Maximum Reality: Crysis On The Oculus Rift

By Alec Meer on February 26th, 2013 at 2:00 pm.

OK, OK, I admit, I want an Oculus Rift and I will do unspeakable things to any human being of your choice in order to get one. (Er, better not hold me to that.) Stereoscopic 3D in games has left me either unmoved or with a headache to date, but these VR goggles are so much more than that. They mean videogames BEAMED DIRECTLY INTO MY BRAIN, or thereabouts and, as this video of an OR modification for Crysis demonstrates, they also allow the use of natural head movement to look around game environments.

Early days, so don’t judge it for the lack of crosshairs and whatnot – it’s proof of concept. And what a concept. I really hope PC games don’t largely ignore OR (and any similar headsets which might emerge) – this has the potential to be significant rather than merely a gimmick.

The same chap’s done a similar mod for Half-Life 2 and Black Mesa:

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53 Comments »

  1. Njordsk says:

    My wife is already snorting when I have my headset on, I can’t even imagine if I had a BIONICAL EYE on top of that.

    • kael13 says:

      Somehow I think getting hit in the face with a boob whilst playing Amnesia would be both terrifying and amazing at the same time.

      • Lord Custard Smingleigh says:

        Sam, plucky lab assistant: Are you telling me the cause of death was… What… Boobs? Amnesia? The Oculus Rift?
        Quincy, ME: No, Sam. Not just boobs, not just Amnesia, and not just the Oculus Rift. The cause of death was boobs, Amnesia… And the Oculus Rift. On their own, they are harmless, even fun. Together they become a perfect cocktail of death, like a ticking time bomb in every American home! The perfect murder weapon!

        • Low Life says:

          There are boobs in every American home? I really need to take part in that green card lottery.

          • aldo_14 says:

            Some of them are manboobs.

          • solidsquid says:

            Only works if you also adopt the American diet

          • x1501 says:

            Yes, but considering the scale of America’s obesity problem, most of of them are probably manboobs.

            (edit: dammit, should have refreshed the page first.)

    • Berzee says:

      She’s probably just snorting because she knows it’s not as Bad as a Power Glove.

    • x1501 says:

      Since now you won’t be able to hear or see her anyway, what do you care?

    • Koozer says:

      Man, she could really go to town with the narcotics if you can’t hear or see her.

    • Armitage says:

      Yeah, I showed the Oculus reaction videos to my girlfriend and she was as just annoyed by the device as I was excited. This will not end well.

  2. CrowbarSka says:

    It’s a shame you really can’t see the effect at all when you’re just watching a YouTube video of it, and all you see is camera movement with slightly more tilt that usual.

    I am very curious to know what it feels like when camera control is wrenched away during first-person cut scenes. I expect it might be pretty jarring and somewhat nauseating, perhaps inducing some kind of motion sickness.

    • wccrawford says:

      I’m pretty sure that motion sickness will be one of the effects on people who are susceptible. Luckily, most cutscenes don’t have too much camera bob, so it shouldn’t be too bad on them. Beyond that, it’ll probably be like being on a helicopter when they pan around. If people get motion sick from that in the movie theatres now, then it’ll happen with the Rift, too.

      Personally, I’m just waiting to see if I need to go get contacts, or if (by some miracle) the screens are close enough, or I can use some old glasses I’ve got laying around. I don’t want to risk scratching the Rift’s lenses, though.

      • Runty McTall says:

        I’m pretty sure Carmack said that glasses support would be relatively easy in both software and hardware.

        • solidsquid says:

          The developer models which were sent out already incorporated both an adjustable dial for moving the lenses in the Rift and 3 eyepiece inserts with different depths to make it easier to accommodate glasses. Since they’re using lenses to get the effect, you shouldn’t need to do anything in software to acommodate it

      • bj says:

        Are you shortsighted or longsighted? I assume shortsighted based on your hopes that the screen’s close, but that’s a guess since I know very little about vision and am ignorant and stupid.

        Anyway, you may not need your glasses. If you’re longsighted it’s not an issue because the optics are focused infinitely far away. For the shortsighted they’ve made the lenses removable and are bundling a couple of different sets for varying levels of myopia. No details on exact strengths yet, as far as I know, but if none of the included lenses are good for you then they’ve also made the assembly adjustable so you can get a bit of extra clearance for glasses or a particularly lumpy forehead.

