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Oculus Rift Developer Kit 2 Ready For Pre-Order Today

Unknown Lamer posted about 4 months ago | from the hiro-protaganist dept.

Displays 100

An anonymous reader writes "Today at GDC Oculus has revealed the second developer kit of their virtual reality headset, the Oculus Rift DK2. The new unit has a 1080p OLED screen with low-persistence capabilities, positional tracking thanks to an IR LED array and compatible camera, and a bunch of other improvements over the DK1. Pre-orders start today for $350 and are expected to ship in July." The new model also eliminates the control box and adds a powered USB port. The experience is much better than the DK1 model according to the article: "The image is substantially sharper in the DK2 when moving your head, mostly thanks to low-persistence. I swear I could feel the difference between the DK1 and DK2 on my eyes. It’s hard to describe, but where the DK1 feels like looking through binoculars into another world, the DK2 feels like sticking your head out the window into another world. That’s not to say that the field of view is higher, but there’s something far more comfortable about using the DK2."

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I think this is dangerous (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#46524857)

They're selling another devkit. That's nice, but if the wind goes out of the VR sails before a production model hits the market, Oculus loses.

Re:I think this is dangerous (1)

beernutmark (1274132) | about 4 months ago | (#46524875)

Why would the wind go out of the sails? That seems like saying 25 years ago, "if we have yet another test version of a cell phone people will eventually not want them." I honestly don't understand your concern.

Re:I think this is dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46524929)

Vertigo. Headaches. Disorientation. At least one episode of projectile vomiting.

I don't want anywhere near that thing ever again.

Re:I think this is dangerous (5, Insightful)

beernutmark (1274132) | about 4 months ago | (#46525035)

Yes but that's not caused by releasing another devkit specifically. Those problems may, or may not, be inherent in the technology. Releasing additional devkits may help solve those problems. It may not though. Regardless, I can't see how the overall excitement for vr will be hurt by another dev kit.

Re:I think this is dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46526879)

I agree. In fact, I thought a key point of the DK2 is that it is expected to *reduce* incidence of vertigo, headache, disorientation, and especially projectile vomiting.

Oculus is doing more than most to prevent this (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 4 months ago | (#46525055)

Vertigo. Headaches. Disorientation. At least one episode of projectile vomiting.

That's very true of headsets in the past. But Oculus has been doing great work in figuring out how to eliminate those problems, with tools like the latency tracker that helps you write software that doesn't introduce potentially nausea-inducing latency - and enough sensors on the headset to provide a clean tracking which again can reduce nausea.

I myself have been pretty susceptible to FPS induced nausea in the past, so if I can make use of the headset they are building I figure it should be pretty solid for general consumption.

I personally really want to see someone succeed with headset technology because I just can't see any other way to get nearly as good a sense of true immersion in a virtual world. I figure at this point Oculus is as likely to succeed as anyone, even Sony.

Re:Oculus is doing more than most to prevent this (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about 4 months ago | (#46525843)

Oh, well if it works for you, then it definitely should be good for everyone else. You pompous asswipe.

If it doesn't work for cybork_monkey (1)

morgauxo (974071) | about 4 months ago | (#46526191)

"Oh, well if it doesn't work for cyborg_monkey, then it definitely should be no good for anyone else. You pompous asswipe."

TFTFY

Oh, and btw, it works great for me! And my daughter loves it too! But I suppose nobody should every try to market it to us because it doesn't mesh well with the physiology of a few unfortunate people including at least one who wines too much.

couldn't let that one lie (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46527205)

If one who wines too much, it would not be unexpected that one occasionally experience projectile vomiting.

Re:Oculus is doing more than most to prevent this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46533877)

Oh, well if it works for you, then it definitely should be good for everyone else. You pompous asswipe.

Looking at your comment history, you seem to have been posting those insulting comments for a couple of years already. Why are you so angry?

Re:Oculus is doing more than most to prevent this (0)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about 4 months ago | (#46537813)

Fuck off you ignorant twit.

Re:Oculus is doing more than most to prevent this (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 4 months ago | (#46526151)

It's motion sickness on ships and planes, but the opposite. In large vehicle interiors, your eyes say you're not moving, but your inner ear says you are. Clearly you ate something bad messing with your body, so initiate poison response.

With a VR helm, your eyes say you are moving, but your inner ear says no. Ironically, it's probably more due to the movement-in-game than twisting your head, where ear and eyes match.

In other words, same issue as with an FPS on a normal monitor -- fast-twich turn/shoot has this problem. VR being all-encompassing may have this issue more in same fast-twitch, and lesser in 3D adventure mmo type games. But it's not the 3D per se.

Two kinds of move (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 4 months ago | (#46526295)

With a VR helm, your eyes say you are moving, but your inner ear says no.

With a computer monitor, your eyes also say you are moving, and some people get sick as a result - but a large part of that (at least for me) was that my eyes were saying I was turning, but my body knew it was not.

With a VR helmet, yes you can still move around and the inner ear doesn't agree. BUT as you turn your head around to look at the world, the inner ear does agree with what your eyes are seeing. So there's less possibility to get sick, and I think the aspect of motion that gets you sicker quicker is reduced substantially.

It could be that game controls have to be adapted somewhat to work well with VR, but I think there's a lot of hope for really interesting uses of VR that do not make people sick.

