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New Valve Prototype VR Headset Shows Up At VR Meetup In Boston

Unknown Lamer posted about 5 months ago | from the cool-dots dept.

Displays 41

An anonymous reader writes "The last time we saw Valve's prototype VR headset, which they said was built to the spec that could be found in a consumer product by 2015, it was a using an 'inside-out' tracking approach where a camera mounted on the VR headset tracked markers placed all over the walls and ceiling of the demo room. This week, at a VR meetup in Boston, Valve had a new prototype to show, featuring an 'outside-in' tracking approaching where a single camera trackings IR-LEDs built into the case of the VR headset, much like the forthcoming Oculus Rift DK2. Valve's latest prototype is thought to be using two 1080p displays in portrait orientation, compared to a single 1080p display in the Oculus Rift DK2."

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New (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47150841)

Prototype

Hohum

Re:New (1)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 5 months ago | (#47154169)

Prototypes and promises are Valve's bread and butter these days.

Actual delivery? Well....not so much.

Just a prototype for development (1)

locopuyo (1433631) | about 5 months ago | (#47150943)

It is just a prototype for internal development. It isn't meant to be competition with the Rift. It is what they imagine the Rift and other VR headsets becoming.

Re:Just a prototype for development (3, Informative)

Fallen Kell (165468) | about 5 months ago | (#47152611)

But portrait? It sort of makes sense, but the screens need to be really close to the eyes for it to work. The human eye has approximately 180 degrees field of view in the forward horizontal direction, while it only has 135 degrees field of view in the forward vertical direction. Of the 180 degrees horizontal, approx 120 degrees overlaps between the two eyes, leaving 50-60 degrees that only one eye can see (approx 25-30 degrees per eye) due to the nose being in the way.

The problem with using two 1080p 16:9 displays in portrait mode is that it is the wrong ratios for covering the field of vision. We should be using two 1600x1200 resolution 4:3 screens in portrait mode. Each 3:4 screen creates a similar ratio of the human eye's field of view (9:13.5) (multiplying the 3:4 screen ratio up, you get 9:12, which is much closer than 9:16 for the 1080p widescreen panels).

Re:Just a prototype for development (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47152913)

They've been using 2 portrait oriented panels (only drawing to 1:1 sections of each) because that's what they had available for OLED screens a year ago. They've been using 2x Galaxy S4 panels since that time (Carmack mentioned this last summer at Quakecon). These panels are not large enough to use in a single split landscape format like Oculus is/has been doing. For a single panel like that you need something larger than 5.5" otherwise you end up sacrificing a lot of FOV as the IPD of the eyes sets them much too close to the outward edges of the screen. Oculus's new devkit2 will be using a single Galaxy Note3's panel in split landscape as it's a larger 5.7".

Inside-Out Tracking (2)

Guppy (12314) | about 5 months ago | (#47151025)

I've always wondered why you couldn't mount cameras on the outside, and instead of using markers, it would track the room itself, like an optical mouse. Processing would add a fair bit of latency, but you're mostly using the information to correct for drift and error in the gyros, right?

Re:Inside-Out Tracking (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 5 months ago | (#47151127)

How many gyros do you think $400 buys?

Re:Inside-Out Tracking (2)

citizenr (871508) | about 5 months ago | (#47152691)

about 800, why?

Re:Inside-Out Tracking (2)

advocate_one (662832) | about 5 months ago | (#47153895)

well considering I just ordered myself a 3-axis gyro with 3 axis accelerometer (6DOF) module for a mere £2.88... quite a few especially as buying in bulk like they can would achieve even deeper discounts...

Re:Inside-Out Tracking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47151373)

I've always wondered why you couldn't mount cameras on the outside, and instead of using markers, it would track the room itself, like an optical mouse.

A mouse looks at a tiny portion of desk less than 10mm away. You're talking about tracking a whole wall over a metre away.

Focus distance (1)

tepples (727027) | about 5 months ago | (#47152405)

The difference I see is the focus distance, and phone cameras already take acceptable video at such distances. I seem to remember seeing a Nintendo 3DS app that can track motion of the walls around it.

