299)

Good think that it then became inspiring?

+5, Ironic - Grammar Nazi uses "think" instead of "thing".

Re:He wants to work at a startup again (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44500423)

Ve haff ways of making you spell.

This will help the Occulus Rift A LOT!!! (1)

dryriver (1010635) | about 9 months ago | (#44498395)

Oculus Rift already looked promising before. With Carmack on-board, I now feel that the OR will be THE AWESOME MUST-HAVE GAME GADGET of 2014, or whenever it is released. ---- I'm definitely buying a RIFT when it comes out. And so will tens of thousands of other gaming enthusiasts, methinks!!! 5 thumbs up for this news!!!

Re:This will help the Occulus Rift A LOT!!! (1)

AuralityKev (1356747) | about 9 months ago | (#44498467)

I'm guessing that whatever Rift drive code Carmack writes will find itself embedded into iDTechn+1, meaning that any game that leverages that version of iDTech will automatically work like a champ with the Rift. VR at no added cost. Game developers might actually be drawn to this, especially with Carmack's track record. Now if the doodz behind the Unreal Engine throw their .02 in too, that would seal it.

Re:This will help the Occulus Rift A LOT!!! (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 9 months ago | (#44498507)

Now if the doodz behind the Unreal Engine throw their .02 in too, that would seal it.

Unreal, Source, and Unity engines already have full support. So... what?

Re:This will help the Occulus Rift A LOT!!! (1)

TroubleMagnet (529417) | about 9 months ago | (#44498665)

The Rift already has development support from the Crytech, Source, Unity and Unreal engines, and Carmack had already announced the next iDTech would support it as well. So nothing new there.

All of those use the driver from Oculus which is what I will assume Carmack will be key in improving, along with the firmware running on the Rift. His experience with Armadillo will be directly applicable (and already has it seems) to aspects of real time head tracking that have a big impact on VR. I'm guessing the time to get the software in a more polished state just got shorter with him joining the team and it wouldn't surprise me to see a few new algorithms that noone else though of either.

Re:This will help the Occulus Rift A LOT!!! (1)

Viewsonic (584922) | about 9 months ago | (#44502817)

ClifferyB has already put a lot of weight behind Occulus. Sony has been using them in house with Planetside 2.

I've been shouting this from the roof tops, but if someone wants to make a fortune, they could make a little console box that has only one output. Occulus. It would be bigger than Wii. It would be Neuromancer prime. The entire OS could link you into a virtual world and you go from there. It could be such an amazing game changer.

Re:This will help the Occulus Rift A LOT!!! (4, Informative)

i kan reed (749298) | about 9 months ago | (#44498493)

I love my rift, I just got it, but John Carmack's existence won't magically cure the motion sickness. For "real games" and not tech-demos, I can play maybe a half hour of rift at a time, before I have to go lie down.

Re:This will help the Occulus Rift A LOT!!! (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 9 months ago | (#44498627)

Are you prone to motion sickness otherwise?
Does dramamine help?

Re:This will help the Occulus Rift A LOT!!! (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 9 months ago | (#44498723)

Dramamine increased my tolerance by maybe 15 minutes, and no, I'm not. My girlfriend is motion-sickness prone, and she gets more like 10 minutes at a time.

Re: This will help the Occulus Rift A LOT!!! (1)

Namarrgon (105036) | about 9 months ago | (#44502617)

You'll quickly build up a tolerance, if my own experience, and others I've heard from, is any guide. Don't overdo it, just 10-15 minutes a day for a week or so and you'll be fine in no time.

Your wife may even find that a few more controlled sessions on the Rift actually improves her motion sickness in other contexts too. Some people have reported curing their own car sickness that way.

Re:This will help the Occulus Rift A LOT!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44498871)

Well, we don't know that. There are visual cues [valvesoftware.com] that significantly affect tiredness and motion sickness, and having smart people like Carmack on the case goes a long way to solving the technical problems.
He has done some interesting posts already on latency [altdevblogaday.com] .

