• Snapchat Launches New AR Lens With Audio

    Snapchat adds audio reactivity to their latest Lens. Since its initial launch in 2011, social media giant has attracted over 300 million monthly active users. Over the past 7 years the company has evolved from a simple app that lets you share photos that disappear within a few seconds, to a full-fledged platform that has

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  • Oculus Connect 5 Celebrates 5 Years Of VR In September
    Oculus Connect 5 Celebrates 5 Years Of VR In September

    Move over E3; Oculus just announced the return of its developer conference, Oculus Connect, coming back now for its fifth year.

    Oculus Connect 5 will run on September 26th and 27th at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose. This year’s show promises to celebrate the last five years of VR, though technically it will have only been four years since the event started in 2014. But, hey, who’s counting?

    To be fair, Oculus has been around for longer than its Connect conferences, and it’s hard to believe it’s been even four years since the first one, in which it debuted the Crescent Bay prototype that laid the foundations for the consumer Rift.

    You can also expect an in-depth look at the future at this year’s show. Oculus has a lot on its plate right now having just launched its Go standalone device and continuing work on another, more advanced standalone codenamed Santa Cruz. At parent company Facebook’s F8 conference in April we also saw the latest prototypes from Oculus’ PC VR team, suggesting that we’re on the path for the true successor to the Oculus Rift.

    We’ll of course be at Oculus Connect 5 to bring you all the latest from the event.

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  • Beat Saber, Resident Evil and No Man’s Sky: Predicting Sony’s Pre-E3 PSVR Reveals
    Beat Saber, Resident Evil and No Man’s Sky: Predicting Sony’s Pre-E3 PSVR Reveals

    E3 is still a week away but, for PSVR games at least, the festivities are kicking off a little early. Between tomorrow and its Media Showcase next Monday, Sony is set to reveal a total of three PSVR games. One will be revealed on Wednesday, and the others on Saturday and Sunday respectively. Now, we know we should keep our expectations in check, but we still can’t help but wonder what’s in store.

    So we’ve rounded up a list of predictions for this week’s reveals. We’ve tried not to get too carried away; it’s highly likely that these are all entirely new games that we’ve never heard of before, but we couldn’t help ourselves all the same. Each reveal is coming at 4pm BST/8am PT on their respective days, so check back then for full coverage.

    Wednesday – New PS4 game with PSVR support

    This one’s the hardest for us to guess. As it being a new PS4 game suggests, it might not be port of a previously-released Oculus Rift or HTC Vive game. There are a handful of titles that do support both standard displays and VR on PC that could be in the running, though. 3rd Eye Studios’ Downward Spiral: Horus Station, which we reviewed last week, feels like a good guess, even if it was confirmed for release on PSVR back in April.

    As with all of these predictions, we’re trying not to get too outlandish with our hopes, though. We doubt this is going to be some giant reveal from one of Sony’s own studios or anything to that effect (Sony would surely save that for its own conference), but we’ll certainly be interested to see it all the same.

    Saturday – New PSVR game

    To us, this category suggests a Rift/Vive game will get a PSVR port, as that’s what many of PSVR’s releases have consisted of this year. Beat Saber certainly seems to be a strong possibility even though Hyperbolic Magnetism announced plans to bring it to PSVR a good while back. There’s some other mid-tier level VR games that have yet to make their way over, like The Mage’s Tale and L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files. Some people have been suggesting Fallout 4 VR but we really doubt that will happen at this point.

    There are, however, a few other options. A few years back Sony opened a new UK-based studio that’s working exclusively in VR, for example, and we’d expect to be hearing about its first project pretty soon. And, of course, there’s a good chance it’s also something entirely new, which we’d love to see too.

    Sunday – An eagerly anticipated game comes to PSVR

    The wording here is pretty broad, so a lot of our previous predictions could go here too. No Man’s Sky might not be ‘eagerly anticipated’ considering, y’know, it’s been out for two years, but it does have a big update on the way and we’re almost certain that’s going to have PSVR support, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see it here. Tellingly, though, this

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  • How PSVR’s Astrobot: Rescue Mission Will Redefine Platformers For VR
    How PSVR’s Astrobot: Rescue Mission Will Redefine Platformers For VR

    For a lot of VR early adopters that got the Oculus Rift when it was originally released in the first half of 2016 with just an Xbox One controller (a lot of people forget Touch wasn’t a thing until December 2016) the first game they played on the device was Lucky’s Tale. This charming platformer took a familiar concept (3D platforming, like Super Mario 64) and adapted it to the VR medium with some really awesome results.

