The Oculus Rift headset is already making big waves in the technology industry, the DK2 development kit is a strong seller, and developers around the world have been working hard to integrate the hardware into their games. The hardware is incredible, but it does have some draw backs even in its early development kit form.
The hardware needed to run VR games can be a tough problem for some people, you need to render a game in 1920 x 1080 @ 75 Hz in 3D, so effectively you’re rendering the game output twice and putting even more strain on your CPU and GPU. The hardware needed for AAA games can be expensive, but throw high frame rates and 3D into the mix and you’re going to be saving up for a GTX 980 or a 290X as soon as possible.
This hardware barrier worries Oculus VR’s VP of Product Nate Mitchell. In a recent interview with Metro, Nate said “I think the truth is though, with the Rift at least, even though you’re spending $350 on the devkit you do need a high-end computer to be able to power it, right?” Mitchell reasoned. “Because of the displays and everything else. And that really becomes the gating factor. Because if everyone can afford the $350 headset but then you need a $2,000, or a $1,000, computer that’s a huge cost. So that is one of the biggest challenges we have, moving into the consumer market. And something we’re worried about.”
When the CV1 (consumer model) of the Oculus Rift is launched, it will feature a 2K display, this will require some staggering gaming hardware to take full advantage of. Now Oculus have to create the problem and wait for GPU manufacturers to solve it, mostly by producing more powerful hardware at a lower cost over the next couple of years. The enthusiast market won’t have too much trouble, but your average consumer doesn’t have a GTX 780 Ti, or a Radeon R9 295X2 to hand.
Thank you VRFocus for providing us with this information.
Oculus Rift is nothing short of awesome, but it lacks just one thing; when you’re looking around your 3D environment of choice, you reach out for things and naturally expect to see your hands in front of you, but you don’t. Of course you need to control your digital self with a peripheral of some kind, be that a Kinect, keyboard and mouse, steering wheel or similar device, but Leap Motion have retooled their technology with incredible results.
By creating a simple VR headset mount and tweaking their software to deal with the shifted perspective (vs the standard desktop mount of the Leap Motion device), they can now track your hands with incredible accuracy. The device has virtually unnoticeable lag, ultra high accuracy and while it’s an external device now, Leap Motion hope that VR companies will integrate their technology in future models and once you see the demo video, you will too.
At this years Gamescom event, Oculus Rift founder Palmer Luckey sat down with Heise to discuss their upcoming VR headset. The technology is currently in a development stage, I should know, I’ve ordered their Dev Kit 2 (DK2) model already! But the question we’ve all be wanting answered is “when will the consumer model be ready?”
“A lot of software companies, especially game companies, say it’s done when it’s done,” Luckey explained. “In the hardware industry what that actually translates into is it’s done when it was done a year ago, because you can’t just be done and now it’s ready to ship. When it’s done, when you know what you’re doing, it’s still many more months of getting components made, getting manufacturers lined up, building up stock. It takes a long time to go from there. So we’re at the point where we know what we’re shipping, I guess you could almost say it’s done. We’re not just waiting around to see how much better it gets. But it takes time to get it actually made.”
Palmer went on to clarify that they have the specification nailed down now, they just need to sign off on manufacturing and final design phases, which sounds like “woohoo it’s coming soon”, I doubt it, I still put my money on late 2015 for a consumer release as this kind of development still takes time and they’re of course still holding for content, as 3D demos in Unity and a few source games simply aren’t enough just yet for a consumer release, but lots of content is coming over the next 12 months and you can bet that Oculus VR will be ready for it as it sounds like development is right on track.
CV1 will be the technological leap that VR needs, bringing the screen resolution up to a whopping 2k, which is said to negate the screen-door effect that is present on their DK2 dev kit and very present on their DK1 dev kit.
Thank you VRFocus for providing us with this information.
DK1 was impressive, but its technical limitations have been a tough challenge for games developers, who will have needed to see the potential for the technology beyond the hardware they were developing for. Now DK2 is here and while many developers are still awaiting their new hardware, some have been hard at work creating absolutely stunning, heavily detailed and atmospheric experiences for gamers. Sure these experiences aren’t going to be fully enjoyed as they’re intended until Consumer Rift is here, but it’s enough to get us even more excited about the hardware (if that is at all possible).
Pollen from Finnish developer Mindfield Games is a first person exploration adventure, which the developers say has been designed and optimised with virtual reality headsets in mind, allowing the game to take full advantage of the unique gameplay properties VR adds.
The game is set on Titan, Saturns largest moon and while you explore the gorgeous environments you unravel and make your own conclusions of the events that unfold around you in this Sci-Fi exploration epic.
“Having grown up with classic science fiction like Solaris and Space Odyssey, we have always dreamt of roaming desolate spaceships and discovering alien worlds.”, says Mindfield Co-Founder Olli Sinerma. “This dream settled us on a path to develop a first-person adventure where you wear a pressurized suit and explore a mysterious space station. Thanks to the Oculus Rift we have been able to create an environment that feels every bit as real as the world around us.”
Could Pollen be the game that brings the point and click style exploration adventure game back into the world of gaming? I certainly hope so, perhaps we may even see a Rift enabled Myst in coming years.