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Oculus Rift VR Development Kit Thoughts So Far and its Future

By: Anthony Garreffa | Editorials in Displays & Projectors | Posted: Sep 4, 2013 12:01 am

Setting the Oculus Rift Up


What I did was create an "Oculus Rift" folder on my PC, downloading everything to this folder to make it easier to work with. This is just a personal thing, but it did make things easier to manage. First off, you'll need to download the Oculus Rift SDK, which is an 83MB download.




Once you have this downloaded, extract it and you'll see a folder with two executables inside. The first, is the Oculus Configuration Utility (as shown above) and then, the Oculus World Demo.


Setting the Rift up is incredibly easy, you just have to fill in some details about yourself. Your height, which eye cups you're using, and then you can launch the Interactive Utility to check it all out.






Once you have the feel of this, it's time to get the VR party started. In that same OculusSDK folder, you'll see Oculus World Demo, which is where the fun really begins. Opening this, will open an entire new world, but equally as impressive.



First Impressions


To be absolutely, brutally honest, the screen door effect is absolutely shocking. It really is bad, and it is instantly noticeable. But, really, this is the main argument here: this is a Development Kit. Think of it like a pre-Alpha to a game, or the first draft of a novel, or the first cut of a movie.


It is far from the final product, which will feature a Full HD 1920x1080, 7-inch panel compared to the 1280x720, 7-inch panel inside of the Development Kit. But, even with the screen door effect, the immersion level is absolutely mind-blowing.


I think the weight of the Rift, at 379 grams, is perfect. It's not too heavy at all, and isn't distracting. I wore it on and off for around two hours on the first night, and around 30-60 minutes on the second day, and I haven't had any neck cramps at all. I haven't sat there and thought to myself "gee, my neck or eyes hurt", but each person will have a different experience.


I'm using the "A" eye cups, as my eyesight is pretty much perfect - I don't wear prescription glasses at all. There are two different eye cups in the box, but I didn't see much of a difference with the other two eye cups. You can also adjust the distance that the 7-inch display sits in front of your face. You can adjust this on the side of the Rift headset itself (as shown below).




The easiest way to explain the screen door effect is to imagine seeing hundreds upon hundreds of black squares across your vision. It's annoying, and can really take you out of the immersion and 3D effect of the world you're currently experiencing.


It feels like those old full-motion video (FMV) games from back in the 90s, which used interlaced video because of bandwidth and disc/CD space restrictions of the time. For every line of video horizontally, there was a black line. At the time, you didn't mind, because FMV in games (when done well) was impressive for that time.


In the days of Full HD monitors, 4K displays finally hitting the market, the Oculus Rift's 720p resolution is really shocking. But, the team at Oculus are using screens from the Nexus 7 (7-inch, 1280x800 panels) and the consumer version will be 1920x1080.


I don't think the 1920x1080 version is going to be leaps and bounds better, but it is going to be a giant leap in terms of losing the screen door effect and immersing gamers even more than the 720p version does now.

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