The Oculus Rift changes everything. The virtual-reality headset lets players immerse themselves into the games they play in a way never available to them before. By allowing people to not only play in a world but also survive in it, the Oculus Rift introduces a new and exciting way to approach games. This new way just might be the future of gaming.
Virtual Reality doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to being successful. Nintendo made the most infamous attempt at creating a VR gaming device: The Virtual Boy failed, and it failed hard. It failed not only because of a high price tag, but also because the device didn’t succeed on a design or software level. The Oculus Rift, however, appears on all accounts to be a developmental success.
In a recent video, developer Teddy Lipowitz plays a first-person shooter on the Oculus Rift through the use of a headset, a controller, and a movement-sensing breastplate.
Towards the end of the video, Lipowitz finds himself invested. He can’t help but exclaim a series of “nos” at his impending failure. If the Oculus Rift can get players invested enough where they’re shouting at the virtual images in the game, it bodes well for the device’s success.
Apparently, this demonstration can be so engrossing that players can forget that the objects in the game do not exist in reality. Lipowitz wrote a warning for potential Oculus Rift players on the Oculus developer forums, “Please be careful when playing this demo, lots of people try to support themselves on the crates when they try to stand up or when leaning against the column, but find there is nothing there!” Who wouldn’t want to play a game so real that it’s possible for a player to forget that they don’t actually own a brown, bulletproof crate?
The Oculus rift provides deeper immersion into games, but it won’t be all games. A specific development process will have to be used to make a game work with the Rift. The VR helmet already has the confirmed support of a selection of PC titles, and it will support Half-Life 2 as well. Also, the demonstrations for Team Fortress 2 and EVE Online have been out for a few months now. Not only does Oculus Rift support classic games, but also the team behind the Rift made a move recently that suggests that they want future classic games to be made for the headset specifically.
John Carmack, co-founder of id Software and an essential figure in the creation of Doom and Quake , has agreed to help Oculus VR by becoming their chief technical officer . Although Bethesda maintains (courtesy of Eurogamer ) that Carmack’s work with id is “unaffected”; Carmack did indicate via twitter that he will be spending more time with Oculus VR than with id. Carmack wrote, “My time division is now Oculus over Id over Armadillo.” That Oculus VR snagged such a high profile and, by all accounts, extremely talented programmer, indicates that the company has ambitious plans for content developed specifically with the Rift in mind.
The workers of Oculus VR aren’t the only members of the developer community who sees the potential of the Rift, and Carmack isn’t the only gaming-industry veteran to be assimilated into the Oculus team. Earlier this year, Tom Forsyth, a software engineer for Valve joined the company. If Oculus keeps recruiting that kind of experience, they might find themselves set for all kinds of success.
Experienced support for the Oculus goes beyond just the gaming industry: Steve LaValle, a Ph.D-holding scientist who used to reside at the University of Illinois, joined the team around the same time as Forsyth. The Oculus website describes LaValle as “a world-renowned researcher in the areas of robotics, sensor fusion, planning, and control.” It seems that Oculus VR wants to use him to make sure that the Oculus stays on the cutting edge of VR technology, as his duties include “leading research and development on some of the toughest VR challenges including sensors fusion, magnetic drift correction, and kinematic modeling.” Oculus doesn’t just want to make a splash; they want to create a splash-making machine.
Even NASA recognizes the possibilities of the Oculus Rift. It created a Mars virtual-reality experience that uses the headset to give people a feel of what it would be like to be on the red planet . It bodes well for Oculus VR that the prestigious NASA has confidence in the technological potential of the Rift.
Will the Oculus change how people approach games? Definitely. But that’s not the real question. The real question is how much will it change how people approach gaming? Only the PC has compatibility with the Rift currently. If the Rift doesn’t receive compatibility with the larger consoles, it could miss the opportunity to become widely known. There are all different sizes of revolutions, and it’ll be interesting to see how big the Oculus Rift’s revolution will be.
Source: NBC News