Re:This will help the Occulus Rift A LOT!!! (2)

TroubleMagnet (529417) | about 9 months ago | (#44498957)

I think they have been making good progress at improving the experience. One big one will be when they get the full positional tracking into the next version of the kit. Right now it only does orientation tracking and some inferred positional tracking. A couple demos use a Razer Hyrda to hack this in a bit and I found it helps the disorientation a LOT. If you follow some of the blogs of people working on it there is still a lot of work to be done in the prediction algorithms which will improve the effective latency as well, which again, should improve the disorientation people feel.

Re:This will help the Occulus Rift A LOT!!! (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 9 months ago | (#44499053)

Yep, I agree. There's a lot of software/hardware improvement to make. But as soon as you press the W key and start walking forward, there's something no hardware can fix happening. Your eyes see forward motion, your inner ear doesn't.

Re:This will help the Occulus Rift A LOT!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44499479)

Just like games and non-interactively movies. Almost noone has problems with those, even if the images takes up your whole vision. Not saying there are no problems though, but they are caused by the latencies in getting your movement translated in motion on the screen: this delay is still way too large and very noticable for your brain.

An example: most people have no problem with an oculus just playing movies in a fixed position (so no movement tracking at all), but as soon as you start tracking, the sickness starts.

Blog by Valve on the current issues (and some new onces that might even be worse):
http://blogs.valvesoftware.com/abrash/

Blog by John Carmack on the issues:
http://www.altdevblogaday.com/2013/02/22/latency-mitigation-strategies/

Re:This will help the Occulus Rift A LOT!!! (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 9 months ago | (#44499779)

your inner ear doesn't feel foreward motion once you are at a set speed in a car. If it did most people would instantly puke once they turned their head to talk to the driver.

Re:This will help the Occulus Rift A LOT!!! (1)

compro01 (777531) | about 9 months ago | (#44499855)

But as soon as you press the W key and start walking forward, there's something no hardware can fix happening. Your eyes see forward motion, your inner ear doesn't.

I wonder if adding in the mechanics of moving (e.g. an Omni [virtuix.com] ) might help matters.

Re:This will help the Occulus Rift A LOT!!! (1)

tuo42 (3004801) | about 9 months ago | (#44498993)

This, exactly!

Have my Rift for a couple of weeks, and besides Techdemos, I cannot use it longer than twenty minutes. If I cross that "certain" point, I feel awful for the rest of the day. Already caused me problems with customers as I was not able to work efficiently for the rest of the day. I cannot even describe the level of uneasiness that remains.

I am not sensitive to motion sickness. I can travel on ships even in harsher sea. As I kid, I used to have problems when reading inside a driving car, but a ginger gum did the trick.

Tried many tricks, and the only one which helps me to use it for maybe twenty or thirty minutes is to constantly tell myself that I am not moving. Sound strange, but I helps me. As soon as I drop out of this focus, the VR sickness kicks in real fast. In Half Life 2, the push of the troppers at the beginning is enough to make me feel sick immidiately, as it happens fast, your whole visual tells you that you are moving backwards rapidly, but your inner ear tells otherwise.

Many say that most of this should be adressed with lateral sensors, but I am not sure. In my case, it also is not a case of sensor lag, as they are spot on.

I loved the OR concept until I got one. Currently, I am split. It is one of the most impressive experiences I ever had in the digital world as long as I feel good. But as soon as my body gets cold, the sweating sets in I know that if I not stop within the next five minutes, I will feel sick for the rest of the day.

Couple of friends tried, nearly all of them had the same problem.

Re:This will help the Occulus Rift A LOT!!! (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 9 months ago | (#44499083)

On the plus side, it gives you a great excuse for burping in mixed company.

Re:This will help the Occulus Rift A LOT!!! (1)

tuo42 (3004801) | about 9 months ago | (#44499257)

What mixed company accepts "excuse me, that was just the VR getting out again" as an excuse? ;)

Re:This will help the Occulus Rift A LOT!!! (1)

zarthrag (650912) | about 9 months ago | (#44499447)

I have to say, this is a strange issue I have (err...had) with my rift. Many of the demos using the latest sdk make me sick (I don't think I have my IPD quite right?) Vireio makes me sick, quickly, no matter what. But the Tridef beta rift drivers are a DREAM...and there's no real IPD setting, it's weird. Suddenly, I'm VR "hardened" - though the headtracking support doesn't emulate trackir the way I wish.

