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Oculus Rift (oculus.com)
430 points by aaronbrethorst on June 11, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 370 comments

I really want VR computer monitors so that I sit at a desk with no monitors so that I can run 4,5,6, any number I want or just 1 big monitor. Also it would give me a lot more privacy as no one else could see my monitors unless I shared the monitor to them which I imagine would be a little easier to do with virtual monitors than when physical ones (even considering screen sharing which is iffy sometimes).

Your use case is particularly apt for frequent fliers. I've almost had a tray table-supported laptop destroyed on more than one occasion by a reclining passenger in front of me. It would be amazing to just set up a small keyboard+trackpad on my lap and not have to even pull the computer out of its bag.

If I could do this, I wouldn't even care how ridiculous I looked.

I, too, want to be a gargoyle. The abundance of virtual space is one of the main draws that I don't think people really understand yet. But if you have a sufficiently hi-resolution display, you could easily watch an imax movie or put an insanely large amount of data in front of you in an intuitive, customisable way. This is one of the main points where I think people really need to see it done well to understand the potential. Good thing Carmack is on the case.

Resolution is the main concern. Is oculus detailed enough to do programming on a virtual monitor?

Not even close. The screens for each eye probably have about 1440 pixels of vertical resolution (I'm guessing they are Samsung OLED screens, similar to the display on the Galaxy S6). Imagine that resolution stretched out to fill your field of view and distorted by the lenses -- the perceptual resolution available for a virtual monitor would probably be less than VGA.

VR environments that can do high-quality typography will require something like 10k pixels vertical resolution. It's going to be more than a decade until we have the screens and GPUs that can push those pixels.

(I have a Samsung Gear VR with the Galaxy Note 4 which is a 2560*1440 screen split for two eyes, so I have a pretty good idea of what Oculus VR looks like on a 1440px screen.)

> the perceptual resolution available for a virtual monitor would probably be less than VGA

It's a shame we weren't able to program on VGA monitors. :(

VGA had 480 scanlines. When was the last time anyone seriously programmed on a display worse than that?

My guess would be Commodore 64 with an NTSC TV for display. That's pretty close to the text fidelity you can reproduce on a "virtual monitor" in a current-generation VR environment. (I think a lot of people underestimate the amount of resolution lost due to lens correction -- the rendered screen image is heavily distorted to account for the wide-angle lenses.)

Well, I suppose it would be sort of fun to have a virtual C64, as long as the virtual surroundings are well executed: a complete high school kid's bedroom from 1986.

So long as it has that sweet sweet lamborghini countach poster on the wall, i'm sold.

I recall being my most productive on an old IBM 3151 terminal (probably because of the keyboard, but also fewer distractions). It was only 80x24 characters. And 80x24 is easily represented in a 640x480 screen. Now add in head tracking, and you can have the screen move up and down and scroll the text in the opposite direction, making it appear as if you are moving a virtual picture frame over a bigger sheet of paper.

Even today, most of my (C / Bash) programming is done in an 80x24 xterm, although I'll typically have documentation open in another window. However web and GUI app development requires enough room to see the resulting product.

Although I have much higher resolution, lately some occular migranes have forced me to up the font size on my monitor. Having really big type seems to stave off the migranes for some reason.

Anyway, I think I've been going for about a month and a half with 80x27 text displays (full screen with tmux). I'm doing web development and my browser is similarly scaled (thank god we're building something with a scalable UI).

I have not missed the screen real estate at all. Of course, I'm old and I used to always work on 80x25, so the extra 2 lines are luxury ;-)

For one of my projects, I am writing code Thet is meant to be read by the 99%, i.e. formatted to be readable on a phone. 40 chars wide, and I rarely look at more than 10 lines at a time.

It's generally fine. Every now and then I feel like I want to see the broader context of the code, but it's rare. In general it forces me to write much cleaner, more readable code, and to structure things better so that concerns are truly isolated and I don't need to look at a lot of code to see how things work. Overall I think it's a positive experience.

programming wasn't really possible until HD came around

other than "can't fall off a seat tray" there isn't much point in having 4 virtual monitors if it gives you less readable real-estate than a real monitor.

Really? Even if the visible, readable real-estate is limited, I think there's be a huge usability boost from using... "virtual monitors" is a terribly ambiguous phrase... virtually co-located monitors?

The key metric for me is how much information I can access with input under a minimal threshold. From personal experience, a hotkey to swap virtual desktops (e.g. Alt+Up) still isn't the same as having multiple physical monitors to reference.

However, I'd expect VR head orientation changes to look at different monitors to be fairly similar perceptually to what I do now, since it's the same physical action.

The bigger problem for the seat-tray problem is, afaik, both Oculus and the Vive use externally located tracking devices. Would be curious whether a fuzzier, internal-sensor-only, limited "intent" tracking mode (e.g. flick head to switch monitor) would make people hurl or not.

> Would be curious whether a fuzzier, internal-sensor-only, limited "intent" tracking mode (e.g. flick head to switch monitor) would make people hurl or not.

Yes, it would. This has been studied pretty extensively, the head movements need to be very precisely matched by rendering. The absolute worst you can do is any kind of non-linear response -- acceleration + lag can make people who are very tolerant of VR nausea literally throw up.

Oh, it's not that bad. Jesus, people make more out of this stuff than is at all necessary. How did people ever adopt cars or boats, talking like that?

And use it on any sort of system that can show the outside world (AR, or pass through camera in VR) and it goes away completely.

Gesture interfaces could work.

Its that bad. Its a well-studied phenomenon called 'simulator sickness'. A kind of aphasia, for some it can persist for days beyond the initial experience.

If you don't experience it, good for you, you are one of the lucky ones.

No, you don't know what you're talking about. Simulator sickness is not a black or white issue. It's even possible to avoid it by making the display worse.

Makes sense - worse means less involvement with your sensory expectations. Its when you're brain is convinced it should sense vestibular changes and it doesn't, that you throw up, get nauseous and dizzy etc. The difference between 'looking at' and 'believe you're inside of' a simulation hinges on the quality of the experience.

I used to program on a BBC Micro and that was low resolution.

Well you could change the interface to not need so much resolution. Maybe you could use a giant card and punch out holes in it?

More than a decade sounds like a long time.

Oculus has been riding the smartphone screen density wave but I'm not sure that will continue much longer since for phone use going beyond 500ppi doesn't make much difference.

Maybe some kind of projected light field will be the next solution?

GPUs will keep getting faster and smaller. Have you seen NVIDIA X1?

"Maybe some kind of projected light field will be the next solution?"

already being done! http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_Leap

Magic Leap is more of an AR solution, like HoloLens, as opposed to VR (as far as anyone can tell, seeing as they haven't demoed anything publicly).

Nvidia's light-field stuff seems to be more of a VR solution, but requires even higher pixel densities. https://research.nvidia.com/publication/near-eye-light-field...

I've seen the idea of multi-resolution rendering floating around, which I think has some promise when combined with eye tracking, would help with the GPU side of things.

