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Thursday, August 02, 2012


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Franklin Ross

I'm not certain that the comparison with 3-D glasses will hold true. 3-D glasses are not truly immersive, IMO, because they are meant to use only with a movie screen. Your peripheral vision tells you that the world outside the screen doesn't go with the glasses, therefore the strain and resulting headache. In the case of this headset, it would be truly immersive, and your brain wouldn't be giving you any signals about the space beyond the focus, because there would be no space beyond the focus.


"Field of view: 110 degrees diagonal / 90 degrees horizontal"

That sentence alone made me swoon.

That's full peripheral vision support. And lack of peripheral vision has been a serious showstopper for all previous VR goggles.

Couple that FOV with ultra-low latency head tracking and you have something that could deliver a truly immersive visual experience.

*That's* why you see all these gaming execs gushing over this device once they have actually *worn* it. Full peripheral vision + low latency = your brain interprets it as immersive reality.

I pledged $300 for the full hardware/software kit, and will keep everyone posted about my experiences once I get my hands on it in December. They're going to support out-of-the-box engine integration with Unity3d, which could mean some very interesting potential uses with our Jibe platform at ReactionGrid. ;)

shockwave yareach

I can already tell that it'll have the same failure as the Vuzix glasses that I tried with SL several years ago.

- they are based on gyros and over time you find yourself looking any direction but straight ahead. Angle is the integral of angular velocity -- what happens to this angle when there is a constant error present in that angular velocity?

- Some models use magnetic compasses to determine direction of the headset. They are very sensitive to ambient magnetism and my FOV got thrown around just by my wife walking in with her cell phone.

- 640x800 is barely enough resolution to see the icons well in various games. You'll be hard pressed to read the words in the inventories.

- the weakest link is going to be the drivers. The driver for the Vuzix headset only gave you stereographics if you were running a DirectX program. OpenGL programs like SL would work, but you'd have the same image on both eyes. Do these folks have an openGL driver finished and demonstratable, even an incomplete one?

If they can make a driver that gives stereographics to OpenGL and at a reasonable price, I'll pick one up. But seeing how horrible my previous experience was, I don't think I'll be rushing out to buy another pair for awhile. Let someone else be on the bleeding edge of the tech for awhile...

Scarp Godenot

Looks promising, but I'm pretty sure it won't be ready for prime time mass adoption, as all cutting edge tech is rife with bugs and problems to start with.

That said, down the line when resolution goes up, and full stereo viewing is there in a bug reduced environment I see huge things for these devices in the future.

There will come a time when it will be virtually required for certain immersive games. And I myself look forward to the experience of true 3d viewing inside of a 3d world just for the possibilities it presents for 3D art.

So on the whole I very much welcome these types of developments, but doubt that they will be here in a seamless form for a few years still.....

Jo yardley

I can't wait.
Years ago (decades) I tried a VR game with a HUGE helmet and was in awe.
The graphics were horrendous, the game was dumb and it cost me a pile of cash.
But simply the effect of being inside a game was so astonishing I had to be dragged away from it.
To be honest, I've been wondering ever since why not more time, money and effort was put into them to get to this level, I expected VR helmets to be as common as the computer mouse years ago.

If this set works as it does (and better people then me seem to be in total awe of it) I will buy one and look forward to walking trough my 1920s Berlin streets.
Of course SL has to fix some things first.
It is ridiculous that almost all your buttons disappear when you go into mouseview and we don't want to lose all the options we have in normal view just because we wear a VR helmet and also don't want to have my avatar in front of me all the time.

Adeon Writer

I backed the project, and I will purchase the consumer version immediately on release.

I will absolutely use this in anfilament that permits it.

Use in SL work rather easily with the existing joystick flycam feature already in place.

However without server support for 1:1 avatar moment, it wouldn't be much use outside an immersive floating camera view of the world.

This certainly still has it's uses, and I can imagine this plus kinect gestures for building could do some rather awesome things without needing to touch server code.

VR is first person perspective oriented and that is not used often in SL.

Adeon Writer

Curse autocorrect. That was meant to say "I will use this in anything that permits it." :)

Keystone Bouchard

I'm in for the $300 dev kit. I'm less interested in what it is now than I am in what it could evolve into as the technology improves over time. Truth be told, I made the same mistaken assumption with SL, so what do I know? ;-)

I actually think it dovetails nicely with current hardware trends. It'll get lighter and comfier over time - i hope.

From an architectural perspective, I'm particularly interested in porting the virtual models we're already building in Unity3D and letting our clients experience their new buildings in a fully immersive capacity.

Trouble is, I get dizzy playing console games.. having screens an inch from my eyeball probably won't help.

