John D. Carmack, feels that the 3D TV technology currently being pushed by big companies like Sony, Microsoft…etc. isn’t awesome enough. What he really wants in a game-changer, something that will fundamentally change the way that gamers will interact with their video games, and better graphics just isn’t going to cut it anymore.
That’s why he’s teamed up with a developer by the name of Palmer Luckey, who’d been building, Oculus Rift head mounted displays (HMD), with the idea of developing $500 kits. Luckey will be funding the first batch of VR headsets with a Kickstarter. The first batch will come with sensors and a copy of Doom 3.
I may wind up subsidizing a set of this first batch as they are so incredibly cool. I’m hoping that we will have these available around August… to have a chance, to have an impact on how VR is going to go, as this is better than most high-end units.
John Carmack has stated he feels this HMD experience, aside from being the best, could also be the cheapest. He’s already said that the newly announced Doom 3 BFG will have full support for the device. Carmack sees this device as the another move toward completely mobile computing; no more being tethered to a PC, he says in the future you should be able to just set up some iPhone or mobile smartphone hardware, maybe some camera’s and what follows is a totally immersive gaming experience!
In addition to Luckey’s model, Carmack himself is also fiddling around with the technology in his garage, however it was Luckey’s model that he demoed to some lucky folks at E3. The way the device is currently setup is it tracks your head / eye movements, giving each eye a 95 degree field of view (FoV) for a combined 180 degree FoV. However, you still need a console controller (Carmack was sporting an Xbox 360 controller at E3, although ironically Microsoft has shown little interest in the VR device) to control your game character for firing weapons, or just running around all over the place & jumping on everything).
Carmack shared this image over his Twitter of the device he’s working with, saying that, “This is a lot cooler than it looks — Palmer Luckey’s 90+ FOV HMD, soon to be available as a cheap kit.”
Be sure to check out this other picture he shared, of software image correction / pre-warping, because it gives you a sense of what it’s like to look through the device.
Check out some of the nice videos below to see it in action with Ross Miller from the Verge.