My point is, it's different for everyone - for sure. But there's a lot of things to tweak, preferably on an empty stomach.

Re:This will help the Occulus Rift A LOT!!! (5, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | about 9 months ago | (#44499729)

Yes it can, increased response and speeds will eliminate it. It's the lag that is making you a puke fountain
Disclaimer, I worked on VR in college with some of the top professors in the day... . Lag from turning your head to having the view change, even as low as 20ms is enough to make people sick.

Re:This will help the Occulus Rift A LOT!!! (1)

bensyverson (732781) | about 9 months ago | (#44501353)

Have you seen their recent work with predictive tracking? [oculusvr.com] It seems they were able to improve the perceived lag a great deal from the version that shipped with the developer SDK.

Re:This will help the Occulus Rift A LOT!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44502405)

So ok, how about...

4k resolution video to each eye @ 120 fps
10 bits per color (32 bit color per pixel)

That will require approximately 80 Gigabits per second connectivity of uncompressed video.

1 frame for one eye is: 3840x2160x4bytes = 33,177,600 byte frame buffer

1 frame x 2 (both eyes) is: 66,355,200 bytes

120 frames per second (both eyes) = 7,962,624,000 bytes per second

Equivalent bits per second (bandwidth required, both eyes) = 79,626,240,000 bps

Your max standard ethernet at home is probably 1 Gigabit per second. So you will need 80 cables.
Or, your HDMI setup at home is currently stuck at 10 Gigabits per second. So you'll need 8 HDMI cables.
You will probably need 4 Nvidia GTX Titans (per eye) to accomplish this on most modern AAA titles (on max, or ultra settings).

So, yea, it can be done. Sure, entirely practical. Yea ... nooo problem'o. ;-)

Re:This will help the Occulus Rift A LOT!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44502821)

Noone is saying you need extreme resolutions to remove the motion sickness. That is purely lag related, so you point already fails.

Furthermore, since when do you need 4 bytes per pixel? 3 bytes is plenty. Your framerate is also pretty high, 60 fps is 16 ms between frames which is lower than the 20+ that causes motion sickness and if you use prediction, that doesn't even matter.

So in essence you are giving us very top end specs to get a perfect in all ways system, while gaming isn't even done at that resolution and that is just a small part of your field of view.

Re:This will help the Occulus Rift A LOT!!! (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 9 months ago | (#44500061)

Magically, no. Technologically, quite possibly.

To some extent, the fault lies with the games themselves. First person games are going to have to make an effort to accommodate VR in what types of motion the in-game camera is allowed to depict. But a lot of it is just a matter of getting the latency between the head-tracking and the display update down low enough to pass the threshold he's discovered (or possibly just confirmed) experimentally. Over 20 ms is much badness. Under 20 ms, suddenly your brain gives in and accepts what you're seeing. He'll be directly instrumental in ferreting out and eradicating unnecessary latency in the software, and he'll be able to bring to bear his considerable weight as a game developer to convince hardware manufactures to work at eliminating unnecessary latency in the hardware. (Already demonstrated by the sensor manufacturer releasing a custom firmware specifically at his urging.)

Mouse latency is as little as 4 milliseconds. The Rift is currently closer to 100 ms. Obviously there's room for improvement. John Carmack has had his teeth in this for a while already. There will be improvement.

Re:This will help the Occulus Rift A LOT!!! (1)

TroubleMagnet (529417) | about 9 months ago | (#44500621)

The current Rift is a lot better than 100ms, but yes, there is room for improvement. I've been able to use mine for over an hour and only had issues when HL2 hits me with a load screen or otherwise turns off the head tracking for a bit. I'm wondering if some people have checked their frame rates and tried turning down some settings to make sure they are running at 60FPS. I had disorientation nausea for the first week but then it has mostly gone away and only persists for a few minutes after using it. I also didn't try long sessions until after the driver update that had the calibration tool with it, so that might have helped. I'm also immune to motion sickness in cars/planes/boats/roller coasters IRL so far (never been out in REALLY heavy seas) so I probably have an easier time than most with VR motion effects.

