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Linden Lab has released a viewer that supports the Development kit 2 version of the Oculus Rift but also the consumer version.
This is something many people have been waiting for.

Unfortunately I can’t test it myself, I don’t own a VR headset nor a computer it would work with.
Any sponsors out there with some spare money?
Give me a call.

When you visit the Second Life website you still see an artist’s impression of what the Rift might look like, not a picture of the actual current headset and when you click for more information you’ll be taken to a blog post from 2014.
So Oculus users joining SL today, will not know they can use their headset till they try.

Screen Shot 2016-07-03 at 11.41.29

The viewer was much anticipated, but once tried the experience left several users less than impressed.
According to some users, it seems like performance has gotten worse compared to the dk2 viewer.
Of course we all know that Second Life is not perfectly suitable for VR headset experience, but you’d at least hope that it would still be working just as good or better than it did with the DK2 even though the commercial Oculus may be more demanding.
The viewer also lowers your graphics settings so even if you have a super computer that technically could handle SL at ultra settings in your Oculus, you wouldn’t be able to try it.

Check out the forum thread here (click) to see how people are experiencing it.

Jim Reichert, who does a lot of work with new VR technologies, uploaded the first (as far as I know) video showing the new viewer;

He was rather disappointed by his recent experience.
He writes;

I took a leap of faith on my part to update my Oculus drivers to the latest drop.
After an hour or two of laboring through latest Oculus installation and sorting out its ideosyncrasies, I finally got everything working– and by “working” I mean limping along like something from 2003.
Comparatively speaking, it’s a far worse Oculus experience than I’d had on Linden Lab’s previous attempt from 2014. Not only is it far choppier from a frame-rate perspective, but it’s rendered on the lowest settings– a far cry from the smooth experience that I’d grown used to.
More frustratingly, it’s not even good for taking stereoscopic screenshots since the render settings seem to have been pulled down as far as they could go. Setting them to Ultra had no effect whatsoever.
The real kicker, however, is that there is currently no way to go back to the original attempt– the one from 2014. I can no longer shoot videos to showcase how amazing Second Life is to my neo-VR friends.
It’s very frustrating development because I’m finally drawing a crowd.
What do I show them now?”

On twitter people have also been sharing their experiences;

Mr Tate writes;

Testing with various settings it seems HMD view colours are washed out, transparency & plants missing, HMD UI settings seem to have no effect. HMD UI can be across middle of screen, light blue squares on sea.
My setup is Windows 10, Xeon processor, 32GB memory, SSD drives and Nvidia GTX980 GPU.
Comparison shot of normal 2D view and HMD view with many missing items, sea patch, etc.;

Making more progress by turning “Atmospheric Shaders” off. Transparency okay then

hmd.jpg

On the Second Life VR Facebook page and the Second Life VR Facebook group people have also been commenting;

Mr Claesen;

I tried, works with CV1, well it works as badly as it did with the SDK2. Massive latency, bad shading, no AA, … . And it’s overcomplicated AGAIN.

Ms Lorentzson;

Wow that must have been the worst VR experience in a long time. All the old errors and a few new ones are still there. It is like pre Alpha.

Ms Millar;

Well yes, it works, and I’m so glad that it does, BUT it looks absolutely bloody terrible. Is there any point in me using something that makes my virtual environment look so appalling, just so I can move about it in a limited fashion anyway? I’m sad to say that it’s just not what I’d hoped it would be, and for that reason alone, I’ll stick with Firestorm. What I’ll take away from this whole experience is that it’s clear that it can be done, but as far as LL/official viewers go it’s with limitations.

Mr Mikula;

I was running it today on my rig which is driven by dual titan X’s and yeah its certainly a stripped back viewer. I actually enjoyed first person view more on my monitor than on the oculus “CV1”. Seems like many objects weren’t rendering even if I cranked it to ultra.
I mean my expectations weren’t too high, but I figured it’d at least show me what I can see in desktop mode! Definitely can’t wait for project sansar lol.

The discussion is also going on at SLUniverse (click).
There, Ms Cortes reported;

I only briefly tried the first viewer long ago with DK2, the new one is better from what I recall of it. As for the experience with the current viewer and the release version of the rift? It’s… okay I guess. Not being able to change the graphics settings to look better really hurts the experience. If it’s there I couldn’t figure out where, so no shiny ALM, shadows or any of that .

A lot of objects vanish or become 100% transparent when they shouldn’t be, scene loading in general seems very blocky. It reminds me of new chunks loading in Minecraft.

The head tracking could probably use improvement, but it’s not bad. Disabling seeing your avatar in mouselook is probably a good idea since you’ll see your own head clipping into your viewpoint on occasion, I imagine this is worse with people who have idles that move all over the place.

Here’s some videos I took (although not very good ones), I cropped it to only show the main center area of my screen (it’s quite a bit larger otherwise), and keep in mind that while the video looks jittery, it seems more natural with the actual headset on your head, since it’s your own subtle head movements and you looking around making all the motion.

This first small area is made to 1:1 RL scale (along with my avatar), which is key for any kind of immersion. Most of SL fails this terribly, and it is one of the reasons why VR in most of SL is bleh. The start of the videos where it’s all weird and shaky is me putting on the headset and recentering the view, and I do a few back and forth comparisons with HMD vs normal mode to show the massive graphical differences at different points in both videos.
https://streamable.com/wgys

This second area is a lot more spacious:
https://streamable.com/jcjh

All that said, it is still fun to play around with, and being able to see things in 3D is really nice, the videos don’t capture that sensation of depth. As it stands though, SL in VR sadly doesn’t compare well to a proper game made for VR.

Make sure you check out the videos Ms Cortes shared in the quote above.

So in short the main issue appears to be that the viewer forces you to lower your graphics settings, which makes SL look real ugly, real fast.

Also downloading the new viewer may cause your firewall and protection software to alert you because of an outdated security certificate, and the new viewer is Windows only.
A HTC Vive viewer is not being worked on at the moment, a shame as the Vive seems to have pushed the Oculus to the side as the leading VR headset.

But it is early days.
These problems may just be temporary bugs.
So although Lindens read my blog, make sure you file bug reports so the right Lindens get to hear about your issues asap.

Have you tried it?
What is your experience, let us know here in the comments section below.

On a side note; there is apparently a service called Vorpx that will allow you to enjoy Second Life with your firestorm viewer and at higher graphics settings in the CV1 AND HTCVIVE.

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