DCS World Developer On Oculus Rift S Cockpit Resolution: “I Can Read EVERYTHING”

by David Heaney • April 11th, 2019

DCS World Senior Producer Matt Wagner now has an Oculus Rift S, and he seems highly impressed with its improved resolution over the original.

DCS (Digital Combat Simulator) World is a combat flight simulation game. You pilot a range of military aircraft in training and combat simulations. The base game is free-to-play and includes two aircraft — a modern ground attack jet and a World War 2 era trainer. Other aircraft are purchased as DLC. DCS is highly realistic, aiming to accurately simulate every detail of the cockpit of the aircraft it offers.

Wagner took to the sim’s forums to share his impressions of using Rift S in DCS:

Based on the previews I’ve been reading from GDC, I was expecting more of a lateral quality move, with added inside-out tracking.

However, compared to the Rift, I’m seeing a significantly higher resolution in DCS World where instrumentation is much easier to read, as well as spotting units outside the cockpit. Looking around the Hornet cockpit, I can read EVERYTHING. I’m very impressed with the DCS World experience in the Rift S.

Inside-out tracking has been flawless for me, and Rift S setup could not be easier.

If you are a Rift owner, I’d certainly suggest taking a very hard look at the Rift S; I find the experience considerably better.

Wagner said he was not asked by Facebook to make his comments, nor was he compensated, “I’m just a bit giddy after just flying with it.”

oculus rift s

When asked if he noticed the refresh rate reduction from 90Hz to 80Hz, he responded that he sees no difference.

The upcoming HP Reverb headset should provide an even higher resolution, but Wagner says he hasn’t had a chance to try it yet.

Subpixels: RGB vs PenTile

The Rift S headset boosts the 1200p resolution of the original to 1440p. That on its own shouldn’t be major — the reason for the “significantly higher resolution” Wagner is seeing is likely due to the change in subpixel type.

Each “pixel” in a display is actually made up of subpixels- usually three (red/green/blue). The original Rift’s panels however, like almost all OLED panels, use the “PenTile” subpixel system. PenTile has the full number of green subpixels, but only half the number of blue and red subpixels.

subpixel arrangement comparison

Image from MobCompany.info showing RGB and PenTile smartphones. Note that this depicts equal resolution, so the difference for Rift S will be greater.

Rift S uses an RGB LCD panel. While LCD can’t deliver the true blacks of OLED, it has the advantage of having the full three subpixels per pixel. This means that clarity of details like text and cockpit instruments should be significantly better.

Overall, Rift S has more than twice the number of subpixels as the original Rift.

VR Performance Update

But what about the promised 50% VR performance improvement? Wager says it’s “coming”. The Caucasus map has already been done and other maps will be next. The improvements will be released in a future Open Beta. We can’t wait to try it.

With Rift S, HP Reverb, and the VR performance update on the horizon, it looks like an exciting future for combat flight simulation in VR.

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