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The Road To VR 61

Posted by samzenpus
from the more-real-than-real dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Stack Overflow co-founder Jeff Atwood has posted about how much progress we've made toward commercially viable virtual reality gaming — and how far we have to go. The Oculus Rift headset is technologically brilliant compared to anything we'd have before, but Atwood says there are still a number of problems to solve. Quoting: 'It's a big commitment to strap a giant, heavy device on your face with 3+ cables to your PC. You don't just casually fire up a VR experience. ... Demos are great, but there aren't many games in the Steam Store that support VR today, and the ones that do support VR can feel like artificially tacked on novelty experiences. I did try Surgeon Simulator 2013 which was satisfyingly hilarious. ... VR is a surprisingly anti-social hobby, even by gamer standards, which are, uh low. Let me tell you, nothing is quite as boring as watching another person sit down, strap on a headset, and have an extended VR "experience". I'm stifling a yawn just thinking about it. ... Wearing a good VR headset makes you suddenly realize how many other systems you need to add to the mix to get a truly great VR experience: headphones and awesome positional audio, some way of tracking your hand positions, perhaps an omnidirectional treadmill, and as we see with the Crystal Cove prototype, an external Kinect style camera to track your head position at absolute minimum.' Atwood also links to Michael Abrash's VR blog, which is satisfyingly technical for those interested in the hardware and software problems of VR."
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The Road To VR

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  • by darkshot117 (1288328) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @03:31PM (#46260959)

    Exactly, I believe Oculus's crystal cove prototype from this year's CES used a combination of accelerometers and the tracking camera to keep the accelerometers synchronized with their true position. In the final version they said the camera probably won't even be necessary anymore, but just this prototype version still requires it.

  • by Bite The Pillow (3087109) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @03:41PM (#46261007)

    Don't be intentionally obtuse. In the middle. Real enough to be called reality but virtual enough that it is not direct nerve stimulation. The stuff like lawnmower man that has been promised for 20 years. Everyone knows the definition.

    I would be quite happy with 3d video and audio, and head tracking, and all the other crap superfluous. Quite happy without the social side, as I don't expect people to watch me. Treadmill would get very tiring unless you really want to run towards and away from zombies or machine gunners for hours. Wii sports is tiring enough and you don't actually go anywhere, so extrapolate.

    Vr is basically here when 1080 hits, but it's not the vr everyone is looking for. I would bet the full, true vr will make a big splash like laser tag and die quickly, with a long tail.

    If the 1080 oculus hits, it will be just good enough to capture marketshare, if they just stop promising the next generation for a while. Few will buy into an obsolete technology, so announce it is mature and has developer backing, or it will not arrive until it is overly mature.

    I remember mall demos with 30 people in headsets throwing dodgeball or something, and it was decent then. Put it on today's internet and today's processors, and you just need a compelling environment. Call of duty VR is just laser tag without walking, and flight sim VR is just what every sim player ever wanted. And it will be good enough.

    Skyrim in true VR would be awesome, but tiring with all the walking and fighting. Nearly unplayable. Any FPS would be too taxing. Sneakers might work. Any unrealistic game like super monkey ball is unfit for true VR. You need entire New genres for true VR, like maybe travelogues. Controlling sim city or DotA might be super awesome in true VR, with swipe gestures. But I don't see the market in the current core gamer population.

    The half VR available in 2 years will be good enough for a generation, or they are making a risky bet.

  • by Guspaz (556486) on Sunday February 16, 2014 @05:19PM (#46261597)

    Relying entirely on accelerometers and gyroscopes works for a very brief amount of time, before suffering from massive drift.

    What Oculus is doing is relying on the onboard tracker for low-latency real-time data, and using the external camera to correct for drift.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 16, 2014 @07:51PM (#46262691)

    It is so tiresome hearing people who never tried the Rift say it's hype and a gimmick based on 20 year old attempts at the technology.

    You know what's tiresome? Waiting for the Rift to freaking release. It was demoed nearly two years ago and most people still can't get one (a dev version doesn't count). Years of news and demos and no sign of a release date... that's recognized by most as "hype" and "gimmick".

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