For those of you who aren't familiar with the Rift, it's the highly anticipated virtual reality headset from upstart company Oculus VR that has captured the imagination of both enthusiasts and game developers alike. Those who make pledges to the Rift's 2.5 million-dollar Kickstarter project have begun to receive the promised development kits.
Oculus VR reported that the kits began to ship on March 29th, and we received confirmation from Neil Schneider (President and CEO of MTBS3D.com, and Manager of Immersive Technology Services, FBIT, UOIT) that their dev kit had arrived on April 5th. Neil provided one of the first Rift pledges on kickstarter, about the 260th in the over-10,000 pre-orders for the device.
Neil told us that the screen is slightly larger than the one we experienced at CES 2013, but it shares the same 1280x800 resolution. As we previously reported, it seems that the Rift-compatible Doom 3 game is not included in the development kit, and Oculus VR has provided a game purchase credit instead. This is unhappy news for gamers who purchased the kit in hopes of playing Doom 3 out of the box. Unfortunately, it looks like there will be more of a wait until players can expect a plug-and-play experience with the Rift.
To be fair, Oculus VR has made it clear that the Rift is intended for developers and that a commercial model will follow when there is solid game support. For now, developers and enthusiasts can play with the included 'World Demo' (a sandbox environment that simulates a small villa in Tuscany). In addition, Neil reports that enthusiasts are having some luck with the open-source Perception 3D drivers, and that some MTBS3D members have been working on the open-source version of Doom 3 in order to try and modify it for the Rift. On a side note, a kickstarter project has been recently launched for the development of a game called Six Elements that specifically targets Oculus' VR headset.
For those interested in reading more about Oculus VR's Rift, check out our Oculus Rift: Changing The VR Landscape At CES 2013 article.