• Guest, The rules for the P & N subforum have been updated to prohibit "ad hominem" or personal attacks against other posters. See the full details in the post "Politics and News Rules & Guidelines."

General VR discussion thread

Page 40 - Seeking answers? Join the AnandTech community: where nearly half-a-million members share solutions and discuss the latest tech.

pj-

Senior member
May 5, 2015
421
162
116
oculus santa cruz wireless vr
https://www.engadget.com/2016/10/07/oculus-santa-cruz-headset-impressions/
the guys from tested podcast indicate the inside out cameras work in a nice static room with no one else moving between whatever landmarks the unit is using to register on. this is likely what carmack has been working on given his comments in his twitter feed over the past few years.

not sure how much battery life you can get out of the soc in the back.
Carmack said in his talk that the vision team is doing the santa cruz stuff. He seems more focused on the current practical problems with Gear.
 
Oct 9, 1999
19,615
19
81
Got the approval from the wife for VR finally. I'm going to start doing my research and decide which to get but I do want to ask you guys... Should I wait for 2nd gen or will it be a while? Price doesn't really concern me but didn't know if 2nd gen VR was around the corner.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
46,120
3,182
126
Got the approval from the wife for VR finally. I'm going to start doing my research and decide which to get but I do want to ask you guys... Should I wait for 2nd gen or will it be a while? Price doesn't really concern me but didn't know if 2nd gen VR was around the corner.
We will most likely not see a 2nd-gen device until next summer (2017) because the Oculus & Vive were just released a few months ago. Here's the current status of available options:
  1. Google Cardboard: (GC) This is the guidelines for creating a basic headset that works with just about any smartphone. Really basic. I bought a plastic viewer from Viewmaster for my iPhone.
  2. Samsung GearVR: A step up from GC. More features, gamepad support, etc. The GC got me interested in VR; the GearVR is what sold me on VR. Headsets are $99 & require a support Samsung phone. It's nice because it's 100% wireless...you strap the phone into the headset & optionally use a wireless gamepad. No tether to the PC required!
  3. Oculus Rift: The first big PC headset.
  4. HTC Vive: The first competitor to the Rift. Came out about the same time, but for $200 more, because it included two location cameras (Lighthouses) & two "Wiimotes" (Vive VR controllers). This let you walk around your room & track your hands using the gamepad sticks.
  5. Playstation VR: (PSVR) Not as good as the Rift or Vive, but tons of games coming out, and sells for $500 as a package (camera, controllers, headset) if you already have a Playstation 4 or newer.
Oculus has their own roomscale & controller combo coming out in December. Google is upgrading GC & has a competitor to the GearVR coming out next month (November) called Daydream. There are a variety of other lesser competitors coming out. Right now, for serious VR, it pretty much boils down to the Rift, the Vive, and the PSVR, with the Vive probably being the best among them thanks to the wireless motion controllers & Roomscale setup. Plus, the Vive has excellent Steam integration, so if you have a VR-ready PC, you can unbox the Vive & set it up, download Steam & some games, and get playing pretty quickly.

One of the problems VR is running into is fragmented stores & exclusives. So certain games are only coming out for the Oculus instead of both the Oculus & the Vive (although there's Revive Inject, which lets you play most Oculus games now). Despite partnering with Steam, Vive for some reason just came out with their own platform called Viveport. Samsung uses the Oculus store & runs optimized experiences & games for the Samsung phones (mobile CPU's). Google Cardboard has apps for both iPhone & Android, but Daydream has its own SDK. And of course, Playstation will have PS4-only games. So things are kind of all over the map right now. Plus Microsoft has the Hololens AR system, Intel is working on an Atom-based AR/VR headset called Project Alloy, there's all kinds of stuff in the works.