Re:I think this is dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46526609)

The FAQ on this one is going to be really interesting:

"If I tied a passed out "friend" up and put on the Oculus Rift glasses and played a movie of them being thrown out of a helicopter from 1st person, would they be able to tell that it was fake or is there a perceived feeling of it being real?" - a forum post

Re:I think this is dangerous (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 4 months ago | (#46527557)

And I couldn't play Wolfenstein 3D because it made me queasy. I was part of a small segment of the population who was incompatible with the game. That doesn't mean the game was defective. It means my optical sensing system is defective. I don't have that problem with current games running at 60Hz on LCD vs 70Hz on CRT. (Pretty sure 320x200x8bit was 70Hz in the VGA specs.) Hoping I won't have that problem with this new headset.

I just preordered a DK2. I've been waiting for a decent, affordable VR display since the early 90s when I played with some of the most cutting edge stuff available at the time. Holy crap, it was bad, bulky, and expensive. :) The goggles were massive and weighed several pounds. For head tracking you had to sit in just the right spot under a big frame holding sensors. The environment was barely beyond wire frame because that's all that portable equipment could render at the time.

Re:I think this is dangerous (1)

MrBigInThePants (624986) | about 4 months ago | (#46527651)

You really needed to watch the "low persistence" video before commenting.

I thought it was just a high refresh rate screen or similar and almost did not bother. Turns out they have essentially SOLVED the problem you are talking about in an truly ingenious way.
This is pretty amazing news buried in a terrible slashdot summary. Its sad when reporters are too ignorant to understand the ramifications of what they are reporting on.

Remember that when you move your head your proprioceptors and other organic systems are telling your brain that movement is occurring and thus it should compensate for this visually. With VR the mismatch between what it sees (a series of static images each held in place for a fraction of a second) and what it is expecting (a constantly updating image) are what cause the quesyness and other side effects.

Summary of persistence video for the time constrained:

The solution was not in the refresh rate/screen quality/FPS. To eliminate this problem using faster updates you would have to up the FPS (not just the refresh rate) to unrealistic levels. They proved it was not the screen refresh itself by using a high speed video camera and playing back the screen contents in slow motion - every frame was perfect. The "motion blur" was an artefact your brain was adding itself.
The core problem was that the VR frames were only "valid" to your brain for a fraction of a second. The rest of the time the frame was out of date data and this is what was causing motion blur. (e.g. 3d text would blur and be unreadable with only tiny head movements)

Their solution was simple and elegant but did require custom hardware: They only show the frame when it is "valid" and blacken the screen otherwise. Due to their high FPS (60-75 fps I believe) there is no perceptible flicker.

What I find neat about this solution is that as systems improve and can support higher and higher FPS the amount of "black" time can be naturally reduced to improve screen quality and this the solution scales naturally - the initial models will support a max of 75 FPS though.

I imagine the only downside is that if your system fails to produce the min required FPS will will begin to see flickering. Of course that is far preferable to the alternative on the old system: The worse your FPS, the worse the vomit effects are as there is more frozen old data per second.
 

Re:I think this is dangerous (1)

MrBigInThePants (624986) | about 4 months ago | (#46530085)

Retraction:

I mistook the 75Hz refresh rate for FPS which was silly. The max refresh is 75Hz. Have no idea what the max FPS is of the headset or how that relates to the low persistence part.

Re:I think this is dangerous (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#46524943)

Because, entertainment, like computers, aren't a linear path with "start" on one end, progress in the middle, and "ideal" at the end. Trends can shape markets. Being beaten to the punch by similar ideas that aren't the same can, and does happen.

My concern is only specifically for oculus VR, the company. I'm not worried that games are just going to stop being fun. That already happened when EA bought all the fun companies.

Re:I think this is dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46524945)

He is saying that if oculus waits to long and a different company starts selling real VR glasses and it takes off, then oculus will have missed it chance.

It's more like saying:
"if nokia keeps releasing cell phone dev kits, and apple releases the iphone, nokia will lose."

Re:I think this is dangerous (1)

beernutmark (1274132) | about 4 months ago | (#46524987)

That doesn't sound like wind out of the vr sails but more correctly another company taking advantage of the wind created by oculus rift and stealing their wind. Perhaps this is what he meant but it is not what he said.

Re:I think this is dangerous (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about 4 months ago | (#46524957)

Great comparison. (you're a complete moron).

Re:I think this is dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46524993)

I remember back in the 50's, when people saying that flying cars were just a passing fad too. People are so fucking short-sighted.

Dubious commercial prospects (2)

sjbe (173966) | about 4 months ago | (#46525149)

Why would the wind go out of the sails?

Because the "wind in the sails" probably isn't as strong as you think. My first job out of college was working with VR technologies. I worked some with headsets myself about 10 years ago. While headsets like this are cool, the use cases for them are pretty darn limited, even allowing for the improvements in the state of the art since I worked with them. It's a relatively expensive specialty item, people historically do not like wearing headsets for entertainment (see 3D TV), there is relatively little software that uses the device, etc. There are a fair number of geeks who are interested in this sort of thing for playing games but that's about where the consumer interest ends. The limitations are probably less in the technological feasibility than in the lack of a killer use case.

I think the technology is neat but I'm dubious on the commercial feasibility until proven otherwise. I wouldn't mind being proven wrong but I just don't think there is a large business opportunity here.

