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Rift First Impressions

KuraIthys
Level 2
I guess a lot of stuff has been said already on many of these subjects, but since I just got my rift headset yesterday, I felt perhaps I should share my first impressions of using it.

Now, obviously, this is all my personal opinion. Those of others may vary. XD

To begin with, I was really impressed with the field of view and the sense of scale. Everything in the tuscany demo looked about right in terms of size, but compared to seeing it on a monitor, I was struck by just how huge some of the things in the environment (especially the trees) were.

Given all the comments about it, (even by one of my friends who tried mine...), I expected the low resolution to be a serious issue. But to my surprise, although you could see pixels, and there was some obvious aliasing (especially looking off into the distance and tilting my head), it was a lot less severe than I expected. - I was expecting late 80's/early 90's kind of effects, given the implied pixel densities, yet there was plenty of detail visible, and eve text was clearly legible as long as it wasn't too far into the peripheral vision. - I did note the effects of the newer SDK release and the chromatic aberration correction. - Although not immediately obvious in isolation, you can really see the impact of turning it on or off.

Head tracking worked great in some ways, especially with the newer SDK. Lack of positional tracking wasn't that obvious, except when I felt inclined to do something that would specifically require it. - However I do think it contributes to nausea. - Losing tracking altogether made me feel ill pretty quickly. - However, all the demos clearly showed how obvious the lag can be. - It can take a very noticeable amount of time for your vision to catch up with your head movement.

There was a real sense of 'reality' to the environment, even in the context of the tuscany demo which is hardly state of the art in a graphical sense. - Although the images didn't look like reality, the objects in the environment did feel like they were actually there - Which... Led me once early on to try and grab a tree. Only to find of course that I didn't have arms... And then becoming more aware of the complete lack of body. - I then tried the razer hydra demo.
This worked well enough, but having a pair of detached hands, which, quite honestly were at about shoulder height or above nearly all the time (and thus well above where I naturally have my hands most of the time) proved more disconcerting than I expected. - Although there doesn't seem to be a reason why the tech couldn't allow much more natural arm movement.

The big problem with the rift for me turned out to be Nausea. Given the reactions of my friends, it seems I may be especially sensitive, but so far I've been able to tolerate using the rift for at most about 10-15 minutes. Some demos with particularly high latency (Such as Museum of the Microstar) caused nausea much more quickly than that. And running the hydra tuscany demo when I'd accidentally unplugged the rift's USB cord (and thus the head tracking didn't work), made me incredibly ill within less than a minute. - While it wasn't to the point that I wanted to vomit, or anything like that, I basically had to go lie down for about 10-20 minutes afterward, which is a pretty severe issue all things considered. It's obviously not entirely straight-forward working out what the most important causes of nausea are (but head tracking seems like a big one, considering the effects of it not working), At least one of the people I got to try it felt sick after a while too. (and the other probably just hadn't used it as long)

Finally, there were the eyecups - Although it's bearable, to get the full effect the lenses do end up uncomfortably close to my eyes. - Almost to the point where it feels like if they were any closer they'd physically touch my eyeballs.
While not critical, it would be a lot more comfortable if they were far enough away to avoid brushing my eyelashes. (Also, I wear mascara a lot, and getting that on the lenses seems like a bad idea. XD). - Obviously I can adjust the distance, but I'm rather reluctant to do anything which cuts down the field of view.

Another point was that the headset is just heavy enough that I've seen red marks on my nose suggesting a lot of weight is resting on my nose. - The headset doesn't feel heavy, but I have found it hurts my nose after a while, and the straps don't always feel like they're fully able to support the weight of it.

So just to summarise, here's what I see as being the main issues with the headset:

- Nausea. This is by far the biggest problem. Every other issue seems like an acceptable compromise for what the headset does do well. But the nausea can get so bad, so quickly, that it makes the rest of it a bit of a moot point. It may not be possible to do much about without fixing some other issues as well, but it's a very important concern, because it's really off-putting.
- Latency. Palmer & Co have been going on about this since the rift was first mentioned. And it's not hard to see why. While not bad enough to be something you can't learn to live with, it can be very obvious at times how much the headset lags. Part of this is clearly a software design issue, because some demos are much worse about it than others, but clearly, any improvements that lowers latency would be a good thing
- Positional tracking. While not being able to move my head wasn't as big a loss as I thought it would be, given the effects total loss of rotational tracking had on me, I'm guessing this may be a major cause of nausea. - it would also just generally be nice to be able to look around a bit more.


