TL;DR version: Spoiler It’s bleeping awesome! But not without its share of issues, if you’re not computer savvy you might want to wait for the consumer version. So, I’ve spent several hours every evening the last few days playing around with the Oculus Rift DK2 mostly doing racing sims and thought I’d share my experience with y’all here. First impressions: The first thing I did, after installing it all and reading up a bit online on how this gadget works as it didn’t come with a “Getting Started” guide (or any other documentation for that matter), was to test a couple of those purpose built demos that are found on the Rift forums. Specifically these two; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKoSALEaV28 The rollercoaster ride was my first trip (pun intended ), I was instantly impressed with the sense of depth but having watched the video on YouTube upfront I didn’t really get that WOW effect that others seem to get (you should have been there when my spouse tested it the first time though, completely without expectations she kept laughing and screaming, she was really impressed with it!). Jumping into Tuscany I found the experience slightly nauseating, I reckon this is because you are stationary IRL while moving around ingame, which can make your brain think there’s actually something wrong going on. But more importantly I was a bit disappointed with this demo! While the world indeed had the feel of depth, every object felt… well not fully 3D. I experience the same with 3D in theatres, where you sense depth in the picture but the people and objects does not look fully 3 dimensional. So I was disappointed as mentioned, but that did not last long. Next I booted up Assetto Corsa, slight understatement there as it took me a while to get there, but I’ll touch on why a little later. I picked the Lotus 98T and Spa, hit Start and after a few seconds loading my brain melted. I was IN THE BLEEPING CAR! I mean, I just as well could have been, I could stretch and lean to check out the suspension, the ground, the wheels, everything felt fully 3D, I think I spent a good 10-12 minutes just looking around at this stage, the buttons on the dash, WOW! I’ve read statements like these before, I’ve seen the videos on YouTube, but none of those could convey the immense immersion you feel when you actually get to try it on yourself! So I took the car for a spin, first impressions where great, I KNEW where I had the car, I hit apexes like nothing, I was slow, mainly due to this being such a new experience overall I think, but I thought to myself that if I put in some practice I would start beating my P.Bs. But I jumped on to test other games, next on the list was iRacing, then pCars, then LFS and finally R3E. I’ll get into details about my experiences with all of them below, I think this has to do it for first impressions. The sims, the experience, some of the issues I encountered and some tips: A quick explanation on the two “Display Modes” that the Rift can be used in; - Direct HMD Access Mode, which means that Windows does not see the Rift as another monitor, but apps with specific support for this mode can still activate and use it. This is the preferred way to run as it yields the best results. - Extended Desktop, which means your Rift is just like any other monitor, you set it up to extend your desktop and you can drag programs back and forth between them, problem is that the desktop is not set up for 3D use so unless you run a Rift specific app you will have a hard time seeing anything in the Rift. First problem I ran into with AC, which requires you to run Extended Mode, was the fact that the menus are not compatible with the DK2 yet, so you need to find some other way of navigating the menu until you are seated in the car. I read some guide about running the launcher windowed etc., but luckily @GamerMuscle had just released a video on how to use Open Source Broadcaster to navigate AC, so I followed his guide to (some) success; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNd0aUx4DVs Some success, because while it worked fine (and his guide was flawless), I got some weird issue where the leftmost part of the image in OBS was garbled, as if the first vertical row of pixels repeated itself over and over for 1/6th of the monitor width or so, THEN the picture was fine until it chopped off the last 1/6th on the right side, hard to explain but I haven’t caught a pic of it yet >< Even worse was the fact that the mouse pointer was off by equally much, so hitting menu choices was a proper PITA! I went into mouse settings and put on “Show location of pointer when I press the CTRL key” and hit Ctrl over and over to see where my mouse where actually located; Now I suspect that this might be due to the fact that my main monitor is running a different aspect ratio (21:9), I’ve since then changed it so that when I run the Rift in Extended Mode I lower the resolution on my monitor to 1920x1080 to match the Rift, has been working fine since then at least. Next issue appears, I’m wearing glasses and while the Rift can be used while wearing glasses it also introduces another layer of problems. For the optics in the Rift to work properly, they need to be positioned correctly in front of your eyes, move them too far in any direction and you’ll lose focus. Well, the same goes for your glasses, so when you’re trying to adjust the Rifts position you might end up with your glasses a bit out of focus, and vice versa >< It’s perfectly doable to get running, but at times I sat and mucked about with the headset for a good 2-5 minutes before I felt I’d found a good position on both. This will ofc differ greatly between differently shaped glasses etc so your mileage may vary. Also related to glasses, but even when running without, is the fact that the optics would usually fog up when I just put it on, partly attributed to the fact that I’ve got a broad nose and breathing out made hot air hit the plastic cover of the Rift and sent it back up straight to the lenses! It’d usually stop happening after a few minutes of use when the lenses had heated up a little bit, but sometimes I had to stop and wipe it off cos I could not see on one or both eyes. I hope they find a bit better design for the consumer version, because driving the first few laps with just breathing through the mouth is a PITA (and it probably sounds like I’m watching porn to family members who might still be awake ). Queue the next issue, while jumping back and forth between the two display modes I would sometimes be stuck with some weird graphical error on my monitor (horizontal lines and overall purple hue); It was a proper weird problem and I’m not sure exactly what caused or fixed it, I tried several things and it has stopped happening the last two days, it was really weird when it happened though because it would persist even in POST/BIOS, which means it was not driver related, the Rift must have put my GFX card in some weird state or whatever. Now I didn’t