Just How Good Is The Oculus Rift?

Just How Good Is The Oculus Rift?

Shamus now owns an Oculus Rift and has been putting it through the wringer. Is it the next breakthrough in gaming?

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The graphics wars breathing back into life would certainly be interesting, I think the widespread adoption of 4k/UHD monitors is going to wake it back up before VR does though.

I'm not sure true VR is completely necessary, particularly in the face of head tracking mated to a traditional monitor(s). I've been using a triple monitor (3x1080p) setup with a head tracking camera for flight sims for a while and I can't see what Occulus Rift can really offer me that that system doesn't. I can look around at will, have a massive (but admittedly not seamless) field of view and it doesn't suffer the nausea inducing problems of headset VR. I can also see my input devices if I wish, which is a problem with OR.

It's something that I've used on and off since Battlefield 2 came out and it's always struck me as odd that it's never become mainstream, especially for racing and flying games. In BF2 it felt like cheating to be looking one way and flying the other, or to be able to look in multiple directions without moving the turret/character model.

With webcams built into just about everything and systems like Kinect existing it should be a widespread option by now, if I could get it set up with a janky webacm and free software nine years ago major devs have no excuse.

I guess and approach to interfaces would be in game interfaces, like in DooM 3, where the GUI is rendered on top of an in-game item, rather than overlayed on the screen.

The good side is that it should foster development of interesting new game ideas, rather than lazy ports of other games... You know, like all the lazy ports to either motion-control consoles or touch-screen devices that fail to realize the input scheme does not fit certain game styles. Here's hoping they learn.

It has more resolution (1920x1080, or 960x1080 per eye)

Wait, so it is taller than wide for each eye? Especially considering the overlap between eyes? This sounds like a bad idea. Shouldn't it still be something like 1200x1080 per eye with some of that taken up by overlap?

Also, isn't the human vision round/oval for each eye? Why don't we have round/oval screens for VR tech (other than traditional media being rectangular)? Maybe that would even reduce some fatigue/nausea?

About the mentioned warning labels... video games (back when there were still manuals) were coming with warning labels about epilepsy etc., urging you to take a break every 30 or so minutes. I wonder how many people actually did follow those instructions.

rofltehcat:

It has more resolution (1920x1080, or 960x1080 per eye)

Wait, so it is taller than wide for each eye? Especially considering the overlap between eyes? This sounds like a bad idea. Shouldn't it still be something like 1200x1080 per eye with some of that taken up by overlap?

There is no overlap. It's an 1920x1080 screen, because that's the ratio in which screens are produced. The picture is stretched through lenses to fill the FoV.

rofltehcat:

Also, isn't the human vision round/oval for each eye? Why don't we have round/oval screens for VR tech (other than traditional media being rectangular)?

Other than the engineering problem of reinventing scren shapes, it would still be a terrible idea.

If you want a painting, a window, or a cinema screen to fill your Field of view, you acchieve this by stepping closer, not by expecting round objects. If it's too small to fill your view, you would still see an edge anyways, and ifit's big enough, then it's easier to not see the four corners, than to never build them in the first place.

fix-the-spade:

With webcams built into just about everything and systems like Kinect existing it should be a widespread option by now, if I could get it set up with a janky webacm and free software nine years ago major devs have no excuse.

I remember in ArmA 2 some of the people I played with used a similar setup, which had some funny results when we were in an overwatch position being all serious etc and you'd look to your left to see the guy next to you looking up at the sky because the player is having a drink, immersion breaking to say the least.

I'm very surprised to hear about the issue with controllers. I'd think a console control would be ideal. Left stick for movement, head for looking around (and in the case of third person, selecting which attacker to hit) and buttons. You could even break the controller in two (like connected nunchucks) so kinect and the like could also/still track hand motion for infrequent gestures like magic or Skyrim's archery.

Thanks for posting this. I *had* been strongly considering buying the latest dev kit just for the experiencing but was frustrated by all the 'very low latency' comments - how low is low? Worth getting? Not worth getting? Now I know. :)

fix-the-spade:
The graphics wars breathing back into life would certainly be interesting, I think the widespread adoption of 4k/UHD monitors is going to wake it back up before VR does though.

I'm not sure true VR is completely necessary, particularly in the face of head tracking mated to a traditional monitor(s). I've been using a triple monitor (3x1080p) setup with a head tracking camera for flight sims for a while and I can't see what Occulus Rift can really offer me that that system doesn't. I can look around at will, have a massive (but admittedly not seamless) field of view and it doesn't suffer the nausea inducing problems of headset VR. I can also see my input devices if I wish, which is a problem with OR.

It's something that I've used on and off since Battlefield 2 came out and it's always struck me as odd that it's never become mainstream, especially for racing and flying games. In BF2 it felt like cheating to be looking one way and flying the other, or to be able to look in multiple directions without moving the turret/character model.

With webcams built into just about everything and systems like Kinect existing it should be a widespread option by now, if I could get it set up with a janky webacm and free software nine years ago major devs have no excuse.

I think everyone is just missing the point. Its not VR. The head tracking is only there so it doesn't make you sick. Its really just a thing that blocks out all visual distractions, which greatly improves your immersion in games. That's not what VR is or at least what it is supposed to be. VR is supposed to mean feeling like your in a virtual reality. Literally in it. As in, you would need some kind of kinectic output suit or something to do what VR is.

