I typically play Space Pirate Trainer first; once I get around level 15-20 things are so hectic I'm moving a ton and often going to one, or both knees. My abs and back can feel it big-time. I start with this game because it's not quite so intense at the start and is a good VR warmup.
More impressive is Holopoint - a bow and arrow game. That is easily the most physically demanding VR activity that I've found so far. I'm usually sweeting pretty solidly when I complete 8-10 games of Holopoint. I'm also noticeably fatigued in my arms, back, legs, hips, all over. And just to be clear most would classify me as extremely fit (regularly skate with/against NHL bound Junior players, the minimum pull-ups I do in my workout are 30 consecutive, body fat <10% etc).
Lastly I find I am no longer interested in 'regular games'... such as Madden, NHL 16, Gran Turismo, etc (on PS4), or even my all time favorite Dark Souls (series). I simply can't go back to not being physically engaged the way VR games are.
VR is going to be absolutely huge in the health/fitness space.
You might also enjoy Climbey (http://store.steampowered.com/app/520010/ ) - it doesn't look particularly physical at first but it uses a decent amount of slow muscle movement. I was surprised at how sore I was the morning after a long play session with it.
(Oh, and given you love Dark Souls - you have heard of Left-Hand Path ( http://store.steampowered.com/app/488760 ), which keeps getting described by users as "Dark Souls VR", right? If not, I seriously need to work on my marketing. It's also at least somewhat physical, particularly if you decide to use the dodging mechanics a lot. Full disclosure: I'm the developer of that one.)
Climbly is good too but it's tough because you still have to move around with their locomotion technique and I find it quite vomit-y unfortunately the way it currently works.
Thrill of the Fight is on my list to check out this weekend... new release, looks great :)
If you'd like to either email me (email in my HN profile), reply here, or put up a post on the Steam forums (http://steamcommunity.com/app/488760/discussions/0/) I'd be more than happy to help you past that, as there's lots of good stuff beyond!
Climbey - yeah, the locomotion does get a little nausea-inducing :( I'm bulletproofed to it after months of VR development!
And please do! We'll get you on the path through the Well again...
(I'm actually the guy who coined the word "Machinima", with a colleague, because we needed a better way to describe what we did than "Quake Movie".)
So I had a lot of game engine experience before I jumped in.
As for beginners getting started: Unity, Unity, Unity. Grab Unity and start learning - you can get a simple VR experience going in a fairly minimal timeframe.
The Unity editor's very powerful, and you can extend it with tools like ProBuilder and Gaia, which are all available in the Unity Asset Store.
(I heartily recommend both of those for simple geometry creation and landscape creation, respectively.)
I've been coming at it the other way - I know game engine graphics and assembly like the back of my sinister hand, but I've been on a rapid C# learning curve :)
And when you call the graphics "terrible" do you mean they actually look bad to you from inside a VR headset, or just looking at the screenshot on some other device?
Because what looks amazing in a traditional game can look cartoony and fake within VR, and incredibly simple things can look startlingly real.
Also - there's a tendency towards flat shading as an aesthetic choice - it actually looks great in VR and frame rate is king.
However - check out something like Valve's "The Lab" to see how skilled devs can produce stunning graphics that run really smoothly in VR. It shows it's possible...
On reflection I don't think VR graphics are looking bad at all...
VR games are a lot of fun, but this is going to drive GPU development for a long time to come.
But I am also behind an escalation of the chipset manufacturers duelling it out. Some market impetus would surely bring about some great new engineering.
I honestly and truly don't understand why people think VR is going to get any kind of mass market penetration.
Seriously, try it out the level of immersion is insane, a more classic game feel can be amazing. But something where you move around is incredibly compelling. I watched a friend try to lean on a counter while cooking in Job simulator. I have hit basically every wall in my living room with a controller at this point as well as all the lights.
On the exercise front, Not every game is a workout but at the same time even something simple like the default valve bow game from the lab can wear people out. After all, you are holding a weight at arms length for a while and simulating pulling back an arrow. Its mot a motion that many people do regularly.
Go borrow one or go to some local game meetup and try some's roomscale handset. Its amazing. I'm thinking about taking mine to the bar up the street on a weeknight hooking it up and getting everyone to try it.
I get that the technology is amazing, I just don't see it getting much mass market penetration.
