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Oculus Rift VR Headset

  1. Aug 12, 2012 #1

    For those of you who have been waiting patiently for a holodeck since Star Trek: The Next Generation the Oculus Rift represents the first real step in that direction that doesn't cost upwards of $20,000.oo. It's a ski mask size Virtual Reality headset that weights half a pound, provides 6 degrees of head tracking with 20ms response time, 110 degrees or better field of view, and all at a cost of $300.oo. The technology behind it is simple, yet amazingly effective because the field of view is large enough and the latency low enough you no longer see the screen at all, but are completely immersed in the scene.

    It uses what are essentially two fisheye lenses (think glass marbles) to provide a panoramic view of a small cellphone display immediately in front of the lenses and your computer or console compensates for the distortion of the lenses stretching everything out. The low latency and head tracking motion sensors ensure the image pans correctly when you move your head around and doesn't make the wearer dizzy or nauseous. Eventually the technology could become wireless and used for augmented reality, research or training purposes, or for playing paintball against imaginary monsters and real opponents inside your favorite video game.

    I've included a link here to the Meant-to-be-seen-3D website which is the most comprehensive one for all things 3D. The optics and technology of 3D are quite complex and besides several videos of people discussing the Oculus Rift they have a thread where the developers, Palmer Luckey and John Carmack, discuss some of the technical details and future potential.
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 12, 2012 #2
    Imagine this with Cryengine 3.
  4. Aug 12, 2012 #3
    The Cryengine 3 was designed for monitors and TVs rather than VR headsets and probably won't be ideal for the Oculus Rift. When your entire field of view is occupied by the display there are no other reference points and the brain demands significantly lower latencies and higher frame rates than games like Crysis can ordinarily provide. Otherwise you get dizzy when the scene does not keep up with your head movements.

    The first video game planning to fully integrate compatibility with the Oculus Rift is Doom 4 which uses the id tech 5 engine. Basically they bake many of the effects like lighting right into the textures so they can be streamed off the hard drive like a movie without requiring the gpu to do any serious number crunching. What matters instead is how much vram you have and with AMD's new hardware acceleration for the technology it is even possible to store additional scenes such as what is behind you on system ram for even quicker access if you should happen to turn around fast or whatever.

    We're talking about 120 frames per second fast, while the Cryengines are only designed for 30. Even if you had a powerful enough computer to produce the right number of frame rates the animations in the game would look pretty lame because they are not designed to be played at high frame rates. A bit like watching an old silent film where everyone moves funny. You don't notice the effect usually because of motion blur and on a monitor or TV it's easy to dismiss, but in VR those kinds of things can stand out like a sore thumb.

    I've been trying to explain to people for some time that the days of rasterized engines like Cryengine that are so heavily dependent on gpu power are numbered, but many just refuse to believe. Rasterization has always been a compromise with severe limitations and sometimes you just have to take one step backwards in order to take two steps forwards which the id tech 5 does. That will become all too clear as improvements in ultra high resolution monitors and VR systems like the Oculus become widely available.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2012
  5. Aug 13, 2012 #4
    Technically, Consoles are designed for 30 fps limit. On a PC running the fastest Intel CPU best solid state hard drive and two of Nvidia's highest end Graphics cards would easily be able to get well over 120fps in Crysis, Crysis 2 and for Crysis 3 we will only have to wait to find out, i would say you may need to think about disabling Vsync or viewing a higher end 200hz monitor capable of showing Nvidia's 3d vision before you can even think that games are designed to be 30fps on PC.

    VR would never work on current gen consoles, possibly on the new PS4 or xbox 720. but still they dont even come close to a computer.

    I guess you could set up a High end Gaming PC Farm for testing, most likely that is what they will do, depending on budgets, personally i would want to spend at least 20 grand on a few pc's working as one for VR.

    but then again, this is only 300, if they are using the 8k quality OLED's for a screen that size i would be interested, if you can see the pixels in any regards i would definitly pass.

    On the VR side of things, its good to see progress.
  6. Aug 13, 2012 #5
    I totally agree though, you will notice Texture updates like a mad hatter, as it only renders things in the field of view, you then get stutter lag and alot of visual errors, without the right refresh rate you get vertical tears.

    yes you need to input the right type of renderings to get the right output so that your brain doesn't get confused.

    This is really just coming down to Field of view, in some games they give you very limited field of view meaning you have to turn around 6 times to turn around once in game so to speak, this is due to consoles ruining the field of view to sustain the visual quality, same with the textures having to be loaded everytime you move, rather then already loaded so they can be view'd like a movie.

    This is completely different compared to say the Google VR glasses, currently the only thing to come close is a dome with projectors showing your full field of view.

