One of the reasons why I’m so excited about the Oculus Rift is that John Carmack, founder and technical director of Id Software, is demoing the unit to people within the gaming industry and is building full support for it into Doom 3 BGF which is due out later this year. CVG / PC Gamer has a great 3 part interview from E3 2012 with Carmack who has clearly done his homework on HMDs and is hoping to push them into mainstream gaming! Carmack is demonstrating the Oculus Rift to a bunch of folks at E3. ComputerandVideogames.com got to try out the demo and caught an interview with Carmack. After testing out the rig with Doom 3 BFG, CVG had the following to say:
After just ten minutes of Doom 3 with Carmack’s future-goggles on, we were truly blown away. Blocking out all other stimuli from the room, they offer an amazing degree of visibility and control within the 3D space. Perhaps the weirdest part of our hands-on was when we had to remove the headset and return to the bland reality of the interview room. It was a surreal, sharply sobering moment. Even after such short period of time within the game, we found ourselves entirely absorbed; a gaming experience with a level of immersion genuinely unlike anything else we have ever encountered.
PC Gamer has this to say:
Our video wizard David Boddington used it to play Doom 3: BFG Edition and loved it. “The level of immersion was unlike any other gaming experience I’ve ever had, and that bodes well for the future if Carmack or someone else can take the tech to the next level.”
Carmack mirrors those sentiments in the interview (around 4:10, pt 2) noting that, “…what I’ve got now is, I honestly think, the best VR demo probably the world’s ever seen… maybe hidden in some NASA lab there’s something cooler than this, but I haven’t seen it”. His words feel credible because Carmack is honest about the limitations of the Oculus Rift. You can hear his thoughts on that at around 4:18 (pt 2). There’s a good deal of technical talk here from Carmack and it’s great to see someone pushing this technology who really understands it. Two months ago I wrote in an article, titled ‘Virtual Reality Needs to Take off Before It Gets Grounded in a Niche Market‘, that the VR gaming world needed “an advocate”:
What we need is a VR advocate to really get things going. We need the people making the decisions to realize that everything needed for an intereactive VR experience is here today. I honestly believe that if you took the top executives responsible for consoles from Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo, and gave them a compelling VR demo, they would instantly recognize the potential of the technology. Just give them all an HMD with head tracking, have them take a stroll through Dear Esther, and they will be sold on the possibilities.
John Carmack might just be the very advocate that we need. See why in his interview with CVG / PC Gamer below: [Update: Original videos removed in place of a YouTube hosted video because the prior videos were impossible to embed]
Another interview with good details can be found as the last video in PC Gamer’s article here.
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