Re:This will help the Occulus Rift A LOT!!! (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 9 months ago | (#44501523)

Good to hear it's already better than the number Mr. Carmack quoted in his blog post earlier this year.

Me, I get motion sick quite easily, so I've been slow to buy the developer Rift. I get seasick on Lake Michigan, while less than a mile from shore. I can't read in a car while sitting up (but I can while lying down; go figure). I may need to wait for the consumer release, with the faster displays, or I could have trouble.

Re:This will help the Occulus Rift A LOT!!! (1)

BenJury (977929) | about 9 months ago | (#44498961)

Aye, me too, I'll be queueing up to get my hands on this on a consumer release. Personally I see anything that will speed up getting this to market is all good.

Best of luck to Carmack! (2)

goruka (1721094) | about 9 months ago | (#44498535)

Occulus has success warranted, even if it by rare chance doesn't become a revolution on the way we play video games , it will be a revolution in the way we watch porn.

Re:Best of luck to Carmack! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44498561)

Rare chance? Are you on fucking drugs? There's a huge likelihood that this will not go anywhere at all.

Re:Best of luck to Carmack! (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 9 months ago | (#44498597)

It's too late for the nowhere at all argument. Oculus is supported by Valve, ID, Epic, and a few other major players, already. There's already contracts to get a consumer version into physical stores sometime next year. Jumping the gun with "revolution" is a bit much, but the technology is already getting entrenched as a de-facto standard for VR.

Re:Best of luck to Carmack! (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 9 months ago | (#44498653)

Do they have non-windows working yet?

I would love to play portal on my linux machine with this.

Re:Best of luck to Carmack! (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 9 months ago | (#44498705)

They do. The unity engine is cross-platform, and many of the rift-targeted applications use it. Valve supports linux with their games, and valve supports the rift, but I can't say with any confidence that the intersection is supported.

Re:Best of luck to Carmack! (1)

filthpickle (1199927) | about 9 months ago | (#44499235)

Man, if it gives people motion sickness already......portal already has situations that are hard on the brain with only a monitor...

Re:Best of luck to Carmack! (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 9 months ago | (#44499603)

Yeah, I thought that would be great. I loved the feeling the first time I had to get my brain to deal some of those puzzles.

Re:Best of luck to Carmack! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44499331)

lots of support assures success! Look at the stellar success of 3D!! Woo fucking hoo! I loves me some 3D fucking eh!

now pull your finger out of your vagina and get back to work.

Re:Best of luck to Carmack! (1)

pr0nbot (313417) | about 9 months ago | (#44498849)

The probability of Oculus Rift making me want to spew will likely be near 100%. All virtual 3D seems to, and even some actual 3D (reading in a car) so I'm not holding my breath.

Re:Best of luck to Carmack! (1)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about 9 months ago | (#44499587)

If you can't handle 3D for any reason other than the dimmed visuals at the theater, obviously a 3D display like the rift is going to be the same problem for you. People vary in how they process depth information, and stereoscopic displays can only fake some of us out. Fortunately I have no problem with 3D or HMDs.

It's going to be interesting to see what % of the population can't use this device because of the way their brain's are wired for visual perception.

This clearly won't be suitable for some significant number of interested people, so they should expect a lot of returns when they release the consumer version.

Really? Who cares? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44498543)

Who cares and why does it matter? This VR bullshit is going the same direction as 3D TV and movies: nowhere.

Carmack is not even relevant any longer.

Re:Really? Who cares? (1)

SpaceManFlip (2720507) | about 9 months ago | (#44498593)

Troll cares enough about it to hate it and expend energy complaining about it.

Re:Really? Who cares? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 9 months ago | (#44498649)

Troll cares enough about it to hate it and expend energy complaining about it.

That's a lame argument and you know it. Stop using it. It convinces no one of anything. You can take an active disinterest in something, and express concern about excessive exposure. I don't think it's reasonable for the Rift, which is awesome, but you can do it without tacitly endorsing the subject matter.

