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[P]
Quake in virtual reality

By najt in News
Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 04:20:33 AM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)
Science

Paul Rajlich, a research programmer at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, has ported a virtual-reality version of Quake II to CAVE, a million-dollar, state-of-the-art virtual-reality system. In it the walls are display surfaces, including the floor beneath your feet. Everywhere you look there are high-resolution graphics. You wear LCD stereo shutter glasses that make the graphical objects appear all around you.

"The resulting demo is not a true Quake2 client, but it is quite playable and shows how cool Quake2 would look in the CAVE! It demonstrates the advantages of head-tracked perspective. If you want to look down, look down! If you want to crouch, crouch! You can peek around corners simply by moving your head! The input device (called a wand) is also tracked. From your perspective, the gun appears where the wand is and has the correct orientation. All you do is point where you want to shoot and press a button!"

Gamespot has made an interview with Paul where he speaks about the CAVE hardware, CAVE Quake 2 programming challenges and the future of VR gaming in every home.


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o virtual-re ality version of Quake II
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Quake in virtual reality | 32 comments (32 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Finally a link I haven't seen somew... (none / 0) (#3)
by Demona on Wed Apr 26, 2000 at 06:39:55 PM EST

Demona voted 1 on this story.

Finally a link I haven't seen somewhere else yet! More! And when will we see a real game rather than proof of concept? And Unreal Tournament instead of Q2 :)

I saw this already, so I'm voting i... (none / 0) (#5)
by fluffy grue on Wed Apr 26, 2000 at 07:18:47 PM EST

fluffy grue voted 1 on this story.

I saw this already, so I'm voting it down. Wait, no, just kidding, ha ha, don't hit me. ;)

Seriously, this is a pretty cool thing. I can think of some ways of using real Quake2 to do this (such as writing a special spectator-type mod). Anyone remember how the original Doom beta had a CAVE-like thing where you could hook up two other computers (via the network) to act as the left and right views? Cool stuff.

Ennyhoo. I wonder why they didn't use the Quake1 GPLed source. They wouldn't have had to write everything from scratch, wouldn't have to use Performer (okay, Performer is good for some things and makes CAVE-ish stuff easier, but I'm sure the Quake engine doesn't make it TOO hard to implement the necessary stuff for head-tracking et al), and so forth. Maybe if they'd implement this as a semi-"dumb" Q2 client and used another system for the gameplay stuff, everything would be more fun, since you could play against others who didn't have CAVEs, for starters, and you wouldn't have to reimplement everything.

In the meantime, I want a CAVE. If only projectors weren't so expensive. I'm sure one could be rigged up with commodity computers, but at that scale of hardware it'd probably be better to just use iGlasses or something.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]

Re: I saw this already, so I'm voting i... (none / 0) (#16)
by superfly on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 02:32:42 PM EST

I think they made it before the Quake source was released.

[ Parent ]
Re: I saw this already, so I'm voting i... (none / 0) (#20)
by fluffy grue on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 02:56:17 PM EST

Hm. I can't find any dates on the site, so I don't know whether or not that's true. However, the source IS out now, and CAVEQ2 is apparently still in active development, so perhaps there could be some sort of parallel development or something. At the very least, though, that doesn't explain why they couldn't just make the CAVE renderer a dumb network client which gets position information from a server and is spectating a normal PC controlled by a spaceorb held by the player.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Re: I saw this already, so I'm voting i... (none / 0) (#21)
by superfly on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 03:08:19 PM EST

I couldn't find any dates, either. I just vaguely recall seeing that site
before the Quake source came out.

I suppose he has a working engine, and doesn't feel like changing it. Using the
Quake source would involve rewriting the CAVE-specific bits, like how the gun
can track independently of the player. Using a spaceorb seems like a step
backward.


[ Parent ]
Re: I saw this already, so I'm voting i... (none / 0) (#23)
by fluffy grue on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 06:22:31 PM EST

Um, the way that the gun points in a different way than the viewer is looking is by the viewer looking in a different direction. The wand which controls movement is basically a spaceorb except even *less* complicated. The way that the user looks around is by, well, looking around. It's completely independent from the input.

