Facebook F8 Keynote – Oculus Rift Crescent Bay “Launching Soon”

Oculus Rift is coming! That’s something we’ve known for a long time. What started as a humble crowd funding, quickly become a huge change in the industry and the company was then bought by Facebook, turning it into something even bigger that anyone could have imagined. DK1 and DK2 have been doing the rounds for a while now and Crescent Bay (CB) the latest iteration of the headset is currently wowing audiences who’ve been fortunate to demo the hardware.

Some very important things happened today during the VR Keynote at Facebook F8. Facebook demoed a space game running in VR using their Crescent Bay hardware in real-time and quite simply, it looked amazing. They then followed this up by saying “you’ll be able to play it this year”. This can mean the game is available or the hardware will be available, perhaps even both.

Later in the Keynote, they posted an image saying that Oculus will be launching soon. Soon to me, implies this year. I long believed that Oculus would reveal a further headset beyond CB for the CV1 hardware release, however, it now seems like CB is the model that first finds its way into the hands of consumers, most likely to better compete with the growing list of competing devices.

Check out the rest of our F8 coverage here.

Oculus Rift DK2 VR Headset Review


Oculus VR is one of the hottest technology companies of a generation, promising huge innovations in the way we consume content such as computer games and movies. While their consumer ready CV1 (Consumer Version 1) Oculus Rift technology is still not ready, we have been fortunate enough to get our hands on their DK2 development kit hardware. The DK2 hardware is a pre-release model for testing of the general hardware and software components, allowing developers to create games that are Oculus-ready for when CV1 launches in around 12 months (estimate).

The DK2 brings some very important hardware updates when compared to the DK1 Oculus Rift headset. The resolution is higher, now offering 960 x 1080 resolution per eye @ 75Hz with low persistence; this promises smoother performance, less motion blur and a reduction in the screen-door effect that plagued the DK1 headset.

Another major update for the DK2 is the near Infrared CMOS Sensor. This is a webcam style device that detects a range of infrared lights inside the headset to allow positional tracking; more explanation on that part shortly.

The packaging on the DK2 is pretty straight forward, a rather plain brown box.

On the interior you’ll find some egg-carton style packing material around a smaller inner box.

The DK2 packaging is designed to act as a carry case; not the best, but better than just throwing it in a drawer under your desk.

There’s custom cut protective foam throughout the interior of the packaging.

Each component is split into its own section and wrapped in protective plastic.

There are even more components tucked away under the top layer.

And even more in the very bottom.

In the box you will find the DK2 headset, two sets on lenses, the camera, a cleaning cloth, some cables and a user setup guide.

VR Master Race Competition [Oculus Rift Owners Only]

Bit of an odd competition this week, as we look to kick off our eTeknix VR Week. While I understand that many of you will not be able to enter this competition, it’s just a little bit of fun for a smaller part of our community and we’re very grateful of the developers and manufacturers who provided the prizes for this.

I’ve got a few premium accounts for Star Conflict, a game with easily usable Oculus Rift DK2 support. The game is free to play, but the premium account lets you enjoy a lot more of what the game has to offer.

I’ve also got a set of VR Covers, any Oculus Rift owner will know how mucky that foam padding can get, and it’s not something you want to press into your face after someone else has been sweating in it, yuck! VR Covers are easily installed, but can be removed and washed! A much more hygienic VR experience.

To enter, just post up a picture of your VR setup with your Oculus Rift, be sure to include a small piece of paper with your forum user name and the date on it so we can validate your entry. It’s that simple. There are no other terms for this competition, global entries welcome.

If you would like to show your support, you can like the VR Covers Facebook page, and the Star Conflict Facebook pages.

It is recommended that you upload the image to IMGUR.com and keep the resolution under 1000 x 1000 px.

Good luck!


Oculus VR Worried About The True Cost of VR Gaming

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.

Leap Motion Launch Oculus Mount for Hand Tracking

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.

[youtube width=”800″ height=”450″]http://youtu.be/3ATQG9mnm34[/youtube]

The mounting kit sets you back $20, but you’ll still need the $80 controller, but if developers take advantage of this technology, which I’m betting they will, it’ll be worth every single penny.

Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of TechCrunch.