Not so much on the "raw display hardware" side of things though. I could still see it being a decade+ out on that alone.

Yep, foveated rendering. http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/projects/foveateddisplay...

Cool stuff, but it needs extremely fast and low latency eye tracking to work effectively. It's not insurmountable, but a significant engineering problem.

>> not even close

Huh. What the fuck have I been doing for the last 6 months, then?

I'm not criticising your project at all -- just saying that my experience with current VR display tech is such that I can't imagine reading text for more than 30 seconds. The aliasing and distortion would make my eyes bleed pretty quickly.

The time will come for textual VR environments though! I can't wait to have "newspaper resolution" for textures (hold up a virtual newspaper in a VR world and you can actually read the text like it were a printed page). But I suspect it's not going to happen before the mid-2020s at least.

It's nowhere near as bad as you've described. Even on the 960x1080 DK2, the readability of text has more to do with texture quality (both total resolution and good filtering for mipmaps). On a 2d display, the pixels are static on the display and text is mapped essentially 1-to-1 (or a fixed n-to-m when using subpixel antialiasing). But on an HMD, antialiasing is basically 'free', and the constant, minuscule bob of the head creates a dynamic, temporal aliasing that improves the readability of the text. We've known about the effect since the 80s or 90s, when psychologists figured out the dynamic environment of real flight improved the apparent eyesight of pilots over static images.

There are a lot of people who are doing text wrong in VR. You don't render at 10pt and expect it to look right. You have to pay attention and not just take the default settings.

I've spent much time reading and writing text in VR and it hasn't been a problem. If building a real, live code editing environment were my goal, I could have it done in a week. But I have different goals.

That's very interesting. My experience may be colored by the Oculus Mobile experience, which has a higher resolution than the desktop DK2 but a much weaker GPU and much less RAM to play with. (That's because the VR is rendered by the phone.)

Texture filtering on the Galaxy Note 4's embedded GPU is probably not a priority. On a 2560*1440 phone screen, who can even see those artifacts? So it could be that the hardware and drivers are taking quite a few shortcuts there, and those come to haunt on the Oculus.

It could just be the programmers who made whatever you've tried don't know very much about texturing. Most of the AAA games I've tried in VR have not had text that was even remotely readable, and it was all because it was rendered too small.

The Gear VR has a fairly decent GPU. The move to mobile was more about discarding legacy fixed-function pipeline techniques and more directly optimizing for shaders. The main factor limiting texture-fill is GPU RAM. But most devices have more than enough RAM to be able to render text well.

VR is a realism multiplier. Traditional 3D graphics techniques are realism fakers. You shouldn't apply many traditional graphics techniques, because they have perspective-dependent artifacts that are subtle to impossible to notice in mono still images but glaring in stereo motion. So I think it's folly to apply too much effort on things like displacement shaders or stereo textures. These sort of things both A) cost a lot of time, and B) look terrible in an unrestricted stereo view. There's even new research to suggest one's general hormonal balance can have a huge impact in whether or not these miscues are going to cause simulator sickness in a user. You could literally be alienating half of your potential users along gender lines.

In the face of that, I think it makes more sense to stick to simpler techniques that respect the Hippocratic Oath: first, do no harm. We've been able to write some 3D games that run at 150fps for over a decade now. But there is no 150hz display to pair it with. V-sync is probably the most important issue, followed closely by running at native resolution (so for a given GPU, a lower resolution screen might actually be better, because it will be easier to hit the full refresh rate at the native resolution) and clean, consistent antialiasing. It wouldn't be a problem if both eyes were rendered identically, but having the dual eyes highlights any visual artifacts that appear. Match those three issues and the realism of the content doesn't matter, it could be flat-color, Phong-shaded cubes and you'll have a great VR experience. Miss any of them and even high-end games like Elite: Dangerous that are gorgeous on 2D will look like complete garbage.

VR has completely inverted the priorities of graphics programmers. Because of this, I think the primary VR innovation is going to come from indie developers, because most established companies can't switch their focus away from their 2D-display oriented consumer base. The Call of Duty series has sold over 175 million units. Assume nearly $40 a pop, that makes over $7 billion. You're not going to see VR getting anywhere near that for a few years still, and companies like Activision and EA aren't going to chase after such small potatoes in anyway other than just PR.

Please elaborate! I am curious what your experience and setup is. I have zero interest in consuming media or games through VR but I am really wondering how it can be productive. Do you get more work done compared to regular monitors, or is it the same work while feeling 199% cooler?

Check the url in his profile.

A few people are experimenting with that over at http://www.reddit.com/r/HMDprogramming/

Right now, the resolution is clearly not high enough for a straightforward implementation. I've got some ideas I'd like to play with around green-on-black text rendered directly in the post-lens-warp buffer, but I haven't had time to try it out yet.

Didn't SDK 0.6.0 remove some of the ability to do that stuff?

> Removed support for application-based distortion rendering. Removed functions include ovrHmd_CreateDistortionMesh, ovrHmd_GetRenderScaleAndOffset, and so on. If you feel that you require application-based distortion rendering, please contact Oculus Developer Relations.


It doesn't (yet) seem particularly comfortable, but this was an impressive demo of someone coding their environment in the Rift.


Resolution of the final hardware will be 1080x1200 per eye (2160x1200 total) over a 90* field of view.

I'm not quite sure how to translate that into pixel density properly given the resolution is spread between your eyes, but I'd guess at least as good as a 1080p screen that fills a 90* angle of view?

The user experience would be quite different, as you could simply rotate+tilt the viewport to see sections of a larger virtual monitor screen. So it wouldn't necessarily be as restricting as low resolution on a fixed screen.

1080p that fills a 90* angle of view would be like looking at a 40" 1080p TV from ~28 inches away. Certainly not the same experience that you're used to with a retina display, unfortunately.

That's if you're looking at the full screen. Imagine walking closer, and having the resolution "increase" as you get closer (because you have the same number of pixels, looking at less "stuff" per pixel).

I'm not sure people would see the benefit of using it if you had to peer so close that each character took up a third of your displays just so it was at a comfortable resolution.

A readable 80x24 text mode is the bare minimum for programming IMHO. It's probably detailed enough for that, but it's not going rival your laptop/desktop experience any time soon.

Probably - if you are like me and have terrible eyes and program in emacs at 18+ pt and 80 chars across.

The vrdesktop demo is impressive and gives you an idea of what is likely possible. I think if you want it enough you will put up with it

I'd think the best approach for something like this would be to have higher pixel density in the middle of the display -- that is, where your head is looking -- and lower pixel density in the perhipheral. That's tough to do with an LCD, but it could be done with a specially designed projector or two different LCDs that you combine optically.

A podcast I listen to recently discussed the theoretical horror of flying while being stuck next to a passenger strapped into an Oculus Rift who is totally oblivious to how annoying they are being to their fellow passengers with their gestures and reactions to the VR experience that no one else is seeing.

