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.
I can't imagine VR being as omnipresent in our daily lives in its current state. Oculus or Vive implies you are shutting yourself from the outside world. You cannot interact. You cannot go out, talk with others etc. It's easy however to imaging how Hololens can enhance existing reality and how anyone (even my grandmother) could use it for their daily lives.
I know companies that are very interested in professional VR applications today using the Vive, but Hololens isn't practical yet. I think in a few more revs it will be really great. VR now, AR when it's ready, but AR will definitely be bigger.
It seems like the first high-use product in this category will be a lightweight regular looking set of glasses that simply displays your notifications.
Then in the future, add a camera to display overlays on the real world.
In our current tech landscape, we mostly interact with the digital world through screens.
AR has the potential to turn any real world object into a human-computer interface. I definitely think AR technology is going to be nothing short of revolutionary once it matures, possibly even more so than the advent of the modern smartphone.
The only real question is how long it's going to take before it's fully integrated into our daily lives, there is absolutely no doubt this will happen (unless we somehow go backwards technologically, due to world war or some other unforeseen event).
It may not happen for another 10-15 years, but it WILL happen.
The term "virtual reality" is actually selling the technology short. Virtual reality does not merely replicate reality, it allows you to defy the laws of physics and expand into new dimensions and "realities". Replicating "reality" is only a small part of what it's capable of.
You talk in such absolutes that I wonder if you've ever done any research on past technology endeavors. LaserDiscs, interactive TV, VRML (yes, "VR"), 3D TVs, Google Glass, and (probably) smart watches.
VR doesn't even replicate reality, let alone do more.
While I can appreciate your enthusiasm, there are always doubts.
It has billions in investment already, FB is putting hundreds of millions into Oculus and funding applications/games. HTC has basically pivoted their entire company to the Vive.
This isn't going away, VR/AR is going to replace current keyboard/mouse/screen interfaces, because why wouldn't it? The aforementioned are even further from replicating what I am trying to do on a computer. Why do I have to move a mouse in two dimensions or tap on a flat display to interact with many concepts much easier to work with in 3D?
For FB, I see it as a moonshot project much like the various things Google does. Being a moonshot project doesn't guarantee you success.
As for investments, I think we've entered an era where everyone is afraid of being disrupted by a startup or missing out on a unicorn. Now, you have large companies putting money into VR projects and VCs scrambling to fund anything VR-related. I think a similar thing happened with smart watches and wearables.
I don't know enough about the state of VR interfaces for work, but it seems ideal for specialized industries (medicine, military, etc.).
Apple Watch sold millions, and it's about to fail. Same with all the other smartwatches.
VR is going away, since it's such a terrible user experience compared to laptops/desktops/smartphones.
First, where's the evidence that the Apple Watch is about to fail? Every day I keep seeing more and more Apple Watches in the wild. Just the other day I was getting lunch and noticed that at the table next to me every single person had an Apple Watch on. Every time there's a get-together in my family, I notice one or two extra relatives who've ended up getting one. That's pretty impressive for something that's on the verge of failure. It actually feels comparable with how smartphones slowly started assimilating into our lives years ago.
Second, consumer VR right now is for video games, period. Maybe that will change later on, but that's what VR is all about right now. So comparing it to laptops/desktops/smartphones seems strange. What are the dimensions of this comparison? Turning on Steam VR, then putting on the headset doesn't feel all that different to me from turning on the TV, then sitting down on the sofa.
I've lived through all of those and this generation of VR feels like a different thing.
I'm normally reticent to buy into bleeding edge tech. (I'm a 'wait til the price drops' kind of guy) and I opened my wallet for a new PC and a Vive within 3 weeks of borrowing a DK2.
This hype is enthusiast and consumer led - and not in the way Laserdisc had it's "enthusiasts" - it's the kind of tech that makes people want to switch careers.
I think it's fortunate that VR has coincided with the rise of crowdfunding and the renaissance of indie devs. That is going to help see it through it's difficult early patch.
VR on the other hand is a technology evolution. You could argue we're too early in the adoption hockey stick. But I doubt you could even begin to compare it to those other products.
It seems like there are already enough early adopters to fuel the growth it will require (product-wise) to get mainstream adoption.
As others have mentioned, this has only scratched the surface in the consumer market. But the B2B applications are so wide that this could be huge there alone in terms of simulation, training, and business process automation.
I doubt someones poor experience with some early stage VR tech is enough to discredit the wider potential of the platform. Even if the consumer gaming side is niche for another half decade.
1. VR has been tried in the past and went nowhere.
2. Adoption of mainstream things is usually pretty steep (cell phones, PCs, TV, Internet access)
If you're saying current VR hardware are the "mainframe computers of the 60s and 70s" and we're still yet to see what the "personal computer of the 80s/90s" will be for VR, I can maybe buy that but I still have unanswered questions and would bet against it.
Also, current VR is also an add-on to a commodity product (PCs and gaming consoles).
You say niche for half a decade ... he says an "explosion" in less than 2 years. I don't get it.
I'm not saying that it's a mainframe. In regards to the consumer market I think it is the personal computer but rather a PC with Windows 3.1, while the market is waiting for Windows 95 - and the explosion in software that came with it.
> Also, current VR is also an add-on to a commodity product (PCs and gaming consoles).
PC's are a commodity product but not the software that runs on them. Which is why one generates trillions more dollars than the other.
What device and apps did you try? Did you try room-scale? VR controllers?
Whenever I watch movies in my virtual living room I drop things on the ground because I try to put them on a table that isn't really there.
> let alone do more
I can watch movies on huge screens. I can take a dive underwater. Go in space. Shoot zombies. Talk to real people around a campfire.
What I'm getting at is this argument stems from semantics. Of course VR is never going to replace the real world. That was never its intent. The goal is to not replace reality but rather to simulate it. That's why the name has "virtual" in it.
Why does that make any sense? That's like arguing Pac Man doesn't replicate reality so video games are bad.
It's funny LaserDiscs are on the list when DVD and Bluray took off like crazy -- LaserDiscs were just ahead of their time once the technology was right, it took off. The same is true for VR -- the question is not whether or not it will take off but whether or this is the point it's viable.
I just got a Gear VR last week and while it's not perfect it feels like the right point and that's just powered by my cell phone.
> Virtual reality does not merely replicate reality ...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fsn_(file_manager) (Free Software clone: https://sourceforge.net/projects/fsv/)
The one big non-entertainment application that 3d worlds are good at has been teleconferencing. There are a bunch of what are essentially 3d chat clients around, and many more have gone out of business.
