Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 1, 2012.

Update #33

Meet Tom Forsyth and Steve LaValle, Science Blog, Nate’s Talk at GDC, and Unity Trial Extensions

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To build a next-generation platform for virtual reality gaming, we need the best and brightest people in a variety of fields. Over the last few months, the team has grown rapidly (over 20 engineers in house now!), and a lot of incredible talent has joined the Oculus family.

Today, we’d like to introduce you to two of our newest heavy-hitters: Tom Forsyth and Steve LaValle!

Tom Forsyth, Software Architect

If you follow Tom Forsyth on Twitter (@tom_forsyth), you already know of his world-class software engineering and architecture skills. Tom’s last two decades found him working at some of the industry’s most innovative companies including Valve, Intel, and RAD Game Tools. Tom just recently left Valve, where he was working on Team Fortress 2 in VR with Joe Ludwig and Michael Abrash.

A few words from the man himself:

"The Rift is a great bit of kit and combines a bunch of different technology together in a very clever package. It was amazing working with it on Team Fortress 2 and seeing the extra immersion people felt inside a game they already knew so well. I'm really looking forward to helping other developers work with this tech as we go towards a consumer version."

Tom has his own blog (http://eelpi.gotdns.org/blog.wiki.html), where you can read up on some of his recent research. At Oculus, Tom will be focused on the SDK, along with a few top-secret VR R&D projects. Please join us in welcoming him to the team!

Steve LaValle, Robotics Scientist

Steve LaValle Ph.D, a world-renowned researcher in the areas of robotics, sensor fusion, planning, and control, joins us from the University of Illinois, Urbana. Steve has has been collaborating with the team on the Rift’s hardware and software since last September, but he just recently took a break from his research projects to join Oculus full-time as our principal scientist.

Steve’s leading research and development on some of the toughest VR challenges including sensor fusion, magnetic drift correction, and kinematic modeling.

Professor LaValle in action.

Even better -- Steve started a blog where he’ll share his thoughts on virtual reality, computer vision, robotics, and other Oculus research.

Steve’s first post is a deep-dive on the math behind the sensor fusion for the Oculus Tracker. Curious about how all that sensor data comes together to track the Rift’s orientation? Dig in and learn from the Professor. Here’s a short excerpt:

“One overriding theme throughout our development has been to keep the method simple so that it is easier to understand its behavior, to optimize its performance, and to make future enhancements. We could approach the problem using standard sledgehammers, such as the Kalman filter [4] or particle filters [1], but these require significant modeling assumptions and adjustment to reach their theoretical benefits. For example, the Kalman filter is the optimal estimator for linear systems with linear measurements and Gaussian noise, but their performance outside of that range is not guaranteed.”

If your interest is piqued, you can read the the rest of the post above at http://www.oculusvr.com/blog/sensor-fusion-keeping-it-simple. You can let Steve know what you think by leaving a comment on the blog.

Steve will update the blog regularly with more about his research, so stay tuned!

If you want to be a part of this team building the next generation of VR, reach out to us! We’re still looking for the best and brightest in a variety of fields. You can always check out the Oculus Careers page for the latest details.

Nate’s Talk @ GDC 2013

The final chapter of Oculus at GDC 2013: Nate’s talk, “Running the VR Gauntlet”. In case you missed it, here is the video from his portion of the talk, where he dives into a few of the nuances of VR game design and development.

Unity Trial Extensions

Unity Pro trial extension codes are available now on the Oculus Order Manager for all orders marked ‘Shipped’.

You can claim your trial extension by logging into the Oculus Order Manager, locating the Unity Pro trial extension section, and clicking the ‘Claim Code’ button. You can redeem the code within the Unity Pro editor by following the instructions here: http://unity3d.com/unity/activation

To all the Oculus developers with an expired Unity Pro trial: Sorry it took us so long to get these out to you. Go forth, and build the Unity VR content of the future!

Onward

We’re close now -- All Rift development kits from Kickstarter are marked as ‘Processing’ or 'Shipped' in our system. The remaining units should ship soon.

As always, hit us up on Twitter, Facebook, or the Oculus Forums with your latest questions, comments, feedback, and latest Oculus-ready content. We want to hear from you!

-- Palmer and the Oculus team


Update #32

Shipping Update, Replacement Rewards, VR Meet Ups, and Half Life 2 in VR!

We thought we’d share a short and sweet Oculus update to help kick off the weekend.