Inside-Out Tracking (1)

Undead Waffle (1447615) | about 5 months ago | (#47152453)

It seems like that would be a little too unpredictable. When someone complains that the unit is confused by the room they're in what do you tell them? Move? Send photos of your entire room so they can troubleshoot the problem? What if it is an intermittent problem? And I'm sure reports of it not working would scare off other potential customers. It may work 90% of the time, but that last 10% would be a pain in the ass.

Re:Inside-Out Tracking (1)

your_neighbor (1193249) | about 5 months ago | (#47153509)

I believe the gyros are used to take rates, and absolute position is taken from rigid-body tracking

yawn (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47151123)

Looks like no one gave a shit about this one lol

Re:yawn (1)

sd4f (1891894) | about 5 months ago | (#47153063)

I think VR is DOA, even if all the problems with it get solved. It will probably be 3D TV v2.0 by stealth.

DOA (1, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 5 months ago | (#47151215)

All these headsets are dead on arrival. Just like the virtuaboy was. Why do these always fail?

This is why: http://i2.wp.com/www.roadtovr.... [wp.com]

One lonely dude sitting in the corner by himself. He can't interact with those around him... if his mom tells him to come to dinner he likely cant hear her and he definitely cant see her so he'll finally find out she's pissed when she slaps the headset off his head.

VR will become a thing when they figure out how to put the display free form in the air in front of you... or the headsets are transparent like Google glass. As long as they resemble the blast helmet Luke Skywalker used to practice Jedi magic, there is no chance these will become truly popular.

Re:DOA (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 5 months ago | (#47151423)

You just need to attach two web cams and microphones to the VR helmet then (with appropriate software) you can see/hear the real world.

Re:DOA (3, Informative)

rolfwind (528248) | about 5 months ago | (#47151539)

The virtuaboy was DOA because it was a 5lb monochrome (red/black) monstrosity that had to sit on a table, with barely 3D wireframe games, no tracking, etc whose original creator never intended what was released to be the final product (besides, as seen, it was 2 decades too early for the tech out there.)

Oculus Rift weighs less than a pound and can be worn on the head. It will be bought by 3D shooter enthusiasts would would otherwise buy multiple video cards/monitors just for gaming. I assume it will have a microphone.

I really fail to see what the two have in common. If I were into 3D shooters, I would be saving up for such a system.

This is like claiming in January 2007 the iPhone will bust because of the Apple Newton.

Re:DOA (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 5 months ago | (#47152129)

The virtuaboy was DOA because it was a 5lb monochrome (red/black) monstrosity that had to sit on a table, with barely 3D wireframe games, no tracking, etc

I have one, and quite a few games for it. It's a great system, and the games are a lot of fun. It's easy to control, though figuring out how to hold the controller while looking into the headset is weird at first. It doesn't give anyone in my family headaches. The games aren't just wire frame. They were as good as any handheld out at the time. It's unfortunate that it wasn't done in color. But the red does give it its own very unique feel.

But again, you play that thing and the worlds dead to you. Taking your eyes out of the headset is like walking out of a movie theater after having seen Gone with the wind. You have to blink for a few minutes, try and remember this is the real world and you're not a pretty girl living on an idealic southern plantation. It's that disorienting.

Re:DOA (1)

Vanoir JR (3528057) | about 5 months ago | (#47151545)

I think you are wrong because of the imersion it can provide, maybe a tiny glass isn't enought. Also, as estanted above, putting a cople of cams and doing some VR shit ins't bad too.

Re:DOA (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 5 months ago | (#47151669)

It depends on the sales and skills of the coders.
With 3d printing, expired 3D printing patents or will expire soon, 3d design visulization at home could get be a area of growth.
3d artwork, dev workflows for games, games and video conferencing could all be growth areas with todays bandwidth, cpu and emerging artistic creativity.
The other aspect is how will some/many/most users react during and after use?
Thats hours a user will be trapped in your 3d walled garden due to the limits of other web 2.0 sites, games, communities offering the same 3d experience.

Re:DOA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47151759)

They provide a genuinely novel experience that can't be replicated elsewhere, so not DOA, but certainly niche for a time. Mobile phones during the 80s were in much the same boat - useful enough to justify their existence, but not practical enough (yet) to see it instantly sweep other mediums aside. VR has an awful lot going for it though as it's a very high-impact sort of medium to demonstrate. It's an odd sensation the first time you're made to experience genuine gut-level feelings, despite 'knowing' the experience is simulated. Once a more polished finished product starts turning up in big box stores in the form of kiosks, you'll not only have lineups around the store to try them, but everyone from young to old will be chattering for days about how some new gizmo actually made their legs feel weak from vertigo.

