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Post by Dan @ 02:58pm 28/02/13 | 0 Comments
Oculus, the creator of the much anticipated Rift HMD, has posted another update to their Kickstarter project to reveal the Oculus Latency Tester, a hardware gadget designed to make it easier for developers to track the microsecond timing differences when tweaking their game engines with virtual reality intentions. The team hopes to begin wider manufacturing of the tool shortly, for sale to eager developers at a sub $100 cost.

One of the big challenges said to impact on the level of immersion experienced in games played on a head-mounted virtual reality display is the lag between when a player triggers a controller input, when the corresponding movement from that is drawn on the screen.

Our brains are pretty good at smoothing that out a little when it's on a screen across the room, but when the display is syncronised to your head movements, lower latency becomes a lot more important. Even on traditional screens, most experienced gamers have probably noticed the advantages of lower latency in first person shooters, even if only subconsciously.

The smoothness of gameplay in the Call of Duty series is widely attributed to the developer's tireless pursuit of 60FPS and efforts in further tuning the game for low input lag, with others like Killzone 2, with reportedly almost triple the latency, feeling noticeably more sluggish.

A recent, and very technical blog from games programming luminary John Carmack went in-depth on the different ways developers can work at lowering the latency in the rendering pipeline of their games, with a view to creating better VR experiences. Hopefuly we'll see the fruits of these pursuits flow on to a wider range of games in the near future as a result.

The update from Oculus also reconfirms that production of the Oculus Rift HMD is still on track to start shipping to Kickstarter backers from mid March.

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