Shipping Update

Since our last update (May 1st), we’ve shipped roughly 2,500 dev kits, bringing the total number of dev kits in the wild to just over 6,000. We’re on track to ship the remaining 1,500 Kickstarter kits before the end of May.

Palmer, Nate, Michael and Brendan signing Rift dev kits for backers.

To everyone who’s still waiting for their Rift: Thank you for your patience! We’re almost there.

To everyone who’s already received their Rift: Thank you for your patience! We hope you’re enjoying it.

If you’re developing samples, demos or full ‘Made for VR’ games, please share them with the community on the Oculus Forums.

Replacement Rewards

The replacement rewards for Kickstarter development kits are available now via the Oculus Order Manager. If you’re eligible for a replacement reward, just login to the Oculus Order Manager and click the “Claim Code” button.

If you claim your Oculus Store Credit code today, it can be applied to purchases in the Oculus Store (including the upcoming Latency Tester) starting June 1.

Oculus SDK Update - v0.2.2

We just released Oculus SDK v0.2.2 on the Oculus Developer Center. Highlights of the release include:

- Added magnetometer drift correction support to Unity integration.
- The Unity sample’s HUD is now rendered in 3D with proper distortion.
- Added gamepad support and OculusWorldTiny sample on Mac OSX.

If you’re interested, you can read the full build notes for the release here.

Silicon Valley Virtual Reality Meet Up

The Silicon Valley Virtual Reality (SVVR) meet up held their first meeting last night, featuring organizers Karl Krantz, Cymatic Bruce, and the Sixense team. We snuck in to join the crowd of over 60 VR enthusiasts at the Computer History Museum in San Jose (which includes one of Ivan Sutherland’s original experimental 3D headsets from 1968) to check out a few of the community's latest projects.

Photo by MarinoAlperon from www.reddit.com/r/oculus

It was awesome to see developers sharing their demos (and their Rift dev kits), discussing their work, and providing feedback to one another. A huge thank you to Karl and Bruce for organizing the event. We look forward to hearing about other meet ups around the world!

Half Life 2 (VR Beta) Officially in the Rift

Joe Ludwig dropped into the Oculus Forum to share the news -- Valve has officially released beta Oculus support for their groundbreaking classic, Half Life 2 (including Episode 1, Episode 2 and OSX support)!

Just like Team Fortress 2, this port is intended as a testbed for Valve’s future VR projects. Joe mentioned that it’s "...a bit more raw than TF2," but we’ve been having a blast playing it around the office.

If you've never played Half Life 2, or maybe it’s just been awhile since your last go, now’s your chance to step inside Ravenholm like never before. It’s pretty incredible to have Dr. Gordon Freeman’s story, arguably one of the best interactive experiences ever made, as a VR developer showcase. We can’t thank the team at Valve enough (again).

We have more good news queued up for next week, so stay tuned!

-- Palmer and the Oculus Team


Update #31

SDK Update, New GDC Video, Global Shipping, and EVE Fanfest

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Oculus SDK Update - v0.2.1

We've released a new version of the Oculus SDK, v0.2.1 on the Oculus Developer Center. Highlights for this release include:

- Basic drift-correction using the magnetometer.
- Platform support for OS X.
- Chromatic aberration shader sample.

The drift correction is still very much in beta as we continue to tweak and improve it. Also, the Unity and Unreal integrations do not include these new features yet, but they will in the next release.

We've updated the documentation and samples as well. If you’re interested, you can read the full build notes for the release here.

Michael’s GDC Session

Michael, chief software architect and co-founder of Oculus, gave a talk with Nate at GDC entitled ‘Running the VR Gauntlet’. It’s a great primer for tackling the technical challenges behind developing games for VR, particularly around rendering and performance.

Last-minute Address Changes

We receive quite a few support emails from backers asking to change/update their shipping address after we've shipped their rewards.

Once your order status has advanced to "Processing", you can no longer update your shipping information via the Oculus Order Manager. “Processing” means we've allocated your rewards and we’ve started the shipping process. At that point, there's no turning back -- your rewards are headed straight for that doorstep.

If your order isn’t “Processing” yet, please take a few minutes to verify and update your shipping information via the Oculus Order Manager right now. We can't stress this enough. Changing your address after your order has begun "Processing" will cause your rewards to be delayed. Sorry for the inconvenience, but please, update your shipping information now.

