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4D Pipeline - trends & breaking news in Visualization, Mobile, 3D, AR, VR, and CAD.
Insights into product strategy, emerging technology with Mobile, 3D, Augmented Reality, VR, Visualization,CAD, PLM, AEC, BIM, and downstream 3D. Curated by Jed Fisher http://blog.4Dpipeline.com @4Dpipeline - Making digital products customers love.
Curated by Jed Fisher
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GDC2015 - some thoughts and observations from the 4D Pipeline team

GDC2015 - some thoughts and observations from the 4D Pipeline team | 4D Pipeline - trends & breaking news in Visualization, Mobile, 3D, AR, VR, and CAD. | Scoop.it
Jed Fisher's insight:

Tyler and Phil from our 4D Pipeline team attended GDC last week (next week we head to NVIDIA GTC). I thought i'd share some of their thoughts and findings - feel free to ask any questions.

Oculus : Everywhere. bunch of other headsets - such as OSVR also looking to get adopted but Oculus widely used and most of the big demo queues were to see Oculus related demos.  Oculus folks said Unity was the biggest authoring platform for them - though the had demos from Unity and Epic showing.

Oculus demos themselves - graphically better - didnt queue for the biggest ones  which looked stunning from TV views - but quickly samey - innovation and design is (as with anything) going to be a big differentiator for content and good interactive VR scenes -will up the requirements for design, interaction design and balancing visual quality against hardware requirements.. 

VR Hardware:

A lot of VR hardware on display that goes with headsets e.g. - tracking tools such as Sixense (http://sixense.com/) - which tracked your hand and feet to fully immersive you and platforms like or actually platform -Virrtuix Omni  - kind of specialist treadmill - which allow you to physically walk or run in virtual space (I was impressed how well this actually works (see http://www.virtuix.com/) was being demoed but nearly all seemed to be still at pre-order stage.

Interestingly - unlike earlier generations of VR hardware - these all pretty much seemed to work and i was a lot more impressed by Virtuix walking platform than I expected given it actually works really well. (but anything that requires special shoes plus physical tracking base is not a mainstream product).

I am not convinced there is a large home market for all this stuff  - not yet - it needs another evolution - right now - you need to buy headset (400 bucks) body tracking ( 199 - who will  pay 199 for a 3D space joystick?)   and onmi walker (699) plus PC with decent high end card (lets say 1300 inc card) - so total cost before you have content is $2500. 

Expensive for home - HOWEVER - for a VR training platform for industry, military etc or location based entertainment  - that is obscenely cheap. The  inclusion of hands - so tool world interaction and ability to physically walk through environments safely does change the experience significantly.

WebGL: - being promoted by Unity, Epic, Mozilla but seemed to be a common discussion element - especially with Facebook opening up Walls to support WebGL. This is major! And is bigger news in terms of market opportunity. It makes it of interest to advertising and agencies. Bunch of small companies with Webgl engines and webgl physically based shaders - PlayCanvas was the best of them - but they could get killed by the bigger engines. shame - good engineering - nice engine -fast and small - but huge market challenge given the big guns. Awesome to see Unity now publishing out to WebGL.

Epic Unreal - largest stand at the event and being used on lost of other stands either for games or to show how other products (VR, headsets, nvidia cards, or game engine components e.g. voxel engines) integrate with it. Architectural demos were stunning. WebGL looked awesome. Both Epic and Unity had stuff on show with Mozilla (epic had unreal content on Google, NVIDIA and Oculus stands as well)

Unity - stand popular and busy but unlike previous years where Unity dominated the show this year there were lot of folks comparing Unity and Unreal. Audio Editor in 5 is very impressive ( i think my favorite feature) (plus webgl publishing). Unity still has the best run everywhere capability, plus an incredible app-store and huge community.

Crytek - surprisingly impressed with the visual quality especially for environment demos. Crytek seemed to be in first place, closely followed by Unreal - Unity chasing hard with physically based shaders.  Crytek's subscription model (10 bucks a month - no royalty) was getting fair degree of interest (based on questions being asked) but they need a stronger mobile story. However if they can get their act to together restructuring the company around their platform play Unity will then have another really strong competitor coming into its home territory.

Physically Based Shaders:

Every game engine - Not just Epic and Unity but small ones like the webgl based PlayCanvas - were using Physically based shading - its definitely the new art and lighting method. 