Basically everyone who has ever tried the vive I own wants to buy one, it's just throwing 800$ after a 1500$ box is a bit steep for most people.
I equate it to using an NES back in the day. Right now it's expensive and imperfect but In The mid to long term it's a clear winner.
I have done the 15 min demo to about 40 people so far and everyone wants one. Something that you can already get on a screen like Google Earth is astounding in VR.
As an example, for most people I start with them wearing the display and hand them the controllers with them already wearing the headset. That is the first thing most people think is cool.they can see the controller as it floats into their hand perfectly. That's enough suddenly they can literally touch their computer. It seems really dumb until it happens and then holy crap is it cool.
That's sort of how VR is. In concept not that cool in execution it's amazing.
Using VR actually seems to cause less desire to buy it, including me. It actually turned out to be a worse experience than what I expected.
It's entirely possible the two crowds being presented to differs by that much, but there are so many other variables in play too.
Try it. It's much more compelling than a Wii.
I think the Wii had part of the jigsaw. Imagine Wii/Kinect interactions, a really vibrant indie-dev culture plus that really hard to explain thing - "presence". It's a fascinating time to be part of a technology. I can only think of a few things that came close - the original home computing and video game boom (I was a child - so everything was wonderful), the early days of my time on the internet and the early iPhone/Android days ("I've got a proper computer in my pocket!").
I haven't been this excited about tech for a long time.
Many people i showed it to think its really cool, but out of maybe 15 people, only one has expressed serious interested to actually buy one and he already owns the required PC. Most were also not completely blown away, more like "yeah this is pretty cool and fun" but the expectations were higher than what actually can be experienced today.
There are cool games and experiences, but the tech needs to get a lot better (mainly resolution for me because i enjoy racing games most) and it needs to be a lot cheaper. I am still skeptical about mass market adoption beyond the same people that were interested in Kinect/PS Move.
The balance board sold 32 million units, so it was a pretty major success. That is as many units as Nintendo64 consoles sold. See http://www.gamesradar.com/holy-crap-look-how-many-wii-balanc...
Edit: And by multiplayer, I mean everyone in the same room multiplayer. Social multiplayer?
There are some games where another person can participate outside VR (Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes), but it's not really the same at all.
In VR you have to move a lot more for things to work and the the games are not fitness specific. It definitely gets your heart beating because you often have to hop around like your boxing or doing burpees. Burpees don't look that exhausting, but the constant floor to standing movement makes it challenging. I think this is what makes VR more physical.
VR isn't going to be popular until we have 8K or 16K headsets doing 120fps, and then we have to deal with the fact that it removes you from your environment.
The first generation of VR died off because they couldn't figure out how to solve the product liability issues. That problem still exists, which is why VR isn't going to be usable and is a dead-end.
Also 6dof tracking with hand gesture tracking under 10ms is still a challenge. I think it's possible but needs serious hardware advancements.
I love my bridge though. No hanging cables is definitely a good thing
IMO we need to go through at least two resolution quadruplings on the Vive to get it to be crisp enough for the screen-dooring to not be noticeable.
Once Vive-level VR comes down to wireless/portable size and down in cost to the $300 range it's going to be MASSIVE. Maybe the first generation ("until we get 16K 120fps headsets") will not appeal to productivity or hardcore gaming buffs, but 100 million Wiis were sold, and there was nothing technically impressive about that thing.
This is a step too far in my opinion. You already have to "crane your neck around" to see what's going on in the real world, all around you, all the time.
I'm also sure there are less physically demanding games/experiences for those interested. Pick your poison.
As you're playing games or working, the only time you ever turn your head is when something external distracts you, and you can resolve it in a split second. If you're using VR and something external distracts you, you have to abandon whatever your doing and dismount the device.
i don't think physical movement will be a requirement of vr as a concept. you can sit and eat cheetos all day long if you want.
and in the future, i think we'll have instant-on instant-off see through LEDs so you can hit a button on the side and see through the headset into reality.
Unless you wear glasses.
As to the original point, people adjust their head position all the time without even thinking about it. It's an unnatural and conditioned response to hear a noise on your right rear and move a joystick or mouse to look for the source of the noise.
Though, to be clear, most of my issues with current-gen VR is because of the state of the technology: low-res displays, bulky and heavy HMDs, clunky wires, etc. In a generation or two once this is addressed, it will be a much more enjoyable experience.
