Oculus Thrift No More: VR Company Gets $75m In Funding


If I had any money to my name, instead of the bank account of debt and pockets full of lint that come with a life spent heroically writing about videogames, then I’d probably invest in the Oculus Rift too. That’s what a bunch of Silicon Valley venture capitalists have just done, slipping $75 million into the wallets of Oculus VR.

The Oculus Rift was originally funded via Kickstarter, with the $2,437,429 raised through its crowdfunding campaign being used to produce development kits to send out to the game industry. This is why we’ve seen CCP start work on EVE Valkyrie, developers retrofit support for the headset into their games, and a gradually expanding independent development scene building things for the platform.

As reported by GamesIndustry.biz, there’s a big difference between sending out a few thousand prototypes and establishing the infrastructure necessary to produce a consumer device. That’s where the Rift is headed next, and the funding is sure to help.

As part of the changes, Netscape founder Marc Andreessen will join Oculus VR’s board of directors. The company already has a few other recognisable faces, including Rift inventor Palmer Luckey and Chief Technology Officer John Carmack, who joined the company full-time last month. It’s still not a large company by any stretch, though I imagine they’ll be expanding now.

This latest round of funding follows an earlier whip round back in June, during which the company raised $16 million.

I’ve used the Rift a lot, and I think it’s an amazing piece of kit even in its larval, low-resolution devkit stage, and even if it makes your head feel like it’s being hugged by a sweaty dog.


  1. Big Murray says:

    I know gamers are meant to be jaded about stuff like this and denounce them as gimmicks, but I am so goddamn excited for the consumer release of the Rift.

    • Andy_Panthro says:

      I wouldn’t consider myself jaded, but I don’t really get the attraction beyond the gimmick. Perhaps I need to actually try one out to see the appeal.

      I know it’s not the same, but I tried the nVidia 3D vision for a while and all it accomplished was giving me a headache. After a while that stereoscopic 3D effect just doesn’t make an impact, I’m quite capable of being immersed without having that extra level of depth.

      I’m not sure the Oculus Rift can provide a significant additional benefit to me anyway, since I doubt it’ll be much use for adventure gaming, strategy games or RPGs which are generally what I play these days.

      Can anyone tell me how it deals with on-screen elements like menus, health bars, ammo counters, player-character hands/guns/weapons and stuff?

      • rndmplyr says:

        I just need it for hugging the ground in ArmA 3 with the little bird. Everytime I fly around and pass by trees, I think “damn, that would’ve been awesome in 3d”.

      • SpinalJack says:

        The stereo 3D is actually much less important than the head tracking.
        You have to try it to understand the feeling of full immersion.
        Someone with 1 working eye and/or no depth perception would still benefit from having a rift because of this.

        • mouton says:

          Exactly, I have no stereoscopy but the head tracking and all-encompassing field of vision keep me quite interested.

          Thankfully a friend of mine will probably get a Rift, so I will be able to try it for free :D

        • savagegump says:

          This. I have poorly matched eyes, one is near perfect and the other is pretty mediocre and as a result I’ve always been pretty underwhelmed by 3D movies etc but the thought of decent immersive full 360 tracking is what appeals to me. It was a video of an enthusiastic Carmack with the Rift saying how the technology has finally made low latency tracking viable that originally piqued my interest. Still I’m reserving judgement til I’ve tried it for myself :p

      • Entitled says:

        I think you are focusing too much on the 3D, and not enough on the concept of being surrounded by a virtual universe in 360° (Well, it’s a 110° screen, with head tracking, but the effect is that).

        This is a rather radically different experience from looking at pictures on a rectangle, sitting in front of you on a desk (whether the pictures are flat or stereoscopic).

        I don’t think that most game genres will work well with it, not even just the obvious suspects, such as 2D, third person, or birdseye view games, but even traditional FPSes will fit badly, being too fast-paced and violent for the experience of actually being there.

        However, even with that it mind, I believe there will be enough mainstream appeal in that level of escapism, that new genres of gameplay will form around the experience of literally looking at a fictional world from the inside.