    I would love to see this turned into a see through type overlay game like they have done with the Psvita and some Iphone/ipad games. of course keeping up the fps and response time.
  7. Aug 13, 2012 #6
    This is a gross oversimplification and common misconception among gamers. Regardless of the field of view to make photo realistic programs like the Star Trek holodeck would require 120fps to eliminate the worst visual distortions and over 300fps to make the illusion completely undetectable to the unaided human eye. Ideally to eliminate just the worst lag issues no game would ever be rendered at less than 85fps, but modern games settle for a mere 60fps for faster games like flying and driving games and 30fps is considered the absolute minimum required for a decent experience. It is a software issue and not a hardware issue with some games like Rage being designed from the beginning to never play at less than 60fps on consoles because it would ruin the experience.

    Because of the lenses in the headset the plan is to eventually add cameras to the Optical Rift for augmented reality rather than make it transparent. To make a simple pair of glasses that could become transparent would require sacrificing the field of view and stereoscopic 3D defeating the whole purpose. I suppose some future technology might make it possible to overcome that by shooting laser beams directly into the eyes or producing actual 3D holograms inside the glasses, but that kind of technology remains wild fantasy at this point.
  8. Aug 13, 2012 #7
    Have you only played one PC game in your life?

    Yes some PC games are Coded horribly and will not go above 30fps for example Need For Speed Underground, by default it is capped and designed to run at 30fps, force off vsync and you get thousands of frames per second.

    60 fps is recommended for first person shooters as a MINIMUM
    30 fps is recommended for flying/racing games as a MINIMUM

    Most true PC gamers NOT console gamers like there games to have "no lag" on maximum settings. photo realistic images without stutter well and above 300fps yes you can live with it on a screen/lcd/monitor/tv if it is running at the minimum as stated above but, no one in there right mind would enjoy it compared to running the game optimally.

    Rage is a horrific example or a perfect example of horrible coding.

    Look at brink another game that is hard coded to have mouse lag, response time would make it close to impossible to have that game run VR as it is hard coded to be bad. (only had consoles in mind)

    there is no point looking at fail engines to run VR i understand that, like rage, brink, gta4, saints row2, all non UT3 engine games, non relic/id games, all EA games, and a few ubisoft games(majority before EA took over were great engines)

    Cryengine 3 may be a horribly coded engine like cryengine 2, the photo realism from the tech trailers i have seen would make me believe that running around in that environment with VR would be mind blowing, personally i would think the FrostByte 2 engine is another nice looking engine.

    Personally speaking from a former games design special effects artist (4 years job experience) you do not understand that 99% of games today are designed with consoles in mind due to the falling out of the PC games market, they now get ported back to PC meaning yes the 60 and 30 fps limits are mostly hard coded into the game.

    Its like trying to compare a Nvidia graphics card to a AMD/ATI graphics card, yes there hardware may be extremely close but it comes down to the drivers as to what one comes out on top.

    same as the games, you can have something that looks horrible lag like crazy Diablo 3, has the exact same gameplay with more loading screens as a game that came out in 2006, Titan quest for example has better graphics and the same gameplay, no loading screens (apart from porting) compare that to diablo 3 and there is a massive amount of coding difference plus budget, Blizzard/activision was mainly focused on making money with Diablo 3 hence majority of it was based around the real life auction house.

    I dont understand how you can state that all games are designed for 30fps or 60fps, possibly all the recently released games yeah i can agree with that, but the older games that are coded correctly run a hell of alot faster then 30fps plus you dont get vertical tearing, have a look at the original Unreal Tournament engine, 999 fps+ no screen tears definitely not photo realistic but it can get well over the fps, if you have forced vsync on you would need a better monitor to have a higher fps, even though there is no real point.

    What i would love to know about the Oculus is if it has anything to do with the Occulus instance in world of warcraft, and if blizzard will want to sue for copyright infringement, other than that the resolution of the screens used, is the pixel structure visible?
  9. Aug 13, 2012 #8
    I studied electronics, my first computer was a 1980s TI99a, and I built my own current PC gaming rig which can max out any game except for Metro 2033.

    This is backwards. Crysis, for example, is a first person shooter designed specifically to be played at 30fps. Any argument otherwise is patently absurd as any review of the game will verify. It certainly plays better at 50+ fps, but the game was designed with effects like motion blur so it could be played at lower frame rates. However, those same effects like motion blur make higher frame rates and faster game play more difficult which is the point I have been making all along.

    Other games like quake that are designed specifically for 60fps and up are often played competitively and players will use 120hz monitors and 180fps just to smooth out any remaining bumps in the program so they can get that extra one hundred of a second response time over the competition.

    Lag is an unavoidable part of life. Everything from your input devices to the hard drive to the ram, cpu, gpu, and monitor contribute to lag and until someone invents radically different technology we will always have lag. Ideally the entire system would produce no more than 2ms of lag which is the fastest human response time, while the LCD response times of most monitors alone are lucky to be that fast. With the increased layers of abstraction in PCs they tend to have more lag time than console games unless the console game deliberately introduces lag. Upwards of 20ms to over 100ms which is absurd considering again that the human response times is roughly 2ms.

