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Thread: Thoughts on a VR friendly UI

  1. #1
    Newer Member Saari's Avatar
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    Thoughts on a VR friendly UI

    Hello all,

    I've been following Rogue System intermittently over the last several years and just decided to go ahead and buy into the Early Access and support development of this wonderful-looking sim! I thought I would pop in here and lay out some suggestions I have for the possibility of future VR support.

    I have been dreaming about VR since I was a kid and Rogue System is basically the game I always dreamed about playing. Now that VR is (almost) here, I absolutely can't wait to fly my very own fully-interactive space ship

    Having played around with numerous games and demos since obtaining an Oculus Rift DK2, I have noticed some things that I think would help make the RS UI friendly to VR users when that functionality is eventually added:

    • The cursor needs to be an actual object in 3D space. This means that the size of the cursor circle should look like it is moving across whatever surface it is currently over. Discovering Space does this fairly well. See below for some mock-ups about what I'm talking about.
    • The cursor should move with your head. (This appers to already be the case in the latest Deephack video with TrackIR, so perfect!)
    • The cursor should also be able to be moved about freely with the mouse (or a bindable axis).
    • There should be a bindable key to re-center the cursor in view.
    • There should be a bindable key to hide/show the cursor entirely. This (and the last) are done very well by FlyInside FSX.
    • Also, a bindable key for re-centering the headset view is essential. And/or use the "tapping the side" method by FlyInside.


    I think if these basics are implemented, RS would already be a very functional and pleasant experience in VR. In fact, I volunteer as guinea pig for VR testing if needed


    Image mock-ups:

    Here is what the cursor would look like when placed over a button. Notice how it looks like it's laying flat to the surface of the button.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here is one showing the relative sizes of the cursor when looking at something close and something far. Obviously, there would only be one cursor on the screen at a time, I just wanted to show how it would look different depending on the "depth" of where it is placed.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    EDIT: Store issue resolved; irrelevant quips removed
    Last edited by Saari; 10-04-15 at 10:45 PM.

  2. #2
    Registered Nemises's Avatar
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    just want to plus one this...
    I have no VR, but, thinking ahead for it is pretty important IMHO, and CV1 and RS landing points are going to overlap in terms of time and user base (ie us sim heads are destined to be VR adopters).
    Projecting the mouse cursor onto a planar surface might not be an insignificant task code wise?, but makes sense to do.
    However, moving the cursor with your head is a problem we moved away from early on, as (at least with trackir) holding an accurate enough position to use your head as a pointer gets very tiring and uncomfortable......I presume current head tracking in VR would be the same?
    The current implementation has two modes, 1) FPS mode where the mouse moves cursor and view in synch, but head tracking only moves view (curser is offset in the inverse direction of head movement...is a bit jittery, but pre alpha so...), 2) in Chair mode, where mouse only moves cursor.

  3. #3
    Registered SpaceTrucker's Avatar
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    I have been wondering if it is possible to center on switches with ease in a rift.I would think its way more stable than trackir so I have hope.....

  4. #4
    Newer Member Thogapotomus's Avatar
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    I honestly think an interesting and probably the most immersive way to do this, would be to utilize the controllers for the VR sets. Since both the Vive and Rift will have positional tracking for them, we could use our hands to place the cursor right where we want it.

    The downside is that neither controller set is capable of all the functions necessary to fly the ship, so you'd have to set it down to take control of your HOTAS/gamepad. However, using the mouse to select things isn't too bad right now, and it requires taking your hands off the main controls as well so maybe it wouldn't be that different.

  5. #5
    Newer Member Saari's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nemises
    However, moving the cursor with your head is a problem we moved away from early on, as (at least with trackir) holding an accurate enough position to use your head as a pointer gets very tiring and uncomfortable......I presume current head tracking in VR would be the same?
    My experience with head tracking in other games (mostly via FaceTrackNoIR) is that it exaggerates your head movements so you can look, say, 90 degrees to the sides while still being able to keep your eyes on your monitor. Assuming Rogue System head tracking is similar, I can see where putting the cursor where you want would be frustrating. VR, on the other hand, tracks your head movements 1:1. This makes it very easy to place a cursor exactly where you want it, at least in the demos I've tried with those types of mechanics.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thogapotomus
    The downside is that neither controller set is capable of all the functions necessary to fly the ship, so you'd have to set it down to take control of your HOTAS/gamepad. However, using the mouse to select things isn't too bad right now, and it requires taking your hands off the main controls as well so maybe it wouldn't be that different.
    I don't think it would be a problem in VR either, aside from being able to find your mouse with a shoebox strapped to your face

  6. #6
    Registered Nemises's Avatar
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    My experience with head tracking in other games (mostly via FaceTrackNoIR) is that it exaggerates your head movements so you can look, say, 90 degrees to the sides while still being able to keep your eyes on your monitor. Assuming Rogue System head tracking is similar, I can see where putting the cursor where you want would be frustrating. VR, on the other hand, tracks your head movements 1:1. This makes it very easy to place a cursor exactly where you want it, at least in the demos I've tried with those types of mechanics.
    hmm...good point.
    TrakIr certainly does acceleration (although I think you can set it to 1:1 if you like, though that makes no sense with 1 or 2 monitor setup).