3D TV didn't last long. I never got one and didn't really see the appeal but I wonder if widespread use of VR headsets would make that technology mute anyway.
if you meant to use "doesn't"- then you're only proving OPs point. VR is a matter of when, not if.
if you meant to use "can't"- well- that seems a little short sighted for something that is so obviously in the realm of physical possibility.
> Virtual reality does not merely replicate reality ...
He/she is saying "VR replicates reality and more", while I'm saying "no, VR doesn't even replicate reality, let alone anything beyond it"
No need to get pedantic about the grammar.
"Virtual reality does not merely replicate reality"
i'm assuming OP meant "VR [has the possibility to] not merely replicate reality." or "[ideally] VR can not merely replicate reality...".
we're trying to predict a trend- how well developed the technology is now seems less relevant than it's end-game.
People's tolerance for putting stuff on their face seems to amount to a few hours, about once or twice a year.
The first impression/experience is powerful and most people are impressed by it. The Rift prior to touch controls was unusable in comparison to the room scale, touch control Vive (to the point that I sold it). Maybe it's better now with the new touch controls, but I think they still lack room scale and the ability to walk around is a big deal. The Vive headset also fully blocks external light which is nicer (but these are relatively minor things that can be fixed).
VR in its current early adopter state is a lonely experience - more so than playing a one player game on the couch, you're completely isolated. While this makes for strong immersion - I think it increases the barrier to entry for most people. I suspect FB is right about the importance of social interaction getting people to actually use VR for longer than just showing it off to people.
I suspect finding the "Doom for VR" - the application that really takes advantage of the medium hasn't happened yet, maybe when it does it'll be obvious in hindsight. As for the comparisons to AR - I think Michael Abrash's points still stand: http://blogs.valvesoftware.com/abrash/why-you-wont-see-hard-...
The room scale works really well but is limited because of only two cameras. But adding a third camera would make it full room scale (which Oculus has announced). Combine that with new wireless hdmi/usb adapters for VR , full room scale VR is almost here.
I do run two Inateck PCI-E USB cards so I don't run into capacity issues. There are many reports of issues running > 2 sensors and difficulty getting the Inateck cards working correctly due to driver version issues, USB power management etc.
Some solutions to this have been asymmetric games/experiences where there are people in VR and on normal PC interfaces interacting with each other. The most popular example by far is Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, whereby the VR player is a bomb defuser and the other player is the one with the bomb defusing instruction manual.
Another example is Mass Exodus, where a VR player must try to "catch" a PC player trying to blend in to a crowd of lookalike robots.
Portable personal avatars is going to be a huge undertaking. I'm really looking forward to the results, though!
- Eye tracking (it already works perfectly, I've tried it myself at SIGGRAPH), this will enable a few cool things:
- Foveated Rendering - rendering only what is in the fovea view at high quality and using a lower quality method for the periphery. Reduces rendering requirement by ~75%, enabling either higher-end graphics on the desktop, or the ability to move many desktop-bound VR applications to mobile.
- Eye-assisted interactivity - SMI had a demo at SIGGRAPH where they demonstrated using where your eyes were looking to increase precision of interactions with controllers in VR (for example, grabbing very small objects in VR accurately).
- Wireless adapters for existing headsets - these made a big splash at CES and apparently work pretty well. Making the existing experience un-tethered will definitely help room-scale experiences.
- Self-Contained headsets - this is vital to mass-adoption of VR imo. I think we'll see some of these this year, though probably not from HTC/Oculus yet.
AR, while definitely more the "consumer" product in the long run, is still far off as the display tech just isn't there yet. But the above advancements in VR pave a way for AR in the future, until there is no longer a distinction between them device-wise, but it rather becomes a slider of "how much reality do you want to replace?".
There has been good work on eye tracking in other spaces for many years now, so that seems a much cleaner implementation path to work well.
edit: I'm going to add a caveat, I mostly care about VR and AR in decidedly non-consumer applications, so my bar may be unreasonably high for many consumer applications.
The Hololens still has a lot of issues, the FOV's crappy, hand tracking needs a lot of work, occlusion isn't great, etc. but tracking is one place that they're top of the game.
(Last time I tried a bunch of eye tracking, the desk-mounted was amazing and the head-mounted wasn't)
I'm very enthuastic but not enought to pay 1k for it. Every game i saw in some video felt to 'simple'. More like funny small games but nothing which would make me using it for long enough.
but still i can already see useful usecases: When you buy a kitchen for example but the needed software needs to be build and that takes time and money. Something like this needs just time and enough 'normal' developer and manager have to be motivated.
Every peace of money already made with vr and which will be made in the next two years is probably opportunistic money.
I'm looking forward to better hardware (4k! lightweight, enough smartphones for google dream) and more software (architecture, kitchen, bath, ikea, website support for simple plug and play, concert videos, museum and history tours, games, games games :)
As a (room-scale only) VR developer, I've been writing about the upsides of VR and VR gaming for some time - example, http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2016/05/three-un... . There's a lot of skepticism around this area, particularly the claim that games will actually make people fitter - but you only have to play a few rounds of Holopoint or Space Pirate Simulator to realise it's also true.
(As a side note, I'm increasingly dividing VR into "pseudo-VR" (anything where you can't walk around) and "real VR" (room-scale experiences: the Vive, in short, and some Oculus Touch setups). Harsh, possibly, but it really does feel like a different medium once you can get up and interact with your hands.
To my mind, the only interesting VR experiences are those which engage the whole body. That's something I've been trying very hard to do with Left-Hand Path (http://store.steampowered.com/app/488760) the VR game I developed - at various points, you have to crouch, dodge, crawl, duck, and draw magical symbols in a variety of ways.
I'm doing that because quite apart from the health benefits, engaging my players in actual movement creates a whole new level of immersion. Proprioception is a thing - the sense of the body's place and movement in space.
Getting tired and even "gassed" also helps immersion. I've been playing the VR boxing sim Thrill Of The Fight recently, and it's remarkable how well it simulates real-life sparring in some ways - including getting gassed, and having to spend a while just keeping your guard up whilst you recover the ability to breathe without wheezing. That's an element of immersion I'm never going to get from a PC game.
I play a lot of Dark Souls, but the phrase "in-game stamina management" means something completely different when it's your stamina you're managing.
There's a reason why the Wii and the Kinect were cute and cool, but both failed to get any real market traction.