Please don't be that guy.. :-)

From what I've seen the weirder reaction w/ people wearing GearVR on planes is when they are interacting w/ them through the pass-through camera, since people expect them the HMD users to be oblivious to the world.

Now we just need a catchy portmanteau like "glasshole" for that guy? Vridiot?

Is Avatard too un-PC?

Stephenson already described the Gargoyle in Snow Crash.




Succubus Stiff

Not sure why this is being down-voted. From Wiki:

>>A succubus is a female demon or supernatural entity in folklore (traced back to medieval legend) that appears in dreams and takes the form of a woman in order to seduce men

I believe that it was as much social as technical issues that held back Glass. Like it or not, we can surely expect social push-back on a VR device which will make its users appear to onlookers as almost masturbatory.

Won't be a problem if everyone has one.

Besides resolution, you also have to deal with the fact that the oculus rift really only works well with a dedicated GPU. It's going to be a while before it's a legitimate "mobile" solution.

I got a DK2 and have barely touched it because my Macbook Pro 13" just wasn't adequate enough.

While this may be true for high fidelity gaming, for moving some textured triangles around, mobile GPUs are fine. Also, they can (and do) perform much better clock-for-clock vs a PC (and especially a Mac) thanks to the ability to optimize drivers. For a fascinating discussion of the optimizations possible, Carmack's 2014 Oculus Connect keynote is well worth watching: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gn8m5d74fk8

This talk was a slightly long but very informative discussion of the various challenges in reducing latency and dealing w/ PC rendering: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PoqV112Pwrs

Also, consider a future where a laptop is just a ~silicone skin over the current "bottom half" of a laptop. Batteries could also be smaller since the screen currently eats so much juice, or it could stay the same size to power the VR headset (but I imagine that the smaller screens would use less juice).

This exists: http://www.aliexpress.com/item/2015-Newest-Vmsart-X1-windows...

15.1x8x1cm x86-64 computer with a built in 3000mAh battery

This will be somewhat problematic until there is some sort of a beacon that acts as a fixed reference point in front of you. If there is no positional tracking and it's just the headset's IMU, the plane's movement (e.g. banking) would affect the tracking.

Typically there are a few minutes of banking followed by hours of steady flight.

You won't be able to see the keyboard though. So, how confident are you in your touch-typing skills?

Really? Is this actually a concern to anyone who's been programming for over a year?

The only remotely challenging part might be symbols on the number row (that's for me at least). And for those, there's actually NO reason you couldn't have a virtual keyboard you can look down at.

There's a bias here. Most of the users of this site likely use a keyboard as part of their daily jobs. Proficiency in touch-typing is essentially part of our jobs descriptions.

Can the same be said for all potential users?

Been pretty confident since the 3rd grade.

Approximately 100% confident. You should never need to look at your keyboard.

I've actually thought a great deal about this. I think the solution is a keyboard that exists both IRL and in the virtual space: some sort of cheap system to keep track of its relative position with respect to the VR headset would allow a user to look down and "see" the keyboard in virtual space as it exists in reality. There are a number of unknowns that would need to be probed if somebody were to pursue this solution directly, but I don't work with VR stuff so I can't see if it would actually be useful in practise.

Are you serious? Hiding the keyboard is like the first step you do when you start practicing touch typing.

MS HoloLens solves that. If text is clear enough. May be better as an addition to the main screen.

As a devotee of Andy Kaufman, I am eager to do this _precisely_ because it would look ridiculous.

You are not seeing the forest for the trees. Why simulate reality when VR escapes those limitations?

This exists. http://www.vrdesktop.net/

I haven't tried it yet since I have no HMD but I read some good stuff about it. Don't know if it will run more than one monitor though but that feature seems obvious to me.

Like others have mentioned the big problem is the resolution at this moment. You have basically about the same res as a 1080p screen strapped to your face, so the res that you see will actually be lower than 1080p. Reading stuff will be more difficult as you can imagine.

I tried this for about 6 hours straight using the DK2, and there seems to be a sort of catch-22. By default, the resolution is not high enough but your head stays stationary as in this default you can see the entire screen from the default head position. Virtual Desktop allows you to zoom in, and this then works wonders. However, you need to start moving your head to see the corners of the screen. Naturally, your neck muscles become the first bottleneck.

What if focus followed window manager focus? I'm guessing there will be more innovation in window managers once VR like the Rift is available + affordable.

I've thought a lot about this as well. There's one big problem I see with this: your eyes would get really tired. The nice thing about having a real-world monitor is that your eyes get a lot of ambient light as well. So, if Microsoft can really develop and evolve their HoloLens, that could be one solution to this problem since ambient light would come through the transparent display.

Update: as other people have mentioned, the resolution is also not quite there yet with the Oculus to have a convincing virtual desktop.

Current HMD lenses collimate the light so you focus on infinity which is isn't too stressful for your eyes. There's still strain from vergence-accommodation conflict, but I think light field displays will outpace the holographic waveguide tech that MS is using.

Yeah but will you still focus to infinity while you're trying to read text? That's the main thing with VR for desktop use - reading text.

Because of the initial low pixel density it'd make sense to have a billboard sized screen, which would solve that issue. There's no reason that you'd need the stereo disparity for reading text.

In practice, anything that's placed 10ft+ away doesn't cause much stress for me although that's probably somewhat personal.

I think within 2-3yrs displays that solve the focal plane issue will be commonplace so this will be a bit of a moot point.

Wouldn't focusing on infinity be a problem for people who are myopic? I imagine everything would be blurred, and I don't think glasses would be wearable together with the VR gear.

Yes it is a problem. Morpheus, Vive and CV1 provide a larger eyebox so you can wear eyeglasses. GearVR has diopter adjustments (something like -4 I think).

Hi. FOVE's screen is WQHD (2560*1440). Also we are planning to make Iris recognition for securing privacy. It will be suitable and very secured headset for personal monitor. (bit.ly/FOVEKS)

They're no where near the screen resolution needed for that.

Closer than you might think. At 4K, the arc density is about a 14" VGA screen, which was totally usable. At 8K you approach a 24" HD monitor. That's ignoring the additional resolution you get from high refresh rates.

Here's an arc resolution chart I made: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1pOx0Jcy6tpMGLxmPYX8n...

Very handy. Thanks for throwing that together.

At first glance I was thinking of the hell that it would be to run a current IDE on a 640x480 14" monitor. But at 1280x960 on a 28" monitor, it may work pretty well.

This: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wearality/wearality-sky...

seems to meets at least some of your requirements.

Do you? I can't imagine why anyone would want to strap something to their head that would make the programming experience more tiring than looking at a monitor for 6-8 hours a day, which this surely will. Ditto the speculation that this could somehow be a transformative social experience.

I remember a conversation with friend about twenty years ago (yeah, I'm old). We're talking about the new exciting thing, mobile phones. "There's no way anyone, save for a few weirdos or people who must have it because of their job, will willingly give up their privacy by having a phone in the pocket all day along!" - said the friend, I remember like it was yesterday.