You might notice I haven't mentioned resolution in the summary. That's because, to me, it's not a critical issue. The resolution feels OK to me. Then again I've never been one to care that much about it. Obviously, more is better, but it just doesn't feel like an important point to me after actually having experienced the headset for myself. - Yes, pixels are visible, and 640x800 for each eye seems quite low. - But it just doesn't feel like a big deal to me. The consequences I was expecting just don't seem to be there in practice. (At least, not enough for me to really care.)
Higher resolution might look good on paper, but it doesn't seem like such a big problem in practice compared to the other issues.

Anyway, these are obviously just my personal opinions based on using the headset over the last few days. Make of that what you will. - But I'm going to be trying to implement positional tracking and working on low-latency rendering as a result of this. I'd really like to work out the main reasons that I feel sick so quickly though. But that's a more challenging thing to test for.
26 REPLIES 26

KuraIthys
Level 2
"Rambowjo" wrote:
If you're getting over 60 FPS, that indicates to me that you are forgetting to turn on V-sync.


Most notes I've read on the matter suggest turning on V-sync is a bad idea. (Amongst other things, worst-case performance when v-sync is active is that your framerate is effectively just 30 fps, even though you're technically rendering at 60+)

V-sync should be OFF from what I've read on the matter, but if you think otherwise, I'd be interested to know why you think it would help.

I'm going to have to look into this more closely to be honest. The more I can learn about what causes nausea here, the better. XD

(I'm going to check the effects of framerates some time soon. - I've got a slow system that can still run some of the test programs, so I can cross-check the consequences of frame rate differences at the least...)

drash
Level 7
"KuraIthys" wrote:
"Rambowjo" wrote:
If you're getting over 60 FPS, that indicates to me that you are forgetting to turn on V-sync.


Most notes I've read on the matter suggest turning on V-sync is a bad idea. (Amongst other things, worst-case performance when v-sync is active is that your framerate is effectively just 30 fps, even though you're technically rendering at 60+)


Vsync caps your frame rate at your displays refresh rate (usually 60hz) and eliminates tearing. If your frame rate happens to go a little bit below your display's refresh rate, then the frame rate is halved as it is now skipping every other display refresh to give the program time to finish up what its doing.

From what I have read, depending on the program and on whether your machine is fast enough to process frames at double your display's refresh rate, disabling vsync *could* result in only minimal visible tearing (darker scenery) and latency is reduced because you're now sampling the headtracking *potentially* multiple times between each refresh, the latter of which is going to be much closer to when the frame is shown to the viewer.

Congrats on getting your Rift, and thank you for your detailed writeup!
  • Titans of Space PLUS for Quest is now available on DrashVR.com

Rambowjo
Level 2
"KuraIthys" wrote:
"Rambowjo" wrote:
If you're getting over 60 FPS, that indicates to me that you are forgetting to turn on V-sync.


Most notes I've read on the matter suggest turning on V-sync is a bad idea. (Amongst other things, worst-case performance when v-sync is active is that your framerate is effectively just 30 fps, even though you're technically rendering at 60+)

V-sync should be OFF from what I've read on the matter, but if you think otherwise, I'd be interested to know why you think it would help.

I'm going to have to look into this more closely to be honest. The more I can learn about what causes nausea here, the better. XD

(I'm going to check the effects of framerates some time soon. - I've got a slow system that can still run some of the test programs, so I can cross-check the consequences of frame rate differences at the least...)


In my experience, panning on an ordinary 2D monitor can be straining, without V-sync turned on. I can make no promises, and as said above, it will increase latency a tiny bit (we're talking miliseconds) but I believe it will very much improve your experience.

BigRobCoder
Level 3
I also felt a significant amount of nausea when I first got my Rift. My two suggestions to you are:

1. It goes down over time. Don't try to "push through" a play session, take a break when you start to feel uneasy, but you eventually learn not to move in ways that make you uneasy (I do a lot less sideways/backwards movement in the Rift than in regular games, and I close my eyes whenever something happens that makes me feel odd, like a loading screen that disables head tracking).

