As we were promised the new version 2.0 of the free and open source Vireio Perception software for Oculus Rift just got released today, adding a lot of new and interesting features and making even more games that were not designed to be played with the Rift to be played with the Head Mounted Display device. This way you can get to play regular games that were not designed to be played with Virtual Reality display devices rendered in VR mode with stereoscopic 3D support and head tracking available separately from your mouse control. But Vireio Perception goes beyond only Oculus Rift support as the software can be used with other devices and not long ago it was announced that there will be support for castAR for example as well.
Currently Vireio Perception is the only free and open source solution that lets you take existing games that were not designed to be played in VR and play them with an Oculus Rift, the other similar solutions like VorpX and DDD TriDef are commercial solutions. Have in mind that Vireio Perception is not intended to replace native VR support, but instead to add such or as close as to native support in games that originally do not have it available and give you the ability to play normal games with the Rift. Also have in mind that currently Vireio Perception is only compatible with DirectX 9 games, so not all games may work with it. I still haven’t been able to test the new version 2.0 of Vireio Perception, but i plan on doing that shortly, so there will be a review coming up soon, Meanwhile if you do own an Oculus Rift development kit you can download and try Vireio Perception 2.0 yourself.
An interesting new project in the form of a VR game with Oculus Rift support intended to help people with depth perception issues such as amblyopia (lazy eye) or strabismus (crossed eye). The game Diplopia takes advantage of the wealth of new information in scientific studies that have come out in the past couple of years to create an experience that will effectively train people who have a suppressed eye to use that eye in conjunction with their good one. Evidence shows that with a simple well designed game it only takes 1-2 hours a day for 2-3 weeks for a person to get measurable improvements in their vision.
The game is inspired by Breakout and DX Ball, where you bounce a ball around a room with a paddle to destroy blocks, unlocking power ups. By manipulating the contrast of game elements such as the bricks, ball, and paddle you can force the brain to integrate the two images. By showing only some of the game elements to each eye Diplopia forces the player to incorporate information coming from both in order to win. It is interesting to note that the developer of the game James Blaha, a programmer with crossed eyes causing a loss of depth perception, so the development of the project was started also in order to help treat his eye condition and potentially restore the normally in 3D using stereo vision as well as to help other people with similar eye problems. Diplopia is currently ongoing a crowdfunding campaign at indiegogo and has already moved past the initial goal of $2,000 USD.
This is something that was expected to happen sooner ot later after it was announced that John Carmack is taking the CTO position at Oculus VR. Originally Carmack was supposed to continue working at id Software on his ongoing projects, but apparently things are not going as he would wanted them to, so instead he decided to focus his attention on the Oculus Rift development and leave id Software.
John Carmack shared this on Tweeter:
“I wanted to remain a technical adviser for Id, but it just didn’t work out. Probably for the best, as the divided focus was challenging.”
“John Carmack, who has become interested in focusing on things other than game development at id, has resigned from the studio,” Willits said. “John’s work on id Tech 5 and the technology for the current development work at id is complete, and his departure will not affect any current projects. We are fortunate to have a brilliant group of programmers at id who worked with John and will carry on id’s tradition of making great games with cutting-edge technology. As colleagues of John for many years, we wish him well.”
John Carmack is passionate about VR and the Oculus Rift and he is practically the person that “sold” the idea to the people even before actually being an official part of the Oculus VR team, so he is definetly the right man for the job to make the product even better. So the fact that he is going to focus more on his work at Oculus VR is something that should make everyone interested in the Rift more than happy. Not to mention that this is a clear sign that Carmack sees the good future that lies in front of VR and Oculus Rift, so now we just have to wait for 2014 and the consumer version of Oculus Rift to come out on the market after being impressed with the development kits already.