back to article Oculus Rift noggin-bucket ... heyyy, errr ... have we all got them on already?

Oculus, on Thursday, showed off its Rift virtual reality digi-goggs that it will sell to world+dog in 2016. The upstart company also announced a new partnership with Microsoft: the Redmond software giant will bundle an Xbox wireless controller with every headset. "We're finally ready to deliver on the dream of VR," Brendan …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    torture

    Its a good thing the original rift didn't come out during the initial hysteria during the war on terror. I can't imagine how nasty it would be to be forced wear that thing for hours when the programming is intentionally trying to make you nauseous (would need the clockwork orange device for your eyelids though I suppose). I hear its a lot better now with newer models (though the uncanny valley may loom) but as motion sick and claustrophobic as I can be I am still too scared to give it a try.

    1. Boothy Silver badge

      Re: torture

      I've played Elite Dangerous on the DK2 for hours without issue.

      I tried Half Life 2 on the same rig, and lasted about 20 mins before starting to feel a queasy.

      Apparently something to do with being sat in a cockpit, which sort of 'grounds' your motion with a point of reference.

  2. Greg J Preece

    Both the Unity 5 and Unreal 4 games development toolkits will be free to Rift developers.

    Errrr those are already free, or are they offering to pay the threshold licencing fees?

  3. Ian Johnston Silver badge

    Golly. something even naffer looking than Google Glass. They said it couldn't be done. Mind you, they also said that a VR headset couldn't be done, and they were right. Two head mounted screens and a PC to drive them isn't quite the same thing.

    1. emmanuel goldstein

      you what?

      who cares what they look like - it's not as though you're going to be cutting around town in 'em. are you?

      and how is it not a VR headset?

    2. Inertia

      Unlike Google Glass you're not stood in a bar with these, and once you've got a 1500 quid PC, a full HOTAS and a chair with speakers in it whatever is on your head is the least of your concerns as regards looking naff.

      The _one_ screen works fine by the way although your glasses might need refreshing.

  4. Jimbo in Thailand
    FAIL

    meh.... Oculus Rift Virtual Blinders™... WTF?! Where's the peripheral vision?

    Virtual reality smerchual reality!!! My initial reaction when I first saw one of these a year or two ago was WTF?! Where are the curved screens offering peripheral vision?! Then I thought, no worries, these are still in the prototype stage so the consumer version will obviously include it. Now we finally see the consumer offering and it's still a huge fugly flat-screen monstrosity that looks straight out of the 1980s or 1990s. Even a built-in head tracker can't overcome the sensation that you're exploring your virtual world with blinders on.

    Where's the double quadruple facepalm icon?

    1. Robert Helpmann??
      Childcatcher

      Re: meh.... Oculus Rift Virtual Blinders™... WTF?! Where's the peripheral vision?

      Where are the curved screens offering peripheral vision?!

      If these are going to cost around $500 after being developed with fairly standard equipment, I would suspect that what you describe would have cost substantially more to produce. It might follow, though, if the current setup has respectable uptake. On the other hand, if they can develop this off current cell phones, I am intrigued to see what they will produce with holo projector phone tech.

      1. Jimbo in Thailand
        Facepalm

        Re: meh.... Oculus Rift Virtual Blinders™... WTF?! Where's the peripheral vision?

        "If these are going to cost around $500 after being developed with fairly standard equipment..."

        I'm not even sure what you mean by that statement. Curved screen technology is now, pardon the pun, 'old hat' so what's your point? The only real factors that I can think of are both software related. Obviously modding the display software to provide a correct peripheral view is one and possibly tweaking the diopter adjustment is the second. While I don't believe there would be a significant difference in LCD costs between flat vs curved these days I concede that a slightly wider "noggin-bucket" to accommodate the wider curved field might add a little to the cost. Obviously, the Holy Grail for a virtual reality device, from a purely visual standpoint, would be a wide visual field approaching 180° that is typically normal for most humans.

        LOL, if these Virtual Blinders™ are priced at a ridiculous $500 then I'll wait for the inevitable much cheaper Chinese and/or S. Korean copies to hit the market. After all, that's where they'll be manufactured anyway.

        BTW, if you downvoted me for my original post for such a minor disagreement - someone certainly did - shame on you!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: meh.... Oculus Rift Virtual Blinders™... WTF?! Where's the peripheral vision?

      > Where are the curved screens offering peripheral vision?!

      Why do I need a curved screen? Just need some clever lenses to distort the flat screen so what reaches your eye looks like it has more peripheral vision (and enough chromatic aberration correction in the software to avoid it looking all rainbow like (because different wavelengths diffract differently through the lenses)).

  5. frank ly

    Getting a comfortable stereoscopic image

    "A dial on the bottom of the unit adjusts the gap between the screens and the user's eyeballs so he or she can focus on the images."

    I'm sure the focusing between screen and eye is done using lenses which are adjustable to take account of varying degrees of short/long-sightedness. Is there also an adjustment for inter-screen separation to take account of varying inter-eyeball separation distance?

  6. Douchus McBagg

    this was all well and good...

    and like getting excited about Nest until the google buyout, Oculus is now a subsidiary of facebook.

    no thanks.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too late?

    The HTC/Steam and Sony devices looks like it will make it first to the market.

    1. Boothy Silver badge

      Re: Too late?

      Sony is fairly irrelevant to the Rift, different platform, so not a direct competitor really.

      HTC/Valve on the other hand, that's different.

      Going to be interesting to see what the comparison will be between the two (PC) platforms, i.e. hardware, resolution, response, controllers etc.