I see a future full of posters that say "Don't rift and drive!"
Incidentally this is also making me see a future where VR eventually clashes with religious folk, as everyone knows virtual reality is also Satan's reality. I'm not sure if it amounts to much more than jokes right now, but I just read an article that was sent to me on facebook which was explaining why pornography is more similar to incest than we think (incidentally the logic behind this is not what you think, it actually makes less sense), so surely a religious war on VR (and the precious and amazing pornography that will come with it) is coming.

Shamus Young:
Yes, VR sickness is a real thing. People call it "motion sickness," but I've had motion sickness before and this feels like something new. I got massively sick playing the VR version of Half-Life 2, and it really was unpleasant and quite different from motion sickness. The effect also lingers even after you take the headset off.

I think the problem here is the choice of game: HL2 is no stranger to "motion sickness" issues to begin with, so it's no surprise to me hearing that having the game strapped to your eyeballs amplified the problem. Personally, HL2 gave me nausea and intense headaches[1] after only an hour or two of play (and sometimes as little as twenty minutes). Dishonored was also guilty of this, and even Bioshock Infinite to some extent. Which is a shame, as they're all very good games.

Guess I should be glad I've little interest in VR - if a flat screen can give me problems, a headset would probably send me to the hospital.

[1] Most discussions I've found on this subject chalk it up to the FOV settings, but I don't think awkward FOV's alone are to blame.

Shamus Young:
A 1920x1080 screen updating at 60fps is fine for traditional gaming. That's the standard we've come to expect these days, anyway.

Speak for yourself. I haven't played in anything lower than 2560x1600 for years. And given that I'm still running a three generation old GTX470 (OK, I have two of them, but most games don't need both and some actually run worse with SLI), it can hardly be claimed that that's only possible for hardcore gamers who spend thousands on their PCs. I really don't understand why people insist on sticking with such a low resolution just because consoles can't do any better.

VondeVon:
I'm very surprised to hear about the issue with controllers. I'd think a console control would be ideal.

The trouble is that console controllers are terrible for many types of game. FPS, RTS, and any kind of big strategy game to start with. They're great for things like driving and platforming where you want easy control of movement in any direction with few buttons needed, but as soon as you want accurate point selection or any kind of interface they have exactly the same problems that the Rift does.

VondeVon:
I'm very surprised to hear about the issue with controllers. I'd think a console control would be ideal. Left stick for movement, head for looking around (and in the case of third person, selecting which attacker to hit) and buttons. You could even break the controller in two (like connected nunchucks) so kinect and the like could also/still track hand motion for infrequent gestures like magic or Skyrim's archery.

Thanks for posting this. I *had* been strongly considering buying the latest dev kit just for the experiencing but was frustrated by all the 'very low latency' comments - how low is low? Worth getting? Not worth getting? Now I know. :)

Personally I'm looking forward to the Project Morpheus seeing as I have a PS4 instead of a PC, and I think that that with the PS Move could be amazing. Even then, Morpheus/Rift with something like No Man's Sky, or Project Cars (if steering wheel is released for the PS4) would be awesome as well

sounded like a good idea when i first heard about it but yeah as mentioned the interface issues hit me and frankly i couldnt see a use for it anymore as i hate using controllers.

one way around it i guess would be literally a virtual interface displayed, gloves with tactile feedback as well for selecting buttons. now that would be good for simulators, and games where you are designed to be sitting. as for movement you only need a small keypad i guess for the 4 movement directions, run and jump

I tried one, felt very ill. Not sure if I was surprised, but I was definitely disappointed. I think it'll be a long time before I venture into VR, if it ever works at all. I'm yet to be convinced that screens that close to my eyes will ever work.

Kahani:

VondeVon:
I'm very surprised to hear about the issue with controllers. I'd think a console control would be ideal.

The trouble is that console controllers are terrible for many types of game. FPS, RTS, and any kind of big strategy game to start with. They're great for things like driving and platforming where you want easy control of movement in any direction with few buttons needed, but as soon as you want accurate point selection or any kind of interface they have exactly the same problems that the Rift does.

Very true about the FPS, although I figured aiming would be taken care of by looking. RTS does sound difficult. I was mostly thinking in terms of sandbox and similar games - ones where you really want to look at the world around you from the ground up. Skyrim or Sleeping Dogs etc.

VondeVon:
Very true about the FPS, although I figured aiming would be taken care of by looking. RTS does sound difficult. I was mostly thinking in terms of sandbox and similar games - ones where you really want to look at the world around you from the ground up. Skyrim or Sleeping Dogs etc.

Sure, a controller + head would work pretty well for basic movement and the like in that sort of game, but you still have issues when it comes to anything more than that. Skyrim, for example, is well known for having an absolutely terrible interface, largely because they tried to make it work for consoles and ended up with something that didn't work well with either a controller or a mouse. Motion controls would hopefully give you a much better method of looking around than an analogue stick, but it's unlikely to help at all with using an interface.

Kahani:

VondeVon:
Very true about the FPS, although I figured aiming would be taken care of by looking. RTS does sound difficult. I was mostly thinking in terms of sandbox and similar games - ones where you really want to look at the world around you from the ground up. Skyrim or Sleeping Dogs etc.

Sure, a controller + head would work pretty well for basic movement and the like in that sort of game, but you still have issues when it comes to anything more than that. Skyrim, for example, is well known for having an absolutely terrible interface, largely because they tried to make it work for consoles and ended up with something that didn't work well with either a controller or a mouse. Motion controls would hopefully give you a much better method of looking around than an analogue stick, but it's unlikely to help at all with using an interface.

I don't mind. :) The interface may be tricky right now, but the rift won't make it any trickier. It'll just add on the ability to see onrushing dragon death in true first person. ;)

 

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