• Ace Combat 7 VR Review: Utterly Superb But Incredibly Bittersweet Aerial Combat
    Ace Combat 7 VR Review: Utterly Superb But Incredibly Bittersweet Aerial Combat

    I still feel like I’m soaring. Not just literally; Ace Combat 7’s VR support has left me grinning from ear-to-ear. This is nothing short of a revelation; a deadly ballet of barrel rolls and missiles. It’s a successful fusion of cinematic excitement and utterly arresting immersion, the likes of which VR has rarely seen. It made my heart pound and my jaw drop with dizzying regularity.

    And then it ended.

    And that’s the elephant in the room. For all its high-flying spectacle, Ace Combat 7 is criminally short on VR content. Just three missions await you, and experienced players will beat each in 10 minutes or less. Series newcomers (such as myself) will probably take longer; multiple deaths on the tough-but-firm normal mode stretched it out to about two hours. To offer this captivating a taste of aerial combat, realized with such polish, and then to take it away just as you’re getting settled is nothing short of cruel.

    But it is what it is and, more importantly, what remains is unforgettably good. From immersion through to control, Ace Combat 7 is top gun (sorry). The cockpit, for starters, is detailed down to every switch and button with an impressive degree of perceived authenticity. Landscapes stretch out for miles around you and, although they’re obviously a little blurry up close, they’re surprisingly convincing when zooming past at 100 mph. Fly into clouds and the weather will start to beat down on your windshield. In one dramatic opening, an airfield becomes a battle zone and debris is rained down upon you with alarming force. Don’t let its length fool you; this is a blockbuster VR experience.

    You have to use the Expert control scheme instead of the more accessible option. For some, it will undoubtedly cause nausea, but it otherwise feels like the most natural way to go. It virtually fuzes your right thumb to the pilot’s flight stick. Combat is initially daunting but, once mastered, an effortless thrill.

    A flight simulator this is not; the controls may have their intricacies but ultimately Ace Combat 7 is all about the grandiose. It’s in the moments you skim past an enemy fighter and wince at the proximity or the last-second kills that have you piercing through a fiery explosion. It comes just as you untangle from a hopscotch of missile dodges only to find yourself pulling up before you crash into the ocean. In these instances I couldn’t help but cheer and woot like a cowboy, occasionally leaping out of my seat (bad idea) and becoming the very person I’ve rolled my eyes at thousands of times in films. It really is that powerful.

    The movie magic is woven into the inevitable games of cat and mouse too. As the skies become peppered with enemies you’ll start throwing your head back and forth in desperate search of new targets and threats. It’s that head movement that really adds a dimension not previously seen in other Ace games. One slight hiccup is the developer’s decision to fade the world out

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  • Fast Travel Games CEO: Apex Construct Selling Better On PSVR Than PC
    Fast Travel Games CEO: Apex Construct Selling Better On PSVR Than PC

    A series of tweets from the CEO of Fast Travel Games, Oskar Burman, offers a breakdown of the sales of Apex Construct across PlayStation, Steam and Oculus.

    Apex Construct released in early 2018 as a great “full” VR game on the three storefronts supporting 6DoF motion controllers. Across three tweets this week, Burman broke down the sales ratio since launch. Here are the tweets condensed into a single block of text:

    So, this is the current split in Apex Construct sales: PSVR: 58% Steam: 23% Oculus Store: 19%. Playstation has taken an even bigger share since last time I shared numbers, which is what to expect considering indications of strong PSVR sales in 2018. But the VR market as a whole is clearly growing too. December was one of the best months ever for Apex, so my guess is a bunch of people found a new VR HMD under the christmas tree in 2018

    We confirmed this data covers sales since launch and Burman said that the share of PlayStation buyers grew over the course of the year. A similar tweet by Burman from May offers a snapshot of the sales to that time:

    Multiplatform matters for VR devs. Out of all Apex Construct sales, 46% is on PSVR, 30% is on the Oculus Store while 24% is on Steam. #gamedev #vrdev

    — Oskar Burman (@OskarBurman) May 23, 2018

    With more than half of buyers on PSVR now it is clear how important Sony’s headset has been to the game’s sales, but the breakdown also makes clear that PC-based headsets are nearly as important when taken altogether.

    “We’ve had quite linear user growth over time, which again I think is due to overall market growth, and hopefully also because we keep supporting the game with new patches,” Burman wrote in a message to UploadVR.

    Burman confirmed that December was the second best month for sales of the game after its initial launch — a strong indicator that lots of people got VR headsets for the holidays.

