Fanfest: Dogfighting in EVE with the Oculus Rift

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Cool!
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Did some of the journalist had glasses? If so, how did they felt trying this?
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How freaking awesome would it be to fly a fighter out of a corp-mate's carrier? I know it's a long shot and it might as well be walking in stations with beer goggles, but I still think it could be as popular as Dust, if not more, and they should do it.
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Jaw, say goodbye to skull, and meet floor.
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Note; they have had this kind of head-tracking targeting for years, it's not new.
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This is what I've always dreamt of.
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Very impressive in terms of its potential. I like the concept, and wouldn't be surprised if it becomes another potential sub-game that's integrated with EVE like Dust is.But if it turns into something for tablets or Playstation and not PC, someone is going to die a horrible death by my hands. The fact that they're leveraging the Rift almost assures that won't happen, though.
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That and having troopships carrying dusties heading towards enemy super caps and boarding them to damage subsystems while enemy troops defended it.
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Me wantz this so badly.It is quite impresisve that they could get it into a demonstration-worthy state in such a short amount of time. Really impressive.
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Supposedly, the Oculus will feature adaptable optics (like you find in binoculars), so for straightforward near- or farsightedness, you can simply tune the optics until the imagery is sharp for you.
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Maybe but this will be the first product released to the public
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Indeed--if I'm not mistaken, it was deployed on various platforms on both sides of the Cold War in the 1980s. Implementing it at home, that's another trick, and it sounds awesome!
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What is new is the ability to respond quickly enough to make it immersive. You mustn't note the delay. You turn your head, your vision immediately moves. Otherwise is it always is (was) a jarring effect.
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Ace Combat in Space -- I came.Even if you didn't have enough people to pilot all 20 of your, say, Aeon's fighter-bombers, one can easily break the bombers into groups of five bombers -- one player and four NPC squadmates that fly around and mimic the player's actions. Four people --> twenty fighterbombers.
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So basically, massively multi-player Freespace + one more pilot on your wing. I have to fully support almost anything that could be derived from Freespace.So it could either be Ace Combat in EVE or Freespace in EVE. HOW COULD THIS FAIL?
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A peek at what they're working on is in the EVE keynote video at about 3:33 http://www.twitch.tv/ccp/b/395...
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I was worried after the 'no more jesus feature' comments CCP would loose its aspiration to push the boundaries and excite us - this has pleasantly surprised me!
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I think it's cool that devs spend 20% of their time doing whatever the fuck they want, I just wish it didn't involve some ridiculous boondoggle. Take away the crazy expensive VR goggles and work on sticking dogfighting with a console controller into Eve. Take away the stupid ass PS3 and work on adding Dust 514 to PC.
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Oh man I have tent pants.How friggin cool would this be!?!Good write up!
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Your right CCP as a company should only have developers for the games currently in development, it sounds like their game engine dev's have had a break through and was passing it along to you the fans. But if you want them to start treating their games like EA then ya, go ahead CCP fire everyone not completely on development of LIVE features of eve for next patches.
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I'm just saying it would be nice if that 20% was spent on things that might actually see the light of day instead of pie in the sky "the next big thing" projects that will never amount to anything. Maybe we would have funner stuff in Eve instead of super realistic cloaks for some vampire game and being able to walk in stations which 0% of the Eve population gives a shit about. Of course they can spend their free time doing whatever they like.
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Anyone else hoping this some how loses the expensive VR helm, configure a way for it to work with the new PS4 eye thing( you lose the looking around with your head). This would allow dust bunnies to control your fighters/bombers and still still have your eve corp mates where they need to be, next to you in their ships. The only problem I see with this is normally is not just 1v1 cap warfare. Tell me If i'm wrong please.
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The evolution of these things has to go on somewhere. We wouldn't have LCD HDTV's if someone somewhere wasn't willing to deal with 10" black and white in the past.
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John Lucario lost a Nyx ratting today when his Fighter pilots turned on him, news at 11.
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I remember suggesting this a couple years back and it was scoffed at. Now, it is considered awesome. vOv
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There are a lot of people who want world of darkness to see the light of day (seewhutididtherelol?)
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The AH-64 has had head tracking targeting for over two decades.
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I've been waiting for First Person Flight in Eve since 2004.. anyone remember the Atmospheric flight teaser from ages past?
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Clearly you have no idea how R&D actually works. "Pet projects" have founded industries, but you have to take the overhead hit in time and productivity to create the opportunity for it to happen, the only thing that IS guaranteed is you wont develop ANYTHING ground breaking if you dont provide the time to "play"
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Kesper wears glasses.
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why just fighters? i wanna fly rifters and other frigs and destroyers like this.... daredevil and dramiel would be heaven :)
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Man your faggot is showing better check that.
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In a clusterfuck between nullsec blobs, the fighter pilots shall dodge the autocannon fire of Thrashers in time dilation.
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too bad TopGoon is already taken :smith:
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Track IR and 3D Glasses, around for over a decade for under 300 USD.
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I can not start to explain how greatly i anticipate this piece of kit!This is truly " I was There" material.This could be revolutionary to the whole MMO genre. Plus a great tool for training Earths population for a future alien war.
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Is It me or did that demo look a lot like Squadron 42? from Mr Roberts current Kickstarter?
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Real life pilots have been aiming with their heads for 20 years...
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While I doubt they'll ever manage to integrate this with EVE in the same way that DUST is going to be, it would be an amazingly fun stand-alone game to play and I sincerely hope CCP dedicates a team to its development and release.I would buy an Oculus just for this.
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Upvote for proper use of Scott Bernard in a dogfighting situation. 10/10 would read again.
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And to me, that would be the one of the flashpoints in the sandbox scenario. That's what I want to see done eventually.
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Speak for yourself motherfucker. Don't use broad sweeping generalizations regarding WiS and DUST on the PS3. I PREFER DUST on the PS3, because I can still use a KB/M and I don't have to dedicate my computer to playing DUST -or- EVE, and I can play that shit on any television I want.You're a fucking imbecile who just cannot reconcile his ignorant "PC MASTER RACE OMGWTFBBQROTFLOL!1!!" mindset. Buy a fucking PS3, you'll be surprised.
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Because fighters don't fit a capsule in them. It'd make no sense to pilot a Rifter, a ship the size of a Boeing 747, the same way you would a small, nimble, agile fighter, and it -especially- wouldn't make any sense to have a cockpit view when you're not even in a cockpit to begin with.
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Dusties riding in dropships launched by your Carrier protected by eVR fighter pilots attempting to board a Titan to damage its subsystems to make it less efficient to tilt the battle in your favor to gain you new territory to gain more resources to build more ships, suits, and fighters.
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You say that like it's a bad thing.
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Why would I want to spend $300+ on a console I'm going to use for 1 game?
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I don't think you understand the concept of "20% time". The 20% time is for fucking around and seeing if you can make something potentially awesome/marketable/profitable. All the sensible stuff happens in "80% time".
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The rig isn't CCP's, and I doubt it will be less than a 100 (minimum) any time soon. I'd guess $200-$300.
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Not only a lovely mechanic for fighters this could be used for any ship in eve! All the UI would have to be stepped up a bit to accomadate the complexity of a full starship, but since this is something which is so far off anyways its still a reasonable jab. If CCP wants to give the game world something really new and cool this would be it...
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True, but this probably won't be applicable anyways for a few years and computer's processing power is always improving.
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Most of what makes this cool is the helmet.
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Having grown up in the 90s, where VR technology was the "next big thing," only for disasters such as the Virtual Boy to come along and dash all expectations... color me skeptical. The Wii, Playstation Move, and Kinect have done little to change this as far as I'm concerned.
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i'd love to see VR used with EVE. Though i'd prefer something like the NerveGear/FullDive technology featured in SAO, no matter how long it takes to make it so.
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good stuff.perhaps the Kinect 2 will be able to construct a point cloud worth a damn, and having your hands in the cockpit operating controls isn't far off

