A Week of Virtual Reality with the Oculus Rift

By Jos
Mar 30, 2016
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  1. A week ago, Oculus sent me one of their commercial Rift headsets, along with a special loaner “Oculus Ready” PC to use with it. Since then, I’ve been using a pre-release version of their Oculus store and headset operating system, which operates simultaneously within Windows to make the Rift work almost like its own standalone gaming platform.

    Like a lot of geeks who grew up with The Matrix and eXistenZ, I’ve been following the Rift’s development with great interest. A couple of summers ago I bought an early development model (née the DK2) and played a boatload of the space sim Elite: Dangerous. It was a fun time, and I’ve been looking forward to seeing how the final, commercial headset works.

    I’ll be covering the Rift a lot over the coming week and beyond. For now, I thought I’d share some general impressions after a week of heavy VR usage.

    Read the complete article.

  2. delluel

    delluel TS Enthusiast Posts: 21   +6

    I don't understand why this is being touted as new. We were wearing headsets in the malls in the early nineties. I once did VR on a trip to San Antonio Texas in the Riverwalk Mall circa 1997. It was basic but. This idea is old school and will probably remain so.
    Mandark likes this.
  3. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Posts: 7,029   +613

    My advise to you, give it a try again. Preferably HTC's Vive VR gear while gaming standing up. It's nothing like the 90s.
  4. delluel

    delluel TS Enthusiast Posts: 21   +6

    Ya I admit that space flight looks sick. But I spent my whole life wanting to grow up and buy a big TV. Now I've got a big TV and your gonna tell me I need to strap a tiny one to my face instead! lol
    Arris, cliffordcooley and Mandark like this.
  5. Raoul Duke

    Raoul Duke TS Guru Posts: 860   +308

    This is the future, don't know if gaming will go 100% this way, but there are so many other applications for this tech it is totally awesome!
  6. mrvco

    mrvco TS Rookie

    "Novelty" seems to sum up VR gaming right now. However it will be interesting to see if game development for this generation of VR hardware can evolve to something as compelling as xHD gaming on a high refresh rate Free/G Sync monitor. I'll be spending my money on the latter for the foreseeable future, but I'll be paying attention to the development of VR hardware and content.
    BSim500 and Mandark like this.
  7. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,114   +1,378

    MMUST....KILLLL,...(eye twitching)...

    with the nose bleed, red eyes and traces of bedsore across the face.

    Welcome new VR generation!
    Raoul Duke likes this.
  8. andrewdoyle88

    andrewdoyle88 TS Enthusiast Posts: 52   +37

    Reminds me of the Xbox Kinect which was pretty gimmicky. I think I'm going to wait to see if this is just a fad before purchasing.
  9. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,551   +595

    It's certainly intriguing, but the part of the article that had me saying "nope," is the "Most of the launch games wouldn’t be noteworthy if they weren’t in VR," statement.

    Novelty will only carry this so far. There needs to be some legitimate block-buster games developed for it. I imagine some will show up in time, but nothing here interests me enough to invest in it now. We'll see in a couple of years.
    BSim500 likes this.
  10. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 1,817   +485

    I wonder if motion sickness pills would have helped this guy (or others have get sick easily).
    trgz likes this.
  11. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 8,430   +2,822

    All I gotta say is I won't be gaming, if I have to strap a brain balancing monitor to my head.
    BSim500 and trgz like this.
  12. 9Nails

    9Nails TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,212   +174

    Kirk, how was the screen door effect, and the focus?

    Those were some of my takeaways from testing that needed to be improved upon. The screen door effect was obvious across the field of view, and the edges were blurry. At best I could focus about 80% of the field of view, and the edges just weren't able to be viewed as sharply. But I haven't seen a retail Rift set yet.
  13. amghwk

    amghwk TS Enthusiast Posts: 62   +23

    Yeah, it's just a fad.

    New games are already running out of innovations, and major companies just keep making sequels to milk money.

    So this is another path to woo in customers.

    Look, people just want to sit in front of the desktop and play games.

    And should always be careful with review magazines and (nowadays) websites, that promote or praise pre-available products.

    Yeah, people may get excited for a while, but after sometime, they get back to "ordinary" convenient desktop/laptop/console-tv gaming.

    Besides, twisting and turning your head with extra weight does not seem good for your neck muscles and nerves in the long run.

