Oculus Recommended Specs Revealed, And More
With it comes another update to the developer SDK and some more information about the Mobile VR Jam. Developer update 0.6.0 has four major parts, layers, compositor service, simplification of the API (application program interface) and removal of application based distortion rendering. While simplification of the API is fairly self-explanatory, modifying effectively how the Oculus does what it does, that is, the distortion-based rendering, is a little more nuanced.
My understanding of how the Oculus works comes mainly from this blog post, and as far as I can understand it, the lenses of the Oculus do a “pincushion” distortion of an image, and a game/app runs the “barrel” distortion, effectively reverting the earlier distortion. These latest changes offload the work from the game itself to the hardware, allowing for layers. Layers, in Oculus terms, refer to various rendered scenes (a HUD, background, and game space, for example) and now allow for differing update rates, sizes, and resolutions, and the Oculus blog post on the topic says that these layers “can be used to improve performance and rendering quality, particularly around text.”
Of course, these changes come right on the back of the Mobile VR Jam 2015. Regardless, over 300 teams submitted final builds for judging and community feedback on May 11th, designed to be used with the Samsung Gear VR, which in and of itself is supposed to only be used with the Samsung GALAXY Note 4. Anyone can still browse the submissions however, and while it looks like there's quite a few games of questionable quality, it's certainly a good start for mobile VR development.
And lastly, here are the specs for the consumer version of the Oculus VR headset:
- NVIDIA GTX 970 / AMD 290 or greater
- Intel i5-4590 equivalent or greater
- 8GB+ RAM
- Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output via direct output
- 2x USB 3.0 ports
- Windows 7 SP1 or greater
You'll notice that there's no information about Mac OS or Linux at this time. Atman Binstock, technical director of the Rift explains in a post here, saying that :
“Our development for OS X and Linux has been paused in order to focus on delivering a high quality consumer-level VR experience at launch across hardware, software, and content on Windows. We want to get back to development for OS X and Linux but we don’t have a timeline.”
Furthermore, the Oculus is going to require those specifications because of some key rendering figures:
- a traditional 1080p game at 60Hz requires 124 million shaded pixels per second
- the Rift runs at 2160x1200 at 90Hz, split over two displays, requiring 233 million pixels per second
- at default eye-target scale, a game running on the Rift will require around 400 million pixels per second, or roughly 3x the GPU power of 1080p rendering
As it stands, the move away from Linux and Mac gaming is primarily a smart business decision. A quick look at the Steam Hardware Survey reveals that nearly 96 percent of Steam users who took the survey use some form of Windows. In addition, if you've got any form of a laptop, you will not be able to run the first consumer version of the Rift, as there is no direct output HDMI port, as the one you'd find attached to all modern graphics cards. What is surprising is that there's no mention of how SLI/Crossfire is going to work with the Rift, as two lower cards could conceivably reach the minimum specifications working in tandem. Regardless, stay tuned for more news about the Rift in the coming months, particularly about the game lineup.