Re:Dubious commercial prospects (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | about 4 months ago | (#46525425)

, even allowing for the improvements in the state of the art since I worked with them

Which haven't been that much. I've used the Oculus. I also remember the VR glasses that CompUSA had for sale (was Descent the game they used to show off?), as well as some other VR tech that never got off the ground. The Oculus is clearly better, but it wasn't unusable technology before. Hell, the VirtualBoy is roundly criticized, but it technically functioned just fine.

Don't underestimate gamers (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 4 months ago | (#46525545)

Don't underestimate the market power of geeks playing games - they're the primary motivator for 3D video cards, and arguably one of the larger driving forces behind high-power CPUs as well.

As for the expense - the Rift folks are holding pretty steady about targetting the $200-$400 price range - about the price of a midrange 3D video card or SSD, and I think most gamers would agree that a VR helmet would bring far more to the table. Not to mention that a good VR helmet should outlast at least a couple 3D card upgrade cycles, making the amortized cost quite reasonable.

No low end market (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 4 months ago | (#46526215)

Don't underestimate the market power of geeks playing games - they're the primary motivator for 3D video cards, and arguably one of the larger driving forces behind high-power CPUs as well.

The difference is that eventually the technology in high powered CPUs make their way into middle and low end applications. There is no low end application here. A secretary is never going to use one of these things. The only likely users are techies and early-adopter types. I could see a small business in these things for gamers and marketing and some other niche uses but I really don't see full immersion VR headsets becoming a mainstream technology. Augmented reality on the other hand has very obvious commercial uses.

Re:No low end market (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | about 4 months ago | (#46526705)

The only likely users are techies and early-adopter types. I could see a small business in these things for gamers and marketing and some other niche uses but I really don't see full immersion VR headsets becoming a mainstream technology.

Not sure I'd qualify the porn industry as niche, but if they pick up on this, and I reckon they will, that might certainly push sales big-time.

Re:No low end market (1)

Jeremi (14640) | about 4 months ago | (#46527257)

There is no low end application here. A secretary is never going to use one of these things.

A secretary is never going to use an XBox either, and yet they manage to sell plenty of them.

The only likely users are techies and early-adopter types.

Maybe -- it will depend entirely on how compelling the experience is. If it's seen as boring, or nauseating, or socially isolating, then you'll be proven right. OTOH, if it's really fun, there's no reason the technology won't spread as the technology matures and prices decrease.

This isn't an xbox (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 4 months ago | (#46527479)

A secretary is never going to use an XBox either, and yet they manage to sell plenty of them.

Do you seriously think this think is going to sell even close to the XBox numbers? Microsoft sold 3 million xbox ones in 2013. Frankly if they sell even a tenth of that I'll be very impressed. The xbox is a device with FAR more mass market appeal. Don't get me wrong, I hope they do well, but based on my own experience with the technology I'm not holding my breath. They're selling this thing at a price point that has to have fairly tight margins. I run a contract assembly company and I've got a moderately good idea of what this thing must cost to make. If they are profitable (very unlikely right now), they aren't making much on it. The company is well funded but that's no guarantee of success.

OTOH, if it's really fun, there's no reason the technology won't spread as the technology matures and prices decrease.

I've used headsets like this. It's fun for a little while but it wears off fast. It's basically a limited use novelty item. A few people will love it and use it a bunch, most will try it once and say that it's neat (or puke) and never pick it up again.

Re:This isn't an xbox (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 4 months ago | (#46527569)

>I've used headsets like this.

I don't believe you. When has a headset like this existed before? There are cheap crappy consumer headsets, most of which are little more than low-resolution video glasses. And there are tens-of-thousands-of-dollars professional-oriented models for various visualization and simulation purposes. And neither had any selection of high-end games available for them. The VFX1 is the only serious gaming-oriented VR helmet I can think of, and it was garbage in comparison.

Re:This isn't an xbox (1)

sjbe (173966) | about 4 months ago | (#46529043)

I don't believe you. When has a headset like this existed before?

Believe whatever you want. I've had the good fortune of working with VR technology for a living for a number of years earlier in my career and I've had a few opportunities to use some really high end (for the time) gear. The Occulus is an incremental (though very nice) improvement over what has existed for well over a decade. I used VR headsets as far back as the 90s. I also worked with 3D glasses, some very expensive Silicon Graphics computers and various other immersive VR technology like CAVE systems. I have actually given lectures to college students on the topic. The key difference now isn't really in the headset hardware but rather in the computer and software driving it. The headset is really just a screen and some motion sensors. Better than they used to be (lighter, better sensors, etc) but nothing fundamentally new. What really makes it work is hardware that can draw the world fast enough to keep up with the motion (and not make you sick) and software that provides something useful and/or entertaining.

And neither had any selection of high-end games available for them.

That's because the headsets were expensive (and heavy and annoying) and the computers needed to make an even vaguely realistic environment were *really* expensive until fairly recently. Computers have gotten faster and 3D games have already been developed for other purposes so it's relatively economical. It was a chicken and egg problem. No software because no hardware and vice-versa. However the use cases really haven't evolved much for the retail market. I imagine there will be some gamers that will use this but I don't really see it becoming mainstream for reasons I've already expounded on. Possible I'm wrong but I doubt it.

However if Occulus can take what they are learning and apply it to an augmented reality system somewhere down the road then they probably have a serious business because that has lots of both retail and business applications.

