News

  • Baobab Studios Fly High in Magical VR Movie Crow: The Legend Baobab Studios is on fine form with its latest production.
  • Occipital’s $399 Structure Core Senses Depth For New Device Categories
    Occipital’s $399 Structure Core Senses Depth For New Device Categories

    A new product from computer vision startup Occipital could be a big help for companies and creators building new kinds of depth-sensing devices, like robots or mixed reality headsets that blur the line between VR and AR.

    The $400 self-contained Structure Core is slated to ship in March — though the gadget is available earlier in limited supply for a higher price. The device is an evolution of an earlier pre-production unit offered as a developer kit. The new Structure Core is “a fully enclosed and self-contained sensor” with “a machined, anodized aluminum case; a bandpass-filtering glass front; and built-in attachment points for easy integration.”

    Structure Core is available with one of two kinds of cameras integrated into it depending on the use case, either “a built-in ultra-wide visible camera with a 160° diagonal FOV for robust tracking or an 85° FOV RGB camera for color imagery or registered RGBD (color+depth) images.” Software for the new unit has also been updated to support a wider variety of use cases, including robot mapping and navigation.

    In 2013, Occipital crowdfunded the Structure Sensor on Kickstarter, adding depth-sensing capabilities to the iPad long before Apple released ARKit. Even though ARKit does a pretty good job of understanding the world around an iPhone or iPad, the Structure Sensor is still available “for those who need a ready-to-use, high-quality depth sensor primarily for iOS devices.” In contrast, the new Structure Core “will be focused for those who need high-performance depth sensing designed for rapid integration into other types of products and on other platforms such as Android, Linux, macOS, and Windows.”

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  • Chained: A Victorian Nightmare Is VR’s Take On A Christmas Carol
    Chained: A Victorian Nightmare Is VR’s Take On A Christmas Carol

    VR’s about to get festive, but not in the way you might expect.

    MWM Immersive today announced Chained: A Victorian Nightmare, a new location-based VR experience based on Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas story, A Christmas Carol. The piece is set to run at the GreatCo studio in LA from tomorrow until January 6th.

    Chained won’t just be a standard VR experience though; it’ll also include elements of live theater. A single guest at a time is fitted with a VR headset in which they’ll go on a journey spanning their past, present and future. Actors using motion capture suits will appear inside VR, allowing the audience to interact with them in real-time. Outside of VR, though, there’s a fully Victorian-era set to explore.

    The piece is directed by Justin Denton, best known for his work on the Legion VR experience shown at last year’s San Diego Comic Con. “I grew up with Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol but in my mind’s eye I always imagined the spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future as much darker and more intense than most adaptations,” Denton said in a prepared statement. “Audiences will walk away from Chained as though they have just awoken from a dark and beautiful fever dream full of self discovery, fascination, fear, and wonder.”

    Experiential VR studio Here Be Dragons also worked on the piece and Bruce Straley, Game Director on Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us, consulted on the story.

    You can grab tickets to Chained from this Eventbrite page. They start at around $44.

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  • High-Flying VR Shooter Skyfront Gets Full Release Date
    High-Flying VR Shooter Skyfront Gets Full Release Date

    It’s nearly time to swing into action with the full release of Levity Play’s Skyfront.

    The airborne multiplayer shooter, which releases in Early Access late last year, will be launching its full version on December 20th, the developer confirmed today. The news was accompanied by the reveal of a launch trailer for the game which you can see below.

    Skyfront arms players with jetpacks and sets them loose in levitating arenas to do battle in solo and team-based gameplay modes. A hook shot equipped to the player’s arm allows them to quickly navigate the terrain and get the jump on unsuspecting foes.

    The full version of the game will feature four maps with three modes as well as a character progression system. You’ll be able to wield a range of weapons and abilities.

    Look for Skyfront on Steam, Oculus Home and Viveport at the end of the month, with support for Rift and Vive.

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  • Submissions now Open for the Third Annual Viveport Developer Awards Entrants have the chance to win up to $50,000 in cash and prizes.
  • Borderlands 2 VR Could Come To Rift and Vive In 2019
    Borderlands 2 VR Could Come To Rift and Vive In 2019

    The small text of Sony’s latest trailer for Borderlands 2 VR for PSVR reveals an interesting fact- the game’s exclusivity to the platform is timed, not permanent. Specifically, it is a timed exclusive for 5 months from launch.

    At the bottom of the screen from the very start it states: “Borderlands 2 VR is exclusive to PSVR for a minimum of 5 months from launch.”

    This means that after that 5 month period, Gearbox could port it to PC VR platforms like Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Windows VR if they wanted to. That would mean May 15th, 2019 is the earliest you’d see Borderlands 2 VR on a PC headset, but since that’s a Wednesday, I’d wager May 16th or 17th at the earliest instead.

