Setting Up the DK2

After unboxing, you’ll need to ensure you have at least 2 x free USB slots and one HDMI or DVI port on your GPU. After placing the camera atop my monitor, connecting the USB cable to PC and (don’t forget this one) the 2.5mm jack ended cable (camera sync) between the camera and the cable splitter towards the end of the main DK2 cable. There is an additional AC adapter than plugs into the reverse side of the cable splitter, you don’t need to worry about this until you start plugging in devices to the DK2’s onboard USB hub port that requires a little more juice to power it. As it happens, Oculus’ Quick Start Guide, which comes in the box is well worth following, it’s clear and concise and will save you some head-scratching.

When Oculus stated that they were delaying shipment of DK2 pre-orders in order to polish the SDK, some questioned the decision as over cautious (and perhaps even disingenuous) – but I can tell you that after spending a good few hours trying to get things working, it’s probably better that they did. In fact, receiving the DK2 so early has turned out to be a mixed blessing. On the one hand I have the kit, on the other, out of the box – almost nothing works. In fact, aside from the included Oculus World (Tuscany) and the Config Utility Scene, you’ll be hard pushed to find anything that works with the current software. This however is changing rapidly and the developer community is already springing into action, compiling their old demos against the new 0.40 SDK.

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As of the latest SDK release (0.4.0 beta, released today as DK2s hit people’s doorsteps), Oculus have chosen to separate the device’s functional components (i.e. drivers and config software) into a separate piece of software, known as the ‘Oculus Runtime’. This component provides: drivers for the positional tracking camera and what’s known as the OVR Service. The latter component seems to be key in enabling the latest SDK’s most interesting new feature – ‘Direct Rendering Mode’.

New Rendering Modes in SDK 0.4.0

DSC_0415If you’ve owned a DK1 you’ll know the score in terms of device configuration and setup. In Windows at least, you either extended your desktop, using your Rift as an additional, independent display – this only worked if you were either willing to run with the DK1 as a primary monitor (tricky given the DK1s low resolution / clipped FOV) or hope that the application you wanted to run allowed you to specify the monitor you wanted to output to. Or, you ran your Rift in clone mode, either letting the DK1 downscale the original image or configuring your GPU to do the work instead.

Now, with the latest SDK there is another option: ”Direct Mode’. It effectively hides the VR Headset from Windows as as display device, so no more fiddling with desktops and resolutions. When a game compiled against the SDK is launched, the OVR service intercepts calls to the headset and sends a Rift specific video signal direct to the HMD. So, you end up with a windowed application running on your standard desktop (with a duplicated view) and a native resolution feed on your HMD. This is an excellent step forward for Rift users. Not only does it ensure the DK2 runs at the optimal frequency and resolution (1920 x 1080 @ 75Hz) but it takes all the guesswork out of the experience, bringing the solution closer to what would be expected of a consumer experience.

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New Oculus Config Options and The New Oculus Config Test Scene

Once you’re happy with your IPD configuration / calibration, you can quickly check your setup by launching the brand new application which includes positional tracking support. The scene is simple but actually serves as a great way to demonstrate the power of positional tracking with the DK2. It places you in front of a desk with various objects on it, after selecting whether your stood or seated, you can go ahead and lean in to the scene and check the camera’s field of view bounds are sufficient – you can even enable a visual representation of the camera’s current field of view limitations which is updated in realtime as you move your head around – useful.

Another new addition is the ability to align the utility with your units retraction assembly settings. That is, you can adjust a dial in the config utility to match the two dials on the side of the Rift which control the units retraction assembly (how far the lenses and display sit from your face). It’s not clear how this information is used, but I assume further tweaks to the rendered view (IPD, chromatic aberration correction etc.) are made based on the info.

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  • Ryan

    Great write-up. This is the review I’ve been waiting for, as I also wait for UPS.

  • RoTaToR

    Hint: There are several pages…. ( at the bottom –> Pages: 1234)

    • Paul James

      Now added ‘Continued on ..’ link. Thanks!

      • CaseyB

        Continued… link doesn’t work — the path doesn’t match and it always redirects to the first page.

