One of the most requested items I have had to review is the Oculus Rift (second only to a Direct Drive racing wheel). Well, now, I’ve finally had the opportunity to purchase an Oculus Rift CV1 for myself! With one day and around 3 hours of testing so far, I wanted to share my thoughts on the Virtual Reality display!
Disclaimer: I purchased this headset today with my own money, as a result of the $200 price drop on the Oculus Rift+Touch combination. I felt that the community deserved a raw perspective of the headset, and I just decided to make the plunge and purchase it myself.
If you have seen some of my previous videos covering Virtual Reality, it could be said that I’m a bit of a skeptic of the technology, in its current state. While I see a lot of potential, there is still quite a bit that needs to be improved. However, I have never been able to test Virtual Reality with my personal rig. Here are the different conditions I had tested a VR headset:
- Oculus Rift with CXC Simulations Motion Pro II for around 10 hours worth of driving
- HTC Vive at a friend’s house, playing random games
- Playstation VR at a press event testing out Ace Combat 7
While the CXC Simulations Motion Pro II is the closest I’ve tested to my personal rig, I’d say that is a unique situation in itself. It’s a “Best case scenario” in terms of hardware, using a direct drive wheel, hydraulic pedals, and a motion setup, which is a blessing and a curse in itself. The motion tended to over-exaggerate the head motion, and I’d say could almost be disorienting at times. Now that I’m getting the opportunity to test out the Oculus Rift at my personal rig, I believe I’ll be able to test out the Head Mounted Display in conditions closer to the average consumer, rather than in an elaborate $65,000 configuration.
Setting up the Oculus Rift
Now that I’m speaking about the consumer-like setup, let me give you an idea on what I ran with for my first day with the Rift:
- AMD Ryzen 7 1800X, overclocked to 3.85GHz
- Zotac Nvidia GeForce GTX 970
- 16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR4 RAM
- 850W EVGA Power Supply
- GT Omega Pro Racing Cockpit
- Fanatec CSL Elite Racing Wheel PS4
- Fanatec Clubsport Pedals V3
- Fanatec Clubsport Shifter SQ V1.5
So, looking at my system, it’s slightly above the “Recommended Specs” for the Oculus Rift headset, which is good, but doesn’t guarantee top performance in ALL titles. Unlike a standard monitor, which works well at 60 frames per second, and is passable at 30 fps, the ideal frame rate for the Oculus Rift is 90 Frames Per Second. While that doesn’t sound too bad with modern hardware, it has to be taken into account that the rift has 25% more pixels than the standard 1080p display. While that’s not as much as a 1440p display, it still does require more pixel pushing power.
Setting up the Oculus Rift was quite simple, which was nice. You go to the Oculus Rift setup page, and then you download the utility. Once you download the utility, you’ll have to download the Oculus software, which is around a 1.7 gigabyte download. After that, just follow the prompts, and it’s set up! Make sure that the sensor is placed in a spot where it doesn’t move, and can detect the headset.
After it was set up, I decided to fire up Assetto Corsa, as I had tested out AC at CXC Simulations. I fired it up, and… NOTHING. I didn’t see the sim, just the Oculus program. I was a little concerned, but then I found out that I needed to activate support for third party programs through the Oculus Rift settings, and boom, I got the sim working!
Driving Impressions With the Oculus Rift
In my first day of testing with the Oculus Rift, I decided to fire up Assetto Corsa, iRacing, and rFactor 2. I spent around 1 hour in each title, testing out various cars and tracks, and various wheel rims. After my first 3 hours of testing, here are some of the main notes I have regarding the wheel.
As mentioned in my previous videos, the Oculus Rift (and other headsets) has what I like to call the “Binocular Effect”. When you’re looking through the lenses, you will see black on the outside corners of your vision. That means you don’t really have your peripheral vision, which can be slightly irritating while looking into corners.
The “screen door effect” is a topic that has been touched on quite a bit by reviewers, and it is definitely noticeable. Given that part of racing is trying to look ahead as far as possible, this can be somewhat irritating. Also, the “sweet spot” for vision can be quite touchy, so if the headset shifts a little bit on your head, your vision can become blurred or distorted (so make sure the straps are as tight on your head as possible). I wish the Oculus Rift had a higher resolution, but it’s at least manageable as-is.
However, when everything is dialed in with the headset, those issues you have with the headset seem to “melt away”. The immersion factor with the headset is very well done, and it creates a great sense of “being in the car”. One of the best parts about the Oculus Rift is not just the head tracking, but also the accurate field of view, giving a one to one portrayal in the car.
In my first day of testing the Oculus Rift, I was left with mostly positive impressions. It’s definitely not perfect, but there is a LOT of potential. It’s worth noting that I had some early issues where the Rift wasn’t getting a true 90 FPS, but I think that was down to some calibration issues, that I will look to resolve later. I will comment on that in a further review, but so far, I’m having a blast with the Oculus Rift CV1!
What are your guys’ impressions on the Oculus Rift? Do you agree with my thoughts? Let us know in the comments, or in our Forums!