The other issue is in the software itself: there are just no must-have VR experiences yet. Technical demos, unpolished experiments, and shallow gameplay make up 90% of the current catalog. Plus there's the motion problem we haven't figured out yet, where most games rely on teleportation as primary movement mechanism, which is terrible UX.
Here's to hoping this isn't yet another failed VR attempt and that the industry will keep evolving, as the possible level of immersion is truly remarkable.
True, it isn't all that different from what you may get out of a Wii or a Kinect, but it's more immersive, and that makes a huge difference in how engaged you become.
They won't be quite as soft as the normal ones since they are thinner but the advantage of this is that it increases FOV since you are closer to the screen. In my experience they also stick quite well to the Vive.
Overall it's pretty manageable if you are prepared but pretty gross if you are using it out of box
I'd actually compare the cost to the cost of hiring a personal trainer. Both solve two problems: exercising, and the motivation to exercise.
Looked at in that light, the Vive's way cheaper.
Have you tried soundboxing? I'm on OSX so can't try it, but I really want to give it a shot - it seems awesome, and a good workout. Bringing back the glory days of DDR in the arcade...
 - https://www.soundboxing.co/
We’re developing an FPS game, and are researching walking and jogging in place to drive character locomotion. The new Vive trackers are an exciting announcement, because that means we can have ankle tracking. In-game hands and feet.
But moon jumping would be a fun game concept :)
That doesn't sound appealing in many cases. As a game critic once wrote about the limits of realism: I am not a ninja.
But in particular competitive gaming and esports would get a lot more interesting this way.
I could also see another way of using it that is similar to the teleport mechanic where you clear an area, make a big jump, and when you land you clear that next area before taking another jump. But it would be an interesting thing, almost like a angry birds pulling the slingshot back thing, where the accuracy of the jump is also put to the test.
If I recall correctly, low gravity often made me want to avoid jumping due to the lack of air control compared to ground running.
There are SO many exciting possibilities that'll unlock.
Also, I want my Thrill Of The Fight-equivalent Muay Thai simulator.
But...man, this makes me want a Vive so badly. The only thing stopping me at the moment is I keep telling myself I'm hanging out for the next resolution bump (and the attendant massive HTPC I'll happily build to drive it).
That's currently my biggest beef with these VR headsets, you have to wear some bulky thing on your head.
I do have to take the headgear off every few games, towel off head/forehead, and clean up the lens.
Edit: I'm mostly curious about the "leather" ones as they sounded uncomfortable for other usage, but specifically aimed at physical exertion.
What's the story with that, if you don't mind?
Alberto Manguel narrates the history of 10 of his favourite libraries. One of them, the Vijećnica library in Sarajevo, had a particularly striking history from the civil war: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vije%C4%87nica
That got to me.
You do need to remember to rinse the padding tho, just like a sponge in the sink. Super easy.
Can't be all that different than sweat itself. If we're not supposed to be getting these wet, then we shouldn't be doing VR workouts at all.
The first DOTA or Counterstrike equivalent for VR that also rewards fitness with increased game ability will unleash a legion of very, very fit competitive gamers on the world.
Bearing in mind - 7 hr a week is more or less the minimum to be at all competitive at DOTA, for example. 7 hr of intense exercise a week will get you pretty fit.
But yes. If you want to be actually competitive at a tournament level, you're dead on.
I haven't seen Holoball, sounds awesome thanks!
I'm not into gaming much (I find the magic of games pretty much gone for "moar" details, "moar" movement). But for health and also bootstrapping understanding your body, I'd contribute a lot to VR.
Full disclaimer: I am one of the developers.
I've been developing with my living room as my VR space for months now - as well as getting other people in to playtest a physically intense, scare-heavy game requiring fast movement - and to date we've only had one even moderately close call with a controller nearly whacking my TV. And that was my fault for setting the chaperone bounds a bit optimistically.
I learned that the hard way.
They need to add a note to SteamVR: Don't make the edges directly against obstacles.
This is before I setup the VIVE so basically I hung the sensors around the 'blue line area' and put all my computer gear on the desk in the corner.
Watch the pullups. I fried my elbows by doing too many. Doing them on rings is much better (if you don't do them that way already, I don't know).