Price War:

This weeks move to free will kill a lot of competition and there were already far fewer smaller game engines on display there this year than last . Even Sony who opened sourced  its windows based game authoring tool and level editor -was getting very little interest in this area. So there is a race to the bottom on pricing to dominate the market. I cannot see how the price drops are sustainable unless you have a platform play that is generating revenue in addition to authoring tool sales e.g. Unity with Asset store etc, or Epic - their own games + asset store and triple AAA licensing and royalty - or Crytek, Asset store plus their own game revenue, AAA revenue. Thats a big set of barriers to any new comer or smaller engine supplier.


Looking forward to NVIDIA GTC next week - ping me to meetup jed(at) 4Dpipeline (dot)com

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Trends That Will Revolutionize The Retail Industry

Trends That Will Revolutionize The Retail Industry | 4D Pipeline - trends & breaking news in Visualization, Mobile, 3D, AR, VR, and CAD. | Scoop.it
In retail, innovation is the name of the game. Increasingly, retailers are staying ahead through unique in-store experiences that inspire shoppers through..
Jed Fisher's insight:

Good article.

For me social is obviously key and I'm glad they mention Oculus.

Two points i'd like to make in additional points:


Where does fashion come from? From others whom we are influenced by. We see these people in person, via magazines and publications, on TV, and now via the internet. Increasing though - we play online in our virtual worlds. Games are only going to become more and more real and more personal. 

So my question is - why should this be any different? If i see Danny in person or online in my Oculus VR game - why shouldnt Danny be looking cool? maybe wearing some branded sneakers or a cap?

Guess what - he will be soon!

2) For me - I buy everything online, my shoes, my sofa, my bike!

I buy online because of speed and the online experience (obviously i'm not a shopper). However most people dont yet. What's the number one reason people don't buy more products online? 

We'll I've asked a LOT of people about this and the number one reason I've heard is - "I dont know if it's going to look like the real thing".

Thus for me - computer vision and realistic interactive 3D is critical to the shopping experience. I need to be able to see the product, move it around, "try it", look carefully at how it's made (build quality, materials, etc), and feel confident that I know what it's going to look like. 2D technologies dont do this. 3D can.


There are many more interesting discussion points, eg how do i know something will fit? how do i do a virtual "try on", etc.

Ping me if you'd like to talk more on this interesting topic. At 4D Pipeline, we help build compelling digital experiences using engaging and fun social interactions and the most cutting edge 3D graphics for a realistic and compelling product experience.

jed (at) 4Dpipeline (dot).com

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Oculus Announces Partnership with Unity

Oculus Announces Partnership with Unity | 4D Pipeline - trends & breaking news in Visualization, Mobile, 3D, AR, VR, and CAD. | Scoop.it

The partnership was announced during the Oculus Connect 2014 conference, along with various details about how the two will work together to improve the development process for VR in Unity.

Through an add-on in Unity, developers will have a wide range of tools at their disposal to hone the more VR-specific elements of a Rift game, including stereo imaging optimization and 3D audio support.

Oculus' hardware will be supported in both the Free and Pro versions of the Unity engine.

Jed Fisher's insight:

A match made in heaven! Makes perfect sense for Unity, Unity Developers, Oculus and Facebook. 

One more platform for Unity's games and interactive 3D content.

At 4D Pipeline we often work with Unity and technology like Oculus for 3D VR (and AR) experiences for products, buildings, entertainment, and more. Give me a yell if you'd like a hand taking your product or idea to this platform. 

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What VR Could, Should, and Almost Certainly Will Be within Two Years.

What VR Could, Should, and Almost Certainly Will Be within Two Years. | 4D Pipeline - trends & breaking news in Visualization, Mobile, 3D, AR, VR, and CAD. | Scoop.it
The Path to the Metaverse I'm tremendously excited to join Oculus, and when I think back, it's astonishing how unlikely the path to this moment is. I've told most of the parts of this story before, but never all together, and the narrative, now spanning twenty years, just keeps getting more remarkable.   Image credit Steve Grever, PC Perspective Palmer, Michael, and John @ QuakeCon 2012 Sometime in 1993 or 1994, I read Snow Crash, and for the first time thought something like the...
Jed Fisher's insight:

Carmack and Abrash are two of my hero's. Their games and their finger (protocol) (pre-twitter, pre-blog! :-)) got me into development and coding. They are both now at Oculus and the future looked so bright! Now that Facebook owns Oculus it should be brighter but man, Facebook.... really... ug...