2. I find "walk-around" experiences, like Tuscony, to be the most disorienting. VR demos that put you in a vehicle feel much more natural to me. In particular, I recommend http://www.mtbs3d.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?f=140&t=17157 viewtopic.php?f=29&t=600 and viewtopic.php?f=29&t=348

kojack
Volunteer Moderator
Volunteer Moderator
I haven't seen it mentioned elsewhere (maybe it's on here already, I haven't searched), but I was wondering if one contributor to the nausea is the pivot point for head rotation. It's a bit hard to see if it's there in the demos since I don't have a rift yet, but I know in my own ogre demo I use the head tracking data to rotate the cameras around their midpoint. But the human head pivots around the neck, meaning our eyes move when our head rotates. Maybe the lack of position change when changing head angle affects people, just one extra little clue to the brain that freaky stuff is going on.

Or it might be that everybody else emulated heads correctly and only I'm doing it the simplistic way. 🙂
Author: Oculus Monitor,  Auto Oculus Touch,  Forum Dark Mode, Phantom Touch Remover,  X-Plane Fixer
Hardware: Threadripper 1950x, MSI Gaming Trio 2080TI, Asrock X399 Taich
Headsets: Wrap 1200VR, DK1, DK2, CV1, Rift-S, GearVR, Go, Quest, Quest 2, Reverb G2

flyingwaffle
Level 2
About the lenses, you can move them back a bit by adjusting the knobs (I put mine half way in, all the way out my eye lids were touching them which was annoying).
[udpdate] seems that the pupillary distance console vars of TF2 are available in HL2, will have to set them up correctly.

wishpishh
Level 2
Actually, my first reaction was that the low resolution definately was the biggest issue. To the point where I wondered if everything was working as it should. Even when keeping your head still and looking straight ahead, it feels really smeared. It's not the screen door effect that bothers me, it's just the low resolution of the graphics making everything so awfully smeared it's sometimes hard to know what you're actually looking at.

Also, I had hoped I wouldn't have a problem with nausea, because I don't usually have, but it turned out to be a huge problem for me initially. Some demos, like Museum of the Microstar, I could only play for a couple of minutes before having to turn it off. I guess I will get more used to it, I really hope so, but if this is a typical reaction it's probably going to be really hard to make this a consumer product. That's how I feel anyway, it's just my opinion and I'm not even really a game dev.

With that said, I know many things will improve for the consumer version and I was still, regardless of the above points, blown away when testing this. I'm sure I'll discover many more great things and that lots of amazing stuff will be made even for the dev kit, and I'm sure the consumer version is going to be great as well.

Gerald
Level 4
Got mine a few hours ago, tested the ISS and the Roller coaster demo (as well as watched this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48b_LxXQpQI ).

AWESOME!!! Wow, the Oculus Rift is far from being perfect, but it is completely mind blowing.
My biggest issue is the motion blur, so if the DK2 will just give a minor improvement on that I still will buy it for that.

Second biggest issue is the form factor, while it is mostly comfortable it presses on my cheekbones and that is getting hurtful after a few minutes.

Zero nausea, but weak legs and that good kind of funny feeling in your stomach when I get to the drop in the roller coaster and the section where you "fly". I love it!
Standing up it is really hard to keep standing without grabbing something, sitting down it a little less fun (still AWESOME!!!). I don't understand why people stop looking around when demoing the device. I do that like crazy, it is the most fun ever.

EDIT: ohhh - and I do almost real time updates on the stuff I try on my Facebook account, follow or befriend me ... so far I have convinced one dev who already ordered it 😄

http://www.facebook.com/gerald.terveen
check out my Mobile VR Jam 2015 title Guns N' Dragons

nebrunner
Level 2
"wishpishh" wrote:
Actually, my first reaction was that the low resolution definately was the biggest issue. To the point where I wondered if everything was working as it should. Even when keeping your head still and looking straight ahead, it feels really smeared. It's not the screen door effect that bothers me, it's just the low resolution of the graphics making everything so awfully smeared it's sometimes hard to know what you're actually looking at.

