Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Interstellar Oculus Rift

I've been dying to try out the OCULUS RIFT virtual reality device for a while now. Videos of people using the device have made it seem miraculous.

I've played primitive VR games in arcades from the mid-90s/early-00s and been underwhelmed. The graphics were obviously far cruder than what's capable today but the visuals did not immerse me in a different world. It looked like I was staring at two video screens up close.

So, I was excited when I learned that Chris Nolan's INTERSTELLAR was getting an Oculus Rift demo that would be touring different cities. In NYC, it was docked at the Lincoln Square AMC (IMAX) from October 6-8. Free of charge.

What a perfect time to not have a day job.

11am, they started the demos.

First off, the seats moved in time with the audio-visuals which really complemented the effect. You did not control forward movement but you could look every which way as you floated through this spaceship. You could see outer space through the windows. There were little objects floating about -- a pencil, a notepad -- that you could also gawk at as you floated by. There were parts where it seemed like my torso/legs were going to bump against obstacles -- but when I looked down, I HAD NO LEGS! That was probably one of the most surreal things.

So... how did it all look?

It looked pretty great. But it still looked like I was simply staring at two tv screens. The resolution was not nearly as high as I expected. You could see the lines on the screen, like you would if you sat close to an old CRT tv screen. There was text on objects that I couldn't read because of the lower resolution. The whole thing looked really cool but it still looked computer-generated.

Still, glad I got to try it out finally. I've heard the newer model Oculus Rifts are higher res, which would make sense -- though, why wouldn't Paramount shell out for those?

Worth trying out if it's in your area.


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