Oculus 2014-21

If you are wondering why Samsung thinks they can beat Oculus to market, consider the Oculus Rift DK2. The kits will not start shipping until July of this year because they are having problems getting parts. Samsung is developing and manufacturing the AMOLED screens and other electronics. They are unlikely to have problems getting parts.

Back to Palmer. The connection between Palmer and John Carmack is the online community at Meant to Be Seen. Palmer was posting about his work there. John was reading and thus a serendipitous connection.

From Wired I learned that Palmer is the hardware guy and John the coder. The distorted images we see and recognize as the Oculus view of the world is from John’s code.

Now Nirav Patel, an engineer from Apple working with motion sensing, is coding the brain of the Oculus Rift. The idea is to make the device so aware of head motion it can predict head motion and allow the game to render images before they are needed.

As the story continues we learn of the initial meetings of Palmer, John, and Zuckerberg. We get some of the insights into Zuckerberg that the Oculus people were learned. It is here that the Facebook connection starts to make sense to me. Facebook is about connecting people. Often that is through sharing pictures. The Rift is seen as moving Facebook to the level of sharing experiences.

As the article unfolds we reach a point where the gamer’s hopes are dashed. Games like Call of Duty simply cannot render frames fast enough for VR headsets. The amazing photorealistic images we are seeing in games are not going to move well to the Oculus.

John Carmack is pointing out that games will have to be designed for the Rift.This isn’t just the interface thing that I’ve pointed out before. But, new games like Wolfstein – New Order won’t be joining the ranks of games supporting Oculus for more inane reasons having nothing to do with actual tech. Zenimax, the parent company of id Software where John worked and was co-founder, couldn’t come to an agreement on VR. That is when John left id and moved to Oculus. Now Zenimax is suing John/Oculus. See: ‘Doom 4’ ‘Wolfenstein: The New Order” No ‘Oculus Rift’ Support!

If you are wondering if SL is going to work well with Oculus and other headsets, the answer is yes. We don’t have lots of explosions and flying shrapnel, which I believe is the point John makes about games having to change in Wired’s article.

The ‘twitch’ games simply overcome  the computer’s ability to keep up with frame generation needed for VR. Virtual worlds like SL are the favored places/games for VR. Walking through worlds works pretty well. Running can be a problem and the acrobatics needed for combat games is overwhelming. Maintaining immersive presence in such games is currently beyond the technical capabilities of our computers and far beyond the abilities of mobile devices.

Technology is advancing rapidly. It has taken 30 years for the technology to reach a point where it can actually implement the idea of VR. But, Moore’s law is exponential not linear. In a couple of years more of the tech we need will have been created and implemented. More ways of programming things for the new tech will have been learned. This year we will see prototypes and probably first releases. They will all be better than anything we have seen, but they will be short of the perfection we seek. The Star Trek holodeck is a ways off, but maybe not as far away as we think.

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