Case and Molly: a VR helmet game based on Neuromancer

Case and Molly is a prototype game for the Oculus Rift based on William Gibson's classic 1984 science fiction novel Neuromancer, by Greg Borenstein. It alternates between two points of view: an action hero (Molly) who is trying to physically penetrate a target, and a network operator (Case) who supports her by hacking the systems that protect that space. As Borenstein writes, this is "all too familiar."

He continues, "We constantly navigate the tension between the physical and the digital in a state of continuous partial attention. We try to walk down the street while sending text messages or looking up GPS directions. We mix focused work with a stream of instant message and social media conversations. We dive into the sudden and remote intimacy of seeing a family member’s face appear on FaceTime or Google Hangout."

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Oculus Rift in The New Yorker

We've already played with Oculus Rift, the unexpectedly brilliant revival of consumer virtual reality. The New Yorker profiles an experience that has gone from flickering headache to something oddly akin to scuba diving.
The Oculus Rift uses optical tricks to create the realistic sensation, like slightly warping the edges of the view in the computer, which is corrected by plastic lenses in the goggles. The pixels are more tightly packed directly in front of the eye, giving the perspective a roundness that feels more like human vision. It works. The Oculus Rift rivals—and will possibly exceed, when it hits the shelves sometime in late 2013 or mid-2014—the best virtual-reality hardware available, military-grade or otherwise.

My first memory of virtual reality was a segment on the BBC show Tomorrow's World in about 1990, featuring helmets the size, shape and weight of a granite curling stone. The second was playing the similarly-headsetted Virtuality arcade game Grid Busters, so terrible I felt scammed to have paid 50p for the pleasure. But like many millenials cheated by those beautiful lies, I think I'll be lining up when the Rift hits stores later this year.

Oculus Rift founder dies in accident

Andrew Scott Reisse, one of the founding developers behind the incredible Oculus Rift virtual reality headset was hit by a car while walking yesterday. The car was being pursued by police, and struck two other cars before running a red light and hitting Reisse. Reisse was pronounced dead at the scene. [ABC Local]

Review: Disunion, the VR guillotine simulator

Last week, Cory posted about Disunion, the guillotine simulator for the Oculus Rift headset. This weekend, I got a chance to "play" the virtual reality game—which amounted to getting my head virtually chopped off.

Though this is a far cry from the Oculus Rift's peaceful "Tuscan villa" demo, the experience is just as immersive. Your entire vision is filled with the in-game world, and the headset itself is unobtrusive, like wearing a large pair of ski goggles. After a few minutes, you lose track of the real physical space you're in. So much so, in fact, that the slight inconsistencies between the game and your head movements can make you seasick.

But it's a pretty good start on experiencing things you can't in real life—death being the ultimate example.

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