New information released by Facebook tracing the path from Oculus Rift to Quest 2 outlines how Beat Saber improved the quality of Oculus Touch tracking.
Facebook goes so far as to suggest “Beat Saber saved Quest” while an in-depth blog post from the company quotes a number of employees in explaining how the rhythm slicing game altered the course of its standalone development program.
Beat Saber sold more than four million copies — likely cementing it as the highest selling VR game of all time. The game started development in 2016 and released in early access on Steam in May 2018. Facebook released the original Oculus Quest in May 2019 with Beat Saber as one of its launch titles and, six months later, Facebook acquired the developers.
“Quest would have failed without Beat Saber,” Sean Liu, Director of Product, Hardware is quoted as saying.
Beat Saber Made Facebook Change Oculus Quest’s Controllers
Beat Games’ Head of Development Ján Ilavský is quoted as saying “I had a Quest in my closet for like six months, and I didn’t open it.”
Ilavský describes Facebook as “patient” while Facebook’s Director of Content Ecosystem Chris Pruett adds:
A guy named Trevor Dasch on the team I ran at the time actually did the initial port. It wasn’t what shipped, but it convinced the Beat Games team that they should port to Quest. Anyway, once we had Beat Saber on Quest, we realized the tracking needed work. The tracking seemed very good until you tried to play Beat Saber on Expert+ difficulty, and if you were good enough to play on Expert+ you’d find that although you had the skill, you couldn’t get the score.
According to Pruett, Facebook “invented” a key performance indicator for the tracking team “based on Beat Saber scoring” and Machine Perception Architect Oskar Linde is quoted as saying he measured a g-force of 30 g with an Inertial Measurement Unit when playing Beat Saber.
“The IMU we had in the system back then capped out at 16 g. We had to go in and change the IMU as a result of Beat Saber,” Linde is quoted as saying.
Software Program Manager, Insight Anna Kozminski added that “We had to come up with all kinds of methods to predict where someone’s arms are when we don’t see them, and then when they come back into view, make that appear seamless.”
Finally, Facebook’s Input Explorations Engineering Director Jenny Spurlock is quoted as saying “I started doing a statistical benchmark where I would play songs in Beat Saber and record the data and look at the gap between Rift S and Quest to see what was going on. I noticed the gap between the Rift and Rift S was small and the gap between Rift and Quest was really large. We ended up using that method to pinpoint the problem. It was huge. Without Beat Saber, we probably would not have known or been able to pinpoint what was going on.”