Monday, May 13, 2013

Oculus Rift

So Friday 2 weeks ago my Oculus Rift finally arrived! yay!
And the next day I left on a pre-planned vacation for two weeks .. (very bad timing)
So I did the unthinkable .. I took my old laptop + Oculus Rift with me and tried it out while on vacation (wife did not approve)

It's pretty cool.

I let several people try it and they all had a 'wow' moment when they first put it on. Most of them weren't even gamers ..

This makes me feel like this is going to be the next big thing ..

My impressions:
  • It's really responsive. 
  • Resolution is lower than I'd like and the screen door effect is a little distracting 
  • I seem to have a couple of dead pixels (fortunately not in the center but near the edges) 
  • I'm noticing some tiny distortions when I move my head in the Tuscany demo, which is probably because the software distortion part is an approximation.
  • For some reason the unrealistic-ness of the colors in the Tuscany demo is more apparent on my rift than on my monitor. Not sure if this has to do with the quality of the display in the rift vs my monitor.
  • It definitely feels really immersive, makes you feel like you're really there..
  • I tried some things that are supposed to be sure ways to get motion sickness, fortunately I seem to be immune to it.
  • I did notice that turning the view with my mouse/gamepad makes me a little bit dizzy, but only during the turning. I tweaked the turning speed in unity (made it slower) and that made the dizziness disappear .. The HL2 beta Oculus Rift seems to handle this well by easing your way into a turn instead of making your virtual body turn at full speed right away.
  • Mouse & keyboard doesn't seem to work very well with the rift ..
    You're constantly looking for your keyboard ... blind typing still requires you to know exactly where your keyboard is apparently ..
  • Bought a gamepad for the rift, now I understand why everyone was using it... much easier to use blindly ... still want to try the razor hydra with it .. I get the impression the hydra is perfect for VR
  • There seemed to be a strange blur when you move your head (in the Tuscany demo) .. but it's not there when you rotate using the mouse/gamepad ? I didn't notice it in HL2 / TF2 .. in fact either the blur was removed in the later version of the SDK (software after all?) or I simply stopped noticing.
  • It's a bit annoying that it's set up as another monitor (which is understandable) which either forces you to mirror a screen (which is not a bad thing) or stumble in the dark while you try to start a game on your rift 'monitor' (and you can only see a portion of the screen in your rift so you're constantly looking for your mouse cursor). Unfortunately you can only mirror your primary desktop monitor (I have 3 monitors). And since your monitor is bound to have a higher resolution than you Oculus this all makes things kind of awkward at times. (Some Oculus Rift demos don't start full screen so don't change the resolution, which you all have to do manually every time)
  • Also they did a surprisingly good job at hiding the need for positional tracking (although sometimes you can still tell)