Re:DOA (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 5 months ago | (#47151929)

Ordered mine. But still skeptical. Looking forward to 'Assetto Corsa' with the force feedback wheel and rift.

Week knees nothing, projectile vomiting. It was the downside of the previous generation, even if you got the frame rate to 2 or 3 times the scan rate of the display (mother board/CPU is 8 or 9 years newer then game/headset) it was still pukey. The headsets of that day matched the shooters in sucky resolution. Flight sims back then lost a ton to the terrible screens available than*.

Content will be critical. Descent II was the worst previous gen VR experience. It had no actual up, so you got disoriented in game very easily. Also it supported 3d on the VFX1, which made it suck _even worse_. The better games for the previous generation left up more or less up. Helicopter sims were less puke inducing then fixed wing (coordinated turns notwithstanding). Walk around shooters, car racing/crime sims, helicopter, mechwarrior etc will fare better then 3d space shooters. Including pauses in VR helmet use during games will become SOP. Force them to spend 20 minutes tweaking their config/forming up a group etc between missions to keep them from playing their eyes out.

Best experienced sitting down, with solidly mounted controls in your hands.

*yes I'm trolling you back then/than troll.

Re:DOA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47152953)

Weak knees not because of bad visual synchronization, but weak knees because of *good* visual synchronization. Where the elements of the brain that are below the cortex/higher-reasoning centers are being tricked. Where you can't simply 'think' your way out of being concerned about being in a precarious position.

On a side note, I think that the sim-type games are going to have to wait a while for a decent VR experience. Driving games, flying games, etc all depend very much on having functional(usable) long draw distances, which really play to the primary weakness of VR right now which is their very limited angular pixel density. It's going to take a good 5 years of panel cycles before we can get anywhere close to matching modern day perceived resolution/density from a typical distanced desktop monitor.

Re:DOA (1)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 5 months ago | (#47156305)

I used a 40'' TV for a gaming screen for a while, sitting monitor close. It did bring out the flaws in the rendering and art.

But I'm old, my visual cortex is trained to 'ignore' grainy images. It not that I can't see the eye candy, it's that if a game is good, the eye candy doesn't matter much.

Jane's ATF was one of the few 'playable' sims under the VFX1. Flight Unlimited 2 also was flyable (FU was more sim then game), though you had to flip the visor up and use the monitor and instruments to take off and land. Apache Longbow was also very playable, though it didn't render your helicopter in VR mode.

Content creators can code/paint around the limited resolutions. They made games work at low res VGA when that was all the processors could do.

2 small 4K screens and some improved glass for FOV and I think it's good. That's just currently too pricey to mass market. Hence a balance, if the don't sell enough, nobody will be coding around the headset limits. Rift is waiting for phones to stampede into 4K screens bringing costs down. You know they've got a 4K prototype (and somebody will bodge a 4K screen into a devkit pretty quick.) This should do nicely:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/P... [theregister.co.uk]

Re:DOA (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 5 months ago | (#47151805)

Yeah, it's fucking amazing how nVidia can sell gaming graphic cards to a bunch of nerds and still remain profitable. Oh wait!....

Re:DOA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47151857)

Look at the good, no ones decided to have patent wars over this tech, and your seeing about five or seven companies (start-ups) and counting that are pushing VR into new directions, as well as adding or upgrading features, in a bid to out do each other, this is how innovation should work.

The problem with VR is it is being pushed onto the market before it is fully ready, which if I remember right, is why VR went nowhere the last time they tried throwing out onto the public. The things your seeing done to promote VR are the same things they tried last time to get the public excited to buy it before anyone else, exactly how business is done anymore, create random tech that is half assed, people will flock to buy it, realize it is garbage, and the cycle of suckers moves onto some other tech that was half-assed.

But seriously I do believe this time around someone will get it right, when it is mass released. And with the competition far exceeding more then 2 companies it will help drive the prices down so people can actually afford to buy it.