only test with AC as mentioned. Life for Speed was on the menu, and the Rift implementation certainly is great here! The game requires extended mode, but once you start the game in VR mode you can navigate the menu from within the Rift, very well done by the LFS devs here! Furthermore the implementation when on track is also pretty much perfect, great headtracking and the game looks really good in full 3D! I did encounter a problem with LFS and that was the complete lack of FFB in my wheel, turned out to be that LFS can only serve one of the two first controllers it sees with FFB and in my case my shifter was first, some unknown device second (I suspect some virtual joystick driver for headtracking) and my wheel third, so when I unplugged my shifter I got FFB again. I don’t think the dirt tracks in LFS can get mucg more fun than what it is with the Rift! Project C.A.R.S. was next up, also run in extended more I had similar issues here with the screen being skewed as mentioned above with AC, but when on track things worked nicely. I must say that being the game that looks absolutely the best when driving on a monitor, I was a bit surprised to see that I actually preferred how both AC and LFS looks when running on the Rift, but that being said I haven’t tweaked the graphics settings on pCars much so there’s probably room for improvement. RaceRoomRacing Experience was a mixed bag, graphically it looked the worse of the lot to me, and while they have made parts of the UI supported in the Rift (like the big Drive button and the surrounding options when on track), I had issues with actually hitting the buttons as the function of clicking didn’t align with the visuals (similarly to above issues, but this time from inside the Rift!). Lastly there’s iRacing, which is the only of these games to run in Direct Mode. This is a taste of how Oculus Rift implementation should be done in the future, when I loaded a car and track the game threw this popup at me; And that’s all there’s to hit, answer Yes and you’re ingame on the Rift, dead simple! iRacings menus have been tweaked to work with the Rift so it’s fully possible to navigate the menu without taking the headset off, but it might be challenging to read some of the text at times due to the “low” resolution of the Rift screen. Overall though I must say that driving in iRacing with the Rift was an immense experience. Graphically speaking it’s quite neck and neck between AC, iRacing and even LFS, mostly due to the resolution I guess, but if I have to pick a winner it would be iRacing, that is until I tried doing an official race with the Rift…. Having practiced a fair few laps running the RUF C-Spec on Road Atlanta on Friday and Saturday, I felt comfortable and consistent enough so I decided to have a go at an official race on Sunday. Problem was that from being stable on a capped 75 FPS during practice, I was on the grid seeing 45-50 FPS, and running ANYTHING below 75FPS makes headtracking extremely jittery! So it made it really difficult to drive the first few laps, until I spun out and crashed, which gave me time to lower the settings and regain some FPS, but which in turn made the graphics look quite horrible. And by horrible I don’t mean “boring looking trees, 2D crowd, blocky cars”, I mean a garbled pixelated mess that made it hard to judge if there was two cars in front of me or if it was just a sign, or whatever. After having repaired and lowered my settings I went back on track, and not only did the lowered settings make it hard to see, but I felt so insecure because of the jitter (which was still present though better/less now) so I found myself crawling around the track for the first two laps and made a couple of people pissed for being so slow Overall though, I have been LOVING the DK2 on iRacing, for offline practice at least. So, after rambling on about everything related to each sim and so on, I thought I’d sum up the good and bad things about the Rift, things that hold true for every sim I’ve tested so far; The good: - Insane immersion, I’ve tested triple screens and it does not come close to this level of immersion. - Immense presence, not only do you feel more like you are inside a car, you feel much more like you are in control of a car. Positioning the car on track is much easier, down to mere centimeters*. - Feeling of loss of grip is instant, I was correcting slides on the RUF C-Spec that I have never ever before been able to, just because I could react much earlier to them.** - Rather cheap solution compared to triple monitors The bad: - Not a finished product yet, both hardware wise and software, tinkering needed. - You are fully cut off from everything not the game, even checking what time it is means taking the headset off, chatting ingame is difficult. - At this point in time, glasses is a slight issue, hopefully future versions are better - Resolution and performance (on my system) too poor for competitive racing as of now * An example of this from iRacing in the C-Spec on Road Atlanta, was coming down the long straight downhill towards the chicane just before the pit entrance, just as I got on the brakes I thought to myself “S**T I’ve got the right wheels on the curbing I’m gonna loose it” and instantly counter steered and let off the brake BEFORE I had noticed the car sliding, resulting in just a slight twitch from the car, correction and then on the brakes again and made the corner without any drama. I went to check the replay, I was on the curb with about 5-10 cm, which I KNOW I would not have reacted to in time if I was racing on my monitor. ** There is something about running with the Rift that makes it so natural to feel the loss of grip and how much to counter steer etc. I think it’s down to the fact that you are fully immersed with head tracking and positional tracking, hard to explain but you really get the feeling of what direction the car is moving in. This is why you can freely look around while driving without completely losing track of direction like I often found I will do if I try the same running TrackIR/FacetrackNoIR. Final Thoughts: Long post is long… Sorry for that But finally, to me it is no longer a question of “if 3D is the way to go”, the question for me now is rather “how”. I would love to compare the Rift to running either a huuuuge screen (perhaps even curved) with proper active shutter 3D and low input lag, aka SuperFOV, like this but with 3D and back projection: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ev7cFzgpJ7s …or triple screens running the same 3D solution. Right now I think those won’t be able to beat a VR headset in terms of immersion, but I hope I get the chance to find out before the release of a consumer version of the Rift. Should you buy one? Hell if I know, I’m having a blast with mine despite the hurdles and issues, and I dread the day I’ll have to go back to racing on my regular monitor…. So as I mentioned at the start, if you're not computer savvy you might want to hold out for now.