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  • How The Haunted Graveyard Is Holospark’s ‘Gateway Game’ For VR Users
    How The Haunted Graveyard Is Holospark’s ‘Gateway Game’ For VR Users

    I was immediately curious about The Haunted Graveyard when I found out John Tynes was involved. I was familiar with his work from his time in the tabletop gaming field, as the co-writer of the 1999 RPG Unknown Armies. When I did some more research, I discovered that Tynes was also an early content lead on Magic: The Gathering and a contributor to Call of Cthulhu, Over the Edge, Feng Shui, and Delta Green. It turns out that he’s one of those guys who’s been a quiet influence on a startling amount of the games industry, but you’d never know it without looking him up.

    Tynes eventually moved into video game production, where he worked on Pirates of the Burning Sea and Neverwinter. Following the closure of Cryptic North in 2015, Tynes and several of his co-workers from both Pirates and Neverwinter founded Holospark in Bellevue, Washington, where they’ve produced The Impossible Travel Agency and Séance: The Unquiet for VR, as well as the co-op humans- vs.-aliens shooter Earthfall for PS4, Xbox, and PC.

    On October 9th , Holospark debuted its new virtual reality project The Haunted Graveyard, where you’re placed into the titular cemetery and must explore it in an attempt to escape before the stroke of midnight. It’s intended as a short, interactive experience, aimed at newcomers to VR. You can pick it up for home use via Steam as of this writing, but its intended audience is patrons at VRcades around the world.

    I interviewed Tynes, who worked on The Haunted Graveyard as an executive producer, as well as the game’s creative director Bruce Sharp, about their business plan, the technologies they’ve developed over the course of the project, and why The Haunted Graveyard is best called an experience, rather than a game. The following transcript has been edited for clarity.

    UploadVR: The Haunted Graveyard looks a lot like a theme park. Was that what you were going for?

    John Tynes, executive producer: There’s even a song, very much like a Disney ride. There’s a musical performance partway through that’s really fun. We created all of our characters through motion-capture, like Gollum in Lord of the Rings. We brought in professional actors from Seattle theater, they did all of their scenes together, and then we digitized all that stuff and put it into the game as performance. It’s fantastic. I mean, the level of performance we got from these people is amazing, and it comes through gorgeously.

    Bruce Sharp, art director: We took these canned performances, and what’s sort of special about them is that we’ve layered some dynamic programming on top of that, to give you a feeling like they’re there with you, not just speaking to a camera.

    UploadVR: Okay, so you brought them into the recording booth, and now you’ve programmed it so they feel more like they’re reacting directly to you and what you’re doing.

    Tynes: Well, more beyond that. We actually captured their entire bodies and their faces and their voices simultaneously. We put our cast into motion-capture suits, which you

    The post How The Haunted Graveyard Is Holospark’s ‘Gateway Game’ For VR Users appeared first on UploadVR.

  • John Carpenter’s ‘Tales For A HalloweeNight Vol 4′ Brought To Life With AR

    Unlock a terrifying AR experience with the exclusive 2018 NYCC edition of John Carpenter’s ‘Tales For a HalloweeNight Vol 4.’ When it comes to classic slasher horror films, the name John Carpenter is almost always the first that comes to mind.  Ever since he introduced the world to Michael Myers in his 1978 terror classic, Halloween,

    The post John Carpenter’s ‘Tales For A HalloweeNight Vol 4′ Brought To Life With AR appeared first on VRScout.

  • Sixense Announces Refunds For Controller Kickstarter Backers STEM controller saga comes to an end as Sixense authorises refunds.
  • Artist Behind Famous Obama “Hope” Poster Launches VR/AR Exhibit

    Shepard Fairey’s largest ever solo exhibit preserved in VR/AR using volumetric photogrammetry. Last year, street artist Shepard Fairey, best known as the founder of OBEY clothing and the creator of the prolific “Hope” image featuring former President Barack Obama, launched “DAMAGED,” a wildly popular, limited run art exhibit in Los Angeles. It was the artist/activists

    The post Artist Behind Famous Obama “Hope” Poster Launches VR/AR Exhibit appeared first on VRScout.

  • The Sims FreePlay Brings In Multiplayer AR An update to The Sims smart[phone title brings in augmented reality (AR) features.
  • Sixense Will Refund Its VR Controller Backers, Switch To Enterprise
    Sixense Will Refund Its VR Controller Backers, Switch To Enterprise

    Sixense pioneered hand controllers for virtual reality applications in 2013, but the company hasn’t been able to produce its Stem consumer product for VR. And so the company is announcing today that it will refund all of the money raised from its Kickstarter campaign backers and preorder customers.

