HTC Vive Price Drop

This morning I see the Vive has dropped in price. The retail price of a new Vive is now a mere US$600. That is better than the previous $800. But still expensive. Vive headsets have been going on eBay for about $500 for some time. Gear VR units are going for $65 on eBay.

HTC Vive – Aug 2017

Sansar is supporting Oculus and Vive. I have neither. So, how well they are supported and how easy they are to setup with Sansar, I don’t know. I have yet to get my Gear VR working with Sansar. So, I know that is difficult. I think I am down to a ‘controller’ problem. I have an Xbox 1708 controller on order (US$20-30±).

If you Google on Vive and SL, you may get the idea Vive and SL will work for VR. That isn’t the case. The information is almost all 2016 stuff written before the Lab dropped their SL VR project and CtrlAltStudio stopped VR Viewer development. I have been able to get SL into 3D, not VR, with my Gear VR. Not really worth the effort. It’s a nice novelty.

I have used the old CtrlAltStudio Viewer to see SL in VR. There is no Bento support. Until someone decides to merge the CtrlAltStudio code and an updated Firestorm there is essentially no ‘native’ VR support for SL. There is some third-party software for various games to get them into VR. Most of those are for DirectX games, not OpenGL.

SL users are second-class VR citizens…

Interesting VR Games

I picked the game form the Top Five listed over on Road to VR. These are rated as some of the best VR games available. I think this is a good example of the radical game play possible.

This next one shows the excitement possible.

There is hope for VR. But, it is hard to know how many people will like VR enough to spend some money.

VR: Minimal Latency

You probably know a serious problem with VR is latency, the delay between moving your head and your eyes seeing the visual response. It is considered the primary cause of Simulator Sickness, aka motion sickness, AKA sea sickness, etc. A part of that delay comes from how long it takes the display screen to refresh the image it displays.

I suspect many of us haven’t realized that for Augmented Reality the problem is even worse. In AR we are seeing the world in real time with perfect sight and head movement synchronization and  an lagging AR image super imposed. While there is less chance of simulator/motion sickness the lag is visually obvious and annoying. See the video.

NVIDIA is experimenting with 16,000Hz (16KHz) screens. My Samsung screen provides a 120Hz refresh rate, more than 1,000 times slower.

See: NVIDIA Demonstrates Experimental 16,000Hz AR Display

We can get acceptable AR for most uses with way lower refresh rates. However, NVIDEA’s tech will provide crisp images even in combat games and athletic efforts where head motion is extreme.

360 Video – Google’s Take

Google and their YouTube are moving toward 360 video. The site Voices of VR Podcast has an interview with Google reps. See the article: YouTube VR Wants to Find the Next Billion Dollar Genre That Hasn’t Been Created Yet.

This video is from the New York Times, taken in Falluja, Iraq August 2016. It is a 360 video. You can drag the view around as it plays. I think it works amazingly well.

For viewing on my 2D screen it is a bit of a pain. I can’t always tell what the point of the clip is and have to pan around to see what it might be. I suppose in VR with directional sound it would be more… useful? Enjoyable? I think as each scene fades in from black that a direction needs to be set so one is looking at the subject of the clip.

Second Life and Sansar in the News

The Irish Times has an article by Marie Boran, Virtual reality is giving Second Life a second lease of life. (4/13) Marie was a participant in Second Life™ in 2010. In the first few words she reports the Trump-Swastikas at a Bernie Sanders meetup. That mention should clue people to the possibility of the reporting being shallow. I’ll try to push the Sansar news deeper and provide some perspective on Second Life..

The Blarneystone in Dublin, SL – 2017

Marie moves on to point out that while there is an ‘underbelly’ to SL, that is often reported on, there is also a surprising number of ‘ordinary’ folks in SL. The real world is pretty much that way… so…

Next Marie says her 2010 outfit and skin had expired… I went back and tried some of my 2008 outfits, well, we didn’t have “Outfits” in 2008. So, I had to find some stuff from then and make an outfit to see if things still worked. They did. I looked horrible. We can’t be sure what happened to Marie. I’ll take this as being another nail in ‘shallow’. But… Continue reading