Gwyneth Llewelyn

If I could afford it, I'd be sponsoring this project too :)

Second Life with immersive visuals and Kinect (or, better, Leap) gestures sounds like BIG FUN :)

Of course I'm not such an enthusiast as many others — mostly because beyond SL, I would have no interest in using such a device (I'm no gamer). (Kinect/Leap, or any other "gesture" interface, is a different issue altogether: even simple swipe/pinch gestures which are becoming commonly popular on all kinds of modern smartphones and trackpads on laptops are really useful)

I *did* try out some, uh, "VR gear" back in... ack, was it 1990? Over two decades ago I guess. Back then it was in B&W and the experience was worse than the current generation of 3D movies. But it was exciting! In 1995, a friend of mine bought a "cheap" headset plus digital glove, but it was clear that two things would never make it work: too low resolution and a lack of interfacing with any kind of game/platform — you had to develop everything from scratch. And of course nobody would do that.

I'd say that Oculus has some good points in favour of it: it already supports 3 or so engines, and it natively supports OpenGL. That's good. As Adeon said, the flycam feature might fit nicely into this — probably transparently. That's even better. Jo's comment about mouseview applies, but don't forget that these days we can change camera settings relatively easily (I think that setting cameraOffsetRearView to 0,0,0 puts the camera "inside" your eyes), so that shouldn't be a problem.

But Hamlet, you're right: these days, as everything and everyone seems to be jumping into the mobile bandwagon, it looks like promoting VR is "backwards". I'm sure I have said it before: VR competes directly with mobile technology, since it's a "sessile" paradigm that makes being mobile unnecessary :-) But, alas, that's a different story: the media also believed that Facebook games would be the way to go in the future, and just two or three years after they were a huge hit, it looks like that was another dead end, too...

On the other hand, who knows?... a VR-enabled SL might keep a certain niche market even more engaged, and we are very stubborn but loyal customers. Maybe the Oculus team might get a very good and loyal customer base here in SL.

I hope that at least one of the LL developers has signed in for the dev kit :) If not, Rod Humble should sponsor it out of his own pocket.

Salazar Jack

Would the Oculus be able to interface with an iPhone/iPad/Android device as well, so that one could have a more immersive mobile experience?

Salazar Jack

Hmm... well it looks like that may be part of the plan for I saw both the iOS and Android logos at the bottom of the Oculus Kickstarter page.

Keystone Bouchard

I just don't see how this competes directly with mobile technology. It seems like a timely, logical next step in it's evolution, imho.

Transform your tiny mobile screen into a fully immersive experience, or go with something lighter weight and less visually obtrusive like Google Glass. Either way, it seems to me that hardware like this is a logical progression toward further augmenting and leveraging mobile technology.

Salazar Jack

p.s. I also backed the project at the $300 level. I hope it’s full perm (or at least modifiable).

Desmond Shang

Regardless if this project succeeds or fails, the coming of age of virtually enhanced, or fully virtual environments will be as big of an advancement to mankind, as the printing press. We aren't there yet, but imagine if people blew off the concept of 'e mail' in the 1960's as not ready for prime time.

All tech has obstacles. Doubtless the difficult necessity of a decent piece of paper, or parchment, or even slab of clay was a technological impediment in its time.

But this project, and all the other related projects like it point *straight* at a very clear, very obvious multibillion dollar industry with a thousand nuances, dead ahead.

Even in the age of the telegraph, it generally made sense to get into cutting edge technology. Onward!

shockwave yareach

Desmond - it has the potential to change the world.

Consider work. What if you could get up, go to your computer, go into SL and be answering your phones / working on your computer just as if you had driven the hour there and burned 3 gallons of gas? That's achievable today by adding some phone support and P2P support to a viewer -- what directory you are in in the company computer is set by what land you are on. When the company needs to expand, they don't need a new building anymore, saving billions. And when there's a need for overtime, all you have to do is call and ask people to log in, and they are at work in minutes. And when you are sick, you can still work -- you aren't going to get anyone sick through the computer.

You can even live in cheap podunk Tennessee, but work in Boston.

We'll get there someday. I had hopes LL would lead the way. But I no longer think LL can do anything except watch themselves die from their own self inflicted wounds.


I'm not sure this will have as much impact as some people think it will. The idea of interacting with a cartoon world/game in VR may have about the same impact that 3DS has had for cartoon-like games in Nintendo.

Adeon Writer

I'm not sure it has applications outside gaming or not. But I grew up on videogames and this is exactly what *I* want. They are certainly targeting the correct demographic

Nica Pennell

I would be interested to see how this works for content creators, personally. I've only just started getting decent with Blender so maybe it's not so much of an issue for more experienced users, but I find precisely manipulating 3D points in a 2D display to be rather excruciating at times. A 3D monitor might be better suited to this sort of thing but the VR headset thingy might be more useful in game-side applications too.

Little Lost Linden

To be honest, I want one so I can re-enact the Floating - Flying - Falling sequence of the LawnMower Man. Admit it, that's the first thing everyone will want to do when testing out the new Oculus Rift DevKit.



Me like. Want one. It is time for virtual worlds to go to the next level. What ever it is?

Seymore Steamweaver

This seems like the real deal. Way more excited that Valve is behind it though. Team Fortress 3 with VR headset support anyone?

Arcadia Codesmith

As far as I'm concerned, an immersive VR explosion is inevitable once the tech is ripe. This might be it.

And when it happens, mobile devices will either support the tech, or they'll end up on the scrap heap of history next to rotary dial desk phones.