VR as a fitness device might be a thing, but that's nothing like the market of gaming consoles or pc's.
Soccer, for example, has 270 million active players. That's quite a few people who don't mind physical exertion.
And a VR headset is considerably more interesting, convenient, and flexible than a treadmill.
This level of immersiveness/naturalness/fidelity will obviously come in due course.
Michael Siebel is here talking about the opportunity (obviously) — which is IMMENSE.
This is basically the iPhone/App-Store bandwagon all over again. If you can jump on it, do so.
I work in San Francisco in an office with multiple tech companies. VR/AR is about 99.9% invisible. It's occasionally mentioned by developers/gamers upon returning from GDC. Otherwise, it's completely off peoples' radars. I think the technology has potential, but claiming it's "the next iPhone" is inaccurate. It remains to be seen.
Or, we see so many game-breaking limitations (cost, FOV, resolution, VR sickness) and are tired of the "give it 5 years" rhetoric that assumes magic will happen to fix it.
Or we're simply not convinced that what it offers is that much better than a regular old computer screen. How does VR change my daily activity of programming? Of watching movies? Of reading books?
And VR sickness is not really a thing for the vast majority of people. It gets hyped up by the press a lot. I've put hundreds of people through intense VR experiences over thirty or forty minutes long. In that time, ONE person had issues. I've seen higher proportions of people get nauseous from regular, first-person shooter PC games.
I know not a single person that has 9x9 to 12x12 sq ft of space to dedicate to room scale VR.
On top of that, having played many of the games I can t imagine playing them for more than 15-20 minutes at a time. They're tiring. I can play a game I'm really into for 8-12 hours in one day for 4-5 days straight but I can't imagine that in VR at all
I think there is potential as a tool. 3d modeling inside VR could be a 10x or 100x time saver. But, mass market entertainment seems very very unlikely.
VR is an activity. The effort to use VR is a magnitude more than the effort to use a TV, Laptop or Desktop, and those are a magnitude more effort than using a phone.
VR is more like a Wii or a Kinect than a phone, except it's significantly harder to use than either of those.
The current batch of first generation devices obviously have shortcomings, and the price, lack of apps and shortcomings will make them early adopter devices. It's obvious that VR has come a long way in 20 years though, and the next few steps forward will make these into mass market devices.
On Youtube is a demo of Medium, a sculpting app, used by artists. I used this myself on Oculus Rift. They said it can sculpt 3d objects you can't easily do on a PC or in real life. It's like Photoshop or Illustrator or some CAD app, with the left hand being the toolbar and the right hand drawing and sculpting. It may be primitive but is useful now. VR is here.
The reason iTunes/AppStore took off and became profitable has more to do with their monetization models rather than the technology involved.
Something like the Ghostbusters Experience is what people want in their own homes.
Also, maybe it's because I've been gaming my whole life, but the resolution in VR is still not good enough to "blow" me away, like I keep reading about. How people are so amazed at current gen VR confuses me.
Instead I could see a lot of VR arcades popping up once the technology is more polished. You go to a large warehouse space, don a VR suit of sorts and with your group of friends can battle pirates/aliens/whatever in a large enough environment that it doesn't matter that it's still physically confined. There's obviously an appetite for this sort of thing,(see the explosion of "escape rooms" or higher end laser tag/paintball places).
Exciting times for VR after decades of false starts.
You can buy additional base stations right now, mostly for replacement purposes, but the biggest limitation to using more than 2 has been in the software simply not supporting them.
There's also the more expensive idea of an "infinite 2D treadmill" - which was first implemented by a guy named Rudy Darken; iirc, he did it for the "dismounted soldier" VR/AR training project for DARPA:
I've added exactly that - scaled movement - as an option into my VR game, Left-Hand Path, and so far most of my users are very positive about it. I love it personally - it feels very much like it doubles my available play area.
One of my playtesters hated it and found it made him nauseous, though, so like many VR locomotion options it's a YMMV situation.
I'm actually about to start doing more writing or videos on the topic of VR development and my experiences in it, so keep an eye on my Twitter, blog or YouTube if you like - they'll be up there starting in the next few weeks.
Right now, I also think the costs are still too prohibitive for most people whose Kinect sensor or Wii-motes have been long idle.
I think Microsoft's strategy of marketing VR/AR as a productivity tool is interesting.
http://vrlfg.net/ also shows Onward as being very popular - also very movement based.
(one thing worth noting in that page is how low current play counts are relative to other games. Currently there's not enough people in VR to support more than a handful of multiplayer games)
For the record I was hugely bearish on the Wii, Kinect, 3D tv and movies, and rightly so. But there is no question in my mind that VR will be huge.
I remember reading similar sentiment two years ago, back when the Oculus started getting massive attention after their successful Kickstarter.
There are counter arguments to the rise of VR. As mentioned, price and hardware are too high for casual use, but that will be fixed in time.
What can't easily be fixed is that fact that it is not conveient. VR tethers you one spot, and using VR in public looks ridiculous/antisocial to outside observers. In contrast, an AR approach can avoids both issues by embedding an immersive context with subtlety. (in theory anyways; Google Glass looked ridiculous too.)
It's unlikely people will even feel comfortable walking through the room, since they have no idea when the VR user is going to freak out and blindly start flailing body parts around reacting to something only they can see. This means the entire living room is off limits, which is also very inconvenient when compared to someone just sitting on the couch watching Netflix.
There are a lot of social hurdles that VR will need to overcome, in addition to each of the technical ones.
Even really simple stuff like "OK, I need a graphics options menu" becomes a significant UI design challenge.
Personally I'm figuring it out while building a big experience in VR, but hey - that's what Early Access is for!
Bookmarked - thanks.
I am skeptical in the short term because the hardware is still struggling to keep up with the demands (at a reasonable price point). Maintaining 90-120 FPS with any sort of detail is much more difficult than 30 FPS.
I am a proponent in the long term because there is definitely some sort of value. The feeling of "presence" just can't be matched by anything else (short of directly manipulating our sensory input).
I think people are still struggling to figure out where exactly the value is now though. In the long term I can see it being a huge social tool (to the point where people might regularly meet their significant other in a virtual environment, if the rendering is accurate enough). There is also likely benefit in creative tools (I have found modeling in VR to be much easier and more natural).
Interestingly, from the people I have shown VR to, it is the less technical people (non-programmers, etc) that walk away with their minds blown. Perhaps we are still not marketing VR strongly enough, because most people I know still have not tried a real device.
