As you may (or perhaps even should) know, the Oculus Rift is coming to Second Life.
This is very exciting because the OR will change the way we play computer games, work with all kinds of software and experience virtual surroundings for ever.
The OR is a headset that at first sight works in a rather simplistic way, two little monitors are placed in front of your eyes, giving you the century old stereoscopic effect of experiencing depth.
But with some technical smart stuff added (you may by now realise I am not a very technical person), it makes what you see on your computer screen link up and match your head movements, thus giving you a virtual reality experience like you’ve never seen before.
I tried some massive and heavy VR headset decades ago and remember being in awe with that experience but somehow it never caught on.
The OR is bringing VR back in an amazing way.
Together with other ‘gadgets’ we will soon be able to really feel as if we are inside our games or virtual worlds.
It truly is a game changer, 3D will never be the same again.
And just in case you don’t take my word for it, check out some of the game websites and magazines who, for the last month or so have been writing articles with titles like “Believe the hype.”.
Make sure you also have a look at Youtube, it is full of very entertaining videos of people trying the OR for the very first time.
It is very hard not to get extremely exited when you watch their enthusiasm.
Have a look at this 90 year old granny traveling to Tuscany… while never leaving her chair.
If you’re still not convinced, read this article about why Second Life is a killer app for Oculus VR by someone who knows technical stuff a lot more then I do.
As someone who has been working on trying to create an immersive location in Second Life for years, this is of course very interesting for me.
I build 1920s Berlin in great detail, trying to give visitors the experience of really going there, actually traveling back in time.
But no matter how realistic I can make this sim, watching it on a screen and walking around by pushing keys on a keyboard sort of makes it very hard to forget you’re not really there.
Oculus Rift can bring a much more immersive and realistic experience a LOT closer.
I can already imagine myself walking around those dark narrow streets, looking up, down, around me.
Finally being able to see my city trough my eyes in stead of the eyes of my avatar.
Now, if you understand what the Oculus Rift is and how it works and if you’re an avid Second Life user, you will now realise how big these two could be for each other.
At the moment the OR is mostly seen as something we could use for playing games, while SL is seen by many as a virtual world with a bad reputation, forgotten by many.
Now imagine what could happen if Second Life will become compatible with the Oculus Rift!
People only using the OR for gaming will want to come to SL because there is only one thing more fun them playing someone else’s game and that is playing your own game, exploring your own world, enjoying a virtual reality YOU build.
It could give SL an enormous boost, put it back in the view of those who might have forgotten about it, and it could show off a whole new side of the OC.
Anyway, I am a huge believer in this and have tried very hard to make it happen.
I am just another SL builder but somehow I managed to get connected via the magic of the internet with both the founder of OR Palmer Luckey and the CEO of Linden Lab Rod Humble.
And I ‘abused’ this contact to try very hard to get these two to get together and see if they could bring the OR to SL and visa versa.
To my own surprise I seem to have done it.
By bringing them into a chat I was having about this subject I got them introduced to each other.
It was a very exciting chat, as we were there typing Rod and Palmer were agreeing to exchange IM’s about the subject.
And not much later Linden Lab spokesman Peter Gray confirmed that they are planning to strongly support the Oculus Rift!
As you may understand, I was getting very excited about all this.
It would of course have been a matter of time before Second Life and Oculus Rift got together but it is a great feeling to think that I may have been responsible for pushing them a bit in each others direction like that shy couple at prom night.
To keep this memento going and to give users of Second Life and/or Oculus Rift a place to stay up to date with progress, I started this facebook page with the imaginative title “Oculus Rift and Second Life“.
And of course I keep pestering Palmer and Rod!
Last night Rod replied to my facebook question if there was any news with this reply;
Engineers working on it. Scoop? Sure! It is up and running right now within SL but we want to make it excellent. The new work is on integrating the mouse/cursor/UI support within the Rift, this is important because real VR requires rethinking the way you interact with the world and UI to take advantage of head tracking. Hopefully we will be sharing some vids within a few weeks then get into testing after that. I dont want to overhype this BUT SL+OR is like having dinner with Stefan Zweig and Peter Altenberg.
The OR is already in SL and there will be videos in a matter of weeks!
I can’t wait to get my hands on the OR and explore 1920s Berlin a lot sooner then I expected.
See you on the other side of the looking glass folks!
Sparkaphat Doobie said:
Thank you Jo for a wonderful and informative article! I can’t wait until it is released and I can experience it. Keep up the great work!
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Mona Eberhardt said:
While Oculus Rift support will certainly bring Second Life much closer to the archetypal idea we all had of virtual reality, I have a few practical concerns:
1. Will Oculus Rift turn the user’s experience into a first-person-perspective or will the user also be able to control her camera, separately from her avatar’s position in a specific region?
2. What about access to the rest of the UI?
3. What will the hardware requirements be for SL to work decently with Oculus Rift?
Finally, here’s one that is the one that will be extremely likely to prevent me from adopting Oculus Rift for Second Life in the foreseeable future (besides the cost of the device itself, which I don’t know yet):
Whether we like it or not, devices like Oculus Rift demand that the end user can have some privacy to user them. I don’t know about others, but at least in my household, I’m sure I’d be getting far too many RL distractions and interruptions. 😦
Jo Yardley said:
1.I think that for the first time in years, the SL first person perspective will actually become workable and functional, so far it is not very practical and that just has to change for OR to work.
I am sure we will be allowed to still use our camera and use other perspectives, building in camera view just isn’t always a good idea.
Besides, you can’t wear the OR headset for hours on end and most of us will at least some of the time not use it at all.
So if it changes our perspective at all it will be just that our mouse view will become better.
2.Sorry for being a noob, but what does UI stand for?
3.It depends, technically, all the OR does is double the screens you’re looking at, so in a way it is almost the same as playing SL on one computer but with 2 monitors.
Well it isn’t as simple as that, it does take some improvement on the SL side to avoid Lag, but I think that the amount of work to make it work in SL is not that big.
Just like with so much, it will demand time and attention, great thing is of course that you can keep using SL the old way but for some special events or when you’re sure you have an hour to yourself, you can go that extra mile and immerse yourself even more.
Mona Eberhardt said:
1. Up until now, I remember that mouselook has always been used as one of the most restricting tools in BDSM (actually, I’d always found it profoundly annoying when some restriction management tool – because that’s what all RLV gear is – forced me to mouselook) and was not practical at all. For Oculus Rift to work properly, this will certainly have to change.
2. UI = User Interface. It’s the menus, buttons, floaters and everything we use to adjust our viewer, change WL settings, access inventory etc.
3. The way I see it, OR will act in a similar fashion to the 3D glasses we know on modern TV sets. Then again, I could be wrong. Right now, graphics cards that come with 3D glasses are more high-end, to be honest. And it seems that such capabilities is rather demanding, hardware-wise.
Also, the cost of Oculus Rift will be a deciding factor for its adoption. It certainly has its uses and SL is a killer app for it, but, like I said, cost will always matter. A lot.
Thynka Little said:
It would be great to have access to a pre-market model asap to get a sense of what to consider to optimise the look and feel of a build for the OR. I have already changed my plans for 3rd and 4th Q 2013 to work on making content that is Rift-worthy.
The Oculus Rift does not use 2 displays it only uses 1. That display splits two images displaying them on the same panel.
Ehrman (@EhrmanDigfoot) said:
Nouj is right.
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