Also, I had hoped I wouldn't have a problem with nausea, because I don't usually have, but it turned out to be a huge problem for me initially. Some demos, like Museum of the Microstar, I could only play for a couple of minutes before having to turn it off. I guess I will get more used to it, I really hope so, but if this is a typical reaction it's probably going to be really hard to make this a consumer product. That's how I feel anyway, it's just my opinion and I'm not even really a game dev.

With that said, I know many things will improve for the consumer version and I was still, regardless of the above points, blown away when testing this. I'm sure I'll discover many more great things and that lots of amazing stuff will be made even for the dev kit, and I'm sure the consumer version is going to be great as well.


I have the same exactly feelings. My initial reaction was wow everything is really blurry, but it turns out that is only due to the low res panel. I have hopes that this issue is completely resolved by future panel upgrades.

My second reaction, (and this was only after playing about 20 minutes straight of a FPS) was wow I am sick to my stomach. Everybody I have demoed it to has become sick, some after a few minutes, others after 15-20. It also depends on what demo I use for them. I also hope that this is something that I can "cure" by sticking with it and using it every day. I am a hardcore VR enthusiast who has been waiting for this moment since I first tried Dactyl nightmare in the 90's so of course I am not going to let a little thing like getting incredibly nauseous stand in the way of my VR experience. But what about the average consumer? I'm afraid this is the much bigger and longer term issue that marketing of this product will have to contend with.

Hi All,

Posted this over at the MTBS3D forum but thought I'd share it here too.

Eventually got around to signing up after lurking for the last month or so as I wanted to share my first impressions. Rift arrived on Wednesday (I actually got this one off ebay for a reasonable (ish) quote, as I have two pre-ordered for the company, but they were only ordered in January and April, so started getting too impatient lol. Happy to answer questions, I will put my day one reactions here...

It has been an incredible afternoon. As mentioned, and most probably already know...this is the development kit, it does have limitations and those expecting to just put this on and be in a photo realistic 'other world' are in for a shock.

BUT...

screw me. The sense of scale is breathtaking. I have spent the last couple of hours just flying around some asteroids in a very basic 'space' demo (First Law). You can look around the cockpit, but just floating close to an asteroid and then following it with your head as it floats above or to the side of you...well, it astounds me and I feel we are on day one of a new way of immersing in a virtual world. As mentioned above, most of the demos at the moment are very simple, created by individuals as proofs of concept etc (although I haven't tried TF2 or Half Life 2 yet, that could be interesting). So they may not have the best textures, or be complete games, or whatever, but flying a helicopter around an island and then landing while the sense of scale is EXACTLY as it would be if you were in a real helicopter, well it's mind blowing.

The screams of horror / delight as my other half tried the roller coaster demo were almost worth the price of admission alone (it did take two attempts as she took the goggles off just before the first drop initially, but I coaxed her into having another go). Yet again, it's just a very simple demo put together quickly using existing assets. What could the big boys do with technology like this? It's not just the gaming landscape that interests me in terms of where this could go, but it is all experiences; flying, therapy, abstract mind bending fun...and games too of course. There are a world of possibilities and we are just at the very beginning of this journey.

Let me back a little. The unit comes nicely packaged. The case it comes in, while cheap, is pretty sturdy and the whole thing is incredibly light. The headset is very comfortable once you get it adjusted. Although I may try one of the other lenses (it comes with 3 sets) just to see what difference it makes in terms of focus as I feel my eyes aren't what they once were. However, regardless of that, a change in lens is not going to perform miracles on this screen. Yes, it is low res, yes, it has significant motion blur, yes, you can't see details that well due to the resolution, yes, you can see the individual pixels without looking for them, yes, you will probably get motion sickness if you're not careful. But look beyond that, look into the future, step into the new world.

The head tracking is fantastic, there may be some latency but you don't notice it, it works exactly as it should. The sense of scale blows my mind. I think that is the one element it is really hard to describe until you experience it. I guess it isn't that hard to describe, its generally the same scale as REAL LIFE lol. So look around you, that should give you some idea! I guess it depends on the demo etc, but I have had two or three very compelling experiences with software that has been knocked together in a few days in most cases. As I thought before I tried it, I really believe cockpit based experiences (or essentially anything that doesn't involve walking) may provide the best experiences initially . It's much easier to make the 'connect' if you are sat in a chair in the real world and sat in a helicopter or spaceship in the virtual world....that's not to say that there won't be compelling experiences with all kinds of game types.

