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Developer kit for the Oculus Rift - the first truly immersive virtual reality headset for video games.
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Oculus Mobile SDK Now Available

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Gear VR Innovator Edition Pre-Registration Open

The Gear VR Innovator Edition for Note 4 is available for pre-registration starting today from Samsung, with delivery in the United States slated for early December. There will be two versions available: for $249, you’ll receive the headset bundled with a Bluetooth gamepad; for $199, you’ll receive the headset standalone. 

The Innovator Edition, much like the Oculus Rift Development Kit, provides developers and enthusiasts everything they need to build and experiment with the platform before the hardware and software are ready for consumers. There are numerous made-for-VR apps that will ship for Gear VR over the next few months. 

The Innovator Edition launches first in the United States, and we’re working with Samsung to roll out support for additional regions. 

Oculus Mobile SDK Now Available 

The Oculus Mobile SDK v0.4.0 is now available from the Oculus Developer Center. The initial version of the Oculus Mobile SDK is specifically designed for the Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition on Note 4, and includes everything you need to get started developing for mobile. We've been working on the Mobile SDK for over a year in collaboration with Samsung, optimizing the Note 4 tech stack to deliver the first ultra-low latency, mobile virtual reality headset. 

Here's a few of the key features supported by the Oculus Mobile SDK: 

  • Asynchronous Timewarp 
  • Direct front buffer rendering 
  • Clock frequency locking 
  • GPU context priorities 
  • Real-time, fine grained GPU context switching 
  • Real-time CPU threading 
  • Direct warped content 

The SDK includes the full-source code for Oculus Cinema, Oculus 360 Photos, and Oculus 360 Videos under an open license. We’ve done this so that you can jump-start your own VR app development. 

 Aside from the native libraries and demos, the Mobile SDK also includes an out-of-the-box integration for Unity 4.5, with samples to help get your Unity VR project up and running quickly. 

We recommend new developers get started with the Mobile SDK Overview

Introducing Oculus Home 

One of the first things you’ll see when you put on the Gear VR Innovator Edition is Oculus Home. Home allows users to discover, download, and launch content. For more information on distributing your application on Home, check out the first version of the app submission guidelines

We're excited to see the first generation of truly inspiring mobile VR experiences come to life. Don't hesitate to head over to the Mobile Developer Forums and share your creations and your feedback on how we can improve the Mobile SDK. 

Oculus PC SDK Updates 

We recently shipped the 0.4.3 release of the Oculus PC SDK, which features Linux support, a number of performance and stability improvements, and support for developing Rift content with Unity Free. 

Earlier this week, we shipped an update to the Unity plugin (0.4.3.1) that addresses a handful of integration issues raised by the community. You can read the full details at https://developer.oculus.com/history/

We're continuing to push on stability and performance of the PC SDK, and we're working on another release this month to get those improvements into developers' hands as quickly as possible. We’ll have more details on that release in the next few weeks. 

We'll see you in the mobile Metaverse! 

-- The Oculus Team

Oculus Connect Videos and Presentations Online

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In September, we welcomed nearly 1,000 attendees to the first Oculus developer conference, Oculus Connect, in Los Angeles.

Attendees engaged in VR engineering and design sessions, showcased their Oculus projects, connected with fellow developers, and tried the new Crescent Bay prototype along with Gear VR Innovator Edition.

Developers gathered at the welcome reception
Developers gathered at the welcome reception
Main keynote with Brendan Iribe and Nate Mitchell
Main keynote with Brendan Iribe and Nate Mitchell
"The Future of VR" panel
"The Future of VR" panel
All the keynotes, panels, and developer sessions from Connect are now available to watch online. The slides from each session are also available for download from the Connect site under the “Schedule” section.


