The Samsung Odyssey HMD – Hardware

Posted by on Nov 7, 2017 in Hardware

Today (yesterday) is the day, folks! For the two of you in this 5000 seat arena, settle back and feast your eyes…on this!

There it is…the Samsung Odyssey HMD, the highest resolution HMD on the market today. Overall, the thing is lighter in the hand than one might expect from something that’s packing two tiny screens and sensor hardware. There’s about a 6-foot long cord attached to the HMD which terminates in a USB 3.0 and HDMI plug, so you need both of those ports in order for the thing to work. Of course, my luck was that my secondary monitor uses that HDMI port, meaning I have to dive under the desk to unplug the monitor when I hook this thing up.

The package also comes with two controllers. Each controller sports a trigger, touchpad, D-stick, a menu button, and a Windows button. The little dots around the cups light up and are used in tracking.

Speaking of tracking, you might notice there are two outward facing sensors on the front panel of the device (just one is shown in the photo below).

Those are the “inside out” sensors. I suspect these work very much like the Kinect, shooting infrared beams all over the room and tracking depth, and certainly tracking the location of the illuminated controllers.

One of the cool features of this headset over others from Dell, HP, and Acer is the built-in earphones.

They don’t cover the ears entirely — or don’t cover my ears entirely — but there’s no issue with poor audio if you can’t get them on like proper earmuffs. The sound is good. There’s even a built-in microphone that allows you to use voice commands, so you don’t even need to use the controllers (or Xbox gamepad, or even keyboard and mouse) if you don’t want to.

Inside the device, you have the two lenses. The nose-guard is a flexible flap that serves to block light through that avenue. The padding around the faceplate is nice and comfy, as is the padded headrest. Because this is a headband style device, all of the weight of the device sits on your forehead, and although the HMD is surprisingly light in the hands, on your face it can be uncomfortable on the head and on the neck if worn for an extended period of time.

As I wear glasses, it’s always a question of whether or not I must wear glasses, and if I must, how well will the HMD fit. The good news is that even with my hipster-style glasses, the HMD works, although the official manual says (and I quote): “Do not put on the HMD when you are wearing glasses. If you need corrective lenses, it is recommended that you wear contact lenses…” Believe me, Sammy, I would if I could, but I can’t, so I won’t. The problem, however, is that even without the glasses on, the faceplate of the HMD doesn’t actually rest on the face. The PSVR at least has some kind of gentle seal around the face, but unless I’m missing some mechanical setting somewhere, the Odyssey does not move inward towards the face enough. You can pull the mask outwards a bit on a spring in order to adjust it, but when it snaps back there’s still a good amount of open air at the bottom of the mask. Maybe it’s that there’s too much padding up front. Maybe my head is just too damned big.

In the next post, I’ll talk about the actual experience with the Odyssey, at least as far as I’m able to take at the current moment.

Read More »

Grab Bag for November 6, 2017

Posted by on Nov 6, 2017 in Editorial

Extra Life

This past weekend was the official Extra Life streaming marathon. Overall, the Combat Wombat team did very well, bringing in 3/4 of our goal! GO GO WOMBATS! Personally, I didn’t help much. I get most of my donations through my wife’s co-workers, but there was a conflicting family fund-raiser for our daughter circulating at the same time. I also didn’t send out my customary emails to friends and family. Still, I brought in a little more than 1/5th of my goal. I’m considering asking for donations from family in lieu of Christmas gifts this year.

Also, thank you to those who donated, both to me, and to all of the other participants!

Destiny 2

My first four hours of the stream on Saturday was Destiny 2. I “finished” Titan’s story zone and was pushed to Io, where I did enough to unlock the social zone there. I also made it to level 20 thanks to the public events. Destiny 2 can get kind of crazy, but during those four hours, I think I died just once, during a public event, despite some of the seemingly overwhelming numbers of enemies in some of those story areas (namely the Fallen on Io that just keep zipping around). So I got my sparrow(s), unlocked a whole lot of weapons, shaders, et al., and will keep on keeping on with the story.

Folks in the clan are talking about raiding and nightfalls, but I don’t think I’ll be down for either of those. I like Destiny 2 OK, but I’m liking it as a solo experience right now. Moving outside of the story arcs means paying attention and formulating plans and all that, and I really don’t think I’m down for that level of engagement with this game. I expect that I’ll finish the story with this character, and then put the game to bed. I’ll have to evaluate DLC when it comes, but right now I’m not sure that’s on my radar.

RimWorld

After taking a few breaks from the stream, I came back with RimWorld because if there’s a game that’s fun to watch, this is it. The reason is because it’s random: you either get the fates to smile upon you, or you get the fates to kick you to the curb.

Luckily after having watched Stargrace play for several hours, I’ve learned a thing or two about a thing or two when it comes to RimWorld. I also set the game to have fewer “interruptions” in the form of disasters and raiders. My colonists are pretty good — no one has died yet, knock on wood — and we’ve expanded the base to about as large as we need it currently. Once we unlock more research stations I’m going to need to open up some new areas.

I’m currently playing without mods, although I’d like to see if there’s a mod that can teach skills or improve skills of colonists. I know part of the game is to do more with less, but it’d be nice to be able to have the “more” mean “have one colonist teach another so we can have fewer idle people and more productivity”.

Samsung Odyssey

Today is the day! A proclamation that falls on deaf ears, apparently. I think I’m one of a mere handful of people I know who is excited about VR; for everyone else, it’s a write-off.

I’m still not entirely sure what or whyWhat, as in “what the hell am I going to use this for”, or why, as in “in light of the question of whatwhy?” I expect that I’ll pick up something like Space Pirate Trainer to have because the Steam VR integration for Microsoft Mixed Reality devices isn’t quite there yet. I’m hoping that maybe Elite Dangerous‘ native VR mode can work, although I’m not holding my breath quite yet. There’s a few other apps on the Microsoft Store that I might try.

I’m of the mind that anything can be successful if you help it to be, and since I’d like to see VR be successful, I’ll help it. Sadly, I don’t think too many other people care, for various reasons.

Read More »