I had the pleasure of trying out the Oculus Rift for the first time last night at IGDA-TC. I spent about 3-5 minutes in the so-called Tuscany Demo of 90 year old grandmother tries the Rift fame. The experience was significant enough that I felt like I should record some thoughts on it for myself, and I figured I might as well share them. I also found the experience very inspirational. I've written up some of the ideas and directions that sprung to mind in a separate post, Oculus Rift: First Inspirations.
I was actually sitting in a chair at a bar when I put the Rift on. My big glasses got in the way a little bit, and made what I'm otherwise convinced would be a remarkably light and comfortable headset put some pressure on my face. This is easily fixed with contacts, smaller glasses, or cheap plastic lens inserts that pre-bend the light for my correction. Anyway, a new world instantly came into focus. The 3d effect was instantaneous and completely transparent to the experience, and the immersion was total. Your entire field of view is filled with the environment. It's not like watching a 3d movie at all. It's like being inside a 3d game, but with better 3d. The head tracking was for my purposes flawless. I immediately and quite naturally found myself turning my head to look around this new world I was in. I looked straight down... no feet! I guess for some people it is quite unsettling to be missing their body. For me, it just made me aware again that I was sitting in a chair looking at a simulation. It broke the illusion for a split second.
The display isn't very high resolution, but this is a dev version and the consumer version will be better. You can see the pixels, well really the lines between the pixels, which is sometimes called the screen door effect. My awareness of the pixels and this grid would come and go as I looked around and moved around the environment. It was pretty easy to forget it was there, but I definitely look forward to much higher resolutions in the future.
It was very hard not to lose yourself in the experience. I kept forgetting myself and where I was. I wouldn't quite say that this other place I found myself in felt real, but I also wouldn't say that it felt not real. And I felt like I wasn't exactly sitting in a chair in a bar anymore...