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CES: Oculus Rift Eyes-On and Q&A with Palmer Luckey

by unt1tled

posted January 11, 2013 @ 1:34PM
blog posts

filed under Games


We had the opportunity to meet with Palmer Luckey and the team at CES to discuss the latest changes to the Oculus Rift including its new in-house-developed sensor.  After the eyes-on demonstration with the Rift, I can say this is perhaps the best VR headset I've ever experienced for gaming. And it's only getting better.

Though they’re still working with prototype hardware, the unit I tried on wasn’t uncomfortable. A simple strap wraps behind your head and there’s a “sweet-spot” for your eyes to get perfect focus.  Although they did mention that the new 7” display adds about 30g to the weight, the current unit didn’t feel cumbersome at all and I don’t think it would be a problem for extended gameplay.

Just as others have notably stated, the Rift really gives your game experience a whole new dimension. From the moment you move your head, you immediately feel as if you’re fully immersed within the game. This is aided by the fact that the sensor, which is essentially a digital compass for your head position, is quite accurate and picks up every slight movement at all angles. The Oculus team says to expect the immersion to be even better in the final dev kit, with improvements to the screen, latency and pixel-refresh.

The curvature of each lens really make the boundaries of the screen disappear and allows the 3D depth to really shine through. Where, with a lot of 3D hardware, you only experience either an inner or outer 3D depth, the Rift appears gives you both – which again is reinforced by the fact you can actually look behind you. During the UDK free walk play-through, the winter environment was filled with snow you almost expect to “feel”. Weather effects can really enhance the experience with the Rift but I also can’t wait to see how the Rift performs in games like Hawken, where you can look around the cockpit.

I also loved the implementation of the controls in the demo I played. While walking forward with the controller, there seemed to be a soft degree of freedom when you turned your head; you can essentially glance around to while you’re moving forward until you fully turn in any direction. The team said that devs would have full control over how the Rift will handle the player’s perspective and movement, but what I’ve tried felt very natural and I hope to see a similar control schemes in future titles.

Your eyes adjust, the world moves exactly with your head position, and your brain immediately “gets it”.  A few minutes of exploring the game’s environment and I was hooked. After the Oculus team unjacked me from the Rift and returned me to the real world, I realized that this awesome piece of hardware is the VR headset gamers were most eager for. I also see why so many developers would instantly want to work with the Oculus team after they give the Rift a try. It’s unlike any other headset I’ve ever experienced. But unfortunately, no one can be told what the Rift experience is; you have to see it for yourself…

tags pccesinterviewoculusrift

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