CtrlAltStudio: Bringing the UI to your Oculus Rift

CAS-logoStrachan Ofarrel (Dave Rowe in RL), has issued an update to the experimental version of his CtrlAltStudio viewer with Oculus Rift support. It’s an update those with the Rift SDK and headset are likely to find interesting, as it includes some initial work on bringing the viewer’s UI to the Rift.

Version (Alpha 4 release) of CtrlAltStudio appeared on Wednesday October 23rd, and Strachan was kind enough to poke me about it.

It’s important to note that this is only a first pass at things, so if you have a headset, keep in mind what you see of the UI may change as Strachan  tweaks things further. Commenting on the work, Strachan himself says:

I originally wasn’t intending to do any UI as I thought Linden Lab’s viewer with Rift support would have been released by now, but it hasn’t been and there’s a pressing need for at least some UI so I’ve added some as a stop-gap measure.

The viewer UI in Oculus Rift: preliminary work undertaken by Strachan Ofarrel in CtrlAltStudio (image courtesy of Strachan OFarrel / David Rowe) – click to enlarge

There are some limitations with this first pass in that the menu bars and toolbars are not yet displayed in Riftlook, and for those who prefer the Pie menu, right clicking on in-world objects will only display the context menu (no Pie). Even so, this is an impressive start to the work of enabling the UI, and does much to increase people’s ability to interact with the world when using the Oculus Rift.

In order to use UI elements effectively with the headset, Strachan recommends users:

  • Turn on Show User Interface In Mouselook and Enable Context Menus In Mouselook (both under Preferences > Move & View > View)
  • Consider enabling Show Chat In Bubbles Above Avatars (Preferences > Chat > General).

He notes that with the above settings enabled, shortcuts can be used to show / hide dialogue boxes (e.g. CTRL-I for showing / hiding inventory), which again significantly adds to the usability of the viewer when in Riftlook. He also reminds people to use the cursor to left-click interact with windows and right-click interact with in-world objects, and that cursor movement can be defined / refined in Preferences > Graphics > Display Output.

The Display Output options for when Using Oculus Rift: note the new depth slider and the options to define / refine camera / cursor movement
The Display Output options for when Using Oculus Rift: note the new depth slider and the options to define / refine camera / cursor movement

As well as adding preliminary UI capabilities to Riftlook, this release of the CtrlAltStudio Alpha version also brings with it a range of updates and fixes, including:

  • Some adjustment of the depth at which the Riftlook UI is displayed
  • Enabling the display of avatar toasts and floating text in Riftlook
  • Esc in third-person Riftlook will return you to Riftlook first-person (instead of having to exit then re-enter Riftlook)
  • Esc in flycam Riftlook with SpaceNavigator will return you to Riftlook first-person
  • Entering / leaving stereoscopic 3D display mode now recorded in the program log
  • Work-around added to get stereoscopic 3D working with AMD Radeon on Windows
  • Added “–riftlook” command line parameter that toggles into Riftlook after a successful login
  • Fixed OpenSim “4096 bug” that limited the range of hypergrid teleporting
  • Fix to ensure view remains in Mouselook when TPing or when an alert dialog pops up, if UI is turned on in Mouselook
  • And more: please refer to the release notes for this version for a complete list of updates, changes and fixes, together with the correct attributions for those contributed by others.

Sadly, I don’t have the Oculus Rift SDK, so can’t speak first-hand has to how things look. So if you do have a headset, why not pop over to the CtrlAltStudio website and download this version of the viewer and take it for a test run? Strachan would doubtless appreciate all constructive feedback received!

At the time of writing, the viewer is only available for Windows, but the Mac OSX  version is promised soon – so be sure to check back with the CtrlAltStudio website if you’re a Mac user.

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