Similar to the room that Valve prepared a few months ago to surprise hundreds of developers at the Steam Dev Days, Oculus VR had several rooms in which attendees had the opportunity to try a series of demos in which they became mere spectators of incredible worlds, without the possibility of interacting, but that has left everyone with their mouths open. We offer you the translation of some detailed impressions that we have found on Reddit.
As in Valve’s room, there was a carpet on the floor that helped attendees stay in one area, without the risk of hitting the walls or anything like that. And despite Oculus’ insistence that the CV1 is intended for a seated experience, the demo was done standing up. As we have not tired of repeating, the virtual reality experiences while standing are much more credible and intense, unless we are simulating a vehicle in which we remain seated. The demos listed below were very short in length, between 30 seconds and 1 minute or a minute and a half each. There was no kind of control knob, those who tried them were limited to looking and were advancing automatically from one to another.
Demo 1: Welcome to Oculus Connect
You find yourself on a podium in a holodeck-like room. The podium disappears into the darkness of a lower room. A holographic text appears to welcome us. The objective of this demo is to offer an intro without great pretensions.
Demo 2: Velociraptor
There is a one and a half meter high velociraptor in front of us. It bites us and behaves as we suppose a real one would. The purpose of this demo seems to be to make us feel danger and check the headtracking. It seems that Oculus intends to show us the characteristics of the experience little by little.
Demo 3: Submarine
We met on the bridge of a submarine. It’s very claustrophobic, with pipes in the ceiling and needles and buttons everywhere. It seems very real and overwhelming. The goal of this demo is to show us that we can look behind us and check that the positioning is still working.
Demo 4: Polygonal World
We are a few meters from a Bambi model with few polygons. A deer, a rabbit and other forest creatures are around a fire. It’s a beautiful day, and the rabbit is toasting cotton candy and dancing. It is a very impressive demo that shows that the use of few polygons does not detract from the experience.
Demo 5: Height
You find yourself on the edge of a real-world, albeit somewhat stylized, Bioshock-like building. There is a bulletin board behind us, with a steampunk theme, and the buildings are related to Oculus and Carbon, the company that designed the Xbox controller acquired by Oculus. There are some airships in the sky. Looking down, we feel that the street is VERY far down. There comes a time when our mind does not process it, but at one point the body begins to react. After the demo, we have to sit for 20 minutes because the body reacted as if we were really on the edge of an abyss. The purpose of this demo was to use fear to turn off our rational mind, which tells us that we are in a simulation, and boy did it work.
Demo 6: Friendly Alien
We find ourselves in Antarctica, where an alien has crashed his ship. It seems that they have modeled it very realistically, but cartoon-like. He is very expressive and reacts very emotionally to us. Two alien ships are flying over our heads. It was funny, the floor looked so real that we bent down to check it out. This demo shows how encountering an emotional character can impact us, and how the artistic style works in virtual reality.
Demo 7: Reflected Mask
We find ourselves looking into a mirror. The room is like the tea party in Alice in Wonderland. Our reflection is a floating Venetian mask, but only the mask, which smiles. We don’t know why, but we get really scared, it gives us the feeling of being the intro of a horror game. The goal is to show how VR can disconnect us from ourselves. It was a trick to look in a mirror and not see ourselves.
Demo 8: Miniature Village
The big favorite. We have in front of us a small village made of paper and we look at it from above. It’s the Oculus version of Valve’s little office. The village is full of life. There is a small highway, small people in a cafe, small traffic, a mini-helicopter putting out a mini-fire, and even a mini-alien abduction. Leaning over the city was wonderful, we could have spent 30 minutes doing it. The goal was to show the delicacy of absolute positioning. The precision made it look real.
Demo 9: War Room
We are on one of those 3D maps that generals use in science fiction movies. It is a gigantic topographic map with luminous beacons in certain sections. There are particles floating. The goal is to show how data visualization works in VR.
Demo 10: Microscopic
They shrink us down to a microscopic size. There is a giant fly before us with a number of cellular objects around. It looked very real, the goal was to show the scientific use of virtual reality.
Demo 11: Oculus Park
We found ourselves in a museum of a T-Rex. We hear a roar and it appears at the end of the corridor. He runs to us and we see it up close, it’s very beautiful. He leaves us behind and disappears into the darkness. The goal should be to show us that dinosaurs will never go out of fashion.
Demo 12: Fractal
This is CDAK, the same demo shown by Valve. We are in a fractal demo, with an electric effect that moves between objects. The music is amazing. Our body goes through objects, and the goal is to show that surreal applications can be very powerful.
Demo 13: Epic Showdown [Epic Showdown]
We move slowly down a street, with policemen confronting a robot. Time is slowing down, and everything is very beautiful. A car explodes and we can see the passenger how the passenger gets fired above us. The soda cans have Oculus logos on them. Unreal 4 is awesome.
The best of all is that, to a greater or lesser extent, everyone who has tried the demos claims to have felt presence at some point, more or less depending on each one. Considering that Oculus claims that this prototype is still very basic and has a lot of things to polish, everything indicates that the commercial version of the Rift, the CV1, is not going to disappoint in this regard, as long as we have a team in condition. It seems that for these demos they were using a Maxwell-based nVidia graphics, so it could be one of the new GTX 980. The demos worked at an unknown resolution and refresh rate, but almost everyone thinks it was 2560×1440 and 90 Hz.