Not really the same though is it? A mobile doesn't strap on to your face and add half a kilo of weight to your head.

I was talking about the danger of predicting success of some technology based on personal bias, not about similarity between a VR headset and a mobile phone.


I'm surprised you didn't link to the classic Slashdot post on the iPod!

If you have a VR headset, you may as well get a comfy reclining chair too. Or lie down on your bed/couch -- either way, your head can be supported by things that are not your neck muscles.

But how do you type in that position? Or were you not planning to type anything?

Do you know any programmer who wouldn't want more screen space?

What if you had FullHD resolution pixels, much less Retina pixels anywhere you looked?

Maybe you're not imagining hard enough? The possibilities, to me, are rather mind-bogglingly awesome.

> Also it would give me a lot more privacy

In the meantime, you can use the laptop sock [1] :)

[1] http://cdn.instructables.com/FTR/NFY0/FF78HWJO/FTRNFY0FF78HW...

This is going to make working from home a whole lot more easier. Expect outsourcing to get easier, expect fall in business travel.

A whole lot of things are going to easy and cheap.

Haha, thanks HN mods for changing the title to the uselessly generic "Oculus Rift".

Yeah, the mods don't seem to understand the difference between context and editorializing.

what was it before?

Something like "Oculus Rift announces commercial availability Q1 2016"

So weird that they'd change that. Seeing the title now just made me think it was a throw back discussion.

Is this the reason they stopped Linux development? http://techcrunch.com/2015/06/11/oculus-rift-consumer/#.xwct...

> The partnership with Microsoft will also see the Rift work “natively” with Windows 10, plus play Xbox One games in the headset.

They better not dare making this Win10 exclusive and hosing people who plan to stay on Win7 for the foreseeable future.

People were all up in arms when facebook entered yet there was never an overlapping issue that would mean the Rift would be gimped or held hostage or anything. People who were suggesting FB login to use the Rift were quite frankly talking out of their behinds.

But this deal now with MS is awful. There was no need for Oculus to do that. None. It clearly wasn't a money thing. It wasn't for the controller as they clearly work on their own one. What on earth was riding these people to go with MS when it is clear that they are fully focused on their console and tablets. This does not paint a good picture to what the rift might be reduced to just to make it fit onto all of MS stuff. Pretty much like they are currently in the process of "consolification" of the desktop OS.

I bet backers who supported the project initially and expected it to be cross platform and not locked into some MS nonsense are pretty upset now.

Luckily there are other alternatives which don't try to force any exclusive requirements on their users.

Why would anyone want to stay on Win 7 though? With the exception of businesses who rely on legacy software of course.

> partnership with Microsoft

Ah, that explains why they call the Xbox controller "one of the best in the world" and shipping it with it, instead of just letting people decide for themselves or making it at least optional. This might actually stop me from getting one, I'm not sure how much a controller is normally but it will increase the price and I have a USB dualshock 2 controller right here which I prefer over the Xbox one.

They stopped both Linux and OS X development. Previously they said it was to focus on getting the best experience on the biggest platform first, and then expanding to OS X and Linux.

The reason can be the same. MS doesn't like cross platform competition.

The Xbox controller is really surprising to me. Years in development and it will ship with an Xbox controller. Oculus Touch didn't even get demonstrated and "prototype" was mentioned time and again.

That really doesn't bother me. Having used an Xbox One controller regularly, I think it is a fantastic controller, and I like that Oculus didn't feel the need to reinvent the wheel. I am excited about new interfaces other than a traditional controller though.

VR definitely needs a reinvented wheel in this case. Being able to move your head in virtual space but not your hands is clearly suboptimal, and the motion sensors in that generation of controllers are not up to the task.

My take: this a bandaid, so they can get the headset out in Q1, ahead of the proper controllers in Q2. Not what they wanted to do, but Vive forced their hand on timing.

I'm curious as to why you think that freedom of hand motion is essential for VR. Certainly I can think of many VR experiences where it would be useful, but I can think of just as many where having discreet inputs (buttons) would be preferable.

For example, a spaceship piloting game that allows the players head to rotate and look out the windows could very easily be controlled with a traditional gamepad.

I definitely agree with you that the "cockpit" games (racing, space combat, et al.), and things like Lucky's Tale are well served by the current controller, but I don't think it's going serve VR well outside of those niches. Which isn't what you want from the default, bundled controller.

Even just a few years ago most people were thinking that game genre popularity would just map into VR - i.e. Witchers and CoDs would be king. What's becoming more and more apparent is that VR is such a different medium that we need a whole new set game genres and mechanics.

For instance: locomotion with the left controller stick, head movement with the right (which the current controllers are brilliantly adapted for) is such a core controller "idiom" right now, but when applied to VR it's just horrible - a recipe for nausea and disorientation.

If you look at the kinds of experiences that are being developed around Valve's controllers, they're all huge departures from the games we currently play, and the reason is that Valve, as game designers, realized from an early point just how far back to the drawing board we need to go. VR is just too different, with different objectives (immersion), possible modes of interaction, and human weaknesses to address.

Hell, even most driving games. Why would I want to use my hands to work phantom controls rather then get the physical feed back of an xbox controller.

I for one am looking forward to GTA 5 which I'm convinced they added a first person mode to future proof against VR.

There's a whole industry around driving controllers (steering wheels, seats, gearboxes, breaks and pedals).

Because the entire VR experience is a summation of its immersive elements. Immersion in one domain (control, sound, display) can make up for immersive shortcomings in another domain.

I'm curious as to why you think that freedom of hand motion is essential for VR.

It also great increases the chances of hitting something while you're waving you arms around...

Interestingly enough, it looks like it will be wireless, which currently isn't possible with the PC. The Xbox One controller is only wireless for Xbox, the drivers/wireless receiver aren't available for PC. I wonder if they partnered with Microsoft to make it wireless?

A wireless receiver was recently announced for the Xbox One controller. It will be released later this year.


Microsoft announced a wireless adapter for PC a couple of days ago http://www.anandtech.com/show/9358/microsoft-launches-update...

It'll be Windows 10 only (which has a lot of people speculating that Oculus Rift may be Windows 10 only).

> I like that Oculus didn't feel the need to reinvent the wheel

Fair point, but instead of a custom controller you could use any old controller you have lying around. Bundling it just increases the price.

It could have been possible to rebrand or restyle the controller to actually match the headset. It's a bit strange to buy something from them which you could get on a store shelf in Walmart for years. Make it exclusive somehow.

Since OR is under Facebook, and Facebook has been fairly Microsoft friendly in the past (opting for bing maps and some office docs stuff etc), it doesn't seem like a huge surprise, especially since Sony/PS4 has their own thing in development (Morpheus)

I guess this also explains the earlier announcement dropping OSX and Linux support.

I think it is more than Facebook being MS "friendly". Like it or not, Windows is still the dominant platform for PC gaming period. As much as many would like this to change, it is not even close to happening.

Oculus not bothering means they're just part of why it's not happening.

