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Distortion improvement progress
Thought we'd share some work-in-progress of distortion improvements for Explorer.  

First we acknowledged there are lots of kinds of distortion, such as

"Elevations seem incorrect (white dots don't match road mesh at given location)"
"Dots turn before road"
"Road sidewall not modeled in depth map"
"Dots don't follow almost perfectly straight road. Also occasional misaligned horizon"
"Depth map artefacts (like riding into a wall projected onto it)"
"Well, there are endless depth map issues, some of which we could improve on but many that would still look bad since the photos contain pedestrians and cars that can't be captured in the depth map."
"It bothers me when dots are not following a smooth line and it feels much better when transitions are aligned."

Some of these we were able to improve in our latest release, such as elevations and dots persistently going off-road, by smarter analysis and application of redundant data.

We also experimented with better alignment between photo transitions.  This showed promise, but we found a bigger idea that can fix more problems.

The idea is to change the way we render our scenes into something like Pokemon Go in reverse.  It will make terrain geometry appear solid between transitions, and be able to incorporate data from multiple image perspectives to avoid the "stretchy" distortion in between images.  Here are a few screenshots, with the meshes intentionally highlighted and skymap disabled.


Here's a halfway done video, with solid geometry but still simple image transitions, that shows the benefit on buildings which normally have a bunch of depth errors.

Note it can't fix the distortion of cars or people or stray trees, which we intentionally captured in this video to show the worst case.  But does make it seem more like you're riding through a solid world, especially in VR with stereoscopic depth.
Can't access the video from google drive.

but COOL! Sounds like a unique approach that I hope will make the experience more solid - I love the idea of Explorer but am just too distracted by the artifacts to enjoy for long and always go back to Play.
Video link should be fixed now!
That video is very encouraging. I've just recovered from a recurring chest infection and about to cycle for the first time in ages now. I think you've updated Explorer since I last cycled so I will look forward to trying it again today.
Good luck on your recovery! These improvements aren’t in yet, they are still R&D, but are headed for next Explorer release. The latest release does have other path following improvements you might notice.
(11-14-2019, 08:56 PM)emalafeew Wrote: Thought we'd share some work-in-progress of distortion improvements for Explorer....

I am very excited for this improvement that you folks are working on. Explorer was the feature that got me to invest in VZFit, and I use it regularly. (Play is good too, but can get repetitive - if that nice lady says "Hiya" to me one more time... Smile )  The video example you've shown seems to really address the only complaint I've had with Explorer - can't wait to see it in the product. Thanks!
We'll have a 360 video soon that shows the difference between old and new presentation methods in multiple locations.

We're happy with the result and are currently optimizing to run smoothly on Quest and hopefully Go. It takes more processing and we're already at the Go's limit, but will try everything possible. Besides processing, it will also require a bit more network bandwidth than the current approach, which hopefully most people have.

There are times when people may want the old method, like for country roads that capture vegetation and berms and low walls that aren't present in map data. So we're thinking of an Image Mode option, that goes through Morph Image (our current approach), Project Image (our new approach), Frozen Image (current comfort mode), and Auto Image (chooses between new and current approach based on map data).

Stay tuned to this thread for updates this month!

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