Also, the spaceorb idea was regarding Quake2, using the CAVE-based engine as a minimalistic Q2 client which just groks the Q2 protocol and works as a spectator attached to an actual Q2 game for position and stats information. Sorry for not being more clear. The user in the CAVE would be seeing what the CAVE is rendering, and using the Spaceorb to control a PC running an actual copy of Q2 (which the user doesn't actually see directly). Of course, for practicality and latency purposes, the game server would have to be on the same local network as both the PC and the CAVE (or, preferrably, simply be the PC).
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Re: I saw this already, so I'm voting i... (none / 0) (#25)
by Anonymous Hero on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 09:51:51 AM EST

Hey guys, this is Paul from NCSA. These are some good ideas that you have. However, wouldn't the player be limited to the regular moves in Quake2? Some of the more subtle moves that you can make in CAVE QUAKE II are what make it seem real. Also, this was not meant to be a complete game. It's more of a demo. I might get in trouble if I turned the CAVE into a game console. : ) NSF might not like that.... hahaha! -Paul

[ Parent ]
Re: I saw this already, so I'm voting i... (none / 0) (#26)
by rusty on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 02:08:30 PM EST

Hey, why not make it a game console? Sell it to upscale arcades and let the CAVE R&D finance itself. NSF wouldn't like to not be asked for money anymore? :-)

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Re: I saw this already, so I'm voting i... (none / 0) (#31)
by Anonymous Hero on Mon May 01, 2000 at 10:38:07 AM EST

Hey, that's not a bad idea... :-) No seriously, I'm looking into making CAVEs from cheaper components. -Paul

[ Parent ]
Re: I saw this already, so I'm voting i... (none / 0) (#28)
by fluffy grue on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 03:07:49 PM EST

Well, if you've ever used a Spaceorb, you'd know that you're not really *that* limited. A Spaceorb is basically a cheap implementation of those good ol' 6DOF controllers, but adapted for gaming (i.e. it's handheld and so forth). It seems to me that all of the neat moves that you can do in CAVEQ2 are just as possible with a Spaceorb.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Re: I saw this already, so I'm voting i... (none / 0) (#30)
by Anonymous Hero on Mon May 01, 2000 at 10:36:29 AM EST

I'm talking about subtle moves that the engine does not support. For instance, in CAVE QUAKE II, if there is virtual post, I can stand behind it and peek out ever so slightly, just like if I was standing behind a real post. -Paul

[ Parent ]
I like the topic... I wish it would... (none / 0) (#12)
by ishbak on Wed Apr 26, 2000 at 08:12:12 PM EST

ishbak voted 1 on this story.

I like the topic... I wish it would be a little more discussion oriented though... It gives a description, but no slant, cultural/technical implications etc...

Re: I like the topic... I wish it would... (none / 0) (#22)
by bladerunner on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 04:11:13 PM EST

How about it's application in the military? Put 'Red Army' skins on the AI's or
dress em up as alien invaders and put grunts to the test... 

-Ex-slashdotter. I love cats, but hate Katz.
[ Parent ]
I love things that help me train to... (none / 0) (#2)
by Inoshiro on Wed Apr 26, 2000 at 08:30:18 PM EST

Inoshiro voted 1 on this story.

I love things that help me train to be a killer ;-)

--
[ イノシロ ]

I was wondering when they'd get aro... (none / 0) (#9)
by cthulhu on Wed Apr 26, 2000 at 09:35:31 PM EST

cthulhu voted 1 on this story.

I was wondering when they'd get around to putting the CAVE to a proper use. :)

Ugh, the VR article of the week.... (none / 0) (#6)
by Velian on Wed Apr 26, 2000 at 09:42:01 PM EST

Velian voted -1 on this story.

Ugh, the VR article of the week.

Cool story. I'd heard of CAVE's bef... (none / 0) (#11)
by nicktamm on Wed Apr 26, 2000 at 09:45:04 PM EST

nicktamm voted 1 on this story.