Quick Shipping Update

As of May 1st, we've shipped roughly 3,700 development kits backers worldwide (and we have more units in transit from the factory to our global warehouses).

The breakdown thus far:
~500 to Asia and Oceania
~700 to Europe
~2,500 to North America

Our production rate continues to improve, and we're currently building around 1,250 development kits each week. We're now setup with new fulfillment centers in Europe and Asia, which should reduce delivery times for international backers.

We’ve also finished signing the t-shirts and posters, which have already begun shipping to backers. If you haven’t received all your rewards yet, hang tight -- they’re coming soon!

EVE Fanfest 2013

We continue to be blown away by the creativity and enthusiasm of the developer community.

The latest ‘made-for-VR’ game comes from our friends (and Kickstarter backers) at CCP Games. EVR is a multiplayer space dog-fighting game based in the EVE Universe. The entire demo was built in just 7 weeks using the Oculus Unity integration by a small team of CCP devs working in their spare time. You can check out the trailer below:

With gorgeous visuals, engaging sound, intuitive controls, and a well-thought-out cockpit, it’s hands-down one of the best demos that we’ve played yet. The EVR dev team at CCP designed the whole experience exclusively for VR, and it really shows.

Over 1,000 pilots had the chance to try it at EVE Fanfest 2013 last weekend, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. A few people waited in line 5+ times for a chance to dominate the space battle. CCP hasn’t announced what they’re doing with EVR going forward, but we’re hoping everyone has a chance to try it soon.

6v6 space dog-fighting in VR null-sec. Photos by Arnaldur Halldórsson.

We’re really looking forward to seeing what the community comes up with next. As always, keep us posted on your new projects and demos.

We’ll see you in the game!

-- Palmer and the Oculus team


Update #30

Palmer at GDC and TF2 VR Gaming Night!

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For those of you that couldn’t make it to Palmer’s talk and Q&A session at GDC, “Virtual Reality - The Holy Grail of Gaming,” we’ve posted the recording for your viewing pleasure!

Team Fortress 2 in the Rift

The exclusive Team Fortress 2 Rift development kit hat (TF2VRH) is now available to Kickstarter backers via the Oculus Order Manager.

You can claim your hat right now by logging into www.oculusvr.com/sales and following the instructions there. If you pre-ordered after the Kickstarter campaign but before April 1, 2013, you’ll be able to claim your hat as soon as your dev kit has shipped.

Now that Rift development kits are out in the wild, we thought it was time to bring Oculus developers together for a Team Fortress 2 VR throwdown. With that in mind, we've opened an official Oculus TF2 VR server!

You can connect to the Oculus server starting today using the address ‘tf2.oculusvr.com’, or by searching for “Oculus” in the TF2 Server Browser. You can also connect using the TF2 console with the command ‘connect tf2.oculusvr.com’.

We strongly encourage you to play using the Rift! The Oculus team will be in there from time to time to defend our VR turf. Palmer’s most-played Steam game is TF2, so be ready for some stiff competition.

To celebrate the Oculus server’s grand opening, we’re hosting the first (of many) Oculus VR Gaming Night this Friday, April 19th from 6 - 9pm PDT!

We’ll square off with the community in Capture/Payload gametypes, all in virtual reality using the Rift development kit. This could be your chance to blow up Palmer with a rocket launcher as a Soldier or save him from near-death as a Medic! We’ll also be streaming the event on TwitchTV so you can watch the mayhem live.

Even if you don’t have your dev kit yet (sorry!), don’t hesitate to jump in and show us what you're made of!

"Holy Mackerel!"

And just in case you missed it, “My 90 year old grandmother tries the Oculus Rift.”

We’ll see you (and grandma) in the game!

-- Palmer and the Oculus team


Update #29

GDC Recap and Shipping Update

Now that Rift development kits are in the wild and the Oculus SDK is live, game developers have started creating amazing VR experiences. We’re really enjoying checking out the community’s latest samples and demos. Keep them coming!

If you have an awesome, new VR experience to share, let us know via Twitter, Facebook, or the Oculus Forums. We’d love to try it!

With all the energy in the community, this weekend felt like the right time to put together an update on all things Oculus.

GDC Recap

Phill Ryu, GDC attendee, tries the Oculus Rift for the first time at GDC.

For Oculus, GDC 2013 was nothing short of incredible. Virtual reality made a huge splash -- you could feel the excitement in the air. We loved every minute we spent brainstorming the possibilities for the next generation of VR gaming with some of the best game developers in the world. It was really special to be a part of.