        Really, it will be less like a new gaming peripheral, and more like a basis of it’s own new medium.

        • Rizlar says:

          Yep. Exploration heavy games like Skyrim must be amazing. And feeling surrounded by the emptiness of space Valkyrie sounds virtiginously mind blowing as well.

          One thing I noticed in my brief stint with a rift was how crappy and fake textures looked close-up, since standing next to something it fills your whole field of view. You could fit vastly more detail into a rift game than one played on a screen.

      • DonkeyCity says:

        It’s about the sense of scale – RPG’s are what I’m dreaming of. Even in third-person games, looking up at the massive dragon or towering dungeon architecture that your characters are interacting with is going to be incredible.

        • Andy_Panthro says:

          Thanks for the info folks.

          The head-tracking does sound good, especially for stuff like Elite Dangerous (which I think will have Rift support).

          I guess I just worry that the UI and other elements will be really immersion breaking. I can imagine playing Dishonored or Bioshock and it’ll make the exploration a lot better, but the combat and stuff would break immersion when you have your characers gun/hand/sword sticking out of the corner of your eye.

          Perhaps it’ll take more games being made with the Rift in mind to get the real benefits.

          • Entitled says:

            “would break immersion when you have your characers gun/hand/sword sticking out of the corner of your eye”

            That could be solved by first person games actually modeling their characters, so the weapon could move independently from the head, actually being held in your virtual arm. (and either controlled by a motion controller, or at least by a mouse.)

          • Hahaha says:

          • UmmonTL says:

            The games need to adapt and actually use the increased field of view. For example any kind of cockpit could be fully modelled, meaning the “UI” would be actually there, visible from the corner of your eye and you can turn to read it.
            On the other hand actual head up displays do exist so as long as your setting is modern or futuristic and it is established why the player is wearing it, I don’t think a classic hud would necessarily break your immersion.

          • taristo says:

            Think Dead Space and its seamless UI integration, HUD integrated when you look at your weapon/arm or if it is a car/space flight sim at the panels in front of you.
            This for instance is an interesting example for an RPG/exploration type game, your character runs with a map around, which you don’t see if you look forward but comes into sight if you look down, also there’s an inventory system you can bring up and choose items by moving your head around: link to youtube.com
            Another interesting UI concept for a spaceship type simulator thing is Lunar Flight and its context sensitive “look at console and press button on controller” design: link to youtube.com

      • Richard Burton says:

        You realise that nVidia 3D Vision uses wireless technology, yes? Therefore having cancer-causing microwaves constantly pumping into your head was the likely cause of your headaches I would think. With this in mind, I do hope that the Oculus has a wired – rather than wireless only – option. I certainly won’t be buying if there isn’t a wired option. Or at least, I would then have to disable the wireless chip and solder in a wire to minimise the health risk. And yes, I realise the devkit has a wire, I’m talking about the “consumer” version of course.

        • Press X to Gary Busey says:

          Stop spreading FUD fearmongering shit without backing it up. 3D Vision uses Infrared for wireless and not microwave.

        • Gap Gen says:

          You realise that microwaves are not ionising radiation thanks to their low frequency, and in any case your brain is going to be flooded with them unless you live somewhere with no mobile signal. My dislike of wireless is largely that recharging kit is annoying.

  2. dgbonomo says:

    I’m surprised anyone would invest in products coming out of a place pronounced Silly Con Valley. :>
    (But I’m also very excited. Here’s to hoping the Oculus Rift will be excellent!)

    • Richard Burton says:

      But what if those venture capitalists are con-merchants themselves..? ;)

  3. LionsPhil says:

    …it makes your head feel like it’s being hugged by a sweaty dog.

    Oh, that’s why it’s so popular.

    • Amun says:

      As someone who has a sweaty face, I think they need one of those gel ice pack things — pop it in the fridge, then slip in into the face cushion to keep those peepers cool.

