Oculus Quest and Rift S use similar inside-out tracking which relies on cameras on the headsets to not only track the user’s head but also their hands. While this works well in many cases, at launch there was something of a deadzone when bringing the hands very close to the headset which could lead to spotty tracking. With an update now rolling out publicly to Quest and Rift S, Oculus says that tracking in this specific area has been improved.
While Quest & Rift S surely have the widest controller tracking coverage we’ve from similar inside-out systems, both had notable deadzones when bringing the controllers very close to the headset. In many cases where the controllers only briefly pass through the deadzone, tracking is handled gracefully by making some best guesses about their location. However, in games where the player’s hands are continuously in the deadzone, those estimations become inaccurate, leading to occasionally seeing your hands drift or disappear.
This especially impacted realistic shooter games like Pavlov (2017)—where the player’s trigger hand would be held nearly up to their cheek while looking down the scope—and CREED: Rise to Glory (2018)—where the player is asked to hold their hands up in front of their face to block incoming punches.
In an update rolling out to the public today on both Quest and Rift S, Oculus says these specific situations have been improved, though they don’t go so far as saying they’ve been been fixed entirely. “We’ve fine-tuned our Oculus Touch controller tracking algorithms to improve accuracy for certain poses, like when your hands are close to the headset or angled away from it,” the company writes in a blog post.
We’ll need some time to go hands on with the update and get a feel for it ourselves, but in the meantime this video shows tracking footage on the Rift S using the new update, and it does look like things have been notably improved.
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Ben LangSours: https://www.roadtovr.com/update-brings-controller-tracking-imr/
Oculus Rift S
$399 with controllers
450 g without headstrap
500 g with headstrap
2 x Oculus Touch (second generation) 6 DoF
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What Is Oculus Touch?
Oculus Touch Features
- Intuitive VR controls: Point your finger while holding the controller and watch your virtual finger perform the same gesture. This allows you to point at, grab, pick up, and interact with virtual objects.
- Twin stick controls: It includes a twin analog stick control scheme similar to other game consoles.
- Comfortable and lightweight: The familiar handle-and-trigger design fits well in the hand, and the weight is light enough for long gaming sessions.
- Haptic feedback: Unique touch controls increase the sense of immersion when interacting with virtual worlds.
|Motion Controls||Yes, full-motion tracking with six degrees of freedom.|
|Directional controls||Dual analog thumb sticks.|
|Buttons||Four face buttons, four triggers.|
|Haptic feedback||Buffered and non-buffered.|
|Batteries||2 AA batteries required (one per controller)|
|Weight||272 grams (excluding batteries)|
|Availability||Included with new Oculus Rifts. Also available for purchase separately.|
Oculus Touch is Oculus VR's first true motion controller. Although the Oculus Rift headset originally shipped with a handheld remote control, it only had limited motion tracking.
The Oculus Touch has full motion tracking with six degrees of freedom, which means it can track each of your hands as they forward and back, left and right, up and down. It also senses rotation along each of the three axes.
Each controller also includes features that will be familiar to console gamers, including two analog sticks, four face buttons, and two triggers. This is roughly the same number of buttons and triggers as a DualShock 4 or Xbox One controller.
The main difference between the configuration of the Oculus Touch and traditional gamepads is that there is no d-pad on either controller, and the face buttons are split between the two controllers instead of all being accessible by the same thumb.
Previous and Alternate Controls for Oculus Rift
The Oculus Touch wasn't available when the Oculus Rift first launched. Most games that were in development at that time were designed with a controller in mind, so the initial run of Oculus Rift headsets shipped with alternate control methods.
Xbox One Controller
Oculus VR partnered with Microsoft to include an Xbox One controller with every Oculus Rift prior to the introduction of Oculus Touch. The included controller was not the updated Xbox One S version, so it lacked both Bluetooth connectivity and a standard headset jack.
Once the Oculus Touch was introduced, the inclusion of an Xbox One controller was phased out.
The other Oculus Rift controller that predates Oculus Touch is the Oculus Remote. This tiny device is very basic and is better suited to navigating menus than actually playing games.
The Oculus Remote does feature limited tracking, which allows the user to point and click in VR, but it lacks the full positional tracking offered by the Oculus Touch.
Oculus Rift units that include Oculus Touch do not include the Oculus Remote, but it is still available for purchase as an accessory.
You can't, directly. Taking out the batteries will, naturally, turn the controllers off, and when you unplug your headset, the controllers will enter sleep mode. However, there is no series of buttons to press to shut the device itself down.
Remove the battery cover, located on the handle of the controller, by lightly pulling it to access your Touch controller's batteries.
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Oculus Quest software 7.0 and Oculus Rift S software 1.39 brings important improvements to Touch controller tracking.
We tested the update on Rift S and found that it dramatically improves controller tracking close to the headset, and noticeably reduces cases of controller occlusion breaking tracking.
Near Headset Controller Tracking
Before this patch, controller tracking would “stick” when a controller came too close to the headset. This was particularly noticeable in first person shooters when using two handed rifles, or when using a bow, or in fighting games like Creed when making a defensive pose.
In the weeks before launch, Oculus CTO John Carmack described this as “one of the hard poses for tracking, where the cameras can’t see a good selection of LEDs on the controller, and the LEDs are so big and glaring that they don’t look like the normal tracking dots”.
He did however state that the problem was being worked on, and that he expected improvements.
This update brings those improvements. Controllers can now be brought close to the headset–even touching the headset at some angles. This makes using rifles in shooters and bows in archery games a much more usable experience.
The other major issue with controller tracking was how easily it would break when one controller occluded the other. Prior to this patch, any instance of one controller being moved in front of the other would break tracking.
With this patch this has now improved. While the change is not as dramatic as the close to headset improvements, it is noticeable and helps in games with two handed interactions such as shooters.
Automatic Floor Height Detection
The update also adds automatic detection of the position of the floor during Guardian setup.
Previously, the floor height was set by touching the floor with a Touch controller during setup. This can still be done if the algorithm gets it wrong, but is no longer necessary otherwise.
The Rift S already had the easiest setup process of any PC VR headset, but this update makes getting into VR even easier.
Playing games like Onward, Pavlov, and Creed with PTC 1.39 feels like using a different headset than before. Instances of tracking loss while playing normally are almost completely gone from what we’ve tested.
At the release of Rift S, many in the VR community criticized the controller tracking limitations and claimed they proved that inside-out was the wrong decision for the Rift line. Shooters like Onward even added a ‘Virtual Gunstock Mode’ to work around these limitations–a mode that may not be necessary with this patch.
YouTube user magicnch posted a short video of the update with the popular FPS:
Hopefully improvements continue to come since this is already a big step just one month after launch. Rushed software seems to have potentially been the cause of these issues, rather than a fundamental limitation of inside-out tracking.
Writes about VR & AR technology news & industry trends. Usually on VR Download.Twitter
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