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Roomscale Oculus Rift? 'Guardian' Boundary System, Touch Controllers Indicate New Capabilities

One of the primary differences between the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive is that the latter offers roomscale experiences. Rift is currently a sit-down experience only. The upcoming Touch controllers will add standing experiences, but it appears that Oculus is preparing roomscale support, too.

The September update of the Rift software (version 1.8) is coming soon, and it's bringing a new boundary system called the Guardian. It's a clear response to Valve’s Chaperone system, and it will allow you to configure virtual boundaries for your safe play space so that you don’t bump into walls or furniture while playing.

The Oculus Guardian system appears to be a carbon copy of Valve’s Chaperone. You will have to trace your play area and calibrate your floor, and from then on the Guardian will display a series of crosses that indicate your boundaries. Guardian also traces a line on the floor around your entire play space. Oculus said that you could choose to see the floor and walls, or the floor only, or you can opt to disable the boundaries altogether. If you leave them on, the markers appear on top of any application when you approach the edge of the safe zone, just like the Chaperone for the Vive.

This announcement bolsters the usefulness of the Touch controllers, which were first revealed at a press event days before E3 2015. At the time, Oculus intended to ship the Rift in Q1 of 2016 and follow with the Touch controllers in Q2. At the end of December 2015, Oculus announced a delay of the Touch launch, though the company maintained that the controllers would ship in 2016.

Earlier this summer, Oculus announced its third annual VR developer conference, Oculus Connect 3, and the company promised that Oculus Touch is high on the agenda. Oculus said it would reveal the details about the hardware, and we expect the company to reveal the release date and price. The company may even open pre-orders during the event.

Most of the details about the Touch controllers and how they work remain a mystery, but thanks to the documentation of the Rift SDK 1.8 updated, we get a taste of what’s to come. Oculus Touch is a pair of six-degrees of freedom (6DoF) tracked controllers that bring your hands into VR, which brings the Rift platform closer to parity with the Vive.

Oculus said we'd learn more about Oculus Guardian and OC3 in October, but developers with access to Touch engineering samples can experiment with the Guardian feature following the September update, which Oculus said drops this week.

  • Sakkura
    The "Guardian" system is not a complete copy of the Vive's Chaperone system, at least from what info is available now. Chaperone always looks the same, regardless of game, whereas Guardian can be themed to fit with each individual game.

    Apparently Chaperone was set up that way during development, but they changed to a universal look to make it more recognizable or something. I guess there's a tradeoff, and I'll be interested to hear reviews on which works better.
    Reply
  • Jeff Fx
    Oculus has to add room-scale if they want to be competitive. I expect TCO will be higher than the Vive, but if the Rift can run with 4 cameras to offer room-scale, they can become equal to the Vive, and Vive and Rift owners will be able to play Steam games together.
    Reply
  • SockPuppet
    Oculus has really dropped the ball at every turn. Only a few more months and the Rift will finally achieve parity with the Vive. How much do you want to bet the "Touch" controllers will be $200 - thereby bringing the price for the entire system on the same level as the Vive?

    You're still stuck using their Facebook spyware if you want to use the Rift. You're still stuck with USB connected external cameras you're going to have to string wires across your entire playspace to use. It's just lucky for them that Valve actually has some scruples and doesn't care that the Rift can function perfectly inside of SteamVR when Oculus has put a lot of money and effort into trying to ensure the opposite isn't possible.
    Reply
  • anbello262
    I have read in several places that the rift HMD itself is a bit better. Can anyone comment?

    REPEAT: The HMD ONLY. Screens, comfort, weight. NOT the controls nor the games/software.

    If this is really the case, having the rift come to parity in terms of roomscale VR and controllers would actually make it quite attractive (since you would also be able to play both platform's games)
    Reply
  • Zapin
    18603067 said:
    I have read in several places that the rift HMD itself is a bit better. Can anyone comment?

    REPEAT: The HMD ONLY. Screens, comfort, weight. NOT the controls nor the games/software.

    If this is really the case, having the rift come to parity in terms of roomscale VR and controllers would actually make it quite attractive (since you would also be able to play both platform's games)

    Better is in the eye of the beholder. It is natural to defend whatever hardware you purchase with arguments that are valid and ones that are not so valid.

    The Rift is a bit lighter and most say a bit more comfortable. I personally have no issues wearing the Vive for long periods.

    The displays are basically the same and the differing lens systems have their own pros and cons. They use different reprojection methods to deal with sub 90 frame rates with the Rift probably having the better one but with a decent PC framerates should always stay high enough anyway.

    We have yet to see how the Oculus room scale works and so far it looks like the Touch controllers will be as good or better than the Vive ones. The thing is the Vive has these features now and the Rift will not be caught up for awhile yet. The Vive plays most of the Oculus titles just fine and some of them already work well as a standing experience so moving to room scale should not be much of an issue when the hardware arrives.

    The good news is that when the Rift people get their hardware, developers can make titles with proper controls and room scale features that both the Vive and Rift users can enjoy. There will still be some sit down traditional controller titles that people will want to play like Elite Dangerous and Chronos but at least developers will not feel forced to limit themselves anymore. Good news for all VR imo no matter what hardware you use.
    Reply
  • Kimonajane
    Oculus - Facebook and that loony socialist big brother loving leftist who owns it Zuckerberg. No thanks to either one.
    Reply
  • kcarbotte
    18602330 said:
    The "Guardian" system is not a complete copy of the Vive's Chaperone system, at least from what info is available now. Chaperone always looks the same, regardless of game, whereas Guardian can be themed to fit with each individual game.

    Apparently Chaperone was set up that way during development, but they changed to a universal look to make it more recognizable or something. I guess there's a tradeoff, and I'll be interested to hear reviews on which works better.

    I know dead and buried has a boundary system built into it, but I don't think it's part of Guardian. I could be wrong.
    Reply
  • John_479
    Nice Dell using 16.04 LTS and not 14.04 LTS
    Reply
  • dark_lord69
    18602393 said:
    Oculus has to add room-scale if they want to be competitive. I expect TCO will be higher than the Vive, but if the Rift can run with 4 cameras to offer room-scale, they can become equal to the Vive, and Vive and Rift owners will be able to play Steam games together.

    Sorry to burst your bubble but Oculus is already capable of room scale, just on a smaller level.
    I own an Oculus and I can sit, stand, walk around ect.
    Adding an extra sensor will allow larger room scale similar to Vive.
    ...and why do you think it needs 4 sensors?
    I think people underestimate how good the oculus sensor is... I speak from experience
    Reply
  • Sakkura
    18605008 said:
    I know dead and buried has a boundary system built into it, but I don't think it's part of Guardian. I could be wrong.

    This article suggests the boundary system in Dead & Buried is a themed version of Oculus' boundary system. But it could be wrong too. We'll know for sure after Oculus Connect. Just a couple weeks now.
    Reply