    Since then, we haven’t really seen that genre explored in VR too much. Games like Edge of Nowhere push it to new heights by leveraging mechanics from other third-person adventure games, like Uncharted, and Moss uses a fixed camera angle and strong narrative-focus to hook players. But the pure, twitch-control, pixel-perfect jumping, platforming-focused gameplay that made Mario and his successors so popular is mostly absent from VR headsets, so that’s exactly what Astro Bot: Rescue Mission aims to deliver.

    Astro Bot is in development by Sony Japan Studio, the same team that created The Playroom VR. You might remember a similar (and excellent) tech demo experience from that game called Robot Rescue — this is the full version of that concept.

    At a recent pre-E3 demo event last month we got to try out the first hands-on demo of Astro Bot and came away impressed with how fun it was and excited to see more. Hopefully we won’t have to wait long with E3 right around the corner next week.

    After I played a brief 15-20 minute section of the game (that consisted of two early levels and a simple boss fight) I chatted with Nicolas Doucet from Sony Japan Studio, he’s the creative director on the project.

    “The previous Robot Rescue demo came out of a prototyping session we did when we were prototyping a lot of things for Playroom VR,” said Doucet. “That one was always on the side called ‘Platformer’ with a little gray box running around. Playroom VR was all about asymmetry, making things that the family could enjoy together. But it was really frustrating because we had it on the side and we knew that if we didn’t put it in then it might die. So, we put it in last. Creating a full experience is something we always wanted to do anyway, then when the fans loved it and critics started talking about it, like the article you wrote, we realized we should definitely make it a full game.”

    A big part of the magic that Sony Japan Studio tapped into is that not only is just a damn good platforming game in its own right, but they’ve absolutely sold the illusion that you physically exist inside the game world. In Moss, for example, Quill will wave at you and acknowledge your presence, but in Astro Bot you actually interact with the world.

    During some segments I had to headbutt obstacles, or shoot a grappling hook and yank down structures, or even use the touch pad as a slingshot at the end of levels

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  • Overload Is An Intense 6DOF Shooter Similar To Descent, Out Now
    Overload Is An Intense 6DOF Shooter Similar To Descent, Out Now

    There’s no shortage of quality shooters in VR these days, but you won’t find many true 6DOF shooters. These are the kinds of games that throw caution to the wind and let players rapidly move in any direction their heart desires, whether that be up/down, forward/backward, from left to right, twisting, turning, or anything else. One of the best examples to date was Starblood Arena on PSVR, but the movement systems in Lone Echo/Echo Arena and Space Junkies, through the use of zero-G physics, do come close as well.

    Now with Overload, the mid-90s classic, Descent, is finally getting a true spiritual successor from many of its original developers. Funded to the tune of over $300,000 all the way back in 2015 on Kickstarter, this one’s been on many peoples’ radars for quite some time. Now, it’s out as of last week with full VR support on Rift and Vive.

    The single player campaign includes over a dozen levels, over 20 enemy types, lots of ship upgrades, challenge mode levels separate from the campaign, 8-player multiplayer, 10 different multiplayer maps, and tons more. All of that already makes it one of the most feature-filled VR shooters available today.

    And as a true 6DOF shooter, this game is very intense in VR. Seriously, don’t try it unless you’re basically immune to motion sickness.

    Overload is available now on Steam for $29.99 with official Rift and Vive support, however keep in mind that this is a keyboard/mouse or gamepad only game — no motion controller support is included at this time.

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

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  • Star Wars VR Team ILMxLAB Set To Speak At E3 2018
    Star Wars VR Team ILMxLAB Set To Speak At E3 2018

    It’s been a while since we’ve heard from ILMxLAB, the immersive development team behind many of the Star Wars VR experiences we’ve enjoyed over the past few years. But the group will be making an appearance at E3 next week.

    ILMxLAB will host a panel talking about its work as part of the E3 Coliseum program that runs during the event. Details about the session (including exactly when it will take place) haven’t yet been shared, but host Geoff Keighley did note that the company will “talk about the future” during the session. Does this mean we could perhaps see a new project from the group announced next week?

