Episode 10 of The Drax Files Radio Hour focuses on the Oculus Rift.
The springboard for the show is the Lab’s call for beta testers to help check-out the Rift-enabled capabilities which are being developed within the viewer (and have been under development for some time now), which came coupled with the news that Oculus VR are now out-of-stock with Rift development kits and that components are in short supply. So if you have a headset – sign-up for the beta, and if you haven’t got a headset … oops.
Although that said, the pool of SL users with a headset is described elsewhere as “surprisingly large” …
Before getting to all things Rift, the LL Terms of Service are touched upon, with a reference to an upcoming interview with an SL content creator due for podcast #11. The ToS situation remains a bone of contention, despite reassurances from the Lab and clear-cut comments from Ebbe Altberg that the intention is not to “steal” content (as the more hysterical outcries against the August 2013 changes have claimed), together with an explanation as to why it would be suicidal for the Lab to even try to move in that direction. Being in the know as to who is slated to be interviewed for episode #11, I can say it’ll be a very balanced, informative point-of-view that is presented.
Of equal interest to me is the news that Emily short will also be participating in the next TDFRH podcast, talking about her situation vis-a-vis the Lab’s axing of Versu, which I’ve also covered here.
What I can’t help but consider to be VR hype pops up in a reference to Valve’s “VR room”, which was demonstrated at the Valve’s Steam Dev Days. This has Lee Vermeulen predicting homes having a VR room in “five years”. Whether he means a dedicated room or, as discussed in the show, a room of the house which is “VR / AR capable” with mo-cap, etc., is moot to me. Both predictions seem to be well ahead of the curve.
Call me a stick-in-the-mud for saying this, but a lot of what I’m hearing about VR right now seems to be far too close to the typical technology hype cycle for me not to look at a lot of what is being said vis-a-vis VR headsets in general with something of a jaundiced eye. Perhaps more so given that Gartner themselves see things like wearable UIs (seen as a necessary adjunct to VR headsets) as just starting on the slide into the Trough of Disillusionment within their own particular hype cycle, and VR systems themselves yet to start the climb up their own Slope of Enlightenment towards productive use – with an estimated time frame of 5-10 years before reasonable maturity and adoption may be reached.
So, what about the Rift and SL? Widely Linden is interviewed in the show. He’s overseeing integration of the Rift into the viewer. He dives into more of the technical elements of presenting the UI within “Riftlook” (to use Dave’s Rowe’s term for it), describing it as “following you” and being “fully customisable” and being fully familiar to those who have used the UI in its traditional presentation.
The idea that the UI is presented in a 3D form is intriguing – Maestro describes it as a toroidal form. Widely describes the 3D projection, and how far it appears to be from the user as customisable, and – most intriguingly – describes it as being somewhat Iron Man-ish, in that information is displayed peripherally towards the sides / top and bottom of the Rift display, ready to be looked-at when needed.