2014/02/08

Oculus Rant

The Oculus Rift sells a dream, a dream we can enter virtual worlds completely. The founder even says:

"one of the most important technologies in the history of mankind”

What? I think we might mix up the technology described in books like "Ready Player One" with simple head tracking & displays in front of your eyes.

Many people forget that this whole Rift thing was a hype years ago back in 1995 - and failed utterly. Those people praising the latest tries of Oculus Rift do not read up the documents of Fraunhofer or Professors or Universities why the Virtual Reality Goggles failed back in 1995 (that is how they were called in the past). And yes all those scientists and experts were involved in this VR thing back int he 90's.

UThe problems of the VR glasses aren't solved yet close to 20 years after the first hype. If they don't start to tackle them Oculus Rift and the new generation of 'VR' will vanish as did the hype around 1995. And the problem isn't in the technology, the problem is inside the human head.

Don't get me wrong. I wish those glasses were possible, but it is harder than they think to make a marketable product out of this without customers puking all over their computer due to motion sickness.

VFX1 Headgear from back in 1994

4 comments:

  1. I would humbly disagree here. The reason VR failed in the 90s was mainly by because of technology obviously.
    One opinion: http://www.technologyreview.com/view/421293/whatever-happened-to-virtual-reality/?p1=A4

    The problems they weren't able to solve are physical, but it was the technology unable to fix it. Besides that I won't take any 20-year old document serious in describing todays possibilities (where is the link to it anyway?)
    The problems didn't change, but the solutions are much much more possible nowadays. It won't be perfect, but that doesn't mean it won't be a huge game-changer for our perception of content.

    (Fraunhofer is also widely in R&D in this field:
    http://www.fraunhofer.de/de/fraunhofer-forschungsthemen/information-kommunikation/simulierte-realitaet.html

    http://media.steampowered.com/apps/abrashblog/Abrash%20Dev%20Days%202014.pdf

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  2. Several designers I know have started to play with the Rift, and they've all said the same thing. They though it was a resurgence of VR that would fail, but actually using this new tech has totally blown them away.

    I think this will be more than a failed fad. They've solved the majority of the issues of old VR.

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  3. Teut... this time you a wrong. I remember 1995 and the VFX1. It's like you compare PacMan on the 2600 against GTAV. The DK1 sucks... There's this prob with motion sickness, the bad resolution and a lack of native content for now. But this will change. VR will have a big impact. Not only for us as gamedevelopers, but also for cinema. When I developed my first demo for the Oculus... wow, I've not been that excited for a decade. It's awesome when you really sit in the cockpit that you just designed some minutes ago in 3DSMax and fly over a planetery surface. You are in the game and not sitting if front of some screens.

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  4. I have to disagree as well. There is a lot of momentum in this field right now and a lot of progress has been made.

    We are not quite there yet, but I think most of the remaining issues can be solved with enough time and money.

    I highly recommend Michael Abrash's talk from the Steam Dev Days: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-2dQoeqVVo&list=PLckFgM6dUP2hc4iy-IdKFtqR9TeZWMPjm

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