Interesting that you are taking PQQ. I've been meaning to research this stuff. I also noticed no creatine was listed. It probably belongs in your anti-aging stack as it has neuroprotective properties, along with its other well-established effects on muscle power output.
(Supposing you care, and surgical replacement won't be trivial by then.)
I've skated with guys that didn't make the NHL cut and they were extremely fast to me. All most no effort it seemed like.
That's really shocking to me that you could get a workout from VR. Fog has to be an issue, no?
The Vive, for me anyway, is more a overall body workout that strains muscles I don't seem to hit from hockey, snowboarding and/or other such activities I do regularly. I would say it's a) a great overall, full body workout, but not super aerobic, and b) extremely good at training for tracking/responding to multiple 'threats' from multiple angles. Or sharpening my focus, or indirect focus skills. For example I often de-focus my vision and think about the "Inner Game" and just get out of the way of my body; I often will hit two targets with each hand independently from each other spread out 20ft or so apart. I've noticed on the ice I'm picking up players on my side/other team earlier and it's giving me an edge in just being ready a second earlier with the puck.
We're aware of the concept of a difficulty level in games. But we now need to consider the concept of a "fitness level".
That's not so much a problem for my current game, Left-Hand Path, because whilst it's physical it's not focused on physical exertion (except in the "suddenly elevated heartrate" area :) ).
But for the next game I'm working on, which is currently roughed out as a more conventional combat-focused RPG with a heavy physical focus, I really need to consider how I can make something that'll be physically intense and challenging for someone like evo_9, whilst also not making it completely impenetrable for someone who's unfit.
Just another interesting challenge in a VR dev's day :)
All great athletes seem like they're barely exerting effort when in reality they are way above average peak performance. Just running back and forth on a football pitch for a whole game is something that would bring most of us to our knees.
Totally agree, I cannot see anything bigger. I feel it will be bigger than even the medicine and hospital business and even plaxo and glaxo and klein would be out of business (or who knows maybe they will start selling medicines in VR!)
VR gaming is so intense and immerseful that I hope that I get a chance to go out. All this fitness would make me so slim.. that I hope my family can identify me.
I think VR is at the point smartphones were from 2000-2007 until the iPhone showed up. It's going to take another generation of devices that incorporate all of those features in a really well designed package before it goes mainstream.
* Vive has huge problems with tracking devices. It needs to track 3 things and usually 1 has a problem and is not tracking properly sigh
* The coords are annoying
* FOV is too narrow
* picture quality is crap (low resolution)
* steam vr (as steam itself) is low quality software
* the device is heavy on your face, uncomfortable and makes you sweat (in the face.. nasty)
* lack of compelling content that has things just right (i.e. doesn't make you sick)
From developer point of view:
* openvr library can be confusing, documentation is lacking and it's married to steam :(
I think the author is overshooting the importance of VR. The next generation hardware will undoubtedly improve much and there's definately potential especially in fields like visualization work and gaming too. But lets be honest there's a whole bunch of basic "productivity" apps and light user content apps (think your average phone app) that really doesn't have much to gain from VR. Undoubetedly some of these will want to jump on the VR hype (once it comes) and quickly make totally horrible half-assed versions of their software for VR.
You had to have a pretty good imagination to look at any 2004 phone and envision the iPhone, but once you had the 1st gen iPhone it's pretty easy to imagine a modern smartphone. It's pretty much just the same thing only more so.
Before the iPhone, nobody had any idea what improvement on the smartphone would be required to get them in the hands of everyone. All anyone could say was "a smartphone isn't for everyone". With VR, just in this thread half the people are saying "I just hated the resolution, lack of portability and software", similarly specific objections like people had with the initial iPhone.
I actually had the opposite experience to you. The first iPhone wasn't very special to me. "So what, it accomplishes everything my current phone does, only with pinch zoom". My first Oculus dev kit experience, terrible 720p display and all was captivating.
The limitations were obvious though. The small screen and low resolution made it hard to read much text. It was really slow, both in processor and in its 2G connection. And it was clear that there was a lot of work to be done on the software and design technology side.
The Vive feels pretty special to me too. Presence, that feeling of being in another place, a fictional place with fictional rules. Perceptually perfect hand and head tracking. The chaperone system to let you move around the room with confidence.
