A Much Overdue Message about the DK1
In this, the modern VR climate, where so much technology required to build the metaverse is finally coming to light, I personally have come to have unending respect for Palmer Luckey and the Oculus company. Whether or not you backed them on kickstarter, and whether you're a hobbyist with a Cardboard, are banking on mobile VR, Valve's & HTC's awesome looking reVive, or any of the numerous HMD options that have been coming to market my opinion is that the climate for virtual and augmented reality wouldn't be where it is without them.
For that reason I want to take some time to talk about my Oculus Rift DK1 before writing about my DK2. This bad-boy was the first thing that gave me a taste of the metaverse, like in the books I've read growing up. When you can step inside a game environment it really changes the way you feel about your hobbies. I remember in school learning about the people who saw a black and white train movie at the advent of cinema and flinched in fear. I thought they were stupid. "How could you possibly get such a thing confused with the real world" I thought. And then I experienced the first of the wave of modern HMDs. I understood what they felt. This is the vanguard of a new front of technology that will impact our species every bit as much, if not more, than film. The parallel is a little overwhelming now that I think about it.
I'd like to speak briefly about the obvious flaws. Nothing is perfect the first time, as in my example about early cinema. Now we have 4K displays and binaural audio to accompany our moving pictures. The same thing was true of the DK1. It had some pretty jarring screen-door effect, sure. And there was no positional tracking. It's funny how I filter than now through the lense of the DK2, but I can't help it. I will admit to feeling some discomfort when moving through the Tuscany demo, but not when flying around through space. Just like VR as it advances, tailoring the experience to the technology was key. I remember using my Razer Hydra (predecessor to the fantastic looking Sixense STEM) and playing around with Half Life 2 VR. It's worth going back and taking a look, everyone. Even with the more sophisticated technology and the more advanced tech demos and games. That will probably remain one of my fondest memories for some time.
Even without the positional tracking, it didn't matter. I didn't care. I was hooked. I know that 100 years from now, when we are using neurocannula to connect to a sim-world we'll balk at how people flinched when birds flew in their face in VR, but you know what? It was awesome. And I'm so glad that I did.