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  • Why We Haven’t Reviewed Budget Cuts Yet
    Why We Haven’t Reviewed Budget Cuts Yet

    Budget Cuts, the long-awaited VR stealth game from Neat Corporation, releases in just a few days’ time on May 31st. The review embargo for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive adventure just lifted, though. Despite having spent a lot of time inside the game, we decided against publishing a review straight away. Why?

    Well, simply put, there’s a lot of bugs, and some of them are too big to ignore. There’s a fun core game in Budget Cuts but, playing on Rift through SteamVR, we encountered bugs where objects would fly out of our hands, knives would stick to our heads when thrown, and even levels with regular hard crashes that, frankly, made progression a massive slog. Neat Corporation did warn us that there were bound to be bugs, but it’s hard to properly judge the game in its current condition. But the team still has a few days to fix some of these issues before you can pick it up, and it may well be that the Vive/Oculus Home experience differs from what we’ve tried, so it’s only fair.

    Rest assured, when the game does work, we’re having a lot of fun with it. This take on VR sneaking isn’t perfect, but there’s a real rush to zapping through office spaces, keeping your head on a swivel in search of threatening enemies. We’re not quite ready to call Budget Cuts VR’s very own Portal, but there are some ideas here that remind us why we love this platform so much in the first place.

    We’ll bring you our full review as soon as we can but we want to give Neat Corporation a chance to address the issues we’ve encountered before dishing out the final verdict. Stay tuned.

    Tagged with: Budget Cuts

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  • Tech-Savvy Pastor Uses VR To Deliver Virtual Baptisms

    Technology & Religion collide. For many Christians, being baptized is the ritual of declaring your faith through a symbolic act of purification and rejuvenation. The ceremony, which is usually held in a church or in a body of water, is performed by a church leader and can be a pretty powerful moment in your life,

    The post Tech-Savvy Pastor Uses VR To Deliver Virtual Baptisms appeared first on VRScout.

  • Researchers Use VR To Train AI Drones, Cutting Autonomous Vehicle Crashes
    Researchers Use VR To Train AI Drones, Cutting Autonomous Vehicle Crashes

    MIT researchers have developed a technique to train fast-moving autonomous AI drones using VR-enhanced environments, reducing crashes and thereby the need for repairs or replacements. Known as “Flight Goggles,” the system will be detailed at this week’s IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation in Brisbane, Australia.

    Flight Goggles enables autonomous vehicles to see and learn from virtual environments while they’re actually moving in physically empty spaces. The system tracks a drone’s motion, renders 90-frame-per-second photorealistic imagery of its current virtual location, and quickly transmits the images to the drone’s image processor. Researcher Sertac Karaman told MIT News (via Road to VR) that “he drone will be flying in an empty room, but will be ‘hallucinating’ a completely different environment, and will learn in that environment.”

    Karaman said that the team was inspired by a desire to build an autonomous drone that could outperform human-controlled drones in competitive drone races, which include mazes with windows, doors, and other obstacles. By building virtual versions of mazes and letting the drone practice navigating the obstacles, it could learn to move faster than a human attempting the same maneuvers.

    Testing suggests that Flight Goggles practice is valuable. Moving at 5 mph through 10 flights, the drone successfully flew through a virtual reality window 361 times and “crashed” only three times, causing no actual damage. Then, in real testing across eight flights, the drone was able to fly through an actual window 119 times, only crashing or requiring human intervention six times. Traditional testing requires far more precautions to be taken, to say nothing of the expenses of spare parts and whole drones.

    “The moment you want to do high-throughput computing and go fast,” Karaman said, “even the slightest changes you make to its environment will cause the drone to crash. You can’t learn in that environment. If you want to push boundaries on how fast you can go and compute, you need some sort of virtual-reality environment.”

    The Flight Goggles system is initially intended for aerial drones, but it also has obvious potential applications with ground-based autonomous vehicles. Using motion capture and VR technologies, moving people and fake objects can be inserted into the learning paths of AI-powered vehicles to train them to avoid real-world obstacles. Not surprisingly, the MIT researchers were backed by institutions interested in next-generation vehicle AI, including Nvidia, the U.S. Office of Naval Research, and MIT Lincoln Laboratory.

