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A blog that's DOA

Still Clinging to Life

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Well, as predicted I’ve neglected this blog like I have every other in the past. I’ve continued playing around with the gnuradio and rtl-sdr stuff, even purchasing myself an Ettus USRP B100. Maybe at some point over the next decade I’ll make another post convering new projects in that realm.

Today brings us two new exciting things. A newly upgraded version of Octopress (what’s different? Who knows!) and my newly arrived Oculus Rift.

Oh, Wow.

So simply put this thing is amazing. I’d do an unboxing video and swoon all over it but there are already better unboxing videos out there and I’m too damn lazy to make one (and I’ve already unboxed :P).

As you can see in this unboxing video done by… the creators.. (Doesn’t that sort of contradict the unboxing bit as they did the boxing in the first place?) they ship everything in a nice very protected plastic case with enough foam to survive a nuclear blast. They also include every possible cable you could need.

The actual device, as an early adopter developer kit, is very nice. It’s very reasonable in terms of weight, performance and of course price. ($300USD). At the moment the main ‘problem’ with the shipping Rift developer kits is the somewhat low resolution of the current display. Oculus plans to increase resolution for the eventual consumer model expected around Q3 2014.

How does it work, basically…

The head mounted display has a single cable that runs to a breakout box where you then attach power as well as the video (HDMI or DVI) and head tracking (USB HID) connections from your machine.

Applications then display video for each eye in two oval sections of the video output which the rift then maps to the display for each eye in the goggles. The minecraft demo video below shows how this looks on a normal monitor.

You want to play what on a… mac?!

So of course I wanted to hook the thing up to my Macbook Pro rather than my primary Linux box or my nonexistent windows box. Alas this required paying an offering to the ghost of steve by purchasing a mini-displayport to hdmi adapter.

Unfortunately, as with many gaming related things, MacOS is not currently a prime target for development by the early adopters in the community.

The standard ‘Tuscany’ demo works fine and makes for a great ‘holy crap this is going to be awesome’ introduction to the technology. You can rapidly see how fluid the head tracking is and how awesome it would be if you could blow something up. However, once that grew old (pretty fast) I found that there wasn’t much else available in the way of demos or full applications for MacOS (or Linux for that matter).

OculusVR has released a SDK for MacOS as well as Windows so I expect the currently somewhat dismal MacOS situation to improve over time.

So, since they’re useful to have around, I picked up one of those cheap giant all plastic POS windows laptops with reasonable graphics. With Windows 8 and what brain cells I had left after trying to use that mess I was able to try a bunch more things. Mainly Team Fortress 2, Half-life 2 and my personal favorite Minecraft.


So far most of the discussion I’ve been following takes place on OculusVR’s Developer Site, on the MTBS3D Forums or on /r/oculus. Also, someone named Kevin Andersson created a site called RiftEnabled which catalogs all the existing demos/apps available with Rift support at this time.

I’ll post more links in a future… post.. I suppose.