At I/ITSEC 2014, I demonstrated another integration of VR-Vantage with the Oculus Rift. My demonstration has come a long way since the one I showed at I/ITSEC 2013. Most importantly it’s been updated to use the Development Kit 2 (DK2) Oculus Rift prototype and the latest OVR SDK. I also incorporated VR-Forces in order to turn it into an F-35 flight simulator which can be controlled via a gamepad. In this post I’ve included a complete description of how the demo was put together, a system diagram, and also a photo of the demo at our booth.
I also have some exciting news for VR-Vantage users; this isn’t something you’ll only see at trade shows - I’m currently working on integrating the Oculus with the core product and you’ll be able to use it with the upcoming VR-Vantage 2.0 release! (Stay tuned to this blog for more info!)
The Details about VR-Vantage and Oculus
VR-Vantage was extended with the Oculus OVR SDK to allow it to render stereo views with distortion correction in order to display a full field of view through the lenses in the Rift. The simulation was provided by the VR-Forces back-end. Since the demo was running on just one computer with a single screen, the VR-Forces front-end was not used. VR-Forces supports gamepad control of its entities and a custom plug-in was created to automatically activate this capability for the ownship, in this case an F-35 fighter. Additionally, the plug-in allowed the user to reset the VR-Forces scenario, fire missiles at the bogey (an enemy MiG 29) and teleport the ownship to different places in the world. The terrain was streamed from VR-TheWorld and the primary location was Hawaii with the option to teleport to the Himalayas, the Alps, Boston, Washington D.C., and Austin. VR-Forces was connected to a localhost DIS simulation network and the entity state updates for the ownship & bogey were received by VR-Vantage so they could be represented in the scene.
Once the user was seated, they were instructed to press the reset button on the gamepad in order to reset the VR-Forces scenario, as well as the positional tracking of the Rift. This insured that the viewpoint would be placed exactly where the pilot’s head should be and that the bogey would be positioned in front of the ownship. A DI-Guy character was used as the pilot and the head was deleted so that it didn’t get in the way of the eye cameras. Trajectory histories were enabled to make it easier for the player to track the bogey. VR-Vantage was also configured with gamepad controls to change the weather and time of day. Another button toggled exaggerated reality (XR) mode. There was also a button to toggle the Distributed Aperture System (DAS) of the F-35. The DAS is an array of cameras on the bottom of the aircraft that allow the pilot, who wears an advanced head mounted display, to look through his own body and even through the fuselage of the aircraft.