Re:This isn't an xbox (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | about 4 months ago | (#46529771)

I don't game. I can't think of a single good use for this.

But for $300? Shit I'm thinking of buying one anyway!

I'm mostly curious about the possibility of using it for some very heavily augmented reality...the tech that eventually ends up making that kind of thing mainstream will probably *look* more like Google Glass, but much of the internals and software will probably come from systems like the Rift.

Re:This isn't an xbox (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 4 months ago | (#46532953)

So... the answer to when you used a system like the Occulus was never.

Thanks for clearning that up, nice try saving your ass with a tl;dr.

Re:No low end market (1)

MBGMorden (803437) | about 4 months ago | (#46530949)

For games - maybe not, but perhaps non-interactive content like many people already watch will be adapted to this.

Its not a holodeck - there's no tactile feedback, but I can a future where one could watch the superbowl as if they're standing on the field with the players. Or similar things for movies. Basically like being a "ghost" - you're there, and you observe, but you can't interact.

Your comment kinda reminds me of something my brother said back in the mid-late 90's. I had a DVD drive on my computer and I said "Eventually these are going to replace video cassettes.". He exclaimed that that would never happen because most people don't watch movies on a computer. While he was right on the latter part (for a time), that was irrelevant, because he wasn't seeing the full scope of what the technology could be used with.

Re:Don't underestimate gamers (1)

Kjella (173770) | about 4 months ago | (#46526947)

As for the expense - the Rift folks are holding pretty steady about targetting the $200-$400 price range - about the price of a midrange 3D video card or SSD, and I think most gamers would agree that a VR helmet would bring far more to the table.

When you're actually wearing the helmet maybe but I don't see myself using a VR helmet nearly as much as my graphics card or my SSD. Yes, you can look around with a VR helmet but you can't actually move like in a VR world I still need to be glued to my chair. Anything else would take too much space, cost and it's too exhaustive to game standing up. It'll be a gimmick for some kinds of games just like IMAX movies are, but many games won't have any benefit.

Re:Don't underestimate gamers (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 4 months ago | (#46529481)

I assume you've never used head-tracking in flight simulator or racing games - the increase in immersion and situational awareness is immense, enough so that it makes playing without it almost painful in comparison. And that's with nonlinear head tracking where you still have to keep your eyes on the non-moving screen and have no depth perception. I'm looking forward to the day I can play Civilization, and better still various real-time strategy games, while floating godlike over the world

As for moving in the VR world - there are several variations on the treadmill theme that show promise, or for a more compact and less intensive experience you could stand or sit on a Wii balance board for 2-4 axes of movement input (2 planar, one twist, plus jump/crouch impulse detection). Coupled with something like the Razer Hydra for 6-axis hand tracking and some new VR UI metaphors for a lot of the "extended" controls currently relegated to hotkeys, and you've got some serious potential. Have you see the cover-shooter demo? It relies on joystick-based movement, but shows off some of the potential of the Rift/Hydra combo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

Also, I hope you won't find this rude, but if you find standing for a few hours exhausting I would suggest you work some more exercise into your daily routine - we appear to be designed to be able to, with moderate conditioning, run pretty much every other animal on the planet into the ground, regardless of (adult) age or gender. And while there's not a lot of call for that in modern life, if you find just remaining upright a challenge then you may be dangerously out of shape. Or perhaps you've just never learned how to stand well - it's not like it's something they teach in school. Basic tips: keep your knees slightly bent, and move *constantly*, shifting your weight from one foot to the other and from toe to heel, as well as flexing at the waist. Swaying to music can be helpful. As can a decent standing desk so you need not choose between standing and working - I've fallen in love with an adjustable speaker stand with a short length of 1x12 screwed to the top, just large enough to support a laptop and mouse pad at the perfect standing height.

Re:Don't underestimate gamers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46532299)

Not that guy, but;

I have problems standing for long periods of time because my hips and knees are dysplastic, as is every other major joint in my body, causing random dislocations when shifting weight, walking or standing. Until this became a properly crippling problem due to degradation of connective tissues etc, I was a rock climber (worst possible sport I could have taken up!), cyclist, airsofter and swimmer.

Don't assume that somebody has trouble standing up because they're in poor physical shape; All the muscle tone and strength that I had from those sports didn't help me one iota.

Personally, I want one of these headsets almost entirely for use with ArmA III. I suspect it'll be extremely immersive, but I'm unsure as to whether I should get a DKII or wait for the commercial version.

Re:Don't underestimate gamers (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 4 months ago | (#46534303)

Well, in fairness I was addressing someone who claimed *exhaustion* was the problem, obviously the issues are completely different for someone with medical problems. Perhaps sitting on a balance board would work, otherwise I suppose you're stuck with a thumbstick or keyboard. But, no offense, I hope they don't artificially restrict the majority of games to remain completely accessible to those with disabilities, there's just too much potential here.

I'm torn as well - I'm hopeful that with a July shipping for DK2 they're targeting a pre-Christmas release for the commercial version, 4 months should be enough for developers to iron out the positional-tracking gameplay details, especially considering the number of people already exploring it using other methods. The question is, how much of an improvement will the commercial version be? It seems like they're getting the thing pretty dialed in at this point. Hopefully they'll continue the DK2 sales beyond July, so I'll be able to make a better-informed decision then.

