Oculus Quest reveal at OC5 – Hands on
The most exciting piece of hardware besides the RTX 2080ti to make an appearance in 2018 has to be the newly announced Oculus Quest.
The Quest is a standalone, wire-free VR head mounted display the promises the freedom VR enthusiasts have been hoping for since the very start. The Quest’s portability comes at a price though, that of limited resolution and frame rates compared to the fully wired up Oculus Rift version.
For more on the Oculus Quest, we have a great write up from Reddit user DOOManiac who attended the Oculus Connect conference and got to try out this promising new gadget.
Below is his report as posted to reddit:
Last week I had the time of my life attending OC5 (also my first conference after becoming a game dev!), and as part of that I got to try the Oculus Quest on two occassions – the Dead & Buried Arena and Super Hot. Being a dev, while I was excited for the new platform and what it could do I also was a little over the “oohhh” and “awww” part, so when it came time to actually use the thing the developer part of my brain kicked in and I spent most of my time paying attention to the the lenses, the image quality, ergonomics, and the thing most people were worried about, tracking.
Here are my thoughts as kind of a brain dump:
Dead & Buried Arena
My first experience with the Quest was with the new Dead & Buried Arena. It was so neat to see wireless VR at a huge scale.
When putting the headset on for the first time, you don’t see the game as you do with current VR headsets – instead you see the all white MR capture from the four cameras. It was very cool and everybody was impressed. There’s something cool about wearing a VR headset but still being able to look directly at a speaker “in the eyes”, if you will. In particular I noticed the cameras were accurate enough to model speaker’s ear canal and his beard, and reproduced that in the headset view. You will definitely be able to walk through your house with this mode turned on and not need to take the headset off. Aesthetically, it was like being in a “Take on Me” video.
When the game started, the game did a top-down dissolve into the game world’s graphics. This was definitely set up as a wow-factor because they had you stand on spots and waited till everybody was looking at each other to trigger it. But it was great seeing a “real” person (or at least their white-blog proximity) turn into an avatar with different body proportions but the same height.
Before the game even started, we all started trying to find ways to throw off the tracker. Under normal use it was fine, but we found that if we whipped our head around VERY fast (as in, it kind of hurt our necks) it would lose tracking. My unit took a second or two to recover from this.
During the actual gameplay, there was a moment where I was ducked behind a white crate (in the real world) looking straight at it. This is pretty much the nightmare scenario for camera-based tracking as all 4 cameras had most of their FOV encompassed by a solid white wall. When this happened I not only lost tracking, but my game was going at 0 FPS for a solid 5 seconds while I was still moving around, making me a little motion sick. Other than when I intentionally did my best to break it though, I had no problems w/ the headset tracking.
The move controllers were a different story. While my left hand was fine, my right hand kept drifting A LOT. Maybe every 10 seconds my right arm would just float away. Everyone else who tried the demo with me didn’t have this problem, so I’m going to assume I had a broken controller.
We asked about modifications from the standard Quest and we were told the hardware was standard issue, but had some custom software on it to enable the arena-scale bits. This means that, theoretically, it may be possible to offer these kind of experiences w/ a future firmware update. That isn’t on their roadmap right now though, or at least they can’t talk about it. For now the arena is officially labelled an experiment.
One of the most impressive part of the whole demo for me was the Mixed Reality capture going on from a couple of iPads, who were using AirPlay to stream the in-game feeds to some TVs for people waiting in line. It just worked without any tracking sensors or anything that I could see.
Visually it looks identical to the PC version. The game has a simple art style as is, and I’m sure a side-by-side comparison would reveal some differences, but just going in and playing I wasn’t able to spot any. Content-wise it was the exact same as the first mission of PC VR Super Hot, except in your apartment there’s a little hallway you walk through before getting into your bedroom. This was 100% fluff to show off the room-scale-y-ness of Quest and served no real purpose, but for VR newcomers or those who have only tried 3DOF I can see how it’d be impressive.
As my second Quest experience, I was looking to reproduce all the problems I had with Dead & Buried. Good news: I couldn’t! Tracking was spot on solid, except for the worst-case scenario of whipping my neck around very fast – but even then Super Hot recovered from it much, much faster. I didn’t have any trouble with the arms losing tracking. I specifically tried lining up a shot, then turning my head completely the opposite direction and shooting – I was able to shoot just as well as on the PC version. When I looked back my gun was always where I expected it to be.
Its worth noting that someone else I talked to did have problems – their Super Hot tracking was very spotty and they remarked that whenever something they were holding (a gun, a cup, etc) and it went out of view, the game simply dropped it as if they let go. I looked for this specifically on my turn and it was not a problem for me.
Sadly, I kind of forgot I had the entire room to work with and ended up only moving around a little bit, like I was at home. From watching other people in line, I don’t think I was the only one. Kind of demonstrates that most people won’t actually use the full room of room scale even if we have it.
I’m glad there was no video output for all the spectators to see how many enemies I was punching in the balls.
The Quests shown at OC5 are definitely still prototypes and are not ready yet. That’s probably why they aren’t being sent out of developers en masse yet. For now, those of us who aren’t lucky enough to be partners, they’re telling us to prototype on the Rift and move over later. As someone who just spent a week frantically re-building my game scene and settings to get it working on my Oculus Go before the show, that was not really encouraging news. But at least we have some rough guidelines until we do get the hardware in our hands.
I’m also not worried about the tracking issues. A showroom demo, with overheated prototypes and tons of wifi/bluetooth interference all over the place, is one of the worst-places you can demo this kind of thing. Super Hot was closer to what we’ll actually experience in your home, and it was fine.
I’m very happy with the price point as well. The Rift’s price isn’t bad if you already have a top-spec gaming PC, but almost nobody has that. The Quest is steep, but affordable. You show someone an awesome game in the Rift and they are super excited to go buy one, until they find out the total price. When you show someone an awesome game in the Quest they’ll just be able to buy it and not worry about anything else. I think this is the platform we really need to get the masses in VR, and hopefully make game development profitable…