I decided to pledge the $300 necessary to get an actual developer kit.
This was despite (a) not being a game developer; (b) knowing full well it wasn't going to support OS X immediately.
My Oculus Rift arrived early April but a combination of (a) travel; and (b) not actually being able to try it out without Windows meant I didn't do any more than unboxing it.
But on May 2nd, Oculus VR announced OS X support, so this evening I downloaded the Unity-based demo and actually tried the Rift out. There were some things that impressed me and others that didn't (well one, but it's a big one).
When I ordered the dev kit, I really thought it would be a kit in the sense that you'd have to do some work to put it together. Nope, this is final-product grade in my opinion, even down the packaging. Sure, the control box has a cheap plastic feel, but it's no different than most electronics.
The kit had everything I needed: HDMI and USB cables, etc so I could plug it straight in and it just worked.
Even without any software, it just acts as an external 1280x800 monitor so I could see my OS X desktop. With the lenses in place, it's completely distorted but if you remove those lenses, you can see it's just a display panel resembling a Nexus 7.
The lenses are interchangeable because they come in various depths for people who wear glasses. It was impossible to put the Rift on with the default lenses. Even with the flattest lenses, they practically touch my glasses.
I then fired up the "Tuscan" demo. It's a simple world consisting of a Tuscan-style house (interior and garden) overlooking water and a distant horizon.
The impressive things: Firstly, It really does wrap around an impressive amount of your field of view. Mind you, wearing glasses, I'm not used to the peripheral vision in my day-to-day life I'd have if I wore contact lenses so others may find the field of view much less than normal, but for me it was decent.
Secondly, the responsiveness was pretty amazing. I'd quickly move me head and the image kept completely in sync.
Still having to "walk" with mouse/keyboard is a little weird. I predict the Rift will work better with things like driving and flight simulator games than with FPSs or MMORPGs.
I ended up feeling a little motion sickness.
So what was the one big negative? To be honest, it's the resolution. While the screen is probably near retina (the Nexus 7 seems it would be roughly the same pixel size and is 216 PPI) the lenses means the screen gets magnified, in some areas quite a lot.
So it's very easy to see the individual pixels. It looks like you're viewing the world through a screen door. And I'm sorry to say that's quite distracting.
Putting one of the lenses on my MacBook Pro Retina 15" shows the pixels almost as clearly (which makes sense, it's 220 PI). Putting the lens over my iPhone 4S (326 PPI) you could still make out pixels but it looked a lot better.
So given how most the lens magnifies and how close the screen is your eyes, I'd say we'll need screens of 400+ PPI before Oculus-style VR headsets don't distract you with their pixels.
It will be interesting to see what pixel densities are available when the "production" Rift ships.
So, in short, mostly impressed but also a little disappointed about the pixel visibility.
Still, I'm very much looking forward to actually trying it out on more than a demo.
I stepped back into the demo (to borrow from Oculus's turn of phrase "step into the game") and here are a couple more thoughts:
Not having an avatar in the Tuscany demo is actually quite disconcerting. It's bad enough not seeing your hands when you hold them up IRL but looking down and not seeing your body is actually a little freaky :-)
LG has announced a Quad HD IPS display that is 538ppi.
At 5.5in, it's smaller than the Oculus Rift panel but gives 2560 x 1440 or what would be 1280 x 1440 per eye.
No idea how space-filling the pixels are, though.
And there's nothing to say the Rift would use something like this. But it's interesting to see where the technology is now at.
DK2 is apparently 960 x 1080 per eye which not the same aspect ratio as DK1's 640 x 800 (the overall screen is Full HD 16:9, not 16:10 like the 2012 Nexus 7)
Ugh, Facebook is buying Oculus.
$2 billion ($400 million cash and 23.1 million shares)
More details on Facebook's blog.
Congrats to the Oculus team, but I worry the product won't go the direction I would have liked it to go.
This is the sort of thing I was afraid of:
We were in talks about maybe bringing a version of Minecraft to Oculus. I just cancelled that deal. Facebook creeps me out.— Markus Persson (@notch) March 25, 2014
Seriously? People want a refund from Oculus? They knowingly pre-ordered the original devkit. They got the devkit. They were never investors.
Backing the Oculus Rift Kickstarter project at the $300 level (like I did) makes you a pre-paying customer NOT an investor.
My DK2 has arrived. I'll post more over the weekend.
Apparently the OS X version of the SDK isn't available yet so I won't be able to do as much as I'd hoped this weekend. I can still review some aspects of it.
While the DK1 had a plastic case to carry all the pieces in, the DK2's carrying case is cardboard.
It's nice not to have a separate controller box.
Even switching to the B-lenses, they touch my glasses so I worry about scratching.
The position tracker easily rests on the top of my MacBook Pro.
In the display preferences, the "Rift DK2" offers 1080 x 1920 and 1080 x 948.
Note the portrait rotation.
The pixels on the new display are definitely more space-filling than on the DK1. I'm looking forward to trying demos but I'll have to wait for the SDK for OS X for that.
It's been widely reported that the screen is that of a Samsung Note 3.
SDK 0.4.1 is out with OS X support.