By Jonathan Charles | Jul 17, 2012 09:50 AM EDT
During E3 2012, id Software's co-founder John Carmack showed off a virtual reality headset that he planned on unveiling via Kickstarter for $100 and later on a larger scale for around $500. Gamers around the world can rejoice as programming ace Carmack's dream is nearing fruition. The headset - called Oculus Rift - is set for a crowdsourcing platform launch around July 19.
The question that is piquing every gaming buffs mind is the where, the whats, and the hows. We'll make it easier for you and give a lowdown on the same.
Announced on a website dedicated to the headset, developer Palmer Luckey revealed he is talking to several video game developers, including Valve, Crytek, and Carmack's very own id Software. The VR headset is set to be demoed at two major gaming events - the QuakeCon (August 2 to 5) and Gamescom (August 16 to19). Additionally, Luckey averred that he intends on launching a 30-day Kickstarter campaign to overlap with these major gaming events. This ploy would give the VR headset further fillip.
Carmack showed a headset working with Doom 3 BFG Edition at E3 2012, a collection of all Doom titles releasing October 19, 2012. The headset makes it possible to move the head around, which moves the character's viewpoint. Carmack is also said that it would be possible to interact by touching the floor to bring about greater immersion.
So what is it that extra that gamers can expect from the Oculus Rift, the X-factor which makes it stand out from the crowd?
Commenting on the project in a forum, Developer Palmer Luckey said "I am working with hardware engineers who have designed some extremely well known gaming peripherals, software developers with very extensive middleware integration and partnership experience, and a small amount of funding from people who ... want VR [Virtual Reality] to happen." Luckey also went on to say that post-Kickstarter a product for consumers will be developed.
"Imagine a HMD [head-mounted display] with a massive field of view and more pixels than 1080p per eye, wireless PC link, built in absolutely head and hand / weapons / wand positioning, and native integration with some ... of the major game engines, all for less than $1,000," he added.
Luckey estimates that 2013 would see the technology arrive in this form.
The Oculus Rift headset will be open source, include VGA and HDMI support, have low latency (important if the experience is to be immersive), and weigh about 1lb/0.5kg. The resolution on this model is expected to be 1280 x 800.
The VR headset is probably not going to be designed or targeting competitive or social gaming (especially scenarios where multiple people are playing in the same room); however, it could be exciting for genres such as horror where immersion can scare players.
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