    The problem I can see with the Vive or Touch controllers is, since this would be a seated experience, holding the controllers in front of you would be tiring (we normally rest our arms on the desk when using a mouse or HOTAS, or they are mounted in a ergonomic way)..+ youd hit your desk with them unless your HOTAS was chair mounted, and you were back from your desk...
    hmm

    ..My X52 has a mouse nib on the throttle which I use generally for mouse stuff in game, and that would suite my needs I think.

    but..
    I've never tried VR, nor immersive controllers, so stand ready to be completely wrong!..

    ...I wonder if a HOTAS + Leap type solution might happen (ie hand / finger tracking from a remote tracker mounted on your HOTAS or keyboard or some such)

  7. #7
    Newer Member Thogapotomus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nemises View Post
    ...I wonder if a HOTAS + Leap type solution might happen (ie hand / finger tracking from a remote tracker mounted on your HOTAS or keyboard or some such)
    Something like this would be ideal, although the sensors from the Vive would probably be best suited to this. Having a few tracker points on your finger via a on finger thimble thing would allow you to move the cursor way more accurately than even a mouse. It wouldn't be limited to moving sideways from your viewpoint, as you could actually control the depth. Plus, no controllers to pick up. Although, you'd need a button or something to activate the current control you are pointing at/on.

  8. #8
    Registered draeath's Avatar
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    Yea, TrackIR lets you set the acceleration curves:


    I've tried it out in 1:1 and even with that, it's a bit annoying placing a mouse cursor without tensing up your neck muscles (or assigning a hotkey to pause it, which locks the view where it is temporarily).

  9. #9
    Newer Member Saari's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by draeath View Post
    I've tried it out in 1:1 and even with that, it's a bit annoying placing a mouse cursor without tensing up your neck muscles (or assigning a hotkey to pause it, which locks the view where it is temporarily).
    I agree that independent control of the cursor will be essential to a good VR experience in RS. The trick is going to be making sure the cursor "lays" on the proper part of the cockpit geometry so you know exactly what you're pointing at. Depth changes everything when it comes to UI design!

  10. #10
    Registered Semvar's Avatar
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    I've preordered my Rift. I definitely hope that this game is able to make use of it well.

  11. #11
    Newer Member M.Manning's Avatar
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    I think text will be an issue, was playing Elite Dangerous on a Vive Pre and could hardly read the text unless I moved my head close to it
    Sound Designer / Composer for Rogue System.

  12. #12
    ISI Staff Staff Michael Juliano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M.Manning View Post
    I think text will be an issue, was playing Elite Dangerous on a Vive Pre and could hardly read the text unless I moved my head close to it
    I mean, that's really the case already simply due to button size, which is why we have the ability to zoom. I think once the locations are memorized most people will find they don't NEED to read anything (as I don't any more).
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  13. #13
    Registered Nemises's Avatar
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    my 2c.
    Neither ED nor DCS (the only 2 sims I've played on a rift) have the ability to set zoom / change FOV when in Rift mode....you can lean in thankfull when in the 3d sim, but still VERY hard to read tool tips...I suspect this is a limitation, rather than a design choice..ie.I imagine a changing FOV could cause you to vomit in seconds, lol, and it may even be restricted by the driver?

    Other main thing would be to make sure that any screen text (Comms etc) MUST be rendered near the Centre of view , and not around the periphery of the screen, as there is absolutely no way to read anything outside of about 20 degress (radially) from the center.
    This goes for Menu's as well...you'd need to compress any options screens down to a MUCH smaller size and make scrollable, as anything out of centre is an un decipherable blur....
    ED do OK in this as they project their UI onto 3d planes

    A fixed location for text (ie a hard mounted console screen, such as teh current comms log) would be a passable workaround, if not too immersion breaking....projecting the options screens / menus onto an object so that you can lean / pan to see better would work.
    Audio instead of text would be even better for ingame text (even a text-to-speech engine)

    Accuracy of the mouse pointer in 3d space is another hurdle.
    DCS is workable as is in the clickable cockpit, but is a bit painful to get the mouse pointer to the right spot in sterioscopic 3d (tool tips are very important!)

    All that aside though, the FireArc, with its bubble cockpit will be AMAZINGLY cool in VR!!

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