IMO VR will be different from mobile though. The evolution of apps for phones was explosive, but we are trying to game evolution by throwing huge amounts of funding at VR, perhaps prematurely. This is not to say any advancements at this point aren't worth the time, I am just not so sure there will be a large payoff in the short term. (And of course, this is just my opinion, feel free to disagree).
In the long term I can see it being a huge social tool (to the
point where people might regularly meet their significant other
in a virtual environment, if the rendering is accurate enough).
The sense of logic that wearing goggles will let you see people and be seen is, outside of cultural context (sci-fi movies, books, and TV), a non-sequitur. It's like expecting current consumer Hoverboards to replace bridges. (They can't fly.)
If you start to expound on how you think people can meet in virtual reality, then it might be more useful.
If you know anything about visual effects, then you know that with motion capture it's possible to animate digital characters. Do people want to put on black clothes with white dots in order to look like themselves?
Along that line, if you take together existing technologies like VR, mo-cap, custom avatars, kinect, Second Life, and OKCupid - and combine them, then you're going to find the bottom of the uncanny valley.
In other words, I am sure technology will progress to a point where you can practically mimic reality (this might not be for another 20-30 years for the consumer though). At that point, you have something where you can engage virtually, perhaps with less of the fear you might have in the real world. Approaching someone virtually should theoretically be less intimidating (but perhaps if you have a true portrayal of your identity, it still is?)
VR is like the desktop. It will have its uses, sure, but you'll be tied to your desk/room. Gaming will probably still be the most popular VR application.
Your AR glasses will be your smartphone, on you the entire time, and you won't even need to reach for your pocket.
I touched on this before https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12104656. Imagine waiting in an airport and browsing instagram or watching videos on a relatively large, private display via glasses. The tiny, visible-by-others smartphone display would look very primitive in comparison.
Google Glass was squashed right? And Hololens is focused on business use cases first. I don't see it becoming consumer focused for some time. VR is amazing _today_ and has a massive gaming audience. The business applications of AR, while high impact/potential, are a much smaller audience.
And I think Google Glass was dropped because the tech wasn't there yet. It was a small square on the corner of your vision instead of a "depth aware" overlay.
VR games are the same sort of short term gimmicks that failed with the Wii and Kinect. The technology is amazing, it's just not very useful.
Now that you've got the resolution lowered by 10 fold or so, you can induce sickness with lag, head tracking inaccuracy, poorly executed strobing to reduce blur.
Now that you're sickly enjoying the screendoored world, your can enjoy the face sweat, and not being able to find your beverage in the real world.
I can live with everything but the screen door.
Recently I was looking for a new place to rent, and in every place I visited I kept trying to picture in my mind how my existing furniture would fit (and look) in the new space. It was so mentally tiring. I wish AR was advanced enough such that the rental agent would simply hire me a pair of AR glasses, I could log in to an account to load my existing furniture data, and project it into the empty rooms to rotate/rearrange/etc.
VR will pave the way for a lot of the authoring technologies, and then those techs will (I mean, they already are) get adjusted for AR.
1) Spending a couple of hours in VR messes with your body, many feel motion sickness and other effects: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_reality_sickness
2) As antisocial as staring at your iPhone is, VR is much worse. You can't even function in the environment you are physically in because your body thinks it's somewhere else.
I think VR is really interesting, don't get me wrong, but it's not the next app platform. Yes it suits gaming really well if you don't get sick, but Augmented Reality is the next iPhone, and we are probably many years away from doing it right. We're not even at the T-Mobile Sidekick stage yet.
I would buy a discrete AR headset like I'd buy a smartphone, but I can't see myself buying a VR headset for anything other than setting aside an hour or so to be entertained.
But, when I play games, I frequently want a very relaxing activity, and the Vive doesn't do that. So, interesting.
But! As a (former?) AR professional, holy shit the non-gaming applications for AR/VR. There's overlap and synergy for applications in both mediums, and then there's the overlap on the technologies (particularly authoring tech - I'm looking at you, Unity) that go into them.
Basically, if I wanted to be a "real" AR developer when AR is ready, I'd start by becoming a real VR developer now.
That said, GearVR suffered from overheating the phone and crapping out.
Please check out Primrose. I know it has some rough edges here and there, but I've already used it to make some interesting things (a client of mine was recently featured on Bloomberg.com for http://rex.legend3d.com). I know people are wary about "single-contributor" projects, but I've already been building Primrose for 2 years now, it's not going anywhere, and I'm open to bringing collaborators on, just nobody has really stepped up (and I've been so focused on working on VR projects for clients that I've not really had the time to proselytize).
Somebody is going to bring up A-Frame: I think A-Frame is a really nice system, I just think its design goals don't really match what I think is important. A-Frame wants to be the entity-component system for WebVR. That's great. But I don't think that meshes well with "get web developers on board". I don't want developers to have to think about what sort of motion controller component to use in their system. I actually want the system to be more restricted, less open-ended than A-Frame. Also, Primrose came out long before A-Frame, so I'm still married to Primrose for as long as I can be productive in it.
There are some limitations where I haven't quite reached my goal of making VR accessible to web developers, but that is more an issue of limited number of man-months. You can build useful applications with Primrose today. But I have a very clear goal in mind and if it's something you agree with, I would appreciate the help.
I'll have a look at your framework for new VR prototypes.
I doubt this will happen, simply because physics and optics won't allow it (unfortunately - because I'd love VR contact lenses myself!)...
Having said that, some of the non-game titles are great. Google Earth and The Body VR or whatever it's called, are fantastic learning tools.
I think VR has a real future - which certainly will depend largely on falling hardware costs and increased software funding - and while I'm sure the next consumer device version will be significantly improved and appreciably cheaper I'm glad I was able to make a small contribution to the bootstrapping efforts.
VR is incredible for creation and design, and can easily be collaborative too.
Welding/training simulators (or tool training period)
Job training (perhaps heavy equipment simulation?)
Psychological/medical treatment (for instance, treating fear of heights - which has already been experimented with)
Virtual Design (VR CAD/CAM, interior decorating, real estate, etc)
I'm sure there are ton of these kinds of apps just waiting to be built or expanded on. Some of these could even enter into the home or consumer use areas.
I was discussing VR with an ex-military colleague recently, and he got quite excited about the potential of the technology to enhance and extend early-stage simulator training. It's a hell of a lot cheaper to buy a Vive than a tank simulator.