    Rage is a next generation engine capable of getting 30fps on something as wimpy as an iPhone and 60fps on everything else. You may not appreciate speed since you don't even seem to understand what lag is, but id fans do. There is only so much video game developers an do about lag that is built into hardware and other people's software like drivers, but they can certainly compensate for it with higher fps. I could go into the details of just how much of a next generation engine the id tech 5 is, but that would require many pages of details. Again, these are all facts that are easily verifiable by any review of the game.

    I've already told you the first game to be optimized to use the Oculus Rift is Doom 4 which uses the same engine as Rage. Speed and is the issue and being able to produce higher frames per second is one of the few ways to compensate for lag. This is something many modern gamers simply do not appreciate is what it takes to make engines faster and yet capable of providing cutting edge graphics.

    No one disputes they are nice looking but, again, they are not built for speed. They are built to produce better graphics at lower speeds. A bit like the difference between a race car and a low rider. One is built for looks and fancy tricks at slow speeds, while the other is made for racing. Certainly if you put a powerful enough engine in a low rider it will go faster, but it will never be a race car.

    I am perfectly aware 99% of most games are designed with consoles in mind and I would appreciate it if you stop trying to tell ME what I know and don't know. If I want someone to do that I'll contact the psychic hotline.

    Older games were designed to run faster because they did not possess tricks like motion blur to make them look decent at slower frame rates. Crysis was the first game to actually showcase such technology in a big way and it became pretty standard because improved graphics will sell games faster than anything else. If improving the graphics meant having to include things like motion blur so it did not look like crap at lower frame rates that's what they did despite the fact motion blur doesn't exist in real life!

    This is the same issue the movie industry has dealt with for a hundred years. Pan a movie camera fast and the background blurs not because that's what the human eye sees, but because the camera simply does not take enough frames per second. Audiences have become so used to the effect and others like it that cinematographers routinely ham it up and such effects as artistic expressions and to set the mood in films, but it a completely artificial convention essentially no different than adding animation or whatever. The entire problem could easily be avoided by simply filming the movie at higher frame rates, but it adds expense.

    Google really is your friend and a quick search will show you oculus is the Latin word for eye. I'm sure Blizzard and other companies might like to copyright the entire Latin language, but it just isn't going to happen.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2012
  10. Aug 14, 2012 #9
    Metro 2033 used to bug out like crazy on my SLI rig, reason was due to having SLI on a crossfire board, sometimes happens with SLI on a SLI/Crossfire dual board, installed HyperSLI and boom worked flawlessly on maximum graphics minus motion blur as i hate it with a passion due to unrealism.

    Arma II DayZ or WarZ would be quite insane with VR, not to mention the US army would eat up VR for breakfast as they already use the engine for various training drills.

    Just an idea.

    It is quite frustrating to see more games coming out with good looking Graphics and effects, without any focus on gameplay, fair enough i havnt seen one that you walk like a block or a floating camera with decent graphics, but still the only game that i have recently played that reminds me of the original console games with perma death is DayZ.

    Its quite sad that one guy can create a mod for a game with intense realistic gameplay plus enjoyable gameplay and large game companies would rather just produce a pretty looking game, I guess its much like Dota in the fact that one person creates a mod and then boom everyone loves it as its better gameplay then the original. (personally i dont like dota but just going off people referring to it as a game on its own [before it was actually a game on its own])

    I am sure i can speak for the populus in regards to we all want the future now, with VR on the horizen its looking blissful, plus green energy from nano solar panels with 75% transperancey, the only way for everything to have under 2ms would have to be organic computing, i have no idea how far off that is, i have seen a few things a long time ago about organic hard drives being instant but unable to erase data but had unlimited storage. quite sure it was fake, but good concept.
  11. Aug 14, 2012 #10

    Filip Larsen

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    Just like to add, that the human visual system do have problems perceiving certain things due to lack of eye tracking when objects in the visual field changes fast, especially if the visual changes do not correlate with physical motion of the head. For instance, if you attach a piece of paper with some text on it on a strongly vibrating surface, you may not be able to read any of the text because your eye cannot track the vibration. I imagine that this effect can be perceived as "motion blur" even if it visually looks different than the blur using in movies and games.

    But I agree with you, that the blur rendered in FPS games when you turn your "head" fast is fictional. The eye is actually quite good at tracking visual object in a fast changing visual field if the change is induced by own head movement. Most people can continue to read even when they turn their head around while reading, but if they let someone else with an unsteady hand hold the paper up it suddenly becomes much more difficult. The human visual perception system is fascinating complex.
  12. Aug 14, 2012 #11
    Has anyone here even played a VR game at any point in their life? What is with all this 60-300fps nonsense? For starters 300fps would be beyond the visual threshold of perception anyway. Unless you are stating that you want framerates so high that you get completely lost in the game and forget what's real (lol) this is way overkill for now and is not a deal breaker by any means.

