The Oculus Rift is an incredible piece of gaming tech: an advanced Virtual Reality headset that immerses players right in the game. It is unlike anything I’ve ever tried. It feels like the start of a whole new chapter of gaming.
After playing Doom: BFG edition on it, I had a chance to sit down with its creator, Palmer Luckey, and ask him about some of his own personal VR projects - prototypes and ideas that he’s been playing with in his workshop that will likely never see the light of day.
Palmer explained that he’s been working on headsets with a “much wider field of view”, but that the sheer processing power of generating the images they need causes problems: “you have to render four independent images to create the stereo. That means you have a quarter of the frame-rate you usually have. It’s just not practical.”
Meanwhile, there’s other peripherals that “cost way too much to possibly do any kind of mass-market applications with,” says Palmer. “Some that are way too big and heavy to do, some that eat way too much power, some of it is just too complex. Nobody is willing to set-up an omnidirectional treadmill and motion-capture cameras all around their living room.”
At this point, I did a bit of a double take.
"Wait? What? An omni-directional treadmill and motion-capture cameras? You mean, kind of like a holodeck? Palmer, have you built the holodeck?"
“I do have a really nice garage workshop.”
The Oculus Rift Kickstarter for the developer kit has nine days left to run. We’ll have more first-hand impressions of the Oculus tomorrow.