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Post by KostaAndreadis @ 02:24pm 12/01/16 | 12 Comments
The HTC Vive (pronounced Vive) will begin taking pre-orders February 29, in anticipation for the VR device thingy's full release in April. Although we don't know the price, with the addition of a front-facing camera leading to a four month delay, much like the Rift the Vive is being positioned as a high-end device. It's almost as if Virtual Reality will be for the rich, and Regular Reality for the rest of us.

HTC Vive, which is a co-production between mobile company HTC and lovers of evaporated hot water Valve, was formally announced last year. In addition to pre-orders it is expected that laptop and PC manufacturers like HP will be releasing custom VR-ready systems to accommodate the hardware requirements of Virtual Reality. Which, as the Oculus Rift system requirements pointed out, are pretty hefty.

vrvirtual realitypre-ordersvalvehtchtc vive

Latest Comments
Posted 03:09pm 12/1/16
How do we know so much about the Rift but nothing about this? What is the screen res/update rate? Speakers? Rift compatibility or its own SDK? Or is it just a replacement/alternative to the Rift? It would have to be if they've announced pre-orders already, surely...
Posted 03:45pm 12/1/16
I'd hardly say we know nothing, it was announced almost a year ago now, because its a privately funded venture though I guess the process of its development hasn't been as public as the Occulus Rift with its Kickstarter origins.

Theres probably previews and tech sites out there that will go into it in much more detail, but most of the questions you asked can be answered, at least at a basic level, by the entry on wikipedia
Posted 10:23am 13/1/16
From what I've heard, they may not have fully stomped out the SDE, so buy at your own risk...
Posted 10:28am 13/1/16
Pre-ordering [expensive] hardware seems even more bizarre than pre-ordering software. But I hope a zillion people do it so that the early adopters continue to make things cheaper for me to be a late adopter!
Posted 12:57pm 13/1/16
"because its a privately funded venture though I guess the process of its development hasn't been as public as the Occulus Rift with its Kickstarter origins."
We know plenty about the Morpheus. Thanks for the link, though - apparently using their own API and an entire ONE game is reported to support it at this point/by launch. Lol.
Posted 02:29pm 13/1/16
What do you want to know about it?

The Vive's specs are pretty similar to the Rift when it comes to optics, though they made some different choices for the details. The display panels are fundamentally the same, reportedly from the same manufacturer. The Vive has slightly more FOV at the expense of a marginal amount of detail and uses a mura filter to eliminate the screen-door effect. The HMD is still wired unfortunately.

The API, OpenVR, is created by Valve with broad support of VR headsets in mind. The focus is on the Vive for the moment, but the Oculus already works with it with the remaining issues likely to be cleaned up now that Oculus have settled on their API. Engines that have native support for it are Unreal Engine 4, Unity and CryEngine, as well as variety of other standalone projects. The API and SDK is currently on GitHub, with plans to fully open source it after the release of the Vive.

The tracking technology is the most interesting part. Essentially the Base Stations or "trackers" aren't cameras, but rather laser light spun through a mirror on a motor. The laser sweeps a "grid" across the room that sensors on the headset, controllers or other tracked device picks up. By measuring the time it takes for the laser to sweep the sensors, it can determine the absolute position of the device. The tech is called Lighthouse and much light a lighthouse, the base stations are completely "dumb". All they require is 12v each and some simple syncing circuitry for use with multiple Base Stations (they're using Bluetooth LE I think, maybe IR). No USB cable needed and therefore no USB Bus bandwidth issues. The calculations needed for tracking are minimal, the tech they're using allows the connection of up to 40 tracked devices at once and the components are cheap and easy to manufacture. You can expand the amount of tracked space over 5x5 meters or more with the provided 2 Base Stations, however tracking can scale down to seated experiences just fine. Much like home theatre speakers, you can mount the things precisely with brackets and neat wiring if you want but if you just wanna put one on your desk and one behind you on top of your bookcase, that should be fine too.

The controllers are wand-like, with a trackpad and a button above and below it on the face. Underneath is a two-stage trigger. The wand extends out into a bulb-like thing in order to lessen the chance of occlusion, which causes tracking loss. Movement is tracked 1:1 and with the latest development kits, developers have shown them to have near-flawless tracking.

A new addition to the headset in the latest development kit is a camera built-in to the HMD for Augmented Reality-like applications. For the moment it's only being used for their "Chaperone" system, which allows you to press a button on your controller and see through to a wireframe/neon version of the real world. From what I've read, it appears to be mapped close enough to human vision that it can be used for comfortable navigation which implies the camera they're using is more interesting than it sounds. It only just got announced at CES so more details to come I guess.

last edited by SwissCM at 14:29:59 13/Jan/16
Posted 05:33pm 13/1/16
I don't think OpenVR is the API, I think OpenVR is something else. Vive is using SteamVR I thought, for which there seems to be quite a bit of support (only really limited it seems by the relatively small number of hardware dev kits they've released). Theres also native support for SteamVR in Unreal Engine 4 too, so I can't imagine there'll be much problem finding games that support it.

Edit: Never mind, OpenVR is actually the name of the API and SteamVR is like the name of the whole package (I guess its like how you have DirectX and then specific components like Direct3D within it). The bit that confused me is it seems OpenVR is also the name of a VR headset you can 3d print for yourself
Posted 05:45pm 13/1/16
OSVR is that open source headset thing. It's not very good, but I do wish them well. At least they have some kind of positional tracking now.

OpenVR is the SDK and can run independent of Steam. SteamVR uses OpenVR and is essentially Steam integration.

last edited by SwissCM at 17:45:32 13/Jan/16
Posted 08:15pm 13/1/16
Pre-ordering [expensive] hardware seems even more bizarre than pre-ordering software.
At least with hardware there is the chance there is a physical shortage you could avoid by preordering.
Posted 07:39pm 14/1/16
Even with cars the first batches of a model are best avoided. The first model of a new range even more so.
Posted 07:47pm 14/1/16
if they do well they might go on to be considered classics or rare finds but probably less and less more so with modern cars. i dunno, what about the Model X vin 1?

avoid like the plauge with new hardware? but at least Occulus has the DK1 & 2 behind it to give buyers a reason to go for one

i reckon if your vision is 20/20 or near enough to the first off's wont be much of a problem, it's taken a while... some 15-20 years for PC games to have colour blindness and other optical compensations built into the game engine, and even that's over generalising
Posted 08:48pm 14/1/16
hahaha, reading some of the comments in this thread makes me think I've stumbled into the Star Citizen reddit..
let the VR master race wars begin.
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