Also, this time VR isn’t just around the corner.
It’s here now, at least in the form of the Rift development kit, and the Rift is on a path to shipping to consumers in quantity.
The Rift has a good shot at breaking through, for several reasons:
It has a wide field of view – that is, the display covers a large portion of the eyes’ viewing area;
It’s lightweight and ergonomic;
And there’s potentially lots of content in the form of ported 3D games.
Most important, gaming on the Rift is highly immersive. I remember how blown away I was the first time a rocket trail went past me in Quake – it’s like that, but on steroids, when a rocket goes past in TF2 in VR.
So the Rift has huge potential, and is very exciting.
It’s still very early days for the Rift – this is only the first development kit – and for VR in general, and just as was the case with Quake, there’s lots of room for improvement in all areas. Some of those areas are familiar ones, such as:
- Field of view
And resolution. The math for resolution together with wide fields of view is brutal; divide 1K by 1K resolution – about the best an affordable head mounted display is likely to be able to do in the next year – into a 100-degree FOV and you get a display with less than 1/50th the pixel density of a phone at normal viewing distance
Other areas for improvement are unique to VR and not at all familiar, and we’ll see some of those over the remainder of this talk.
The bottom line is that as with 3D, it will take years, if not decades, to fully refine VR.
AR is even harder and will take longer to make great.
The main point of this talk is to get you to believe this and to understand why it’s true, so you can make rational plans for VR game development now and in the future.
There’s no way I can give you a proper understanding in a 25-minute talk of the complexity and depth of the issues associated with making virtual images seem real to the human perceptual system, but I can give you a sense of the breadth of those issues, along with a deeper look at one specific problem, and that’s what I’m going to do today.
It seems so simple – isn’t VR just a matter of putting a display in a visor and showing images on it?
That actually turns out to be hard all by itself.
But solving it just gets you to…