    Amir Rubin, CEO of Los Gatos, California-based Sixense, said in an interview with GamesBeat that the company will now focus on the enterprise market with its six-degrees-of-freedom (6DoF) controllers, which allow people to use their hands in virtual reality applications. In many ways, this represents yet another failure in the overhyped VR market, but there’s also a certain measure of success for Sixense.

    Earlier this year, Sixense formed a joint venture with Penumbra, a health care company that wanted 6DoF technology for things like VR surgery training and patient recovery. That raised some much-needed capital for Sixense. In September, Penumbra bought an additional 40 percent of the joint venture, bringing the total owned to 90 percent, for $20 million. That gave Sixense the ability to replay its 2,383 Kickstarter backers, who gave the company $604,978 in 2013.

    Above: Amir Rubin, CEO of Sixense, ran a Kickstarter for a wireless version of his company’s motion-sensing controllers in 2013.

    Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

    Rubin said he was grateful for the support of the backers.

    “After a lot of consideration, we decided, based on current market conditions, we will refund all of the Kickstarter backers at 100 percent,” he said. “We will refund every backer and every preorder.”

    Rubin said that when the company emerged with its Stem wireless hand controllers in 2013, before Oculus Rift came out, the industry needed a solution for navigating VR.

    “There was no 6DoF control system for VR to go with the Oculus headset,” he said.

    But then Valve showed off its SteamVR controllers and gave that at no cost to HTC. Oculus launched in 2016 with an Xbox controller, and later that year it debuted its Oculus Touch controls. With those solutions from the major vendors in the market, there wasn’t as much need for the Stem controllers, which were both more precise and more expensive.

    To survive, Rubin started focusing on health care solutions, mobile devices, and the enterprise. It spun out a VR building application, and then it cut the deal with Penumbra.

    Above: Sixense Stem controllers

    Image Credit: Sixense

    “With enterprise, we were able to be comfortable as a company and continue to develop our technology,” Rubin said. “Penumbra is one of the most committed companies in the VR health care market.”

    Rubin said he was down on the VR market’s potential until about three months ago, when the music-and-swordfighting game Beat Saber debuted and generated millions of sales on VR headsets. He was also impressed with Facebook’s Oculus Quest wireless VR headset.

    “We feel the market has what it needs as its first real consumer product,” Rubin said. “We will take our technology to the enterprise and health care.”

    Eventually, he said that the consumer market will develop further and require the more precise technology in the Stem controllers. And when that happens, Sixense

    The post Sixense Will Refund Its VR Controller Backers, Switch To Enterprise appeared first on UploadVR.

  • Jaunt Changes Focus From VR To AR As a result of Jaunt's work in volumetric capture, Jaunt is turning away from VR and focussing on AR/
  • Oculus Go Used For In-Flight Pilot Training Demonstration
    Oculus Go Used For In-Flight Pilot Training Demonstration

    Co-founders of a Texas-based company called Thrust Vector, which does contract development and consulting for both AR and VR, used Oculus Go while piloting an aircraft and say they have flown “probably 2 dozen full approaches in full VR, all the way down to about 50 feet above the runway.”

    CTO John Nagle wrote in an email to us that they used mapping software Mapbox along with the Unity world engine and “Oculus Go in this case because it represents the lowest cost VR device, and we wanted to show it was fundamentally capable enough to work.” In a video demonstration, Nagle is shown piloting an airplane with co-founder John Paul Sommer as “safety pilot.” Inside Oculus Go, an application renders visuals for Nagle based in the information supplied by “an open source ADS-B sensor called Stratux, which also has an AHRS capability (Attitude and Heading Reference System.) It uses a WAAS-enhanced GPS for position.”

    “It is still 3DOF, but it is airplane-referenced. In an airplane, the headset rotates in 2 ways; the airplane can turn, and your head can turn also. We do the math to keep head motion airplane-relative. We do plan to use more powerful headsets in future tests, of course,” Nagle wrote.

    “We always acted as safety pilot for the other during testing, so we were never actually flying blind. The approach boxes bring you perfectly down the approach path, and the MapBox data has sufficient fidelity to really give me confidence that I know where I am. We’ve also done a number of ‘unusual attitude’ tests, where one of us is eyes-closed, head-down, while the other does a series of steep and aggressive maneuvers in an attempt to cause disorientation. Then, the pilot will say, ‘your airplane’, at which point the other person will don the headset, right the aircraft, and bring it in for landing.”

