Gamescom 2013: Eyes on with the Oculus Rift 
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Geoffrey Tim
August 26, 2013 at 1:30 pm

RiftGC

I left E3 this year without having gotten to test what could well be the most interesting development in videogame technology in recent history; the virtual-reality enabling headset, the Oculus Rift. I made damned sure not to let that happen at Gamescom this year. I’m happy to report that I did get some time with the device – and we could be on the cusp of a revolution.

First up; the unit I got to have strapped to my head was the HD prototype – and it’s surprisingly light and comfortable, which is a good thing. Honestly, a minute in, and I could barely tell that the thing was attached to my head.

Resolution though, is still a bit of an issue – and there was certainly a bit of the screen door effect that’s generally quite noticeable with digital projections, making each and every pixel kinda stand out. It’s noticeable, but also something that you could quite easily ignore. Less easy to ignore is the prevalence of motion blur; there’s a slight bit of blur when you look around on the HD prototype that could become a bit annoying. 

Those issues hardly matter though, because the overall experience is something quite remarkable. Sitting in the cockpit of a racing car in the iRacing demo I tried quite literally puts you in the driver’s seat. Looking about in the cockpit, turning your head about you can see a full virtual reality in front of you; turning your head to the left or right and you can see the other cars, and the rest of the stadium as your car drives about the circuit. Turn your head back, and you can actually see the seat you’re pretending to be sitting in. 

iRacing itself is probably not the best thing to demonstrate the Rift with, but it did a decent enough job of selling the tech; it really does create a wonderful sense of immersion. I found myself tilting my body when my digital car went around bends and turns. Rotational Tracking is responsive and precise; pretty much spot-on. the iRacing demo was passive though, so I didn’t get to actually control anything – which may account for why I got none of that motion-sickness that others have complained about.

Still, using the Rift was terribly exciting – and while I’m not convinced it’s “there” yet, it’s definitely something worth investing in. I sincerely believe the Rift could change the way we play games – and it’s something I’m very keen on playing with more.

I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    I don’t ever see myself using one of these, don’t want to cut myself off from the world quite so completely.

    • RinceThisandbeAbsurd

      Where am I?!

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        #foreverIMNOTPARANOID

        • RinceThisandbeAbsurd

          You shut up! They are all after me!

    • http://www.twitter.com/WobblyOnion Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

      Yeah; it’s a quite a freaky thing – you really are just cutting yourself out of reality for a bit, especially coupled with good headphones. It’s potentially terrifying.

      • Admiral Chief Raider of Tombs

        Sounds perfect

      • Admiral Chief Raider of Tombs

        “potentially terrifying”
        Sounds like marriage

        • Spathi

          Oculus rift and Star CItizen…This will be my “Next Gen”!

      • RinceThisandbeAbsurd

        I think it sounds awesome. That is the reason we play games in the first place? Okay, I get how a game like Dead Space and the Oculus could force one to invest in an underwear business…

        • Skyblue

          Yeah I would never even try and play Dead Space 1 or 2 with the Rift.

        • http://www.twitter.com/WobblyOnion Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

          Holy crap, that would make me die. Proper die.

    • http://www.lazygamer.co Gavin Mannion

      That is exactly why I don’t want to even try it… the idea of being totally at the will of others doesn’t sit well with me

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        Aren’t you married, with children? ;)

        • RinceThisandbeAbsurd

          BOOM!

    • Umar Kiiroi Senk?

      Like this?

      • RinceThisandbeAbsurd

        HAHAHAHHAHAHA!

  • Robert Infy Hart

    I cant wait for this! I’m a huge iRacing fan and am pretty much waiting for the production model of the rift to be released. One thing is for sure, its better and cheaper than investing in three or more screens to achieve the same effect.

    • http://www.twitter.com/WobblyOnion Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

      much better effect, really. you’d need monitors all around you ;P

  • Truan Frames

    I got one of the developer versions and even though it has the screen door effect after a while you phase it out, and with the right sound options you really can lose yourself in the game.

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  • Skyblue

    I am seriously impressed with the tech so far but my stomach will disagree with me as soon as I try it. Looks seriously nausea inducing. Still wanna try it though but give it time to mature, Carmack is there now so the tech is in great hands in terms of coding innovation.

  • fred

    Could be great for some games , just think about flight simulators .

  • Dawith

    The rift and war thunder…drooool or any flight sim or porn …… drool

  • CypherGate

    Rift and Forza 5 DEFINITELY

  • spl0it

    This will revolutionize the adult entertainment industry :)

    • http://www.twitter.com/WobblyOnion Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

      You’re still alive! :D

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