And the therapy applications are incredibly exciting. Early days for those still research-wise, though.
I would too except for the fact headsets cost $800 and the computers to run them cost thousands.
Once price drops and it gets wide use, it will be a goldmine for early developers.
"OK, how many times do you send your designers away to have a meeting with their colleagues in other offices? And how much do the flights and hotel cost?
Well, you could eliminate 9/10 of those flights, hotel, travel time costs, and the rest by buying this one headset and upgrading their PCs - oh, and buying my proprietory design app..."
By the looks of it, Autodesk have had much the same thought.
I don't want to share anything that goes on my face with anyone in the office I work with. Just passing one around the conference room to each of the execs during your pitch should make that obvious pretty quickly.
I don't see VR as a useful replacement for video conferencing. You don't get any more body language and arguably less facial cues than standard video conferencing. If an engineer is getting sent somewhere, it's typically because they need to physically interact with something, which you also don't get with VR. For designers, I suspect the low resolution and inability to import and (especially) edit whatever designs they're looking at would prevent VR from being useful also.
Color me skeptical but they said the same thing about NES Power Pad: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_Pad
I think it's more likely that people will be even more zoned out as you can't even move your hand up and down in front of their faces to block their line of sight to the TV.
> If I am right, over the next five years we will see the following:
> 1. Lower price point and maybe the ability to finance the hardware (like your cell phone).
> 2. 100 million devices distributed. Without a significant number of users the best founders won’t get serious about building for VR over building for web/mobile.
> 3. New frameworks. Building and iterating VR apps is going to have to get a lot easier.
> 4. Large companies solving the primary hardware problems: headset and input innovation plus distribution. I think this might be too expensive for startups to tackle.
None of these predictions involve any insight into VR. Replace the word VR in #1, #3, or #4 with any tech at any point in recent history and you can make the same statement. I also doubt #2 will happen. The smartphone revolution was a natural evolution of expanding communication devices that people already had into devices that were more useful. VR requires an entirely new set of hardware (for the display component) that isn't anywhere near as approachable as going from a flip phone to a smartphone.
> Recently I’ve heard a lot of investors say “There isn’t a whole lot of new stuff to do in consumer. There’s already an app for that.” With VR, there isn’t already an app for that.
> I think we are no more than two years away from an explosion of new consumer startups and I cannot wait to start funding them at YC.
This I agree is definitely coming though I have my doubts about it being anywhere near the scale of smart phones or the push to make all things web. I also think there's going to be an even higher "dud factor" with VR startups than the already high rate for consumer focused startup. Let's see what happens!
YC has been investing in VR/AR companies since at least 2014/5. 3% of S16 companies were VR. It's been on their Request for startups since at least 2014. Is this simply stating that they are going to be more aggressive in the space?
There are plenty of us VR/AR startups out there...
You're probably saying, ahhh, that doesn't matter. It turns out, it does.
If you want to get excited about something, look at AR instead of VR.
(I have vive, dk1, dk2, and cv1. though i actually never opened my free cv1 ..)
Partly the newness of the tech is to blame, and the games were retrofits of things that existed. I think as a new generation of games come around that are conceived for the hardware it'll come around.
Let's not forget the zen-like simplicity of (Google) Cardboard VR apps. They are a lot of fun and use your phone plus a 15-20 dollar holder. I think these apps will be quicker to innovate as all of the hardware is so cheap and plentiful for developer and consumers.
VR might be a hit but there're questions marks which got outlined by other commentators quite well.
I'm not qualified to judge if VR is going to be a hit but I realize that a lot of people seem to be committed and invested in this space (so money is involved) and we should be just wary when we see 5-star reviews.
- The price point (a high-end VR experience costs around $2800 ($800 HTC Vive + a $2000 PC)
- Resolution (even the best VR is too low-res today)
- Inside-out tracking (explained below)
- Content – there are great games and other immersive content today, but it's just scratching the surface
Apart from content, all of these challenges will be handily solved by Moore's Law in the next 24 months. We will have inside-out, high-end, high-resolution virtual reality that will cost a consumer less than $500-$1000 all-in.
The chicken-and-egg problem of content vs. consumer adoption is already being solved. Enough new headsets shipped last year for the market to support substantial investment in VR content over these next 24 months, and newer, better content + cheaper hardware will lead to increase in consumer adoption, which will lead to even more investment in content, and so on.
The only question then is: will everyday people want to use VR regularly? I have yet to meet someone who has spent a decent amount of time (more than a quick demo) in a high-end VR experience and still doubts this. Certain activities (gaming) will be adopted more easily, while others (watching a movie with your family) might feel a bit strange – but that will feel more natural when VR and AR converge on a 5-10 year timeline.
* Regarding "inside out" tracking above: Today, the most advanced consumer headset (HTC Vive) gives a glimpse of this potential with "room-scale" VR that allows a user 6 degrees of freedom – meaning the ability to walk around in an environment. But, the Vive requires sensors on the walls that draw lines around a playspace – this is "outside-in" tracking. Inside out tracking requires a headset that can draw a volumetric map of its environment in real-time – so you could walk from room to room in VR and see walls and obstacles before you crash into them. (the closest thing we have to this today is the Microsoft Hololens) This is important because it reduces the need for a large physical space, a complex rig, a constrained environment area. It might not be necessary for mainstream adoption, but it is a challenge that needs to be faced.
We've been working on it in secret for a couple of years, and just launched it in December.
I believe that VR will fail for the same reasons blockchain has failed to reach critical mass, there's just no overwhelming pain it solves, it's nice to have but great majority of people still do not appreciate having a bright screen inches away from your eyes and the hardware while it will certainly get better, may be addressing immersion the wrong way.
A truly game breaking VR device is one that would not require strapping screen to your face, we will see what's out there on the market but it's still very much too early to say whether it's going to have the legs it needs to reach critical mass.
I could be totally wrong and we might end up staring into empty spaces on the Skytrain with people manipulating VR objects with wild hand movements. Sort of the same shift in how smartphones have made people hunched over a small screen or talking to the air with earphones with microphones.
I believe agumented reality is a much more subtle and gradual adoption where it won't require a powerful device but with gentle gestures or possibly even reading your mind's will to issue commands without having to deal with a touch screen. The Google glass is great but I think the killer app would be something you can install on your prescription glasses that projects layered UI and makes it "smart". We would be living in a self organized surveillance state where it's no longer necessary for a government to keep track of everything but peer based apps that shames socially negative behavior and the fear of such reprisals will be at a far far higher level than we have today.
