• Hands-On: Falcon Age Is Like A Metroidvania Meets Bird Handling
    Hands-On: Falcon Age Is Like A Metroidvania Meets Bird Handling

    I screwed up while playing Falcon Age at PAX West. I didn’t realize an enemy turret had as long an effective range as it did, so the next time my bird came back, it had a bunch of painful-looking darts sticking out of it. I pulled out the darts with the Square button, and after I removed the last one, I discovered the same button was also used to play with the bird. My character reached up and scratched her bird under its chin, and all of the people waiting in line behind me, as one, let out a little “Aww!” sound.

    If nothing else, then, Falcon Age has one thing going for it: it is perhaps destined to be the leading “pet a pretty bird” simulator in the virtual reality market. Also, the bird can wear hats. You can pet the bird and dress it up. It is possible—perhaps even likely—that this is all you needed to hear.

    Falcon Age has been in production for about ten months at time of writing, built in Unity with a small distributed team, and made its public debut at this year’s PAX West, in the Indie Megabooth. The creative director Chandana Ekanayake is originally from Sri Lanka, and he’s brought some of that culture to Falcon Age’s story and character designs. Before this, he worked at Bethesda, and was the team lead on other VR games like Wayward Sky and Dino Frontier.

    You play as Ara, a young woman who’s a member of the native population of a planet that, over the course of the last couple of generations, has been getting strip-mined by robots, made and sent by an invading army of colonizers. Ara gets thrown into prison on a minor infraction, and while she’s there, befriends a young falcon. With its help, she escapes, and decides to learn the ancient, nearly-lost art of falcon hunting from her aunt, in an effort to rally and help oppose the colonizers.

    A big thanks to everyone that checked out Falcon Age at PAX. We had five different real life falconers stop by and play it. They were not disappointed.

    — Chandana Ekanayake (@Ekanaut) September 5, 2018

    Ekanayake described Falcon Age to me as a sort of “Metroidvania” game. You begin in a big, open map, and by exploring it, you can gradually accumulate new tools, which are all upgrades for your bird. Those upgrades, in turn, let you get around obstacles and reach previously-inaccessible parts of the map.

    There were two stations at PAX for Falcon Age. One was PSVR, where you played with a PS Move controller in either hand. The other switched it over to a non-VR game with a traditional controller setup, which felt like a typical first-person shooter on a console.

    Either way, you can interact with the world either with your bird, or by using Ara’s baton. The latter serves as either a short-ranged melee attack, perfect for crushing pesky robot bugs, or can be turned into a sort of electric whip. The whip

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  • Getting a Head for Heights in VR Training company Harness is using virtual reality to educate on working safety at heights.
  • Community Download: Why Do You Think Rift Is Gaining Ground Over Vive On Steam VR?
    Community Download: Why Do You Think Rift Is Gaining Ground Over Vive On Steam VR?

    Community Download is a weekly discussion-focused articles series published every Monday in which we pose a single, core question to you all, our readers, in the spirit of fostering discussion and debate. 

    According to the August Steam Hardware Survey results, the Oculus Rift is once again widening its gap over the HTC Vive in terms of hardware adoption among users. In July the gap was only 2%, but now it’s closer to 4% according to the results.

    Part of that gap widening is definitely due to the Windows VR market continuing to grow, especially considering the frequent deals and price drops on the various headsets from Acer, HP, Asus, Samsung, and more. Furthermore, Rift continues to deliver exclusive games on their Oculus Home platform like Marvel Powers United VR and the upcoming Windlands 2, which likely drive sales and in turn result in hardware activations on Steam too. The Oculus Rift is much cheaper as well.

    But it’s hard to know if there is a real, true, singular driver causing this shift in tide over the last few months. Which brings us to this week’s discussion topic: Why do you think the Rift is gaining ground over the Vive on Steam VR? Is it simply cost and content, or is it more complicated than that?

    Let us know what you think down in the comments below!

    Tagged with: community download, rift, steam, Vive

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  • Flying Eye Reality Reveal AR App for College Students Spotselfie app will be open to users will valid .edu email addresses to facilitate real-world and digital interaction.
  • Pimax To Begin Shipping 8K & 5K+ Headsets At The End Of The Month

    The first batch of high-end VR headsets will begin shipping to early Kickstarter backers as we begin to wrap up September. With a 200-degree field-of-view, options for both 8K and 5K resolutions, and a plethora of upcoming add ons, such as custom knuckle motion controllers and a detachable audio head strap, Pimax’s high-end VR headsets

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  • Supernatural Victorian VR Thriller The Awakened Announced Explore eerie Victorian mansions in search of an evil cult in upcoming VR thriller The Awakened.
  • Spheres Wins Best Virtual Reality Award At Venice Film Festival Guest writer Kate Parkinson was at Venice VR for the world premiere of Eliza McNitt's three-part virtual reality project.
  • 3 Virtual Reality Projects Win At The Venice Film Festival
    3 Virtual Reality Projects Win At The Venice Film Festival

    Virtual reality experiences Spheres, Buddy VR and L’île des morts won awards at the Venice Film Festival this year.