        • Paul James

          This was fixed BTW. Thanks for the heads up.

  • David Mulder

    Regarding the movement through boundaries issue, as far as I have experimented the easiest and best solution is a very simple quick fade to grey or black. In my attempts you could still see through walls for a split second before the screen went black, but better systems could solve this by triggering the fade earlier.

    • Ruudscorner

      Just was I was thinking. I quick fade to black and/or with wireframe maybe, depending on the application. It seems like the best solution and I will try that myself when I get to that point.

  • jscheema

    Hello,

    Page 4.

    “So, What’s it Like in Practise?” –> “Practice”

    Thank you.

    • tom299

      Not a typo. “Practise” is the British spelling of “practice”. The author lives in the UK.

      • jscheema

        Ok then.

        3rd page first line “so what’s in like in practice?” -> “so what’s it like in practise?”

        • jscheema

          Also page 4, missing “closing quotations” for both quotes used on the page. Under Lens section on page 4, change “me” -> “be” in the first sentence.

    • kate

      annother typo me thinks
      text
      “Again though, Oculus are on the case. Chris Taylor tweeted in response to mr article:”
      I presume it’s supposed to read
      Again though, Oculus are on the case. Chris Taylor tweeted in response to my article:

      • Paul James

        Ah the irony! ;)

  • eyeandeye

    This is great stuff. Thanks for posting it over the weekend. Waiting for Monday news is excruciating at times like this.

  • jrbm

    Oculus said don’t use the DK2 before updating the firmware, how was that like, did you try it before updating the firmware just to see what would happen or did you just do as they said? Is the firmware easy to update?

    • Paul James

      I did and yes, same process as the DK1. Config tool -> Tools -> Advanced -> Firmware update (from memory).

      • jrbm

        thanks Paul, was wondering about that. Loved your article, very good read!

  • Darshan Gayake

    Wow! Nice in depth review!

    Can’t wait for gaming and demo performance review with various hardware and level of detail sattings.

    Of course pros-cons of selecting pentile oled for virtual reality is also on radar.

  • sponge101

    I’ll echo all previous comments on how in-depth and well written this article is. All of the criticisms will hopefully be addressed in the CV1.

  • Darshan Gayake

    Can we expect VorpX review too

    As you are official sales partner of VorpX

    Specially like to know frame rates in following titles

    1) BattleField 4
    2) Dead Space 3
    3) Bio Shock Infinite
    4) Dirt 3
    5) Dishonored
    6) Mass Effect 2
    7) Mass Effect 3
    8) Metro 2033

    In both Geometry as well as Z buffer mode.

    Hope its not to difficult demand
    Regards

  • kate

    As a fellow brit it good to know that the kit is arriving – I’m just hoping that I will have it prior to https://www.emfcamp.org/ a meetup at the camp would be good – allbeit is there portable kit capable of “generating the 1.21 gigawattspixels” that this thing needs?

    what would be really useful is an article about the kit that is necessary to effectivly drive the hardware sufficently for development work i.e. advice on performance at lowest cost and no I don’t need the standard gamer mentality answer of “the best video card you can afford”.

    As i said i’m looking at 3P (price/performance/power) ratio issues for example to build a transportable large NUC sized block or ideally a rucksack based computing device capable of carrying sufficent batteries for use as a devlopment enviroment – you can guess the sort of application I am thinking of here.

    As far as i am aware due to v-lock issues I need hardware capable of delivery 960×1080@75fps x2 and I need to be able to scale that to a minimum of 90fps x2 and probably to 1280×1440 at 120fps x2? in due course. I have no idea at this point what the 3P ratio for 1280×1440 itreation is likley to be, nevermind the extension towards 4K and 8K in due course

    thanks for the article

    kate

  • Oculus Rift is an easy to wear and the most important part is on account of its light weight with this device you can play for a considerable hours of time, so there is no restriction to see as like an ordinary screen limitation does, turn around look up or down you would have the same view from any perspective or any angle as mention by TheBoringstate.com
    VR Revolutionizer Palmer Luckey Oculus Rift

  • VRcompare

    Full specification of both headsets available here:

    Rift DK1

    Rift DK2