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I Went To Valve And Saw The Future (VR Hype Thread)

Feep

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Sep 14, 2006
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Feep another question:

Did anyone at Valve give any indication of what types of input devices they will be experimenting with going forwards?
They seemed to be playing around with a bunch of different things. Even before haptic feedback, the need for full body tracking is pretty intense, so I'd imagine they'd want to work out some kind of system there.

The Return of the PowerGlove
 

bootski

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Apr 8, 2013
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No, Consumer version of Oculus Rift will be better than Crystal Cove. It was just a prototype, showing low persistence and tracking.

Chances are good we will see dev kit v2 at GDC and a consumer release not to far away from it (end of 2014).
this is the impression i was under as well; with the demos i've seen out and the gameplay i've seen being tested (TF2 most notably) i'm unsure why i'm still seeing posts saying that the consumer versions are LONG ways away. it seems that they're right around the corner, if anything, and i'm excited.
 

Chairmanchuck

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this is the impression i was under as well; with the demos i've seen out and the gameplay i've seen being tested (TF2 most notably) i'm unsure why i'm still seeing posts saying that the consumer versions are LONG ways away. it seems that they're right around the corner, if anything, and i'm excited.
They need enough content for release though.

What we have right now are mostly tech-demos and drivers for old games. I loved to play around with the Rift when I had the chance to try it, but there wasnt much content for it besides some tech-demos and HL2/TF2.

If they would release OR, I would expect quite some good games, that will benefit greatly from that.
I would love to play NaissanceE with a good Rift version though :)
 

graywolf323

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Jan 19, 2008
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I'm still not sold on this partly because 3D was hyped and came crashing down

honestly it feels like we're repeating the fads from the 90s but with slightly better tech
 
Oct 30, 2011
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VR is gonna end up like 3D and Motion control gaming. just a fad.
This is so, soooo wrong.

VR bridges the gap between the casual and the core when it comes to motion control.

It's appealing to both audiences, and unlike Kinect, has tangible benefits for new, core experiences.
 

Chairmanchuck

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I'm still not sold on this partly because 3D was hyped and came crashing down

honestly it feels like we're repeating the fads from the 90s but with slightly better tech
You should still try it once though and not during a convention. When I tried it it really was amazing.
Was flying through space, was sitting in a virtual cinema, that looked like a cinema, walked around a swamp and was in City 17.

It is not "just" 3d. Your brain really makes you feel you are there. I guess no one who tried it can explain it well besides "It is like you are really there."

I wish I could try the Crystal Cove one.
 

The Jason

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Sounds awesome. I hope we get a VR solution this gen, but it honestly seems like its still a few years out. PS5 will probably be a fully capable VR console.
 

PGamer

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Sounds awesome. I hope we get a VR solution this gen, but it honestly seems like its still a few years out. PS5 will probably be a fully capable VR console.
Oculus is most certainly releasing a consumer VR headset this gen. Or are you only talking about consoles?
 

googleplex

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Sounds awesome. I hope we get a VR solution this gen, but it honestly seems like its still a few years out. PS5 will probably be a fully capable VR console.
All signs are pointing to Sony presenting a VR solution for PS4 soon. Like as of 3 weeks from now at GDC.
 

666

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Wonder how quick the backlash to VR will take?

I'm pretty excited about the upcoming years, and i'm still bummed the Nintendo Go wasn't real, as this is what I imagined it was, but with motion controllers.
 

Kreunt

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Jul 21, 2011
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3d graphics suck, sprites 4ever.

What is the longest amount of time you can use Oculus Rift DK1 before it gets even remotely uncomfortable? And I don't mean due to VR sickness. I'm talking about the general comfort of wearing the headset.

Do we have very good reason to believe this will be improved greatly in the consumer version?

This is pretty much my biggest concerns at the moment. When I get the chance I like to sit down and fully immerse myself in a game for a good length of time, but if after 2-3 hours if I have to take a break it is a little annoying. Probably worth it for the great experience I'm sure VR is though.
I've had the rift dev kit on my head for hours at a time and didn't really have any issues with comfort, even with having big headphones on at the same time.
The weight of it was never an issue for my neck either.


Wonder how quick the backlash to VR will take?

I'm pretty excited about the upcoming years, and i'm still bummed the Nintendo Go wasn't real, as this is what I imagined it was, but with motion controllers.
Oh it won't be long til Fox News is running stories about VR MURDER SIMULATORS, where it's just like killing a real person.
edit: also, Al-Qaeda will be training suicide bombers with them.
 

androvsky

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I mentioned earlier in the thread that I had an old PC Gamer issue that had VR displays as the cover story. I think that even though this line of discussion got dropped rather quickly, it's apparent people forget why VR displays didn't take off in the mid-90's so it's worth a bit of a reminder since it keeps popping up in VR threads. I'll throw in a bit of context for resolution from the same issue (May 1996).