    This post by Jeremy Horwitz originally appeared on VentureBeat. 

    Tagged with: venturebeat

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  • Experience Sex Ed in VR with Motherlode’s ‘Pillow Talk’

    Traditional sex ed gets a whimsical twist in this education three-part series. Some images you may consider NSFW are included. The infamous and heavily quoted “don’t have sex—you will get pregnant and die” scene from Mean Girls may have been a satirical quip, but the sad reality is that sex education across the country is lacking now

    The post Experience Sex Ed in VR with Motherlode’s ‘Pillow Talk’ appeared first on VRScout.

  • The Biggest Rift, Vive, And Windows VR Releases Of The Week 05/20/18
    The Biggest Rift, Vive, And Windows VR Releases Of The Week 05/20/18

    This week’s looking pretty good if you’re a VR gamer on PC VR headsets like the Rift, Vive, and Windows VR. From the epic multiplayer mode that just launched for Archangel, dubbed Hellfire, to the new DLC expansion for Arizona Sunshine, and even a VR update for one of Steam’s most popular hardcore survival games, there is a lot going on in the VR scene right now.

    If you missed last week’s releases they’re here. And don’t forget that UploadVR has a Steam community group, complete with a curated list of recommendations so that you don’t have to waste any money finding out what’s good in the world of VR. We also have a top list of the absolute best Oculus Rift and HTC Vive games at the corresponding links.

    The Forest VR Beta, from

    Price: $19.99 (Free VR support for Rift and Vive)

    To be clear, this is still a beta update for The Forest VR. It’s very buggy, janky, and doesn’t really feel right yet, but it’s something. In this game you’re stranded in a creepy, dark forest after a plane crash and must scavenge to survive.

    Red Matter, from Vertical Robot

    Price: $34.99 (Rift)

    Red Matter is an atmospheric story-driven VR puzzle adventure that’s set during a dystopian sci-fi version of the Cold War. You’ll play as Agent Epsilon, an astronaut, on a mission to one of Saturn’s moons to research a shady project. This is absolutely one worth checking out.

    Archangel: Hellfire, from Skydance Interactive

    Price: $19.99 (Currently Discounted, Rift and Vive)

    Here we go boys and girls, this is the long-awaited free-movement multiplayer update for Archangel that we’ve been waiting for. Archangel: Hellfire is a free update for anyone that owns Archangel and features 2v2 deathmatches with three different classes of mech. You can watch an hour-long livestream above for a better look.

    You can read our hands-on impressions here.

    Arizona Sunshine: Dead Man DLC, from Vertigo Games

    Price: $2.49 (Full Game required, Rift, Vive, and Windows VR)

    Arizona Sunshine originally released about a year and a half ago and it’s gotten several horde mode updates with new maps over that time, but never an expansion of the single player story, until now. The new Dead Man DLC takes you back before the events of the main game and tells a brief (and affordably priced) prequel story.

    You can read our hands-on preview of the DLC from GDC right here.

    Tagged with: new releases, Oculus Home, steam

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  • The Biggest PSVR Releases Of The Week 05/20/18
    The Biggest PSVR Releases Of The Week 05/20/18

    There may have been a lot of cool PSVR announcements this week, but on the releases side it’s pretty quiet unless you’re really into your quirky tower defense games and anime tributes.

    Animal Force, from ISVR Price: $14.99

    A pretty weird take on the tower defense genre that comes from a Chinese developer inducted into Sony’s China Hero Project initiative. You place small animals around the skyline in an attempt to stop an alien invasion. There’s a host of minigames, too, all of which make this look like a delightful distraction.

    One Piece: Grand Cruise, from Bandai Namco Price: $9.99

    The cast and crew of the One Piece anime gather here for their first anime adventure. This is the kind of thing made explicity for fans, letting you tackle a handful of experiences that will see you interacting with characters using simple actions like nodding and shaking your head as well as fighting a Kraken.

