The Gig of Ham

One geek's contributions to the series of tubes

Mar 30, 2016 - 4 minute read - Uncategorized

Oculus Rift: Initial Impressions

This isn’t a full review, I’ve only played with the Rift briefly tonight and wanted to get some thoughts down before heading to bed for an early morning. I’m planning on a much more complete review later, and a complete review of the Vive I should be getting in a couple of weeks, and finally a compare and contrast between the Vive and the Rift. In the mean time, here are the initial thoughts:

  • Glasses are still a problem. The alignment issue is better than it was with the DK2, but getting in and out of the Rift without massive smudge marks on my glasses and/or my glasses getting stuck in the Rift is next to impossible. This is disappointing since the Vive knocked this out of the park when I tried it at PAX South.
  • I haven’t yet checked if my glasses are hitting the lenses in the Rift like they did in all previous versions, but I’m betting they are. Here is hoping the VR Lens Lab guys get off the ground soon.
  • The human interface (foam) comes off really easily, another place where VR Cover will come to the rescue especially in a demo environment.
  • 30 games at launch: check. Only one is free. That’s sad.
  • The in VR store/launcher is very basic. A lot of the functionality (like getting your included copy of EVE Valkyrie) has to be done on the desktop version. Not surprising, but not very clear in terms of directions either.
  • Credit Card required at Install. Boo.
  • My machine supposedly doesn’t meet the Rift’s requirements*.There is a blue bar on the dektop store app all the time telling me this. There is also a massive billboard sized box just above your normal viewing angle in the VR store telling you this also. There does not seem to be a way to make this go away in VR. This is very disappointing.
  • The store is a walled garden. Think iTunes for the Rift. It’s the driver, downloader, launcher, etc. all rolled into one giant app. I can’t wait for something to go wrong.
  • I own several titles in the Rift Store through other sources (mostly Steam), and it has no way of knowing that I own them already. I also don’t currently have them installed on my Rift machine either.
  • I’ve allowed non-walled garden apps, going to install pcars from steam and see what happens this weekend. I really hope it “Just Works” but I don’t expect that to be the case since there is no runtime to download anymore and it is not at all clear how to add 3rd party things to the launcher.
  • This thing is going to be impossible to keep clean. Especially the box.
  • I’m impressed how much weight they shaved off from the DK2
  • The headphones are OK. Not great, but OK. I’m not surprised unfortunately.
  • The focuser is a welcome improvement.
  • Adjusting the straps to fit on my large mellon of a head was much more challenging than the DKs, and I expect it will be a problem for folks with long hair still with all that velcro.
  • Still no 1.0 or later SDK for developers on the site, which is disappointing.
  • The first thing you get in VR: a demo scene that looks like it’s straight out of SNES Starfox. I’m talking maybe 1000 polygons on the screen. The second one is better, but WTH?
  • Having to use the Rift controller for some things and the XBone controller for others is confusing since neither are easy to find. I’m spoiled by the Vive controller for sure.
  • Why are there two wildly different controllers? Was is that hard to map the Gear VR button and D-PAD to the XBone Controller?

More to come after I get more time to play and figure out how to review. Once the Vive shows up, I’m planning on taking a chunk of time in one of the conference rooms/meeting spaces at TechShop Austin and hosting a “come by and check them out” demo day. I’ll make the announcement far and wide when I get everything setup..

In the mean time, I need to hit the hay.

* System Specs

I have a dedicated machine for the Rift (I have a lot of hardware around). Most of my stuff is AMD, the Oculus config checker tool is complaining about the CPU and the USB. The USB is especially hysterical to me since it’s AMD USB 3.0 (supported) and the suggested inateck USB 3 controller. Still gives a warning on that. The CPU is listed as insufficient. Here are the machine components:

  • AMD Athlon X4 760K processor
  • 32GB of DDR3-1600MHz RAM (Patriot if I recall)
  • OCZ Trion 100 240GB SSD (attached to onboard SATA controller)
  • 5ext+2int Inateck USB 3 card (Fresco Logic FL1100 based)
  • XFX Radeon R9 390 video card (8GB, not overclocked)
  • 750W Thermaltake 80+Gold PSU
  • ASUS A88XM-PLUS Motherboard

This system gives a middle-of-the green bar result in the Steam VR test.