Re:Really? Who cares? (1)

Sperbels (1008585) | about 9 months ago | (#44502889)

Not the same direction. The industry just threw 3D TV at us and expected everyone to buy it. Nobody wanted it...not even while they were developing it. But in the case of the Rift...every gamer I know is just drooling over this thing. And so am I. Even if it makes me motion sick...I'll still throw out a few hundred dollars for it.

Will there be a Mancubus Rift now (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | about 9 months ago | (#44498559)

dribbling the remains of victims cadaver from its lusting mouth?

Still, the firepower may not be enough if you're slow.

Let us hope Oculus is faster at moving on, agressively.

My eyeballs are waiting.

When will it have VR5 enabled? (1)

SpaceManFlip (2720507) | about 9 months ago | (#44498611)

Hey, 'member the 90's?

Virtual Reality was all the rage in the 90's but the tech wasn't really there to power it. I find it interesting to see the tech catching up after everyone (mostly) has let it fall off the radar...

Re:When will it have VR5 enabled? (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 9 months ago | (#44498681)

It's really the tech going into smart phone development that has paved the way. Lots of good, cheap, and small sensors, chips, and screens available. And of course, that 3d games actually look like not-a-pile-of-feces these days helps too.

Re:When will it have VR5 enabled? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44499215)

Not quite.
All the sensor development was done for cars. First was airbag sensors that needed to be durable, reliable and cheap. Once ABS (with wheel mounted hall effect sensors) became ubiquitous, manufacturers realized that with six axis sensors they could do yaw control on the top-heavy trucks that were selling like hotcakes a decade ago. The economies of scale for cars really helped bring the tech down in cost. Now stabillity control is MANDATORY in the USA, (one ot the reasons I won't buy a new car) so all cars end up with six or nine axis (three axis acceleration, three axis gyro and three axis magetic) for figuring out what the car is doing, then apply brakes to individual wheels to keep everything under control for shitty drivers.

Re:When will it have VR5 enabled? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44499321)

I remember the VR craze in the 90's quite well. Some friends and I chipped in and bought 4 Forte VFX-1 headsets and hooked them up to 4 computers that were networked together and would rent them out for conferences and parties. The VFX-1, while awesome for it's time, had an almost painfully low resolution by today's standards (realistically, about 320x200). The game that I thought used it to best effect was Descent.

There's a pretty good writeup of it at http://www.vrtifacts.com/hmds/retrospective-photo-review-of-forte-vfx1-virtual-reality-system/.

Not surprsingly, numerous id games were supported by this, so it's no surprise that Carmack has an interest in the Oculus.

I will agree that VR is cool (0)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about 9 months ago | (#44498819)

But wearing a big douchy snorkel like headset is the reason why VR has never taken off in the 30 years that is has been promised.

I mean this is not a new concept and the technology to make it happen has existed for 30 years. I don't agree that computer's were not powerful enough, BS. I don't agree that screens were not small enough, BS. Occulus Rift is under some huge delusion that they have innovated a product that nobody else has thought of and this will be a huge hit all of a sudden. There is a reason why nobody is doing or has done VR, and its not because Occulus Rift has a team full of amazing engineers.

I don't know, go to here:

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

And tell me the first slide of a guy gaming with this thing on doesn't look like a complete douche. Also look at all the shots of guys wearing this while their mouths gaping wide open like they are ready to swallow something big.

Between Google Glass and Occulus Rift I think the Douchaggedon is the next big thing to prep for.

Re:I will agree that VR is cool (5, Informative)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 9 months ago | (#44499071)

Really? That's the big reason VR won't take off, in your opinion? "It looks douchey"? The appearance is completely 100% irrelevant: the device locks you out from the outside world (thats the point), which means it will always be used when you are alone, or with a group of people also wearing it, which means no one will even see you wearing it anyways. You do realize people aren't going to be wearing these things walking down the street, right? I ask, because given the rest of your comment, I'm not actually sure.

I mean this is not a new concept and the technology to make it happen has existed for 30 years. I don't agree that computer's were not powerful enough, BS. I don't agree that screens were not small enough, BS.

