Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by bit-tech, 17 Nov 2017.
Looks like I accidentally a word: should be "hold a Vive Tracker at their ends and come with [...]"
Fixed now, ta!
And with that pricetag the idea becomes dead on arrival.
I don't disagree, but most of the price seems to be the fact that they come with a Vive Tracker. As neat as the Vive Tracker is, it is an uncomfortably expensive piece of kit(a hundred dollars for a tracker with no accessories attached).
It is somewhat ironic that Oculus' tracking technology would enable very cheap tracker pucks, since they would just be a plastic shell full of IR LEDs to make them clearly visible to the overglorified webcams Rift uses for tracking. No brains, just batteries and lights.
Vive's tech requires trackers to be expensive bundles of sensors and communications devices, since the beacons are "simple" light emitters and all the tracking is done by the devices being tracked. So of course Vive has trackerpucks and Rift doesn't.
If you offload the position detection and processing to the devices being tracked (and the vive controllers / pucks have 24 sensor / processor circuit boards each ) then you don't have issues with processing or bandwidth bottlenecks on the host computer.
With a vive, you can use two controllers, three pucks and the headset. That's something like 120 sensors but the host PC only has to deal with receiving 36 numbers (6 x 6dof) for positional data (more for input etc). Compare that to Occults and the issues some people have with USB bandwidth.
I'm sure if there's an endgame for all of this. Will inside out win over everything else? How about inside out with an optional / wireless sensor unit (like Occulus constellation 'camera')? Personally I love the vive tracking tech, it's robust and it works, and maybe it'll remain as the premium option. Time will tell.
The Rift setup does have high bandwidth costs initially. Two high-speed, high-resolution webcams(for a standard Rift+Touch setup). They're pushing a LOT of pixels through those poor abused USB ports.
But to my understanding, it scales well. The image size doesn't go up as more devices are added. The amount of data coming from the cameras doesn't change, there's just more little white dots in the frames now.
There's definitely a processor load as the CPU figures out what those LEDs represent, but not a huge one since it is only tracking a handful of dots and not parsing an actual image. A trackerpuck wouldn't even need a data connection.
On the Vive, every peripheral carries a higher upfront cost since it has to be self-tracking(hence why the Vive Tracker is a hundred bucks), and bandwidth load increases with peripherals.
It isn't actually a LOT of data, but avoiding dropped RF packets is an issue as more devices compete for airtime(but the headset is cabled, so no lost packets for the part that needs to track the fastest and most accurately).
The Vive setup is also far easier to configure initially. Since you don't need to connect the Vive's lighthouses to the computer, they can be crammed anywhere you can get power to them. Whereas the Rift sensors DO need USB data, and thus have to be cabled to the computer(which was what dictated where my sensors went).
Both setups have their advantages. The Rift setup just makes tracker pucks SUPER-easy, if only they existed.
I've had no real problem with tracking on my Rift. But I honestly think inside-out is where the industry is going to standardize.
Not because it is better, mind you. That your hands have to be in sight of the headset is a significant issue that will be hard to work around, and the lack of an external objective frame of reference makes accurate tracking much harder. Both problems are eliminated with the "traditional" tracking setups used by Rift, Vive, and PSVR(which is looking a little crude after the Rift and Vive price cuts put them in the same bracket).
But the ease of setup is very attractive. You just plug in the headset and go, and this is a powerful selling point.
Given what they're selling with these pucks, is it any surprise that Oculus haven't bothered?
A sodding tennis racquet - you can't even see this with the headset on!
I fear you've slightly missed the point of the devices. The Vive Trackers are designed to be attached to objects of known shape and size at a fixed point (as well as sticking 'em on your wrists and ankles for full-body tracking). If you know the Tracker is attached to a tennis racquet that's X long and Y wide at position Z, you can create a virtual tennis racquet that's X long and Y wide and follows the position of the real-world version precisely.
In other words: if you stick your headset on, put the racquet down, then walk across the room and back you'll have no difficulty in finding the racquet and picking it up by the handle without removing the headset. You'll see a virtual representation of the plastic racquet which maps 1:1 in position and size to its real-world equivalent.
This is how the Logitech Bridge keyboard works: Logitech knows exactly how big the keyboard is and where it is relative to the Tracker, and the accuracy is (claimed to be) such that you can type on its virtual representation without missing the keys in the real world.
But a tennis racquet is rigid - the position of the puck is always going to be exactly in line with how you're holding the controller (especially with the long handled Vive wands). The same problem affects the gun.
I can see how the keyboard provides utility, as you're not always holding this while you play the game. But are you likely to be picking up and putting down a gun or tennis racquet every few minutes?
I suppose people may be keen to feel a gun or racquet handle under their hand while they play - perhaps that's the market. Don't imagine there are more than a half dozen ready to pay this money, though!
Not sure I understand this. Waving the Vive Wand around feels completely different to waving a tennis racquet around, and both feel totally different to aiming and firing a pistol. That's what these accessories are designed to solve: instead of holding a Vive Wand and seeing a pistol, you're holding a pistol and seeing that very same pistol. Look at some of the examples HTC used to demo the Trackers: real-world rifles for military training, real-world hosepipes for firefighter training - duplicating the feel of using the real objects as closely as possible.
I can see better now why people might like this, but surely missing proper feedback of actions (e.g. the weight and force of a firefighter hose) hugely outweigh the gripping feeling. Not sure this can overcome the absence of the impact of the ball, or of the recoil of a handgun.
That said, I've only used Touch controllers - are the Vive ergonomics odd enough for this to be a big step up? I've found immersion with holding in-game "things" to not be a problem.
That is definitely something that needs to improve, but... it feels like a longer-term project. Even slight improvements make a huge difference.
I do feel like the tennis rackets could VERY easily have integral tracking. The not-zapper is a bit more challenging due to the compact shape, but could probably still be done in a more aesthetically pleasing manner with minor gun redesigns instead of "bolt a lumpy hockey puck on top".
I am in the same boat, having only used the Rift's controllers, but the impression I have gotten is "it depends who you ask".
Okay, that's not ENTIRELY fair. I've also been led to believe the Vive controllers feel more like you're holding an object and less like you're waving your hands around in the air. Whether this is better or worse depends on who you ask and what you're playing.
In the case of the firefighter example, they were attached to an actual hose - so, exactly the same weight (though not force) as a real hose, 'cos it was a real hose. In the case of the rifle example, they were attached to an actual rifle - and you could, theoretically, stick a BFA and a mag full of blanks in there to get the full experience.
Trouble with that is you go from the current "make a cheap plastic thing, buy in the expensive complicated thing HTC has already made wholesale, and stick it on top" to "make an expensive complicated thing using technology licensed from HTC." That's non-trivial, and while I'm not saying we'll never see third-party Vive-compatible trackables not based around the Tracker I'm saying it'll take a lot longer and cost a lot more money.
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