Re:Don't underestimate gamers (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 4 months ago | (#46532965)

Dude, if you have problems standing up you REALLY need to get out of that chair!!!

Gasp, some of us are capable of being active standing up all day long!

Re:Don't underestimate gamers (1)

holysin (549880) | about 4 months ago | (#46530615)

Don't underestimate the market power of geeks playing games

FWIW, some of us non game playing geeks are also *really* looking forward to the Rift primarily for watching movies on our HTPC... $300-400 (a head) is not expensive to movie geeks wanting the best experience... Hell, I'm praying the rift is finally released before I give in and buy another projector to replace my 7 year old one. I'm not sure if the rift will beable to do what I want it to, but I'm hopeful. And at the cost of 1 lamp (I replace them each year with my viewership on projectorss) it would be a friggin steal.

Re:Dubious commercial prospects (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 4 months ago | (#46525683)

There are a fair number of geeks who are interested in this sort of thing for playing games but that's about where the consumer interest ends. The limitations are probably less in the technological feasibility than in the lack of a killer use case.

My opinion VR is the poster child of the technology having failed for being ahead of its time. Processing power and display technology simply has not existed at a quality and price anyone was willing to pay until very recently.

Even if only compelling use case is playing games that market is still huge. When I can go on new egg and purchase 1000 watt PSUs, 3-way SLI GPUs with thousands of cores each, sub MS ultra polling keyboards, 10 trillion DPI mice rated for use inch above the mouse pad, water cooling kits, motherboards adorned with skulls, low latency lan bullshit and gamer overclock shit... I find it hard to believe there can be no room for a product with a BOM consisting of mobile displays, sensors and ski goggles...all common shit enjoying massive commercial interest, R&D produced at scale.

Re:Dubious commercial prospects (1)

grumbel (592662) | about 4 months ago | (#46526163)

Because the "wind in the sails" probably isn't as strong as you think.

Sony is now building their own VR headset for the PS4 with Project Morpheus, Valve already has VR support build into Steam, plenty of games started adding VR support and in the last year more virtual reality demos got produced then in the previous 20 years. Hard to tell how long the wind it will hold, but it's orders of magnitude stronger then what we had 20 years ago. It's also not limited to games, the current DevKit1, with all it's problems, is already used in a few non-game instalations [oculusvr.com] , virtual fashion shows, movies [entertherift.fr] , porn [veiviev.com] all that stuff. Also the nausea problems with VR have only recently been fixed with proper positional tracking and low persistence displays, something no previous consumer VR display had and that is critical for mass adoption. Given that the hype has been constantly growing ever since the first prototype was revealed almost two years ago, I doubt that VR will just fade away again, people want it, the price is cheap enough and it provides an experience that can't be provided by any other available technology.

Re: Dubious commercial prospects (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46526517)

Porn has its own nausea problem

Re:Dubious commercial prospects (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 4 months ago | (#46526789)

I just ordered mine.

I also still have a running VFX-1, though it's dusty as hell.

We'll see how well the nausea is fixed.

I'd note that the VFX-1, running on a 1 GHz processor with games written for a 200MHz processor already had very low persistence (60Hz display refresh, same as the new OR, but horrid resolution) and decent head tracking and was still plenty pukey. Descent 2 was a guaranteed projectile vomit if you tried to tough it out. My take at the time was that games that left up/up were much better. Helicopter sims better then fixed wing. Mechwarrior much much much better then Descent.

Re:Dubious commercial prospects (2)

grumbel (592662) | about 4 months ago | (#46527443)

already had very low persistence (60Hz display refresh, same as the new OR, but horrid resolution)

"Persistence" in this case doesn't just mean a higher refresh rate, but the time the image is on the display. With a classical LCD the image is on the display all the time, that's ok when you read text on a monitor, however for VR this leads to artifacts. When the image is on all the time and you move your head your eyes will receive an incorrect image until the next frame shows up, this leads to a lot of blurring and judder. With low persistence on the other side a frame is just flashed for a short amount and then the display goes black again (kind of like a CRT), meaning your eyes will receive always the right information and the judder and blur disappear. The black in between frames is filtered away by your brain. Abrash has some nice blog entries [valvesoftware.com] on the topic.

Re:Dubious commercial prospects (1)

SuperDre (982372) | about 4 months ago | (#46527739)

I also just ordered mine.. And I also have a VFX-1, and a VR920, but the VFX-1 is far superior IMHO to the VR920 which really has a crap tracking (with every update it even got worse, like the tracking was hardcoded for the US (and I'm on the other side), ofcourse it did have better displays, but due to the crap tracking the VFX-1 is still number one.. Especially when it comes to comfort, it sits so easy on your head, and with the flip-up vizor it's great for sitting behind your desk..

Re:Dubious commercial prospects (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46527819)

Lots of big companies and Universities have CAVEs. We have a couple for walking around factory layouts to see how they work, simulating tool usage and build steps, etc to assess for efficiency and ergonomics. We also use it to practice for things that we only get to do once and can't get wrong. It's used fairly extensively in some niches and I bet that we probably already have a couple of dev kits to see if it's worth ditching our current systems since this is an order of magnitude cheaper (and hence why all the interest, price is close to consumer level versus enterprise).

Re:I think this is dangerous (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 4 months ago | (#46525271)

Why would the wind go out of the sails?