Complete list of the keynotes, panels, and developer sessions from Connect:

Keynotes: 

Brendan Iribe and Nate Mitchell
Michael Abrash
John Carmack

Keynote Panel: 

The Future of VR

Developer Sessions: 

Introduction to Audio in VR – Video and Presentation
Getting Started with Gear VR – Video and Presentation
Mastering the Oculus SDK – Video and Presentation
Integrating the Oculus Rift into Unreal Engine 4 – Video and Presentation
Film and Storytelling in VR – Video and Presentation
Learning from Lucky’s Tale – Video and Presentation
The Human Visual System and the Rift – Video and Presentation
The Value of VR for Professional Applications – Video and Presentation
Developing VR Experiences with the Oculus Rift – Video and Presentation
Elevating Your VR – Video and Presentation
Building the First Rift Development Kit – Video and Presentation
360-degree Filmmaking in VR – Video and Presentation

Attendees experiencing Gear VR Innovator Edition
Attendees experiencing Gear VR Innovator Edition
Brendan talking with developers after the keynotes
Brendan talking with developers after the keynotes
Thanks again to everyone who attended Connect and helped make it possible! The community’s energy was nothing short of remarkable.
 
If you have additional feedback on how we can make future events better, don’t hesitate to let us know by emailing connect@oculus.com.

Thanks again!

-- The Oculus Team

Oculus Connect 2014

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We’re thrilled to welcome nearly 1,000 developers from around the world to Oculus Connect, our first developer conference.

If you’re not at the event, you can join us for the remaining keynotes live on www.twitch.tv/oculus. Michael Abrash will be speaking next starting at 10:30am PST, and John Carmack will follow him at 11:30 PST. You can see the full show schedule at www.oculus.com/connect.

Crescent Bay Prototype

We’re really excited to introduce a new feature prototype, Crescent Bay.

Crescent Bay is the latest prototype headset on the path to the consumer version of the Rift. Crescent Bay features new display technology, 360° head tracking, expanded positional tracking volume, dramatically improved weight and ergonomics, and high-quality integrated audio.

These enhancements allow for a level of presence that’s impossible to achieve with DK2. If you’re here at Oculus Connect, you’ll be able to try Crescent Bay today.

Along with the new hardware, we’ve created original demo content, which we’re calling the “Crescent Bay Experiences,” developed in-house by our content team specifically for Oculus Connect.

The Oculus Content team in Seattle, minus Kenneth and Tyler.

The demo is designed to demonstrate the power of presence and give you a glimpse into the level of VR experience you can expect to see come to life in gaming, film, and beyond.

This is still incredibly early hardware. There are plenty of technical challenges left to solve for the consumer Rift, but Crescent Bay is truly the best virtual reality headsets we’ve ever built.

Unreal Engine 4 & VR

Unreal Engine 4 (UE4) continues to be one of the best engines for virtual reality development. Epic has dedicated huge resources to optimizing UE4 for the Rift and making it incredibly easy to build awe-inspiring VR experiences.

Almost every major Oculus prototype announcement has been accompanied by a new Unreal Engine demo, like Elemental VR, Strategy VR, and Couch Knights. For Crescent Bay, Epic put together an brand new experience called Showdown.

Everyone at Oculus Connect will be able to try Showdown running on Crescent Bay. Nick Whiting and Nick Donaldson, who both worked on all of the VR demos at Epic, will also be giving a talk later this afternoon at 3:30 PST entitled Learnings from UE4 Engine Integration and Demos

Oculus & Unity Partnership

Unity has one of the most active developer communities building for the Rift, and today we’re thrilled to announce that we’ve partnered with Unity to make Oculus an official platform and build target.

This means that Unity will now fully support Oculus and the Rift with a dedicated add-on that includes stereo imaging optimizations, 3D audio support, and other features specifically for virtual reality.

Best of all, Oculus will be now be supported in both the Free and Pro versions of Unity.

We’ve seen a huge amount of incredible content built with Unity and Oculus over the last two years, including ground-breaking projects like Lucky’s Tale, Titans of Space, SUPERHOT, and DarkNet. We hope the partnership enables more developers to leverage Unity’s toolset to build the next generation of virtual reality games and experiences.

Oculus Audio

Audio is essential for delivering immersive virtual reality. Along with the integrated audio in Crescent Bay, we’re working to build the hardware and software that developers need to create high-fidelity VR audio experiences for the Rift.

People locate objects in the world using cues that arise from the interaction of sound with the scene, combined with the body of the listener (HRTFs) and head tracking. A great audio engine for VR has to reproduce these cues to fully convince the human perceptual system.

