The race to create a household name in VR gaming is hotting up, with several international manufacturers all working very hard to produce the media platform for the new dimension. It’s interesting to see where the feature-emphasis is being placed in each device and this is the first one we’ve seen where the headset has its own dual-camera system for countering the, well, complete lack of visibility you get when strapping two inches of plastic to your face. We haven’t seen anything approaching a serious solution to this problem from the other vendors, but there is no consumer version out there yet from either Oculus or Sony, so we’ll have to wait and see.
French-Canadian workshop True Player Gear is joining the fray with a pretty nifty-looking fella called the ‘Totem’. It was named by the community that sprang up around the on-going development of the device. The name is fine, but the also-rans were Portal, Taku, Photon, Link and VoiR (personally, it reminds me of Portal, for some reason, but surely Valve would be all over that like a head crab). Looks aside, it is acquiring a set of very respectable credentials in the attempt to get a seat at the table of HMD royalty (of which the Oculus Rift and Sony Morpheus are sitting comfortably).
The Totem features on-board processing which takes care of lens distortion and audio effects, leaving your PC to do all the fun stuff. We’re interested to see how that pans out, so watch this space. As mentioned previously, there are dual cameras that allow you to see Base RealityTM while you are still wearing your headset. While this seems slightly overkill – for instance, ANTVR just have a shutter under your nose – I think it is a really nice feature and works even better as it lets you see in front of you, rather than just your feet. The two cameras will allow you to see fully in 3D, rather than suddenly switching to a flat image – which is a jarring experience.
Glasses-wearers have been catered for with the Totem’s individually-adjustable eyepieces, so you won’t need your glasses OR contacts (as long as you fit within the -7 to +3 diopters range of adjustment). This is a huge accessibility-win for the Totem, ensuring ease of access and continuity for those with impaired vision.
Another interesting feature is their audio processing includes re-sampling surround signals to binaural (stereo), a subject we’ve covered here at VR gaming due to its ‘natural’ sound and the fact you don’t need several speakers to produce multiple points of origin. We’re tipping it as a possible successor to surround’s throne, at least for VR users, who don’t need to fill a room with sound when they are enjoying the view in the own private cinema!
All in all, the Totem VR Headset is looking very promising indeed, so we’ll keep you updated with the latest info as we get it. Here’s the current low-down on the specs.
Totem VR Headset Specifications
- HDMI input
- USB output (tracker)
- 2x cameras 1080p
- 3 axis 1kHz gyro
- 3 axis 4kHz accel
- 3 axis magnetometer
- 2x 3.5 mm jacks
- Surround sound over stereo
- USB mouse
- Playstation controller
- Xbox controller
- Havok Vision
- PC (Windows, Mac, Linux)
- Playstation 3 & 4
- Xbox One & 360
We’ll be updating this page, but to speak to the organ grinder, visit TPG’s website.