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2. August 2012

 

I don’t often get excited about unreleased products, and up until this point I have never gotten all too excited about a Kickstarter project ( although I really look forward to a possible Planescape sequel! ), especially a hardware package that sounds too good to be true.  “The first truly immersive virtual reality headset for video games” is pretty ambitious.

 

Then I read the quotes:

 

  • "What I've got now, is, I honestly think the best VR demo probably the world has ever seen"
    John Carmack, id Software

  • "Needless to say, I'm a believer... We're extremely excited here at Epic Games to get the Unreal Engine integrated with Oculus"
    Cliff
    Bleszinski, Design Director Epic Games

  • "I think this will be the coolest way to experience games in the future. Simply that... that big"
    David Helgason, CEO Unity

  • "I’m really looking forward to getting a chance to program with it and see what we can do.”
    Michael Abrash, Valve

  • "It looks incredibly exciting, if anybody’s going to tackle this set of hard problems, we think that Palmer’s going to do it. So we’d strongly encourage you to support this Kickstarter.”
    Gabe Newell, President and Owner Valve

When it come to video game name dropping… that’s a pretty impressive list!

 

Now about the device itself:

occrift

It’s called The Oculus Rift  ( ugh ) and its tentative specs are:

Head tracking: 6 degrees of freedom (DOF) ultra low latency
Field of view: 110 degrees diagonal / 90 degrees horizontal
Resolution: 1280x800 (640x800 per eye)
Inputs: DVI/HDMI and USB
Platforms: PC and mobile
Weight: ~0.22 kilograms

 

Perhaps most important, and the thing that got my interest, it’s coming out of the box with Unity and Unreal engine support.  That could move it from being a fringe curiosity, to being a device with an actual future.

 

Ultimately this all came about from their kickstarter campaign, attempting to raise 250,000$ to make developer kit’s available.  Well, that goal is WAYYYYYYY passed, and as of writing they are pushing the million dollar mark. A pledge of 275$ or more got you early access to the device and the SDK, although they are sold out, so I don’t know why I bothered mentioning that! Smile 

 

That said, pledging 300$ or more gets you:

EARLY RIFT DEVELOPER KIT + DOOM 3 BFG: Try the Rift for yourself now! You'll receive a developer kit, perfect for the established or indie game developer interested in working with the Rift immediately. This also includes a copy of Doom 3 BFG and full access to our Developer Center for our SDK, docs, samples, and engine integrations! (Please add $30 for international shipping)

 

300$ really isn’t that much, well within reach of many indie developers.  Of course, it’s a pretty big long shot, although if you are working with Unreal or Unity in the first place, the Oculus Rift really isn’t that much of a risk.

 

What do you think?  Is this the future of gaming?  There were some rumours that next Xbox was going the VR route.  I also seem to recall reading Steam had something in the works too ( ironically, Michael Abrash, who was quoted, was the person I believed was leading the effort).  Personally though, it makes me sick… literally.  I have tried a couple of VR rigs in the past, and beyond a few minutes play I start getting dizzy.  Let’s hope that doesn’t hold true with the Oculus Rift. Oh, and that’s a terrible name.

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