From the "Online Gaming" portion of the cover story about the future of gaming:
If you've got a fast 486 or Pentium, you can play Warbirds online in resolutions up to 1024x768 and still get a good frame rate.
Amusingly, that's from a caption of the screenshot. Here's the quote from the sidebar:
... on a very fast 486 or a Pentium, you can run the game at an amazing 1024x768 and still get more than 20 frames per second.
Note the bolded; this is just barely before 3D accelerators, yet the issue covers VR displays that were already released.

Review of Terra Nove: Strike Force Centauri:
Graphically, the game may disappoint those who've come to expect 640x480 resolution in nearly every game they purchase, even if it bogs the gameplay down to a crawl... but the game supports only two resolutions - 320x200 and a sharper 320x400.
Okay, the actual VR displays. There's several tables of facts, but resolution is not listed as one of them, for good reason. It was embarrassing for even back then.
The video monitors in each head-mounted display feature resolutions far below the high-res 640x480 mode, or even the standard 320x200 mode, that game users have come to expect in their games.
From the Forte VFX1:
A strategic partnership with LCD amnufacturer Kopin has allowed Forte Technologies to upgrade the quality of their displays to 260x230, while keeping the $1,000 price point. The result is a solid headset that clearly is the finest among the current crop of units.
$1000 in 1996 dollars. 260x230 per eye.

(Note: Some sources list the resolution as 789x230. That's apparently counting each RGB color sub-pixel as a pixel, you have to divide the 789 by 3 to get the true resolution)

They speak of latency also.
Because of latency, you also can't expect quick responses when, for instance, you whip your head around rapidly; the software just can't keep up.
Naturally, there's no hard numbers to be found, but does that sound like the latency is anywhere near reasonable? Keep in mind none of the games mentioned in the article supported 3D accelerators at the time (the first 3DFX Voodoo didn't come out until later in the year for consumers), so 60 fps for 3D graphics wasn't terribly likely. edit: Thanks to Gangxxter, we don't need hard numbers. The headtracking lag is so bad it's very obvious from just looking at a video showing it off: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0n5B3fl-bU&feature=youtu.be&t=5m34s

The list of recommended games is also somewhat telling:
Dark Forces: Hands-down the best game for use with these headsets.
That's barely what people would call a 3D game today; it's a Doom-style engine with 2D sprite enemies.
System Shock: Gives you much the same freedom of movement as Dark Forces... There's also plenty of onscreen text that's unreadable because of the low visual quality.
From the article's conclusion:
The fact is, virtual reality is still emerging technology. We're at least two years away from VR equipment that's sharp enough and cheap enough to make a real splash in the home marketplace.
Even a hype article about the future of gaming was saying the tech wasn't ready yet. I think it's pretty clear that the mid-1990's and now are very, very different.
 

Liabe Brave

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Argument A: You have to be alone to use VR!
Argument B: You look silly when using VR!
To give the argument its due, these are far more potent concerns than the stuff about technical requirements. Those really have been solved, or have clear solutions in the near term. But prediction of how consumers will act is far more difficult. The best technical solutions in the world are sometimes rejected by the market, and for reasons exactly as trivial as appearance.

Personally I don't think VR will be wholly rejected, but it's not an impossible outcome. Just being great isn't always enough.

You could make some insane stealth game against huge giant beasts though.
With the rumor of Sony working on VR for a console, I tried to come up with IPs that'd translate well. And I imagined how great a new version of R.A.D. could be. You get the epic heroics of giant robots fighting as with your EDF example. But your avatar doesn't actually do any fighting--you wander around with a controller in your hands, making the robot do your bidding. So there's good immersion because you're actually doing precisely what the virtual you is doing; you get combat without the POV changing violently; and you get the VR spectacle of incredible action on an insane scale.
 

red731

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Thanks Feep for the write up of your experiences with it. You lucky sob.
I, for one, can't freaking wait for VR since I've dreamed about it since kid years.
 

Liabe Brave

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$1000 in 1996 dollars. 260x230 per eye.

Even a hype article about the future of gaming was saying the tech wasn't ready yet. I think it's pretty clear that the mid-1990's and now are very, very different.
Oh my yes. In 1992 I had an opportunity to use a research-class VR rig. It was 480x480 for each eye. To stiffly hold the weight of the little CRTs and all the lenses, the headset was made of metal...and to balance them out so you weren't always looking down at your feet, there were counterweights at the back, where there was also an inch-thick cable bundle coming out. The whole thing was huge and heavy as a bear.

Imagine this a little smaller, and with a nice beige office-furniture finish.

