Zero Latency, creator of a leading VR attraction platform, is now deploying their ‘gen 2’ VR hardware. The revamp includes newer HP VR backpacks, Windows VR headsets, and Windows VR peripheral tracking for a more modern VR experience that’s easier to set up & operate, and offers an improved player experience, the company says.

Zero Latency has been a player in the out-of-home VR space since 2013. The company has developed a VR attraction platform which brings together hardware and software to enable a 60 × 30 ft (18.3 × 9 m) ‘warehouse scale’ playspace which can be inhabited by up to eight players simultaneously.

Zero Latency ‘Gen 1’ hardware | Image courtesy Zero Latency

With 26 locations around the globe, Zero Latency has until now been relying on (by now) relatively dated hardware, with the core of the VR experience coming from the OSVR HDK2 headset, along with an optical outside-in tracking and backpack VR system of Zero Latency’s design. While functional, this older hardware didn’t offer the low-latency tracking or sharper visuals available in more modern VR headsets.

Now the company is launching its ‘gen 2’ platform which comes with a hardware overhaul which Zero Latency says will not only offer a better player experience, but also make the VR attraction easier for operators to set up, run, and maintain.

Just about all of the old hardware—save for the company’s signature VR gun peripheral—has gone out the window; the gen 2 Zero Latency hardware platform consists of HP’s Windows VR headset, Windows VR tracking for the gun peripherals, and HP’s ‘Z’ VR backpack.

The move to Windows VR headsets and tracking means that the old outside-in system has been dropped as well. This time around, the inside-out tracking (requiring no external sensors or beacons) on each HP headset is used to determine each player’s location, which not only means improved tracking latency and precision compared to the old OSVR headsets, Zero Latency says, but also means less bulk and weight thanks to the removal of the extra hardware needed for the old tracking system.

Zero Latency ‘Gen 2’ hardware| Image courtesy Zero Latency

To ensure robust tracking with the inside-out system, the company says that locations featuring the gen 2 hardware have specially designed playspaces which make it especially easy for the tracking system to detect (which probably means easily identifiable, high contrast patterns on the floors and walls). And though the environment’s visuals might be customized to aid the tracking, Zero Latency notes that relying on inside-out tracking means no external tracking equipment, making teardown easier if an operator wants to be able to flexibly use the space for other (non-VR) purposes.

The HP Windows VR headset’s inside-out tracking system is also used for tracking the Zero Latency VR guns, which now have one of the Windows VR controllers attached to each weapon. While the tracking ring on the Windows VR controller is seen by cameras on the headset to determine the weapon’s location, the weapon’s inputs are sent wirelessly to the host system to communicate trigger pulls and reloads. Although optical LED’s are used for controller tracking, Zero Latency says that there’s no issues with one headset’s cameras detecting another player’s weapon while in the same space.

Image courtesy Zero Latency

Luckily, moving to the gen 2 platform doesn’t mean abandoning the company’s six bespoke games. All existing titles are forwards-compatible with gen 2, including Sol Raiders, the platform’s new PVP focused title, and Scarygirl, the platform’s first third-party title (announced just this week).

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As for when you’ll be able to step into the Zero Latency gen 2 platform? The company says they’re now in the process of offering the platform to new operators, including an upgrade option for existing locations. The company expects that the first gen 2 systems will be installed soon at locations in Melbourne, Australia and Dallas, Texas, with more rolling out over time.

Image courtesy Zero Latency

With the gen 2 platform, Zero Latency hopes to contribute to bringing VR further toward the mainstream. The company says that the new system has “a lot less moving parts […] an order of magnitude different,” than gen 1, and requires less up front cost and time, with stronger performance, reliability, and support thanks to the streamlined hardware. They believe this will improve the operator experience substantially, leading to increased ROI.

The company also says the system is now more flexible, and could easily support other Windows VR headsets, which makes future upgrades easy. We could perhaps see Zero Latency locations using HP’s upcoming high-res ‘Copper’ Windows VR headset.

The move to gen 2, which streamlines the platform by using fewer custom components than gen 1, pushes Zero Latency closer to their end game. “We don’t always want to be positioned as a hardware company, we’re an integrator […],” the company said; they’d like to spend less time making hardware solutions—as was necessary early on—and more time focusing on building out their platform and content offerings.

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  • Marcus

    Still headsets without IPD adjustment? Nah!

    • 3872Orcs

      I was thinking the same. I’m a bit worried how this could leave a bad taste for many users. Eye strain is not fun.

    • Dylan

      the ipd adjustment is done in software, you’re misinformed.

      • Marcus

        I tried software-based IPD adjustment with PSVR and think it’s a placebo. I can have one eye sharp or the other, but not both. My IPD is 71 mm.