The limitations are obvious: high system reqs, cords everywhere, low resolution, flaky software, and again we need to question a lot of our assumptions about the kind of software that we write. All of that's being aggressively engineered away. I'm bullish.
What was your alternative way to move across the country?
It's nice to get accurate directions when you really, really need it. There's also something to be said for getting lost or wandering every now and then.
Or just the phones themselves?
Which I think will look like:
- Inside-out head tracking (hololens and project tango)
- Dedicated VR GPUs (heat and power issues)
- Better resolution (4k per eye is getting close to desktop screen res)
Then phones will go into 'VR mode' as we're seeing today with daydream, so it essentially rolls out automatically and without additional spending from consumers.
All incremental improvements to really take it mainstream
Sure you could technically play video games in your house on the Atari 2600, but they were so much worse than arcade games they were sort-of still a gimmick.
The NES was the first home game system whose games were good enough to get lost in. But that doesn't mean there wasn't tremendous room for improvement.
Wireless at least ships in Q1 in China, Q2 for the US (TPCast)
That being said, almost all of the comments here are taking a singular worldview: consumer-focused VR for a western market.
VR for B2B or enterprises can make money today and doesn't require mass-consumer adoption. If you make someone 10x more effective at their job (tools for sales people: OssoVR) or onboard employees faster (training: STRIVR), you can overcome the cost and rough edges on the hardware.
In China, VR-arcades are going to be how most consumers first experience high-end PC VR. Culturally, people there are already used to going to internet cafe's to use computers by the hour and seek out 3rd spaces. VR-by-the-hour rooms fit this mold. Additionally, the short length of most VR experiences makes it easy to have a 15-20 minute session and not be disappointed by the lack of content. More info on this here: https://medium.com/@amitt/vr-will-be-huge-in-china-41de0c758...
The firm I work for has a small R&D department that is heavily testing out VR. As I've said in other posts, I can only really see it as a marketing tool currently but some of that team are hoping there might be ways to "move and build" items in terms of visualizations.
tools for sales people: OssoVR
Osso is for surgeons, not sales people. Or am I missing something?
I wasn't expecting much and yet I was still underwhelmed. There is zero immersion, primarily due to the poor resolution, the screen door effect, and the crippled field of view. It felt like watching a scene through a pair of binoculars, but that's not a fair comparison either, as physical binoculars are more immersive than any of these devices.
I feel like I the only one that feels such disappointment!
I read once that in VR "geometry matters more than textures" and I totally agree with that. Some of the most immersive moments I've had in VR are when I was peeking around a corner. The graphics were all simple, but the geometry of the corner and connecting corridor are what gave me such a great sense of presence.
I've written software for nearly 20 years now and I don't want to do anything other than VR development. It's the new frontier.
I'm really bored of those.
That gives me:
2. Arizona Sunshine
3. The Unspoken
4. Dead and Buried
Looking through Steam sorted by user reviews: http://store.steampowered.com/search/?sort_by=Reviews_DESC&t...
Gives me another easy set. I'll stick to things I own or I've heard almost universally good things about:
5. Smashbox Arena
9. Bullet Sorrow
11. Serious Sam: TFE
12: Bullet Sorrow
13: Werewolves Within
14: ROM Extraction
There's more but I got bored. I can personally vouch for the excellence of at least 5 of those.
I can't imagine how the game works not in VR.
The Vive seems harder to rationalize because it seems like a really expensive toy with only a few crappy games for it. Am I wrong about this? Is the VR really worth it? I keep reading awful things about the resolution and about motion sickness issues - I care very much about those things.
I'd have an easier time with it if the resolution was doubled and it was closer to a $500 price point. But as is it just seems crazy to pay that much to have a way lower resolution screen than my current monitor strapped an inch from my eyes.
This reminds me of the Nintendo Wii and Wii Tennis and all those other Wii sports games that were really fun.
VR = immersion.
The gear, resolution, tech is all details.
Given my loose definition, we've had VR for years. Dr Dan Bricklin once asked me (rhetorically): where are you during a (deep) phone conversation? Here? There? Both?
AR is when the gear matters as much as than the story.
Source: Gadfly during the first VR hype cycle.