As part of our audio initiative, we’ve licensed RealSpace3D’s audio technology, a software stack developed over 10 years based on technology from the University of Maryland. RealSpace3D’s tech enables high-fidelity VR audio with a combination of HRTF spatialization and integrated reverberation algorithms.

If you’re at Oculus Connect, Brian Hook, our lead audio engineer will be discussing the unique challenges presented by audio in virtual reality, including achieving presence in sound design and performing 3D audio spatialization. RealSpace3D’s team will also be present to answer questions on their technology.

We’ll have more news around audio in the coming months. Stay tuned!

Developer Sessions

We have a whole day of developer sessions lined up from the Oculus team and some of the brightest minds in the industry. If you’re at the show, you can view the entire schedule here: www.oculus.com/connect. We’ll be posting the developer sessions online after the event, and we’ll let you know as soon as they’re online.

Thanks again for making this possible.

– The Oculus Team

Introducing the Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition powered by Oculus

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We’re excited to announce the Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition, a new mobile virtual reality headset using the Galaxy Note 4, created by Samsung and powered by Oculus.

Over the last 12 months, we’ve been collaborating with Samsung on the future of mobile virtual reality. The project actually began as an experiment to see if great VR was possible on next-generation mobile hardware. Oculus CTO John Carmack and the mobile team at Oculus were able to blow everyone away in an extremely short amount of time, quickly proving that we were on to something special. 

The culmination of that work is Gear VR Innovator Edition, an add-on to the new Samsung Galaxy Note 4, using the phone’s GPU/CPU to power the device and the Quad HD low-persistence 5.7 inch 1440p AMOLED screen as the display. One of the best aspects of mobile VR is the total untethered, easy-to-use experience: you connect the Note 4 to the headset, you put it on, and you’re in. That level of accessibility, combined with Oculus software to easily launch and transition between VR applications without taking the headset off, really makes the experience magical. 

The Gear VR’s initial release is an ‘Innovator Edition’. It’s an early-access, beta-version of the device for developers and enthusiasts rather than a final consumer product. Content creators can experiment and build totally new experiences while users explore the bleeding edge of mobile VR as it’s being pioneered.  

John Carmack sporting the latest Gear VR Innovator Edition at Samsung Unpack 

John Carmack and the mobile team here at Oculus have spent the last year spearheading this effort. That time was split between developing a new Oculus Mobile SDK and optimizing Android and the underlying GPU drivers for virtual reality. Several of the key improvements include:

  • Allowing custom calibrated sensors to talk to a dedicated kernel driver
  • Enabling real time scheduled multithreaded application processes at guaranteed clock rates
  • Context prioritized GPU rendering, enabling asynchronous time warp
  • Facilitating completely unbuffered display surfaces for minimal latency
  • Supporting low-persistence display mode for improved comfort, visual stability, and reduced motion blur / judder
The Gear VR is powered by the new Oculus Mobile SDK, and also uses variations of the Oculus Tracker and firmware built into the headset for extremely accurate, ultra low-latency 3DOF tracking. It’s impossible to deliver a high quality mobile experience without this kind of deep end-to-end hardware, software, and firmware optimization. As a result, we’ve been able to achieve sub-20 millisecond motion-to-photons latency, roughly equivalent to the most highly optimized experiences on DK2. 

The Innovator Edition is also launching with four new experiences built by Oculus: Oculus Home, Oculus Cinema, Oculus 360 Videos and Oculus 360 Photos.  

Screenshot from Oculus Cinema
  • Oculus Home is a simple interface for connecting to the Oculus Store, where you can discover, download, and launch VR content.
  • Oculus Cinema is a virtual movie theater, where you can playback your favorite 2D and 3D movies in a variety of theater environments.
  • Oculus 360 Videos and Oculus 360 Photos are experiences that allow you to playback panoramic content in VR.

These are effectively beta versions of these applications, and we’ll continue to update them as we go. We’ll share more details on all of the projects as we draw closer to the product’s launch.  