Well, you're wrong. Just, wrong. No other way to put it: completely 100% wrong. You need light weight low latency LCD displays (cheap enough for consumer-level equipment), which didn't exist until 4-5 years ago. You need GPUs powerful enough to run 1080p resolutions at 60fps or higher, with decent looking textures, which didn't exist till... well, actually, right about now. Real time 3D rendering didn't even exist 30 years ago in consumer hardware.

Re:I will agree that VR is cool (1)

localman57 (1340533) | about 9 months ago | (#44499091)

Where, exactly, do you anticipate wearing them that how they make you look matters? Your argument about Google Glass is somewhat founded. But not Rift. Hell, the whole point of Rift is that if you and the other people in the room are all wearing them, to each other you look like the ripped manly warriors slaying Orcs in the forest rather than a bunch of flabby gamers waiting to cancer from the radon in your parents' basement.

Re:I will agree that VR is cool (1)

Alejux (2800513) | about 9 months ago | (#44499145)

What does it matter what you look like while you're doing VR? Seriously, who gives a crap?! In the future you'll probably do VR while lying on a bed or attached to a special chair anyway.

Re:I will agree that VR is cool (1)

martas (1439879) | about 9 months ago | (#44499177)

I don't think you said "douchy" enough times to make your point. Here, I'll get you started on a revision:

But wearing a big douchy snorkel like douchy headset is the douchy reason why douchy VR has never taken off in the douchy years ...

There, hope that helps. What the fuck is up with the rampant, vicious technophobia on slashdot?

Re:I will agree that VR is cool (1)

Jeff Flanagan (2981883) | about 9 months ago | (#44499647)

It's all part of the great dumbing down of Slashdot. The site used to be made up of seriously smart people, and now there are a ton of derpy reactionaries that respond poorly to just about everything.

Re:I will agree that VR is cool (1)

jeti (105266) | about 9 months ago | (#44499315)

VR for personal use so far has failed because the hardware was crap or unaffordable. I will buy an Oculus Rift and I don't care how it looks. I won't use it for an audience.

Re:I will agree that VR is cool (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44500015)

I mean this is not a new concept and the technology to make it happen has existed for 30 years. I don't agree that computer's were not powerful enough, BS. I don't agree that screens were not small enough, BS.

>60 fps 3D rendering with lens distortion correction via pixel shader at greater than 1080p resolutions on sub-7" panel displays with a prospective sub-$300 price point?

Your issue with the aesthetics I'll grant you, as that's your opinion. But everything else you said is dead wrong and makes you look like an idiot.

Re:I will agree that VR is cool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44500083)

I bet that people riding a bicycle looked quite stupid at first glance too.

Re:I will agree that VR is cool (1)

lxs (131946) | about 9 months ago | (#44500633)

Well they did look stupid. [tweedrun.com] But the tech evolved into something streamlined and useful.

The Oculus Rift is much like the original brick phone. A couple generations on and VR goggles will be sleek, cheap and everywhere.

This is great (1)

backslashdot (95548) | about 9 months ago | (#44498843)

But I have my doubts on Oculus VR's ability to use Google. For example, there are 500ppi displays available in Japan, yet Oculus doesn't know how to find them (hint, google 500ppi).

Frankly they need a minimum of a 500ppi display for this thing to be screen-door effect tolerable .. even if they layered a diffusion sheet to break it up.

For it to be perfect I don't see how they can do it with under 700ppi .. which may make it prohibitively expensive. Still for it to be a success in the mainstream 500ppi is the minimum.

Re:This is great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44499391)

Where do you get that from?
As far as I understand it they're using a lens system, which means that the apparent ppi isn't necessarily the same as the physical ppi of the screen. Are you calculating based on some specific minimum number of pixels and display size?

How are you determining the minimum physical resolution "for it to be a success in the mainstream"?

Re:This is great (1)

Areyoukiddingme (1289470) | about 9 months ago | (#44499497)

I'm sure they're well aware of the highest DPI displays. They also know what you don't: that acquiring them in volume is either outright impossible because the full production run is already spoken for by a mobile phone developer, or prohibitively expensive because yield is still very low.

