Our Oculus Rift SDK2 kits are in! I spent a great deal of time with it over the weekend so I’d like to give a quick overview of what I’ve discovered:
1) It’s pretty difficult to setup. It took about 5 hours of fiddling with settings and looking online through forums to get this thing working properly–that being said–I was using my laptop and the SDK2 is not particularly fond of laptops with dual gpus like my own. Rather than use my Nvidia GPU, it will default to the integrated Intel GPU. This is a problem on their end. Regardless–I found a weird workaround to get this thing going! The downside is that I can’t mirror the goggle’s vision to my desktop–so you can’t see what someone is playing unfortunately until their dual GPU issue is fixed. Beyond that–learning the settings to adjust pupil distance, etc. is not particularly intuitive either, which is problematic because of the nausea that occurs if the settings aren’t tweaked properly.
2) Nausea, Nausea, and more Nausea. No matter how I tweak the goggle’s settings–some demos or games will consistently make me ill every time after about 5 minutes. Half-Life 2 is one of those games. Although it is stunning to explore–I get ill quite quickly and have to put the goggles down. I will continue to feel ill for about 15-20 minutes afterwards. It’s hard to pass it up though–nothing is quite as unnerving as walking up to a person in the Half-Life 2 engine and looking at them in true 3D–they look like a moving wax statue–yet are missing a soul–maybe it’s just me being metaphysical and weird–but it kinda creeps me out. They look real–and my brain gets confused. It’s a pretty awesome experience.
3) The head tracking is pretty awesome–the provided demo that comes with it will let you rotate your head around a branch to see its underside–it’s insane. You really do feel immersion–and get frustrated when you can’t grab things–believe me I’ve tried unconsciously reaching out to something to nearly hit my friend sitting next to me in the face.
4) It’s very lightweight compared to the older model. I think it weighs around 550gs–which is pretty nice.
5) The wires are crazy–although better than the first SDK. It requires a lot of careful stringing around, but no matter how carefully you run wires around–they inevitably get tangled in a complex assortment of attachments which makes moving it around quite hassling–especially when its moved, the wires are even worse off.
Overall–I’m pretty excited about using it with the Decatur St. environment and digital signage around campus. I don’t think we’ll get to it this semester unfortunately–although who knows–but soon enough–when we get the kinks worked out, like figuring out a method to measure people and create profiles before they use it to reduce possible sickness, we’ll setup some kiosks around campus for students to explore our SIF environments in awesome detail!