As someone who worked in the audio-visual industry for several years, I was extremely skeptical when walking into my meeting for a hands-on demo with the Oculus Rift. The promise of a working, virtual reality simulator is something we’ve been hearing about for years, but had never been delivered – until now.
The device, still in a state as though it had been created by a man in his shop, worked surprisingly well. A small printed circuit board was attached to a pair of snowboarding goggles, and inside the goggles was the actual lens for the device. Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe assured me that this was (clearly) a prototype device, and that the finished product would contain only one wire and a far more professional look.
When I asked about whether or not there would be a port for developer to plug in additional devices, he was unable to confirm nor deny it, but I’d imagine this would further open up the possibilities of the device.
With the Oculus firmly strapped around my head, I was instantly transformed into a 3D world. As I rotated my head from left to right, my view of the world transitioned without any noticeable delay. For the first time I found a virtual reality experience that actually met my expectations.
There is one problem, however. When I removed the headset however, I felt extremely dizzy and disoriented, so it took me a few moments to get oriented with my surroundings again. My greatest concern for the technology is for individuals who suffer from motion sickness. As someone who generally isn’t prone to this, I felt motion sick for nearly 30 minutes afterward.
Doom 3 BFG Edition and Hawken, both of which launch later this year, will support the Oculus Rift out of the box and serve as showpiece games. Unity promises support, as does Epic with the Unreal Engine, and there’s another unannounced Unity-based showpiece title on the way as well. If the Oculus Rift can deliver on all of its promises then we’ve certainly got an impressive piece of tech worth following. Developers who backed the Kickstarter can expect their SDK to arrive in December.