Author Topic: The VR Tech Discussion Thread  (Read 1413 times)

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oneofthe8devilz

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The VR Tech Discussion Thread
« on: May 18, 2016, 11:45:20 AM »
Ideally this thread would serve VR veterans and newcomers of this community alike as an exchange platform where everyone can share his expectations, experiences and opinions he has gathered so far with Virtual Reality.

I strongly encourage especially people without any VR experience to drop questions about it here, resulting in hopefully interesting discussions.

My personal experience with VR so far (condensed in cues)

Quote
- Been a stereoscopic 3D Games enthusiast for the past 2 decades

- Completely missed the first "VR Boom" in the 90s

- Got really interested in the second "VR Boom" sparked by Luckey/Carmack, expecting VR to take the stereoscopic 3D Gaming Experience to the next level of immersion

- Being busy with custom projects, I decided to wait for Consumer Version Releases of the new VR devices before considering to buy in

- The claims that VR needs to run at 90 FPS, on low persistence Displays, at high resolutions, allowing only certain gametypes (slow and first person perspective only), ultra fast head & positional tracking, ideally with VR controllers, started to worry me about truly limiting the artistic freedom on the projects I had in mind to create with VR 

- VR Prerequisites/Conditions postulated by hardware and software VR developers intimidated me and ultimately made me loose interest in VR

- Then recently, while watching a youtube video and enabling the google cardboard youtube viewing mode by accident, left me surprised by how well and without latency actually the Headtracking worked with my Samsung S5 which sparked further interest to investigate what can be done with DIY VR

- Quickly created a Home Made DIY kit out of some old shoe cardboard, double sided tape, farsighted glasses and my mobile, sparking enough further interest to order a Google Cardboard 2.0 Plus with a headstrap

- After setting the Google Cardboard 2.0 Plus up I expected the worst case scenario with lots of VR sickness and puking, pushing me to the limits with hours and hours of stereoscopic 3D VR gameplay (Quake 3D VR, Google 3d VR Cardboard Apps and 3D VR 360 videos)

- Surprised that after days of testing none of the side effects hit me (no puking, no VR Sickness, not even the slightest dizziness)

- Low FPS, Mouse and keyboard controls, fps/tps/isometric ingame view swiching, phone gyroscope head tracking were all non problematic for me

- Did years of too close up to the TV/Monitor 3D gaming eventually melt all potentially VR sickness inducing synapses in my brain away making me sort of immune to VR Sickness ?

- Mobile VR was initially interesting but technically 20 years in the past and performance decreases when temps of the mobile go up, so after all those positive experiences I thought about the next logical step.

- I began to wonder about whether streaming from my desktop machine to the mobile (outsourcing the 3d computational power of my desktop machine) would be an option and I was curious if the expected potential latency due to the streaming would finally fuck me up and induce VR Sickness to me ?

- Due to the lack of high fps recording equipment I came up with a relatively simple but effective way to make streaming latency visible to my eyes using idtech4 muzzleflashes and comparing the milliseconds long muzzleflashes rendering events on the desktop screen to the stream output on my mobile.

- To my surprise a delay was barely ever noticeable (if at all) and so I prepared the streaming of my custom projects in side by side Stereoscopic 3D to the mobile

- Streaming S3D content works surprisingly well for me at low latency still without inducing VR sickness of any kind at 1080p @ 70 mbit/s wifi connection speed. Plus I now totally got rid of any cables to my DIY VR headset, making it even more comfortable to wear while reducing the weight.

- Even disabling Headtracking and the lack of positional tracking are not VR sickness inducing for me and something I noticed early on while using VR in classic PVE games like Quake VR was, that PVE Gameplay though looking really cool with Headtracking, if used in combination with a controller (or mouse and keyboard) for hours during gameplay, can become tiring to the neck muscles and spine because if you sit in a comfortable couch/chair you need to frequently re-adjust your head neck position (I guess that's why Oculus targets a "swivel chair" as their ideal platform to experience Oculus Rift on). Disabling Headtracking made me become "competitive" again, playing the games the way I am used from my desktop 3D gaming experience and my neck-spine and muscles don't get strained/fatigued since I can relax my neck/head in a comfortable position.

- People are "lazy creatures" by nature and if just Headtracking gets me tired over the course of hours I don't even dare to imagine how much more effort it would be to play PVE Games on the Vive with Room Scaled VR and Vive controllers. Having to do "Jumping Jacks" for hours after work just for entertainment is not exactly my definition of free-time-fun.

