Oculus Rift DK2: A Step in the Right Direction?

Hey Techpeditioneers, A good friend of mine (Jordon Hillhouse) had a chance to get his head into the most recent Oculus Rift Dev Kit and he wanted to talk about it on Techpedition. Here’s his opinion of the DK2, enjoy. -Sergio

Image7How rare is it that something is both under the radar, yet setting the world abuzz? That’s what the Oculus Rift Development Kit 2 (DK2) is doing right now. For months, virtual reality game enthusiasts have been anticipating the upgraded gaming system. The lucky few that have the DK2 are dwarfed by those who want to see what all the fuss is about. With me being one of the latter, I did not see myself writing a review on this product. But, as fate would have it, I happen to know one of the lucky few and was able to test it out.

Before I give my thoughts, we must go over some of the specs. The Oculus Rift DK2 is the second generation of the virtual reality head-mounted display system. It features a new OLED display designed to use low-persistence-of-vision to smooth motion, as well as a full positional tracking system. The head gear is surprisingly light, weighing less than 1 lb. The resolution is 1920 x 1080, and 960×1080 for each eye.

A major complaint with the DK1 was that motion blur occurred when the viewer turned his or her head. This was due in part to the DK1’s frame rate of 60fps. The DK2 uses low persistence technology and has a frame rate of 75fps, and as a result, I noticed no motion blur. As my head turned wildly, the screen kept up without any problem. It should be noted that low persistence isn’t just 75fps. It also turns the screen off after every frame until the next one.

Image464646DK2 has lower latency, higher frame rate, higher resolution, and low persistence. It also has full positional tracking, meaning that as your position changes, so does your view. For example, you can lean forward, look around corners, under tables, and change your perspective in real time.

So how was the game play? It’s fantastic. The few demos I played were limited in what I could do, however anyone can see the tremendous potential in this system. Once you put on the headset and start your game, you are in a completely different world. Of the demos I played, two stuck out. The first was an amusement park kamikaze-like ride. The atmosphere was beautiful, and the ride was very intense. The next demo had me at a much slower pace. In that demo, I was transported to a mansion in Tuscany. Exploring the levels of the house, and the courtyard was absolutely breathtaking.

A question concerning virtual reality has always been comfort. I felt completely comfortable playing the games. The headpiece was not nearly as heavy as I thought it would be. I got used to the system within minutes, and I did not get motion sickness or feel nauseous at any point.

At $350, the Oculus Rift is reasonably priced. That being said, the DK2 is not for me. The DK2 is for virtual reality enthusiasts and software developers who are interested in getting in making virtual worlds for the device before the launch of the Oculus Consumer model. The DK2 will allow game developers to have fully functioning games ready for consumers when the consumer Oculus Rift is released in 2015 or 2016. Will I buy the consumer model of the product? Absolutely!

For more information on the Oculus Rift DK2, please check out http://oculusvr.com.

Follow Jordan on Twitter @thejordybaby and check out his Parody videos on Youtube here.