It seems there is a new prototype of the Rift out. I saw the notice on Facebook. It leads to an article about the new features. See: Oculus unveils new Rift prototype. Also, see Engadget’s: Oculus Rift’s latest prototype.
In the picture you’ll notice a Kinect-like position tracking device camera. Not noticeable in the pictures is the change in the display ‘screen’. They have changed over to an OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display for less persistence to reduce motion blur.
The Rift people are telling us the positional tracking system follows infra-red reflective tracking dots on the Rift head set. They also say the addition of the camera won’t increase the retail cost of the device.
I listen to too many politicians not to immediately think that since there is no retail release of the device, there cannot be any set price to be increased and thus class it as a nonsense statement. But, I may be too jaded. Whatever, the retail price point is estimated at US$300 to $350.
The tracking device adds more tracking capability. The previous model could detect head turns, side tilts, and nods. The new prototype can detect movement though X, Y, Z space, like rolling your chair left or right. I’m not clear on whether a chair movement was detected previously. But, this new prototype is supposed to do it better.
The Oculus team has been working to reduce movement detection time and improve visual updates to be more lifelike. This may be a change that is an evolution of that effort.
The developers feel the big thing in this prototype is the lower visual persistence in the display. Gamers are well aware of the problems of monitor persistence. A good screen will have <10ms of persistence. In fast paced games longer persistence causes screen blurring as the play whips from one view to another. Shoot the guy on the right and spin left to get the next bad guy and you have a blur of motion and a hard to see target.
There is a link in the article that describes more about how persistence affects game play.
Engadget’s description of the difference between the first prototype and the current one is the change in persistence makes a ‘tremendous’, their word, difference in usability. They seem to love how the new prototype works with EVE Online.
It seems there will be a new development kit released early 2014. That will allow developers to get a head start on adapting to the new prototype.
It seems the quality of the Oculus Rift just keeps ratcheting up.