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

Oculus Connect Applications Now Open & GDC 2014 Video

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We’ve started accepting applications for Oculus Connect! The registration form is located at the bottom of the main page at http://www.oculusvr.com/connect.

Attendees will be the first to learn about upcoming Oculus technology, with sessions and workshops led by Oculus engineers and industry pioneers. Developers at the event will also have opportunities to receive design and engineering feedback directly from the Oculus team in hands-on labs.

The event will also feature keynotes from our very own Brendan Iribe, Palmer Luckey, John Carmack, and Michael Abrash.

“Now is a special time. I believe that VR will have a huge impact in the coming years, but everyone working today is a pioneer. The paradigms that everyone will take for granted in the future are being figured out today; probably by people reading this message.” - John Carmack, Oculus CTO

Applications are being considered based on a variety of factors. We wish we could host the entire community, but physical attendance is limited and, as a developer conference, active developers will be given priority.

If you haven’t already applied, take a moment to do so now at http://www.oculusvr.com/connect! We’re reviewing applications starting Sunday, July 20th at 11:59pm PT and we’ll send out the the first wave of invitations later that week. Applications submitted beyond Sunday night will be considered for the waitlist.

Thank you to everyone who’s already applied. We’re looking forward to seeing many of you there. And remember, if you can’t make the show, we’ll be livestreaming the keynotes. More details on the livestreams to follow closer to the event.

Oculus @ GDC 2014 Video Recap

With the launch of DK2, GDC 2014 was a special moment for VR, so we brought our production crew along to capture the event as it happened.

We were thrilled to meet so many members of the community and introduce them to DK2. Whether you were you were there or not, here’s a glimpse of that week from the show floor at the Moscone Center in San Francisco:

A huge thank you to Tim Hyten and his crew for their stellar work helping to produce the video.

It’s an incredible, unique time to be a part of this industry. Thank you all for being a part of it!

-- The Oculus Team

Announcing Oculus Connect, RakNet Open Source, and E3 2014 Awards

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We’re thrilled to announce Oculus Connect, a developer conference that brings together engineers, designers, and creatives from around the world to share and collaborate in the interest of creating the best virtual reality experiences possible.

In the last two years, we’ve seen more virtual reality content built than in the last two decades, and that’s a direct result of incredible work by the community. With virtual reality’s momentum at an all-time high, this is a unique moment for the developer community to come together to take the virtual reality to the next level.

Oculus Connect 2014 takes place Sept 19 - 20 at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles, CA. Attendee applications will be available on the Oculus Connect website, www.oculusvr.com/connect, starting on July 10th and attendance confirmations will go out the following week. We’ve reserved a block of discounted rooms at the Loews for registered guests.

Attendees will be the first to learn about upcoming Oculus technology, with sessions and workshops led by Oculus engineers and industry pioneers. Developers at the event will also have opportunities to receive design and engineering feedback directly from the Oculus team in hands-on labs.

Oculus Connect will also feature keynotes from Brendan Iribe (CEO), Palmer Luckey (Founder), John Carmack (CTO) and Michael Abrash (Chief Scientist) on Oculus, virtual reality, and the future of the medium. The full session list will be announced as we draw closer to the show.

You can get the full details on the official Oculus Connect website, www.oculusvr.com/connect. While the conference is open to the public, be aware this is a developer-centric event. Attendance is limited, but we’ll be livestreaming the keynotes for developers around the world who can’t make it to the show.

If you’re an Oculus developer interested in helping to build the future, we're looking forward to meeting you in person Sept 19th!

Oculus Acquires & Open Sources RakNet

We’re pleased to announce that we’ve acquired RakNet, one of the leading networking middleware systems in the games industry. We open-sourced it starting today under a modified BSD license (the same license Facebook uses for its open source projects) from the Oculus GitHub repo: https://github.com/OculusVR/RakNet.

For those unfamiliar with RakNet, it is a comprehensive C++ game networking engine designed for ease of use and performance. The tech is tuned for cross-platform, high-performance applications that operate across a wide variety of network types. Key features include object replication, remote procedure calls, patching, secure connections, voice chat, and real-time SQL logging. The technology has been licensed by thousands of indie developers, as well as companies like Unity, Havok, Mojang, Maxis and Sony Online Entertainment.

We’ve known Kevin Jenkins, founder of Jenkins Software and lead engineer on RakNet, for years, and we’ve used RakNet internally at Oculus for various networked systems and tools. After working with Kevin for a few months, we were all excited by the idea of open-sourcing RakNet to the community.

If you’re interested in checking out (or forking) RakNet, head over to the Oculus GitHub repo at https://github.com/OculusVR/RakNet. We’re looking forward to seeing where the community takes the project next!

Rift Wins Best Hardware at E3 2014!

The Rift won the Game Critics Awards’ ‘Best Hardware at E3’ for the second year in a row! This is the official awards for the show, made up of game critics and journalists from across the industry.

We were thrilled to see the Rift nominated among such an incredible group of games, products, and hardware, and we’re humbled to have it win the 'Best Hardware' category. We couldn’t have done it without the development community delivering a peek at the next-generation of VR gaming.

Thank you again for all your support!

-- The Oculus Team

Oculus Agrees to Acquire Carbon Design Team

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We’re thrilled to announce that we’ve agreed to acquire the Carbon Design team, one of the premier industrial design and product engineering teams in the country, with over 50 awards to their name. As part of the deal, the team will officially become a key component of the product engineering group at Oculus, operating from the Carbon studio in the Seattle area. They’ll also be working closely with the Oculus R&D team based out of Redmond. We expect the deal to close by the end of summer.

The Carbon team brings their expertise around building great feeling, great looking consumer products like the Xbox 360 controller. We’ve been working with Carbon for nearly a year on multiple unannounced projects.

“A few seconds with the latest Oculus prototypes and you know that virtual reality is for real this time. From a design and engineering perspective, building the products that finally deliver consumer virtual reality is one of the most interesting and challenging problem sets ever.

This is an entirely open product category. With consumer VR at its inception, the physical architectures are still unknown — We’re on the cutting edge of defining how virtual reality looks, feels, and functions.

We’re incredibly excited to be part of the team and we’re looking forward to helping design the future.

- Peter Bristol, Creative Director at Carbon Design

 

 

 

 

A handful of Carbon’s past projects.

As a company, Carbon Design has a 20 year history of taking consumer, industrial and medical products from concept to completion. Carbon approaches products with a design-driven methodology rooted in quality engineering, ergonomics, deep user insights, and rapid iteration. All of this adds up to an incredible skill set to deliver ground-breaking new virtual reality products.

Please join us in welcoming the Carbon team to Oculus!

If you’re interested in joining Oculus in Irvine, San Francisco, Seattle, or Dallas, we’re recruiting! You can see the latest job posts at www.oculusvr.com/careers.

– The Oculus Team