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Tom Heath - Development Engineer

Level 4
– I’m Tom Heath, I’ve been with Oculus since 2013, and am very enthusiastic
about VR!  Those early days saw a lot of developing and pioneering for VR,
and I still continue with that to this day, especially exploring locomotion in
VR.   My role at Oculus includes a lot of time working with
developers worldwide, to make the best VR products possible – it’s great to
work with the array of talent that exists.    My background is
in the games industry where I spent 20 years in a variety of senior management,
production and programming roles, and I’m also interested in gaming educational
products.     Really excited to be answering questions and
chatting with you today!

Level 3
Hi Tom! I'm lead programmer at a (tiny) studio called Sigtrap, and we made a zero-g 6DoF shooter called Sublevel Zero. We did huuuuge amounts of R&D on sim-sickness and mitigating it, and found that "tunnelling", amongst other things, was a really effective solution. It was great reading your blog post on locomotion research, and good to see that other people are coming to similar conclusions to us.

It was also really interesting reading the sections on "window into the moving world" and "portal into the static world" - they're really useful extrapolations of the tunnelling concept. As such, we're actually about to release a Unity plugin called VR Tunnelling Pro, which draws on both our own research and yours, implementing a raft of different tunnelling methods which we hope will really help devs make comfort features - and player customisation of such - a standard part of VR games.

So, many thanks for sharing the research! More info on the plugin here if you're interested:

Level 4
Hi Tom,

Probably a silly question 🙂 

I've been experimenting with traditional locomotion (with snap turning) for an FPS with high walk\running speeds. My experiments all run at a solid 90fps in UE4 and never fluctuate. One test uses a Tron like art style - simple emissive wireframe (about 2-4 pixels in width) and is all black where as the other test has a horror \ creepy theme.

The wireframe environment produces no motion sickness where as the textured horror environment does (not too bad but it's noticeable).

Since the primary difference between the two tests are texture maps - would you have any recommendations to minimize motion sickness with texture mapped environments? Or am I looking at this the wrong way? 

I found making the scene darker didn't quite help... the best results have come from nice even lightning through out the level.

I'd like to not use flat shading (boring) and I don't believe teleportation is pushing the medium enough and I find it to be a clunky mechanic.

As I'm at work I'm unable to post screenshots of the scenes.

CRT-X (Hotline Miami inspired VR shooter)

Level 2
Hi Tom, we're developing a large scale VR project, 10 people in VR, Oculus headsets, MSI VR backpaks, OptiTrack tracking system. OptiTrack has a clip on for the Oculus that is used for active tracking with their cameras so we don't need the Oculus sensor. However if we unplug it we can't run our game because Oculus says critical error. Is there a way around that without having to drag the sensor on our backpack along with us? 🙂

Level 3
is there any plans to make a wifi connected link between unity and the standalone headset like trinus and google preview have?
windows pc, oculus go, udemy cardboard tutorials, forum, virtual freedom.

E 001


Level 2
Hi Tom, I am trying to start ORT Locomotion in SDK1.23, but this ORT demo does not want to start like the other demos. Anything special to keep in mind to make this demo run in VS2017 (sorry, no expert in VS here)

Level 4
Oculus does a lot of exciting research, including in many diverse and really exciting areas that even I don't know the full details of. At last year's F8 our own Michael Abrash talked about a future where the distinction between AR and VR will vanish (see his talk here: Can't comment on specific roadmap, but it's clearly an area of interest.

Level 4
Oh, good question. I remember a few things in my first Oculus Connect talk, saying a thing or two which I later had to backpedal on!! We really are learning all the time. There are a few interesting bits of research we are looking into, which seem to break some of the early rules. If you watched my OC4 talk ( ) I describe an experimental locomotion solution that actually artificially tilts the rendered world in the headset, away from what is happening in reality. I guess another area of interest, and some debate, is how much we actually can 'move' in VR - in the early days we were perhaps a little cautious in advising no locomotion - and now of course developers (and Oculus) are pioneering better and better ways of mitigating any discomfort in order to get as many experiences possible in VR as we can.

Level 4
Sounds like something we'd be very interested in. I can't speak for other teams immediate tasks, but I would say that sounds very advantageous for social presence within VR, so something we could well explore.

Level 4
I recently built a very simple Unity game using the SteamVR camera and interaction system.  I want to have 6 dof tracking of the headset and show controllers.  I found it worked correctly with Vive/Rift/WMR but only in SteamVR.  Even though it's a simple game with very minimial requirements it looks like I'll have to build significantly seperate code/prefabs to support native Rift and WMR. 

Do you (or anyone else in the thread) have any suggestions in Unity that can support Native Rift and SteamVR and possibly WMR with a single set of prefabs and code base?  At a minimum I'd be happy with just have 6 Dof tracking of headset and controllers.  I'm happy to do custom handling of the controller inputs.

Everywhere I look has 3 completely different paths for handling the 3 systems.

Level 7
Hi, i’m waiting patiently for the Oculus Standalone HMD’s to be released!

Do you know if there is any plans for bringing addon devices to the Oculus Go for hand/finger tracking?