My fighter sat ready in the launch tube as I familiarized myself with the controls for the first time. Turning my head to the left and right I could see the launch bay on either side of me, and even stretching behind me as I craned my neck to see out of the bubble canopy. Holographic controls floated in space on either side of my seated figure. A moment later, I was given the signal to prepare for launch. Speeding down the launch tube like a bullet from a gun, in a few seconds I was free and clear in space. And I wasn't alone: three red circles lit up in space. Hostile fighters inbound.

Like many forward-thinking software companies, CCP encourages its developers to spend 20% of their time on personal projects that might turn out to be the Next Big Thing. In some cases, it pays unexpected dividends. CCP Unifex (also known as Jon Lander), the Executive Producer of EVE Online, hosted a special demo for one of these personal projects for representatives of the press at Fanfest on Thursday afternoon. The contents of this demo have been under embargo - until now.

Some time ago, CCP helped fund the Oculus Rift VR technology Kickstarter, and as a result about seven weeks ago they received the first developer kit versions of the hardware. A group of EVE devs had spent their 20% time, as well as a significant number of their nights and weekends, working on a fun demonstration of the rig's capabilities in the universe of EVE. In a few minutes, he said, we would have the opportunity to sit in the cockpit of Amarr and Minmatar fighters - the same fighters EVE players launch from their carriers and supercarriers - and pilot them into battle using the Oculus rig and a console-style game controller.

I admit I was skeptical as I listened. The idea sounds cool, to be sure, but it also sounded a bit gimmicky. From what we were being told, this was not even close to being in a releasable state. As we waited in line to try the demo, I commented to The Mittani that the whole thing reminded me uncomfortably of the time a couple of years back in which CCP demoed EVE clients running on tablets and phones on the stage at Fanfest during the EVE keynote, only to never hear a peep about mobile clients again. It seemed like a way to generate a little buzz, but nothing more.

I also went into the experience with low expectations for the level of polish on display. I was skeptical about how well the Oculus rig would work and whether it could provide a seamlessly integrated VR experience. I also expected the graphics on display to be unpolished, perhaps even untextured.