Lack of marketability - just because you can get a handful of obsessive nerds, er, I mean "enthusiasts," to buy your non-production, R&D model, doesn't mean it's something the public at large is going to want or need. When I was a kid and first saw a WebTV, I figured they would sell like hotcakes; but they didn't.

That seems like saying 25 years ago, "if we have yet another test version of a cell phone people will eventually not want them."

25 years ago, companies didn't outsource R&D to the general public.

Re:I think this is dangerous (1)

Zocalo (252965) | about 4 months ago | (#46525735)

I don't think it's going to be quite the VR nirvana that some people are expecting, at least not for some of the more involved games that would benefit the most from VR - simpler console based stuff will be fine, although I'd expect there to be a similar level of bandwagon jumping crap that we had when the first "Multimedia PCs" were all the rage. Having a device like the Oculus Rift strapped in front of your eyes is a double edged sword; yes, you are totally immersed in the virtual environment, but you are also much more limited in your interactions with the real one. You are going to need to have situational awareness of both worlds, and do everything in the real one pretty much by touch alone, and that's likely a more limiting factor than some people might be expecting.

There's a lot of people planning on using the Oculus to play Star Citizen [robertsspa...stries.com] when it comes out, yet this is a traditional old school style PC flight sim at heart which, as many old timers will attest, even with all the buttons and other controls on a HOTAS setup, you often still needed some controls on the keyboard. The game also has an FPS mode that many of those same players are planning on using with a mouse rather than a stick, so that most likely means that the left hand will be moving between throttle and keyboard and the right between stick and mouse. Sure, most PC gamers can touch type, but with the Oculus we won't even have the benefit of our peripheral vision to find the home keys and get our bearings to find the key(s) we want, and I think that might be harder to do quickly than some people expect, particularly when they are in the middle of a dogfight or attempted boarding. That's not to say it's an unsolvable problem, some extra thought on control to key mappings might be enough to avoid most mis-steps, and I expect to see a lot of work going into making input devices much more tactile to help with this over the next few years - braille keyboards for hardcore VR gamers anyone?

Re:I think this is dangerous (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about 4 months ago | (#46524925)

I think its ok that they improve it before selling it. I remember the VR fad in the 90s. The helmets were too expensive, they worked with next to no software, and they were nausea inducing. If they can fix all of that, which I doubt, they have a win. I did try the Occulus Rift a couple of weeks back and it was better than I expected but it wasn't comfortable to use for extended periods.

Re:I think this is dangerous (1)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#46525053)

Yeah, it needs to get to the point where people are arguing about whether its good enough. Once that happens, you know you're set, because iPads aren't good enough, but people buy the hell out of them.

Re:I think this is dangerous (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 4 months ago | (#46525377)

The difference between the iPad and the Oculus Rift is that marketing and hype can convince people that the iPad is good, because it doesn't make you feel physically sick. If the Oculus Rift makes you feel physically sick, there is not amount of marketing that will make people want it. The iPad may be functionally crippled (unable to read from shared folders, for example) ,and miss out on basic hardware features like an SD card slot (and charging 5x the going rate for built in memory), but at least it doesn't make you physically sick.

Re:I think this is dangerous (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 4 months ago | (#46525453)

"The Oculus Rift makes you feel 80% less physically sick than the competition"

iEye* (1)

Thud457 (234763) | about 4 months ago | (#46526393)

Users experiencing minor projectile vomiting are wearing it wrong.

iEye* [wikimedia.org] user?

Re:iEye* (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 4 months ago | (#46526779)

This, or the computer it's attached to isn't fast enough, causing too much lag. From what I've heard, it requires quite a substantial computer to get the lag low enough. I'm sure the day it's released, a bunch of people with old PCs are going to run out and buy it, expecting it to work, feel sick, and it will tarnish the reputation of the product. This is probably why Sony has a better chance with a VR headset for the PS4. Because they'll be able to control how well it performs. With computers it's kind of dependent on the individual system. Even a fast computer would probably give too much lag if it was bogged down with malware or configured incorrectly.

Re:I think this is dangerous (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | about 4 months ago | (#46529715)

The iPad does make me physically sick!

Re:I think this is dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46525079)

It always struck me as a pity that the VR displays of the 90s faded away just as the 3d accelerator video cards that would have made them really practical were starting to appear.

Re:I think this is dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46525431)

I remember CAVE virtual reality environments in the 90s at big research centers. Rather than a head-mounted display, these used shutter glasses and a head-mounted tracker to allow stereoscopic graphics to be rendered properly on walls or a tilted screen like a drafting table. This method allowed small head movements to provide the expected shift in visual field even while displaying a static image of the scene on the walls. This would only introduce a small parallax error as the stereo renderings would not be for precise eye positions. The next rendered frame would catch up to make the parallax converge, but you at least had a decent approximation to what was to either side if you quickly glanced to one side. With head-mounted displays, you have to update the rendering perspective much faster to provide the illusion of a fixed environment that is decoupled from your head, otherwise you get terrible vertigo as your proprioception says your head has turned but your eyes tell you that your head has remained where it was before.

It wasn't until the early to mid 2000s that 3D accelerator cards started to meet the basic performance characteristics of those big SGI systems used for the CAVE (ignoring some of the more exotic features and just focusing on vertex or polygon rates). I'm still not sure that current GPUs are really up to the task of head-mounted immersion unless you significantly reduce the scene complexity that people will look at. It's not just frame-rate you have to maintain, but overall system latency from head position sensor to updated image presented to the eyes. Having a pipeline delay will make it feel like you are on some serious drugs.