        • Michael Slesinski

          thats a psvr thing..

          • Marcus

            AFAIK that‘s physics. Hardware IPD adjustiment moves lenses (and displays). Software IPD adjustment is only used to render a different view angle, not? By the way, thoses lenses are fixed in the HP headset:
            https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/HP+Windows+Mixed+Reality+Headset+Developer+Edition+Teardown/96608#s178267

          • Michael Slesinski

            we can edit the ipd in the registry to any number we want.

          • Marcus

            Then I recommend 42. It’s the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.

          • Caven

            Editing an IPD value isn’t going to change where the lenses are. For best results, you want the centers of the lenses to be directly in front of their respective eyes. If the IPD of the lenses can’t be adjusted, it means one or both eyes will be looking through the side of the lens instead of through the center. And since the image gets progressively less sharp the further away from the center of the lens you look, having the inability to adjust the lens IPD can force some people to have to deal with that blurry effect even when looking straight ahead.

          • Bamux

            Well explained it is always sad to see how little most VR users know about the differences between physical and software based IPD adjustments.

        • Caven

          It’s not a placebo, but it fixes a different problem than the one adjustable lenses do. If the images are too far apart relative to the player’s IPD, the person’s eyes have to actually diverge in order to resolve the image, which can be very uncomfortable. Of course, with your IPD you’re not likely to experience that effect. Instead, your eyes would have to cross a bit to resolve the image, making everything seem a bit smaller than it really is. In my experience, that effect is pretty minor.

          Adjustable lenses attempt to deal with the fact that the image will look sharpest through the center of the lens. If the lenses aren’t centered relative to your eyes, your eyes will be forced to look through a part of the lens that results in an out-of-focus image.

          Ultimately, both adjustments are important, but for people with a larger IPD, the lens IPD is going to be far more noticeable than screen IPD.

  • JesuSaveSouls

    Thanks roadtovr for a up to date vr site.Truth be told Jesus Christ saved my life and soul.He too died for you,He is alive!

    • Johan Pruijs

      sigh

    • 3872Orcs

      I’ll spam back as long as you keep on spamming. The Atheist Experience

    • jj

      no thanks

    • FireAndTheVoid

      Twist: JesuSaveSouls is actually an athiest and is trying to annoy people into abandoning religion. If that’s the case, major props to you.

    • Foreign Devil

      Sounds like you went to Alcholics Anonymous.

    • David Herrington

      Ok, so I totally understand your end goal here, and up until now I have seen your extra messages more like a signature at the end of an email, which also contains VR related messages, but you want to let others know a bit about yourself. But this time you didn’t even really say anything about the actual article which could be very easily construed as spam.

      I understand you are trying to preach to those around you in everything you do, but I can’t stop the feeling that this is the most half-hearted, lackluster approach to do so. Your message has no feeling to it, or soul. You haven’t provided me anything and it sounds more like you have religious Tourette’s Syndrome and can’t stop yourself.

      I believe that everyone of us should have the freedom to speech and religion but I feel like you are not thinking through your delivery of your message, and maybe more importantly the place and time that you should do so.
      “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or clanging cymbal.” 1 Cor 13:1

      I feel your message sounds more like a clanging cymbal over and over again because there is no depth (love) to it and so others will only respond with annoyance.

      • Johan Pruijs

        Religious Tourette’s Syndrome and can’t stop yourself…… that I will remember :0) nice one!!

  • MosBen

    We’re still in that phase of VR where, as cool as all of this sounds, I’m instantly thinking about how cool Gen 3 is going to be. I’m sure that this Gen 2 hardware makes for a super fun experience, but we’re just about on the cusp of moving beyond the ~100 degree FOV that has defined the early days of VR, as well as smaller, lighter HMDs with higher resolution displays. And though I don’t know how heavy those HP backpacks are, on the assumption that their Gen 3 hardware is going to have eye tracking and foveated rendering, they’ll probably be able to get by with smaller, lighter back packs as well. Pretty cool stuff.

  • FireAndTheVoid

    Are these location based experiences actually bringing in any money? I’m a big fan of VR, but I’m not all that interested in having to travel to one of these locations for a 30 min experience.

  • Sven Viking

    Alternate headline: “Zero Latency Reduces Latency”

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  • Konchu

    I saw one of the experiences before and it was cool but the legacy Playstation Move Camera tracking was bad compared to Vive/Oculus/MR tracking so this is welcome. It felt floaty to me on the old system if this solidifies this arena gameplay I can see it being nothing but good. Maybe even open up more creative playspaces for cheaper aka not just square rooms.