The VR thread. U R Not red(e) Oculus Quest announced $399: Vive $599!

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Started by Mmm_fish_tacos, Sep 05, 2015, 06:10 PM

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How sick of Pi's VR hype are you?


The new HTCE VIve Pre,30894.html

One of the first things you'll notice about the new Vive headset is the camera mounted on the lower front of the HMD. This camera is the basis of the "breakthrough" that HTC hinted at last month. The camera is used to bring real objects into view while you're wearing the headset, though I wouldn't really call this AR per se. HTC is using this feature as an extension of the chaperone system, which is used to map the barriers of the room scale tracking area. With the camera, HTC is able to present a blue wireframe outline of the objects and even people in the room. Some of the editors at Tom's Hardware have dubbed this "Tron Mode," which actually describes what you see fairly well.

To enable this feature, you double tap the button on the controller located below the track pad. The game world will disappear, and as you approach the chaperone limits, the wireframe view of objects outside of the limits will come into view. The objects aren't very clear, but they are clear enough to identify.

I was able to identify a painting on the wall, the stands that the lighthouse trackers were attached to, and the people in the room. The details are vague to say the least, but it gives you more than enough information to interact with things without taking the headset off. The view is rather blurry, but it was good enough to make out the important details. I was even able to read my name on my press badge.

HTC's JB Mcree told us that this feature will enable you to locate your keyboard or extra peripherals, such as a wheel for racing games or HOTAS for flight simulators. You can also locate furniture with the HMD over your eyes, allowing you to transition from standing to sitting experiences without taking the Vive off. To demonstrate this feature, Mcree pulled a chair into my play area and simply told me to sit down on it. I was able to clearly make out the chair and sit on it without any trouble, which was simply not possible on the previous version of the Vive.
The new controllers feature an open ring at the top, which houses the lighthouse sensors. At first glance, the ring at the top appears as though it would enable finger tracking similar to Oculus Touch, but when we asked about it, we were told the Vive controllers don't have that ability.

The buttons on the new controllers have texture to them to make it easier to locate. The two grip pads on the sides of the controllers have been improved to be more comfortable in your hands. The trigger grips have also been updated with a dual-stage action similar to the ones found on the Steam controller.
there's a 16 min vid at the link

The Vive Pre shows the world around me when I double-click a home button on the newly revamped and lighter wireless controllers (which now last 4 hours on a charge, an improvement on the older Vive hardware). But the strange night vision-meets-X-ray graphics layer isn't the same as a real camera feed -- for latency-reducing purposes, according to Valve's Chet Falisze. You can see a smaller picture-in-picture view of what the camera sees, but blown up large it feels like bizarro sonar.

It's not like the sort of virtual-enters-reality feel of augmented reality, like Microsoft's HoloLens. It's something different: the real entering the virtual.

All the Vive Pre's parts are new and refined. The controllers now seem more like something you'd buy in a real store. The room-sensing base stations that come with Vive -- laser-emitting boxes that are meant to be installed high up, like little speakers -- are smaller, compact cubes. The helmet is lighter, with refined strap design and replaceable parts for better nose and face fit that HTC calls "gaskets." The visual display has also been markedly boosted: The resolution is the same, but an engineering tweak to remove "mura" (the processing layer that dims and fades the VR image, according to HTC and Valve) resulted in much poppier, brighter, vivid colors during my brief demo.

Right now, the camera doesn't provide much beyond this boundary feature and a full "chaperone" mode, which replaces your entire environment with the camera view. It's HTC and Valve's answer to the vital question "How do you drink a glass of whiskey in VR?", and while it's a pretty good one, it's still not hugely ambitious. But the technology opens up a broader range of possibilities. Third-party developers will be able to tap into it for their own purposes, and an HTC spokesperson says that its software can map 3D space, which would let virtual objects respond to real-world ones -- similar to Microsoft's HoloLens room-scanning tech.

It's a shame that the Vive's demos don't take advantage of these possibilities, or offer much new material at all. The demo includes a handful of familiar virtual experiences, including physics game Job Simulator, the Tilt Brush 3D painting app, and undersea environment TheBluVR. There's a lot of exciting tech in the Vive, but unlike just about everyone else in virtual reality, Valve and HTC aren't putting much effort into advertising their games yet.