First Impression of the FullHD Oculus Rift
Today the exhibition floor of the Siggraph in Anaheim opened and in a small, unlabelled box without a booth number Oculus is showing the latest HD prototype of the Oculus Rift.
I had the chance to test it out and my first impression was similar as the first time I tested the Rift last year at the gamescom in cologne: It’s amazing. The new prototype features a smaller 5.something screen with a higher resolution (1080p vs. 800p) which leads to very small pixels. Not small enough yet to make them disappear but small enough to stop being distracting. The image is sharp and clean – a huge step forward compared to the currently sold devkit. Right now the field of view is a reduced which is a bit annoying but Oculus is planning to get a higher field of view with different optics for the final version. The final version might also get rid of the exchangeable lenses in favour of an integrated solution to adjust the device to different levels of near sightedness.
Translational tracking is not shown yet (and I don’t know when we will see this in a devkit or the final product). But in my opinion this is not mandatory for good VR. I have tested systems with positional tracking in VR where you could even walk around in the room (to some extend) and yes, it is cool. But it is not a requirement for a good experience. If the tracking is not good enough it can even be worse as wrong tracking data will move the camera around even tho the user did not move or it will move along the wrong vector or at a wrong speed etc. All tracking solutions I have tried so far had these problems and this is very distracting.
What do you have to do to test the Rift for yourself if you don’t have one of the 15,000 shipped devkits? Well if you are at Siggraph right now you can try to make an appointment by eMail to see the HD version. The normal version is actually shown at (at least) two stands at the exhibition floor (one has positional tracking). If you plan to attend the gamescom in cologne at the end of august, you’ll be in luck as Oculus plans to show the Rift at a public booth. If the line is too long there, you can always drop by the RWTH Aachen booth as we also plan to show Rift demos :-)