    • jimangi says:

      Oh God! Imagine what it would be like in those bits some games have where they force your perspective but not your movement. You’d be able to move around but for all your real life head movements you’d still be staring at one thing, as if your forehead were magnetised. What a disorienting experience that would be.

    • DrScuttles says:

      I imagine a world where first person shooters no longer wrench control from you and cause thoughts such as “hey what are you doing I was playing that stop”. And it is good.
      If only devices like the Oculus Rift were to become as ubiquitous as keyboards and mice, developers could stop doing that.

      • solidsquid says:

        I’m waiting for someone to announce integration with Windows. Once they get that in place, and an infinite virtual desktop app to accompany it, I could see these replacing things like dual monitor setups

        • Chudleigh Pandanus says:

          Couldn’t you have done that with the old-school 90s version though? There are good reasons why it makes no sense.

    • golem09 says:

      I’d say that kind of motion sickness you talk about is exactly the one, we have all much experience in.
      It’s nothing else that looking at a screen. You move your head, but the image doesn’t move.

      • Llewyn says:

        Yes it does. Start off by staring straight at your monitor. Then move your head up and right, while continuing to look straight ahead. Is the monitor still in front of you?

  3. FieldyGB says:

    sorry I might be very thick but cant you sort of achieve this with track IR taped to a Sony HMZ thingy? oh and track IR enabled game??

    • Low Life says:

      Well sort of, but that Sony thing has a few shortcomings for gaming purposes, such as a very low FOV.

      It’s not like these are new and unique concepts, the point of OR is making it actually work well (enough) without too much of a hassle.

    • solidsquid says:

      You can, but this is an integrated device, has a much larger field of view (which is necessary for immersion) and is supposed to be significantly cheaper than it would be to get the Sony and head tracker (although we’ll need to wait and see with this. Does seem they’re on target though). Oh, and the tracker refresh rate is supposed to be higher too

  4. Text_Fish says:

    Someone needs to mod System Shock 2 to support this. Then all of our lives will be complete.

    • ResonanceCascade says:

      I’m sure someone will figure it out. Imagine Thief where you actually lean to lean in the game. IMAGINE IT.

      • Text_Fish says:

        D-do I … Do I have to? D:

      • lofaszjoska says:

        I already do that anyhow. I also lean left and right when i’m turning with a bike in-game.

        • PopeRatzo says:

          Absolutely. My wife has video of me jumping out of my seat as I leap from platform to platform while climbing the radio towers in Far Cry 3.

          I lean, I duck, I flinch. In driving games, I actually strain against invisible seat belts when I break hard.

          If I had these virtual glasses thingies, I’d probably look like someone suffering from St Vitus’ Dance.

          And I still want them very badly, but only if they look like Jordi Laforge’s glasses, or the thing the eye doctor puts on your head when he gives you a vision test.

        • Inglourious Badger says:

          Same here, there’s something about Far Cry 3′s camera that brings out the ducker in me, I keep ducking to stay out of sight when I slide up to some cover, or drive past a low hanging branch. I actually sort of propelled myself forward the other day when I needed to perform an urgent takedown on a dude who’d just spotted me. Stupid body, trying to play the game.

          At least with OR I can have an excuse for my imbecility, just like the Wii saved me from embarrassing ‘steering wheel’ style driving in pre-Wii Mario Karts.

    • Apocalypse says:

      IIRC there was a system shock 2 version that supported 3D headsets. It was a hip technology at that time in the 90′
      And Looking Glass was experimenting with that kind of technology.

  5. ocelotwildly says:

    I’m intrigued whether it gets over the problem of eye strain, which is quite significant when you’re forced to focus on something an inch in front of your nose. Obviously, judicious use of depth of field effects and 3D might help to alleviate it, but ultimately it’s only an illusion and the real focal point may still be too close to be comfortable.