Re:I think this is dangerous (1)

narcc (412956) | about 4 months ago | (#46526823)

Having a pipeline delay will make it feel like you are on some serious drugs.

And ... we've identified the 'killer app'.

Re:I think this is dangerous (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 4 months ago | (#46525591)

Yeah. Of course those displays were pretty much utter crap as well, and I don't know that they would have had the market penetration to drive the development of better LCD screens.

At any rate, today we're getting the chance to get a much higher quality helmet for only ~$150 '90s dollars. It's hard to complain about that.

Re:I think this is dangerous (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 4 months ago | (#46526885)

The problem for the 90s models was horrid LCDs, reused from camcorder eyepieces. Not even TV resolution.

I still have mine, hooked to a VooDoo Rush Hercules card. The only 3d accelerator ever made with a VESA feature connector. It doesn't support 256 color correctly when accelerated. That was a waste of time and effort.

Re:I think this is dangerous (1)

Ralph Wiggam (22354) | about 4 months ago | (#46525127)

I have to imagine that they're shooting for an October/November release. It would be at the top of a a million people's Christmas lists, and the number of current and future competitors is growing quickly.

With that said, they need to get it right with the first consumer model. The first devkit version made me nauseous immediately.

Re:I think this is dangerous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46525143)

I'm holding out for DK3 - coming soon in 2016!

Re:I think this is dangerous (1)

EdZ (755139) | about 4 months ago | (#46525203)

You even have to active tick a very explicit "I am a developer. I know this is a development kit. I am not an end consumer" checkbox before the checkout will work. I doubt that many people not familiar with VR development are going to order one by mistake.

Re:I think this is dangerous (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 4 months ago | (#46525241)

You need to sell a devkit that's feature-complete compared to the production model, so they're going to have to release this at some point before the actual finished product.

Re:I think this is dangerous (2)

Immerman (2627577) | about 4 months ago | (#46525721)

Very true. There will undoubtably be some last-minute work for many of the "launch day" games to support positional tracking. At the very least positional tracking adds some major considerations with regard to not being able to stick your head through solid objects in the gameworld - no more option of just assuming your player character is a fixed-radius cylinder for collision purposes. Well, I suppose you could only allow head motion up to the limits of that cylinder - that should still at least add a little immersion and reduce the nausea due to incidental head motion not being reflected in-world. But the ability to peak around corners, over walls, etc. is just begging to be used, even if only as a fine-grained alternative to lean keys.

Disagree -- s/devkit/beta/g (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46525253)

Just think of it as a beta version.

What coincidental timing (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 4 months ago | (#46524861)

The day after Sony announces its VR project.

Re:What coincidental timing (1)

Dagger2 (1177377) | about 4 months ago | (#46525133)

They were both announced at the same games conference.

Re:What coincidental timing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46525389)

Right, so after Sony accounced their VR headset, the Occulus Rift people suddenly shit their pants and whipped up a second dev kit in less than 24 hours! Amazing!

Re:What coincidental timing (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 4 months ago | (#46525859)

It could have just as easily worked the other way around (Sony bumping up a planned announcement to get the drop on Occulus). But either way, I'm not sure I accept it as a coincidence.

Re:What coincidental timing (1)

Holi (250190) | about 4 months ago | (#46527337)

Yeah, not like Occulus didn't announce this and show it off back in January. [theverge.com]

But your right, it could be either way.

Disable ClickToFlash before ordering (3, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 4 months ago | (#46524871)

Just a heads up,

If you plan to order, disable ClickToFlash (or other flash blockers). I was able to get through the order form but on the order confirmation screen, the agreement text was blank, and there was no button to confirm the order... then enabling flash for the site led to some cryptic error that said my order wasn't complete (although it seems it was complete enough to charge my card).

Re:Disable ClickToFlash before ordering (0)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#46524965)

Well, sounds like you're going to have to go back in time, and use a phone or email to settle this. As long as you're in the stone age, could you bring us all some mammoth steaks?

Yes (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 4 months ago | (#46524999)

Very prophetic. Order completion did not work, re-ordering did not work because my card claimed it had a duplciate transaction. Yet my order status page shows no sign of any order...

So the emails begin.

Re:Disable ClickToFlash before ordering (1)

EdZ (755139) | about 4 months ago | (#46525221)

Tick the blank checkbox, then press the orange line (which the checkbox enabled as an 'complete order' button). The site is borked, but I successfully got an order confirmation, so if you didn't then your order likely has not completed.

Re:Disable ClickToFlash before ordering (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 4 months ago | (#46525459)

Odd, I tried the checkbox and orange line (figuring there was supposed to be a button) but nothing happened for me. Only whitelisting the site worked - but since I had started the order before it only "worked" in the sense that I could press the button, which led to an error and not a complete order. I also cannot submit a new order, so it's up to support now to figure out what the backend has actually done.

Re:Disable ClickToFlash before ordering (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46526553)

Make sure you type in your state too - it's not part of order validation but will make "place order" not appear and show that orange bar.

There's an invisible checkbox on the first page on the top right.
There's also an invisible checkbox near the bottom on the 2nd page.

I successfully ordered one as well.
Their website design could be better.