- And so having found a way for me to use all my existing projects and 3d games with a DIY headset I instantly wonder whether the main VR manufacturers (Oculus, Vive and Gear VR) actually allow to use that method of simply streaming your 3d VR content from a Desktop Machine to the devices. If a DIY Kit with an old S5 Smartphone OLED Screen is already so much fun, how much better would this work on a dedicated VR screen with this DIY method ?

- Is this first generation of Consumer Version VR Devices "open enough" to allow for such modifications as disabling Head and Positional tracking and replacing it with mouse and keyboard controls without troubles while streaming the entire Desktop screen via WIFI ?
« Last Edit: May 27, 2016, 01:50:03 PM by oneofthe8devilz »
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aphexjh

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Re: Your personal expectations/experiences/opinions about VR
« Reply #1 on: May 26, 2016, 11:23:11 AM »
I have been working on a couple projects with VR as a focus, mainly with Unity and Gear VR, and I can say that the issues with headtracking/motion sickness definitely effect me.

Some games are worse than others, but there are generally some rules you can follow that will let you avoid the areas that cause problems for people who are effected by this. There is a video with John Carmack that covers some of these "rules", and they are generally helpful guides.


Quote
- The claims that VR needs to run at 90 FPS, on low persistence Displays, at high resolutions, allowing only certain gametypes (slow and first person perspective only), ultra fast head & positional tracking, ideally with VR controllers, started to worry me about truly limiting the artistic freedom on the projects I had in mind to create with VR

I would disagree that games necessarily be first person, since any kind of game can work with some modification in VR, I am sure that as people realize this the variety and fun will increase in the VR market. Although I will admit that the behaviour of the camera has a lot of similarities to an fps camera and that is a good thing, as it increases immersion.

High framerates are ideal, and there is definitely a lot that you should do as a designer to mitigate the slow-downs that can occur. eg keeping things light and efficient, but being id tech modders, I am sure we are all familiar with working within such a dynamic.

Gear VR for myself and, I believe, some other guys here has been a really rewarding and fun experience. There is still a lot that can be explored in taking some of the concepts we are familiar with and translating them to a VR experience, and I am eager to see what these former d3w types are able to create. For me, I don't think that a first person shooter game will work as I would have hoped (run-and-gun twitch shooter), but I am still experimenting and I will report back.

One game that I tried was this Archer E. Bowman game, which is basically like the sniper mission from rage, where you are perched at the top of a battlement shooting at gremlins who approach in waves. It definitely makes some sacrifices graphically to perform well on the mobile platform, but it marries the simpler gameplay of mobile with the VR experience to good effect. I played with a few friends and pretty much everyone was like "wow", which surprised me, since I kind of imagined it was going to be a particular subset of escapist types that would enjoy vr, but it looks like it might be a more widely appealing medium, so that was reassuring to me.  Or maybe my friends are escapist neck-beards like me, who can know?

Quote
- People are "lazy creatures" by nature and if just Headtracking gets me tired over the course of hours I don't even dare to imagine how much more effort it would be to play PVE Games on the Vive with Room Scaled VR and Vive controllers. Having to do "Jumping Jacks" for hours after work just for entertainment is not exactly my definition of free-time-fun.

When you mention this it makes me wonder, since I agree that people are kind of lazy when it comes to games, like all the motion peripherals (wii mote, dance pads, kinect) have shown us on the console platforms, it seems that the controllers that allow for the most sedentary user experience are the most popular, but when I think about my life outside of gaming and indeed outside of my home, I definitely find a lot of pleasure in exercise and exploration, so I think if you are immersed in a really engaging world, the reward feedback of exploration could do a lot to combat player fatigue effects. So I think that moving around in VR might not fit into the paradigm that consoles/pc have illustrated thus far.

Anyway, I am glad to hear that other Id Tech modders are getting into VR.


oneofthe8devilz

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Re: Your personal expectations/experiences/opinions about VR
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2016, 12:39:56 PM »
You bring up some interesting points here, so thanks for linking to the "dos and don'ts" in VR as I am sure I'll have to deal with users getting VR sick from my projects sooner or later.

Are there any reliable studies/statistics about how high the percentage of people actually is being affected by VR Sickness ?

Also what exactly are the symptoms for you ? The problem for me is that when people tell me that VR Sickness is similar to Sea Sickness or Simulator Sickness, it is not really helping explaining it to me as I had neither of these either...