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  • Archangel: Hellfire Livestream – Multiplayer VR Mech Combat
    Archangel: Hellfire Livestream – Multiplayer VR Mech Combat

    One of the dream VR games that thousands, or perhaps even millions, of people desperately want is a deep, intricate mech combat simulation. After years of pop culture building up the idea in our heads through things like MechWarrior, Gundam, Power Rangers, Pacific Rim, and so much more, the idea of piloting a super-powerful mech is just too tantalizing to not yearn for. I don’t know if Archangel: Hellfire has what it takes to shoulder decades of sci-fi dreaming, but it’s a step in the right direction.

    After the mixed reception Archangel’s single-player content received we weren’t holding out breath for the multiplayer iteration, but luckily it caught us by surprise. Hellfire is everything we wanted from a hectic multiplayer VR mech combat game with three different mech types, over a dozen weapons, and super intense 2v2 deathmatches.

    Here’s our hands-on preview of the mode, which went live today, for more.

    We’ll be livestreaming Archangel: Hellfire on PC using Rift with Touch starting very soon (which means we’ll start at approximately 1:15PM PT) and aim to last for about an hour or so. We’re going to use Restream to hit both YouTube and Twitch at the same time!

    You can see our archived streams all in  this one handy Livestream playlist over on the official UploadVR YouTube channel (which you should totally subscribe to by the way). We’re also rebooting our Twitch channel too.

    Let us know which games you want us to livestream next and if you want to see more Archangel: Hellfire or other mech games in the future. Comment with any feedback down below!

    Tagged with: archangel, Archangel: Hellfire, skydance interactive

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  • Massive Vive Focus System Update Adds Phone Calls & ‘Surroundings Mode’

    A host of game-changing features could put HTC’s 6DoF headset at the top of the stand-alone food chain. Despite the fact it won’t be hitting consumers stateside until later this year, HTC’s answer to standalone VR, the Vive Focus, is already receiving a generous amount of updates and fixes for its strictly Chinese audience. Revealed

    The post Massive Vive Focus System Update Adds Phone Calls & ‘Surroundings Mode’ appeared first on VRScout.

  • Display Week 2018: New Samsung, JDI and LG Panels For VR Compared
    Display Week 2018: New Samsung, JDI and LG Panels For VR Compared

    Google worked with LG to develop a display panel providing an astonishing 18.1 megapixels of detail per eye in a VR headset.

    While Facebook wasn’t ready to show its Half Dome varifocal prototype in-person, the new panel from LG as well as similar ones from Japan Display Inc. and Samsung were shown during Display Week in Los Angeles.

    The LG panel compares with 1.3 megapixels per eye on the Oculus Rift and 2.2 megapixels per eye on the Vive Pro. The new research is aimed at providing “a visual experience that matches the as closely as possible.”

    At left, LG’s 18.1 megapixel panel as shot by an iPhone 8 through a VR lens. At right, a “conventional” VR display shot the same way.

    Some of the highest resolution panels, like LG’s, were shown through a VR headset’s lens, but with still images and no tracking. That makes it hard to compare how these panels might perform in a real world scenario.

    Samsung had three VR headsets mounted in a row, each with more pixels packed into a smaller display.

    The first one showed a comparison between the kinds of VR headsets we already have and one with a filter designed to remove the screen door effect. A poster for the movie Frozen is all that was shown with the tech, but the filter seemed to change the texture of the frame so it no longer looked like I was seeing through a screen door. Instead of seeing the lines between pixels, the fine details looked more like the grain of a frame from an old movie.

    In comparison, Samsung’s highest resolution system on display offered 1200 pixels per inch but still had the screen door effect, albeit the lines between pixels were much smaller.

    Unlike the Samsung and LG panels, an LCD panel from Japan Display Inc. promising “1001” pixels per inch actually showed a moving 3D picture that made it impossible to see the screen door effect at all. It was beautiful.

    Here’s a comparison of the Samsung and JDI panels shot through the lens of both headsets with the same iPhone 8.

    Companies also presented a variety of light field display prototypes that are likely years from commercial feasibility. Nevertheless, one day these displays might be used to provide more realistic visuals. Samsung, for example, showed a light field display on a phone in a darkened room. It was said to feature a 5.09 inch display with 1,440 x 2,560 pixels split into 26 different views.