  8. Tony Paulazzo

    So £425 (UK) for the headset - wild guess, £700 for the PC (and that's Aria so you know it's the best price for an i5 and GTX760), and there's no way the Xbone is rocking those specs... Not going to hit the mainstream for a while, if ever.

    1. Boothy Silver badge

      The cost of the PC itself should not be being considered here.

      The target audience for these, will be the existing (quite large and growing) PC gaming market, not completely new gamers.

      Granted a few XBox gamers might think about switching over (seen as VR is coming to PS4), but most of the people interested in VR will likely already have a suitable PC, perhaps only with a upgraded GFX card being needed, depending on how old their current rig is.

      The listed spec requirements are around what would have been classed as a high end, but not top end ((i.e. single GFX card, rather than SLI etc), gaming PC from about 3 or 4 years ago.

      Anyone with a current mid range+ gaming rig, will likely not need to do any upgrading.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Tit for tat

    Microsoft will bundle an Xbox controller with every headset, and has been working with Oculus on compatibility.

    So first they announce that they're dropping support for anything but Windows, and then reveal that they've been snuggling up to Microsoft. Didn't see that one coming.

  10. Starace

    So have they fixed the problems yet?

    I've had a prod at every version they've released so far and have yet to see any evidence that Oculus have really managed to overcome the problems everyone comes up against. I really want them to crack it but so far it hasn't happened.

    The displays have always had inadequate resolution and the latency has always been too high to prevent motion blurring. Maybe they can fix it, I suspect it would need bigger panels further away to get something adequate which ruins their packaging.

    But the killer is (and likely always will be) the delays from the sensor though to pushing image out of the frame buffer. Up/down/left/right motion isn't too bad because you don't notice it, but try rolling your head from side to side and you'll see exactly what's going on.

    With tight integration of the hardware you could get the thing to work but a headset hanging off USB and driving a standard video card isn't going to manage it. You can work out what the latency is going to be and and the numbers aren't good enough.

    From the way people talk you'd think Oculus had some really magic technology and had sorted out the issues everyone had come up against for years. The reality is more that they got to the same point as everyone else did with this particular idea and the last 10% has stumped them which is why nothing much has happened for so long.

    It'd be brilliant to have access to cheap commodity headsets that worked but Oculus so far just doesn't feel like anything more that a bro driven hype machine with good PR and adequate hardware.

    1. DropBear

      Re: So have they fixed the problems yet?

      Funnily enough, I think that should be trivially easy to fix, albeit probably NOT with off-the-shelf stuff and/or medium graphic performance; you just need to render ALL the viewing angle (>180 but <360) a person can possibly cover turning his head, ship all of it to the headset all the time, let the headset "pan into view" in hardware the fragment the user is looking at (ehhh, I suppose that's what you were talking about as well). Granted, it would take a lot more rendering - maybe one could render everything at only "decent" resolution and "follow" the central spot the user is looking at with a sharper image, much the way the whole screen follows one's gaze right now (perhaps lag in detail focus would be less noticeable than lag in direction-of-view)?

    2. Jan 0

      Re: So have they fixed the problems yet?

      The delays might be the killer, but this article doesn't have anything to say about resolution - which has been underwhelming so far. I find the low resolution far more irritating than the delays.

  11. BobRocket

    'Touch controllers'

    Those 'Touch' controllers look wierd.

    A magnet holding the pair together would make a good steering wheel.

  12. Cuddles Silver badge

    "Microsoft will bundle an Xbox controller with every headset"

    Can we ask them not to? An Xbox controller costs in the region of £50. I may well be interested in a Rift once they're done, but I don't want another controller. A Rift at £350 would be a lot more attractive than one at £400+ that comes with a pile of useless shit I don't want or need.

    @ Boothy

    "The listed spec requirements are around what would have been classed as a high end, but not top end ((i.e. single GFX card, rather than SLI etc), gaming PC from about 3 or 4 years ago."

    No, the listed spec requirements are what would be classed as high end right now. A GTX970 is close to the best GPU currently on the market, with only the 980 (and soon 970Ti) any better (plus the AMD equivalents of course, don't know the names off the top of my head). Similarly, the CPU is near the top end of current Intel offerings, with the Broadwell line to replace it only being released this month. Of course they're planning ahead to actual release a year or more from now when there will be new and better parts around and a Rift won't require a brand new PC, but to claim these are specs from 3 or 4 years ago is just silly.

    1. Boothy Silver badge

      Re: "Microsoft will bundle an Xbox controller with every headset"

      A hight end gaming PC from a couple of years back would likely be using a GTX 780 Ti, which is broadly comparable to the GTX 970 (except on power usage, which is much improved on the new gen cards of course).

      A top end gaming rig from then, would be using GTX 780s in SLI. Which would likely beat a GTX 970 by around 70-80% on performance (although a massive power drain of course).

      Perhaps my 3-4 years was a little optimistic (I'd forgotten when the 780s had come out (it was May 2013)), but I'd still say people with a 2 year old high-end rig could likely use this without much issue.

      Regarding the Xbox controller.

      Completely agree. I already have a knock-off XBox 360 compatible wired controller for the (very few) games that are better (or at least easier) to play with using controller. (Usually lazy console ports).

      In general for me, keyboard/mouse, or HOTAS, depending on game type :-)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Never mind gaming..

    VR Headsets could be used for concerts etc. Recorded with the right camera angles it would just like being there. The same with sporting events and so on.

    1. Boothy Silver badge
  14. Yugguy

    Will this make me hurl?

    I'm not good when my eyes see movement but my head is not actually moving.

    And those controllers look like teapots.

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