Podcast - This Is Only a Test

Episode 273 – Virtual Reality Reality – 9/25/2014

This week, Will, Norm, and Jeremy discuss the news from the Oculus Connect conference, first impressions of the iPhones 6 and 6 Plus, the new Kindles, Nvidia’s new videocards, and more. Enjoy!

Comments (40)

40 thoughts on “Episode 273 – Virtual Reality Reality – 9/25/2014

  1. Racing you say? What do you race? (I’m on a collegiate racing team, open wheel, open cockpit)

    Damn my geography! I’d love to go to the show but Tennessee.

  2. They’re right about the general public not knowing about Oculus. Brought it up to some friends lately and they’d never heard of it. It’s a weird thing since you guys have been following since day one.

  3. Please stop throwing around the term “keynote” to describe every presentation… A keynote speech only happens once. It is the introductory talk that sets the tone for the event and every subsequent presentation. At WWDC Steve Jobs would give the “keynote” address to kick off the convention. Sorry to be crazy on this but… Details!

  4. Hey I’m sur you have already figured it out by now, but here’s a little visual aid to help understand the VR theater location situation.

    Everyone sits in the best seat in the house in their experience. So everyone sees the exact same thing, apart form the location of the other avatars. Will sit’s in the middle and has an optimal viewing angle for the screen. to his left he sees Norm, looking back he sees Jeremy. Norm ALSO sits in the best seat in the house with the optimal viewing angle, looking to his right he sees Will, looking back he sees Jeremy. The same goes for Jeremy, best seat in the house, with Will and Norm in front of him. What each and every person sitting in the “theater” sees is of no consequence to the others. The relative positions of the avatars stay the same, the actual position of the avatars is different for every one in the theater As long as the virtual theater has enough (or infinite) chairs, this will work fine, even if there are 10,000 people in the theater at a time 🙂

  5. I’m still downloading the podcast but I’ll give up my iPhone 6 impressions.

    I hated my 6. Got it on Friday and dropped it off at the UPS store for return the next day.

    Too Big

    Too Ugly

    This was really big deal for me. I am (was?) an Apple fanboy through and through. There are 6 IOS devices in my house, 2 phones and 4 iPads. But the six was a huge disappointment. The 4 was my favourite phone and the 5 was all that but better in every respect. The 6 was like a punch in the gut. Utter crapola. Felt like a big fat ugly Android phone (I owned a Nexus 4 for a short period so I have experienced the other side).

    My new iPhone 5s just arrived so I’m happy for now. I guess it will be a couple of years before Apple stops providing S/W updates for it so I can defer my next phone choice until then.

    Geoff

  6. Hey I’m sur you have already figured it out by now, but here’s a little visual aid to help understand the VR theater location situation.

    Everyone sits in the best seat in the house in their experience. So everyone sees the exact same thing, apart form the location of the other avatars. Will sit’s in the middle and has an optimal viewing angle for the screen. to his left he sees Norm, looking back he sees Jeremy. Norm ALSO sits in the best seat in the house with the optimal viewing angle, looking to his right he sees Will, looking back he sees Jeremy. The same goes for Jeremy, best seat in the house, with Will and Norm in front of him. What each and every person sitting in the “theater” sees is of no consequence to the others. The relative positions of the avatars stay the same, the actual position of the avatars is different for every one in the theater As long as the virtual theater has enough (or infinite) chairs, this will work fine, even if there are 10,000 people in the theater at a time 🙂

    That’s not at all what Will was saying.

    Will was saying that it doesn’t matter where anyone is in relation to each other. He was saying that when Jeremy looks at Norm, all the ‘computer’ needs to know is that he is looking at Norm. Then on anyone’s environment they will see Jeremy looking at Norm, regardless of whether Norm is behind Jeremy or in front of him, independent of wherever he ‘actually’ is in Jeremy’s environment.

  7. I was thinking about your discussion about the potential for
    the 3D environment and it brought up a few ideas. Here is a summary of a few
    thoughts:

    – I would love to be able to see or “hold” a 3D
    model of a product that I’m interested in. The shopping experience would be
    amazing if I could interact with a to-size item that is in a store

    – Stepping that up, it would be even better if the
    product could be integrated into my personal 3D environment using a type of
    augmented reality. If I can put a widget on my coffee table and move it around
    in a 3D space, that would amazing.

    – Of course, if I can do that, then it would be
    even more amazing to take a prototype 3D model that I have created and show it
    on my coffee table. That way, before I 3D print the object I could interact
    with it in the space it might be used.

    – And finally, since I’m printing my own custom
    items, it would be cool if I could use them in a game environment. Maybe 3D
    print a classic Nintendo gun that I could use to shoot a series of Duck Hunt
    ducks. (ok, this serves little practical purpose now… but there could be some
    interesting games developed to interact with my environment)

    Love the podcast. Proud to be a premium member. Keep
    Testing!