    We’d be shocked if Borderlands 2 VR isn’t ported to PC. The non-VR game has enjoyed a long life thanks to the PC gaming community and there is nothing inherently tying Borderlands to PSVR other than whatever deal they’ve arranged. In the case of Resident Evil 7 VR I’m less shocked it hasn’t come to PC yet (almost two years later) just because of the history with that franchise on Sony platforms. Borderlands 2 VR feels more like Batman Arkham VR or Skyrim VR, both of which eventually released on PC VR devices.

    Regardless, you can play Borderlands 2 VR later this year on December 14th when it releases on PSVR as a timed-exclusive. The game will support both DualShock 4 and dual PS Move controllers, both of which will have teleportation or smooth locomotion options.

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  • New VR App Celebrates The Work Of Claude Monet
    New VR App Celebrates The Work Of Claude Monet

    A brand new VR experience now showing in the Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris celebrates the work of beloved painter Claude Monet.

    The app, named Claude Monet – The Waterlily Obsession, was directed by Nicolas Thépot and created with the help of ARTE France, Lucid Realities, Camera lucida productions under HTC’s Vive Arts program. As you can see in the trailer below, it allows visitors to step inside Monet’s work and explore it like never before.

    Things kick off in Monet’s garden, where the artist carried out much of his beloved work. You’ll then visit his workshop and even end up in the Orangerie Museum itself.

    Arte is also releasing a 360 video on its various platforms that will give fans at home a chance to appreciate Monet’s work. The VR installation, meanwhile, will run until March 11th next year though you can also jump into it via Viveport for $2.95 (or via the Viveport Subscription).

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  • Borderlands 2 VR is a Timed PlayStation VR Exclusive, PC VR Release a Possibility Plus, Gearbox Software has confirmed all the movement options for the PlayStation VR release.
  • Borderlands 2 VR Will Have Smooth Locomotion With PS Move Controllers
    Borderlands 2 VR Will Have Smooth Locomotion With PS Move Controllers

    Ever since Borderlands 2 VR was announced as a timed PSVR-exclusive, the narrative surrounding the game’s lead up to release has been pretty consistently positive. It’s one of the most popular and celebrated shooters of the last 10 years and it’s distinctive cel-shaded art style should translate to the limited resolution of most modern VR headsets well.

    However, there have been some concerns. Obviously the most obvious concern is the lack of any of the post-launch DLC being included and the absence of multiplayer. Borderlands has always been a franchise squarely focused on it’s cooperative elements, so it feels like a major missed opportunity to remove that. Additionally, Borderlands 2 VR will only support the DualShock 4 or PS Move controllers — but not the PS Aim controller.

    Thankfully, as of today, we have new details about the movement options. Previously it seemed like smooth movement would only be possible on DualShock 4, as seen in this video, but as it turns out, according to the official Borderlands Twitter account, you will in fact be able to do teleportation movement, “direct motion” or smooth movement, or a combination of the two with both the DualShock 4 and PS Move configurations.

    We should clarify our last reply… You can use direct motion, teleportation, or a combination with *both* PS Move and DualShock controllers.

    — Borderlands (@Borderlands) November 28, 2018

    This is great news for PSVR gamers looking to grab Borderlands 2 VR when it releases next month on December 14th.

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  • Aerial Shooter Skyfront VR Will Leave Early Access in December The launch will see new features added.
  • Augmented reality promises to rescue dying museums – so why don’t visitors want to use it? Our attempt to bring dinosaurs to life via a smartphone app was met with excitement – then it hit a brick wall.
  • Echoes VR Begins its Kickstarter Campaign And so the funding begins.
  • U.S. Army Chooses Microsoft’s HoloLens For $480 Million Contract
    U.S. Army Chooses Microsoft’s HoloLens For $480 Million Contract

    The United States Army awarded a $480 million contract to Microsoft that will equip military personnel with prototype versions of HoloLens intended to increase “lethality, mobility, and situational awareness.”

    HoloLens is an all-in-one augmented reality headset from Microsoft which first shipped in 2016 for $3,000. Its robust tracking system constantly maps the world while overlaying digital objects into the central area of its wearer’s vision. While HoloLens isn’t great for immersive games like Rift, Vive or PSVR headsets that take you to another world, its wireless design, high quality tracking of the real world and high price mean the system is ideal for entirely different use cases. As seen above, it’s been used on the International Space Station and NASA used it to visualize rovers long before they make the trip to Mars. A few developers have also tried carving out a niche building on the headset by delivering applications to companies for internal use.