Valve on the other hand seems to fully embrace OSX/Linux (with both Steam and the Vive) and have done plenty to improve gaming on those platforms.

I think I know which HMD I'll be purchasing.

Fair enough but I don't think a display is the place to start when trying to change something like this.

I am sure the Vive will be great, but let's face it the vast majority of titles on Steam are Windows only. Valve may like the idea of Linux gaming, but they push a lot of Windows games...

Its not just the display. I'm presuming there will be a whole ecosystem of games designed with the Rift in mind. By making it Windows only you effectively tell all those developers not to bother developing their games for OS X or Linux.

> I'm presuming there will be a whole ecosystem of games designed with the Rift in mind.

I think developers should not bother developing for Rift then. There are alternatives which are cross platform and not beholden to MS walled gardens.

Stronger competition will make them change this stupid attitude.

That is just it though, is not a stupid attitude because the market that cares about this sort of thing and buys games is very small. Most of the complainers on HN do not play games. Over 95% of machines using the steam platform are windows.

I play all my games on Linux, so I have little respect for those who treat Linux users as third class citizens.

Vive doesn't support Linux or MacOS.

The Xbox One controller isn't the only controller for PC gaming. It isn't even the only Xbox controller for PC gaming.

Sure, but it is the best one (considering both hardware and drivers/game support).

Come on man, give credit where credit is due.

The XBox One controller has to be plugged in to work on Windows, which kills its utility for me. Can't play from the couch.

Well the Rift ships in Q1 2016. So by the time it comes out, you will have access to the Wireless PC adapter they announced coming this fall.

Oh, cool!

Dropping Linux support means dropping SteamBox support? Wow, I'm stunned.

Isn't Valve also working on their own hardware, "SteamVR", with HTC? (While Samsung is cooperating with Oculus)

SteamBox is Vaporware anyway

It will be interesting to watch this relationship as Microsoft's HoloLens develops.

The two don't really overlap.

Rift is likely to be purely gaming/social. HoloLens seems to be far more productivity/goal driven.

Microsoft owns a couple of % of Facebook.

Why reinvent the wheel? The xbox controller is widely considered the gold standard.

Exactly; Microsoft invested approximately $100 million into development of the Xbox One controller[0], and it shows.

[0] - http://www.gamesradar.com/video-designing-xbox-one-controlle...

The Xbox One controller is certainly good, but the mini-trackpad-button-hybrid on the PS4 controller is a real touch of genius in interacting with menus, when support is properly implemented.

Really? What games have you found that the trackpad has worked well on? I haven't played too many PS4 games, but every game that's implemented that trackpad hasn't done it in a way that I feel like it's been to my benefit.

So far games haven't really taken advantage of it, except to gain two more buttons (it can sense which side you're pressing down on). But the built-in keyboard uses it, for example, which makes typing a breeze.

The potential is there, it's just up to developers to actually use it. Keep in mind that the PS4 didn't even have a single truly good exclusive game until Bloodborne came out recently. It's taking this new generation of consoles a long time to really kick off.

The DualShock 4 is arguably even a better PC controller than the Xbox controllers. Its out-of-the-box support is decent, but it really shines when paired with ds4drv for Linux or DS4Windows (both open source tools), which allow you to play Xbox controller games, use the touchpad as a mouse, set LED colors, and create macros/profiles.

ds4drv: https://github.com/chrippa/ds4drv

DS4Windows: http://ds4windows.com/

The X360 controller is/was the gold standard, the XBONE controller has more mixed reviews. I personally prefer Sony's DS4 to the XBONE controller (for next-gen controllers). But I still keep an X360 controller around.

I think the GameCube had the best controller ever.

The gold standard is Nintendo's controllers, not Microsoft's.

Xbox 360 controller was the go-to reference controller for pretty much any PC-released games in last 5 or so years - mostly due to it's automatic integration with XInput protocol used by pretty much everyone. I guess the only limiting factor why it wasn't replaced by the One controller is the fact that the PC receiver hasn't been released yet.

Nintendo never made anything that would connect to PCs.

Really? I certainly liked the N64 and Gamecube controllers, but they're not exactly ideal designs for a "universal controller". The wiimote had kind of crappy motion controls and was borderline useless for anything that didn't involve motion. The Wii U uses upgraded wiimotes that suffer the same problem, and the gamepad is more like a giant gameboy than a controller. Plus we can't use any of those controllers on a PC without additional adapters or significant hardware hacks. The Xbox 360 (and to a similar degree Xbox One) controller is designed to be universal, and if you look at what people are using for PC gaming it's pretty much just those two.

The Wiimote is just a bluetooth device, there's no hardware hack or adapter necessary to connect it to a PC, you just need a driver. Not that I ever used it outside of an emulator.

Wii U Pro Controller sure beats what we have with the PS4 and XBox one controllers.

Nintendo controllers are god tier in quality, reliability, and unique integration with games. When I see the Xbox controllers all I can think of are Microsoft Sidewinders.

I was equally surprised by the on-ear style headphones. I'm sure the design team thought about the choice in depth and has good reasons behind it, but I would have imagined over-ear to be better for immersion (personally I find them more comfortable as well).

The technical terms are supra-aural (on-ear) and circum-aural (around the ears). Both can be sound-wise excellent, but circum-aural is definitely more comfortable.

I used to own a pair of Joe Grado HP-1 HP-1000 supra-aural headphones and they were excellent and did a great job with binaural recordings. Since selling those, I moved on to the Denon D7000 circum-aural headphones. Far more comfortable. Bar none the best audio experience I have had was with AKG K-1000s hooked up to 75-watt tubes monoblocks. However, that wouldn't have worked for VR presence because of the latency from the tubes. With solid state speaker amps to keep the audio in sync, the presence would probably be unreal, assuming the K-1000s do well with binaural recordings, but that is something I'm uncertain of.

I'm not arguing about sound quality though. When I said "immersion" I was thinking about over-ear headphones generally having better isolation than on-ear.

Sounds quality isn't really dependent on circumaural vs supra-aural headphones. The major complaint I hear with supra-aural headphones is that they apply pressure on the ears, which can be unconfortable. Sound quality, however, is largely affected by the drivers.

Will these apply much pressure on the ears? Many headphones use the earpieces to stay in place, but these are positioned by the Rift's straps which should be able to do it without pressure from the earpieces.

This is correct. It's called listening fatigue.

It's not just listening fatigue from sound, but the pressure applied to the ear-lobes. I have used circum-aural headphones that I can use for hours upon hours since they were very comfortable (no pressure) and were not too bright or forward that they caused listening fatigue.

Yes, I have a pair of Grado S60 (supra-aural) which are by far my best sounding headphones, but I cannot use them for many hours on end for this reason, as loose as I try to set them, they eventually become uncomfortable.

Its about the noise canceling.

At least now we know why they went Windows-only for the time being

If you think that's the only reason, you should look into the additional dev costs of building modern games on mac and linux.