In terms of my personal  VR Experience so far, here are just a few of the projects and games I am currently experimenting with:

VentureVR:  obviously a VR test version of my idtech4 Venture project



UEVR:  a VR test version of one of my Unreal Engine projects



Thief3VR:  a VR version of the game Thief 3 Deadly Shadows



These and many more projects/games I have running fully in stereoscopic 3D with HeadTracking support (without positional tracking) allowing me to experience a wide variety of gamestyles, gametypes and camera perspectives in VR.

From the close quarter sneaking in Thief3 down to full blown 32 vs 32 vehicular combat across miles of outdoor landscapes in UnrealEngine...

I am actually amazed by how quickly the human brain gets used to this new way of playing and now after weeks of playtesting I find the combination of mouse and keyboard WITH additional headtracking to be the most comfortable way to play VR games being immersed while remaining competitive.



« Last Edit: May 26, 2016, 04:54:25 PM by oneofthe8devilz »
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aphexjh

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Re: Your personal expectations/experiences/opinions about VR
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2016, 12:49:14 PM »
I would be very interested in learning how you are making Id tech work in VR, since you have a samsung S5 it is likely that I could use the same solution and that would be very cool.

I don't know of any studies, but the gear vr/occulus store does list "comfortable for some" and similar recommendations, so I suspect some data collection is going on based on user experiences.

For me, the problems arise when there is a disconnect between my sense of movement and the feedback (or lack there of) which is produced in the game. For instance, say the camera is attached to a first person character which you move with the directional pad/wasd keys, the lurching motion of the camera as it accelerates in a direction produces a kind of woozy feeling. I wouldn't call it motion sickness exactly, as it is not that pronounced, but there can definitely be a sense of dizziness/butterflies in the stomach when this happens.

I really want to see that Tundra unreal level in vr, looks pretty nice. Theif also. But really a game like the top-down mods that are out there or something like super-smash tv would be the cool thing to see with id tech 4 imo. 

oneofthe8devilz

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Re: The VR Tech Discussion Thread
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2016, 05:55:17 AM »
I spent the last couple of days experimenting and setting up a "VR COOP Sandbox" for ArmA3.


So far the absolute most mind blowing Virtual Reality Experience for me. IMO it's exactly this kind of game/simulation which profits most from VR, completely changing the gaming experience compared to gameplay on a 2D screen.

The footage showcased here is more addressed to people without any VR experience who mainly ask themselves what exactly to expect from a VR experience. And although VR is hard to showcase via a 2D youtube video it may (or may not) cover answers to the most urging questions of what a VR experience is like when playing a complex title such as ArmA3 in Virtual Reality.

This footage was captured on a client connected to a dedicated server. This sandbox mission will be playable cooperatively with up to 6 players.

I still don't get why at this year's E3, the industry mainly is focusing on showcasing "stationary shoot'em up" and "rail shooter" VR versions of their AAA titles (like Bethesda did with Fallout 4 and Doom2016).

Like who in his right mind would like to play a VR game/demo where you are locked to a stationary position for longer periods of time ?

I still think that way too many people with weak stomachs and brains are in charge when it comes to promoting VR to the public, effectively making VR look more of a gimmick feature that comes with way too many restrictions to be attractive for to the mainstream.

« Last Edit: June 25, 2016, 05:57:31 AM by oneofthe8devilz »
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oneofthe8devilz

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Re: The VR Tech Discussion Thread
« Reply #5 on: August 19, 2016, 12:46:58 PM »
MCS clientside Virtual Reality Test Direct Footage (idtech4 Doom3 Doom 3 VR)


This is a 9 minutes footage showcase of an early MCS VR testbuild for anyone owning a professional or DIY VR headset to be able to get an idea of how MCS plays and feels in VR.

Visual artifacts may still appear for you as this is an early WIP prototype while I am currently in the process of organizing and financing an in-engine VR solution which will greatly improve appearance and performance for VR specific rendering.

It's a shame that YOUTUBE's compression butchers most of the video's details, crispiness, contrast and colors for VR device playback.

Here is a link to the original uncrompressed video replicating the quality of what I see when I play MCS with my headset:
http://www.scared-pixel-studios.com/public/movies/mcs/vr/mcs.clientside.coop.vr.test.direct.footage.zip

This footage was recorded clientside connected to a dedicated server across the internet.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2016, 12:58:31 PM by oneofthe8devilz »
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