Anyway, if you didnt read the earlier slide deck i posted from Abrash, you should - called - What VR Could, Should, and Almost Certainly Will Be within Two Years.

It is indeed an amazingly bright future.

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I love Oculus VR projects!

I love Oculus VR projects! | 4D Pipeline - trends & breaking news in Visualization, Mobile, 3D, AR, VR, and CAD. | Scoop.it

At 4D Pipeline- we help you build beautiful visual digital experiences which customers love!

4D Pipeline is a software product design firm with an interdisciplinary worldwide team of product designers, strategists, and developers. We work with startups and fortune 1000s to help design, engineer, and bring to market worthy and meaningful game changing products that customers love. 

Product Management or Product/App Development, we have some of the best people on the planet here to help you.Our customers include the "who's who" of 3D graphics but automotive, manufacturing, and architecture clients. 

Specialties include: #Apps, #3D, #AugmentedReality, #VR, #Visualization, #CAD, #Cloud, and more.
Ping me to find out more - see our portfolio and take a look at our demo Apps.
Jed Fisher's insight:

BTW, ping me to meetup at Autodesk University #AU2014

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Ford demonstrates VR prototyping in Immersive Vehicle Environment

Ford demonstrates VR prototyping in Immersive Vehicle Environment | 4D Pipeline - trends & breaking news in Visualization, Mobile, 3D, AR, VR, and CAD. | Scoop.it
We recently had a rare opportunity to take a look into a few areas of Ford’s Melbourne design center that are normally off limits, including the FIVE lab wh...
Jed Fisher's insight:

Interesting article to follow the Unity/Oculus partnership. Excellent example of how a tool like Unity/Oculus can benefit a company like Ford. 

What's nice about this article is it gives you an insight into Fords workflow, everything comes from the CAD. I've worked with most of the Automotive companies and it's a fascinating but complex process to see how these vehicles are designed and iterated through. UX/usability, styling, performance, are all being tested and fed back to the CAD for continuous checking and iteration. Lots of moving parts (no pun intended :)). 

Anyway - good read - Thanks to Robert from Motus Ventures for the link.

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Virtual reality: the 1990s technology set to change the design world

Virtual reality: the 1990s technology set to change the design world | 4D Pipeline - trends & breaking news in Visualization, Mobile, 3D, AR, VR, and CAD. | Scoop.it
As Facebook buys Oculus and Sony reveals its own VR device, Dezeen investigates what the resurgence of this old school technology means for designers.

Oculus VR was already big before Facebook bought the virtual reality headset maker for $2 billion. "Oculus has the potential to be the most social platform ever," said Mark Zuckerberg in a call to Facebook's investors, while his announcement post painted a picture of the world donning headsets to watch tennis, study in classrooms and consult with doctors.

Facebook sees Oculus Rift as a chance to profoundly transform communication, and to the gaming industry it's a generational leap in electronic entertainment. But there's more to virtual reality. It's as much a creative tool for designers and architects, as it is a new medium for designers to explore, and a close and personal way of experiencing the creations of others...

Via Lauren Moss
Jed Fisher's insight:

Another nice Oculus article focusing on using it for Design.

Here are two others on the recent sales which are worth a quick read.

Musings on the Oculus sale


Oculus was the future of gaming. Now it’s the future of Facebook.

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Gamer forgets he's in his room during 5-hour Virtual Reality session

Gamer forgets he's in his room during 5-hour Virtual Reality session | 4D Pipeline - trends & breaking news in Visualization, Mobile, 3D, AR, VR, and CAD. | Scoop.it
Kotaku's Richard Eisenbeis says that "at times [he] literally forgot [he] was really sitting in my living room" while playing with the Oculus Rift—a new virtual reality gaming eyeglasses system—for five hours straight.
Jed Fisher's insight:

There is a quote from Bladerunner which I love when Tyrell says - '"More human than human" is our motto'.

When it comes to computer graphics I like the motto "More real than real". Oculus is still a long way away from this but it is indeed another step towards it.

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