    With the U.S. Army and its $480 million award for an “Integrated Visual Augmentation System,” the plan is to procure “approximately two thousand five hundred & fifty IVAS prototypes (to include hardware, software, and the associated interface control documentation) in four increments or “capability sets”.

    “Augmented reality technology will provide troops with more and better information to make decisions,” a statement from Microsoft reads. “This new work extends our longstanding, trusted relationship with the Department of Defense to this new area.”

    A report from Bloomberg suggests the award could eventually lead the military to purchase more than 100,000 headsets from MIcrosoft.

    You can check out some documents on the Federal Business Opportunities website which outline the overall aims of the Army program. I’ve uploaded the “Statement of Objectives” which was posted in August, which outlines the scope and aim of the program.

    “Current and future battles will be fought with small distributed formations in urban and subterranean environments where current capabilities are not sufficient, a recognized training capability gap the Government has sought to fill since 2009. The IVAS will address this shortfall by providing increased sets and repetitions in complex environments,” the document reads. “Soldier lethality will be vastly improved through cognitive training and advanced sensors, enabling squads to be first to detect, decide, and engage.”

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  • Hands-On With A Voice Controlled Spaceship In Starship Commander: Arcade
    Hands-On With A Voice Controlled Spaceship In Starship Commander: Arcade

    Talking to computers aboard a spaceship has been a sci-fi dream for decades. From Captain’s Logs in Star Trek to Cortana in Halo, as humans we’ve done a remarkable job of personifying the non-human objects that populate popular fiction. But until very recently, that was just a dream in TV shows, movies, and video games.

    Now we’ve got smart home assistants that carry entire conversations with us and features that let us do things like cast spells in Skyrim and speak to our crew members aboard the Starship Enterprise. In the case of Starship Commander though, is an entire game based around that single novel concept.

    Starship Commander: Arcade from Human Interact appears to be the new name for what was originally just Starship Commander, which was announced almost two years ago. That appeared to be a larger, more full-fledged VR game, but instead what we’ve got is a trimmed-down experience designed specifically for VR arcades powered by Springboard VR and Private Label VR arcades. It releases at multiple locations in less than two weeks on December 10th, 2018. I played it on an Oculus Rift at home through Steam though, so maybe it will get released widely for consumers as well, similar to Haunted Graveyard. It’s unclear whether or not a longer, more feature-rich VR game is still in the works.

    Since this is an arcade experience and is just about 10-minutes in length, I didn’t come in with high expectations in terms of world building or depth. This is designed to be easy to sit down and play without any prior knowledge or VR experience and for that purpose it excels wonderfully.

    You don’t need Touch controllers, a keyboard, a gamepad, or anything at all. Just a headset, chair, and microphone. There is no main menu and there are no options to fiddle with. As soon as I boot it up, I’m presented with a prompt to say aloud, “Open the hatch,” and then it begins.

    Visually it looks really nice in the headset. Textures are sharp and the effects are good with solid sound design. On-screen at this point is Sgt. Pearson, who is there to walk me through procedures and tag along for my mission to blow up some bad guys in space. She attempts to make some jokes every now and then, but most of them suffer from poor timing or awkward pauses due to what I can only assume is the voice recognition loading in the background. Her delivery feels a little flat as well.

    Honestly, despite the minor clunkiness, these interactions with her before you actually leave on your mission are probably the best parts of the game. She does a good job of responding to commands promptly and gives off a decent illusion of carrying a conversation as long as you stick to responding accurately and not drifting off-topic. Apparently the game uses Microsoft’s “Cognitive Services” and tests your microphone levels before launching. The developers tell me the word error rate is less than 5.9%, which is better than an actual

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  • Pavlov VR Livestream – FPS Action Like Counter-Strike
    Pavlov VR Livestream – FPS Action Like Counter-Strike

    Pavlov VR is one of the best and most popular VR shooters out there. It’s got an active community, tons of mod support, and some of the most refined shooting mechanics you’ll find in a headset. The gameplay is similar to Counter-Strike, offering fast-paced thrills with lots of action and a variety of weapons and game modes.

    We’ll be playing Pavlov VR on Rift using a two Touch controllers. We’re starting right around 2:oo PM PT and we’ll aim to last for around an hour or more. We’ll be livestreaming directly to the UploadVR Twitch page where you can interact with us directly and chat among yourselves. Streaming is something we’re going to double down on doing more often very soon so you should get in on the ground floor of our Twitch community early! You can see the full stream embedded right here down below once it’s up:

    Watch live video from UploadVR on www.twitch.tv

    You can see our most recent past archived streams over on the UploadVR YouTube channel right here. There’s lots of good stuff there!

    Let us know which games or discussions you want us to livestream next and don’t forget to follow the Twitch channel and sign up for notifications.

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