Oculus have just announced that they plan to start shipping the consumer version of the Oculus Rift in Q1 2016 with pre-orders expected to be available later this year. In the weeks ahead, we should be seeing more details about the hardware, software, input, and many yet unannounced made-for-VR games and experiences coming to the Rift. Next week Oculus will be sharing more of the technical specifications about the upcoming consumer version of the Rift. It will be interesting to see what will be the final hardware specifications and features of the Oculus Rift as well as what will be the end-user price of the device as it will be an important factor for the wide user adoption of the device and VR technology in general. One of the most important things however remains the resolution and the type of of the display available in the consumer version as this is going to be one of the most important key factors… guess we’ll have to wait a bit more and see the specs.
May 6th, 2015 · 3 Comments · 3D / AR / VR / HMD
March 19th, 2015 · 5 Comments · General 3D News
AMD FreeSync technology is apparently now official, bringing an alternative to Nvidia’s G-Sync. Both technologies are implementations around the industry standard DsiplayPort specifications in their revision 1.2a and more specifically around the DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync. AMD’s implementation however does not rely on expensive hardware DRM module like Nvidia (the G-Sync module itself), so it should not increase the price of the display additionally. In theory AMD FreeSync should work on all DisplayPort 1.2a-equipped monitors if you have a compatible AMD GPU, though the company is not very clear on that subject. The list of compatible AMD GPUs with gaming support for FreeSync include AMD Radeon R9 295X2, 290X, R9 290, R9 285, R7 260X and R7 260 (the status of 7800 and 7900 series or 280X is not very clear).
There is still no official WHQL driver available, but apparently AMD FreeSync required Radeon 15.2 beta drivers or newer to be supported. AMD has released a list of 11 gaming-oriented monitors from multiple partners including Acer, BenQ, LG Electronics, Niexeus, Samsung and Viewsonic that come in different sizes and with different features. What AMD is still lacking compared to Nvidia is support for stereoscopic 3D gaming along with FreeSync – there are multiple Nvidia G-Sync compatible models that also support stereoscopic 3D gaming. Should that matter however when Nvidia is apparently abandoning stereoscopic 3D support for some time already and the company is doing this for a second time since it was founded (history repeating itself). We are already eager to see what does AMD have in store for us with their FreeSync implementation…
Update: After trying out Acer ХВ280НК 4K G-sync monitor with AMD Radeon R9 280X and 290X I can say that I’m not very happy with both AMD and Nvidia. The G-Sync monitor works just fine on Nvidia hardware with G-sync and without. On Radeon 280X (not officially compatible with FreeSync according to AMD!) the monitor works just fine, but no option to enable FreeSync in the drivers as expected. Connecting the monitor to a AMD FreeSync compatible GPU, namely Radeon R9 290X the drivers still show no option to enable FreeSync in the drivers, nor the display is detected as capable of supporting it. The problem with Sapphire R9 290X 8GB and the Acer ХВ280НК monitor is that the display is not working properly in this combination, there is picture, but the monitor constantly goes blank for a bit at irregular intervals, just as if it is loosing the input signal and getting back signal – happens in both 2D and 3D mode. The tests were performed using the AMD Catalyst 15.3.1 Beta drivers supplied by AMD for trying out the new FreeSync feature.
Update 2: It seems that if you want to be able to use AMD’s FreeSync technology you would still have to buy a new display that features DisplayPort 1.2a interface and also buy a new graphics card if you are using R9 280X, one of the most popular GPUs from AMD. It will not work on your older hardware as most likely you don’t have DP 1.2a capable monitor anyway, unless you bought a really recently announced model, so you might want to wait for one of the new gaming models that are officially compatible with FreeSync as listed by AMD. Also since Nvidia’s G-Sync technology uses DisplayPort 1.2 interface the officially licensed G-Sync monitors will apparently not work with FreeSync as well.
January 7th, 2015 · 4 Comments · 3D / AR / VR / HMD
Interesting new development in the world of VR as a new open platform for Virtual Reality gaming has been announced – the Open-Source Virtual Reality (OSVR), with the goal to push the VR gaming experience forward. OSVR should provide both hardware and software support at every level of virtual reality gaming. Starting with some of the most popular game engines, including Unity 3D and Unreal 4 Engine, OSVR also works with device plugins from hardware market leaders like Bosch and Razer and the latest from Sixense and LeapMotion. Moreover, OSVR is designed to support all VR devices, including the Oculus DK 2 and Vrvana’s Totem headset. Razer designed OSVR Hacker Dev Kit to scheduled to ship in June 2015 with a price of just $199.99 USD to allow more people to be able to have access to VR-capable open-surce hardware. The dev kit is supposed to be equipped with a 5.5-inch Full HD display with 60 fps and a face mask design similar to that of Oculus Rift with high FOV and maybe even better optics than the one used in DK2.
The list of current supporters of OSVR is already quite big and will most likely continue to grow, it includes HMD manufacturers such as Sensics who are specializing in high-end professional solutions as well as some Game developers, Input device manufacturers and others. While Oculus is doing nice progress it seems that the VR revolution cannot be left in the hands of just a single company and since it can take some time it is nice to see that industry is trying to join hands in making available VR technology to more people and at a more affordable price – something that is a must if we really like to see VR gaming getting mainstream adoption in a few years. The OSVR initiative is definitely something to keep your eye on if you are interested in virtual reality gaming, it will be interesting to see how other manufacturers of VR solutions will also join in.