I got an untextured table with some objects on it, and a hand avatar. (I was told this was usually controlled by a glove but that was too delicate for demos so a tech used a kb/m to move it for me.) Since there wasn't anything else to look at but the table you usually didn't notice latency. But one time when the demonstrator talked beside me I looked toward him out of reflex, and the world spun very slowly, so it must've been bad.

Despite all these limitations, it still felt awesome and super high-tech somehow. Just it was obviously unwieldy and never going to be a home thing.

Interestingly, I was much more impressed by a telepresence demo using the same rig. In this head tracking was turned off, and the input wasn't virtual, it was cameras worn by another researcher. Since their head movements didn't match mine, it was disorienting at first (and I bet stomach-churning if I'd seen it at length). But in short-term I could suddenly sense the possibilities. The reality was obviously far more convincing, even with the screendoor effect. It was almost impossible not to flinch or defend your face when they started playing catch with somebody else.
 

mrklaw

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I can imagine them being pretty good eventually for telepresence. I work from home a lot so being able to sit around a virtual table and talk 'face to face' would be great
 

Man

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Half life 3 confirmed...
While I think Half-Life 3 will have Oculus support I think the biggest wow experience ('the Doom' of VR if you will) have to be tailored exclusively for it and so it will most likely be a completely new IP.
 

Durante

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I mentioned earlier in the thread that I had an old PC Gamer issue that had VR displays as the cover story. I think that even though this line of discussion got dropped rather quickly, it's apparent people forget why VR displays didn't take off in the mid-90's so it's worth a bit of a reminder since it keeps popping up in VR threads. I'll throw in a bit of context for resolution from the same issue (May 1996).

[...]

Even a hype article about the future of gaming was saying the tech wasn't ready yet. I think it's pretty clear that the mid-1990's and now are very, very different.
Great post, thanks for the information.
 

StuBurns

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Jan 9, 2008
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I have to admit that I've put little consideration and largely want to dismiss the tech as a gimmick also... but Stu's comment regarding 'Divine Comedy' may have just sent my mind coursing down a very different riverbed.

It's not just that Divine Comedy is one of my favorite pieces of literature ever... it's the fact that a genuine interpretation of the classic outside literature might ONLY make sense in something like a VR video game. That's something I hadn't considered. Most of the ideas I've come across for VR have been derivations of the current paradigm of game design.
Absolutely. I just used The Divine Comedy as an example because I think specifically the visual variety, and dream-like imagery would be especially well matched with the graphical limitations of VR, however I think you could do a lot in terms of literature. On the previous page I mentioned Façade, that is the kind of experience that'll be especially resonant within VR I believe.

VR will be brute forced into lots of games, and some will benefit from it, things like racing games, cockpit flight games, etc, and you could retrofit it into games like Journey, where the sense of movement is so important, but the character articulation isn't extensive, and I believe you'd see very rewarding results, but I do believe the industry is going to have to approach VR, from the ground up, as they would an entirely new creative medium. I'm already pretty fucking bored of shooting things in games, the only things that attract me to games at this point is the things around the core game design, the world the game inhabits, the writing, the characters, the technology, etc.

I want experiences that are primarily concerned with putting me in a wondrous environment with writing that's actually worth our time, as of now, no one really makes those types of games, because they're perceived as boring, no one would buy The Divine Comedy as a normal game, because no one wants to hold the W key down for eight hours while people talk to you, but within the context of VR, I believe those kinds of experiences will be instantly more appealing to people.

I really believe the shit something like Dear Esther got for being a 'non-game' or boring or whatever, would dissipate if people experienced it within the context of VR.
 

Ocaso

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Sep 26, 2010
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This is so, soooo wrong.

VR bridges the gap between the casual and the core when it comes to motion control.

It's appealing to both audiences, and unlike Kinect, has tangible benefits for new, core experiences.
I'd like to believe this, but deep down I know people just don't like putting shit on their face. It'll be a niche, but hopefully a succesful and well supported one.
 

Hazaro

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Jan 21, 2008
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SMH at VR naysayers. Once you try it you'll understand like everyone else. 3D and waggle aere gimmicks, this is the real deal.
Hi! I’m Feep
HI FEEP

Just as fantastic was their low-persistance display tech. The display ran at a blistering 95 Hz, and the pixels only flash for approximately 20% of that 10.52 ms refresh time.
FUCKIN SWEET (This is my guesstimated personal falloff notcibility point from using my 120Hz monitor)

Latency? Low. Approximately 25ms. Not noticeable.
kewl
The demos sound great. That cdak thing seems incredible. I want it.