Everything you mention are very (very) simple technical limitations on what are basically proof-of-concept devices. If you think we don't have the technical capability to put higher-resolution screens in there, or to make better graphics, or to extend the FOV... the only problem right now is cost. The reason for these limitations is cost. They're solving the hard problems before tackling the easy ones because we already know how to solve the easy problems. Solving easy problems doesn't get you hundreds of millions of dollars worth of startup investment. And screen resolution is definitively an "easy" problem to solve.
The YC post didn't say "VR is perfect today", it said "VR is going to get a lot better". You have to be able to see into the future and determine what problems are solvable and what problems may never be solved. All of the problems you see with current VR are ones that are easily solvable (except maybe immersion, but you'd have to actually define what that actually means).
Nope. We were blown away.
Even knowing full well we'd eventually have real-time photorealistically rendered worlds to explore, surgery to perform, molecules to inspect... The early advances were exciting.
"Everything you mention are very (very) simple technical limitations on what are basically proof-of-concept devices."
VR has some thorny non-gear problems to solve. Human physiology ain't simple.
HoloLens are the biggest let down. That FOV was unusable.
Maybe mercurial MagicLeap is doing AR the right way.
Magic Leap has an augmented reality device that does that, although not launched yet.
My feeling is that light field displays will massively increase sense of reality - and reports of people using Magic Leap back that up.
However, I don't think it's necessary for lots of use of VR or AR.
When you describe the binocular effect, I know what you mean, however my experience is that all those issues fade away once your brain "accepts" the inputs and starts filtering out the noise. How long did you get to demo the Vive? In my experience (and those I've demonstrated to) it takes a bit. These days, if I'm in an engaging game, I'll lose the peripheral darkness on an unconscious level in the same way I'll lose the world outside a monitor when playing an engaging PC game.
Personally, as someone who owned and purchased some of the early HMDs of the 1990s - these kind of comments look "interesting" to me. I mean, people are complaining about the "low FOV and resolution" - when they clearly never had to use HMDs with 20 degree FOV and 320 x 240 resolutions...
Today's HMDs are things we only dreamed about (and those who could get close to this - well, those HMDs cost more than an automobile.
Regarding the "filtering out the noise" - we used to call this "seeing past or beyond the pixels". It was purely psychological or something going on (I think there were studies done on the effect). There came a point where you stopped noticing the pixels, and/or the low FOV - and it all just started looking much better than it did. The key, though, was to stop focusing on the issue - which some people couldn't.
Being better than what they had in the 90's doesn't mean it's good. It's still too low - like trying to view 4k content on a 720p display.
> The key, though, was to stop focusing on the issue - which some people couldn't.
Or the low resolution is thrown in your face. For example, attempting to view a virtual poster on a somewhat distant virtual wall. It's large enough that you should be able to read it, but the resolution is so low you can't.
Nothing pops you out of that immersion faster than having the fact you're looking at low resolution display thrown in your face.
If VR can't render readable posters then good artists will stop putting posters in VR.
The best analogy I have heard is that VR is experienced in layers, and the time it takes to settle into deeper and deeper levels is different for everyone.
1. Medium, a sculpting program. This tool lets you build 3D sculptures. The intuitiveness of the controls and the ease with which you can make these gigantic sculptures feels amazing. I think things like this are going to have a huge effect on how art is made. It's such an empowering experience to be able to so easily make these huge pieces of art.
3. The Unspoken. This is a game where you're a wizard and shoot fireballs and things at other wizards. Not sure what to say about it but it was really fun.
The big problem with VR is the product liability issues.
The same thing might have been said about the commodore 64. Hardware being accessible to the (rich) consumer vs only to research labs and businesses is enough of a difference to create new industries!
My experience was the opposite of yours: I expected a lot, and was still happily surprised by the results. Head tracking is excellent, no motion sickness at all, and consistently high framerates made the experience extraordinary immersive for me. I love just spending time in Windlands and Robinson.
Like you, though, I look forward to higher resolutions and field of view, but I'm a very happy customer with the current setup. I guess we'll see how I feel in a few months!
One person, like you, can have a much worse view and experience than someone else.
I find Valve's the Lab demos to be very, very good. If you're looking for pixels, then the experience isn't fun enough.
The limitations you mention are absolutely issues, but they start to fade away and the feeling of immersion rises the longer you are in it. YMMV though.
Go up to using a rift or vice for Elite with my hotas and i can see it being awesome. Planning to get either a rift or vive this year.
So - which is it?