Selling V1? (1)

advtech (176011) | about 4 months ago | (#46525105)

What's a first version kit go for second hand nowadays? I'm planning to put mine on Craigslist in anticipation of getting V2 in July.

Re:Selling V1? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46525201)

After it was attached to your face after you did god knows what, not as much as you would like.

Re:Selling V1? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46525335)

Astute point. My first few Oculus experiences caused me to spontaneously masturbate, after which I came through .. uh .. my face. I'll be sure to mention this in the Craigslist posting.

Re:Selling V1? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46526469)

Might raise the price if you had a good story like that.

Re:Selling V1? (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 4 months ago | (#46525213)

I'd imagine the price would drop a lot now that the second dev kit is near at hand, since the first dev kit is not going to be as useful in development that targets the final commercial product.

You might be better off donating the kit to a school or some other group and then writing off the value of the kit.

Re:Selling V1? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46525309)

This is an interesting idea. I have two (one unopened), so I can perhaps work with the local school system to integrate it into their curriculum. The community college might be interested.

Re:Selling V1? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46533095)

Sure, because everybody is interested in a prototype that they had to fix because of the induced nausea.

I'm keeping mine (1)

Ultra64 (318705) | about 4 months ago | (#46527409)

Maybe it'll be a collector's item someday.

Guillotine App (1)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 4 months ago | (#46525767)

The 'sticking your head into another world' idea made me think of a cool app. It wouldn't be a long immersive experience, but somebody should code up a simulation of being beheaded with a guillotine. Your view would ''roll' after the head separating event.

My other comment is, as any black lab could advise you, when you stick your head out into this other world, make sure traffic coming the other way doesn't shear it off.

Re:Guillotine App (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46525999)

The 'sticking your head into another world' idea made me think of a cool app. It wouldn't be a long immersive experience, but somebody should code up a simulation of being beheaded with a guillotine. Your view would ''roll' after the head separating event.

My other comment is, as any black lab could advise you, when you stick your head out into this other world, make sure traffic coming the other way doesn't shear it off.

This has actually been done already. There's videos on youtube.

Re:Guillotine App (1)

ebrandsberg (75344) | about 4 months ago | (#46526027)

You do know it's been done, right? http://laughingsquid.com/disunion-an-immersive-guillotine-simulator-for-the-oculus-rift-virtual-reality-headset/

LAtency? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 months ago | (#46526293)

Most of the problem is latency. and there are no numbers telling us what the difference is.
Is is 5ms now so all potential sickness problems are gone?? I'm betting they have the same latency which will still cause the "sick" problems the old version has.

Re:LAtency? (1)

Immerman (2627577) | about 4 months ago | (#46527523)

It was several hours ago that I watched it, but I'm pretty sure the video said the old version had something like 40-50ms latency, whereas the new on brings it down to ~30ms, with >20ms being the target. As far as the physical screen update latency (ghosting), I believe they said the shift to an OLED screen has almost completely eliminated it.

Re:LAtency? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 months ago | (#46532119)

They need to get a lot lower than 20ms. 20 will still induce problems after time. Last time I tried the rift it was hugely noticable and bad. My wife almost started puking right away, But she get's car sick easy....

Wow Slashdot has a bunch of grumps. (3, Insightful)

JMZero (449047) | about 4 months ago | (#46526937)

I don't think it's dangerous or stupid. I'm willing to put something funny looking on my head. I don't care if it's a bit awkward or unpolished, or even if it doesn't work well for extended play (I don't have time for extended play usually anyway).

This is cool tech, and I'm excited for it. I hope it catches on. There was a time when Slashdot would mostly be with me on this. Now new tech is pretty much universally turded on.

That said, I'm much less sanguine about Sony's prospects. It feels like the Move before it, kind of a half-hearted effort to grab onto a trend. The Oculus people (and Valve) seem to be taking development much more seriously, and focusing on the right things to optimize the experience. They're gamers eating their own dogfood, and they like it enough that they've repeatedly doubled down.

Once it's released and gets some good software support, I think it's going to be something special.

Re: Wow Slashdot has a bunch of grumps. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46527111)

They aren't grumps they are sissies who can't tolerate a little vomit.

Seriously though, when the car first came out, everyone thought 20 mph was too fast. It's all a matter of getting used to things.

Re:Wow Slashdot has a bunch of grumps. (1)

ozgood (873183) | about 4 months ago | (#46527185)

I'm with you on this one. This is cool tech. What is up with all the haters? There was a story the other week about 1Gb/s bandwidth, and many posters wrote that they can't see any use for that kind of speed. What is this site coming to? What is this world coming to? My god!

Re:Wow Slashdot has a bunch of grumps. (1)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | about 4 months ago | (#46527655)

No wireless. Less space than a nomad. Lame.

Re:Wow Slashdot has a bunch of grumps. (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 4 months ago | (#46529033)

What excites me is this is the first VR headset/device I've ever read about to deliver what I consider to be a usable resolution.

They've caught my interest now.

If you're a PC gamer with the cash is it worth it? (1)

IronChef (164482) | about 4 months ago | (#46527297)

If you get one but are not a developer, is there anything you can enjoy with it yet?

Re:If you're a PC gamer with the cash is it worth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#46529179)

Mirror's Edge [youtube.com]

What about us four-eyes? (1)

xtal (49134) | about 4 months ago | (#46534213)

Does this prototype work for those who need glasses?

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