Monday, July 21, 2014

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VR Expert Explains Max-Planck's "Holodeck" -- and How Poor FPS Plagues Second Life for Oculus Rift

Here's an interesting look at the virtual reality "holodeck" of the Max Planck Institute -- yes, they have one:

That's interesting in itself, and then at around 8 minutes in, the Max-Planck VR expert mentions he's tried the Second Life for Oculus Rift viewer, but couldn't use it, because the low framerate made him nauseous:

"At home I was playing around with Second Life [for Oculus Rift]... but I got really bad frame rate, and I was really then sick for half an hour." He recommends 60 frames per second, as opposed to the 10-20 FPS that's more typical for most Second Life users. (Which is why the Institute's holodeck is using Unity, he goes on, and not SL.) So that's a pretty big stumbling block for Second Life integrated with the Rift. At the risk of sounding like a commercial (because I sometimes consult for the company), this could be a great opportunity for OnLive's SL Go service, which typically does get SL running at 60 FPS and greater.

Hat tip: Cube Republic and /secondlife on Reddit.

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Hitomi Tiponi

He is quite right (and Oculus will never be used by any more than a handful of SL's population) - but please stop saying that SL Go is the answer until you have tried it at typical low Wi-Fi connection speeds where it is completely unusable because of latency and screen refocusing issues.

Darien Caldwell

he must haev crappy hardware if he's only getting 20-30 FPS. Anyone with a decent video card should be getting 50-60+ FPS in SL, even with full shadows and advanced lighting on. By Decent I don't mean "The cheapest card you can get" but at least a 650/750 or better.

If you are going to use the Oculus, you need the hardware to use it. You can't blame SL for your poor hardware.

Hamlet Au

"please stop saying that SL Go is the answer until you have tried it at typical low Wi-Fi connection speeds"

I have. But if you're having trouble, plz hit up the support team.

Arcadia Codesmith

It's entirely possible that one of the motivators behind LL's new wirtual world project is the technical difficulty of getting the SL platform to deliver acceptable performance stats with the Oculus on average/subaverage client systems. If something like SL Go helps bridge that gap, I'm all for it.

I know some people like to downplay the significance of the Oculus Rift, but the concept of immersive VR has pretty much driven the whole history of virtual world development from the beginning. Oculus may not be the mass-market breakthrough that its backers hope, but even modest success in this arena will pave the way for the next generation of Virtual Retinal Displays.

A true "holodeck" environment with which you can fully interact is a tall order, because, well, physics. I don't expect it in my lifetime... but I'm open to being pleasantly surprised.


I have the latest greatest Mac Pro with killer graphics - and SL runs awesome... until I turn on HMD. It slows down to about 10-15 fps, at best while using the Rift. I think it is an issue with the code used to split the screen and display it from two camera angles... I have also tried the CtrlAlt viewer, and while it is still not as fast as viewing a flat 2d SL, it is noticeably faster than the 'official' LL viewer. So, I really do not believe that SLGo would improve the experience at all. The viewer code used to power the Rift's display is possibly at fault.


Since the consumer version of the Oculus Rift isn't due until 2015-2016, the same time frame as the SL2's beta and release, Oculus Rift for SL as more than a niche thing is probably a lost cause anyway. Any early adopters for Oculus Rift will more than likely be willing to be early adopters for SL2.

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