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John Carmack's VR Headset

There's a John Carmack video interview on PC Gamer talking with the id Software Technical Director about the virtual reality headset he is demonstrating behind closed doors at E3, an interestingly similar thrust to his former colleague Michael Abrash's work on wearable computing. This is a prototype built by someone else that's similar to a device of Carmack's making that was not ready for the show (for months his Twitter feed has included comments about refresh rates and small screens to the extent that they now seem like obvious clues about this). Here's Mr. Carmack's take on this:

For a certain part of the hacker/maker crowd, this is going to be awesomely cool to work with, because there is honest to god cutting edge research to be done on the ergonomics, the focusing adjustment, software integration with other titles. These are things that people can do in their workshop that can make a difference in the next twelve months and yes, somebody big is going to turn this in to a real product in the coming years.

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30. Re: John Carmack's VR Headset Jun 9, 2012, 19:37 Mordecai Walfish
 
Ant wrote on Jun 9, 2012, 00:51:
I wonder if he will use the original DOOM or Wolf3D games for this.

That is an excellent question. I willing to bet he is just going to let the community do the work and maintain the port to this gear, and instead turn to his recent titles (Doom 3, RAGE) as the focus for Carmack's 'proof of concept' for showcasing and such.

With Bethesda in bed as well this could likely mean Skyrim support *very* early into it's release. It makes complete sense.. What better game than Skyrim for the "killer app" this technology needs to get a strong boost out of the gate? It's completely a no-brainer.
 
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29. Re: John Carmack's VR Headset Jun 9, 2012, 00:51 Ant
 
I wonder if he will use the original DOOM or Wolf3D games for this.  
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28. Re: John Carmack's VR Headset Jun 7, 2012, 19:18 Orogogus
 
RailWizard wrote on Jun 7, 2012, 18:56:
Shataan wrote on Jun 7, 2012, 18:39:
TrackIR is cool. That is a given. VR headsets...... not .so much

Exactly. I made a longer post on slashdot, and mentioned the same thing.
Also I never said VR was completely useless, just that it will only be uselful for a handful of things. Exactly like TrackIR.

The only thing where I really see VR being particularly dire is FPSes where you have to walk around, which is a huge portion of the market. And for strategy games I don't see any particular benefit. But for simulations and action sims it could go a long way towards putting you in the cockpit instead of piloting by remote control. And if the cost is $500 instead of tens of thousands, it's pretty feasible for moderate enthusiasts, the kind of people who would get a TrackIR.

Carmack goes on for a bit on how badly the current crop sucks, though, and I think all his demo unit runs is DOOM 3, which is definitely an FPS and not ideal.
 
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27. Re: John Carmack's VR Headset Jun 7, 2012, 19:04 RailWizard
 
FWIW holodecks have the movement problems that, as far as I'm aware, was never explained either. Did the floor move? Too clunky and noticeable. Apart from some "techno jargon", I don't see how the problem will be solved. There is no substitute for space, so far.

Closest I've seen was that thing they created to hype up Battlefield 3, and that guy looked tensed up like he was riding a skateboard just so he wouldn't 'wipe out'.
 
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26. Re: John Carmack's VR Headset Jun 7, 2012, 18:56 RailWizard
 
Shataan wrote on Jun 7, 2012, 18:39:
TrackIR is cool. That is a given. VR headsets...... not .so much


Exactly. I made a longer post on slashdot, and mentioned the same thing.
Also I never said VR was completely useless, just that it will only be uselful for a handful of things. Exactly like TrackIR.
 
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25. Re: John Carmack's VR Headset Jun 7, 2012, 18:39 Shataan
 
TrackIR is cool. That is a given. VR headsets...... not .so much

 
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24. Re: John Carmack's VR Headset Jun 7, 2012, 16:21 Cutter
 
Mr. Tact wrote on Jun 7, 2012, 10:00:
Cutter wrote on Jun 7, 2012, 04:00:
If and when it ever becomes like something in Snow Crash or the Holodeck I'll pass.

Was there supposed to be a "until then" after the word Holodeck in that sentence? If not, I'd think to be consistent with that philosophy you shouldn't be playing games at all...

Yep, woops, that's what I meant.
 
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23. Re: John Carmack's VR Headset Jun 7, 2012, 11:34 zombiefan
 
If I can make an addendum to my original post, one game that did everything right (for the technology of the day) was a little game called Flight Unlimited. Same team that brought you System Shock 2, Looking Glass. Now that game was a blast because it got passed the movement limitation. You're naturally seated in the air, while everything went around you. It's as close to barrel rolling a crop duster I ever want to get to. Get that game updated with today's graphics and a VR helment? YES PLEASE.  
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22. Re: John Carmack's VR Headset Jun 7, 2012, 10:00 Mr. Tact
 
Cutter wrote on Jun 7, 2012, 04:00:
If and when it ever becomes like something in Snow Crash or the Holodeck I'll pass.