Right now, the Vive has over 500 VR games & experiences available in Steam. Having owned it a few months, I absolutely love it, but I was bit by the VR bug & was willing to be an early adopter (imperfect software & hardware, lack of full games because they have yet to be developed, etc.). I would absolutely recommend it if you have the budget available & are chomping at the bit to get into VR, but also with the caveat that this isn't an Xbox or Wii system where you're going to spend a lot of hours in one game, because we're still missing a huge library of AAA gaming titles. The game I play most is actually still in an alpha state (QuiVR, a multi-player castle-defense archery game). I mean, there are plenty of awesome things to do, but oddly enough, largely nothing super addicting. After a couple passes through most items in your library, you get bored, and I think part of the reason for that is that you perceive them as physical experiences rather than just games (that, and the content is still lacking). I've played games on my iPhone for far longer than I've played most games in my Vive library on Steam.

TL;DR: VR is awesome, if you're willing to be an early adopter & get everything that goes along with that. The Vive is imo the best system out there. However, if you want to game, I would try a demo of the PSVR first & see if you like it, because my guess is that there's going to be a lot more full, awesome games for the Playstation VR system than for the computer & phone-based ones.
 
  • Like
Reactions: thejunglegod

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
46,120
3,182
126
Got the approval from the wife for VR finally. I'm going to start doing my research and decide which to get but I do want to ask you guys... Should I wait for 2nd gen or will it be a while? Price doesn't really concern me but didn't know if 2nd gen VR was around the corner.
Also, overall:
  1. VR developers have said that we need 8K x 8K with a 120-degree FOV for a true Retina VR experience. We're basically at 1080p right now; my guess is that 4K will be the next upgrade.
  2. VR slaughters CPU/GPU systems. You have to render 3D in 2 eyes.
  3. On that tangent, 360 video is terrible because of the resolution requirements. 1080p video basically looks like crap Youtube in VR. For starters, you can see the pixels because it's not Retina-grade screens for VR, and second, there are virtual movie theater apps where you watch a 1080p movie on a theater screen...but in 360, you need a bunch of 1080p screens stitched together, so your actual required resolution is something crazy like 12K, so videos generally look pretty bad. Plus, most videos are only 2D-360, not stereoscopic 3D-360, because then you have to film all of the angles with TWO cameras to get 3D in 360. So video is kind of a mess.
  4. So many different platforms. Apple hasn't even joined in yet. Plus there are some really promising upcoming contenders. Right now there's iOS, Android, Oculus (Rift & GearVR), Steam (which does have an option for Oculus games, as well as Vive games), and Playstation. Everything right now is technically first-gen stuff.
  5. We are still waiting for true wireless headsets from computers & consoles. It's an awful lot of data to stream through the air wirelessly, not to mention you need some kind of battery to run it all. Companies are experimenting with backpack computers so you can skip out on the tether, but there's nothing really integrated that way for the PC & game console HMD's yet.
With whatever you get, you're basically buying an expensive new toy right now. Ecosystems are starting to emerge, technology is rapidly getting improved upon, and people are starting to figure out what works & doesn't work story-wise, gaming-wise, software-wise, and hardware-wise. Like, I have a VR exercise bike (VirZoom), which is awesome & I totally love, but it's $400 by itself (plus a PC, plus a headset system), and there are only 6 games for it. So again, everything is squarely in the "early adopter" phase. If that sounds like fun to you, then by all means join in. Personally I love my headset & I'm glad I bought it, despite the expense. And as far as WAF goes, aside from the Wii, this is the first system my wife has actually enjoyed using & will play a bunch of games like AudioShield, QuiVR, etc., so that's pretty cool if you guys like to hang out together for gaming. It's also way fun if you guys have family & friends over; I always have a blast showing it off & seeing people's reactions to VR in general, plus different games like Richie's Walk the Plank (you take an elevator up a skyscraper & walk out onto a plank in the air), or the Brookhaven Experiment (scary zombie horror game), or the giant whale from theBlu.
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
30,034
674
126
oculus santa cruz wireless vr
https://www.engadget.com/2016/10/07/oculus-santa-cruz-headset-impressions/
the guys from tested podcast indicate the inside out cameras work in a nice static room with no one else moving between whatever landmarks the unit is using to register on. this is likely what carmack has been working on given his comments in his twitter feed over the past few years.

not sure how much battery life you can get out of the soc in the back.
I was thinking about this tech this morning, and what sort of issues will they have implementing it in every device that needs to be tracked? They've only shown it in headsets so far, but what if they build controllers? This is essentially their webcam tech mixed with Valve's sensor tech (instead of infra-red, it looks at the images).
 
