By Dan Griliopoulos
Those who’ve tried playing Team Fortress 2 with the Oculus Rift largely agree that it’s a game changer – albeit with resolution and focus problems. Yet Valve’s tech-brain in chief, Michael Abrash, talked at GDC extensively about the challenges of developing working VR and especially AR systems, and what exactly technical advances we’ll need to get a more satisfactory VR system. Though the Oculus Rift has impressed nearly everyone who’s worn it, Abrash suggests that it’ll take some time before we escape the technology’s compromises.
First, we’d better clarify our terms. Virtual Reality (VR) is a closed, totally immersive 3D system that appears in the frame of reference of the real world – so turning your head turns it in Virtual Reality. Alternate Reality (AR) is virtual reality images that appear to coexist with the real world, distinct from the simple overlays that, say, Google Glass does. And, Regular Reality, as Abrash has it, is the real world.
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