My questions for you:
  • How does the latency feel compared to the EVE VR (Valkryie) demo at E3? (Already felt fantastic and I'm picky and sensitive about this, all other VR testing fails horribly compared to that experience)
  • How does the resolution compare to the 1080p Oculus if you have tried that? (1080p is still not enough imo, or needs to be downsampled / heavily AA'd)
  • Did you notice any applied motion blur for quick head (change of direction) movements?

Thanks!
 

StuBurns

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Jan 9, 2008
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I'd like to believe this, but deep down I know people just don't like putting shit on their face. It'll be a niche, but hopefully a succesful and well supported one.
I think this is everyone's knee-jerk reaction to the concept, but the truth is, there's nothing you wear on your face that has practical application that people don't use. People wear sunglasses because they prefer not to be accosted by the sun, people go skiing with goggles, they go diving, they go to play paintball, etc.

There really has never been a good reason to wear anything like a VR headset while at home until now, so while I would agree people don't really want to wear a headset, they will be more than happy with it for the experience it derives.
 

Waveset

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Mar 22, 2013
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Very entertaining write up, thanks for sharing.

I'm so hype for VR, any gaming hardware purchases have been put on hold while I wait for things to stabilize - have an idea of what sort of graphics card I'm going to need to drive a decent experience, the cost of the consumer Rift and keeping a keen eye on Sony and what they may bring to the party.
 

goomba

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VR can and will (evetually) bring gaming back to the masses like the Wii did last gen.

I plan to retire to VR , I'll see you there.
 

Atrophis

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- Everything I’ve written down is purely from memory, so I might have forgotten something? I don’t know, I have a pretty strong memory. But the last one was unforgettable: a four-minute, zen-like trip through this very scene, created by some folks in 2010 as a 4k demo. There’s a rocketing forward effect in the beginning that threw me for a loop, and the roller coaster Oculus demo does *nothing* for me. I’ve never done acid, but I imagine it was something like this. Remarkable, special, incredible, pick your adjective, bro. It was kind of like I time-traveled to the past and got on a dinosaur and used it to stomp robot zombies, or something.
There are many things I want to experience in VR but I'm not sure this is one of them. I think it would give me nightmares for days.
 
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What's going to happen to 2D indie games when VR gets popular?
Pretty sure SteamVR is supposed to include some kind of 'legacy' mode for 2D games - basically like a big screen floating in front of you. Not ideal but if it works and the resolution is good enough, it might be a better experience than playing on a relatively small-sized monitor or TV.

Personally I would be willing to give up some resolution / sharpness to have a projector-like experience with the contrast of an OLED screen. But it really depends how good the screen is. A high-quality screen with high enough resolution / pixel fill would probably replace a TV for me as a single person who mainly uses TVs for movies and gaming. But I'm probably being overly optimistic - might have to wait a couple more years for screen tech to reach that point.
 

kyser73

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God, can you imagine No Man's Sky in VR?

Great art style, it's FPS but doesn't look to be a 'twitch' FPS, more focused on exploration and encounters.
 

revolverjgw

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I have the Oculus devkit and I know that once I get my hands on a VR with good resolution, there will be no going back to 2D screens. HL2 has been so amazing. Imperfect, but the potential is intoxicating. I really hope this catches on.
 

SneakyStephan

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Jan 23, 2011
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I'm still not sold on this partly because 3D was hyped and came crashing down

honestly it feels like we're repeating the fads from the 90s but with slightly better tech
3d hype was manufactured by companies like sony/samsung/lg etc to be able to keep selling tvs at higher prices and by the movie companies too as a gimmick for their new movies

vr was hyped by carmack and anyone who tried it, the Oculus company were nobodies until word of mouth from the tech demos and their kickstarter success made them well known

so it's not exactly the same
 

JaggedSac

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I can't wait for this stuff to come out. It better not involve me sticking stuff on walls though, lol.
 

Zeth

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3d hype was manufactured by companies like sony/samsung/lg etc to be able to keep selling tvs at higher prices and by the movie companies to as a gimmick for their new movies

vr was hyped by carmack and anyone who tried it, the Oculus company were nobodies until word of mouth from the tech demos and their kickstarter success made them well known

so it's not exactly the same
Yep. There's actual human passion behind VR. It's opening up a new world of creative possibilities that people are just getting started on.
 

Gangxxter

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They speak of latency also.

Naturally, there's no hard numbers to be found, but does that sound like the latency is anywhere near reasonable? Keep in mind none of the games mentioned in the article supported 3D accelerators at the time (the first 3DFX Voodoo didn't come out until later in the year for consumers), so 60 fps for 3D graphics wasn't terribly likely.
No need for hard numbers, just watch this video: http://youtu.be/J0n5B3fl-bU?t=5m34s
The latency was really, really bad. No comparison to that what the Oculus Rift is capable of.