Oct 9, 1999
19,615
19
81
great info guys! will update with my decision. i'm not into consoles so the PS VR is out althought it's pretty neat considering the library of games it'll have. leaning towards the vive right now but am going to keep looking into the rift until i can make a decision. the physical aspect of the vive sounds pretty cool actually as i'd prefer to move around and be physical. i might check the FS/T forum to snag a used one if possible.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
46,120
3,182
126
great info guys! will update with my decision. i'm not into consoles so the PS VR is out althought it's pretty neat considering the library of games it'll have. leaning towards the vive right now but am going to keep looking into the rift until i can make a decision. the physical aspect of the vive sounds pretty cool actually as i'd prefer to move around and be physical. i might check the FS/T forum to snag a used one if possible.
Like I said, I really enjoy mine - it's just important to realize where the state of the art is right now. You will see pixels, you will see rings, it will be glitchy from time to time, the library is growing but doesn't have a lot of AAA titles...but for what it is, it's absolutely amazing. I use mine every day. I actually do cardio in the morning using my Vive (split up between my VR bike & cardio games) & then do gaming at night to unwind.
 

gorobei

Diamond Member
Jan 7, 2007
3,209
361
126
I was thinking about this tech this morning, and what sort of issues will they have implementing it in every device that needs to be tracked? They've only shown it in headsets so far, but what if they build controllers? This is essentially their webcam tech mixed with Valve's sensor tech (instead of infra-red, it looks at the images).
the main issue is finding anchor points that are recognizable as fixed. film and tv have had matchmoving software for 20+ years. locating a camera's location in 3d space is surprisingly simple math, getting an accurate/usable solve has been the issue and usually requires a human to identify some trackpoints in each image frame to get the best results. nothing in santa cruz is radically new or proprietary, the main issue is getting it to work 90hz without any human decision making. with the current IMU tech on hmd, getting optical tracking for registration is where the dev time will be spent.
i posted earlier that there is a company working on a asic for this sort of optical inside/out tracking for mobile.
 

Aikouka

Lifer
Nov 27, 2001
30,034
674
126
i posted earlier that there is a company working on a asic for this sort of optical inside/out tracking for mobile.
I'm not worried about the technology working, but rather how difficult and/or expensive will it be to implement it in more devices? We know that the Lighthouse technology already requires some sensors, but they are a bit simpler in nature. Will the optical/camera sensors be more complex and more expensive?

OK, you guys think this set-up would be at par for VR?
http://pcpartpicker.com/list/BVyyFd
I think that looks fine for the majority of VR games. You may find some games like Elite Dangerous a bit difficult, but I've heard that game isn't optimized well regardless.... or was it EVE Valkyrie? It's one of those AAA games!
 

gorobei

Diamond Member
Jan 7, 2007
3,209
361
126
I'm not worried about the technology working, but rather how difficult and/or expensive will it be to implement it in more devices? We know that the Lighthouse technology already requires some sensors, but they are a bit simpler in nature. Will the optical/camera sensors be more complex and more expensive?
it isnt really a matter of needing expensive hardware, off the shelf parts will likely suffice. the main issue is work load.

for matchmove/photogrammetry you can set it to auto solve and the software will process the image and look for points/features with commonality. it will then move on to the next frame/image and repeat the process while looking for a similar point/feature with previous frames. these auto track points can range from hundreds to thousands of arbitrary pixels. if the software guesses wrong about a pixel/reference detail in one frame being the same in another frame, then the solve accuracy will be off. for best results a human looks at the images and identifies a pixel/detail that is the same in all the frames. this certainty gives the trackpoints a much higher chance of getting an accurate solve/orientation. a few human chosen points can be way more accurate than the thousands selected by the software.

