Oculus Rift – Hope for virtual reality

Oculus-Rift-1Oculus Rift is an innovation in video games with virtual reality (VR) headset designed specifically for that will change the way you think about gaming forever. It provides incredibly wide field of view with high resolution display and ultra-low latency head tracking that allows you to step inside your favorite game. It is upcoming virtual reality head-mounted display. 

Over many years, the way to interact with the game world on the PC has not changed much. Of course, PCs became faster. There are new types of devices. Screens have become thinner, and some even support stereopsis. But regardless of the type of game, you still have to sit in front of the monitor. 

Those who have dreams about future games in virtual reality probably will have to wait a long time. Do not get us wrong, a lot of good games today. But many of us for many years are waiting for more exciting game play. More than 25 years have passed since that time as a Star Trek showed holodeck, and the first part of The Matrix appeared 13 years ago. We are pleased that 3D-displays become more affordable, but 3D – this is only one component of augmented reality.

To implement virtual reality in practice, the technology must convince your senses that they are part of the game. Field of view should change with the rotation of the head, this requires impeccable track. Edge of the display should not divert and destroy the sense of immersion. Equipment itself should not be too heavy. The body should not feel uncomfortable. And it has to work perfectly without error and crashes. Otherwise, you did not believe in what is happening, and will look forward to the next generation.

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But now there’s Oculus Rift. We managed to test this device at CES 2013, although it can still be called raw, but with the problems it handles well and what we did not expect. Until now, year after year we have seen a step by step improvement of virtual reality technology. Faced with high prices and weak game play, we assumed that the worthy representatives of this segment will not appear for another ten years. Oculus Rift gives us hope that the situation may change for gamers in two or three years, the prices will be quite real. 

Overview Oculus Rift | hardware component

Let’s start with the hardware. One of the key elements of virtual reality is effective stereoscopy for which achievement on each eye served his image. Modern technology allows achieving the effect of 3D on a single display in two ways: either by filtering half resolution (passive polarization) or giving each eye its frequency (active). Both solutions have their drawbacks affecting the image quality and eye fatigue.

However Oculus Rift implements technology a little differently: it uses a single display, divided into two halves, one for each eye. This solution eliminates eye fatigue characteristic of active shutter glasses and artifacts related to the polarization. Moreover, in contrast to the above technologies, during rotation of the head does not three-dimensional effect is lost.

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However, it is necessary to separate resolution. For example, the display at 1280×800 gives each eye 640×800 ( Helpful resolution decreases slightly due to your lenses, it can be seen on the monitor in the video above). The prototype operates at a resolution of 1280×800. And although there are no slowdowns the lack of anti-aliasing is obvious. However, according to the company, the time of receipt Oculus Rift into mass production, the device will be equipped with a higher resolution screen with low latency. This is good news. 1920×1080 will display for each eye to 960×1080, and this is a big difference in picture quality.

The field of view is also an important component. Previously tested devices is limited to about 40 degrees, thus created a sense, like looking through a window. With a special lens, Oculus Rift provides a field of view of 100 degrees.

Also important for virtual reality plays a tracking system. If the movement of the head is not in sync with what is happening on the screen, the whole effect of immersion is lost. It is not surprising, Oculus has developed a sensor head movements on their own. Oculus Rift is tracking at 1000 Hz and includes an accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer to compensate for drift.

The system works perfectly. Tracked six directions of movement of the head, including pan, tilt and movement of the axes X, Y and Z. Wearing the device immediately felt perfect accuracy, and without calibration. Even with his head turned to the side, the system allows to look up and down. Oculus developers argue that the exit user version tracking system will be improved and will provide a more accurate sense of movement in three-dimensional space, allowing you to do more complex maneuvers, such as crouching move. 

What about filling the hardware? The prototype weighs about 230 grams and the load on the neck hardly increases. The company plans to further reduce the weight of Oculus Rift and approach the level of points for diving.

Rift fed through cable USB. Although during the demonstration, he did not stop, it seems to us that the development of VR-technologies in the future and expand the diversity of movements of the cable will have to be abandoned. Oculus has decided not to use the sound device in the Oculus Rift, leaving this part for already existing solutions, at least for now. As it turned out, the headphones are perfectly combined with the system and do not interfere with movement.

During a demonstration of our staff wore contact lenses and noticed that sometimes lashes lightly touching eyeglasses Oculus Rift, it’s a little distracting, but did not cause any inconvenience. However, if you wear glasses, the frames may be a little overlap.

Here is funny video how you can enjoy yourself:
 


Overview Oculus Rift | Software Environment

But what about the software environment? Oculus strategy relies on developers of games that will directly support the device. So do not expect that there will be a software package type 3D Vision or TriDef 3D Ignition, which provides support for existing games. Here is a dilemma. Why developers to spend time on Rift support as long as it is still out on the market? For this reason, many died of promising projects. However, the future Oculus seen in optimistic colors, as developers have become seriously interested in the platform.

Oculus Rift: test and review

Company receives funding through Kickstarter. Its initial purpose was a mark of $250,000, and the first kit is priced at $275. At present the project has raised about $2.5 million and is one of the most successful of all the projects on Kickstarter. John Carmack (John Carmack) a big fan of Oculus and actively promotes the development SDK, and intends to release a supplement for Doom 3: BFG Edition with support Oculus Rift. Chris Roberts (Chris Roberts) is clearly delighted with the Oculus Rift, he announced support for the upcoming Star Citizen. Cliff Bleszinski (Cliff Bleszinski) from Epic Games promised that the company will introduce support in Rift graphics engine Unreal Engine. On the official support developers said Hawken, and even Gabe Newell (Gabe Newell) from Valve has found a way to support the project Rift Kickstarter.

The first sets of developers plan to ship in early this year, and by May, the company expects to produce about 10 000 pieces. Of course, too early to say whether the Oculus Rift garner enough support and get to the masses, but the attention of prominent representatives of the gaming industry alone says something. They, like everyone else, want to dive deeper into the virtual world and make it happen, implement support in their games. As for the company Oculus, its representatives make it clear that the priority they have a reliable and strong support SDK developers.

What will be the retail price? Oculus plans to bring the device to the level of price of $300, just as many now set costs for developers. However, at first it will cost around $1,000. For comparison, the prices now on professional equipment VR- five-figure (in US dollars). Even with support for 3D monitors are more expensive than $300. At the stated price that any gamer happy to buy himself such a toy.

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Here is best deal I could find:

Oculus Rift Developers Kit - from $350.00

Thanks Lucky Palmer (Palmer Luckey), inventor and founder of Oculus Oculus Rift, our dreams of a virtual space are closer to realization than ever. Its goal is to introduce virtual reality to the masses. Imagine what opportunities, if you combine the VR-glasses with Microsoft Kinect to track body movements. Science fiction from The Matrix and Star Trek does not seem so fantastic, and may be on sale in just a couple of years.

It is possible that in the future, gamers will be the most active and physically fit people. Sitting in a demo room with Lucky Palmer (Palmer Luckey), Brandon Ayribom (Brendan Iribe) and Nate Mitchell (Nate Mitchell), it seemed to us that we are seeing the beginning of something enormous, more than another project at CES. It was a story in the process of its creation.