So shiny! So beautiful! But this picture shows a development model, NOT the commercial version, which is different.
Something I really enjoy is new technology. I get completely swept up in the hype and count down the days until the release of the latest must-have gadget, and in recent years the one item that particularly appealed to me above all other was the OCULUS RIFT, especially when I heard it would be able to use it in SECOND LIFE. I could hardly dare imagine the possibilities, and when it started to get coverage through esteemed SLebrities like Draxtor Despres and Jo Yardley, to name but a few, well, I practically expired from the excitement. They shared how this amazing piece of virtual hardware could bring our metaverse to life and I was sold.
In fact, reading the articles published all over the internet about this amazing piece of tech would have led you to believe it was the next logical step for Second Life to take, and this was further suggested when an official viewer with Oculus Rift support was released. Torley Linden even made a video showing you how you could use it in-world, and that was it. I got my PC upgraded ( an Oculus needs a serious amount of power) and even read ‘Ready Player One‘ in eager ‘preparation’ for what was to come. (Excellent book by the way, it’s going to be a Spielberg movie and you simply must read it!)
As soon as the development stage was through and the commercial release date was released Jez and I ordered it*. This was way back in 2015, with an expected shipment date of March 2016. Then, unfortunately, we got an email to say it was delayed until June, but hey it didn’t matter! I was so excited that I knew I could cope with the wait, and I had plenty to do in Second Life to keep me occupied! Also, that would give me a chance to save up the serious moolah that it would cost, but I knew it would be worth it. In fact, I put it to the back of my mind until this week when the email arrived to say the Oculus Rift was on its way. HUZZAH! ( *Full disclosure here: After talking it through I decided to go halfsies with Jez so we could share the goodness because he’s far more of a gamer than I am and would be able to use it for more things than me. My interest was purely Second Life related.)
THIS is what I received this week. So shiny! So beautiful! So doesn’t work with Second Life! GAHHHHH
Unboxing the thing was like opening the ark of the covenant. It’s beautifully packaged and you definitely get your money’s worth, and it was with some serious excitement and trepidation that got ready for the next step in my virtual life. I downloaded the official viewer. I re-watched Torley’s video in preparation and took a deep breath…and it failed.
Numerous other attempts were made with no joy. Panicked I looked online for an alternative, and this is where the whole sorry saga started to unravel. First of all, the official viewer with Oculus Rift capabilities hasn’t been updated since 2014. There is an alternative third-party viewer which I downloaded to try, the CtrlAltStudio viewer, but this one hasn’t been updated since 2015, so of course it didn’t work.
Was I going mad?! (Well, you guys know me, so let’s say madder than usual) There’s an Oculus Rift on the pigging Second Life homepage for all to see, so what gives?
And here lies the issue: those pesky Lindens have done it again. (They can be pretty lax when it comes to updating the basics, have you ever noticed that?) What I didn’t realise was that yes, Second Life will work with an Oculus Rift using that viewer, BUT only if it is the DEVELOPMENT MODEL. My commercially released treasure is more powerful, and NONE of the viewers have been updated to support it. To say that this sucks balls is an understatement.
Granted, it’s an absolute #firstworldproblem and I am sure I will enjoy using the Oculus on occasion for other things BUT my main reason for purchase was so I could use it in-world. I don’t ‘play’ any other games or subscribe to any other virtual experiences EXCEPT SL, and I truly believed that seeing as it was advertised on the bloody homepage they would have kept up with the development of the viewer. As it stands it’s about seven versions behind.
I expect that Linden Lab will make Project Sansar VR ready, which is fine, but that’s at least 6 months away and as I understand it many of the objects I own in Second Life won’t translate across into the new viewer, which means I’ll be effectively starting from scratch. Anyway, I want to be able to explore my current virtual life in full virtual reality glory, not my next one!
To say I’m fed up is an understatement. I have tried out the Rift with some of the games and experiences that are available and it is absolutely outstanding (which makes this crap situation even worse!) Had I been able to use it in-world, well, I don’t think I would have wanted to take it off and come back to reality at all. (Perhaps that’s a good thing? No, no it isn’t-this whole thing stinks!) My beloved has had some serious late nights since we took delivery of the Rift and I’m £250 richer. But I feel really sad that I haven’t had the opportunity to enjoy my Second Life in glorious virtual reality. Unfortunately, it would appear that ship has sailed and it seems that Linden Lab had no intention of Second Life being on it and more fool them. Think of the possibilities people! (Actually don’t, it makes it worse.)
Lindens, get your bloody act together!! Having an Oculus Rift on your front page suggests you can use the current version in-world and you absolutely cannot. It’s not fair to lead people to believe that Oculus will work, you need to put a disclaimer on there too. Had I known any of this I wouldn’t have put any money aside for a new unit at all. I would possibly have looked into getting a second-hand development model but even if I had I would have known that no matter how good the experience with the commercial release it could have been even better, and therein lies the rub. You need to keep up with the times guys, you make a hefty profit courtesy of us avatars, and an updated viewer was surely not too much to ask? I’m so disappointed.