    Here’s what that looked like:

    There’s no word when we might see any of the panels that were shown at Display Week 2018 in consumer-grade hardware, but it would be surprising if headset makers like Sony, Facebook and HTC don’t incorporate ultra-high resolution panels into their upcoming designs. For example, the LG panel with 18.1 megapixels per eyeball could be combined with eye-tracking to make the rendering pipeline less expensive. We’ll bring you updates if we hear any hints these displays will actually make it into consumer hardware.

    Tagged with: Display

  • Eat A Goat’s Head And Curse Like A Sailor In Bloody VR Game Tainted Fate
    Eat A Goat’s Head And Curse Like A Sailor In Bloody VR Game Tainted Fate

    There are some out there that believe VR shouldn’t be used for violence. Tainted Fate is not a game for those people.

    Developed by Misfit Village and Delta Reality, Tainted Fate looks like a celebration of over the top gore, like Free Lives’ Gorn just with more goat decapitation. You play as a demon that’s been summoned to Earth against his will and goes on a murderous rampage. The game uses the limb-removal mechanics we’ve seen in games like Robo Recall only, instead of robot parts, you’ll be ripping apart flesh and blood (as well as the occasional goat head). Check it out in the trailer below.

    Okay so it doesn’t look like the best VR game but we’d be lying if we didn’t say we were grinning at the sight of ripping off some poor soul’s legs. There are also boss fights that have you squaring off with massive monsters and a range of locomotion options for you to fine-tune.

    Tainted Fate is coming to Steam Early Access on May 28th with support for Rift, Vive and Windows VR. Right now the developers say it has about three hours of gameplay to it, and a challenge mode will be coming later down the line, too.

    Tagged with: Tainted Fate

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  • Hands-On: Evasion On PSVR With The PS Aim Controller Is A Perfect Match
    Hands-On: Evasion On PSVR With The PS Aim Controller Is A Perfect Match

    Cooperative first-person VR shooter Evasion is officially coming to PSVR and we got the chance to go hands-on with it at a pre-E3 Sony preview event last week. Described as a “bullet hell” shooter for VR, you and some friends will jump into this world as one of four different classes and do your best to stay mobile and dodge the torrential downpour of lasers and missiles as you blast hundreds of aliens and robots into thousands of pieces.

    Evasion is basically like a modern VR interpretation of what a sci-fi co-op Serious Sam game might look like and I’m all here for it. I’ve played this same mission multiple times, including first way back at VRDC in October, then GDC earlier this year on an expensive Vive Pro, and finally now on a PSVR.

    My PSVR demo was quite different from the previous two though because I wasn’t using just two motion controllers this time. Instead, I was holding the surprisingly sturdy PS Aim Controller while standing in place with my VR headset firmly plastered to my face. Immediately, I was getting Farpoint flashbacks.

    However, Farpoint mostly deals with ground-based enemies, is a bit slower-paced, and leverages its narrative very heavily. In the case of Evasion, it’s like cranking the action up to 11. You’re basically required to sprint around the map at full speed at all times to make sure you can dodge all of the incoming bullets, which means keeping your head on a swivel and your trigger finger nice and loose.

    The benefit of using two motion controllers on Vive and Rift (which include analog sticks) is that you can block with your left hand and shoot with the right separately. In the case of the PSVR while using the PS Aim Controller, my shield is attached to the front of my gun so I can only block in the same direction as where I am aiming. It’s a slight limitation, but it feels appropriate given how satisfying the gun is to hold in VR.

     

    I’ve played a lot of VR shooters, many of which featured cooperative or competitive multiplayer of some kind. The closest comparison out there to what Evasion is trying to do right now is probably Gunheart, but there’s no word on when that game is actually coming to PSVR, although we know it’s in development.

    The bottom line is that if you have a PSVR with a PS Aim Controller that’s been collecting dust ever since Bravo Team failed to meet expectations, then Evasion is your reason to dust it off. With this and Firewall: Zero Hour both on the horizon, now is a good time to get reacquainted with your smooth, plastic peripheral.

    Evasion is currently slated for release on Rift, Vive, and PSVR later this year. The PSVR version of the game will support both DualShock 4 and PS Aim Controller play styles, although based on our demo we have a feeling that the PS Aim will be the best way to play the game.