  8. I love that you guys are discussing this, but let me explain why I think and I were against on this one. First of all, I think nailed Will’s vision. That’s exactly how I understood it. In my mind, the problem arises when you start to fill the theater and there isn’t enough space to shift everyone’s position. For example:

    Gumby, Mr. T, and Buzz Lightyear have joined us. Explain how Gumby can have the center seat in “his” reality, and still visually refer to everyone else off to his left. Norm, Buzz, and I would be past the theater wall. You can enlarge the theater, but eventually you run into the same problem just at a bigger scale.

    Right?

  9. exactly. one of the reasons the oculus cinema’s theaters are effective is because they simulate a very well-defined virtual space (ie. limited number of seats in a fixed theater design).

  10. That will give you issues, not having the avatars in the relative positions will give faulty results when looking at each other. Keeping everyone in the same spot relative to each other you can look at anyone you want without issue. Will can look at Norm and Jeremy can see Will looking at Norm, would Will and Norm be switched or next to Jeremy in Jeremy’s reality things get messed up. The relative position is key here. And they could actually all be in a different environment, Will could be in an awesome batman themed theater sitting on a comfy fluffy chair with a cup holder, while Norm is in an old timey filmhouse sitting on a wooden bench, and Jeremy is sitting in a bean bag chair on a tropical beach… all watching the same movie 🙂

    This is the internet, we’ll discuss anything 😛 Sure, that would definitely be a problem with a theater with physical limitations, but in a VR world you could put 1000 chairs in a row without any problems as long as the hardware and internet connection allows it, it could just continue indefinitely, or just for as far as it needs to with the current amount of viewers, there is no reason to limit it to 5×3 like here or a more regular theater size.

    And by the way, watching a movie with your friends and Mr T, Gumby and Buzz Lightyear? That would be awesome! 😀

  11. 3D sound is not new thing. We already have 3D sound in all modern FPS games. For example there is library – OpenAL, using which you just specify position of listener in 3D space, and position of sound source, and any sound file to play. And Unity3D probably also already has similar feature.

    So if they say they have some new 3D sound technology, it’s probably better algorithms, I guess? I think you need to investigate it deeper to be able to say what is new exactly here.

  12. With the virtual cinema, would you also have virtual people checking their messages on their virtual phones in the middle of the film? I don’t understand why you’d want to be able to see other people when you’re watching a film. Even if you did, would you want to see more than a hundred people around you simultaneously? If you really want to build a virtual theatre, put a fixed seating layout in it, but then for each person’s perspective, the movie screen (and audio) would be optimally positioned for that seat, so sitting in the ‘front right’ seat would leave the rest of the audience behind and left of you, but the screen would appear centred in front of your face, and the theatre could even be scaled to display seats in front of you and to your right, but that aren’t selectable seating for viewers.

  13. Speaking as someone that hated relativity in Modern Physics, I’m pretty sure Norm is right. You’d be breaking the laws of physics Will’s way. Everyone has their own frame of reference. So everyone can either see the screen at the same point, or seeing everyone else around them in the same position. You can’t have both.

    An observer can only have one frame of reference to the things around them. Say you throw a ball into the air. In your reference frame the ball goes through a motion away from you. But in the ball’s reference frame, you’re technically moving away from it. However, the motion occurring is the same in both frames. Neither you or the ball can observe this situation from the side, or anything like that.

    So in the movie theater, if everyone is seeing the screen from the same point (therefore everyone’s frame of reference to the screen is the same) then everyone is sitting in the same seat. But then if everyone is also in a different seat, in the same position relative to the observer, that is a difference reference frame. That’s two frames of reference for the exact same situation.

    In the real world this would be impossible. I don’t know if this is possible in a virtual context. I think you would have to create two separate instances and combine them. One instance being the seating arrangement, and the second being the screen for the observer. Say you had three rows of five seats in the virtual theater. If you had one instance of the seats, but then stacked the individual instances of the screen where it would normally be, you’d have fifteen screens on top of each other, but shifted to different x-y positions for each observer.

  14. I don’t think they should go as far as someone checking their messages in the Virtual theater, and I don’t think it should be random people either. You should only be able to view with friends in a ‘Friends List’ type of environment.

  15. I love that you guys are discussing this, but let me explain why I think and I were against on this one. First of all, I think nailed Will’s vision. That’s exactly how I understood it. In my mind, the problem arises when you start to fill the theater and there isn’t enough space to shift everyone’s position. For example:

    Gumby, Mr. T, and Buzz Lightyear have joined us. Explain how Gumby can have the center seat in “his” reality, and still visually refer to everyone else off to his left. Norm, Buzz, and I would be past the theater wall. You can enlarge the theater, but eventually you run into the same problem just at a bigger scale.