but you cant have that sort of human cognition requirement in a realtime 90 hz ASIC. so you are left brute forcing the process by adding more cameras and reference points. the santacruz unit has 4+ cameras on the edge of the front. those 4+ cameras will generate 4+ solves for position with hundreds or thousands of trackpoints each. if the chip has to deal with those millions of points every 11ms, then you are talking about a very parallel gpu-type SM arrangement. this pushes it beyond what current mobile soc's can do in their power envelopes. so either the soc has to get way more powerful at lower power or the software has to get much smarter about picking reference points.

if you are in room with nice visible corners and rectilinear furniture or other static landmarks, then assuming a well lit room or sensitive enough camera you could easily track off of a few dozen points. if you could pre-scan the room with the hmd and then manually identify the landmarks in a software setup phase, then you could lighten the workload.

so it is and isnt a hardware problem.
 

sxr7171

Diamond Member
Jun 21, 2002
5,079
40
91
it isnt really a matter of needing expensive hardware, off the shelf parts will likely suffice. the main issue is work load.

for matchmove/photogrammetry you can set it to auto solve and the software will process the image and look for points/features with commonality. it will then move on to the next frame/image and repeat the process while looking for a similar point/feature with previous frames. these auto track points can range from hundreds to thousands of arbitrary pixels. if the software guesses wrong about a pixel/reference detail in one frame being the same in another frame, then the solve accuracy will be off. for best results a human looks at the images and identifies a pixel/detail that is the same in all the frames. this certainty gives the trackpoints a much higher chance of getting an accurate solve/orientation. a few human chosen points can be way more accurate than the thousands selected by the software.

but you cant have that sort of human cognition requirement in a realtime 90 hz ASIC. so you are left brute forcing the process by adding more cameras and reference points. the santacruz unit has 4+ cameras on the edge of the front. those 4+ cameras will generate 4+ solves for position with hundreds or thousands of trackpoints each. if the chip has to deal with those millions of points every 11ms, then you are talking about a very parallel gpu-type SM arrangement. this pushes it beyond what current mobile soc's can do in their power envelopes. so either the soc has to get way more powerful at lower power or the software has to get much smarter about picking reference points.

if you are in room with nice visible corners and rectilinear furniture or other static landmarks, then assuming a well lit room or sensitive enough camera you could easily track off of a few dozen points. if you could pre-scan the room with the hmd and then manually identify the landmarks in a software setup phase, then you could lighten the workload.

so it is and isnt a hardware problem.
Didn't Valve start out with a bunch of QR codes plastered everywhere?
 

gorobei

Diamond Member
Jan 7, 2007
3,209
361
126
Didn't Valve start out with a bunch of QR codes plastered everywhere?
yes, the fiducial marker room. it represents the best case scenario for inside-out camera based tracking in that it has full coverage of discrete unique recognizable points.

an optical system that has to recognize the corner of a table or the end of a bookcase shelf and index that point in multiple camera views is dealing with a hundred more variables since each camera on the unit will have exposure/contrast differences, lighting differences, shadows creating different boundaries, other people/animals moving in the room obscuring landmarks.
 
Last edited:

sxr7171

Diamond Member
Jun 21, 2002
5,079
40
91
yes, the fiducial marker room. it represents the best case scenario for inside-out camera based tracking in that it has full coverage of discrete unique recognizable points.

an optical system that has to recognize the corner of a table or the end of a bookcase shelf and index that point in multiple camera views is dealing with a hundred more variables since each camera on the unit will have exposure/contrast differences, lighting differences, shadows creating different boundaries, other people/animals moving in the room obscuring landmarks.
But maybe you could place 4 brightly colored objects around the play space instead of QR codes?
 

flexy

Diamond Member
Sep 28, 2001
8,464
154
106
Could someone who owns a Vive give a rough description of the perceived "field of view", say compared to a 24" 16:9 monitor at what? distance. I know that the field of view is not 100% and not entirely filling, so there is said to be borders on the sides. Asked differently: Is it like you look through a window, or is the field of view sufficient for full immersion where you don't really notice the borders?