What is really needed IMHO is a mind-reader. Something simple that would detect brain waves and allow you to move around. That way one could aim by turning your head and move by thinking about it.

I know tech. has some way to go before it gets there, but that is the missing piece that would make this the next level of computing (and probably one that would cause Half Life 3 to finally show up).

Head turning without thinking about it would probably induce motion sickness. I think something the earlier Rifts taught us (through low framerates, lack of head tracking, etc.) is that our brains freak out if there are any significant inconsistencies between our movements and what our eyes see.

"The oculus will ship with...

A wireless....

Xbox one controller"

I closed out of the stream at that point.

You might want to get that checked out.

Turn around and sell the Xbox controller on ebay if you feel the need, nothing says the two are wedded or the controller is required to use Oculus.

It's not 1997; wireless controllers aren't shit and Microsoft makes good hardware and has some great software.

Not sure why I'm getting downvoted and why you think I'm saying the controller is bad.

Oculus keeps spreading tons of hype and making very disappointing announcements.

A bundled xbox one controller is nothing to get excited over. Their supposed new input is, but they had virtually nothing to show for that.

>Not sure why... you think I'm saying the controller is bad

Because it caused you to abandon the livestream literally at the very beginning.

I for one agree with you. They punted on the controller in order to make the release, and their prototype controllers look underwhelming in comparison.

It feels like they've cut corners in an effort to beat Valve's VR platform to market.

Except they're not beating Valve to market. Vive should be released for the holiday season 2015 alongside the Steam Machines.

Rift won't be here until Q1 2016 (and their input solution later still).

I was a little disappointed to not find the one thing i really wanted to see on this site: a buy button. But I want it NOW!

I was fairly disappointed by most of the keynote, but maybe my expectations were just too high?

I was hoping for some real innovation that elevated it above Vive, but it just didn't seem to deliver. The new controllers look great, but they aren't going to be around until mid 2016, whereas I will probably have the Vive ones in my hands by the end of year.

I think possibly Oculus are more focused on being consumer friendly than Valve, but the inner techy in me is certainly more in love Vive and their ecosystem at the moment.

The entire cinema mode integration with Microsoft just seemed like a total misstep to me - why would I want to play a game in a virtual living room? It just looked cheesy, gimmicky and silly. The fact you have to stream it over a PC as well and can't just hook the headset straight into the Xbox seems like it's just way more hassle than it's possibly worth.

I think the cinema mode is to ensure that you don't have to take the device off when you switch between a game that's designed to support the Rift and software that does not. With that it mind, it seems like a reasonable compromise. I mean, do you want to have to take the thing off every time you alt-tab to Windows Desktop, or do you want to be 2" from the Windows Desktop?

I think it's two fold. First, you can't just slap VR into existing games. It needs to be considered and implemented deliberately. Second, I don't think the XBox One powerful enough to drive an Oculus Rift. The recommended specs for the Oculus Rift are "NVIDIA GTX 970 or AMD 290, Intel i5-4590" or better. The XBox One doesn't have that CPU power and it certainly doesn't have that GPU power.

They're not shipping until Q1 2016? With all that funding? They're going to miss the 2015 holiday season? Zuckerberg needs to kick some ass over there.

[1] https://www.oculus.com/en-us/blog/first-look-at-the-rift-shi...

Having all that funding means having the luxury of shipping a properly debugged and refined product, instead of having to chase the holiday season with a potentially bugged and broken one (which is far from an exceptional occurrence in the videogame industry).

Yeah, I was disappointed they didn't announce the price. I can understand as if it were expensive (which I expect it will be), it would probably be a distraction to their announcements.

Also, no price point, and I did not notice any compatibility / minimum requirements information yet.

Separating the controllers into 2 devices for each hand is a natural way to do input in VR, but I feel that the hand and finger motion should also not be limited by the need to hold the controller. The pointing and thumbs up gestures are ok, but imagine if the computer could respond to the full range of motion a-la Leap.

Maybe it would look something like a cone that's at its base wrapped around your wrist but at its height contains Leap sensors that can recognize the full 3-dimensional range of hand/finger movements.

I really completely agree.

But I think the intention with this device is to make something 'more' than just gestures. They wanted to make a device that can understand gestures, but also gives you more fine controls (buttons, analog sticks, grasping). It seems like they really want to get the basics right, and then expand on all sorts of forms of input in the future depending on the reaction and ideas of devs and gamers. In their way of thinking you could buy a leap motion right now, strap it to the headset and have complete finger tracking. The only downside is the probable fact that there will be more applications using Oculus' Touch device and some few novel unpolished apps using something like a leap motion.

Maybe there will be a device like you explained in the future.

Hell why not just use something the same thing glovers use. http://i.ytimg.com/vi/xxAghmBb6zQ/maxresdefault.jpg

Just use IR LEDs instead of colored.

Anyone else disappointed that they announced a new interface controller (Oculus Touch), but did not show any type of demo?

Palmer said it'll be demoed at the E3 booths. Yeah, you're right they should have demoed it onstage.

Yes. Also lackluster considering cooler possibilities like leap motion[1].

1. https://www.leapmotion.com/product/vr

Leap Motion has been a pretty big let down, though I have not yet tried the latest tools they have released.

Hope you'll give it a shot; Image Hands significantly reduces the kinds of jitters that can ruin a decent user experience. In case you haven't yet, be sure to calibrate and optimize your tracking: http://blog.leapmotion.com/troubleshooting-guide-vr-tracking...

The original Leap Motion doesn't really cut it. The company is moving on with a new technology called Dragonfly for VR:


Dragonfly has some pretty significant hardware advantages for passthrough and FOV, but the biggest challenge is really at the software level, which is common to all our devices. (Full disclosure: lead writer at Leap)

The LEAP is a really inexact input device. Used it for a project this winter and the only reliable input we found was the position and rotation of the whole hand.

Lead writer at Leap here; sorry to hear about your bad experience. We hit some solid tracking improvement milestones this spring with the 2.2+ series of core software builds, and there are some larger improvements on the way. If you're looking to revisit it at any point in time, be sure to try our VR troubleshooting guide: http://blog.leapmotion.com/troubleshooting-guide-vr-tracking...

If that doesn't work, you can reach out to me directly: acolgan@leapmotion.com

I have a hunch it's not ready, though I have no evidence to support that

That makes sense in view of their decision to bundle the Xbox controller instead.

Notice how they hid the wire coming from the rift.

Good enough for Zuck to take a picture holding the controller

What's the news here? Is this just a press release of sorts or new look for the website?

The news was in the original title: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9701727

They missed the opportunity to get it out by Q4'15. Would have been a great Christmas seller.

I think you overestimate the draw of device that isn't really market tested and doesn't yet have a lot to recommend it besides its newness. Christmas of 2016 will give it time for good games to have bubbled up and make the value proposition of the Oculus + supporting hardware much stronger.

Christmas is exactly the right time to roll out a product that has nothing to recommend it besides novelty and a ton of buzz. That's when all the people who know nothing about what they're buying go shopping!