We are living in a time where every new critical mass technology (ex. facebook) are essentially "cigarettes", widely accepted and normalized but not fully understanding it's consequences.
The Hololens packs an incredible amount of hardware into a small package. That's a very good piece of mechanical and electrical engineering. While it can't really "draw dark", it does a decent job of trying, displaying against a filtered background of the real world. It's also cordless, which the VR guys really should have had by now. Its display field of view is too small; it can't maintain the illusion of markers on the world. A wider field of view and it will be useful.
The killer app for augmented reality may be the bossing around of humans by computers.
I tried a wireframe VR headset game back in the `90's. It was a two player game where you tried to shoot each other. My wife was the other player and had a hard time time navigating the space. I moved right next to her and she couldn't find me, but what I could not do was pull the trigger. No way. Not even in VR.
I still don't do games, and I'm not really interested in wearing one of those headsets for hours no matter how "immersive" it is.
And to be honest, I really cannot imagine that people will do that on any large scale. I'm sure they will play with them, but I'd expect them to be more of a novelty than a daily use thing.
I would liken them more to a Segway. Awesome tech, but not near as popular in use as was imagined or predicted.
Same with "3D" movies. My kids don't like them all that much, but the tech is still impressive.
... and then I got side-tracked by machine learning and finance...
a) It should be pointed out that this is what the article is doing (giving a vote of confidence, not summarizing, not making any sort of thorough or novel argument).
b) I think that thorough and novel arguments are more useful. The following post comes to mind: http://www.overcomingbias.com/2016/09/write-to-say-stuff-wor....
In my experience, the best VR experiences are sit down. Sony's approach fully embraces this. Room scale is great, but I've had much more enjoyable experiences with the likes of Euro Truck and Elite than Showdown.
VR demos amazingly well, you're excited to try it out and it is genuinely breath taking the first time you look around your cockpit in outer space. But the isolation and cumbersome nature of it kills everyday use.
This will be as subjective as which non-VR games consumers prefer. I have a friend that can (and has!) happily spent hours playing Fruit Ninja VR, which can be quite the workout. I personally really enjoy AudioShield and The Lab's Longbow game, which are also fairly active.
Honestly I think the biggest impediments to "active VR" are the cable and the buildup of sweat in the headset's padding.
Closed my eye by reflex to aim with the iron sights on a rifle, then had one of those "oh my god I just did that" VR experiences.
When it feels real it feels very real.
Turned down, though.
How would this be different?
Taking a VR tour of a place is relatively easy. Taking a VR tour of every place is absolutely hard.
But I am a normal dude. And there is no way the remaining 85% of the population can check out of their real-world duties of getting kids ready for school, cooking, working, watching tv, etc to check-in to VR. No way.
VR's downfall IS its immersiveness. It's a serial activity that cannot be run in parallel with other life activities. With a phone, I can be texting, surfing ect and when my kid comes over, I can put the phone down and answer a question or continue cooking or whatever. VR-not so much. I'd have to first HEAR my kid come up to me, then unstrap the headset, put down my handset(s), etc...
If VR has large uptake as a technology, our interpersonal world, our family and social structures are fucked. Feels like the final checkmate in human history. Think I'll dig my heels in a bit and let you run over the cliff with that one.
It's not just about technology, but also about culture.
It's WAY too damn real, especially if you mix it with a real partner.
There was an episode of Black Mirror that dealt with this though, using AR contact lenses instead.
I expect there may be some generic solutions for problems like how to display a tree or graph in an intuitive way or how to manage a bunch of 2-D workspaces. Figuring out exactly what the best way to extract that generic functionality into libraries will be interesting, and I expect if VR becomes mainstream there will be a lot of competing VR widget libraries just like there are a lot of competing 2D gui widget libraries now.
I don't mind spending $1000 on an oculus which can work with a regular macbook pro.
You can view the current recommendation here  and it basically boil down to: RX480/GTX1060 plus i5 -- very much below $1000 at this point.
 https://www3.oculus.com/en-us/oculus-ready-pcs/ Click "View Recommended Specification"
The companies that succeed are not going be the software dudes who make their apps work for web, phones and VR (that will be a requirement, not a killer feature). No, the success stories will be those who build the glue to let everyone else easily make "all the things" work for all the inputs and all the outputs.
It would be great if someone develops a bracelet that can detect the electric signals going from my brain to my fingers and use it as an input to control virtual fingers.
Maybe this is already the case and I just haven't figure out how to search for it correctly.
What kind of VR games are you playing? I haven't seen a single physically demanding VR game (unless you count standing "physical"). Unless everyone is going to have a dedicated room for their games or we come up with some kind of rental halls there won't be any physical activity in VR games just because there is no room to move around.
Sure ducking and crawling is somewhat more physical that just sitting and playing games, but not by much.
Archery games are physically demanding. I've lost on the QuiVR demo simply because I ran out of strength pull the bow string any more.
Any game with ducking or evading will begin to burn the calories - SPT and Zombie Training both have had me break a sweat.
Most room scale games involve a fair amount of crouching and moving. Even in my 2m x 1.9m space I'll notice the exertion after a while.
Hasn't Unity already cemented itself as the go-to framework for VR? Has anyone seen anything better?
With A-Frame, you can build an VR site with just an HTML file, open it in your Vive, and publish to the Web immediately. Though it's just HTML, it's based on the same architecture as Unity (entity-component), and can do powerful applications (TiltBrush on the Web https://blog.mozvr.com/a-painter/).
I don't think Unity necessarily has things wrapped up but it would be really hard to eclipse them right now.
If VR really takes off am I going to be unable to join in or will it work with one eye?
The N-state of every leasure activity is as low physical effort as possible.
However I'm not sure what the main activity will be on a really good VR platform. It might just be watching movies or it might be playing games. The thought of some kind of second life type of game/world is also something that feels like a cliche but is also pretty likely to happen. In which case, how do you move? how do you interact? probably voice + some sort of game controller, right?
There might be some practical applications of VR, such as surgery or whatever, but that will never be the mainstream, unless VR fails for consumers (again), and this discussion doesn't become very interesting.
Don't get me wrong, I'm actually pretty optimistic about this generation of VR. I simply don't believe in the whole premise of it becoming a physical activity.