Everyone has had different experiences with VR. To call another person's personal experience a hyperbole is disingenuous.
I'm not going back to try VR till the resolution is something like 8k per eye and the optical quality is far better. FOV needs to be much wider, HMD lighter and more comfortable, and of course wireless (I know you can get this now).
I have a dedicated home theater and room scale still does not work, because you will never have enough physical space in a regular home, and have to teleport around in games anyway.
The only games that really work are seated cockpit games. Racing, space sim, flight sim, etc.
Nausea was not an issue for me. Nor the "anti-social" issue, I've never been a party gamer, I like to play games alone, in a dark room with headphones on, sat at my desk staring at a monitor, or alone on the couch with a gamepad in my home theater enjoying surround sound and a 106" screen.
All made-for-VR games I've tried so far have been mediocre and more like small demos than full games. Best experiences were games not made for VR but with added VR support: Assetto Corsa and iRacing. Probably the only two games worth having VR at all for, but personally I'll wait for 6th gen or whatever will be good enough for me.
The games I like the best works better without VR. Sim racing games could be one exception, but are, for the moment, better with a triple monitor setup. Games like Pillars of Eternity have no need for VR, IMO.
Certainly VR has potential, I just think the HMDs we have now feel old and dated already. It's 2016 (when released) and it's heavy and wired, basically ski goggles with crappy monitors and crappy lenses hugging my face.
So, I think your requirements are completely unrealistic, but I agree that the current VR (1k/eye at <90Hz with 20-30ms latency) is unusable and gives me a headache. I suspect that around 2-3k/eye at 90-120Hz with 10-20ms latency will be sufficient to be usable.
Unfortunately, that almost certainly means Foveal rendering (since UHD at 60Hz is too hard and 120 is right out), which will take some time. However, it probably also means that the bandwidths might be possible to untethered mulit-Gig wireless. Having an unteathered system that used a high powered GPU would be really nice.
<edited to add>
420% increase in float calc perf.
Moreover, from the rendering point of view, foveated rendering is a fairly complex thing to integrate into a 3D engine too. It is definitelly not "free".
Foveated rendering is certainly no panacea.
8k x 8k per eye at 120Hz is 64x more pixels at 1/3rd increase in frequency ~= 85x more processing power. Making the (maybe faulty) assumption of doubling processing power every 2 years and that current setup is processor limited, this sort of processing power is ~13 years away.
Same computation but with 4k x 4k per eye predicts ~9 years of progress needed.
The Vive came out like 8 months ago. I would hardly say even the craziest company (cough Apple) would rush out a new version that quickly.
>Glare, very blurry except for a narrow center, the rings of the fresnel lenses are very noticeable.
You are probably wearing it wrong. There are two adjustments you can make. There is a small knob at the right-bottom edge, turn it and it changes the lenses width (how far apart your eyes are), this is not likely the issue. The second adjustment is focal length (how far away the screen is), if you click out the left circle that attaches the strap to your headseat, you can turn it to adjust focal length.
The third adjustment is wearing it right. I know this sounds really dumb but you have to wear it much lower than you expect. I was wearing it very high up, like glasses, when the better position is like wearing goggles.
But overall, yeah, the resolution isn't great but things like blurriness can be fixed.
Maybe I'm substantially less sensitive to the aberrations you mentioned, or your lenses are not the same as mine, but my experience is much more positive.
I've given demos to probably more than 75 people at this point, and there are always some people who complain a lot and then we adjust the way they're wearing it and all is good.
A side note: although Apple does come out with new product versions rather quickly, it's worth noting that they take a very long time to create the first version of their new products. More often than not those efforts don't even end up seeing the light of day. Now that I think about it, it's probably why Apple hasn't thrown their hat into the VR ring. Once they do decide to go to market with a brand new product category it typically has a ton of polish and iterating from that point on can be done incrementally and rapidly.
They're working on AR
The head/motion tracking was spot on and I didn't notice much lag at all. The problem was more with the resolution of the screen, FOV, and light leaks. I constantly had to trick myself in order to feel immersed. Also, if you don't have near perfect vision, the display will look even worse and its quite uncomfortable to wear the headset with glasses.
I think we're on the path, but the first generation headsets out there now are more in line with an expensive tech demo than anything else. I suppose that it is to be expected though. I look forward to future iterations.