Was there supposed to be a "until then" after the word Holodeck in that sentence? If not, I'd think to be consistent with that philosophy you shouldn't be playing games at all...
 
Truth is brutal. Prepare for pain.
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21. Re: John Carmack's VR Headset Jun 7, 2012, 09:54 Rigs
 
RailWizard wrote on Jun 7, 2012, 01:27:
No. It's a gimick and it's even worse than 3d. 3D is backwards compatible with everything more or less, VR isn't. You won't be playing any of our FPS's with it, or if you do, you will suck hard. A little common sense is all it takes...your head movement is going to replace the mouse? lol ok.

So all of us who play the DCS sims and rFactor/GTR/iRacing and use TrackIR are just chumps? Don't knock it 'til you try it, bud...

I recently had to play A-10 without my TrackIR, since I loaned it to a friend for a few days weeks (grrrr...), and I felt naked and clumsy, like a noob...Now, if we can get some decent res out of these headsets, then I'm all for it! Sure beats the shit out of '3D', which only gives me a massive headache. Fully realized VR? Probably not in my lifetime, though my daughter might eventually have a kickin' setup in a few decades...


=-Rigs-=
 
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20. Re: John Carmack's VR Headset Jun 7, 2012, 09:33 Paul D van den Berg
 
I for one am excited about such developments. Playing Skyrim on my Sony HMZ-T1 with added head tracking is nothing short of amazing. A completely different experience and much more immersive than playing it on my 50 inch 3D screen or 32 inch computer monitor. It's like jumping ahead 3 generations in PC/console hardware.  
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19. Re: John Carmack's VR Headset Jun 7, 2012, 09:27 Shataan
 
I remember when vr headsets were going to be the next big rage. Then bam! Ya didn t hear anything after that. Now it seems it may be making a comeback to milk peeps for more dough for a substandard not ready for primetime product. Tbh... they should have dropped vr headsts and kept working on force feedback tech for gaming. But the hardware industry seems to have let force feedback die. At least force feedback effects in pc gaming delivered. Bigtime. Vr headsets are still an expensive joke imho. I too suckered into quite an expensive pixelated view mess of a headset. Not going down that road agaian.

 
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18. Re: John Carmack's VR Headset Jun 7, 2012, 09:01 zombiefan
 
Having plunked down $2700 back in 1996, I had a Pentium 200 rig with 64 MB of RAM, running Quake 1 through a VFX-1 Helmet. This was *just* before the Monster 3D was released and everyone started being wowed by GLQuake, so it was pure software mode. To be honest, the only added benefit was that 3D look you get from really good 3D, coupled with head tracking. Playing it standing up with the "cyberpuck" wasn't all that great because it ruined the immersion due to the fact that you couldn't walk anywhere in real space. So it was a really neat tech demo; but using it as a gaming peripheral for control, it kind of blew. I do have fond memories though of playing through Q1 and it's two mission packs in what was at the time, fully realized 3D gaming. (That laser pistol in Q1MP1 kicked ASS)

Want to invest in the next big thing to gaming? Holodecks, baby. Holodecks.
 
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17. Re: John Carmack's VR Headset Jun 7, 2012, 08:43 Verno
 
Orogogus wrote on Jun 7, 2012, 06:17:
I know hardly anyone reads the article before commenting

Speaking from experience?

Shall I go and fetch my lawnmower, man?

Well played sir.
 
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16. Re: John Carmack's VR Headset Jun 7, 2012, 06:33 Reckless
 
This tech seems to come [and subsequently go] every few years. No reason to suspect this latest attempt will also not disappear like all those before Wake the public up when it's really ready.  
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15. Re: John Carmack's VR Headset Jun 7, 2012, 06:17 Orogogus
 
Wildone wrote on Jun 7, 2012, 01:57:
Until they get the res of those tiny monitors beyond 800x600 and not cost 10k it'll never happen.

I know hardly anyone reads the article before commenting, much less watch a video, but he has a 1280 x 960 prototype (640 x 480 per eye) for $500 (production cost). And he makes the point that there's a ton of free research on the resolution front thanks to cell phones.
 
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14. Re: John Carmack's VR Headset Jun 7, 2012, 04:26 Slashman
 
J wrote on Jun 7, 2012, 02:52:
Shall I go and fetch my lawnmower, man?

Nice one!
 
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13. Re: John Carmack's VR Headset Jun 7, 2012, 04:00 Cutter
 
If and when it ever becomes like something in Snow Crash or the Holodeck I'll pass.
 
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"Bye weeks? Bronko Nagurski didn't get no bye weeks, and now he's deadů Well, maybe they're a good thing." - Moe
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12. Re: John Carmack's VR Headset Jun 7, 2012, 03:48 pagb
 
DangerDog wrote on Jun 6, 2012, 23:30:
Megatextures are the future, somebody big is going to turn them in to a real product in the coming years.
Enough with it already!
 
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11. Re: John Carmack's VR Headset Jun 7, 2012, 02:52 J
 
Shall I go and fetch my lawnmower, man?  
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