Since the early days of 3D gaming, players have imagined how it would feel to be immersed inside the games they played. Early games like Doom and Hexen stimulated the imaginations of kids and adults alike. Jump ahead 20 years and players were still waiting for inexpensive solutions to immersive gaming and virtual reality. Then in 2012, the developers of DOOM 3 announced that their new game would have native support for head-mounted 3D immersion systems and a small company, called Oculus VR, showed off their in-development and relatively inexpensive immersion system, the Oculus Rift.
Now, in 2013, the Oculus Rift has enjoyed a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised 2.4 million dollars and developer kits consisting of working Oculus Rift units and programing suites for game development are in the hands of reporters and game designers alike.
What is Oculus Rift?
The Oculus Rift is a head-mounted display with a high field-of-view (FOV) and low latency, which is marketed as a commercial-grade virtual reality system. The system is intended to fill most of the users entire FOV, while blacking out the remaining view of a user’s surroundings. The Oculus Rift will use a 7-inch display featuring a resolution of 1280x800 split between both eyes; the effective resolution in stereoscopic 3D will be 640x800.
The unit is designed to not provide a full overlap of FOV with both eyes as to better mimic the human FOV, which also does not have full right and left eye overlap. The unit is expected to weigh approximately 380g and will come with a USB cord used for supplying power and feedback information to the Oculus Rift and subsequent programs.
With the proliferation of Oculus Rift developer kits, many new and existing games are being prepared to use the system. Games like Team Fortress 2 and DOOM 3 already have existing code in place to support the early forms of the Oculus Rift and as recently as April 2013, game developer DICE, makers of the FPS Battlefield 3, have posted a job opening looking for adeveloper to implement support for Oculus Rift in the Frostbite Engine. With this level of excitement and support, the Oculus Rift head-mounted VR unit looks to be a very real possibility.
The full, commercial version of the Oculus Rift system has not been given a release date or price, but is expected to be available sometime in 2014.