Palmer Luckey is currently slapping together a new gaming rig he thinks people might find “interesting.” He is not wrong.
In a recent Reddit AMA, the ceaselessly enthusiastic boy king of VR discussed the innards of his latest gaming PC, and it really is something:
“I am currently working on a new PC that people might find pretty interesting. I have experimented with liquid nitrogen cooling in the past, but it is a huge pain to work with in any kind of daily use, and can also be dangerous.”
“My new project is a very small super-powerful PC with no heatsinks and no fans - it is cooled by liquid propane, boiled into gaseous propane in an expansion block. From there, I can either compress back into a tank under high pressure, or vent out of a burner nozzle for supercooling to subzero temps. If I had more time, I would vent the propane to a small turbine generator hooked up to the PSU, but I can’t justify that kind of work right now.”
Gotta draw that line somewhere.
Beyond that, Luckey delved into a number of other interesting topics, including the meaning behind the worrisomely nebulous phrase “Oculus Exclusive” as it’s been applied to a number of games. He explained:
“When we say Oculus Exclusive, that means exclusive to the Oculus Store, not exclusive to the Rift. We don’t make money off the Rift hardware, and don’t really have an incentive to lock our software to Rift. That is why the Oculus Store is also on Samsung’s Gear VR.”
So basically, so-called “exclusive” games can support other VR formats and hardware configurations (that is to say, things that are not the Oculus Rift), but the Rift store comes first. Also, if games are gonna be on the store at all—exclusive or not—they have to integrate with Oculus’ software development kit. “There are several games we have funded that also integrate SteamVR support (I am not aware of any commercial software using OpenVR),” Luckey said. “We do require Oculus SDK integration for everything in our store, funded or not. We can’t rely on a (currently) lower-performance SDK that is controlled by a competitor, especially when they have shown that Oculus support is not a high priority - SteamVR support for DK2 is frequently broken, they are focusing on HTC’s Vive, which makes sense. We need every game in our store to always work for every customer, because at the end of the day, we are usually the ones stuck with the costs of supporting the customer.”
While said store could end up being a pain in the ass (especially in an era where people just want their PC games to quickly and easily lock into Steam), it actually sounds pretty cool. Luckey broke down some of the features that make the Oculus store more than Just Another Steam Wannabe:
“The Oculus Store is built for virtual reality, we are not trying to make a general-purpose store for traditional games. When you visit the store page for a game, we can load a 360 degree capture of a scene from the game, which gives you a much better sense of the game than a normal screenshot or video.”
“Our store ratings system is also built around VR - most stores for any type of content are built around overall quality/fun, but some intense VR experiences are not comfortable for many or most people, especially ones with lots of vection-inducing artificial locomotion. We account for this with a comfort rating system that makes sure you can avoid games beyond your comfort zone while still making them available to the people who have no problems. Another benefit is knowing that everything in the store will run well on the recommended PC spec and continue to perform well through future updates.”