Then I strapped the Oculus rig to my face and had my expectations blown out of the water. I was sitting in a fully rendered cockpit with holographic displays floating in front of me. The Oculus tracked the movements of my head perfectly as I looked down and saw my own virtual 'body', hands on throttle and stick in the cockpit. I turned my head left and right, craning my neck as far as I could, and I was able to see around and even behind myself. My fighter, an Amarrian Templar-class, was sitting in a lovingly-rendered carrier launch bay reminiscent of the Viper launch tubes from Battlestar Galactica. 

A CCP dev - unfortunately I didn't catch his name - explained the controls to me. We would be using a standard console controller, he said. The fighter would be under constant thrust at all times, though we could accelerate and decelerate to outrun and avoid enemy missiles using the A and B buttons. A thumbstick controlled the direction of travel, acting like a joystick. The left trigger fired lasers, but these were said to be "really hard to use". Instead, the dev recommended using the missiles, which took advantage of another Oculus feature. Missile targeting is done by holding down the right trigger, which brings up a targeting reticule that follows the direction your head is facing. By simply looking at a target for a few seconds, target lock would be acquired, and missiles would fire when you released the trigger. Again, I was concerned that I would have trouble coordinating my head movements with the targeting reticule, but given how absolutely stunning the whole thing looked, I didn't much care.

Hostile fighters weren't the only thing we had to worry about, either. The spacescape was littered with massive, spinning Veldspar asteroids, and our tiny fighters raced among them, moving fast, dodging and weaving among the asteroids. In the middle of the asteroid field was a massive Amarrian space station, its golden bulk dwarfing my tiny fighter as I skirted its edge.  But I wasn't just here to admire the scenery; there was work to do. As I dodged asteroids, I turned my head to look at the nearest enemy fighter and held down the right trigger, bringing up the missile targeting reticule. A few seconds and I had tone - the signal that a target lock had been acquired - even though I was maneuvering wildly and more than a little inexpertly, the Oculus system was tracking my head movements perfectly and keeping me right on target. I let go of the trigger and a Robotech-Scott Bernard-style stream of missiles spouted forth from my fighter.

In practice, the Oculus head-tracking system worked flawlessly and with surprising smoothness. I could look up, down and around at my environment with zero delay. The environment even stretched a good ways behind me, so that I felt truly immersed in my Templar's cockpit. Targeting missiles by turning my head felt natural and completely intuitive; in fact it was probably the easiest and most accurate targeting interface I've ever used in a video game. It made me wonder how long it would be before a system like this makes its debut in real life fighter aircraft.

The gameplay itself was straightforward: we were in a simple 3v3 dogfighting match, with Amarr fighters on one side and Minmatar fighters on the other, each fighter piloted by a member of the press who was participating in the demonstration. I found that engagement ranges were quite long. There was no way I was getting close enough - or flying my ship accurately enough - to begin to think about using the pulse lasers; it was missiles all the way. This meant that gameplay was restricted to maneuvering to keep an enemy in your sights, targeting missiles and avoiding them. It was fast and arcadey and not particularly deep, but one could easily imagine adding depth by adding weapon modules, balancing missile ranges, and giving the different fighter classes their own flavor.

As I played, I was on the lookout for symptoms of motion sickness, which has often plagued me when playing FPS games. Between the extremely high framerate (well over 60 FPS, according to Mr. Lander) and the perfect synchronization between my head movements and the changing field of view of the Oculus rig, I felt like I was really there in that cockpit, and there was no trace of nausea or vertigo.

Another fun note about the Oculus rig: it projects things in stereoscopic 3D. The holographic controls in my cockpit were really holographic, and I had a strong sense of depth and space in my cockpit and with the objects outside of it. Overall, it's a really impressive piece of kit, and this was just with one of the developer models. The actual consumer device will have higher resolution.

I was getting the hang of it, now. I released the trigger and fired a new storm of missiles, annihilating another games journalist. As his Einherji exploded, the game paused and a message floated in space: The Amarr side had won, and I had scored 540 points. Amarr Victor, I thought ironically.

As I pulled off the Oculus eyephones and struggled a bit to get my bearings after experiencing the vivid virtual environment, I heard The Mittani, who turned out to have been my wingmate on the Amarrian side, as he proclaimed the demo to have been 'incredibly cool'. We caught up with Mr. Lander again after the demo, and pestered him with questions about whether CCP was thinking seriously about productizing this. He said that this was just a demonstration and that there is nothing planned at this time as the Oculus rig itself is still under development. I think he could see the spark of excitement in the two of us, however, as we had been openly skeptical before trying the demo; now we wanted to buy the thing and face off against our friends. 

If anything comes of this demonstration, it will be a long way off. The challenges are significant - the specialized hardware alone will present a barrier to entry for many players. But CCP has the beginnings of something that could be the hardcore PC-hugging EVE player's answer to DUST 514: an incredibly fun space dogfighting simulation in a smooth, well-integrated VR environment with a substantial player base that is familiar with the property. This might just give them an advantage in a new field of gaming.

[name_1]
Kesper North is a humble line member in GoonSwarm Federation. His passions in EVE are nullsec politics and solo PVP. He gladly accepts donations of Orthruses. Twitter: @KesperNorth