Cool story. I'd heard of CAVE's before, and even of an id game being ported to it (although I can't remember whether it was Quake 2 or Doom), but its interesting to read an actual in-depth article about the game and CAVE in general. I'm looking forward to seeing what the start-up mentioned in the article produces.
Nick Tamm nick-k5@echorequest.net http://www.nicktamm.org

seems like someone ported quake2 to... (none / 0) (#8)
by confidential on Wed Apr 26, 2000 at 11:24:53 PM EST

confidential voted 1 on this story.

seems like someone ported quake2 to one of those cheesy VR things they they have at every other arcade...but, i'm voting for it as it does partain to technology and other fun stuffs. it would be fun if someone got the production prices for these things down to sub $1000 range... metaverse anyone? *images come to mind of a bunch of quake grunts walking around* er... nevermind

Re: seems like someone ported quake2 to... (none / 0) (#17)
by fluffy grue on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 02:37:50 PM EST

The CAVE is not "one of those cheesy VR things." The CAVE is currently the closest thing we have to a holodeck. It is far beyond goggles; it is an actual room where the imagery is projected to the walls to match the position of the head within the room so that it looks like you're actually there. Granted, the image is (theoretically) the same as if you just had goggles on, but you only need to wear lightweight shutter glasses and a lightweight head tracker rather than dealing with heavy, eye-fatiguing goggles.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Re: seems like someone ported quake2 to... (none / 0) (#24)
by confidential on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 08:43:34 PM EST

okie, i stand corrected... i want one more then before now ;-)

[ Parent ]
I want one.... (none / 0) (#10)
by Eimi on Wed Apr 26, 2000 at 11:37:36 PM EST

Eimi voted 1 on this story.

I want one.

This pegs my geek-meter @ 100% ... (none / 0) (#1)
by ramses0 on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 12:47:12 AM EST

ramses0 voted 1 on this story.

This pegs my geek-meter @ 100%
[ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]

I don't care about Quake, but it's ... (none / 0) (#7)
by Ozymandias on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 02:04:12 AM EST

Ozymandias voted 1 on this story.

I don't care about Quake, but it's interesting for the other possibilities. People have discussed using the Quake engine for everything from 3D GUIs to CAD modeling; this could be an interesting step towards that, if it didn't cost big bucks.
- Ozymandias

Re: I don't care about Quake, but it's ... (none / 0) (#18)
by fluffy grue on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 02:41:43 PM EST

The people who suggest the Quake engine for CAD modelling obviously have no idea how the Quake engine works. It has a LOT of static, precomputed stuff (visibility, lightmaps, collission maps, etc.) which you simply cannot alter realtime (it has special cases for moving platforms, doors, etc). Same for UIs and so forth.

What people need to do is wait for me to get the time to work on my thesis project. :)
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

The interview is very cool. It lo... (none / 0) (#4)
by FlinkDelDinky on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 02:06:11 AM EST

FlinkDelDinky voted 1 on this story.

The interview is very cool. It looks like the graphics card "your new $300 card is obsolete in two weeks" wars has a good way to go before they're over.

Those CAVEs sound super duper ultra new and improved cool.

A few unanswered questions (none / 0) (#13)
by Mrs Edna Graustein on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 09:43:30 AM EST

VR suits? How heavy and bulky are those things currently? How does movement work? What would happen if I followed my instincts and literally dived for cover?

I think that this idea has a way to go before it is any use to anyone- vr suits can be used where mobility of the wearer is not at a premium (e.g. flight sims where the pilot is strapped in), but unless they have vastly improved since last time I looked, it will not work in situations where the wearer sould be running everywhere.
--
And if any of you put that in a .sig, I'll hunt you down and kill you twice. ;-)
Rusty

Re: A few unanswered questions (none / 0) (#19)
by fluffy grue on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 02:51:36 PM EST

What happened to Strange Charmed One? And I want to see proof that that's your legal name and you're in Kansas City, MO before relinquishing ownership of my insightful posts. ;)