    Eliza McNitt’s Spheres was recognized as the best immersive story as it delivers a sense of awe with a journey to some of the largest celestial bodies in the universe. We don’t know yet when Spheres might be released to headset owners at home but we hope to get an update soon.

    Buddy VR from Chuck Chae was recognized as the best VR experience for interactive content based on characters from The Nut Job film. You can see in the trailer below some of the interactive elements.

    L’île des morts from Benjamin Nuel won best VR story for linear content for its experience inspired by Arnold Böcklin’s mysterious painting. You can seen in the 360 degree trailer below a boat as it makes its way to a small rocky Isle of The Dead.

    With a number of end-of-year conferences and announcements expected in the next few months, we’re hopeful that these and other experiences recognized at the various film festivals will see release dates announced soon. The VR projects were recognized at the Venice Film Festival in Italy alongside traditional film projects like Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma, which won The Golden Lion for recognition as the best film of the year.

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  • From Bones to Spaceships: New Tools Required to Usher in Future of AR/VR Paul Reynolds, CEO of Torch 3D explains why he thinks VR and AR require additional toolsets to succeed.
  • Sony Reveal Kingdom Hearts VR Experience A VR experience where you can see the franchise through Sora's eyes is heading to PlayStation VR.
  • Google Set To Unveil Pixel 3 Early Next Month
    Google Set To Unveil Pixel 3 Early Next Month

    We should be seeing the next flagship Google Daydream-ready smartphone very soon.

    Last week Google sent out invites for a ‘Made by Google Launch Event’ taking place at 11am ET on October 9th in New York City. The name seems like a clear indicator that we’ll be seeing the reveal of the next in Google’s own line of smartphones, the Pixel 3 and likely the enlarged Pixel 3 XL too. This will be the first phone from the company since it acquired the design division of HTC that had made its previous two Pixel phones.

    Why should a VR fan care? Well, simply put, the Pixel line usually serves as the flagship device for Google’s Daydream mobile VR ecosystem. That means whatever Google is planning to unveil should have access to the entire breadth of VR content that’s been released on Daydream over the past two years. More importantly, though, there will hopefully be some updates to the kit’s design and processing power that make it the best place to jump into Daydream.

    You can also expect the phone to be a great showcase for Google’s Android-based augmented reality platform, ARCore.

    We also have to wonder if Google is planning to unveil another iteration of its Daydream View headset at the show. View was first introduced at 2016’s Made by Google event and then updated in the 2017 version, so we’re holding out hope that yet more revisions are on their way.

    More than anything, though, we just want to know what Google’s been up to in VR, recently. The company partnered with Lenovo to deliver the excellent Mirage Solo standalone headset earlier this year, but VR was almost entirely absent from its I/O developer conference in May.

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  • VR Driving Simulator T3R Will Be Showcased at Tokyo Game Showcase Silicon Studio are using its custom YEBIS middleware to make a VR simulator based on Assetto Corsa.
  • Last Labyrinth Is A VR Escape Room From The Man That Created PlayStation’s Toro Mascot
    Last Labyrinth Is A VR Escape Room From The Man That Created PlayStation’s Toro Mascot

    It’s close enough to the end of 2018 now that we’re starting to look ahead to what we can’t wait to play in 2019. It looks like Last Labyrinth will be one such game.

    Japanese developer Amata K.K. this month announced that this new escape room game will be launching on the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Windows VR and PlayStation VR headsets in spring 2019. A demo will be on display at this year’s Tokyo Game Show (TGS), which gets underway in a few weeks’ time.

    In Last Labyrinth, the player awakens to find themselves locked in a strange mansion filled with puzzles. A mysterious girl accompanies them as they make their way through the world, deciphering clues and unlocking doors. The game was awarded the Best VR/AR Contents prize at Laval Virtual when it was first shown last year. It’s directed by Hiromichi Takahashi, who also directed Doko Demo Issyo, the game that gave birth to Sony’s Toro PlayStation mascot, in 1999.

    Escape Room Games are a dime a dozen in VR, but we’re hoping Last Labyrinth’s focus on the relationship between two characters gives it the edge.

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  • Jaunt Acquires Volumetric Capture Firm Jaunt has announced the acquisition of Personify and its volumetric capture technology Teleporter.
  • Make It A (Virtual) Reality: Time Crisis Virtual reality is missing Time Crisis - and Namco should bring it back