Development of mobile hardware is a double-edged sword, for VR. Without it, the displays wouldn't have been made at all. With it, the displays are being made, but VR is very much a redheaded stepchild when it comes time to hand out the new gear. Unless and until Oculus can place orders for millions or tens of millions of displays, they're going to have a hard time getting the latest and greatest while hitting a price point gamers will tolerate.

Re:This is great (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 9 months ago | (#44499515)

I don't have any need for 3D, but I'll gladly GLADLY buy a 500ppi head-mounted display that I can use instead of a laptop screen, say 3x5". 700ppi would be even better.

I looked at using a small Android tablet for this purpose, but the display interface options are currently too laggy.

Re:This is great (1)

Wildclaw (15718) | about 9 months ago | (#44500131)

Frankly they need a minimum of a 500ppi display for this thing to be screen-door effect tolerable

The screen door effect is a result of pixel fill rate, not DPI.

Not the first VR device Carmack played with... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44499495)

I worked for a company in college that put Wolfenstein 3d into a virtual reality arcade system. I met Carmack when he flew to Louisville KY to try it out (we were working on licensing agreements with id). We were using a Virtual Research Flight Helmet head mounted display with a Polhemus tracker mounted on top. Carmack seemed to enjoy it. He found our scan converter particularly amusing. This was a prototype and we needed an NTSC signal to drive the HUD and graphic cards that put out NTSC were very expensive at the time (Paradise VGA cards were something like $1500 at the time iirc). So we pointed a camcorder at a CRT monitor. It is very interesting to see him effectively entering that field now. I wonder if he even remembers seeing our product back then. The company never was able to sell any units at the astronomical price of $80,000 per unit (iirc) so the licensing deal never went anywhere. The company was Alternate Worlds Technology.

Re:Not the first VR device Carmack played with... (3, Interesting)

Scorchmon (305172) | about 9 months ago | (#44502193)

He specifically mentioned this in his Quakecon 2012 keynote, and the part about the camcorder was pretty amusing.

Will Carmack still Open Source his work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44499795)

Will Carmack still Open Source his work?

Did Carmack shoot id Software in the foot by releasing his source code?

Who wants to pay for id Tech when the source code is Free?

Does Carmack need Money?

I'm happy for him (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44499825)

I deeply respect Carmack's work with regards to the engines he produces. With that being said, I hope this forces some dramatic changes at id software. They've been circling the toilet bowl for so long, not making a truly amazing game since the 90s. Hopefully they pick someone other than Tim Willits as lead for their next deathmatch-focused game so that we can get something fun again, rather than something overbalanced like Quake 3/Quake Live that is neither fun for newbies nor suitable for all types of competitive play (including team deathmatch and ctf and so on). Looking forward to the future!

Mr. Carmack (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44500407)

In my opinion you will always and forever be a rock star of the gaming entertainment industry. Rock on man.

Who cares about games? (2)

jasno (124830) | about 9 months ago | (#44500649)

Is anyone else looking forward to using the Rift for non-gaming applications? The thing that excites me the most is replacing(well, complementing) my dual monitor setup with a 360Â desktop. I can't wait to have the extra desktop space available with a slight spin of my chair. Hell, you could even switch desktops by rolling your chair to the side or something. All I need is a keyboard/mouse tray attached to my chair.

Re:Who cares about games? (1)

phorm (591458) | about 9 months ago | (#44501653)

Mix it with something like the "Leap Motion" sensor (or a Kinect, but leap seems more versatile), and there are a lot of cool things you could do.

Priorities backwards (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44501671)

Anybody else feel like he has his priorities backwards? Oh well.... I guess I have to go make a fe $billion so that I can put cheap spaceflight on the front burner where it belongs, ahead of yet another 3d/vr gadget.

nothing new (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44501911)

I don't see how this uses any new technology, you could easily make your own. All you need is a processor to process the two screens, along with the sensor inputs from motion. Go buy a developer kit from nvidia, amd, or what ever and make your own little headset.

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