    I know that its graphical fidelity was just a smidgen less than than that offered by Cysis, but the Virtual Boy suffered from this problem no end. An extend game of Tetris (yes, ’3D’ tetris!) rendered my house mate temporarily blind and with an excruciating headache after she wrenched her eyes from those accursed goggles. Turns out that focusing at a point on the tip of your nose for a 30 minutes stretch is something of a health hazard, she was lucky not to have been left permanently boss eyed!

    • solidsquid says:

      They’re using lenses to move the “real” focal point away from your face, it’s one of the big features of the headset. By using lenses rather than modifying the graphics this should remove a lot of the discomfort caused by that

      • ocelotwildly says:

        That’s actually really clever. I suppose it was obvious that they must have done something to address the issue – 20 years since the virtual boy you wouldn’t expect them to repeat all the fool hardy mistakes that that doomed peripheral made.

  6. wodin says:

    I thought it would be great in flight Sims until I realised it wouldn’t work so well not in the modern ones anyway like DCS, you’d be flying blind in away as you can’t see your keyboard to press the right keys esp in the complex sims and those who have Pits will also find it pretty useless..you’d have to have a hotas and have everything mapped to it’s buttons and be able to press them without looking at it.

    I also heard the head moves with game pad press\keyboard press rather than by moving the head. It needs 6DOF aswell so if you move you head across to the left the characters head moves across which is great for dodging, this I believe doesn’t happen yet either. Finally it needs some sort of gloved hand which can record at least one hands movements that way swinging a sword would work well.

    At the moment I’m not very convinced, TRACK IR or the cheap DIY face track seems good enough.

  7. Jamesworkshop says:

    http://i.minus.com/iU60u4mlSwv6Y.gif

    could get nasty with a tomb raider version

  8. Lev Astov says:

    I really like how he’s got it leaning when you tip your head. This is almost exactly how I pictured playing an FPS with the OR. He just needs to get those 3D ironsights working and we’ll be all set!

  9. Chalk says:

    Anyone else find it really *odd* that you don’t seem to be able to move the gun independently of your head?

    Would be really weird to aim by turning your head…

    • Panda Powered says:

      He is moving the gun and head separately from each other. In that version of the mod he controls the “body” with a gamepad and the camera by looking around.
      Check out his Half-Life 2 video where he use a separate tracker taped to a plastic gun for aiming (and walking with the analogue stick on the gun controller).

      Edit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5H2rL-lBxRs

  10. pupsikaso says:

    There’s a problem with this VR thing. When I tilt my head in real life, my vision does not tilt. But tilting your head while wearing the OR will tilt the camera in the game, as if your whole vision is being tilted.

    • Panda Powered says:

      I think the vision will still be like you say in real life and not tilt since both the headset-screen and the image on the screen tilts with the head but the eyes don’t. If that makes any sense. :P

    • Maniac says:

      .. I think you may just be confused or not have your facts straight. tilting your head with the Rift on will make the image itself (on the screens) stay level, whilst tilting your head. And with the FoV of this headset, it will be exactly like tilting your head in real life, so no. Theres no problem, atleast not with *this* VR headset.

  11. MarcP says:

    I hope it stays a gimmick. No need for more physical stress when playing games, and no need for inefficient input devices. The amount of quick turns I do in an average FPS session with mouse+kb would give me a headache lasting days within minutes with the OR, and the speed and width of some of these turns would be physically impossible with that device.

    I get what people like in this, the cool uses that could come out of it, and so on. Unfortunately, the game industry isn’t a zero sum game, and with so few genuine action FPS remaining since the rise of scripted linear shooters and expository storytelling, it’s hard to get excited for something that seems likely to harm more than help.

    • onodera says:

      Well, I don’t even see how you can turn with that thing since every time you turn your head you probably want to turn it back, or you will strangle yourself with the cord trying to descend a virtual stairwell.
      I wouldn’t mind an analog joystick for my feet, actually. It would work well with this one. Use one leg to run and turn, the other to jump and crouch.

  12. onodera says:

    I will be disappointed if it won’t have different pictures for my eyes when using iron sights or a scope.

  13. particlese says:

    I keep reading “OR” as Operating Room or Oggmented Reality…

  14. SuicideKing says:

    No cross-hairs, but s/he still doesn’t aim down the sights?