Disclaimer: It takes a lot to have me excited in the tech world, a lot. After years of stagnation in the display and general graphics department, the Oculus Rift is the first thing in a very long time that could really change things. After a year with the DK1 unit, my DK2 turned up today, and wow, wow, wow, is it a massive improvement.
VR isn't perfect just yet, remember the DK in DK2 stands for Development Kit. This is not for general consumers, but Oculus VR are kind enough to not lock it down to specifically just developers. What we have here is a beta product that shows us where Oculus VR is going with VR tech, and if the differences it has baked into DK2 over DK1 are anything to go by, VR is going to be here quicker than you thought.
The original Rift had a 7-inch 1280x800 display, but it had quite a bad 'screen-door' effect - where you could easily see individual pixels in front of your eyes. This was really jarring at the best of times, mixed with the laggy display, it didn't provide a great experience for VR. DK2 on the other hand, features a 5.5-inch 1920x1080 display, which is world's beyond what the DK1 had on offer.
Not only that, but we have low persistence, which eliminates next to all motion blur - which is instantly noticeable, within the first seconds of sliding into the world of the DK2. Right now, it is 11pm here in South Australia, and I'm getting close to going to bed - ready for a full day of playing with my DK2 tomorrow - but first a very quick first impressions.
I have only used it for less than five minutes, after around five minutes setting it all up. Setting up the DK2 unit takes a little more time when compared to DK1 as you have a positional tracking camera to plug in, and run cables to the cable connector box - which is world's smaller than the breakout box included with the DK1. Once you've got it all up and running, the fun begins.
Instantly, I was able to tell the massive difference that the Full HD panel had on offer. The VR world feels bigger, more encompassing. You're drawn in with better, deeper colors, but it's the low-persistence screen that is the biggest improvement. Gone is that shuddering effect that the pixel-laden DK1 provided, providing a seamless VR experience. The DK2 really is world's beyond DK1 - but I'm going by the Demo Scene included in the Configuration Utility.
This alone sits you in front of a desk, where you can test out the positional tracking goodness out on the DK2. Moving your head toward the plant or house of cards on the table feels absolutely surreal. You can move closer to the objects, tilting your head to the side and looking beside them, or behind them - something that simply wasn't possible with DK1.
The cable routing is so much better on the DK2, routing over the top of your head versus the upper right of your head. It feels much more natural, and allows for improved movement within the space near your body.
Right now, I'm gushing over the DK2 - I've only set it up and spent a few minutes with it, but had to run off and write down some thoughts on it. Tomorrow I'll play with more demos and a few games, and then I'm going to test some proper games over the weekend - including Team Fortress 2, Elite: Dangerous, and more.
VR is here folks - and you can expect much more Rift DK2 content from us in the near future.