Also...I don't even know when I would get a Vive, and I am aware that my *current* system (4770k, GTX 970) may just barely meet min requirements, but would a GTX 970 be at least "sufficient" to get a starter-experience, to get a first impression that is not just entirely frustrating?
 

sxr7171

Diamond Member
Jun 21, 2002
5,079
40
91
I think its pretty immersive. In fact even around the nose area I hear it's the best at covering that too. The thing about this is that you don't use your eyes to look around, you use your head. You can't really move your eyes around they should be right at the center. That seems very limiting at first but you get used to it so quickly you don't realize that you can't use your eyes to look around.

So with that said you are really in it, there is no black border you are aware of. Also I think a 970 should have you covered. I would like to say 1060 or above based on claimed Pascal VR advantages but I'm not sure if that has been implemented by any game so far. Supposedly Pascal can render out content for both eyes in one pass. I can't notice any real performance increases due to that.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
46,120
3,182
126
OK, you guys think this set-up would be at par for VR?
http://pcpartpicker.com/list/BVyyFd
Have 240GB SSD with Win 10 and a 1 TB HDD. EVGA GTX 1060 6GB with a Seasonic PSU powering everything in a nice Antec case.
I would spring for a 1070 if you don't mind saving up a bit longer, that will future-proof it for VR a bit more.

Also, my 240 filled up pretty quickly & I had to go to a 500-gig SSD because of all of the VR games I was downloading. Tons of free stuff on Steam to try!
 

sxr7171

Diamond Member
Jun 21, 2002
5,079
40
91
I think he can use the 1TB drive and Steam Mover if needed to use the funds for the 1070 which I think is a good idea over the 1060.

Better to just save up and buy it now rather than waiting and selling the 1060 at a loss.
 

Kaido

Elite Member & Kitchen Overlord
Feb 14, 2004
46,120
3,182
126
I think he can use the 1TB drive and Steam Mover if needed to use the funds for the 1070 which I think is a good idea over the 1060.

Better to just save up and buy it now rather than waiting and selling the 1060 at a loss.
Yeah, although even my SSD is slow with Steam haha. I really wish my current VR system had an NVMe drive. The new 960 Pro's are due out later this month...3,500 Mbps read!!
 

Alamat

Senior member
Apr 30, 2003
677
6
81
Ok, I guess I'll put the 1060 up for sale and get a 1070. Thanks a lot guys!
 

Sabrewings

Golden Member
Jun 27, 2015
1,942
35
51
Could someone who owns a Vive give a rough description of the perceived "field of view", say compared to a 24" 16:9 monitor at what? distance. I know that the field of view is not 100% and not entirely filling, so there is said to be borders on the sides. Asked differently: Is it like you look through a window, or is the field of view sufficient for full immersion where you don't really notice the borders?
You can't liken it to a monitor. It's more like wearing ski goggles.
 

flexy

Diamond Member
Sep 28, 2001
8,464
154
106
yeah I know, but the monitor only for a rough (very) indication of a perceived field of view.
 

sxr7171

Diamond Member
Jun 21, 2002
5,079
40
91
Yeah, although even my SSD is slow with Steam haha. I really wish my current VR system had an NVMe drive. The new 960 Pro's are due out later this month...3,500 Mbps read!!
I have the 950pro and a few games are installed on it. To tell you the truth I don't notice any difference with games on it versus on any other SSD. I'll admit I haven't used an HDD in many years. But generally I noticed that game load whatever it needs into RAM and whatever loading time a game needs doesn't really change much.

Steam itself I think is slow and it's the same even on the 950pro. Still takes a while to load. I really don't know what it's doing. I used to play with RAMdisks and I think there's some other limit to how fast things can load.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY