back to article Amount of pixels needed to make VR less crap may set your PC on fire

Put on a virtual reality headset and it's hard to believe that your visual system is being stretched beyond its limit. Individual pixels are still visible and the narrow field of view makes it feel like you're wearing ski googles. Yet even now VR bombards our visual system with more information than it can process. Engineers …

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Make it sew

"don't expect to do any VR sewing in the next decade or two"

Sewing is actually a case where 'tunnel vision' isn't a problem and even current VR appears to be suited to that

It's the effort and strain of dealing only with 'what's in the tunnel' for prolonged periods which is the real problem, whether sewing, performing surgery, or similar.

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Re: Make it sew

Isn't this what Fove were supposed to be doing to distinguish themselves in the VR space, I recall reading it a while back and being the only VR headset I was interested in, before I lost interest in having a VR headset..

Kickstarter snakeoil? www.getfove.com

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LDS
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Joke

That's what Magic Leaip is working on.

They achieved it boiling frogs and flies eyes into a cauldron with bats ears, to use their ultrasonic capabilities to track eye movements.

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Re: That's what Magic Leaip is working on.

How are they addressing the response time for eye tracking?

If I move my eyes 20 degrees to the left my personal optics seem to take a moment to focus - is that enough time for the tracked eye movement to hit the CPU and re-render that area in high resolution in a VR headset?

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Re: That's what Magic Leaip is working on.

Micro-saccades are way faster than that.

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Re: That's what Magic Leaip is working on.

Probably not, because most of that is the delay between the light hitting your eyes, and your brain doing all the processing to figure out what it is. That takes about 0.1 seconds.

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Interesting read

Nice to see some research into actual VR going on rather than on their monetisation platforms and "VR stores" ;)

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Re: Interesting read

I cant help feeling a kind a "mechanical sympathy" for the amount of computing horsepower we put into "making things look pretty".

Computers are great things ideal for repetitve tasks and calculations. theyve changed the world with their databases and accounting and engineering modelling, and ecoding of music and video..

But why is it necessary to animate every blade of grass waving around in the background while I play Farcry ? The video card in my pc sits there whirring , throwing heat out , using extra psu sockets and costing more than the rest put together - like some kind of over developed muscle.

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Re: Interesting read

The issue is that current VR has such a low resolution that you even have trouble reading any not-oversized text...

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Re: Interesting read

oh , I didnt notice that when I had a bash on a mate's Playstation setup. i was too busy bouncing balls around a room and shooting spaceships :)

pchoo! pchoo! bzzzzt! ping! Whizz! boom!

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Pint

Re: Interesting read

Q: [But why is it necessary to animate every blade of grass waving around in the background while I play Farcry ?]

A: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escapism

People want to forget about their dull daily lives and immerse in something pleasant to the brain. Somewhere on the webs it is said that the visual cortex takes 70% of our brains, audio takes another hefty chunk of the remaining... so fooling them both will immerse you pretty handily.

And yes, my GPU also has more computing power than 2x my CPU, and guzzles just as much 'leccy as the whole rest of the system.

To almost complete the immersion of brain into pleasant things, you need a beer while playing.

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Re: Interesting read

The grass is to distract you while the eagles are swooping down at you. Moving grass in FC3 meant honey badgers incoming!

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Direct to-brain interface

I suspect that the "direct to brain" or direct to eye nerve interface will emerge before we figure out a viable tech to be able to do all the crazy stuff needed to track eye motion and produce variable resolution in the different parts of the headset.

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Re: Direct to-brain interface

Hehe, made me think of the eyePhone from Futurama!

Episode 'Attack of the Killer App'

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attack_of_the_Killer_App

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I did not upvote/downvote

Because you are both right and wrong for another reason. We already have such technology, and have for thousands of years. It's called "hard rugs". It at least allows such suggesting "trips" anywhere you wish.

As with all technology though, bug solving and customer support can be a real *nightmare*.

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Re: Direct to-brain interface

I suspect that the "direct to brain" or direct to eye nerve interface will emerge before we figure out a viable tech to be able to do all the crazy stuff needed to track eye motion and produce variable resolution in the different parts of the headset.

Yeah - current VR is the "Accoustic coupler" of video.

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Fovea or FauxVR..?

Fovea or FauxVR..?

I wonder if we are hitting the same VR tech wall as in the early 1990s, just a bit further along (due to the better tech available now)?

In other words the 80/20 rule, but the 80% we have is not enough for VR to take off, and the 20% is really rather hard to sort out (hence the 5+ year timeframe for the rendering taking account of fovea and periphery differences)

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Re: Fovea or FauxVR..?

The inability to render scenes indistinguishable from real life was no barrier to video games of the 80s and 90s.

If it can be made fun without nausea and other negatives, it could still achieve some success even without solving the problems described in the article.

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Re: Fovea or FauxVR..?

I'm having a lot of fun with my PSVR.

Is it perfect? Of course, not, that doesn't stop me enjoying it.

I've played Skyrim on the xb360 and ps4 (flat) and now on PSVR - it's now a totally different game imho.

Once upon a time I'd click through the NPC dialogue to get the quest markers (for example) but now I find I am actually engaging in the world and taking an interest in the people that are in it. They are somehow more real now and I find I am caring. There are people playing it on PSVR who will actually take a seat in an inn and just chill out watching the fire and listening to the bard and the general conversations. Never heard of that happening in the 2d version.

Still, this does raise some interesting ethical questions about what you get up to in VR. It's so much more engaging that repeated anti-social activities that I really can see it having a negative impact on some people's behavior. I'm old and gnarly enough to sense it happening and be aware of the risks - others might just soak it up and let it influence how they act in real life.

Extremely powerful stuff, even at this graphical level. I don't want to see the old 'videogames made my son a killer' thing resurrected to be honest.

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Re: Fovea or FauxVR..?

I find I have to be a bit more careful driving in real life just after playing on a driving game. It's a bit like coming off a motorway and having to watch your speed more.

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Re: Fovea or FauxVR..?

Pretty much, a lot of the limit back then was the graphics quality. Graphics processing was offboarded to the "host" - in the example I worked with, to 4 RISC processors on a board in the PC. So firstly the same strategy is key, don't make the crappy hardware in the visor do the processing. For augmented reality you are going to need to push the processing even further out - probably cloud - to deal with the large database to process application things and give you "headsup" data such as "This is Jenny, you met her at a conference last year, she likes dogs and gin and tonics, looks like she is interested in you" - you can't do that in native hardware.

Lastly they should buffer the display, then all you need to render/update is the bits that have changed.

p.s. I was product manager for immersive virtual reality systems for IBM in 1995.

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Re: Fovea or FauxVR..?

Have an upvote for the pun sir!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Fovea or FauxVR..?

Indeed. I saw PlaystationVR demo a few weeks back, and it blew my mind how good it was, and it's actually a very reasonable entry price (if you have a PS4). You can get the full kit for £250 if you shop around.

Is the FacebookVR or Vive worth the thousands of pounds more (when you look at the supporting hardware investment), Absolutely not, especially given the huge userbase and game title advantage that PSVR has.

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Re: Fovea or FauxVR..?

You need to also take more care after driving go-carts. My old boss crashed his M3 after racing around a track with work mates!

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Re: Fovea or FauxVR..?

The inability to render scenes indistinguishable from real life was no barrier to video games of the 80s and 90s.

Spot on. I have just written similar comment.

They'd be better focusing on the other aspects of vr "immersion" like how to stop the user running around the china shop like a crazed bull.

Or getting force feedback when manipulating objects.

Or a smell genarator

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Re: Fovea or FauxVR..?

You don't need an overly expensive PC for VR :

I'm having good enough performance for ~90% of the use cases with a

AMD (Bulldozer) FX-8320E (£100) (the 8 cores seem to help a lot)

and a

Radeon RX 470 (£175)

(and I blame most of the issues with the remaining 10% at the developers not bothering to test their software with Bulldozer-line CPUs)

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1116639906

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Re: Fovea or FauxVR..?

Any big change in the type of vehicle requires care initially. I used to find problems with the relative responsiveness of my car immediately after driving a fully loaded minibus for a couple of hours. I am sure that the same applies to drivers of all heavy commercial vehicles.

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Isn't it obvious? VR only works in combination with a hipster beard. Sorry, ladies.

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"Isn't it obvious? VR only works in combination with a hipster beard."

I have a proper Unix beard, it works well with that to.

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Trollface

A Unix beard meets a hipster beard:

Hipster: "I recognize you. You are one of those annoying Unix beards!"

Unixer: "Here is a nickel kid. Grow yourself a real beard!"

"And stop using Node.js".

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Glasses anyone?

What if you normally wear glasses? Can the VR headsets be adjusted for this or do you have to wear contact lenses?

Just wondering....

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Re: Glasses anyone?

not sure if you're long-sighted, but if you're short sighted you're fine since the objects only look far away but aren't actually. it's like being in a magical world where i can see

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Re: Glasses anyone?

I have wondered, but I'm assuming headsets can fit over them. I've started wearing contacts so it's less of an issue. Still, I'm a big "gamer" who has yet to try VR. Why? Because I knew from the beginning that it's a big fat gimmick unable to truly rival experiences with a monitor, and in part due to the issues outlines in this article. Sure, it's a different experience, but it's not really useful, it doesn't give an "edge".

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Re: Glasses anyone?

Yes, headsets can be adjusted for glasses, just as the virtual view finders on mirrorless digital cameras can be.

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Re: Glasses anyone?

I wear glasses (short sighted) and I use PSVR quite effectively. It's not ideal obviously, but do-able.

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Re: Glasses anyone?

not sure if you're long-sighted, but if you're short sighted you're fine since the objects only look far away but aren't actually. it's like being in a magical world where i can see

Really? I'm short sighted and I still need to use my glasses. Which system do you use?

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Re: Glasses anyone?

There's a really weird effect I found with the HP Z system. The screen image is in focus, some 50-60cm in front of you, but the optical disparity L-R eye puts the object almost on your nose. So you have a perfectly in focus virtual Angel fish sat on the end of your nose when if it was real it would be blurred beyond recognition.

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Re: Glasses anyone?

I had the same thoughts. Maybe something like entering some details about your prescription or something, and it adjusts to something you can see clearly.

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Re: Glasses anyone?

On an Oculus Rift, the glasses fit under the headset without problems.

What did cause an issue was the enforced 3D perspective - I've got a lazy eye and have very little in the way of 3D vision. The Oculus Rift effectively rams 3D down your eyeballs and I found it bloody discoordinating - enough to make me feel decidedly queasy

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Re: Glasses anyone?

Um - not going to work until they can project the image directly onto the retina.

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Re: Glasses anyone?

I've worn vari-focals, single vision and contact lenses in both Rift and Vive and had little to no problems.The Vive performed slightly better with contact lenses, but the vari-focals are the business.

As for VR not giving an "edge", it may not be what you were driving at, but in Elite Dangerous the Vive certainly delivers a competitive edge. Yeah, its true, that its not as gloriously pretty as a 4k monitor, but the sense of "presence" counters that very well. The ability to "g-lock" your view to an enemy like a fighter pilot is something else, and in CQC its saved my hide many times.

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Re: Glasses anyone?

For driving sims it absolutely does give you an "edge" and is certainly not a gimmick; speed sensation, immersion/sense of presence, depth perception and "feel" of what the car is doing under you are all greatly increased, allows you to more easily position the car exactly where you want (or be able to tell by just how much you missed that apex).

Before the Oculus arrived I was using high end triple screens in my sim rig, they haven't been used for almost two years now

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Re: Glasses anyone?

Depends what kind of 'edge' you're after from your gaming, if you're the type to invest in over-priced mice and keyboards to get that millisecond edge in whatever MOBA type games you like to play then no VR isn't going to be your thing. VR is for gamers who actually like to enjoy gaming, those who want to feel the wonder of a new world and marvel at the experience of just simply gaming again. Gimmicks are only gimmicks until they're ubiquitous and personally I would never go back to majority pancake gaming, it's just a big step backwards from actually experiencing a game world, no matter how high res your monitor. For something like sim racing it's undeniably the future of that genre, flat gaming had nothing on VR+wheel there and never will again I'm afraid.

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Re: Glasses anyone?

I'm shortsighted, I have distance glasses, reading glasses, and often go without glasses to peer closely at something to see the fine detail. Actually my reading glasses are purely for my own computer monitor, I don't need them for anything else, not even other peoples monitors, unless they use crazy small fonts like I do.

I have three varieties of VR headset, an Oculus DK2, a plastic Google Cardboard 1 compatible I bought from Aldi, and a Google Daydream View 2017. Oddly enough, the Oculus is best in my reading glasses, the Cardboard best with none, and the Daydream best with my distance glasses. The Oculus came with a few different lens sets for dealing with glasses, and I found the combination of the C lens with my reading glasses gave the best view. The Cardboard has enough focus adjustment that I could go without glasses to get the best view. The Daydream has fixed focus that assumes your vision is perfect, or perfectly corrected, so distance glasses it is.

The Cardboard and the Daydream I have been using to demonstrate VR to seniors over the last few months. Coz I only need my phone with these headsets, don't have to drag along an entire computer system. The Cardboards focus is both fiddly and hard to use if you don't have a lot of strength in your fingers, so I've generally been recommending they use their normal glasses with the Daydream. No one has complained about the Daydream and their glasses, a few complained about how hard it is to focus that particular model of Cardboard. The seniors have a variety of eye problems and suitable corrective glasses or contacts.

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Re: Glasses anyone?

Correction--you my friend have presbyopia! Which is what happens to everyone as they age, because our crystalline lens loses it's ability to change shape, and adjust our focal depth--hence the reason for progressive lenses that correct for distance, intermediate, and near vision.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presbyopia

I've looked into some headsets with lens inserts, and they're pretty straightforward for folks that rely on a spherical correction (either - for myopia or + for hyperopia) to their vision, because you can get close enough with the OC height, and PD and they'll work.

However, for folks with more complicated prescriptions, it's not that easy, because there are tighter tolerances required. If you have any cylindrical correction (for astigmatism) you have the added variable of Axis to worry about, and minor changes to the OC height, PD, or angle of the lenses will produce a fishbowl effect--which can induce nausea in someone with a high enough prescription. A lens with only 0.25 correction to cylinder can be rotated by as much as 5-10 degrees without the wearer having any issues--but an RX with higher amounts of cylinder (mine I have over -3.00 in mine) can be greatly affected by changes of less than 1<5 degrees! That said, you can flip cylindrical lenses by 180 degrees and be perfectly fine.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prism_correction#Prentice's_rule

Then there's the most complicated prescriptions, that have multi-focal correction (for presbyopia), which still requires lenses remain perfectly in position, because the seg height measurements need to line up correctly, so that the intermediate segment doesn't intrude on the distance vision and the wearer doesn't have tilt their head up drastically to see something at arms length--so a mm difference can be huge!

Basically--I'm all sorts of fucked now (as far as getting fancy lens inserts goes) and I'm only going to be more fucked as I age! So, I'm REALLY hoping that in my lifetime, that they'll be able to figure out how to interface with the optic nerve directly.

In the much nearer future, there may be some hope, because they've come a long way with implanted IOLs (used to repair cataracts) and now they're not only able to correct any refractive errors (including astigmatism) but the latest technology are accommodating IOLs that are able correct presbyopia! They're obviously not quite perfect yet, so you wouldn't want to get them if you didn't already have cataracts--but it seems like we're closer to making the technological advances needed to create a mechanical (or even a bio-mechanical) solution to the problem.

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Re: Glasses anyone?

> For driving sims it absolutely does give you an "edge" and is certainly not a gimmick; speed sensation, immersion/sense of presence, depth perception and "feel" of what the car is doing under you are all greatly increased, allows you to more easily position the car exactly where you want (or be able to tell by just how much you missed that apex).

I tried out PSVR with DriveClubVR and while the freedom of vision was astounding (loved being able to know where the other cars were with a quick flick of my head), the lack of any G-forces really didn't agree with me. Mashing the brakes hard or turning corners didn't agree with what my brain knew I should be experiencing and after a few minutes I felt quite spewy.

Maybe it's something you could get used to. Unfortunately I haven't been able to spend enough time with a VR HMD to work that out.

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Re: Glasses anyone?

I've never had any motion sickness from the Oculus while in the driving sim but I know of others who had to "build up their VR legs" although all who have tried mine didn't have any issues.

Did you try it on a proper rig? fixed seat, wheels and pedals? maybe that helps? plus I tend to lean into corners while looking through the apex - could that be helping to trick my inner ear?

Within my sim (Assetto Corsa) there are various settings that can relate to "Comfort/sickness inducing" , one which has divided opinion is the Lock to horizon - some love it with it on others can't drive with it. Not sure if any of those types of options are available on PSVR and driveclub.

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Re: Glasses anyone?

That's weird because I'm short-sighted (slightly, -0.5 diopters), and my (Oculus Rift, CV1) experience is noticeably degraded without glasses -

(which are also annoying, start to bother me over 30 minutes in VR, and risk damaging the (non-removable, extremely easy to scratch) lenses when removing the headset - I'll get lens inserts when I get around to it)

I've assumed that's because the lenses are actually to angle the light rays to make like the picture is coming from far away...

(but I also have light astigmatism, maybe that's a factor too?)

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