Oculus Rift Creator Discusses Consumer Model (CV1) Development

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.

Oculus Rift DK2 Support Now Available in Half Life 2

Good news Oculus Fans, as Valve classic Half Life 2 has finally gotten the update you’ve been waiting for. The game will now support the recently released and much updated Oculus Rift DK2 headset thanks to a recent update and while I know many of you are still waiting for your DK2 (myself included) it’s is great to see the big AAA titles getting these updates.

If you already have your Oculus and you’re wondering how to get it working in the game, you need to go to Steam > Library > Tools, from there you need Steam VR > Properties > Beta and to make sure you’re opted into the beta. Once updated you’ll need to restart steam and will then find a VR setting in Half Life 2. You’ll also need to leave your Oculus Utility on and put the device in extended mode.

Also thank you Reddit for pointing out that the command line “-freq 75” will remove the blurriness from the game for those using DK2.

VR Half Life, should be enough to keep us entertained until Half Life 3… right?

Thank you /r/Oculus for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of RoadtoVR.

Exploration and Stunning Visuals Ahead in Oculus Ready ‘Pollen’

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.

[youtube width=”800″ height=”450″]http://youtu.be/X_1x_y15Pdw[/youtube]

Pollen is due for release on Pc in 2015 and will be on show at this months Gamescom even in Cologne.

Thank you RoadtoVR for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of RoadtoVR.

Oculus Rift Dev Kit Sales Pass 100,000 Devices

Oculus VR are going from strength to strength recently, not only have they sold 60,000 of their DK1 (Dev Kit 1) hardware, but they’ve also sold 40,000 pre-orders for their DK2 which is due for release later this month. Hitting that 100,000 benchmark is pretty impressive for a bit of technology that isn’t even available for retail release yet. The DK2 and DK1 hardware is designed for developers to get to grips with the concept and have their games ready for the Consumer Rift hardware, something the company hopes to have release by the end of next year.

I highly doubt that 100,000 developers are now in possession of the rift, as I already have a fair few friends who simply wanted to get in there early, despite the unfinished nature of the hardware . At $350 each (more like $460 if you’re ordering one to the UK like I did, ouch) before shipping and taxes it’s hardly expensive. For something that doesn’t feature audio, is still pretty bulky and that doesn’t have many games that natively support it without modification, it’s still proving massively popular.

Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus make have ruffled a few feathers in the technology industry, but it does look like Oculus VR are still on the right track for success, let’s hope they can keep pushing this hardware to the limit to make Consumer Rift as awesome as we all dream it will be.

Thank you VentureBeat for providing us with this information.

“It’s Official, We’re Building A Platform” Says Oculus VR

Oculus VR are still working hard on their consumer model of their upcoming Oculus VR headset, but as the hardware developers, so far progression through DK1 and the current progress with DK2, the company has also been working hard on other aspects of their VR technology.

With services like Steam, Origin and the much loathed UPlay already out there, it was tipped that Oculus may swing towards the common favourite, Steam, to deliver VR enabled games to the masses, but a recent statement from the often tight lipped Brendan Iribe has revealed that the company is now working on their own platform.

This doesn’t mean that Oculus VR supporting titles won’t still be on Steam, but it does mean that there will be a one stop shop for everything Oculus, that will no doubt bring extra features to ensure compatibility and customisation of your experience direct from the software hub, as well as a marketplace and no doubt the obligatory social features that we’ve come to see in just about everything these days.

“Jason Holtman recently joined to run platform. He’s going to be largely leading the overall platform strategy around building out the ecosystem and the developer relations with Aaron and publishing with DeMartini.” States Iribe in an interview with Venturebeat. “It’s official. We’re building a platform.”

“There’s a lot of engineering around that… Jason’s background comes from Valve, running Steam and evangelizing Steam to third-party developers over eight years or so. It’s great to get the person who built Steam to help build our platform [sic].”

With Jason now on board, brining with him the experience he has building and promoting the Steam platform, he’s certainly a strong member to bring to the Oculus team, and with the company hiring a few others to help get this platform off the ground, it certainly has a lot of promise. Unfortunately that’s all we know for now, but we’ll update you as soon as we know more.

Thank you VRFocus for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of VRFocus.