Oculus Core 2 brings a whole swathe of changes to how you'll use Oculus Rift.
Minority Report-style interfaces have been the long-term dream of many a geek. While AR is certainly the more suited platform for such an interface, Oculus Dash looks to replicate it as part of an effort to bring your full computer dashboard experience right into virtual reality.
Announced at Oculus Connect 4 in Santa Clara, Oculus Dash is just one part of Oculus Core 2, the beta of which lands in December 2017, as a fully customisable home environment is also on its way.
Currently, Oculus Rift places you inside a virtual world and asks you to rip yourself out of the experience to use the other functionalities of your PC. It's a fine experience for many, but anyone who's working with VR on a regular basis can attest to, not being able to check emails, quickly look something up online or fix a line of dodgy code without removing yourself from VR first is rather irritating.
This is where Oculus Dash comes into play. Combining all of Rift's existing UI and menus, it creates a central hub for all your applications that are available as an overlay in anything and everything you're doing in VR.
Using Oculus Touch, users can quickly switch between apps, open their Oculus library, visit social media or just use all the apps and software present on your PC already. From the demo video shown at Oculus Connect, we can see that Unity, Chrome browser, YouTube, Spotify, Facebook and Messenger are all accessible within Dash.
And yes, you read that correctly, you can open Unity and develop from right inside of Oculus Rift.
Non-VR experiences open as floating, resizable windows in a virtual workspace. You can run multiple apps at once and place them wherever you like in your vision. Think of it like having multiple monitors as part of your standard setup, and you'll get the picture of how this looks.
Oculus Home customisation
If the implementation of Oculus Dash wasn't cool enough, Oculus has plans to let you build your own personalised Home environment within Oculus Rift.
Instead of the cold, tiled, cliffside mansion of the current Oculus Home experience, players will be able to adorn shelves with various in-game achievements. You'll also be able to place interactive toys, furniture and artwork in a space to make it feel more like yours.
Oculus also envisions people using virtual representations of physical objects to launch games and apps.
Both Oculus Home and Oculus Dash are free updates to the Oculus Core experience. The beta will release for everyone for free in December, and Oculus will then keep tweaking it via user feedback.