  4. DanMan says:

    I hate to be that guy, but the lowercase “m” stands for “milli” as in “milligrams”, whereas the uppercase “M” stands for “mega” as in “1 megabyte”, which is a million bytes. Just sayin’. ^o^

    link to en.wikipedia.org

    DanMan – educating the masses since 1753.

    • Hastur says:

      Oh admit it–you love to be that guy.

      In finance, “million” is regularly abbreviated by lowercase “m”. You’ll also see “M” and “MM”. It’s a wild west, banking-wise.

    • tigerfort says:

      I love being that other guy, so I’ll point out that the USD is not in fact an SI unit, so those rules don’t apply.

      [edit: Ninja’d; I should probably read tabs when I open them, not some undefined time later]

      • DanMan says:

        It’s what’s usually implied though when people add letters to numbers (like 4k, as in 4 thousand).

        Anyway, you’re probably right with money, so I shall rest my case. :p

  5. kwyjibo says:

    Netscape founder bets on Virtual Reality.

    We are reliving the 90s.

    • Shuck says:

      I keep thinking that. Hopefully it won’t end up the same way, and the issues with VR have been sufficiently addressed this time. I confess I’m still a bit skeptical, though.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        What exactly were the “issues” with VR first time ’round. I was just a nipper at the time, it’s all a bit of a mystery to me why it never took off.

        • taristo says:

          The answer should be rather obvious, the VR hardware wasn’t matured enough at the time and display technology far away from the kind of HD screens and cellphone experiences we have right now, cost was very prohibitive with a machine costing in the tens of thousands, content and uses were very limited at the time since the Internet also wasn’t exactly what it is today and there wasn’t anything like Unity or UDK (remember, this was even before Doom) and computer hardware also wasn’t anywhere close enough to produce a compelling VR experience, this is a good video in regards to the VR in the early 90s: link to youtube.com

        • HadToLogin says:

          What he said.

          Same reason why for example MS tablets weren’t hit in that 2001 or something around – there wasn’t technology (aka Internet at every corner of the world) to make it usable, as opposed to when iPads were released).

  6. Retro says:

    “.. It’s still not a large company by any stretch..”

    But then, as from their newsletter (link to kickstarter.com).. “we’ve grown from a small team working out of our apartments and garages in California to a global team of nearly 70 top engineers, game developers, designers, and scientists”

    That’s not small either.

  7. SuicideKing says:

    While I really hope this takes off, i’m still just really curious as to how anyone can look at the keyboard while playing this. If you’re playing Arma for example, what do you do?

    • CookPassBabtridge says:

      I have seen discussions about having a camera above your keyboard, which is translated into an overlay of the KB and your hands in-game, but not sure if this is a Thing That Might Happen or not. I have a feeling that once all these financial stakeholders get involved, we’ll see a push to “accessibility” and therefore controllers. If they leave the tech open though there’s no reason why modders can’t figure it out.

    • Sakkura says:

      I usually don’t look at the keyboard while gaming. And you can also use a controller, which you definitely shouldn’t need to look at.

    • Pliqu3011 says:

      Why would you need to look at your keyboard? It’s very easy to memorise the position of pretty much every key you’d need to push. Especially when it’s impossible to look, you will learn it even faster (just like it’s easier to learn touch typing on a keyboard without print).

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        I don’t really agree with this. It may be very easy for you personally to memorise a keyboard layout, but there are many people who cannot and may not be particularly motivated to learn. I am pretty good with anything on the left side of the keyboard through years of FPS, but I would have to make a concerted effort to to get the rest of the keyboard down without looking. I recall doing this with the keys for half life 2, but am not sure if I can be bothered going through same again for, say X3 or Arma. I dunno – maybe the investment of £300 in a Rift might motivate me, but otherwise yeah – seeing the keyboard is a must for me.

        • Martel says:

          Wouldn’t it just be easier to learn the keyboard layout regardless of gaming? I don’t know what type of job you have, but many jobs today require you to use a computer, which requires typing. You’d do yourself some good even outside of gaming to learn how to touch type.