Pushing it to Q4 2016 will give them time to develop some good apps for it, but it will also give competitors like Valve and Sony a year to build up an installed base. And "pay X hundred dollars for this novelty gizmo" is a much harder sell when the customers already paid X hundred dollars for a similar gizmo the year before.


It appeals to a very specific market at the moment. Most consumers will probably never experience VR on a PC at home.

The real seller to mass market will be a combination of integration with phone handsets (a la Gear VR) or console (Morpheus/PS4) devices. The mass market doesn't want a big, expensive black box chugging away in their living room.

PC gaming may be bigger than you realize - it's twice the size of the console gaming market and growing. PC might not reach everyone, but it's where the money is.


I know. But rightly or wrongly I personally believe the reach of VR long term extends a lot further than just gaming.

But how many of those PC gamers have large powerful computers adequate for use with VR?

Not many considering you really want a GTX 970 minimum to keep framerate high enough - crucial to reduce motion sickness. Those new MSI GTX 970 4Gb nvidia cards look nice. I'd put the $400 down for one if I didn't just buy a coffee machine.

BTW, these graphics cards are the first I've seen which spin down to a stop for normal computing, the fans only kick in for 3d applications, great stuff. PC gaming and graphics is more amazing than ever.

The Star Citizen community is slavering over the Oculus and its competitors. I don't know what adoption rates will be but the population of the game's backers is approaching a million accounts, though some of those are surely alt "accounts."

I bring this up to say that I believe people are underestimating how much interest actually exists in acquiring such a device.

> the population of the game's backers is approaching a million accounts

Seriously doubt that there's a 1:1 ratio of backers and buyers of VR tech.

Nintendo Wii.

Does anyone know of a list of PCs that meet (or exceed) the recommended hardware specs for the Rift? Not that I'm going to run out and buy one of these machines in anticipation of the Rift's release next year, but I'm interested in knowing roughly what a premium VR experience costs today (excluding the headset, obviously)

Edit: To rephrase my question, can anyone point me to a list of PCs manufactured by companies like Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc. that meet or exceed these requirements?

Today you really need a Titan X or 980 GTX Ti for a premium experience across the board.

I don't think anyone can predict the future as there is currently so much optimisation going on across all the involved parties - Intel, Nvidia, Microsoft, Oculus, Valve, Epic, Unity, etc. They are all focussed on getting the best performance and experience out there.

This is a great summary of what Nvidia are currently doing:


Assuming Nvidia's VR SLI pans out, dual 970 TIs should get you 80% of the perf of dual 980 TIs for a cost comparable to a single 980TI. But, wait until VR SLI is demonstrated and tested in the wild. Until then, the added latency of AFR SLI is counter-productive to VR.

> To rephrase my question, can anyone point me to a list of PCs manufactured by companies like Dell, HP, Lenovo, etc. that meet or exceed these requirements?

Buying a prebuild is a bad idea. Apart from being overpriced, they often have strange custom motherboards and cases which make upgrades complicated.

There's always those places where you select the parts and they assemble the machine for you, but I can't recommend them. I bought a machine from Cyberpower UK a few years ago and had nothing but problems with it.

Just grab the parts from Amazon and assemble them. It isn't difficult, you're simply buying it in 7 parts and plugging them together. That way you'll know it's been done correctly, all the parts are standard, and you didn't pay over the odds.

Anyway, your question was for a hard price. I would budget $900 USD for all the parts (including 4690K CPU and GTX970 graphics crad). For a really high end setup for Rift (980Ti), the next step up would be about $1200.

Prebuilds do work for users that

a) Want something that physically looks good enough to have in their living room - modern prebuilds are sleek and small while making a small-form-factor custom is super-hard

b) Have more money than time. Who has time to track parts compatibility and figure out the upgrade path for your device, only to drop half of the cost of a new unit on your upgrade? There's a reason Apple has been so successful while ignoring upgradeability: the hardware market has never made upgrading easy-enough to be in-reach of the majority of users. While physically installing the parts is simple, compatibility is always frustrating.

Well shoot, upgrading rarely works well even for power users unless you're upgrading very often instead of only when necessary. By the time your CPU can't keep up, Intel has a new socket and you need a new motherboard. By the time your video card needs replaced, you'll likely need a new PSU to handle the new power requirements. RAM changes slow enough that you might get two or three upgrade cycles from your RAM, but you'll likely need more... and if you bought 4x1 GB and now you want 16GB, you're throwing it all away anyway. Hard drives are the only things that are easy enough to replace every day, but hard drive tech doesn't move that fast. Upgrade to even a slow SSD and you're golden for quite a while.

I bought my computer five years ago. After two years, the only things original were the hard drive, the RAM, and the case. After four years, only the case was original (and even that's trashed now as pieces and parts have broken).

>making a small-form-factor custom is super-hard

Mini-ITX is easy enough. Micro-ATX is easy as pie. There are very nice cases for both. If you know of a sub-mITX OEM build that has 4690K+980Ti level performance, I'd like to see it.

>compatibility is always frustrating

Not really. A graphics card, for example, has two things to check to verify compatibility: * Will it physically fit in my case? (Check the length) * Is my PSU powerful enough and has the correct connectors?

That's it. Every graphics card has been PCI-E for a decade. If it fits and has power, any card will work in any motherboard.

CPUs are also not too obtuse. If you have an Intel 9-series motherboard, you can install any Haswell or Broadwell chip. This kind of stuff can easily be googled. It's no harder than getting the correct speakers for your home theatre.

> It's no harder than getting the correct speakers for your home theatre.

I had to snicker here. Following the audiophiles is a sure-fire way to keep the PC gaming industry on the fringes.

Every graphics card has been PCI-E for a decade. If it fits and has power, any card will work in any motherboard.

You do want to pay attention to the mobo choice if the card itself requires PCI-E v3.0. There are still a lot of v2.0 mobos for sale. Most mobos have at least one 16x slot, which is the one you'll want to use. Things get a little more complicated with multi-GPU card builds.

>You do want to pay attention to the mobo choice if the card itself requires PCI-E v3.0.

Nope. PCI-E 3 capable cards work perfectly in PCI-E 2 motherboards. In fact, no graphics card currently on the market can significantly benefit from the boost offered by PCI-E 3. This includes Titan Xs in SLI: http://www.anandtech.com/show/7089/geforce-gtx-titan-twoway-...

>Things get a little more complicated with multi-GPU card builds.

Sure, but I would speculate that anyone going that route is an enthusiast who knows what they're getting into and is happy to do the research.

Nope. PCI-E 3 capable cards work perfectly in PCI-E 2 motherboards. In fact, no graphics card currently on the market can significantly benefit from the boost offered by PCI-E 3

Ah, OK. When shopping for a GPU compute server, I was paying attention to PCI-E 3.0 vs. 2.0 on the server motherboards.

I had assumed that it was a similar situation with consumer graphics cards these days, given how long v3.0 has been out.

