It is time to share some first impressions from the new Oculus Rift development kit after playing with it for a while already, sharing this a bit late due to the arrival of the DK2 coinciding with a planned vacation… a vacation without the Rift in the real world and not in the virtual one. I should note that the following first impressions from the second development kit are from someone that has used the first development kit quite a lot, so there will be a lot of comparing between the two. So let us get started… Starting with what is new, the new Oculus Rift DK2 comes with a 1080p OLED display, something that was really needed in order to improve the level of detail that the older smaller resolution 1280
It has been a little over 5 years since the start of this blog, even though I has been a stereoscopic 3D enthusiasts for much longer, the reason for the existence of the blog was Nvidia’s 3D Vision. I was really excited when they have announced it and when the first 3D Vision-ready monitors started appearing on the market I was eager to get one as I really did see the potential that the technology had for gaming. And back then since it was something really new and exciting I decided to share my experience, knowledge and other useful information with other users that were just starting and this is how this blog was born. Now, five years later we are seeing a deja vu as the situation with 3D Vision is pretty much the same as with the Nvidia Stereoscopic 3D Drivers that were available before the birth of 3D Vision. Nvidia did create a market and strong demand for products at first, however they slowly start to neglect things and in a few years they kill the market.
Just a few days ago I was talking about Nvidia’s G-SYNC technology and the fact that the early DIY upgrade modules are still not widely available, not to mention that there was also not a lot of information regarding the first wave of monitors that are supposed to come out with G-SYNC support built-in. Well, in the Nvidia CES Press Event the company has revealed a bit more information about the G-SYNC tech, namely the Q2 availability from Acer, AOC, ASUS, BEnQ, Philps and ViewSonic. And on the slide that Nvidia’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang has shown you can also see that we are getting not only 24″ and 27″ displays with 1080p resolution that will support G-SYNC, but there will be also 27-inch models with 2560
Nvidia has promised that by the end of the year they will have the G-Sync DIY Upgrade modules available to the most eager enthusiasts that want to get their hands on the technology as early as possible and they kind of delivered on that promise. The G-Sync DIY upgrade module is intended for owners of ASUS VG248QE monitors that want to upgrade their displays or for people that are interested in buying already upgraded monitors with the module installed by professionals. And I’m saying that they kind of delivered on their promise, because currently there are 4 partners of Nvidia that supposedly offer either an upgrade services to make your ASUS VG248QE monitor G-Sync ready or to sell you an already upgraded monitor. The problem is that all of these four companies are US-based and while with some you might be able to get an overseas delivery, the shipment of a $500 US dollars monitor would end up quite expensive when you add all the taxes on top of the price. The four Nvidia G-Sync partners that are already announced by Nvidia are: – Falcon Northwest – MAINGEAR – DigitalStorm – Overlord Computer The first two: Falcon Northwest and MAINGEAR are only selling new computers where you can add a G-Sync modified ASUS VG248QE monitor along with your PC for about $500 US or a bit more.
Soon after the announcement of the new 27-inch BenQ XL2720Z 3D-capable monitor, the company has just announced two new 24-inch 3D-capable displays that essentially bring the new features of the larger model to the smaller 24-inch ones. The new BenQ XL2411Z and BenQ XL2420Z essentially will replace the older XL2411T and XL2420T/TX series, but the not so good news is that these two new models expected early next year will not feature support for the new Nvidia G-Sync technology. Nvidia has promised us the G-Sync DIY upgrade modules before the end of the year, but we are still not seeing these available, and availability of models with G-Sync support built-in early next year, but it seems things may get delayed a bit. BenQ XL2411Z and XL2420Z are suppose to be available in early 2014 and probably not too long after their release on the market BenQ may also announce new series that are supposed to provide G-Sync support as well as the company is an Nvidia launch partner for the G-Sync technology. Enough with G-Sync for now, the BenQ XL2720Z and the new smaller BenQ XL2420Z and XL2411Z monitors that will feature 3D Vision support with an external 3D Vision kit (including IR emitter as it is not built in) as well as 3D LightBoost technology
DDD has released the new version 6.0 of their TriDef 3D software, bringing official support for 64-bit games (previously only available in beta) as well as updating the list of game profiles, so now the new version comes with support for over 850 games. Another interesting development with the release of the new version 6.0 is that the beta TriDef 3D’s Oculus Rift support does not require you to install a beta version of the Ignition part of the software – it is now available in the form of an add-on that you can install along with the latest official release of the software.
As we were promised the new version 2.0 of the free and open source Vireio Perception software for Oculus Rift just got released today, adding a lot of new and interesting features and making even more games that were not designed to be played with the Rift to be played with the Head Mounted Display device. This way you can get to play regular games that were not designed to be played with Virtual Reality display devices rendered in VR mode with stereoscopic 3D support and head tracking available separately from your mouse control. But Vireio Perception goes beyond only Oculus Rift support as the software can be used with other devices and not long ago it was announced that there will be support for castAR for example as well. Currently Vireio Perception is the only free and open source solution that lets you take existing games that were not designed to be played in VR and play them with an Oculus Rift, the other similar solutions like VorpX and DDD TriDef are commercial solutions. Have in mind that Vireio Perception is not intended to replace native VR support, but instead to add such or as close as to native support in games that originally do not have it available and give you the ability to play normal games with the Rift
ShadowPlay is an extra functionality that allows the owners of compatible Nvidia Kepler-based graphic cards to take advantage of the built-in H.264 encoder to record gameplay video with hardware acceleration directly into small in size MP4 video files. ShadowPlay is a part of the GeForce Experience software that now comes as a part of the Nvidia video drivers, and although it is still in Beta stage it looks quite promising. And while ShadowPlay was introduced last month with the release of the GeForce Experience 1.7 software I still haven’t been able to try the software, but now I can and since Nvidia just released a new GeForce 331.82 WHQL video driver that comes with an update to GeForce Experience 1.7.1 it is time to try out this feature. Aside from the new version of the Geforce Experience software the new video drivers also come with a 3D Vision profile for the game Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and it is rated as “Good” for playing in stereo 3D with 3D Vision setups
Just a few days ago Nvidia has updated their highest-end single GPU with the new GeForce GTX 780 Ti replacing the previous top model in the form of GTX TITAN. The new graphic cards based around the GTX 780 Ti are out in the wild already, but the question that needs to be answered is if a single GTX 780 Ti graphics card is enough for comfortable gaming with maximum detail levels in the latest games in stereoscopic 3D mode with 3D Vision as well as what you cane expect if you play on a 120Hz+ 2D monitor instead of in stereoscopic 3D mode.
Up until recently all 120Hz+ LCD monitor intended for gaming (regardless if for stereo 3D use or not) were using TN-based LCD panels due to the fact that this technology provides the best results in terms of pixel response and that is something you need if you want to have a higher refresh rate. TN LCD panels may be the fastest in terms of response, however they have other no so good aspects when compared to VA-based and IPS-based panels, but fortunately we now have what seems to be the first gaming oriented 120Hz LCD monitor with a VA-based panel from Eizo (it does not support stereoscopic 3D!). If you are not familiar with the name Eizo it is probably because up until recently the company was focused on professional monitors and it just recently started making monitors targeted at gamers