Re:DOA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47153571)

Ironically there's been a lack of patent wars expressly because of the fact that VR is an old, failed technology - a lot of the important patents have since expired. What's also interesting to note is that due to the very public and grass roots nature of this new resurgence in VR research, there's a community of thousands openly discussing topics relating to software design for VR (UI design, rendering optimization, etc) building a healthy amount of public domain IP that could help prevent future patent wars akin to 'swipe to unlock' in the VR space.

I don't think VR is being pushed to market too quickly (we're not likely to see a proper marquis commercial launch by Sony or Oculus until 2015, and until then Oculus is able to launch their "devkits" to the early adopters in order to skirt the expectation of software support, while enjoying all the word of mouth buzz from their supportive fanbase.

Re:DOA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47152041)

Manifest your opinion by not buying the product, I will manifest mine by buying it. I wager the market will make it obvious that these headsets HAVE a place and are sucessful mean of entertainment. Any "small" annoyances such as the one you describe will be addressed as competing products attempt to meet the needs of their users.

DOA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47152421)

Nonsense. All they have to do is ship some porn with it...

Re:DOA (1)

advocate_one (662832) | about 5 months ago | (#47153931)

needs the right "adaptors" as well... teledildonics, the next big thing :)

Re:DOA (1)

mlk (18543) | about 5 months ago | (#47153955)

Flesh light I think already have a product for this and traditional films. Alas being at work I can't look it up.

Re:DOA (1)

mlk (18543) | about 5 months ago | (#47153905)

> One lonely dude sitting in the corner by himself

So just like me playing computers at home then.

> He can't interact with those around him...

(Other than the initial show and tell) you would not use this for lan parties (or alikes), you would all whip out your laptops for that use case (for me we stopped even doing that and instead whip out a board game for even MOAR socialness or a console game with split screen.

The tech should match the activity. AR sets will not replace TVs/monitors they supplement them for a different use case.

> if his mom tells him to come to dinner

Yes as all gamers live at home with their mums.

Re:DOA (1)

coofercat (719737) | about 5 months ago | (#47153993)

That's a good point, and one of the weird things about VR - either you want 100% immersion, or you actually want very little. The crazy irony is that for VR to be really cool, you need the headset to be able to 100% replicate what the world is like without wearing it. That is, it needs cameras on it so that you can see as if you didn't have the headset on, and likewise microphones and headphones to do the same for sound. Once you've got that working, then start over-laying the degrees of immersion that you want (my personal requirement is to simulate a massive super-highres monitor floating in front of me to go with my physical keyboard that's sat on the desk.

Good luck getting any of this past your marketing department and PHB though. They're too pre-occupied with simulating things poking you in the eye to show-off how cool their headset is to worry about what people might actually want.

Re:DOA (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 5 months ago | (#47154333)

The last time they failed it was because they were absolutely atrocious. Read the contemporary reports; they never had the chance to reach the stage of causing the sorts of hypothetical social issues you envision. That's not to say that those won't turn out to be problems this time, but they weren't the problem last time. Not by a long shot.

Re:DOA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47158501)

Add Hatsune Miku. Problem solved.

HL3 confirmed (1)

Vanoir JR (3528057) | about 5 months ago | (#47151283)

that's it.

Re:HL3 confirmed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47152145)

that's it.

You know, every time I get mad as Valve for not making HL2E3 I forgive them because they were too busy being FUCKING AWESOME to make video games.

An Apple-Designed Programming Language (1, Funny)

pezpunk (205653) | about 5 months ago | (#47152313)

let me guess -- it has one generic all-purpose object type that does everything, and all classes must be submitted to the Apple Class Store, approved, and downloaded before being instantiated.

Re:An Apple-Designed Programming Language (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47152515)

Hehe...awesome post dude. I reckon it would totally kill in the right article.

In Person experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47156445)

I was there this weekend. I spoke with the Valve guys quite a bit and their model still uses the outward-facing cameras with external tracking objects around the room. That was a bit much to port across the US and set up though, so they opted for a forward-facing solution instead.
The models they brought used a motion-capture camera positioned in front of the user, so only about 180-270 degrees was actually readable, whereas their in-house devices allowed for 360.
It didn't impact development seriously though and there were a lot of fucking amazing projects developed over the weekend. Good times!

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