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            Personally, I can do my own approximation of ‘typing without looking’ without using the classic Mavis Beacon type method of home keys. But when it comes to those distant cousins on the right side of the keyboard like colons and hashes or the keypad, I need to look. Most FPS would not need them, but in a game like X3, which would be great with the rift, you very much do.

            Perhaps this doesn’t apply to yourself Martel, but I am slightly befuddled as to why anyone would be against the idea of making the rift user friendly to non-touch typists who want to use a keyboard – if its not a facility you would personally need by virtue of being 100% familiar with a keyboard, that’s fine – turn it off or don’t use it. The nice thing about PC gaming is the wealth of different setup options and people that can use it.

          • Martel says:

            Oh, I’m not against them having various options, hopefully I didn’t come across that way. I was just trying to point out that touch-typing is a good skill to have even outside of gaming. But you’re right, something like X3 is still enough keys that it can be difficult, even as a touch-typer.

      • Slazia says:

        The camera idea is a good one for sure. I am able to touchtype. But playing flight sims with a Joystick, pedals, throttle, and keyboard as I do now, I’m pretty sure I’ll need to be able to see what’s around me IRL to make best use of it.

    • SpinalJack says:

      You can actually see your keyboard through the vents under the goggles if you look down, there’s really no need to use web cams or anything fancy like that.

      Something simple like a hinge on top would work as well

    • DonkeyCity says:

      Even among mouse and keyboard enthusiasts, the preference for controllers in VR seems to be rather widespread.

      • Rizlar says:

        It’s not just the problem of sight for m+k, but the fact that when using a rift you end up moving around a lot.

        It seems completely instinctive and not at all a conscious decision to lean back away from something in front of your face. Or to shift in an attempt to balance when your percieved orientation changes.

    • taristo says:

      You wouldn’t really need to “type” while playing most games, knowing where keys like WASD, Shift, Space and possible the number-keys are is usually enough and that shouldn’t be too hard.
      But something like this could also have potential: link to youtube.com

    • sophof says:

      I’m unsure how you play any game if you have to look at your hands to control them?

  8. CookPassBabtridge says:

    Has anyone done extended trials with the Rift, where they are used for the length of an average gaming session? I am wondering if they are going to be comfy for half an hour, but either cause physical discomfort from the headset or other more complex VR related ickiness (unforeseen consequences unique to VR, not just motion sickness) over longer periods of time.

    I guess you can always unplug it and switch back to monitor if you feel weird.

    • stahlwerk says:

      If you don’t mind my rather paradoxical asking, but what unforeseen effects do you think would manifest from longtime VR sessions? aside from motion sickness, I could see maybe neck pain and increased risk of triggering epilepsy, and maybe dry eyes and skin from heat buildup related sweatiness.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        An example would be the ‘unforeseen’ issues of headaches caused by 3D movies generated by the mismatch between the way our eyes focus on a distant object, and the fact the focal point is always a few feet in front of you. This was not known about until 3D became widespread. We didn’t know that some folks could get motion sickness from playing video games, or epileptic seizures, until these games were out in the wild. As you say its paradoxical – we don’t know what we don’t know, until those brave Rift-o-nauts return from duty with mutated eyeballs. And an extra nipple.

        • stahlwerk says:

          The focal mismatch is actually a good point that I haven’t seen addressed yet.. Maybe as a rule of thumb games should present all information and content at a virtual distance that wouldn’t prompt the natural eye to refocus immediately, within a low depth-dynamic range, so to speak. The most awesome solution would be for a micro lens based light field display, in a stereoscopic setup. So, five to ten years, tops!

          • CookPassBabtridge says:


            Yes, I agree. That thing what you said up there, with those words. Dynamic. Lenses. Dynamic Lenses are .. good **shifts nervously**
            I was thinking they could use some form of bifurcated dodecahedral funtibule configuration, with a 10 meg pipe


          • stahlwerk says:

            Basically, this: link to m.youtube.com

            Which is just totes awesome.

            Edit: and of course still a couple of years from being viable on “gaming hardware”.