As someone whose leisure activities have in the past included Muay Thai and Spanish knife duelling (with blunted knives and fencing armour; I'm not crazy) I would disagree with this assessment. None of those activities naturally tend toward low physical effort in their participants. :)
And personally, I seek out high-physical-intensity not low-physical-intensity VR games, and have done so consistently for a couple of years now. The comments on this post alone show I'm far from alone on that.
Personally, my money's still on VR being a gateway drug to exercise rather than devolving into seated activities. There are two main reasons for that: 1) It only takes one really good Doom-level breakout exercise game to get a lot of people moving, and 2) humans are wired to find exercise fun. Endorphins are wonderful things.
If VR is to become popularized i feel like it needs to be more seamlessly integrated into our daily lives.
- I had the same thought yesterday too. I would go further and say we will see the first open world MMO to adopt true geospacial coordinates very very soon.
What do you think this will do to fitness? ;)
It's a whole lot of research yet to be done in this area, VR & health (I don't mean muscles, I mean eyes, brain etc.). And VR market expansion will make this research possible.
* Pre-ordered Vive and Rift, planning to keep whichever one arrived first.
* The Rift encountered tremendous shipping issues.
* I got the Vive pretty much on launch day, so I figured I'd cancel the Rift order.
* I was blown away by room-scale in the Vive initially, but really disappointed in the visual quality. It wasn't just the resolution or screen-door effect. I was shocked to find how small the sweet spot is and how much of the image is out of focus around the edges. I was shocked at the godrays and various other optical phenomena.
* Because the Rift was said to have a much clearer picture than the Vive, I decided not to cancel the order.
* By the time the Rift arrived (in late July I believe), I had basically stopped using the Vive because I'd run out of content and the only new content coming out was incredibly unpolished Early Access indie stuff. Some of the games people are talking about here like Space Pirate Trainer or Holopoint I grew bored of by June of 2016. They're not new.
* The Rift was immediately more comfortable, the picture looked a lot clearer despite having the same resolution, and it was a big relief not needing to worry about separate headphones anymore.
* While I enjoyed the charm of Lucky's Tale and Chronos reminded me of Dark Souls, I couldn't get into any of the other seated content, so the Rift fell into disuse rather quickly. Keep in mind that if you're into racing sims or flight sims there's already a wealth of content for you -- but I'm not into those things (and I did try them).
* I entered a limbo where I didn't know what to do, which to sell (perhaps both?). I decided to preorder Touch, hoping that the Rift+Touch would be decisively better than the Vive and my decision would be made for me.
* Touch arrived in December. The controllers themselves were great. The tracking was not. It was a real pain to set up. I fiddled with it endlessly. The tracking software itself seemed to have glitches. It was really sensitive to which USB ports I used. Eventually I got the tracking working acceptably after my third sensor arrived -- still not as good as the tracking on the Vive, though, which was basically perfect.
* I've been experiencing a brief VR renaissance with the new Touch content, which is generally a lot more polished than anything on the Vive. However, most of it is purely multiplayer, which I'm not really into.
* Rift+Touch is not decisively better than the Vive, but I've somewhat arbitrarily decided to just keep it and sell the Vive, largely because it's the system that I currently have set up.
In retrospect, I wish I'd just waited an extra year or two. VR with tracked controllers and room-scale is definitely cool and I don't think it's a gimmick, but it's still very much in early adopter territory right now.
Translation: Because startups are for software and if your idea is hard you should probably not bother.
2. Game designers have learnt to avoid many of the things that exacerbate the problem. Avoiding acceleration and lateral motion, giving visual clues such as cages, use of vignetting.
Having said that - it stopped being a problem within the first few weeks. I'm now happily strafing around in Doom 3 BFG right after dinner without a care in the world!
Once that happens, there will be strong forces could tip:
* Learning institutions
* Socializing with friends who aren't close by
There is research into translating real facial movements onto a digital model. If you are wearing a headset already, I am sure there is something that could be done to 'scan' facial movements.
I'm long past the mentality of software having to run on each and every platform, especially Linux. I love my Mac for work with software development, my Linux to deploy my servers to, and my Windows to play the latest games. Best of ALL worlds.
Virtual Reality systems need to support Linux because they need to be built around Free Software: https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/free-software-even-more-impor...
It is essential that we as computer programmers work towards making virtual reality systems respect people's freedom.
This is a problem of basic ethics and morality. You can say "I don't care" all you want and buy into the proprietary systems, that just means you are literally paying money to build out the surveillance police state infrastructure.
I never said it does. I simply expect companies to uphold the promises they make, especially the promises they make to Kickstarter backers - many of whom would never have bought into the Oculus Rift if they know Oculus would break their promises on Linux - what use is backing hardware you can't use when it comes out?
The Rift doesn't have Linux support (anymore - the original DK1 did), and probably never will. There are some 3rd party reverse-engineered drivers for it, but they are limited in only allowing for the display to turn on, and view the output, plus a couple of other minor things. Tracking isn't supported, from what I recall.
For what its worth, I'm not even sure whether the Vive or the Razer offering even fully supports Linux; oftentimes you see things like "support for openwidget" actually meaning "Windows and Mac version of openwidget only".
The best way to get Linux HMD/VR support is the old-school, homebrew PC VR way (you know, the way Palmer did it before Occulus) - hack it yourself.
Their Linux support sucked anyway. They only got their unity plugin working on Linux actually one day before they published this blog post. They never supported unreal engine on linux even though they said they were working on it before the DK2 even came out.
A Valve rep has said in an interview before the Vive release that they intended to have Linux support on launch. The preorders showed SteamOS support, but they changed it right before the actual launch: https://i.imgur.com/MA2377D.png
Valve has given a demonstration with SteamVR on Linux, but they have yet to release anything to the public.
The OSVR SDK and the OSVR HDK2 work on Linux. But only with their core SDK. Their unity plugin and their unreal engine plugin still do not work on Linux. So far I haven't found an application with OSVR SDK support that works on linux.
Buying a windows device specifically for the VR toy? No ability to use VR for real work on non-Windows machine (if possible)? No thanks
Some people are talking about app building. Unity and Unreal 4 are both game engines which means they run simulations. Since they use C# and C++ among other languages, and the target is desktop PC, you can run any software. They both also have other ways to write logic with triggers or blueprints, etc.
AR has a much much better shot at mass market adoption.
My optometrist is very enthusiastic about VR - apparently the way focusing works in VR puts a lot less strain on your eye muscles than staring at a screen.
And soon there will be wireless adapters.
TP-Link has one coming very soon indeed, I believe: http://vrscout.com/news/htc-tether-less-vive-upgrade/
Personally, as someone who has issues in crowds, I would shop so much if I could try things in AR.