Photo from the front of the Oculus booth looking back at the line.

An enormous thank you to everyone who waited in that line just to get a glimpse of the Rift or to meet the team. It means the world to us.

It’s hard to capture that same excitement and energy from GDC in words, but here are a few of our favorite pictures, videos, and articles from the show:

“Piloting a Mech in Hawken in virtual reality is a very different experience; you are acutely aware that you are a person inside a large piece of thudding, heavy, violent machinery... The illusion of actually being there, inside the Mech, was hard to shake.” - Ben Kuchera, Penny Arcade Report

Palmer demoing Hawken VR with the Rift dev kit.

“Oculus VR's Oculus Rift virtual reality headset was the runaway star of GDC... The line to test drive the mech combat game Hawken on the Rift was at least a hundred strong for the entire show—two-hour wait times were not uncommon and I personally witnessed people literally running to the Oculus booth to get a head start on the line when the exhibition floor opened...” - Damon Poeter, PCMag

The additional line area for the Oculus booth. People waited through this (thank you!), then moved to the line around the actual booth. Shout-out to the amazing GDC CA staff who helped us throughout the show.

Patient fans waiting for a demo, drawing on the booth’s walls.

Between the crowd at the booth, media, developer meetings, our GDC talks, remotely launching the Developer Center, and shipping the first batch of dev kits, GDC was a thrilling week. Special thanks to all the backers who came out and shared a few drinks with us at the Thirsty Bear.

We recorded both of our GDC talks, which we’ll be posting online soon. Palmer’s “Virtual Reality - The Holy Grail of Gaming” will be available early this week, then Michael and Nate’s talk on the challenges of designing great VR games should be ready in the next week or two.

Palmer during his talk, “Virtual Reality: The Holy Grail of Gaming.”

Michael and Nate discuss the challenges of building a great virtual reality experience in their talk, “Running the VR Gauntlet.”

Thank you to everyone who came up and spoke with us during the show. It was a pleasure meeting all of you! And again, a special ‘Thank you’ to our backers for making this possible. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Shipping Update

The Oculus logistics team is 100% focused on getting dev kits to your doorstep. Here’s the latest on our progress:

We’ve shipped roughly 1,850 development kits worldwide so far (~500 internationally). Up next, we have another ~2,000 arriving around April 26th, but it could be a few days earlier or later depending on international customs.

Of the upcoming ~2,000 unit batch, ~500 will be EU, ~500 will be Asia/Oceania, and the rest will be the Americas. These units will also be the first delivered via our new EU/Asia/Oceania fulfillment network, which should help reduce delivery times and costs.

Nirav laying claim to a few of the units delivered to Oculus HQ.

If you’d like to learn more about our international shipping plans, Nate provided a detailed breakdown over in the official Oculus Forums, which you can read here.

A handful of international backers have reported a few speed bumps with European and Canadian deliveries related to customs and tax charges. Sorry for the inconvenience, we’re working on sorting these issues out now. If you have any problems with your delivery, please let us know by emailing support@oculusvr.com!

If you’re one of the generous backers who has received their Rift and shared the experience with your friends, neighbors and community: Thank you! Keep spreading the word and sending us your feedback. We’re really looking forward to seeing what you come up with!

T-Shirts and Posters

The ever-elusive Oculus Kickstarter t-shirts and posters are finally ready! These will be shipping worldwide starting next week.

Oculus-ready UDK

The Oculus-ready Unreal Development Kit (UDK) is now available from the Oculus Developer Center! A handful of developers have already started exploring UDK scenes in VR. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, you can grab it here

Unity Trial Extensions

The Unity Pro Trial Extensions aren’t available yet, but they will be soon. We’re just nailing down the details on how to deliver the extension codes to you. As soon as we have that figured out, we’ll let you know.

Building for the Future

While the logistics team manages moving 10,000+ Rifts around the world, the engineering team is heads-down on the Oculus SDK and the future of the Rift.

Team meeting, plus a birthday celebration for Andres, Peter, Lee, and Nikolay (note the delicious Oculus-themed cupcakes).

If you’ve received your development kit and you’d like to send us feedback, talk to other Oculus developers, or just discuss virtual reality, head over to the official Oculus Forums! The team reads and replies to questions/discussions there whenever they can. It’s also the best place to keep up to date on all things Oculus.

Thanks for the continued support!

-- Palmer and the Oculus team


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