Ennyhoo. The CAVE doesn't require VR suits or gloves or anything else that you saw in Lawnmower Man. It requires some lightweight shutter glasses, some lightweight head-tracking gear, and a lightweight 'wand' which has the movement and action controls on it. Oh, and some really damned expensive projectors and a dedicated cubical room and some impressive rendering hardware, but those are just implementation details. :)

That said, I wouldn't mind having a DataSuit and DataGlove, the pinnacles of engineering in the buzzwordy early-90s VR scene. The DataSuit is basically a full-body spandex suit with some flex sensors, and the DataGlove is the same but it's a glove. Flex sensors aren't heavy at all, nor is spandex. The main obstacles are the interface (which could theoretically be made wireless relatively easily) and the goggles, which are still quite heavy and cause all sorts of eyestrain problems. Oh, and for most VR systems, it'd probably be better to suspend someone to make them 'weightless' at the very least, or use one of those tacky spinning-globe control systems as seen in Lawnmower Man to give a sense of directional gravity (those particular prop controllers were fake, btw, but there are real control systems based loosely on that concept). Also, with micro-displays coming down in price and weight requirements, I think goggles could become feasible in the near future.
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Re: A few unanswered questions (none / 0) (#27)
by Mrs Edna Graustein on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 02:17:15 PM EST

Well done for noticing that the e-mail addresses are the same! Yes I am Strange Charmed One. You are probably right that I do not own the posts- I am male, and live in Oxford, England as I say in my entry on the Who Are You colum as strange charmed one. I adopted this UID as a joke when the /. hellmouth comments were being published, and haven't bothered to change back. I probably shall quite soon...

Anyway, back to the topic- this sounds better than I thought it did, and think that for Quake, the wand should be gun shaped if possible :-) How is movement arranged- actual movement or just pushing buttons still?

FYI I have never seen lawnmower man :-p but have not done any reading on VR in years.
--
And if any of you put that in a .sig, I'll hunt you down and kill you twice. ;-)
Rusty
[ Parent ]

Re: A few unanswered questions (none / 0) (#29)
by fluffy grue on Fri Apr 28, 2000 at 03:15:00 PM EST

From what I can tell (I've never used a CAVE), it's still basically just buttons for movement, using the orientation of the wand for, well, orientation. My guess would be that what looks like an analog controller on the wand is used for walking movement (forwards, backwards, and strafing), and uses the orientation of the wand for its angle and for the aiming of the gun, while the angle of the viewer's head is what determines the viewing angle (almost duh). Also from what I can tell, the position of the head determines crouching and jumping. Since Paul from NCSA has joined into the fray, maybe he can enlighten us further. :)
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

Re: A few unanswered questions (none / 0) (#32)
by Anonymous Hero on Wed May 03, 2000 at 05:45:16 PM EST

You're almost right. The position and orientation of the wand is tracked. For strafing, you can either physically strafe (move your real body back and forth) or you can strafe-navigate by "rolling" the wand.

In general, you can physically walk around virtual objects within the CAVE space. Then you can navigate the CAVE through the virtual world using the controller. There is a pressure sensitive pad and buttons on the wand. When you press forward on the pad, you move through the world in the direction that the wand is pointing.

-Paul

[ Parent ]

Re: Quake in virtual reality (none / 0) (#14)
by Greener on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 11:14:31 AM EST

the University of Alberta has a similar VR device and although it is not technically a CAVE it is still pretty impressive and somewhat cheaper.

It has three 3 meter projection screens that each display a stereo image which require special glasses to see properly. The whole setup is powered by an SGI Onyx2 which was top of the line when it was built two years ago but which now compares to a high end Athlon.

Re: Quake in virtual reality (none / 0) (#15)
by gruel on Thu Apr 27, 2000 at 11:52:09 AM EST

I played this. My friends father is one of the researchers developing the cave. It was kind of cool but it made me nauseas. Quake may look good on a small screen but in the cave the movement didn't feel natural. -- What is the difference between Capitalism and Communism? With Capitalism, man exploits man. With Communism, it's the other way around.

Quake in virtual reality | 32 comments (32 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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