The Road to VR has an article up by Ben Lang: Two Reasons You Will Want to Buy a New Gaming Rig for the Oculus Rift CV1. Oh good, we are going to need new hardware for Oculus… Well, it isn’t all that bad. But, it is interesting the direction the Oculus will probably push hardware design.
Ben is pointing out that once the Oculus is near release or at release time, hardware makers will be releasing new hardware optimized for the Virtual Reality (VR) experience. Palmer Luck has been quoted as saying Oculus is working with hardware developers ‘…on all kinds of optimizations.’ He would say what those might be.
Ben tells us how Intel is looking at VR/Oculus. Randy Stude, of Intel, said, “The VR world can expect that engagement with Intel, from the top down, will be very deep.” Considering they make the CPU’s and HD graphics chips as well as the data controls chips (North and South bridge chips) their integration and optimization could be extensive.
Intel already builds video encoding and decoding into their chips with optimizations to assist that process in other chips. So, it is not surprising they would be looking at how to optimize for VR. Nor is it surprising that AMD is looking at how to optimize for VR to be competitive with Intel.
Of course NVIDIA leads the graphics field in numerous bits of technology. So, we can expect some amazing work from them.
All of this means, if you are planning on buying a new computer, WAIT for the VR optimized hardware to arrive.
Ben’s second reason for getting a new rig and coincidentally to wait is Moore’s Law, tech doubles in power every 18 months. Or drops in price by 50% every 18 months. The result is that more and more powerful hardware is available nearly a constant price.
For Second Life
So, are you asking yourself if you are going to need get new hardware to go along with your retail version Oculus Rift? Well, in general terms, no. If you are running Win7 or 8 your hardware is likely to run Rift with Second Life. But, how well?
There are those gamers that are highly competitive. Those guys will want new rigs to remain competitive. If you are playing Call of Duty and other high demand graphics games then you will want a new rig to run your game with the Oculus. But, I doubt Second Life players are in that group.
I doubt we are going to place that level of demand on our systems with Second Life. Nor are we going to have the high demand needs of competitive play. Even our combat games tend to be lag tolerant, well the players tend to be.
After being in some regions today with 20 to 40 people and 6 FPS I can’t imagine what combat is like right now. 20 people in a region firing automatic weapons… that has to drag a region to its knees. But, the majority of SL people are not playing in SL combat games. Nor will Oculus users likely play combat games. At least I can’t imagine it being a great experience when there are going to be far better combat games to play that have been designed for the Oculus.
I think Second Life will stand out as a place to explore and build with the Oculus. It will remain a place for art and experimentation. For those endeavors current equipment is probably more than adequate. But, a new computer and video card would make things nicer.