          • CookPassBabtridge says:

            Cool, like multiple little eyeball tellies :)

            I still think adding a funtibule would make a world of difference though.

    • nrvsNRG says:

      This is what I’m concerned about and would also like to know. I really cant see myself being able to use this in a game for more then an hour before getting a headache or whatever.

      • Press X to Gary Busey says:

        Every game manual I’ve seen for the last twenty years has recommended some rest every hour. The same is probably more important when VR gaming. Just take 5 minutes per hour and have a glass of water or something and you can probably have that 12 hour VR marathon without ruining yourself too much. :P

        When you work in front of a computer all day you should rest your eyes at least every hour by focusing on distant objects through a window for a few minutes.

    • lazlazlaz1 says:

      I own one of the dev kits and I’ve worn it comfortably for a couple of hours playing HL2 / TF2 and War Thunder. The real issue is that it makes me feel a bit sick and dizzy. It gets better over time though, the first time I played was only for 15 mins before I felt bad. But now I can do a couple of sessions of 2 hours a day and feel only a bit off at the end.

      I would guess this will be a lot better when the resolution is higher.

    • SvDvorak says:

      I’ve played though HL2, Episode 1 and Episode 2 with my Rift, it felt like a good time to play through them again. I played anywhere from one hour to four hour sessions with hardly any discomfort. Somethings still cause a bit of very short uneasiness but this is mostly because of the missing positional tracking I believe. It was a great experience and headcrabs are truly terrifying. And I even got the gnome achievement!

      I should mention that this was after having already used the Rift for atleast 10-15 hours. You will feel sick in your stomach the first couple of times you use it but the effect gets smaller for each hour. It also depends a lot on the game. I could easily see myself using this daily if and when it becomes more common to implement support for it.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        The Oculus Rift, hereafter known as “The Vomit Bonnet”

        I think I may just buy some Stugeron for my first few sessions with it then.

        • SvDvorak says:

          Oh, I never felt like I was going to puke. You just feel really weird in your stomach and/or get a headache. Hmm, maybe those pills aren’t a bad idea if you wanna keep on going…

          • Press X to Gary Busey says:

            If anyone feel like it’s a bit too much to gobble down pills to keep gaming you may consider ginger instead. It works pretty good against nausea and motion sickness. (You can buy tablets, you don’t have to suck on a ginger root). :P

  9. trout says:

    not trying to be condescending or rude, but i genuinely can’t see the appeal of this – it seems to fit into that peculiar category of ‘wacky’ inventions that functionally don’t really accomplish much – like 3-d goggles at cinemas – and also, seems like it could be restrictive in some ways – loss of external/peripheral vision, thing has to be clamped to your face in order to work – i don’t know, i’m just not convinced – am i wrong to think this? ifso, whyso? i’d love to hear what people who have a positive take on this stuff think

    • newguy2012 says:

      I agree with you. I wonder what types of games will be good to play on it? Racing games, space games maybe or anything else where one is piloting something. Can not see this beeing good for fps games or other types of games. Will also suck if using it means having to use a controller. Motion sickness must also be a major issue. Feels like it might be something people buy and then just tire off. For each game you want to play, on with the helmet, headphones and the controller. Stiff neck and carsickness next.

      • Entitled says:

        For example, wandering-around-games like Dear Esther would work perfectly with it.

        Remember, that you have to take the whole visual simulation’s inherent appeal into account to figure out how popular the games in it could be.

        When decades ago, 3D rendered graphics in games became popular, it could have been dissed by saying that it’s only useful for a few genres like RPGs or shooters, and doesn’t meaningfully enrich side-scrollers, or map-view strategy games.

        Which was true, but the demand for playing games in three dimension was big enough, that these former genres became the new centers of the industry, while the latters became niches, having to choose between staying sprite-based for nostalgic purposes, or adding a superficial deph effect for the sake of it.