    Tagged with: Apex Construct, Fast Travel Games

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  • PSVR 2019 ‘Demo Disc’ Includes Nine Kick-Ass Titles

    If you’ve somehow never played Superhot VR, now’s your chance. Playstation VR has, against the odds, proven itself to be a formidable console alternative to PC VR headsets. Where many high-end VR platforms pride themselves in touting the latest advances in hardware and the highest resolutions, Sony has instead chosen to focus their efforts on

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  • VR Puts Users Head-To-Head With Ford’s Co-Pilot360 Technology

    Can humans identify road hazards as well as Ford’s advanced safety technology? Arguably one of the most alluring selling points of a current Ford Motor Company brand vehicle is the inclusion of the companies advanced driver assist system, a.k.a. their Co-Pilot360 technology. Featuring a suite of features, from a Blind Spot Information System, to Pre-Collision

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  • VR Timewarp, Spacewarp, Reprojection, And Motion Smoothing Explained
    VR Timewarp, Spacewarp, Reprojection, And Motion Smoothing Explained

    TimeWarp, Spacewarp, Reprojection, Motion Smoothing. Asynchronous, Interleaved.

    You may have heard these terms or seen them in the settings of your VR headset, but what do they do, and what’s the difference?


    The idea of Timewarp has been around in VR research for decades, but the specific feature was added to the Oculus software in April 2014 by John Carmack. Carmack first wrote about the idea in early 2013, before even the Oculus DK1 had shipped.

    Standard Timewarp in itself did not actually help with framerate, nor was it intended to. It was made to lower the perceived latency of VR. VR before the Oculus DK1 had much higher latency than today- mostly due to software rather than hardware. Timewarp is one of the multiple software techniques Oculus used to get latency low enough to not be noticeable.

    Timewarp reprojects an already rendered frame just before sending it to the headset to account for the change in head rotation.

    That is, it warps the image geometrically in the direction you rotated your head between the time the frame started and finished rendering. Since this takes a fraction of the time that re-rendering would and the frame is sent to the headset immediately after, the perceived latency is lower since the result is closer to what you should be seeing.

    The concept of Timewarp is used today by all major VR platforms. So contrary to common belief, even when you’re hitting full framerate you’re still seeing reprojected frames.

    Asynchronous Timewarp (ATW)

    Asynchronous Timewarp takes the same concept of geometric warping and uses it to compensate for dropped frames. If the current frame doesn’t finish rendering in time, ATW reprojects the previous frame with the latest tracking data instead.

    It is called “asynchronous” because it occurs in parallel to rendering rather than after it. The synthetic frame is ready before it’s known whether or not the real frame will finish rendering on time.

    Diagram from

    ATW was first shipped on Gear VR Innovator Edition back in late 2014. It was not available on PC however until the Rift consumer launch in March 2016. The feature’s reliance on hardware features addded in recent GPUs was one of the reasons the Rift doesn’t support GeForce 7-series cards or AMD cards predating the R9 series.

    In October 2016, Valve added a similar feature to SteamVR, which they call Asynchronous Reprojection. The feature originally only supported NVIDIA GPUs, but in April 2017 support for AMD GPUs was added.

    Interleaved Reprojection

    Before the addition of Asynchronous Reprojection to SteamVR, Valve’s platform had Interleaved Reprojection (IR). Rather than being an always-on system like ATW, IR was automatically toggled on and off by the compositor.

    When an app was consistently dropping multiple frames over a few seconds, IR forced the application to run at half framerate (45FPS) and then synthetically generated every second frame- hence “interleaved”. Interleaved Reprojection actually had some perceptual advantages over asynchronous reprojection as it makes any double image artifacts appear spatially consistently.

    With the release of SteamVR Motion Smoothing in 2018, Interleaved Reprojection became obsolete.

    ASW / Motion Smoothing

    Timewarp (at current)

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  • The Entire Hardlight VR project is now Open Source If you want to make your own.
  • Hands-on: 6DoF Tracker Free Control With FinchShift A limited demo still managed to impress.
  • VR RTS Final Assault Hits Early Access Next Month, Here’s How It’s Shaping Up
    VR RTS Final Assault Hits Early Access Next Month, Here’s How It’s Shaping Up

    It’s been a while since we caught up with Final Assault. This is a new VR real-time strategy (RTS) game from veteran developers Phaser Lock Interactive. In the past, we’ve been impressed by the team’s vision of the VR RTS. It’s perhaps a more accessible take than something like Brass Tactics, but that might be key to its success.

    Today, Phaser Lock is announcing the game will launch in Early Access on February 12th 2019. It’ll arrive with cross-play between Rift and Vive across 14 different maps. A full single-player campaign is coming in March ahead of the full launch later on.

