MAbrash GDC2013 (43)

This slide shows additional ways in which the sampled nature of head-mounted displays may not produce the same interaction with the visual system that the real world does.

MAbrash GDC2013 (44)

And here are yet more perceptual factors.

So is that, finally, the end of the list of challenges? Hardly.

MAbrash GDC2013 (45)

After all that, we come to the really really hard problems.

Solving these is probably not required for VR to be successful, but it probably is required for VR to be great.

I’m not going to be able to talk about most of these today, but the single most important problem to be solved is figuring out what the compelling experiences are that can only be had in VR.

It’ll be obvious in retrospect what those experiences are, but it’s never obvious early on with new technology. During development, Quake had only static lighting by way of baked-in lightmaps, and John was adamant that dynamic lighting was not necessary. At GDC, however – the same GDC where I talked about Quake – Billy Zelznack gave us a demo of an engine he was building, a demo that happened to include a rocket that cast a dynamic light. When we got back to Dallas, John asked me if I wanted to take a shot at implementing dynamic lights for rockets, and when I said I had something else to finish up first, he said he bet he could do it in one hour. It actually took him only a few minutes more than that – and it was amazing how much more real the world seemed with dynamic lighting. There will be many, many such things with VR, and they’re all waiting for someone to find them.

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  • WormSlayer

    My brain hurts! Still I’m excited that guys like him are excited :D

  • Patrick Hogenboom

    Thanks a bundle for transcribing the whole thing :)

  • shole

    If you want to view the two videos in the presentation and don’t have ms powerpoint, you can rename the .pptx file to .zip and the files are in there as .wmv under \ppt\media\

    • Michael Abrash

      Shole,

      Thank you very much for posting this!

      –Michael

  • Andrés

    Thanks so much for transcribing this!

  • Andreas Aronsson

    I thought I would not get to read/hear the actual talk in some time :D Very interesting, somewhat alarming, but at the end uplifting and inspiring! Thanks for this! Also, you could if you wanted to rename the .pptx to .zip and extract the videos (media folder) and upload them unlisted to Youtube and embed them on this page :) Just a thought!

  • Andreas Aronsson

    Ah, in the time it took me to read this (left the article half-read over night) shole already pointed this out :x oops.

  • Esse

    “That means that if you fixate on something while you turn your head, your eyes remain fixed with respect to the real world, but move very quickly relative to the display”

    Hum, no. If your eyes are fixed (in the head referential), they are fixed in the display referential. Because the display & the head are fixed one to the other.

    This is over complicating the subject. Only matters the head movement. Not the eyes movements.

    • Ben

      I think that, in this context, “fixate on something” means a visual fixation on an object in the external world rather than having the eyes be “fixed” relative to the head. If the head is turning while you fixate an external object, the eyes must counter-rotate in order to maintain a stable fixation (eg: via the VOR). Since the VR display is attached to your head frame, this means that your eyes are rotating relative to the display, and that’s the source of the large relative motion that causes issues.

      • Michael Abrash

        Ben,

        You’re correct – that’s what I meant. If you look at a key on the keyboard and keep doing that while you turn your head, you can easily get your eyes moving at several hundred degrees per second relative to the display.

        –Michael

  • Esse

    “The human perceptual system has evolved to be very effective at detecting such anomalies, because anomalies might be thinking about eating you, or might be tasty.”

    It is not some specific “anomalies detection system”, rather that the human brain has in-depth “routines” to analyse the space & movement, and when you broke the rules the routines fail.

    Like when you are sick in a car.

    So I guess the reaction will not be fear or drooling, more puking.

  • Ben Humberston

    Thanks for the transcript for those of us who couldn’t be there!

  • Mattso

    Yeah, just echoing the sentiments above that having it all transcribed meant I actually got to digest it really quickly. Many thanks!

    Very informative stuff – and here was me thinking it was gonna be easy. :)