    I used to play the VR games at Dave N Busters and Exhilarama back in the day, and played 3-4 different versions (different games and different headsets each time). These games had horrible graphics and even worse framerates, but were still cool nonetheless. At no point was I getting dizzy or falling over because there was too much screen tearing or the game got choppy. Maybe vertigo is compounded a little by having a better FOV, but all this talk like "crysis would look like **** in VR" is ridiculous. Crysis would look amazing in VR. Practically any game or any 3d simulation would look amazing in wide-FOV VR like the Oculus. Obviously the better the framerate the better the experience. But as long as latency is minimal, fov is high, and gyroscopic detection is precise, any game will be mind blowing.

    Have you not read any of the reviews of Doom3 players thus far? The game has an effective 640x480 resolution and looks like ***. They say the textures are muddy as hell and it is obvious you are looking at a severely downgraded game. The graphics practically look like Playstation one or N64 at best. Even then, they STILL say it's a totally amazing experience.
  13. Aug 14, 2012 #12
    Exactly. The human eye does not take a simple series of still photographs like a camera, but is much more complex and evolved to perceive motions such as those of running animals rather than supersonic aircraft or vibrating text. I've actually seen one of the more beautiful, complex, and rare optical illusions sometimes called the "Einstein Effect" that to the best of knowledge cannot even be photographed as yet.
  14. Aug 14, 2012 #13
    I'm happy to hear you have a cast iron stomach when it comes to all things 3D, but many people don't. Even 3D TV is enough to give a significant percentage of people headaches because of high latencies and low frame rates. This is the entire focus of the Oculus Rift is to reduce these problems while providing a more immersive field of view. Adding higher resolution displays is something they intend to do next year as prices drop dramatically and is considered of secondary importance to providing a cheap headset with low latencies and a large field of view. If you've never experienced something like 110 degree field of view it goes so far beyond making people dizzy it isn't funny. It can be so compelling it can literally make you fall on your butt as you try to compensate for what your eyes tell you is real.

    I'm sure someone who has never seen a still photograph before might be amazed to see a blurry black and white photo, but that doesn't make it a great photograph. Nor does being able to view Crysis in an Oculus Rift mean it will look amazing except for inexperienced viewers. The 300fps figure I mentioned was merely to provide context for just how slow current video games are designed to be played compared to what our vision of capable of detecting.
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2012
  15. Aug 14, 2012 #14
    110 viewing angle and 300fps, VR should be focusing on eye tracking more then anything, i find majority of games that have DOF would be impossible to play in VR due to the bluryness of the screen, our eyes always try to focus on what ever is in view.

    If the oculus just shows everything in focus i guess it would be okay but still, it would be better hands down if it tracked your eyes and showed two view ports just like our eyes, for example hold your hand infront of your face, look at it then look past it. replicating that in a video game in VR would just be mind blowing in itself regardless of graphical quality.

    if you can see yourself in VR it makes the entire scene more believable, with the current technology it wouldn't be too hard at all to create, if any of you guys remember the Power glove? how about the Wii-mote, Ps2 eye toy, ps3 move, xbox 360 kinect, all the technology to make you the controller.
    i want to direct your attention to this video showing VR dome for BF3

    I'm sure there are ways to make the response time less while keeping the fps high, all the oculus is designed for is a replacement of the projectors as far as i am aware. reducing the cost from 20,000+ to 300 or so, i would be happy for that, although it would be quite pointless without all the other technology for VR as VR is not just a bobble head camera.
  16. Aug 14, 2012 #15
    They both have motion tracking, but I think that's probably where the similarities end. That projection setup had no head tracking (it really was just mouse emulation via the gun, with a very limited Y axis, resulting in only 1 full axis of rotation), no 3D support, heavily distorted FOV at the peripheries, and very high latency. A setup of that nature would never 'trick' the brain into thinking it's looking at something other than a giant 2D projection guided by a device in your hand, which are all things addressed by a proper HMD.
  17. Aug 14, 2012 #16
    Exactly. They are completely different animals and any comparisons are meaningless. If anyone is interested the MTBS3D.com website has an entire forum with dozens of threads dedicated just to the Oculus Rift. There is enough raw talent there and interesting ideas being thrown around to write a Phd thesis including contributions from both the inventors of the Oculus Rift, John Carmack and Palmer Luckey. Carmack is a legend in the industry responsible for a great deal of how both modern video cards and game engines are designed, while Luckey is the hardware expert and original inventor of the Oculus Rift. They've already come across at least one instance of someone evidently from a rival company with a different technology trolling the forums.
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