    Right?

    You need to step back from the mindset that you are sitting in a traditional single screen theatre. Let us posit this scenario in a couple different ways.

    Concept The First:

    Consider for the sake of argument that the seating truly is an infinite grid of seats. Let us then attach to each it’s own monitor playing the movie sync’d with its neighbors, so that everyone sitting in a chair sees the same movie from the same perspective. Let’s continue the thought process by stating that you, and only you can see your own screen, therefore you can’t see any of your neighbors’ screens. Then, by increasing the dimensions and distance to your personal screen, you still get your normal immersion into the film granted to you by a theatre-sized screen in your virtual reality world.

    Since the ‘infinite audience’ isn’t really practical, this could also be imagined as a circular amphitheatre with a device in the center of the room that projects the video directly into your retinas using high powered lasers (because, why not), so that everyone sees the same movie from the same perspective.

    The ‘infinite seating’ and the ‘personal monitor’ concepts are not challenging to program in and of themselves once you’re at a level dealing with 3d virtual reality programming, and everyone has their own monitor already strapped to their face.

    Everyone is still seeing the same movie from the perfect angle, and you can still interact with your neighbors, since you’re sitting right beside them.

    Concept The Second:

    Another way to think about it is you are sitting, alone, all by yourself in a single seat big screen theatre. Your infinite friends are also sitting in their own single seat theatre watching the same movie as you at the same time as you.

    Then, each of these single seat theatres is linked to all of the others using a holographic system that records and re-projects an image of your infinite friends next to you in real time.

    As long as all of the theatres agree upon its own position within this holographic seating relative to the rest, you can look at Norman on your immediate right, he notices you turning to face him from his left, and he can turn to address you as if you were sitting right beside him.

    Again, the ‘infinite audience’ problem isn’t really practical since most people only have a finite number of friends, but the only barrier is computing power (and realistic holography)

  16. I get that an infinite grid of seats solves this particular problem, but I don’t know if that’s what had in mind and it creates other issues.

    • Are we allowed to move around in this space? What happens when Gumby and I want to go hit the arcade out in the hallway? Our distance to the exit is different on my screen, but our private perspectives are equidistant.
    • What happens when users join/leave? Does the room constantly evolve? Do we have static sized movie screen with shifting empty space between it and the walls beside it?
    • Psychologically, Isn’t there something more immersing about hand-crafted virtual spaces, with real structure, rules and limitations? Sharing virtual space in a realistic way makes users feel present, as much in VR as it did in Quake or World of Warcraft.
  17. Those are some good points, Moving around in the space (running around or moving seats) would not be an issue unless you want to interact with static objects like a door, both you and Gumby would have the door at a different spot, with you moving through Gumby’s wall before interacting with the door. So there should doors and such should not be part of the environment, or doors could appear and disappear for a spectator as other participants use them, while always delivering people to the same spot on the other side (so both you and Gumby end up on the exact same spot on the other side of the two doors, so you can there after interact with each other and objects in the next room. This will mess with your head though, so maybe we need a small room in between with two (or multiple as needed) doors in one wall (spaced like in the theater room) and a single door in the other wall so we can solve the spacial issue without making your brain think it went nuts.

    I do think having a static room would be a better more lifelike experience, having real world limitations will make your brain happy, but that does mean that people will have various views of the screen, with some people having better angles than others, which is what the other scenario would eliminate. Although with a virtual static theatre we would not be bound to real world dimensions. The screen could be huge and 50 yards away from the first row so everyone would still have a great view without anyone having to mess up their neck to watch 🙂

    Going through all these possibilities and issues, I think that last thought would probably be the best option. A static room with the screen in a spot where everyone has a good (but not optimal) view… When I have time I’ll mock up something in Maya to see if I can figure out something that would be acceptable for a large group of people… Damn it, I really need to figure this out now… 😛

  18. The guy who bent the iPhone 6 Plus also did a video where he tested regular 6 and other brands phones and none bent as bad as the 6 Plus.

  19. Okay, so if you set up a static theater like this everyone in there can interact with everyone and everything in the space without any issues, and everyone has a decent view of the screen (bottom left is back row, bottom right is front row). So that would totally work if you want to expand the experience and make it possible to leave the room or interact with objects in there without other people seeing you walk through walls or anything.

    If you simply want people to watch a movie and maybe interact with other people with an unlimited (or very large) amount of viewers, the proposed “Everyone has the best seat in the house” method would work great.

    Your brain would probably be happiest with the static theater, though. I guess not getting the best seat would add to the experience.

  20. Can’t wait to go. Debating about getting a hotel celebrating the birthday a few days early. Can’t wait to say hi after the show either. I hope you guys do something extra after too.

  21. Spacebar shenanigins……

    Sounds like too many then… Those bartenders should know when to cut you off.

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