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Neil Traces The History Of Oculus Rift And Vireio Perception

3D, Virtual Reality, And Immersive Technology At The U Of OIT
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Tom's Hardware: How is Meant to be Seen connected to the Oculus Rift?

Neil Schneider: Palmer Luckey has been a longtime moderator in MTBS' forums. There are several volunteers who help make it possible for the organization to function, and he's one of them. We found that there was a lot of interest in virtual reality devices and do-it-yourself ideas, so we created a special VR section in MTBS' forums a few years ago. That community quietly grew and grew without anyone really knowing about it.

This is where John Carmack and Palmer Luckey first met and where the Oculus Rift was born. Our community was also the launching pad for Virtuix Omni, some VR independent game developers, the Minecraft VR mod, and more. There is also another head-mounted display in the works by Anton Lionel called the "InfiniteEye". It features even more field of view than the Oculus Rift developer kit, and is built with high-resolution panels. Watch for it!

Tom's Hardware: Tell us about MTBS' involvement in the Vireio Perception Driver.

Neil Schneider: Another one of our moderators is Andres Hernandez (Cybereality). Before getting hired by Oculus VR as their community manager, he developed VR drivers for head-mounted displays (HMDs) that he called Vireio Perception. It's similar to the software developed by DDD TriDef and Nvidia 3D Vision; it lets you take existing games and play them in stereoscopic 3D, even if they aren't designed for that. The Vireio Perception drivers are intended for VR devices with head-tracking features. Andres released them as open source, and the MTBS community is responsible for further development.

These drivers got a lot of media attention for making it possible to play Skyrim, Left 4 Dead, and Mirror's Edge with HMDs like the Oculus Rift. Unfortunately, they had issues. We've encountered some major bumps and jumps in development, and learned a few important lessons about open source. The troublesome sync issue is now fixed with a new architecture, and our current developers Denis Reischl and Joshua Brown documented the entire driver so others could help continue development in an efficient manner.

The group has never been as organized as it is now, and I'm very excited because Vireio isn't just imitating what is already out there. The team is developing new techniques and ideas that we haven't seen in stereoscopic 3D or VR drivers before. We are very close to a "proof of concept" public build, but we really need more programmers with DirectX knowledge to lend their support. Once the structural roots are laid down, we think there is a lot of community growth potential for this software and VR gamers at large. 

A lot of talented people have been hired straight from our forums. Andres, Palmer, Dycus, and Brantlew all got plucked from MTBS. Vireio is a good way to show your stuff and get noticed. Please email lendahand@mtbs3d.com with Vireio in the title if you are interested in helping out.

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