This is a very valid criticism. The current limitations of VR require developers to design different kinds of games. I found Valve's The Lab to be excellent. It's frustrating as a designer, because you may not be able to make the game you want, for VR.
It's possible, but the resolution and pixel density has to go up before it can be an effective replacement for the amazing screens we have.
For now simulator-like games such as Elite:Dangerous are the most interesting. I'm sure we'll Se a couple of nice "room scale" games - but "sitting in a cockpit" fixes many of the issues related to movement etc.
Then, I think a backpack rig (Pc) coupled with custom controllers (eg: a softgun with tracking hardware and trigger support) will enable vr theme park games; a typical indoor paintball range with padded corners mapped in 3d - rendered over with vr goggles. I assume the first ones would need custom tracking hw.
EDIT, in case it changes:
While I agree with many of your sentiments, I don't think you are realizing that only 2-3 years ago an HMD meant something like a Sensics zSight or one of the Collins/Rockwell ones. Starting price $40k, FOV around 30-60 degrees, SXGA resolution and input either frame sequential signal or two VGA/DVI cables (one per eye). And no tracking whatsoever - you had to buy external tracker, either magnetic or optical one ($10k+). No controllers neither, but a professional Flystick 2 (needs external tracking) could be yours for about $2k.
And on the low end you had stuff like Vuzix VR920 for about $400 or, then brand new Sony HMZ-T1 for $800 or so, if I recall right, with terrible resolution (Vuzix), FOV (Vuzix - 20deg yay) and latency (4 entire frames - Sony). Neither had tracking nor controllers neither.
So calling the current generation of HMDs "dated" and "crappy" is a tad unfair. You have obviously never had to use the "previous gen".
8k displays in HMDs would be great but are not going to happen for quite some time yet. Not even 4k, actually. The reasons for that are several:
* HMDs are still a very niche market. So to get components to make one you either pay a large premium to get a made to measure parts you need in low volume (=> that's partly why the Sensics HMD did and still do cost so much) or you have to use parts where the economy of scale works in your favor.
Until HMDs are a mass market device, the only source where to get (relatively) cheap displays in sizes that fit the form factor are smartphones, resp. displays that were meant for them. So until there is a mass produced 4k/8k smartphone, an 8k HMD is not going to happen. And 4k on a phone is a gimmicky nonsense, 8k even more so, so not likely to happen any time soon.
Development of a custom 2k display starts to make sense only when you are planning on buying 100k+ of them, otherwise the manufacturer won't even talk to you. It just isn't profitable. And it gets only more expensive for 4k and 8k resolutions, with insane engineering problems when you are trying to stuff 4k pixels into something 5" across instead of 100" (TV ...)
* You likely don't realize how much electrical a computational power driving of a 4k display needs. Most PCs would struggle with 4k@90Hz or more and even super high end PC would have major difficulties driving an 8k display. An HMD that nobody can use is not much of a product, IMO.
* Bandwidth issues - very few 4k display panels can manage 4k@60Hz, 4k@120Hz that you would want for VR is virtually unheard of. And 8k@120Hz ... well, maybe a decade off? If ever - it is not needed for TV and phones and VR alone is way too small market to make a manufacturer produce something crazy like that.
There is also the question of how do you talk to such panel - normal HDMI tops out at 4k@30Hz, anything more and you need either the recently standardized HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort or some proprietary stuff, along with expensive cabling. Don't get me started on 8k ...
Bandwidth is also why HMDs are not wireless. Until very recently (few months) there simply were no solutions on the market that could manage to transmit the volume of data needed and keep the latency low. You cannot use heavy compression, as has been common for e.g. wireless TV streaming stuff, because it adds too much latency and/or visual artifacts. There are now some solutions coming but we have to see how good they will be. And, of course, none of that will likely work for 4k+ without (massive) changes. Oh and you trade a cable for battery life and having to lug a battery either on your head or belt now.
So, to conclude - your usability gripes about the hardware are valid, but if you want to wait until they are solved, you will have to wait for a very long time. The vendors had to make engineering and economic tradeoffs and even then are not making much (if any) money on the hardware. So one needs to remain with both feet on the ground.
The current crop of HMDs is perfectly OK for many applications, even professional ones. That doesn't mean it is good for or should be used by everyone. That's fine as well - nobody forces you to.
As for the history lesson, I played the SU2000.