Today the Trinity Magnum launches on Kickstater. While there are a number of other options in the works, the Trinity Magnum is the first to approach VR input on the PC with an optical tracking solution. Priced at $100, the Magnum aims for affordability.

trinity magnum kickstarterWhile STEM, PrioVR, and ControlVR are all well on their way to producing exciting VR input options, they all come with a non-trivial pricetag. Starting at $75 for the early-bird option and then $100 for the rest, the Trinity Magnum aims to be the most affordable choice for VR input. Today, TrinityVR launches the Trinity Magnum Kickstarter seeking $60,000 in crowdfunding to produce a developer kit and SDK.

trinityvr magnum kickstarterThe Magnum takes the shape of a gun with a glowing ball on the end, similar in looks to the PlayStation Move. The unit is designed to be gripped with one or two hands. Orientation is tracked with a “9-DOF” IMU while the glowing ball serves as a point of reference for 1:1 positional tracking. In addition to any OpenCV-compatible camera (many webcams), the TrinityVR team expect to support optical tracking with the Oculus Rift DK2’s IR camera as well as the PlayStation Eye and Microsoft Kinect for Windows. While a quality camera may seem like a hidden cost, the TrinityVR team recommend the PlayStation Eye which can be picked up for a nominal $8.

TrinityVR says that the Magnum will be accurate to within 2 degrees of orientation and 5mm of position with 95Hz sampling and less than 30ms of latency. Positional tracking sampling and latency will presumably be capped by the framerate and latency of the camera in use. TrinityVR notes that you’ll see better performance from better cameras:

As newer webcams introduce higher framerates and greater resolutions, tracking accuracy, framerate and tracking area improve over time.  We’ve chosen to pursue a scalable and open tracking technology that grows with the camera hardware ecosystem so that developers are only limited by the current hardware available and are future-proofed as technologies mature over time.  

trinityvr mangum prototype

The Trinity Magnum features an ambidextrous design that works equally well for left- and right-handed players. The unit has a joystick toward the back surrounded by four buttons; on the foregrip are two opposing joysticks to support right- and left-handed users. A trigger is naturally positioned near the front grip and rumble feedback is built in. TrinityVR co-founder and head of product, Julian Volyn tells me that the design is not final and the Magnum may condense the two front joysticks into a single joystick (positioned to still allow for ambidextrous use).

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Quail Hunt, Boot Camp, and Z0NE (formerly Rift Wars)

quail hunt vr trinityvrTrinityVR plans to have some early content ready for developers when they receive the Magnum developer kit. Two in-house demos, Quail Hunt VR and Boot Camp, and one third-party demo, Z0NE (formerly Rift Wars), will be ready for developers to play and use as integration examples.

From some mock Quail Hunt VR cover art, the game appears to be based on the NES classic, Duck Hunt, though how much the gameplay it will actually borrow from the game is unknown. TrinityVR says the game will feature the following:

  • Level-based quail shooter
  • 3 gun modes – Single shot, burst, automatic
  • 3 difficulty levels
  • Compatible with Oculus Rift
  • Compatible with PC, Mac, Linux

As for Boot Camp, the company notes that players can “take the Magnum for a test drive and shoot exploding barrels, crates, and try [their] aim in a target range full of re-spawning cut-outs.”

Z0NE (formerly Rift Wars) appears to be the first third-party title to promise support for the Trinity Magnum. A teaser, apparently showing the game being played with the Magnum prototype, can be seen above.

Trinity Magnum Kickstarter Tiers and Rewards

Tier Limit Reward Price Price/Unit
The Early Bird 400 backers 1 Magnum Developer Kit $85 $80.00
The Solo Experience none 1 Magnum Developer Kit $99 $99.00
It’s a Date none 2 Magnum Developer Kits $195 $97.50
The Early Bird, Indie Studio Edition 100 backers 4 Magnum Developer Kits $300 $75.00
Indie Studio Pack none 4 Magnum Developer Kits $350 $87.50
This is Serious Business none 10 Magnum Developer Kits $800 $80.00
Forever in Our Hearts none 2 Magnum Developer Kits, thanked in SDK source code $1,000
The Original 10 backers 2 Magnum Developer Kits, signed replica of original prototype $2,000
Hands on the Magnum 5 backers 6 Magnum Developer Kits, TrinityVR will personally integrate your game or application to work with the Magnum $5,000
The Insider 2 backers 8 Magnum Developer Kits, TrinityVR will fly you out to check out their design and manufacturing process, take you out to dinner and discuss development strategy $10,000
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There are also lesser tiers which don’t include the unit if you’d like to offer your support for the Trinity Magnum Kickstarter.

TrinityVR hopes to raise $60,000 through the Trinity Magnum Kickstarter to continue to work on the product’s design. For now the unit is considered a developer kit and will include an SDK to make it easy for developers to integrate the Magnum with games. The team hopes to ship the Trinity Magnum developer kit by December 2014, just 5 months from now. So far, no stretch goals have been announced, but the team is looking for feedback on what backers would like to see.

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Ben is the world's most senior professional analyst solely dedicated to the XR industry, having founded Road to VR in 2011—a year before the Oculus Kickstarter sparked a resurgence that led to the modern XR landscape. He has authored more than 3,000 articles chronicling the evolution of the XR industry over more than a decade. With that unique perspective, Ben has been consistently recognized as one of the most influential voices in XR, giving keynotes and joining panel and podcast discussions at key industry events. He is a self-described "journalist and analyst, not evangelist."
  • Fernando

    I applaud them for exploring affordable input options. The one concern I have if we are to use Oculus’ camera… wouldn’t it cannibalize the bandwidth that the camera is using for Rift tracking, leading to increased latency?

    • Sven Viking

      If I understand correctly this uses normal LED lighting via a normal (non-IR) webcam, rather than the Oculus camera. The only problem would be if it physically gets in the way of the tracking camera’s view, but that would apply to any motion controller.

      If it did use the Oculus camera I don’t think it should really make any difference bandwidth-wise, though. It should just be a matter of analysing the same images taken from the camera. Seems like it would be an advantage, to me, since you wouldn’t need two separate cameras set up.

  • snake0

    Low cost??? The Move wand does not cost $75 and its literally the same thing.

  • bteitler

    I’ve seen a few people taking this approach for tracking, but how do you correct yaw drift with just one point tracked on the gun? Do you just press a button to “re-center”? I guess this “works” but it has always been immersion breaking to me and not user friendly or accurate.

    Also, note that inferring depth from size is really imprecise. Quote from the PS Move wiki:
    “The motion controller’s distance from the camera (Z-axis) can be resolved with a precision of a few centimeters.”

    All that being said, with how cheap PS Move hardware is these days, I’d love to see someone release an SDK for using it that is easy to use and efficient.

  • Don Gateley

    This would be a lot more exciting had KickStarter not come to mean “Sometime in the distant future with some of what is advertised. Maybe.”

    KS no longer vets anything. Any wet dream at all can be offered and any promise made with nothing to base it on and with no delivery liability. Not saying this is one of those but the new direction of KS has ruled it out as even a semi-reliable source of goods.

    If these guys are really serious I strongly advise them to find a reputable way to offer it. I want one, just not via KickStarter.