The desire to step out of our mundane reality and into a speculative reality is hard-wired into our evolutionary history. Running "what if" scenarios in our heads is the one thing humans do best.

No amount of analyst pessimism is ever going to change that. The cutting edge doesn't need deep market penetration; it just needs to shave the surface for the second wave.

Dr X

This looks like a new weapon from the NWO.

Dizzy Banjo

I think this is a fascinating development and I will be supporting it.

I kind of agree that it may not appeal directly to a big percentage of SL users, however not really for technological or physical ( cumbersome headset ) reasons. I think its a totally different experience psychologically.

I think the concept of seeing your own avatar in the third person is a key part of the way very many people use social virtual worlds, inc SL. Curating and cultivating that avatar, its persona, its look and feel and how it represents you is a huge factor.. hence the amount of virtual shoes sold.. ;-)

I true VR is really much more focused on complete immersion from a 1st person perspective, where you would see far less of that avatar - apart from in virtual mirrors.. and far more "extroverted" looking out at the virtual environment

I do think the world is very mobile oriented at the moment. But I also think that if a truly revolutionary and stunning immersive virtual experience came along that shocked people with its quality then it could mean a resurgence in very immersive gaming. However I dont think the architecture of SL itself is capable of delivering that shocking quality - no matter what visual interface it is hooked up to. But some games will be.

I also think that VR is potentially very compatible with AR in a strange way.

I would love to see something which is a combination of :

1. Oculus Rift immersion type in high quality, very responsive, virtual environments which can be altered in realtime
2. Google Glass / AR tech to have those virtual environments be overlaid / combined with reality ( or not depending on content / use case )
3. Kinect / Leap type 3d gestural interaction
4. Other sensory interaction and predictive behavioural technology ( Google Now / Saga / Music Zones )

All in a device which is as functional, simple, beautiful and mobile as the iPhone.

I think its just a matter of time until someone tries to do this, at which time all of these threads will converge into a "new thing" :)


I am with Dizzy on this one. I want to see this tech mixed with AR.

Don't like your house? Stick an augmented prefab on top. Aww, car sucks too? Augment it! Possibilities, are dreamy, but endless.

The other side of my imaginary augmented world is even better! Our avatars can zip around running our errands. Send an Alt to wait in line at DMV, another to that meeting I usually sleep thru, etc. Ha!

Yeah yeah, one step at a time. But I'm in, especially if it helps me sell the world prefabs. =P

blaze spinnaker

it all sounds good, but I'm with the OP .. neck fatigue, motion sickness .. the first 30 minutes is probably awesome, but going on SL benders with this could potentially be ill advised.

Mulling the kickstarter purchase.

blaze spinnaker

oh yeah, let's hope it does play though. revitalization of SL is a long time coming..

Punkerella Summers

I know this was posted a while ago, but I just found it :P

Booraldey and I backed this to get the dev kit too (we plan to fight over it). And I am desperately hoping someone who knows about SL viewers will make one that supports this, even if LL doesn't.

It is possible that it will make some of us feel sick, and it certainly won't be something I can use while the kids are up. And there is a good chance that many of the early games will kinda suck in there integration and camera control.

But this is not a step backward. It is part of the technology we need if we are to ever get fully immerse worlds/augmented reality experiences. Until we actually start designing for these things on a mass scale, we can't iron out the bugs and issues. (Mixing technologies like oculus rift, google glass, and the kinect is something I am exited for too.)

As a game designer type, I am beyond excited... I want to creep you out with stuff seen from the corner of your eye, amaze you with vistas that stretch forever, and terrify you with cliffs that seem to drop to the heart of the earth.

(Also, the resolution will improve... that is just the resolution for the developer version so far.)

Iron Perth

Hey, I'm trying to get LL to make their software rift ready. Getting it done out of the gate would be a huge PR win.

They already seem to support stereoscopic version so it doesn't seem like a big leap... just need the fisheye distortion? Is there anyone we can email to at least get the discussion started?

I am happy to contribute code for the viewer, but it'd be great to work with folks who already involved in this rather than just re-inventing the wheel.

Fire Centaur

I'd love to see the commercial version of this headset. I almost pressed "buy" a few months ago when this first appeared on kickstarter, then relized it was a developer version not the commercial one yet - therefore what you see (the beautiful headset in the picture) is actually not what you get (assembly required). Once drivers are created, and perhaps a modified viewer in place - where an avatar could be in mouse view, (first person perspective) AND have access to their mouse to click on things etc, I think ti would be .... ALOT of fun.

The feeling of really being "in" the game would rock, and prolly do a lot for Second Life - increase the numbers of ppl exploring the rich world content that already exists in SL from its users.

REALLY watching this one! I hope atleast, that it does inspire other similar projects.

Crossing my fingers!

Sparkaphat Doobie

This is really cool and I hope it takes off. I run a Show and Tell every Saturday at Little Blue/ Fermi Sandbox Complex and I see some of the coolest things people build! The realism and detail of some of the builds would make this so fun and some of the other things that people build would be nothing short of surreal! I just hope that there is enough interest to get this to work with Second Life and to do it right!

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