Had a friend get burnt bad by this.

Specifically, he got two GTX 970s to run in SLI, but the motherboard didn't end up supporting SLI. Neither him, nor the PC shop that built the machine for him, picked up on that.

It didn't help that the motherboard was branded as a 'Pro Gamer' motherboard (Asus H97-Pro Gamer: https://www.asus.com/au/Motherboards/H97PRO_GAMER/). How can something be 'pro gamer' without SLI support?!?!

Fails all around, but yeah you definitely need to be careful about the motherboard you pick.

I had my last gaming rig built at a small PC store. Not a big chain or online or anything, just one where I could walk in, sit down and talk to the guy about general components, pick all the pieces I wanted and then have them order them in and build them.

Build quality was great, he did a really good job with the cabling, I got all the boxes/manuals/extra parts. Have no complaints.

I've done some upgrades to that machine myself over time (RAM, graphics card, PSU, a drive change). PC assembly has gotten incredibly easier than it was in the past. It's the little touches. I notice that tolerance on cases are a lot better these days (things tend to align much more easily than they used to). PCI-E slots are a lot easier to put cards into than the older ones. RAM sticks generally have heat-spreaders on them, so you don't have to worry as much about handling them as you used to. Drive cables are easier (cabling in general is easier as most things are keyed these days), thumbscrews are almost ubiquitous, as are easily removable drive bays.

The only thing I still get nervous about is CPUs and their heatsinks. I haven't fitted a CPU in a long time and a mate of mine did my heatsink replacement for me.

All that said, I'd still pay someone money to assemble my PC from scratch. Someone good that assembles PCs for a living is going to do it way better and way faster than I would. At least, I'd hope so :)

I haven't built a computer since, roughly, 2006. It's just not very interesting to me. My computers today are an iMac and a MacBook Air, both of which work wonderfully. I normally play games on a PS4 or PS Vita. Again, they work seamlessly. I don't want to mess around with finding the optimal power supply. I'm too old for that.

If you did want to build a gaming computer again, probably the easiest thing is to find a build guide on one of the popular PC sites like Tom's Hardware. They often come out with several different builds in different price ranges. Theoretically, if you just order the same components, it should work with little trouble.

>I normally play games on a PS4 or PS Vita.

That's fine, nothing wrong with that. You are simply not the target market for an ultra-high-end PC gaming peripheral.

Early 30s, no kids, good amount of disposable income, and a keen interest in VR. How am I not in the target market for an ultra-high-end PC gaming peripheral? Because I don't want to spend hours figuring out what today's best set of gaming PC components are? That's silly. I am the personification of the "Shut up and take my money" meme with regard to buying a Rift.

well, for a start, by list you gave you don't own a PC per se (albeit apple is just rebranded overpriced PC with their proprietary OS, from my humble point of view). or do you consider PS4 a PC? Your post doesn't make much sense to me...

I normally build. But recently I was helping someone purchase a new desktop. I noticed that it is extremely difficult to match the price of some pre-built systems. What he ended up getting came equipped with a Gigabyte motherboard as well as a load of standard parts that I costed out to be more than the purchase price.

Neither Dell (Alienware) nor Lenovo sell reasonable pre-built hardware configurations.

Companies like http://www.ibuypower.com/ let you start with a base system and configure it until it meets the requirements. The recommended configuration costs about $1300, a premium one would be $1600.

Thanks. Out of seven direct replies, you are the only person who answered my question.

The recommended PC specification is an NVIDIA GTX 970 or AMD 290, Intel i5-4590, and 8GB RAM.

So yer looking at £750 for a PC.

I would imagine you'd get the best results from an Alienware style sub-brand of the listed companies; very few stock PCs come with the high-end GPU's you'd want to make the rift a good experience.

All in, a headset plus a machine to drive it will probably run you ~ $1,500 at launch, though the cost of the PC will come down over time.

Interestingly, Oculus has noted that the target spec. for the PC "will not change for the lifetime of the product." In other words, they seem to realize that this is expensive now, but that it's better to deliver a really high quality experience that gets cheaper over time than to launch with a sub-optimal experience that eventually fires on all cylinders.

This is likely going to be the biggest turn-off. People don't have those big PCs any more. Most people have just laptops/MacBook. I guess nobody would want to bring back those beasts in their living rooms again just to use Oculus Rift. They should have really considered full device experience where you get everything you need and hardware is exactly designed to give optimal Oculus experience. World has long moved on from knowing which graphic card you need for your PC. I really hope this has good enough performance on typical Lenovo/MBP at least.

>People don't have those big PCs any more.

People who play video games on them do.

>Most people have just laptops/MacBook.

Not people who play video games.

> I guess nobody would want to bring back those beasts in their living rooms again just to use Oculus Rift.

If they like to play PC games in their living room, they already have a PC there. If they don't, this won't change that.

>"They should have really considered full device experience where you get everything you need and hardware is exactly designed to give optimal Oculus experience."

So... sell the Oculus together with a gaming PC? What's the difference between that and getting your own separately?

>World has long moved on from knowing which graphic card you need for your PC.

Except for those people who play video games on their PC. Those people generally do know what video card they have.

>I really hope this has good enough performance on typical Lenovo/MBP at least.

It will not. A powerful desktop gaming computer is absolutely required for acceptable VR performance in any interesting game.

The entire PC gaming industry would beg to differ, which is likely the initial target market. Of course that will change. Also I wouldn't exactly consider my desktop a beast. Form factors are pretty small these days.

Sure, this will be a hot product among PC gamers but they are not the mainstream consumers. I wanted to buy the device for my mom and have her use it. I think the vision should be to bring VR mainstream that is usable by all without technological friction.

Yea, I am sure that is the goal. But in order to provide a clean, seamless experience, you need to render what is roughly 3x the amount of data compared to normal 1080p monitors. You'll also want to make sure you don't have dropped frames as that would have a huge impact in the experience. You need high framerates and responsive feeback so that motion sickness is minimized. As you can see, there are a lot of reasons why a high-end graphics card is required. So yes, that is the goal but we can't get there right now.

The mainstream experience will be on high-end smartphones, not PCs. When Carmack and Facebook talk about getting a billion users into VR, this is how they plan to do it.

Exactly. Gear VR is their 'VR for everyone' product. It's fantastic for that. They're already well on their way down that path.

I'm sure that is the vision, but you don't get there on Day 1

> I think the vision should be to bring VR mainstream that is usable by all without technological friction.

That is inevitably where it will go eventually, but for now Oculus VR is a high-end gaming peripheral.

That's how it was presented during crowd funding and that's how it will be for a while.

Something like this may become more mainstream [1]. Use your laptop on the go, and plug it into a high-power graphics card at your desk (along with monitor, keyboard, etc., and now Rift!)

I think you are forgetting[1] your link.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forgetting

Ah, yes, thanks!

[1] http://www.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/ali...

Basically it's just an external chassis to connect a desktop graphics card (plus USB peripherals) to a laptop.

None of what you're saying is true.

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