Oculus: ‘You do not need photorealistic rendering to achieve presence’

Oculus VR has, quite rightly, been insistent on the basic requirements for immersive virtual reality (VR) experiences throughout 2014. The company has stated time and again that, in order to achieve a true feeling of presence with the likes of the Oculus Rift and Gear VR head-mounted displays (HMD), titles need to run at a high framerate and follow a very specific set of golden rules. Surprisingly one feature that the company doesn’t consider essential to providing true immersion is photorealistic rendering.


The company’s Jonathan Wright and J.M.P. Van Waveren said as much during their ‘Getting Started with the Oculus Mobile SDK’ session at the 2014 Samsung Development Conference (SDC) this week in San Francisco, USA. “You do not need photorealistic rendering to achieve presence,” the pair stated. ” You can use cartoon shading and people will still feel like they’re in that world.” Cartoon shading can already be seen in a handful of titles such as Lucky’s Tale, a third-person platformer that is coming to both the Oculus Rift and Gear VR.

In the same session the Oculus VR employees noted that Gear VR developers will face challenges balancing power and performance. As the Gear VR uses Samsung’s Galaxy Note 4 smartphone more demanding apps will drain the battery faster and give off heat that could become an issue for a phone essentially trapped in a plastic casing. Just how developers will cope with these limitations will be interesting to see as teams get to grips with VR content.

Gear VR was given an early December 2014 release window at SDC 2014. That applies strictly to the US for now, with no word on when the device might launch in other territories. Fans can expect to pay $199 USD for the kit by itself. VRFocus is at SDC for its last day and will be bringing you all of the latest VR news and updates.