    We recently got to try out the latest build of the game’s PvP mode ahead of PAX East this weekend. Let’s talk about why we think it’s a winner.

    It Doesn’t Overwhelm You

    It’s true that VR seems like the perfect fit for the RTS genre. But in practice, it’s easy to find these games overwhelming. There’s a lot of ground to cover and, if you suddenly find yourself caught out in battle, it can be a mad scramble to catch up. Final Assault helps you manage that load in a clever way.

    Though the game’s maps allow for free movement, they also have dedicated paths that keep your units busy. Think of them as conveyor belts that move your units along without the need to check on them. If, for example, you ordered a tank onto one of these paths, it would automatically fight its way to the front lines. It’s a thoughtful way of making sure you’re utilizing all your resources at all times. You won’t look back to suddenly see four tanks sitting around doing nothing.

    It Replaces Your Mouse Quite Nicely

    For all the amazing new types of control VR provides, there’s something to be said for the mouse. A few flicks of the wrist, a couple of clicks and you’ve issued orders with pinpoint precision. VR controls take decidedly more effort. But one of Final Assault’s best touches is the ability to carve out a specific path for your units.

    Just touch the vehicle in question and pull the trigger. Then drag your finger around the map and you’ll forge a path that the given unit will follow to the letter. It’s a great way of executing advanced strategies, making sure tanks use the cover of a building to reach a good vantage point or flanking enemies from all sides.

    It’s A Visual Delight

    Diorama VR has always had a special magic to it, but that’s doubly true of Final Assault. Somehow Phaser Lock has achieved a tiny game world that looks incredibly believable. Snowy maps are peppered with white specs, hiding intricate details on sharply textured buildings. Plains hover around you like bothersome flies and tanks invite you to play with them like action figures. It really is a joy to behold. Despite levels sometimes having more than three separate battles going on at once, performance remained incredibly solid.

    Its Simplicity Is Its Sweet Spot…

    You might consider Final Assault to be a stripped back RTS.

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  • Pimax Interview: Discussing 8K, 5K Plus and the Year Ahead VRFocus sat down with Pimax's Kevin Henderson to learn more.
  • New Vive, Pimax Power Kits Ditch Power Adapters And Simplify Your Setup
    New Vive, Pimax Power Kits Ditch Power Adapters And Simplify Your Setup

    Earlier this month we took a look at Accell’s USB-C VR adapter for Rift and Windows. The kit allows existing headsets to take advantage of new USB-C DisplayPorts. HTC’s Vive, however, couldn’t use the kit due to its different setup. These new products from Tundra Labs don’t make Vive USB-C compatible, but they can simplify things a little bit.

    The company recently announced two new offerings, a Power Kit for the HTC Vive and Vive Pro headsets and an equivalent for the new Pimax VR devices. Both require a bit of setup but, once assembled, should make getting into VR a bit easier. The main draw here is that both kits do away with the need to plug a headset into an external power supply. They both feature a SATA 2 DC barrel connector. This connects to a power supply port inside your PC. You then fit a custom bracket with a DCI port into the back of your rig.

    With that installed you can switch out the power cables intended for wall sockets with a new one included in the kit. You’ll now be getting power directly from your PC, doing away with one of the more troublesome wires in your VR setup.

    There are a few nice extras too. A nylon cable cover allows you to thread all three wires coming from the Vive’s power box into one space and then group them closer together with cable ties. Note that we haven’t tried these products for ourselves, so we don’t know if there could be any issues with the change in power supply etc.

    Tundra’s Power Kits start shipping in February. The HTC Vive kit currently costs $15.99 and the Pimax alternative goes for $19.99.

    Tagged with: htc vive, Tundra Labs, VR cables

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  • Facebook Gets A New VP Of AR/VR Hardware And Portal Lead
    Facebook Gets A New VP Of AR/VR Hardware And Portal Lead

    There’s a new face heading up Facebook’s AR/VR hardware division.

    Rafa Camargo has jumped from his previous role as VP of Facebook’s Portal team to VP, AR/VR Hardware. Camargo confirmed the news on Twitter. He added that he’ll be helping to launch the new Oculus Quest standalone headset. VP AR/VR at Facebook, Andrew ‘Boz’ Bosworth and VP VR Hugo Barra still remain in their roles and welcomed Camargo to the team.

