martedì 28 maggio 2013

Oculus Rift Development Kit - My first 15 minutes with the kit

Back in April 2012 I've participated via kickstarter in crowdfounding the Oculus Rift,
a VR headset with great promises. Today I've received my kit!
I've waited like 18 years for this moment since I first saw a virtual reality demo running on my old 486.
I can't remember the name of that demo but it was so impressive, you could spin a chair, turn on a pc inside a room.. take any modern fps and you have thousand times the interactivity and graphics but still
that demo made me dream about the moment we could step into virtual reality in a decent way.
Sure there were a lot of VR headset before the Rift however if you've read about it you should know
why this could be the right time to own a vr headset. or not? well..


The kit arrived in a standard box inside which there's a very nice plastic case that contains the unit itself,
a power supply with various ac adapters, usb cable, hdmi cable, hdmi/dvi adapter, two more pairs of lens (a pair is already mounted on the unit). Sadly my kit was missing the dvi cable but since I won't be using it for now this doesn't trouble me (I've contacted the Oculus support and I'm waiting for their reply).
The unit itself is light enough but the cable that connect the headset to the control box is maybe a bit short,
also it seems like it is not replaceable. I hope it won't easily break.

My first 15 minutes with the Rift
So I connected the unit to my laptop running win7 via hdmi and usb, it flawlessly recognized both the display and the input adapter, after downloading the Tuscany demo I was ready to step into vr so I jumped
right into the black hole.
Woah. I'm inside a rustic house, I can move my head around and feel a little lag between my head movement and the actual movement in the demo but it is not that noticeable. But the vision is a bit out of focus so I removed the headset and then I've played around with the two screws on the headset that  increase/decrease the distance between the lens and the eyes. Once I achieved a clear focus I moved around inside the house and It felt incredible.
It feels a little strange to look down where your hands should be and well, there are no hands!
 There's a fireplace and some props inside the house and you can easily feel the volume of those props, nice. There's a window and you can look outside, this was for me
another 'Woahh' as you definitely FEEL the distance between the window and the grass outside but..
ouch I began feeling a little strange. At that time I wasn't using the mouse to look around, I was just using
WASD to move and the headset to look around. Then I left the house and began to wander outside, there's a fountain, some flowers and some trees outside, the flowers were incredible, I could just see how the petals were distant each other and when I saw a butterfly fly towards me I was really impressed.
But again that strange feeling like something is not right. If you look carefully you can see the pixels grid
but it is not too noticeably so that's not a big concern. Then I reached for the mouse to be able to move freely as I wanted to take a good look at the house from the outside. That's when the problems begin.
When I moved the mouse I felt incredibly dizzy. So much that I had to close the eyes for a while to calm down. Then I tried to look around with the mouse using very small movement. again the dizziness.
I decided to stop using the mouse and just to look around using the headset. Again dizziness and also a vague nausea. That last feeling was escalating so I had to stop and remove the headset but the nausea persisted for a long time, it was to strong that I ended up in bed as I could barely move around, every time
I moved my head I got dizziness and nausea. that was like two hours ago and I still feel a bit sick now.
Even looking at the screen while I type this post is giving me nausea.
My gf who tried the headset got this dizziness too but since she tried it for just a minute it wasn't such a strong sickness for her as it was for me.
Honestly I've read about this issue from some people who received the Rift before me but I thought it wasn't so strong and maybe it could wear out with time. For now I can only say that I badly want to try it again but for today I've had enough of nausea so I better wait until tomorrow before I try it again.

I'm a bit worried about this issue because I've played a lot of fps games and I've also used some non conventional peripherals such as head tracking devices but I never felt dizziness or nausea so I'm definitely worried whether I'll be able to use the Rift or not. However for now I have to stop since the nausea is rising again.  Stay tuned for updates and a full Review, if I ever manage to use it without sickness.

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