I've only ever seen one person find the Vive at all uncomfortable, for example. Whereas the Oculus DK1... yeah, that was vomit city, population you.
I've run 20+ people of all ages (4-63) through my Vive setup and the only person that got nauseous was a guy trying out Project Cars (a seated experience), and that was only after an extended period in the game.
Because VR games are so physical, gaming will no longer be
perceived as an unhealthy activity. I could have used this
Harkens back to the 'playing Wii is exercise' movement.
Because VR is so immersive, I can imagine myself spending
significant amounts of time (hours) with a headset on,
This is also a naïve attitude as anyone who has or has developed for VR knows that a little time goes a long way.
As a result, gaming will not be the only significant use
case for VR. My headset will steal time time from other
screens (tv/laptop/phone) and as a result there will be an
explosion of VR consumer apps, entertainment apps,
developer tools, and more.
If I am right, over the next five years we will see the
following: 100 million devices distributed.
I do think VR is cool. I think it's great that Oculus was able to kickstart all the way to Facebook, and I think the Vive is an even better product. The smartphone VR is a neat way to get rid of wires. And there are plenty of great games and applications, where the community is just getting started.
But I don't think this is the revolution that people are pinning on it. In ways, VR devices are glorified view masters. Everyone loved those as a child but they are a toy. (The armed forces pay a lot for 'serious games' as well, so it isn't a discount.) I think if many people who tried VR tried a Nintendo 3DS they might also love it. And if you tried head tracking on a normal display it might also be exciting.
I don't like the infatuation with VR. It's not healthy and it's only going to make things more disappointing when the bubble bursts. It also rings hollow.
I preordered the HTC Vive as soon as it was available in Europe. I got it shipped and the excitement couldn't be bigger. When I first tried, I was blown away. It was an experience I never had had before. I described it once as the single, most beautiful digital experience in my life. And I really mean it.
Once the newness wears away, it's hard to find a motivation to keep spending hours in VR. It's cutting-edge tech, no doubt about it. But it requires a certain kind of commitment that you just can't give it for a long time. Using room-scale VR requires you to have a dedicated, large space just for VR. You need to detach yourself completely from the outside world while using it. You can't play it casually. You need to be a 100% committed to it. Compared to many other digital experiences, it's an all-in or nothing approach.
While playing on the PC, you need to be sitting in front of your PC. It's fine, because you can still read texts on your phone or talk to your family members that are passing by. Playing console games is even less of an issue, since you can be in your living room, sitting at the sofa, playing your favorite game. Using a tablet, or your phone is even more casual. You can do it in the middle of many everyday tasks, without it being an issue at all. At most, it's a distraction.
So after a while, VR becomes this great experience to be had only a few, limited times a week, or even a month.
Let's talk VR games. When the Vive started shipping world-wide, you would see tons and tons of VR content shipping to Steam. Unfortunately, most of them were short, alpha-stage demos, showcasing the new technology. But not a single deep, long game. You would pay full price for games that would not last more than 3 hours total. It's been many months now, and besides Bethesda's Fallout 4 coming to VR in 2017, there is just no other AAA title in sight!
I loved playing Pool Nation VR! I could play it with people from all around the world. It's honestly the closest you can get to a real pool table gameplay. But then again, after only a couple of months after its launch, it was next to impossible to even find a person available for playing online! The matchmaker would go for more then 10 minutes without finding a single opponent. I tried it many times, then I gave up.
The non-game aspect of VR seemed to have potential as well. But as of today, besides some gimmicky drawing applications or low-res virtual movie theaters, there just isn't a single app that would make you think that VR is the next big thing.
I was really excited about AltspaceVR. In the beginning, it was vibrant, with lots of people meeting and exploring this new way of socializing with other people from all around the globe. Guess what? It's pretty empty right now, not even a fraction of what it used to be the first few weeks after launch.
Still, I am going to reconsider selling the Vive now. I had pictures taken and a description prepared to sell it through a second-hand online store. Maybe there is more to it than it appears. Maybe the next-gen VR sets are going to be wireless and much, much less isolating (AR anybody?). We shall see...
That said there are still many people who prefer to meet new people in public spaces and activities (for example about 30-40 people are hanging out right now in there) so there's always some people around to meet up with. We're past the point where things are ever completely empty, there is always someone in there to hang out with (and worst case, you can hang out with our 24/7 concierge service staff who we have in there making sure new users have a good experience :))
Also, because as you mention that it is, generally, hard to get a whole ton of people together in VR at the same time because it is so new, we try to throw lots of VR events that give people an excuse to come together. Its during these types of events that we've set record highs for the number of concurrent people in VR. This weekend, for example, we have a SpaceX launch event and an encore (recorded) performance of Reggie Watts and Justin Roiland. (Our events schedule is here: https://account.altvr.com/events/featured) We also have a weekly VR dance party called Echo Space that gets more wild each time we do it. (It's a great excuse for us to try new tech :))
I'd def encourage you to swing by and check us out during one of our events, things do definitely get bumping :)
It really shows you how absolutely myopic and limited the current startup ecosystem is. Many thousands of people could tell VR was real this time back when Oculus did a Kickstarter. But vcs take +n years? Shows how much room for improvement there is, I suppose.
I got involved in social media, and many smart-phone enabled technologies or apps (and many other things now that I think about it), because the popular kids at school were using them. I personally haven't seen this adoption by social trend setters happen with VR yet.
However, there was, in certain respects, a kind of community for those above examples that I don't really see.
Maybe there's some path to get before the inflection point happens.
> "There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance," said Ballmer. "It's a $500 subsidized item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I'd prefer to have our software in 60% or 70% or 80% of them, than I would to have 2% or 3%, which is what Apple might get."
But that's probably because I agree with the posted article, and think VR will have a very big future.
If the headsets cost $50, they'd still be a novelty. Case in point: Many cell phone users have the ability to use some of this technology today with a low-cost addon. I'm no hermit and apart from some reddit posts, I have yet to see a single person using any VR device.
I repeat, most people don't want VR, and even most who do find it underwhelming at best, nauseating at worst. The comments here are evidence of that.
AR is another matter. AR has a bright future.
The market's there. You can argue about the size of it, fine. But it's definitely there.
I agree that the current implementation is cumbersome, but it's getting there fast.
I do tend to put VR and AR together, for the general public they're mostly the same, although I believe AR is the real deal.