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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

BigDaddy
Level 2
Great thread and discussion, thanks for the insights.

KuraIthys
Level 2
Great to hear a few other perspectives on this as well.

Sorry I've left this so long. I've been having rather serious personal issues, and they've been pretty bad over the last couple of weeks.

In relation to feeling sick, from what I've been hearing I do appear to be particularly sensitive to VR sickness. That's kind of strange to me, because I don't get motion sickness, sick using normal computer monitors, and I can sit through a 3d movie without any issues.

Incedentally, because it seems particularly bad for it, I should note that 'Museum of the Microstar' runs at less than 30 fps. (25-35 usually) on my system.

However, there's clearly more to it than framerates, because I have yet to run anything that doesn't make me feel sick enough to have to go lie down for half an hour afterwards... Running just about anything for more than about 10 minutes has that effect on me.
(I spent some time exploring an empty TF2 map, which is quite interesting... They have some pretty scary drops, and jumping down from them is... Interesting to say the least.)

TF2 also makes me feel sick quite quickly in case you're wondering. (about 10-15 minutes is a definite upper bound). This is true even after doing the IPD calibration, and again, is probably not a framerate issue. (Framerates for TF2 on my system hover around the 110 fps mark.)

Anyway... Hope the rest of you are having better luck with this. XD - Feeling sick constantly puts a real damper on things. (And I don't mean a little sick either; I mean sick to the point that you can't really do anything aside from lie down for a bit afterwards....)

Still, when I'm not feeling like my stomach is going to turn inside out, using the rift is still a very impressive experience...

danielgesmith
Level 2
what KuraIthys has described pretty much matches up exactly with my experience so far ( had the rift for a few days).
Resolution, latency, head tracking etc are all great, or passable, or something i can live with. Unfortunately the motion sickness is really ruining it for me (despite my immense enthusiasm for the product and VR in general, its hard to get past feeling physically sick)
I'm going to keep coming back (of course!) in the hope that the nausea will get better over time, but am currently jealous of all those who report no (or limited) effects!

Just to add my own observations (that i'm sure have been mentioned before):

Things that make nausea worse:
Strafing (sideways or backwards) - game controls need to more natural/gentle.
"digital" movement - ie sudden starts and stops. HL2 is very guilty of this in its WASD controls - should really try with some kind of analog controller.
Lack of positional head tracking - you may be on to something here. while i don't miss it much as a "feature", leaning back in my chair - ironically in an attempt to recover from motion sickness - caused a big disconnect from the game world - instant nausea

Generally, being stationary and looking around works well, no obvious immediate negative effects. Its when i start to try to move that things go awry.

Like someone mentioned earlier. Its very unfortunate, but I think this is going to be the biggest obstacle Oculus has on gaining widespread acceptance. Even if the effects reduce over time,i can't imagine any consumer device being successful if a large proportion of users are physically ill within 5 minutes of using it. I really hope progress can be made on techniques to mitigate these effects.

ps. just for reference: yes, i get car sick, but only if i try to eg. read a book while moving. I also suffer a little from vertigo. So maybe i'm doomed to not be able to enjoy VR! 😞 (That being said, my wife doesn't suffer from these effects, and she felt sick on trying tuscanny for the first time)

Pokey
Level 2
Have either of you tried ginger pills or medicine to suppress the nausea?

Maybe with those you could get some VR experiences sans nausea and your body / mind will get used to it enough that you won't need the pills.

KuraIthys
Level 2
Not specifically.

I did find liquorice helps somewhat.

I only know that because I had some lying around and started eating some of it while messing around with the headset.
It wasn't dramatically helpful, but it did calm my stomach a little, and aided recovery...

But uh, I've been struggling so much with other things going on in my life recently that I haven't had a whole heap of time to experiment much with VR...

drash
Level 7
Have you two tried Qbeh? I find Museum of Microstar impossible to enjoy in VR with its massive latency even on a high end gaming rig. I don't think that should be a demo you should ever hope to not feel sickness from. Qbeh, on the other hand, seemed to be just right and it really gave me a boost to my VR legs.
  • Titans of Space PLUS for Quest is now available on DrashVR.com

KuraIthys
Level 2
I havn't heard of Qbeh, honestly.

But anything I can run with a reduced risk of nausea would be good. XD

I'll have to have a look for that. - Besides, never hurts to have more things to play around with...