I had some very nice Oculus Rift experiences. I tried Titans of Space, an exploration of our solar system. The head tracker of the DK2 proved very useful: I could use the dashboard of my small spacecraft by nudging and tilting my head. Here you find a video by VR Review:
You find Titans of Space on the share section of the Oculus site.
Another beautiful experience is Lighthouse Lost Mansion which seems to be an adventure in several episodes. Very beautiful start scene on a rock in the sea with dark skies. I found this download at The Rift Arcade Market where you can actually buy Rift experiences (or sometimes get them for free).
I also continued my exploration of Second Life using Oculus Rift. I went to the Linden Endowment for the Arts (LEA) and walked around at the Welcome Area (SLurl, requires viewer download) and visited Sister Planet (SLurl), to thoroughly enjoy the scenery. Looking up at the vegetation above my head was very nice – really very immersive and realistic. Here you see a picture of the place in a normal view:
I got the idea of visiting these areas on the Oculus Rift DK2 Intergalactic Space Station (SLurl) where you’ll find more suggestions for Rift inspired visits. The Intergalactic Space Station also lives on Facebook.
Even though I’m just a beginning Rift explorer, I’ve some ideas about what is needed for a great virtual reality experience.
– The obvious: being surrounded by a high quality environment.
– No hassle. Right now different downloads often require tweaking display settings of your laptop or desktop.
– A bit less obvious, but feasible: great 3D audio.
– Haptics! Have a look what this could mean these days (hat tip to Chris Baranluk on NewScientist):
– But what’s also needed is a social dimension. I saw very nice Rift cinemas. You can sit in a very nice virtual cinema and watch a movie, but ultimately what would be fun is meeting others. The social dimension is also very much something the new owner of Oculus Rift, Mark Zuckerberg, wants. Ultimately the Rift must bring us together.
Right now, in this very early phase, most Rift experiences seem to be a bit spooky: the visual effects are powerful, yet without haptics and others who join the experience online these experiences lack some fundamental dimensions.
The fact that one can experiment with the Rift in Second Life is cool for exactly this reason: even though the environment is far from perfect (there is a reason why Linden Lab builds a new virtual platform), the fact one can actually meet other people in en open-ended environment is fabulous.
This could be a competitive advantage for Linden Lab: the fact they already work with this huge virtual world community and have quite some experience with being a platform for many different communities.
Do you see other conditions for a good VR experience? Let me know!