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The future is here – the Oculus Rift has finally begun shipping. It’s early days yet, but if you’re one of the lucky few who backed or pre-ordered the dev kit, here’s a collection of resources, videos, and information on everything we know about the Oculus so far. The excitement is unbearable though, so apologies in advance if you just can’t wait after reading this.
Me too (3241 here!). Shipping is slow, but they are going out. To find out your position in the queue, head over to oculusVR.com/sales and enter the email address you ordered with. You’ll receive a link to check your status, but you’ll need to do this each time as there’s no way to create a password.
The display output is 1280 x 800, but this is required at a minimum 60FPS with v-sync enabled; the consumer version will be even more demanding. Right now, you’ll need a high end graphics card to run most games – there isn’t much overhead added by the Rift itself, but running games in 3D simply requires a decent rig.
If you’re curious about what’s actually inside, iFixit has already published a full teardown.
Wear Glasses? Don’t Stress
The Oculus comes with a variety of lens cups – the standard A set are for those with 20/20 vision or are longsighted (since the Oculus is focussed at infinity). Set B and C are for those who need to correct near-sightedness, though at a set prescription they’re not going to work for everyone, especially for very strong prescriptions. In addition to that, you can wear glasses as is (assuming they’re not huge) – the screen itself can be moved forward or backward to accommodate.
If you are expecting to change the eye cups often, take heed of Reddit user evolvedant’s warning about always changing with the Oculus face plate up.
“So you don’t make the same mistake I did… take extremely close heed to the warning in the Oculus Rift booklet and ALWAYS change the eye cups with the Rift front plate facing up such that dust can not fall INTO the open cup holes.
Even the most tinyest, itty bitty spec of dust that lands on the LCD screen will create a foreign particle in VR that is impossible not to notice. Think dead pixel but more annoying in VR because only one eye can see it. (Worse if each eye has it’s own dust spec in different locations.)”
What Games Can You Play?
There are a number of demos that come with the dev-kit, including the Tuscany environment made by the Rift team themselves, and Epic Citadel (no snow, sadly) from the Oculus UDK.
In terms of compatible games, Team Fortress 2 is the launch title – start the game from the command line with -vr parameter. Inside the game you can use the console to rotate through a variety of control modes until you find something you’re comfortable with. This is the best gameplay overview I’ve found yet
Hawken – a free to play mech shooter – has promised support and been prominently demoed at conferences. Many have said the experience of flying makes this the best Oculus experience yet, while the ability to look around the cockpit without actually turning the whole lumbering mech gives a clear competitive advantage.
Given how easy it is to integrate Oculus support into Unreal games, expect a lot of Indie titles to include support – this Steam Greenlight collection of Oculus enabled games is already quite full!
I’m particularly looking forward to The Gallery, which is currently seeking funds through Kickstarter.
That’s about your lot for now (at the time of writing). Remember – the whole purpose of this kit is to get developers making the games – this is not a consumer version and you shouldn’t expect anything more than basic demos right now.
Keyboard Sucks – How Else Can I Move Around?
An Xbox controller is the cheapest way to get rid of that mouse and keyboard; but for the ultimate VR experience, you’ll want to buy a Razer Hydra. The Hydra consists of two Wii-like remotes for each hand, wired to a base station. It uses magnetic fields to detect the exact physical location of the remotes in relation to the spherical base, giving you accurate 3D manipulation.
To celebrate the launch of the Oculus, the Hydra is currently on sale (50% off) until April 25th, bringing the price down to £55 of them UK pounds, or $100. Grab your coupon here.
What might happen if you combine a Kinect with the Oculus? This.
I need MOAR
- RoadToVR is my go-to for all VR news. It should be yours too.
- The Oculus developer forums are also the best way to find out about new games or shipping updates, straight from the Oculus team themselves.
- And of course, there’s an /r/Oculus Reddit channel.
Are you excited yet? You should be. The sci-fi dream of a VR future has finally begun, and I’m so glad I can be a part of it. There are but a few great revolutions that happen in every generation; I’ve been there for the start of home computing, and then the internet, and now this. Show your appreciation by sharing this post and spreading the word about the Oculus revolution!