        I think VR’s jump in the level of immersion could be big enough to pull off something similar, with traditional FPSes or action RPGs becoming the niches of monitor-based gaming, while games with cinematic storitelling games would mostly be told in a “slowly walking around style” instead, and arcade-y shooting would mostly be represented by space sims or mech sims.

      • taristo says:

        There’s a list of games on Wikipedia: link to en.wikipedia.org
        So far Simulation, Survival Horror, First Person Adventure/Puzzle, Space Combat and FPS games seem to be leading the fray although there are some really interesting game concepts being explored by titles like Private Eye or Asunder: Earthbound.

        I don’t think many of the problems brought up will be very valid for the consumer version, although I can see a lot of games needing a Controller.

      • GuillaumeJ says:

        I tried it a little : Mincecraft was wonderful with it.
        As people have said : with Oculus Rift, 3D is not as a big a change than headtracking and having the game fill most of your view.
        It’s too bad I’m having headache with it, quite fast, but I have great hope for the consumer version.

    • Geebs says:

      Sounds like a great addition for sims, etc. Unfortunately I would expect the WAF to be a serious problem :-(

    • rndmplyr says:

      It’s just so much better than 3d goggles in cinema, because of the headtracker and stuff. In the cinema, you turn your head and the image is still the same. Here, your ingame view follows your head movement. You feel instantly immersed in the 3d world (and I only tried it at gamescom with a demo of some racing game where I just could look around…).
      But getting 3d right in games is really hard, like you mentioned HUDs are a big problem. Also, I don’t think you won’t be able to play Quake or even Battlefield in the faster moments for longer times with the Rift, because you’re moving just too fast. But think Arma for example, where you can turn your head around already without (and with) a headtracker.

  10. engion3 says:

    There’s no turning back now, carmack has decided it’s time, see you all on the other side.

  11. stahlwerk says:

    The oculus rift is the perfect example of the 80/20 problem, and just how mind-boggling the work is that has to be done to bring a good idea to market, in a way that feels perfect as a whole product, even if all of the engineering problems have individually been solved for a long time. And it’s so refreshing to see the developers acknowledge every single shortcoming (pixel density, refresh rate, general comfort) and promising them to be fixed for the consumer release.
    I had the pleasure to use one at work for a few short sessions, and it has incredible potential. I think as soon as the consumer version is announced, I’ll preorder.

  12. Alphabet says:

    I wonder what that initial 2.4 million would be worth if it had been an investment rather than a kickstarter donation? I’m guessing, conservatively, 20 million or so? I’ve never been comfortable with this sort of kickstarter, where founders essentially get the initial investment given to them as their own, and they an VCs clean up, despite taking almost no risk.

    • Entitled says:

      The backings weren’t given in donation, but for copies of the dev kit units, that the $ 2.4 million was spent on.

      The backers were taking as much risk in the company’s fate, as anyone else who has ever ordered a company’s first products, and they have nothing more than that to do with their future success either.

  13. Imbecile says:

    If the rift can avoid getting bogged down by becoming too specialised (treadmills, multiple extra peripherals, etc), then its got a real chance of taking off. It just needs to keep things simple, and focus on being a 3D monitor replacement mostly for games. It has a lot of potential, but without decent focus, its just gonna sink.

    • Faxanadu says:

      This. I’m so afraid that the so-far-good-focus gets turned into bogus by some wannabe EA/Activision executive jumping on board and taking the google+ approach to things. (Being fucking stupid that is.)

      Hopefully the project will stay solidly in the hands it has been so far.

  14. DonkeyCity says:

    Some of you guys seem way too focused on just the stereoscopic 3D aspect of the device – this thing is really all about the responsive head tracking and the enormous sense of scale of being on the ground in a game environment that fills most of your view. This is so much more than just the 3D monitor viewers of the past.

  15. Martel says:

    Anybody that gets headaches from 3D movies tried to use a Rift? I’m extremely excited about getting one when they’re out, but I’m one of those people that gets a migraine from watching a 3D movie. But I want all that sweet head tracking goodness.

