The Oculus Rift

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By: Martin Brash

 

The Oculus Rift head mounted display is looking to change how we see interactive media, literally. After a highly successful crowd funding campaign, reaching their goal of raising $250,000 within the first four hours, they went on to achieving over 2.4 million dollars from over 9,000 backers during their thirty day campaign on the increasingly popular Kickstart program. Having received coverage from major gaming media everywhere, there is a reason this device is set to make waves in the gaming world.

While not all the elements of the Oculus Rift kit have been announced and finalized, I can still tell you about what has been announced and experienced by others at conferences and expos. The Oculus Rift is to provide a stereoscopic 3D experience with a full ninety degrees of vision. The headset entirely encompasses the user’s eyesight; blocking out the world to fully immerse them into the gaming world. The device has also caught the attention of major video game development studios including Epic Games, creators of the critically acclaimed Gears of War series, who have announced that their hugely popular Unreal Engine will have fully integrated support for the Oculus Rift, and iD Software; developers of the popular DOOM and Quake series.

Featuring the ability to track the users head movements thanks to inbuilt gyros, accelerometers and other fancy technology I won’t bother you with, means that the Rift will track and translate your very own head movements into the game itself; bringing immersion and atmosphere to a level not yet experienced in gaming or anywhere really. What we’re seeing here is another step forward to a world where virtual reality is a real thing we can experience. Despite still being in development, ‘dev kits’ are readily available for purchase to prospective video game developers to get a head start and incorporate the technology into their games before its eventual release in 2013. With over thirty games including Team Fortress 2, Skyrim and the incredibly popular Minecraft already featuring or planning to support the Oculus, the future looks bright for this small but amazing piece of technology.

However not all is well as the display can suffer from a fisheye effect as the image stretches around the edges of the display. It also suffers from the same effect that many 3D movies can have in that first time users may experience some feelings of nausea when they experience the 3D effects. But with the best part of a year of development time left you can rest assured that the development team is working hard to fix these issues with many tweaks and improvements to the system before its eventual consumer release.

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