    Let us know

  • Hands-On – Archangel: Hellfire Is Finally The Epic VR Mech Game I’ve Wanted
    Hands-On – Archangel: Hellfire Is Finally The Epic VR Mech Game I’ve Wanted

    We weren’t big fans of the single-player Archangel experience when it released last year. While not terrible, it just didn’t do enough to stand out as a must-have VR mech game due to its uninspired story, on-rails movement system, and lackluster set piece gameplay moments. Skydance Interactive listened to the feedback though and are now updating the game with a deep, hardcore multiplayer mode named Hellfire that aims to push players to the limit.

    Archangel: Hellfire is not for the faint of heart. Instead of nudging players along slowly through levels on rails, this is a full-locomotion, pedal to the metal, boost-jumping, laser shooting, multiplayer showdown. In short, it’s the VR mech combat game I’ve been waiting for.

    If you already own Archangel then you’ll get Hellfire for free and the open beta officially starts today around 10AM PT. If you don’t have it already, then it’s included when you buy the whole package. As of today it’ll feature two maps, three mech classes (light, medium, and heavy,) and a single team deathmatch game mode for 2v2 warfare. The winning team is the first to 10 kills.

    That doesn’t sound like a lot, but once you dig into the intricacies of gameplay and layers of complexity involved with each of those three mechs, as well as experience how much health you each have, you’ll see how it’s anything but shallow.

    Controlling your mech feels like it could have been ripped right out of Pacific Rim or the most recent Power Rangers movie reboot. Each controller (Oculus Touch or Vive) represents an arm of your mech. As you sit in your chair you move your arms around to aim your weapons, mimicking your robot’s movement. Since you’re inside of a cockpit the right stick or touchpad steers the position of the mech’s actual head, but you turn your own IRL head to aim your targeting system for some weapons and to look around the battlefield.

    You’ll use the left stick or touchpad to move around the battlefield with full, smooth locomotion and you can click it in to perform a hover boost that rockets you upwards above the battlefield. If that sounds complex that’s because it all kind of is when you put it together — but that’s only covering the movement mechanics.

    In terms of actual abilities each mech feels completely different from the others. As you probably guessed the ratio between speed and health scales based on size so the light mech is faster with less health while the heavy is slower with more health. During my demo we did two full rounds so I got to switch between each class liberally during each match. All three mechs have the same movement controls, activate shields with each controller’s grip buttons, and use machine guns as their default weapon for each hand, but vary dramatically beyond that.

    I tried the light mech first, which let me run around the battlefield quickly and get in and out of engagements. My left arm can switch over to “shield breaker”

  • VRFC Becomes Football Nation VR In Time For Russia World Cup
    VRFC Becomes Football Nation VR In Time For Russia World Cup

    VRFC should never have worked. VR has no business tackling football (or, for our American/incorrect naming audience, soccer) until you can truly bring your feet into a match, right? But, against all odds, Cherry Pop Games’ latest does work; the moment you stick your arm out to drag your foot along and stop a ball it becomes painfully clear that there is at least something here. Granted that something is closer to the kind of football you play with an inflatable bubble over you at a birthday party, but it’s close enough.

    It’s time to stop turning your nose up at this sort-of-sport, then, because there’s never been a better time to jump in.

    Just as Pool Nation VR was rebranded to Sports Bar VR, VRFC is soon to morph into Football Nation VR, signaling the arrival of a more complete edition of the game built upon feedback from fans, just in time for a certain World Cup.

    Launching as a free update for existing users on PSVR, Rift and Vive, Football Nation trades the amateur atmosphere of a game of 5-a-side with friends for the big leagues. There’s now a massive stadium to play in, complete with a crowd to cheer you on, and the pitch size has been scaled up.

    Teams are bigger, too. Up to 8 human players can joing 16-person matches, choosing either to all play on the same team against AI or split it down the middle and have computer-controlled opponents on both sides, too. You can now pick from 36 international ‘VR nations’ to play through a tournament mode.

    To celebrate the game’s launch Cherry Pop is hosting a tournament of its own. Running over the weeks following the update’s launch, players will be able to back a team and try to win games to keep themselves in the league. Every win they earn gets three points added to a global leaderboard system for their chosen team. As weeks go by, teams with the least amount of points will be shaved off until the tournament arrives at its finals on July 21st. The timetable for the tournament is below.

