The new Oculus prototype is called ‘Crescent Bay’

On September 19-20th, Oculus held the yearly VR developers conference “Oculus Connect”. Keynote speakers like Paul Bettner gave their latest insight into development for the Oculus Rift. But what stood out most after the conference was the presentation of the third major development kit called “Crescent Bay”. The naming goes in line with “Crystal Cove”, which was the code name for the Develoment Kit 2. The four most notable differences between the Development Kit 2 and the new “Crescent Bay” (Development Kit 3) are listed below (Sound, Weight, Tracking & Display Resolution). 

360-degree turning with 360-degree sound

While we still wait for an official motion controller solution from Oculus, it seems Oculus-CEO Luckey Palmer is hard at work to find an integrated sound solution for Oculus. The latest prototype “Crescent Bay” is not only lighter than its predecessors, but also features headphones for the first time. Oculus licensed the RealSpace3D technology to allow users to experience real 3D sound through stereo headphones. In addition to the 360-degree sound, “Crescent Bay” also introduces 360-degree head tracking. Eight new infrared dots at the back of the head mounted display allow the Oculus camera to keep track of your movement, even if you are turning around completely. As Oculus is still pitched as a seated experience, no one really will spin around, but this helps looking behind your back, without the camera losing track of you.

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The new Development Kit 3 prototype Crescent Bay features infrared dots at the back for 360-degree tracking.

Lighter hardware and higher pixel density

Oculus is still holding back on hardware specs, but the new Development Kit 3 (Crescent Bay) feels much lighter. Additionally the pixel density of the screen was upgraded. “Crescent Bay” no longer uses the Samsung Galaxy Note 4’s Full HD display, but rather a display with more dpi. Although the overall experience now feels much smoother, Oculus still refers the the Development Kit 3 as “incredibly early hardware”.

Supported by Unity and Unreal Engine 4

Unity announced full support for the Oculus Rift hardware. Developers can access the add-on for free, no matter if hey subscribed for the free Unity version, or the PRO. EPIC showed off the new tech demo “Showdown”, which is already using the “Crescent Bay”. The Unreal Engine 4 is mentioned by Oculus as the best software to develop VR content on. No word however on the release date of the Development Kit 3.

Source: Oculus Connect 2014

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The new Crescent Bay hardware is much lighter and comes with a better display than the Development Kit 2.

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