mandelbox oculus rift boxplorer2 fractal 3
An example of a Mandlebox fractal – photo credit

Fractals are intricate, infinite, and beautiful repeating patterns that are created from an equation. A fractal rendering program called Boxplorer2 recently added support for the Oculus Rift, allowing you to create mesmerizing 3D fractals which you can fall forever into.

Developer Marius Schilder added Boxplorer2 Oculus Rift support and used it to create an eerie Rift-ready rendering of a fractal known as a Mandelbox. While this video shows a pre-rendered scene, Schilder says that a powerful enough video card should be able to view it in real-time. Head tracking is supported in real-time rendering.

When asked about the experience inside the Rift, Schilder says, “Fairly immersive. The lack of sense of scale makes your brain less willing to think it’s just weird goggles. The low rez is also very apparent, since w/ fractals you tend to hunt for detail in the scenery.”

Schilder told me that adding Rift support was fairly simple. He also says that he has a Razer Hydra and may be considering future support for it in Boxplorer2.

Boxplorer2 lacks a front-end user interface and won’t be usable if you aren’t familiar with the command line. For those of you with the know-how, you can find Boxplorer 2 here — don’t get lost down there!

If you’re interested in learning more Schilder points to, a hub for all things fractal, including Boxplorer2.

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Here’s another fractal treat to indulge in, for those as mesmerized by these beautiful works of math as I:

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  • Daan Kortenbach

    That’s awesome!

  • david

    3d fractals @60fps + stereo ? How many Titans ?

    • marius

      david, I run w/ two 7970s at 1.1GHz.

      A couple of nvidia GPUs would do fine as well, if not for their double precision performance crippling in their consumer line. You won’t be able to dive as deep but skimming the surface at speed is still fun.

      Pixel shaders are a perfect match for ray marching these things.

      • max

        Any idea when a w32 build with this functionality will be posted?

        • marius

          max, it’s very much a developer toy but I can build a win32 binary and zip it up with some Oculus compatible fractal cfgs.
          The Oculus head tracker is a 2nd executable at the moment (like a driver), but I’ll look into dropping a sample of that in there as well.

        • marius

          I dropped pre-compiled version with some choice shaders.

    • david

      ok, 1 month later (^^”) I just retried with a new rig
      i5@4,7ghz + gtx 670 => avg 35fps on Reflectoids
      I guess I have already one good reason to get a second card later :)
      for now the head tracking is sluggish but the experience is still amazing o_O

  • Morgan

    Imagine mapping out this sort of infinite world as a way to browse through the vastness of an Internet made into a virtual physical space.

    • Ben Lang

      Indeed, with a virtual Wikipedia you could just keep going on and on, deeper into topics!

  • Andreas Aronsson

    Ah, I tried this the other week :D One of the more interesting demos in the Rift so far, in my mind. Aiming for a space way too small and zooming in, yourself shrinking and the world growing… it’s weird and fascinating! Played it on my brother’s new gaming laptop while he was visiting, now I’m back with my Macbook air, which does nothing much for VR :( I miss my gaming PC which is in storage right now… bleh. But yeah, fascinating stuff.

    • david

      yes it’s quite fascinating indeed… the adapting virtual head size works really well.
      did someone manage to run other fractal cfgs ?

  • goettel

    Bumped for DK2 support! ;)

    • Ben Lang

      We’re in touch with the developer about this : )

      • Awesome! This app is very cool for experiencing a variable IPD, things grow as you get closer xD Article probably says that. Just curious what kind of machine that is needed to run this fluidly :P If any… is a strong GPU important? I’d guess so…

      • goettel

        Any progress on this? Need my fractal fix!

        Put up a donate button somewhere, my triggerfinger is ready 8)

        • marius

          I hear you ;-)
          A combination of lack of spare time and frustration with getting multi-gpu to reliably provide the expected performance gain is a drag.

          Really don’t want to have to go mantle or such. But it appears your regular multi-gpu workload scheduling is an unwilling blackbox.
          Frame-alternate is possible but useless on the latency front :-/