 Screenshot from Oculus Home

It’s still early days for mobile VR. Some of the key challenges include a lack of 6DOF positional tracking, limited CPU/GPU bandwidth with today’s hardware, thermal management, power consumption, and overall ergonomics, but we’re making progress quickly and the Innovator Edition is only just the beginning. Still, the experience on the device today is pretty astounding.

The magic of a completely portable and wireless VR headset is easy to underestimate until you have experienced it. We don't have the raw horsepower of a high end gaming PC (yet), but there are valuable compensations that make it a very interesting trade off, and many developers will thrive on the platform, especially as it improves at the rapid pace of the mobile ecosystem.

At it's very core, virtual reality is about being freed from the limitations of actual reality. Carrying your virtual reality with you, and being able to jump into it whenever and wherever you want qualitatively changes the experience for the better.

Experiencing mobile VR is like when you first tried a decent desktop VR experience -- There is a sense that you are glimpsing something from the future. This is science fiction made real, and it’s only just the beginning.

At it's very core, virtual reality is about being freed from the limitations of actual reality. Carrying your virtual reality with you, and being able to jump into it whenever and wherever you want qualitatively changes the experience for the better.

Experiencing mobile VR is like when you first tried a decent desktop VR experience -- There is a sense that you are glimpsing something from the future. This is science fiction made real, and it’s only just the beginning.
- John Carmack, Oculus CTO 


You can learn more about the Gear VR Innovator Edition at http://www.samsung.com. The headset will be available to developers and enthusiasts starting this fall. The Oculus Mobile SDK will be available publicly on the Oculus Developer Center before the end of October. We’ll let everyone know when it’s online. 

We want to emphasize that the mobile project doesn’t change our plans for the Rift or our commitment to (and love for) the PC. We’ll continue to push the boundaries of performance and presence on the Rift for PC, while making VR available to the widest audience possible entrance at the lowest barrier to entry by leveraging the strengths of mobile as a platform. We encourage developers who are already working with the Oculus Rift to try the Gear VR for themselves as soon as they have a chance. 

We believe mobile is a key part of VR’s future, and we’re looking forward to seeing what you build with the device! It’s been an adventure keeping this project under-wraps for so long, and we’re thrilled to finally share it with you. Now that the word’s out, we’ll have more mobile VR news in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. 

 -- The Oculus Team

DK2s Now Shipping, New 0.4.0 SDK Beta, and Comic-Con

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DK2s have started shipping out to developers in the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia, and we expect to have over 9,000 DK2s in developers’ hands by the end of next week. We’re working out a minor snag for Oceanic customers, but we hope to have the issue resolved soon.  

Customers in the first batch of pre-orders should receive a payment notification once the order has been processed by the distribution center. Thank you for your continued patience as we build more kits and move them around the world as quickly as possible!

New 0.4.0 SDK Beta

As part of the new development kit release, we’ve published a major update to the SDK that allows developers to take full advantage of DK2. After over a year in development, this is the largest software release at Oculus yet.

The most significant improvement is the addition of low-latency 6DOF positional tracking, enabling all new types of games and experiences. We’ve also introduced an Oculus display driver, which streamlines access to the Rift’s screen. This enables direct rendering to the Rift, rather than treating the headset as a separate monitor (although it still allows for legacy mirroring/extending if desired).

You can download the Oculus SDK v0.4.0 Beta from the Oculus Developer Center at developer.oculusvr.com. Note that this initial release is Windows-only, but it includes the Unity and Unreal Engine 4 integrations. The OS X release is well underway and coming soon.

If you have a Rift application or experience built for the original Rift development kit (DK1), you’ll need to integrate the latest SDK and/or engine integrations before it can run on DK2.

The SDK is still very much in beta, and we’ll be updating it quickly following this initial release. You can read the full release history and known issues on the Oculus Developer Center: https://developer.oculusvr.com/?action=hist

We’re really looking forward to seeing what you create using DK2 and the latest SDK! If you have suggestions, recommendations, or concerns, please let us know on the Oculus Developer Forums.

Oculus @ San Diego Comic-Con

If you’re at Comic-Con this week, be sure to check out the incredible Rift experiences at the show, including Legendary’s “Pacific Rim – Jaeger Pilot” demo using Unreal Engine 4:

We’ll see you in the Metaverse!

-- The Oculus Team