I'm not really that interested in watching videos etc on it at the moment, the resolution isn't really up to it (but once that is fixed I think it could provide an IMAX like experience at some point in the future, and it is very good to not have to deal with ghosting issues etc, the sense of 3D through this with things that have been specifically designed for it is fantastic).

There are so many elements I want to dive into and discuss, not just games....I wrote my dissertation at Uni 20 years ago on implications of Virtual Reality...and then the technology just didn't progress in the way I imagined. UNTIL NOW.

Today, was my first true VR experience. I have taken the red pill. I will be going back in. I am so giddy with excitement for the future. It's a dev kit, the screen isn't great and you probably aren't going to be playing full games in this for hours at a time on a daily basis until the consumer version comes. However, as each day passes new content appears so it will be an exciting time to be a rift owner for sure. But if you have a passion for toys, new technology and things that can blow your mind, and you are awaiting delivery, then I don't think you will disappointed. It will only get better from here.

I'm in the rabbit hold and I love it down here. I'm going to take the dog for a walk (in the REAL WORLD) and will then come back and probably just fly a helicopter and spaceship for a few hours. Tomorrow I take it to the office to video some reactions and become a youtube sensation, or not. Happy Days. Oh Happy Days, More to follow....any questions please ask and I will do my best to address them later.

PS I haven't suffered from motion sickness at all yet, although I have been careful. I did feel slightly dizzy when strafing in the Tuscany House demo, so I changed my approach to playing it and would rotate on the spot before moving forwards. My guess is a better screen and positional tracking should sort motion sickness for many. Didn't feel any sign of it in the space, helicopter or roller coaster demo. Although my fiance did have to lie down for an hour after riding the coaster, but she does the same thing after looking at the 3DS for a minute so that was predictable!

Some Hours Later

Mind Blown!!!! I mean really loving blown. Over the last 15 minutes I've seen the most amazing thing I've ever seen. Once you relax into it (and get the lens a comfortable distance from your face) well, it's just incredible. The other big change was being on the sofa in a darkened room and wearing headphones. And realising I could look directly above and behind, leaning over the sofa and the view is consistent. MInd boggling.

Good God, this is immense, it really just felt that I was sitting on the sofa floating through some alien galaxy. I mean this poop is insane....really

The key was getting the lens a little further from my face so everything just became a little sharper and easier on the eyes. The other part of the puzzle was moving to the sofa in a darkened room which has made a huge difference. It really is an incredible illusion. But I now understand the 60fps thing. Not everything is equal. And so far the space demo First Law is the winner, rock solid frame rate and it does feel like you are there, it's a very very clever trick. Lower the framerate and the illusion is lost. That's not to say it still doesn't look good at times, but you want that 60FPS for sure.

Of course then enhancing it slightly just had the same effect it normally does on me on the occasion I combine it with games. Makes it just a bit better. But that is not the reason for this praise...I think there will be a settling in period for people, finding out what works for them. Which is why is 3 minute demo may not be the best judge for everyone.

Since then.....so far have blown several minds, made a few people motion sick, and had one so so response, several 'amazed' responses and two clear 'I have just blown their mind' responses. I haven't had any real motion sickness to speak of, but I could feel the first signs a couple of times in Tuscany and TF2. But apart from that, no problems. I've floated in space with First Law for 30 minutes at a time with no issue. I think anything with a fixed frame of reference (such as being in a helicopter or spaceship) I'm 100% fine with, demos and games where you walk I will be a little more careful with. Also I cannot understate again just how crazy the sense of scale is and how utterly gob smacking it is to be sat in a spaceship, freely moving your head all around to take in the view, and the interior of the ship just sits there, rock solid as it should. At 60FPS it's like some crazy voodoo.

I feel like someone just visited me from the future and gave me a gift :shock:

PS Hi by the way 🙂 Great to be a member now posting, after reading so many useful and enthusiastic posts in this forum. Thank-you

Oh, and after more playing again tonight, DEFINITELY try people with flight /vehicle based demos I would say. Roller Coaster, First Law and Heli are significantly easier on me than Tuscany for instance. Yet vehicle based things seem to work without giving me any issues at all. Strafing is bad for the most part. 60FPS is essential to maintain the illusion.