Thursday, April 11, 2013

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First Impressions With Oculus Rift VR: Better for Virtual World Experiences, Not First-Person Shooters

  • Oculus Rift VR headset

Jon "Keystone" Brouchoud, an architect who's made many acclaimed and award-winning applications in Second Life and other virtual worlds, got his hands on the developer kit of the Oculus Rift, and is sharing his first impressions here. Key passages:

You absolutely feel as if you are transported to another place, to the point where it’s almost scary.... I think what makes you feel whoozy [from motion sickness] has more to do with the fact that you feel like you’re suddenly in another place. That really does have a strange psychological effect unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced.

Comes now the killer quote:

Fast paced first-person shooter games aren’t the killer app for this. They are more likely to cause motion sickness. Contemplative, slow paced, experience-focused projects are the best foot forward for developers, IMHO.

I.E., Second Life and its successors: "Special integration with Second Life and OpenSim should be top priority. Those kinds of builds will be absolutely perfect for Rift..." He goes onto worry that performance will prove to be a bottleneck, but that's for talking about another day. What matters is the very feeling of vertigo induced by the Rift make it better, not worse, for a platform like Second Life.

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I completely agree. The killer app for a headset like this is a virtual world that encourages even-paced exploration and lots of visual detail to explore from various perspectives.

I should be getting my own Oculus Rift soon. My immediate goal will be to see how it can integrate with ReactionGrid's Jibe platform. Just blogged about that today, in fact.

Exciting times for us full-immersionists, eh? ;)


Still woozey, after all these years...

Keystone Bouchard

Thanks for the link! =)

I actually just posted some more Second Life specific thoughts here:

Adeon Writer

Can't wait to get my hands on the Rift.

I worry about SL, though. The two most important specs for VR are sensor latency, and framerate.

SL doesn't do so well on Framerate. VR needs to keep it above 60 at all times, or the immersion will break down.

Keystone Bouchard

I share that concern Adeon.

For this to work, we need to scale down the builds into smaller, concentrated doses of carefully crafted experience - instead of massive full sim builds.

Turn the draw distance down to almost nothing, and you're well on your way to 60 fps.

Extropia DaSilva

Halo's artists created some beautiful landscapes and some jaw dropping alien architecture. I would have enjoyed just exploring, only hordes of gun-toting aliens tend to make me have to defend myself. The world has enough FPS and I hope the Rift ushers in an era of more peaceful experiences focused on socialising and exploration. I dunno, maybe landscapes with areas inaccessible to individuals, requiring one to team up with others in order to climb the mountain or explore the cave.

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