    I jumped back into the game to see a bit of the update a few weeks back, and it looks set to deliver what many football fans have wanted out of VRFC from the start. The stadiums, for starters, are to be admired in VR, and the bigger pitches introduce a little more strategy to the game. In the original game, it was all too easy for everyone to just charge at the ball without thinking, but the extra space gives you more room to open up opportunities with teammates. New features like penalties and solo player against AI give you more options, too.

    If you’ve been on the bench with VRFC, it’s time to get in the game.

    Tournament timetable:

    Round 1 = 36 teams Lasts 3 weeks: 7th June – 28th June 2018 Round 2 = 16 Teams 1 week 28th June – 5th July Quarter Finals = 8 teams 1 week 5th July – 12th July Semi Finals = 4 teams 1 week 12th
  • HTC Reveals PC, Phone Streaming Features For Vive Focus
    HTC Reveals PC, Phone Streaming Features For Vive Focus

    Today at the 2018 Vive Ecosystem Conference (VEC2018) HTC announced a slew of updates coming to the Vive platform, including the flagship PC Vive headset and mobile Vive Focus device.

    One of the largest limiting factors facing most mobile VR platforms, including the Vive Focus, is a lack of content. The Oculus Go has the benefit of leveraging years of Gear VR apps from that ecosystem, but even on that front the quality of the experiences pale in comparison to what’s on offer for Rift, Vive, Windows VR, and PSVR. That’s where new streaming features are coming into play.

    Soon, Vive Focus users will be able to wirelessly stream PC VR content from Steam and Viveport to their Focus over 5GHz Wi-Fi via an “optimized version” of the ironically titled Riftcat VRidge application. You can download the app on the Viveport M store starting today.

    When you stream a PC VR app to your Vive Focus, you can interact with it using either the standard Vive Focus controller, an Xbox One controller, or a third-party controller paired to the PC.

    Obviously latency is the big question with any sort of VR streaming so it remains to be seen whether or not streaming an extremely demanding high-end premium PC VR game from Steam to your Vive Focus, in real-time, will actually work that well.

    Additionally, Vive Focus users will soon be able to receive messages, social notifications, and even take calls on compatible HTC smartphones — all without removing the headset. This feature is included in the new System Update 2.0 that releases today as an expansion of the built-in Vive companion app, available in the HTC official app store and Tencent app store soon.

    Finally, HTC is also working on a feature that will allow users to stream non-VR phone screen content (such as existing apps, games, or videos) from a compatible smartphone to the headset to be enjoyed on a massive VR theater-sized screen. Details are light on the timing for this feature.

    Fore more information on what HTC announced at VEC2018 today, you can find all other stories, including a 6DOF controller update for Vive Focus, here.

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

    Tagged with: htc, VEC, Vive Ecosystem Conference, Vive Focus

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  • HTC Plans Hand And 6-Dof Controller Tracking For Vive Focus
    HTC Plans Hand And 6-Dof Controller Tracking For Vive Focus

    At a conference in China HTC is teasing both hand tracking and six degrees of freedom controller tracking for the Vive Focus.

    The Vive Ecosystem Conference in Shenzhen is HTC’s China-focused event where the company is revealing a series of new features for the standalone Vive Focus.

    #VEC2018 Welcome to a New Ecosystem! Today is going to be a good day! @htcvive @htc pic.twitter.com/5oTOpzlpp0

    — Alvin Wang Graylin (@AGraylin) May 24, 2018

    The demonstrations include “light gesture recognition” using the headset’s outward-facing cameras. That feature is planned for release to Vive Focus developers in the coming weeks. The company also teased the ability to make the Vive Focus pointer controller “behave” like a 6DoF controller. That feature is planned for release to developers sometime in Q3 this year.

    The movement of our hands are more difficult to track than our heads because our hands generally move faster. Though others have tried, only Facebook’s Oculus has demonstrated good 6DoF controller tracking in a completely standalone VR headset. Google recently showed off research of its own that could turn a 3DoF controller into 6DoF, but we have yet to test it.

    Updates to come, and for more from VEC click here.

    Tagged with: VEC, Vive Focus

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