    The idea is that with a “PC-driven VR system such as the Oculus Rift, we can create an endless array of training scenarios; poor weather, equipment failures, even combat scenarios with virtual ground and aerial targets. And unlike a simulator, the trainee will feel every stick input for real. The irony here is, many people using VR flight simulators experience nausea, because they’re seeing movement that their body doesn’t actually feel. Having VR in-flight can actually prevent nausea, because your sight is now in total agreement with your vestibular system.”

    Nagle added that he believes “FAA approval is usually relegated to things which are permanently mounted in the cockpit. Nonetheless, we look forward to working with the FAA as we refine the technology to make sure we stay within the boundaries of common sense and the regulations. After all, ultimately the goal is to improve safety, not compromise it.”

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    The post Oculus Go Used For In-Flight Pilot Training Demonstration appeared first on UploadVR.

  • Introducing MagiMask: A New AR Headset Looking To Right Wrongs & Elevate AR "We believe people have been led into the AR market with false hopes and outrageously expensive hardware."
  • Wrench Gives You A Different Kind Of Car Simulator
    Wrench Gives You A Different Kind Of Car Simulator

    Few genres seem to fit VR better than racing simulation, letting you jump into the driver’s seat of just about any car without spending millions of dollars. But Missing Digit’s Wrench wants to offer a different kind of car simulator.

    Wrench is all about getting under the hood of fast and furious machines. It’s a complement to the types of Gran Turismo and Project Cars players that want to take things further, not just to swap out parts on the fly but get into the real nitty-gritty of vehicle maintenance and tweaking. If you’ve followed the app’s progress over the past year, you’ll know it features stunningly detailed models of everything from engines to the tiny nuts and bolts that piece them together. Motion controller support, meanwhile, allows for realistic handling of those objects and installing them into cars.

    It sounds like an incredibly comprehensive tool, but is there really an audience for that?

    “Wrench is definitely something that would appeal to many sim racers,” developer Alec Moody explained to me over email. “There are a few games in the car repair genre that have been quite successful but it’s an under developed genre. Gamers are used to seeing high production value racing games but they haven’t seen a similar level of effort in the repair space.”

    Moody explained that he’d had a positive reception to the experience in the wider automobile industry, but was still looking to gain traction with gamers ahead of launch. “I think Wrench looking polished and being something other than a racing game is part of why I have had such a positive reaction in the car world,” he said. “I’m also taking a very different approach than existing car repair games. Mostly that difference can be summed up with quality over quantity.”

    But how do you gamify something that many people would class as complicated beyond their capability? Well, Wrench makes a career out of your work that you have to sustain. You’ll need to please first-timer customers to turn them into regular visitors, for example.

    “Wrench‘s game flow revolves around servicing complete cars, not building cars from a pile of parts,” Moody said. “The videos I have been pushing show building from a pile of parts because that is an easier narrative to drill down into a 1-2 minute format- From a gameplay perspective its substantially different. The approach I am taking is that the total assembly is quite complicated and we don’t expect new players to jump into the most difficult tasks straight away. New players can nibble around the edges of the assembly and then slowly move deeper into the car as they feel more confident. That progression might look something like this: Oil changes, brake pad changes, larger suspension work, replacing engine accessories/timing belt, and then finally moving into rebuilding engines.

    There’s also a methodical pace to the gameplay that lets players learn as they go. Take the video above, which features a 47-minute task reduced down into a minute of footage.

    “I also think there is an

    The post Wrench Gives You A Different Kind Of Car Simulator appeared first on UploadVR.

  • Pokémon Go Gets Big Rebalance 'Gym King' characters like Blissey get a nerf as Niantic Labs prepare for Gen 4 launch.
  • Moncler Genius Launches AR-Enhanced Book Outerwear brand works with REWIND to create AR-enhanced book.
  • VRHealth Secures CE Registration, Looks To Move Into EU Market OVer 30 facilities in the U.S. already use VRHealth.
  • VR vs. Subtle Moves Kevin E tells of times when the VRFocus team agree on the quality of a VR videogame, then explains why he disagrees with part of our Arca's Path preview.
  • TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation Announces Finance Education Experience In Partnership With Oculus Go  “Learning through an interactive experience is an exciting and immersive way that will help investors understand more."