    • Fiatil says:

      I had a buddy report feeling sick after 20 or 30 minutes when he got to try one out. Everyone seems to agree it gets better over time, though the CEO came out about a month ago and said the current prototype makes him sick in the same way. He said they’ve been tweaking it a bunch for the next version and have done a lot to fix the problem, I guess we’ll find out.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        Yup. The Vomit Bonnet strikes again :)

      • DonkeyCity says:

        Iribe said the new one didn’t make him sick at all, in some interview I read today.

      • reo76 says:

        No, that’s not what the CEO said. He said that the current developer kit, the device that thousands of people have in their hands, made him sick after 2 minutes, which makes him somebody very susceptible to motion sickness. And then he added that their current INTERNAL PROTOTYPE didn’t make him sick even after 45 minutes.

        Now we also know that about 300 people have tested this same prototype and only 5 of them reported issues with motion sickness.

  16. racccoon says:

    I would NOT invest in something that’s going to disrupt the way people see and which product helps with their loss of vision over time.
    I WOULD invest into holographic illusion technology and become surrounded by game visuals, instead of going crosseyed like the Oculus will do to you.

    • Don Reba says:

      What makes you think Oculus is bad for your vision? It does not make you go cross-eyed — on the contrary, it has you stare into the distance.

  17. Richard Burton says:

    Does anyone interested in the Oculus wear glasses? If so, how does that work? Is it still in focus with ones glasses off? I would hope so, because keeping ones glasses *on* whilst viewing screens directly in front of them must surely be a bad thing? I’ve been curious about this for a while but nobody ever seems to mention it…

    • DonkeyCity says:

      In the current version there are 3 different sets of lenses, depending on what your prescription is so that you can play without them. Some people have just worn their under the Rift, if they can fit – it works since your focal distance is at the horizon, not the screen right in front of you. This is a less than ideal solution, though – I’m hoping the new design has far more advanced optics. I think there’s the possibility of adjusting the focus in the software of the the game, too. I’m really hoping I can avoid getting contacts of having laser surgery for my not-really-that-bad vision. It’s definitely the thing I’m most eager to see solved with the Rift’s progress.

  18. Sunjammer says:

    So we’ve had a kit lying around the office for a while, and I’ve tried an awful lot of demos. The impression I’m left with, discarding the low resolution of the display, is that it’s a specific technology for specific uses. Like a touchscreen or a joystick, there are things it is simply bad at doing and some things it excels at. For instance, the Titans of Space demo is absolutely fantastic at conveying scale in a way no other display can really compete with.

    They absolutely, positively have to implement proper head tracking though, be it through TrackIR style reference points or otherwise. Without it, I honestly can’t see a big consumer market for it beyond the novelty factor. The Rift is almost staggeringly effective at inducing motion sickness, to the point where every single developer at our place routinely experience it after even a modest period of use. Just looking at videos like that treadmill TF2 demo makes me physically ill. Without responding to head motion other than rotation, it’s a puke factory first entertainment device second, and that’s more than a bit sad.

    • Ich Will says:

      Kinect + some coloured lights + some masking tape + some clever programming if they don’t implement a decent solution?

      • Sunjammer says:

        Kinect is never, ever an option :) And regardless, it needs to be standardized for EVERY client, not just a random hack someone thought up.

      • Don Reba says:

        Kinect has high latency, so it wouldn’t work.

    • DonkeyCity says:

      By all accounts, full head tracking and massive reduction in nausea-triggering elements are the primary focus of the new model.

      • Sunjammer says:

        Gyro based headtracking is a waste of time, and that’s all I’ve seen them talk about. You need a physical real world reference point of some sort, at the very least to recalibrate the gyro. I think TIR’s IR dot tracking is about as pragmatic as it gets, personally.

        • DonkeyCity says:

          That’s supposed to be the place Valve helped them out with – Carmack has a predictive motion system, like they use for the rotation, that worked in short bursts before getting confused, and I can see that being combined with another (slower but more accurate) system to be continually recalibrated. If it didn’t work, nobody would put this kind of money into it, I reckon.