    Excited to announce that I’ll be leading Hardware for AR/VR at @facebook…and would like to welcome Ryan Cairns, who will now lead Portal. Launching @portalfacebook with the team was an amazing experience and I look forward to launching @Oculus Quest and more

    — Rafa Camargo (@rafa_camargo) January 16, 2019

    Oculus, which Facebook acquired in 2014, already has a Director of Hardware in Caitlin Kalinowski. We’re not sure if Kalinowski retains her role with this announcement, but we’ve reached out to Oculus to ask.

    In the same tweet, Camargo also confirmed that former Google AR/VR engineering lead Ryan Cairns was taking over his previous role. Portal is working on new Facebook technologies, including AR and VR hardware. As reported by TechCrunch, Facebook’s further-out R&D division, Reality Labs, remains intact and is still headed up by Michael Abrash.

    These updates come after a transitional time for Facebook’s VR division. In November 2018 Oculus CEO and co-founder Brendan Iribe parted ways with the company. There’s also plenty of rumors about what Facebook is planning for the future of VR hardware. Late last year we heard reports that the company is planning an incremental update to the Oculus Rift headset, tentatively dubbed Oculus Rift S. We likely won’t hear any official confirmation about that project until this year’s Oculus Connect developer conference, though.

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  • Mobile AR Combat Game Reality Clash Begins Phased Global Rollout Australia, New Zealand and Denmark will be the first territories.
  • Download the Free Demo of Eden-Tomorrow for PlayStation VR Today The sci-fi action-adventure is due for release in Q1 2019.
  • Microsoft Could Reveal HoloLens 2 At Mobile World Congress
    Microsoft Could Reveal HoloLens 2 At Mobile World Congress

    Microsoft sent out invites to journalists today for a press reception at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The event could see the unveiling of HoloLens 2.

    MWC is the last week of February and the Microsoft event will be held ahead of the conference on Sunday, February 24 at 8 am Pacific (5 pm Central European Time). It’ll be hosted by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, CVP Julia White and Technical Fellow Alex Kipman. Kipman is heavily involved with Microsoft AR and VR efforts and the timing of the press conference falls in line with a report that Microsoft targeted early 2019 for its follow up to the original HoloLens.

    An exploded view of HoloLens.

    Late last year Microsoft got a big endorsement for its AR technology in the form of a huge contract to supply hardware to the United States military. When it comes to consumers, though, we’ll be curious to see what features Microsoft plans to roll into its next generation.

    The $3,000 original HoloLens is a self-contained AR headset with a somewhat limited field of view. The price, bulk of the device and restriction in how much of your view can be augmented made the original headset compelling for only a a limited set of use cases. AR games on HoloLens, for instance, can’t match the sense of immersion you could get out of an opaque VR headset with a pair of hand controllers. We’ll be curious to see how much that changes in the second generation.

    As a fully standalone headset, we’ll also be curious if Microsoft reveals any plans to support 5G for more robust connectivity in the second generation HoloLens. Of course, there’s a chance the event might not see the reveal of a new HoloLens. Either way, we’ll bring you the latest news from Mobile World Congress in February.

    Tagged with: HoloLens 2, microsoft

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  • Oculus Home File Hints At Public User Created Environments Support
    Oculus Home File Hints At Public User Created Environments Support

    Reddit user Wormslayer noticed a file within an Oculus Home directory that hint the software will get support for user created environments.

    There is a new file in a new folder called ‘ExampleCustomPlaces’ inside a folder called ‘_CustomHomes’. The file is a model of a large hall with a stage. Note that the image above is just the raw model, not properly textured or lit.

    An Oculus team representative noticed the post and commented:

    Whoops! Consider it a sneak peak into some cool new stuff we’re working on. We’ll have more to say on this in a more official way soon. Stay tuned

    Support for user generated objects was added back in June. A subsequent update even added animation support. And later in the month the platform added realtime social, allowing up to 7 friends to visit your home and see those custom objects.

    But the actual base environments are, now at least, only available from Oculus, which has only released a few. SteamVR Home already supports custom environments.

    It’s important to note this isn’t confirmation of the feature coming. It could simply be an experiment with no intention of going forwards.

    The Potential

    But if it does get added, user generated environments could take Oculus Home to the next level- especially combined with the recent update adding Public Homes. With bars, museums and all sorts of interesting environments, the platform could turn into a true attempt at a metaverse- a “VRChat lite”.

    The Problem

    Of course, the social platform would be severely limited by being exclusive to the Rift. Facebook still hasn’t added official support for different PC headsets on Oculus, despite its own Spaces social app supporting the HTC Vive. The company has occasionally hinted and support coming in future, but we’re almost 3 years out from the Rift launch now and there’s no sign. Until then, Oculus Home can’t be a true VRChat competitor, or anything close.

    Tagged with: Oculus Home, oculus rift

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