I'm a professional game developer from Wakefield, England, working for TickTock Games.
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Martin 'Bytrix' Caine
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Monday, May 13th 2013 / Gaming

Day Two With The Oculus Rift - Calibration

Following on from Day One and my severe nausea, I decided to have a go at calibrating the Rift to try and improve my experience.

First up I wanted to try out Team Fortress 2 and I knew it had an in-built calibration tool which is supposed to be able to accurately determine your IPD (Interpupillary Distance) which as I mentioned in the previous article, helps to accurately place the virtual cameras to simulate your own eyes looking in to the 3D scene.

So I loaded up the game with the -vr command line option added. The first thing I noticed was that the main UI was only using a small box in the center and none of the text was even readable (well, it was, but barely). I loaded up the console and typed in vr_calibration. Up pops a square on the screen and you're prompted to adjust the sides of the square until you can no longer see them in view. You adjust each of the four sides for your left eye, then for your right.



When you're done, you are told your IPD and the game will save your calibration data which it will use when rendering the 3D scene for you.

After calibration I jumped in to a practice game against AI. I was pleasantly surprised to find that movement and aiming felt quite natural. There appears to be a little warping which might mean I want to change the FOV but moving around, jumping, and shooting all felt pretty good. I played for about 10 minutes before again putting the Rift away. I still had a slight bit of nausea but nowhere near what I experienced before, it only lasted a couple of minutes.



Next I fancied trying Dear Esther using the third party Vireio driver I'd used in Mirror's Edge. I'd also read the wiki and found out that there is an inbuilt tool similar to that found in TF2 called SHOCT. I loaded up Dear Esther (with Vireio running) and ran the calibration tool then spent 5 minutes playing the game.



While the game looks pretty cool in VR (it has a lot of small details like swaying grass and fences around the start of the game), the experience clearly wasn't as optimized as TF2. A few times I felt my stomach turn when falling or turning around sharply (or looking up at the lighthouse which felt very wrong). I might need to play with the calibration a little more but I think the Vireio driver itself probably needs a little more work to properly warp the image to the Rift's screen.

After removing the Rift I felt a little nauseous again and it lasted for about half an hour. Not as bad as the day before so think the calibration may have helped somewhat.

I'd had enough of playing (had to go build some wardrobes for the kids) but felt I'd had a much better experience with the Rift today. Tomorrow I think I'll try some more HL2 using the calibration settings from TF2.


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Comments
Gerald / 2013-05-13 22:55:12
Hehe .. awesome, little steps. I guess I won't be able to hold myself back like that. And mine is on the way, should be here thursday, so you can guess I follow your reports now even more closely :)
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