    3D Glasses TV/Gaming died a silent death. Next in tow is this VR thingy. By next year this time, it'll be ... meh.
    BSim500 likes this.
  14. polord

    polord TS Rookie

    Hi, question,

    Can you do some benchmarks with different cpu's and gpu's. You have the oculus.
    I have a 2500k 4,4 and 290x, I want to know if thats ok, I think it is by the way.
  15. Emexrulsier

    Emexrulsier TS Guru Posts: 503   +42

    I too was playing with VR in the 90s (though I had a riffle I don't remember bring able to look around in some of the games, it was just upclose and personal) and I was playing with my DK2 recently. I can tell you now they are not on par at all. In the 90s quality was low, images lagged, no head tracking, 3d audio, etc. There was no "motion sickness" because images on screen couldn't move faster than 10fps. Yes VR has existed for some time but to compare the 90s to now is like comparing apples to oranges!

    I think the next stages of VR would be high powered wireless headsets, and vr gloves that enable you to "feel" virtual items.
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2016
  16. BSim500

    BSim500 TS Maniac Posts: 164   +198

    Thanks for a more honest "warts and all" review. It makes a change from the gushing glorified infomercials elsewhere. You really need to play around with one for a whole day as there are a whole swathe of effects (Motion Sickness, Vergence-Accommodation Conflict, headset discomfort, earphone discomfort, heat build-up, spectacles, eye fatigue, light bleed around the nose, grid persistence issues, screen door effect, general fatigue, etc) that are entirely personally variable.

    I tested a friend's Rift for a whole day and came away with very mixed feelings. I had no motion sickness but suffered from "Vergence-Accommodation Conflict". This is where your eyes work to both focus and converge on a point in space (Accommodation-Convergence Reflex). Since the focus / converge distance is the same, your brain learns to "couple" the two responses together (Vergence-Accommodation Coupling). Headsets completely break that natural reflex as your eyes will be focal locked to only one distance which is constant (and no different to a fixed distance 2D monitor) whilst your brain has an opposing instinct of variable distance convergence based on muscle memory when "tricked" with the 3D effect. This isn't motion sickness but is something else that involves you fighting against your eye muscles "muscle memory" that normally contract / relax to focus on variable depth (in real life) which in VR aren't moving as they should be as they display depth is just as "flat" as a 2D monitor. The result is increased eye fatigue, irritation and a general sense of "this doesn't feel right".

    I hope salesmen are going to be honest and admit that 15mins in a store demo unit is nowhere near enough to be sure you'll be "issue free" or at least are willing to give a no quibble 7-day refund. Yes 20min VR tech demo's look & feel cool, but even after 45-60mins there's simply no way I could use one for PC gaming for anywhere near the same time I can use any monitor, and I never had any motion sickness at all.

    Agreed. Right now we're in the middle of the "hype-train for the sake of showing off a new toy to friends" novelty phase. It's what comes after that counts. There's been a load of "what if" hype of what's possible and review double standards (giving VR 'games' a pass on things that would fail on 2D games just because) without any actual discussion of what actually makes a better game once the "novelty honeymoon phase" has worn off. So far all some VR owners are obsessed about is showing off tech demo's to other people instead of actually using it for any serious gaming.
  17. Godel

    Godel TS Rookie Posts: 19

    Ginger, worth a try. (or similar)

    And certainly cheap enough, but read the medical cautions. The guys on Mythbusters were certainly impressed with ginger.
  18. MrAppleprint

    MrAppleprint TS Rookie

    This may be a fad but most of these companies are hoping their fad is the one to catch on. I like the idea of VR and wandering around Black Mesa really floats my boat.

    There will, of course, be the arguments that this is not new but the VR of the 90’s can’t really be compared as technology has moved on…been made more portable and accessible in the home for less money than a good 4k TV.

    Time, as always, will tell here but if developers support it and it has quality content….we could end up doing our next Skype meeting in a virtual environment.
  19. delluel

    delluel TS Enthusiast Posts: 21   +6

    Wow. Ya it never occurred to me the rubbing of the headset would get old fast. I haven't seen one yet or tried one of the new ones. But ya like most of you guys were saying it will probably be a fad. Or rather that piece of hardware that little Jimmy has collecting dust over by his ps4.

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