Wednesday, April 8th, 2020
Expected video publication date (or earlier).
Will edit as appropriate.
- The Good (5min), The Bad* (10min), The Ugly* (5min), The Understandable (<5min).
- Tutorial on optimized resolution settings (10min).
- Footage of a few seated and roomscale VR apps (15min).
- Related ongoing projects of mine towards a smooth VR experience (5min).
Of course ‘the good, the bad, the ugly’ is not meant to be taken literally, but this is ‘unbiased’. I don’t think there was ever any limitation on anything that could be said of these preproduction units as long as it was clear they are just that, and not-final.
Seems quite a few people have been waiting for this. Related VR projects, from CPU cooling, to standardizing flight sim controls, have taken time as prerequsites. Now, most of the preparation is done, including some footage, so the video should be ready well before the end of another week.
In the meantime, with much less detail, and in pure text…
Pimax Vision 8kX hardware. Within tens of percent of typical human visual acuity in both resolution and FOV. No competition among other available products. For flight sim, this is more of a necessity than a luxury…
PiTool Software. Reliability and performance are all that matter. With updated NVIDIA drivers and the correct PiTool version, both are well within reasonable expectations.
Reduced hardware requirements. Due to reduced need for supersampling. The extent of this would not have been known if I did not have this Pimax Vision 8kX right now, so a huge thanks to Pimax for that!
Not really bad, as much as par for the course with any VR today.
Adaptation time - users should expect clarity to improve mostly within 6 hours of use, and a bit more with weeks of use, probably due to unavoidable geometry and optics considerations (ie. flat panels, vergence-accommodation conflict)…
Adjustability - 85% of users will have the best experience, about 15% (from CES/roadshow) perceive intermediate clarity closer to 8k+ than full 8kX, probably due to physiological differences in eyes…
Comfort - while most users (from CES/roadshow) find this to be among if not the most comfortable VR headset yet, for ‘professionals’, it is still ‘there’. In my experience, Continuous Productive Hours are now increased from about <4days/<40hours, limited by eyestrain, to >8days/>96hours, limited by things aftermarket products might solve, some of which I am working toward…
Black level - very few use cases will even show this, and even fewer of the users noticing it will prefer other lower resolution headsets. Nonetheless…
Not really ‘ugly’ of course, just the most time consuming to workaround. Applies to all VR available. All of it not part of Pimax.
Updates. SteamVR, MSW, and even apps like DCS World. Even the most stable branches have updates which break the even most core functionality, and crippling performance regressions are inevitable as long as the margins remain thin.
Offline working backup is valuable insurance. Offline, only connected to internet briefly, for specifically valued updates, only after a live system has been using those updates for a few days. Working, everything set to offline mode, and tested. Buying a separate SSD and software licenses is much cheaper than the whole system, although completely duplicating and testing your flight sim setup may take some time…
So when - not if - something breaks, you can prove it is not your problem.
Confusing GPU hardware marketing. It’s not ‘overclocking’ anymore, just confusing for anyone new to VR, which can actually demand the very best. The RTX 2080 Ti ‘officially’ has a ‘boost’ core clock of 1545 MHz, but buy an ‘Ultra’, ‘FTW’, ‘whatever’, card, download the vendor’s app, set a couple things to max, change clock to 2000MHz, and if it doesn’t work, it’s probably outright defective.
Make sure you know what binned GPU/heatsink you are really buying.
The Obvious. The Dead Horse.
I will limit my participation in debate over this.
For a Kickstarter that was at least somewhat ambitious, Pimax has actually done really well to salvage things, much less gather momentum, rather than publish a worksheet of excuses and abandon. Well before so much as getting any early access hardware from Pimax, I have had this opinion of them. Because I actually have talked to people who have seen Kickstarter and startups from the other side of the fence. Makerspaces are great places to learn things like that…
What other company is producing headsets with comparable resolution and FOV? From experience, at least a while ago, I know this is at least partly due to the greater readiness of Chinese companies to prototype quickly and affordably. Smart valued people are behind that, perhaps in a growing economy, there are only positive things to say about that.
Coronavirus. The consequences to human life, economies, and many people’s hopes, are tragic. Everything will be delayed, rushing will only endanger people and product. China has been through what may be the worst already, other countries are just starting to experience these problems. I give Pimax leadership tremendous credit for publicly recognizing this when they announced the recent problems with Artisan enclosures, and committed not to repeat that.
Tutorial on optimized resolution settings.
Like the previous video, but cut to a minimum of time, with visual cues.
How to use the spreadsheets, quick tweaking methodology, best startup practices, DCS World and Elite Dangerous as examples.
Footage of a few seated and roomscale VR apps (15min).
Hopefully every VR supported flight sim out there, Elite Dangerous, HL: Alyx, and maybe a few other things. Nothing through the lens, since I can certify SweViver’s work. However, there will be some discussion of the more subtle things. Like the usefulness of the wide FOV in flight sim to hold a button and see an indicator light. Or that certain labels in the DCS World A10C are at the edge of readability due to wide font and lack of hyperacuity. Specific objects that are more immersive in high resolution roomscale experiences will get a mention.
Related ongoing projects of mine towards a smooth VR experience (5min).
Some ‘aftermarket’ things in development that might help. Startup scripts, blower fan attachments, maybe some other things. Will be interesting to see if anyone else adopts these longer term.
Next CPU (i9-10900k) is expected to push the 300W barrier, and GPUs are running 70degC. Water cooling will go from optional to necessary for getting the best performance to support top-end VR.
Specifically to support this next gen hardware, when available, I will be designing a new simulation/gaming PC. Hopefully, I will be able to release some resources showing how to smooth the DC power internally with a protected LiPo battery, use an external pump for quick fill/drain, and connect to a chiller when at home.