    We are thrilled to have the wizards from @ILMxLAB join us at @e3 to talk about the future. Some cool stuff to talk about for sure!

    — Geoff Keighley (@geoffkeighley) June 4, 2018

    We’ve got our fingers crossed that that’s the case. So far ILMxLAB has produced short but essential VR experiences like Trials on Tattooine and Droid Repair Bay, both of which fulfil the dreams of Star Wars fans around the world. The team also collaborated with The Void on the excellent Secrets of the Empire location-based VR experience and is working with Magic Leap on content for its upcoming augmented reality device. It would be great to see something bigger from the team, though.

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  • Catan Is Coming To Vive/Windows With Rift/Gear/Go Cross-Play Soon
    Catan Is Coming To Vive/Windows With Rift/Gear/Go Cross-Play Soon

    Experiment 7’s VR conversion of popular boardgame, Settlers of Catan, is coming to an HTC Vive and/or Windows VR headset very soon.

    A Steam page for the game, which released on the Oculus Rift, Oculus Go and Gear VR headsets in May, recently went live, promising HTC Vive and Windows Mixed Reality support. The page only says the game is ‘Coming Soon’, but the trailer seen on the store page notes that it’s ‘available now’. It sounds like launch is coming in the very near future, then.

    A price isn’t listed, but the game costs $14.99 on the Oculus Store so we’d expect the same of the Steam release.

    The best part? The SteamVR version is going to feature full cross-play support with the existing versions of the game, at least on Vive. That means Vive owners will be able to take on their friends that just picked up an Oculus Go, or settle old rivalries with the Rift. Cross-play support for Windows headsets isn’t mentioned despite native support being listed in the headsets section, though we wouldn’t be surprised to see it included.

    Catan’s VR support is a real joy, perfectly transcribing a classic game into VR, so it’s great to see it come to more headsets.

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  • Wands Developer Cortopia Raises $1.4 Million As It Moves Into AR
    Wands Developer Cortopia Raises $1.4 Million As It Moves Into AR

    It’s a busy time for Stockholm-based Cortopia Group, the developer of popular multiplayer VR game, Wands. Last month we reported the company had acquired a majority share in Zenz VR, and now the studio has raised yet more money.

    The Swedish studio raised $1.4 million (or 12 million SEK) in a funding round that closed at the end of April, it shared this week. This cash will go towards accelerating R&D in both VR and AR as well as expanding its work in the esports field.

    In a prepared statement Cortopia Group CEO, Andreas Skoglund noted that the studio was particularly interested in AR given recent advances in the field. “Mobile AR is accelerating quicker than we first anticipated and in order to remain competitive, we need to embrace the advances in technology and the ways in which users show us they want to play games,” he said.

    Skoglund’s comments are well-timed considering yesterday’s announcement of ARKit 2 from Apple, which will introduce shared AR experiences for your iPhone and iPad. Could we possibly see Wands in AR soon?

    Either way, expect to see big things come from Cortopia ins the coming months, especially on the VR side where the company’s recent investment in Zenz should provide even more games to dive into.

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  • Gunheart Livestream: Fast-Paced Co-Op VR Shooter
    Gunheart Livestream: Fast-Paced Co-Op VR Shooter

    If you asked most Rift and/or Vive users what their favorite VR games were, you’d probably hear a lot of the same answers. The massive, sprawling worlds of Skyrim VR and Fallout 4 VR likely rank very highly, but so does the fast-paced action of Beat Saber. For most people, shooting down enemies in multiplayer with friends is still what gamers will come back to the most, but not everyone wants a hardcore military simulation every time like Onward.

    This is a big reason that Robo Recall, the free shooter from Epic Games, made such a big splash on release. Now if you took that concept and expanded it to include multiplayer, you’d be pretty close to what the team of shooter veterans at Drifter Entertainment have accomplished with Gunheart. This is a super fast-paced VR shooter (it has non-VR support too!) that is all-out action. Evasion is an upcoming shooter with a lot of similar ideas.

    We’ll be livestreaming Gunheart on PC using Rift with Touch starting very soon (which means we’ll start at approximately 3:30PM 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 Gunheart in the future. Comment with any feedback down below!

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  • Lucasfilm Turned To VR During The Making Of Solo’s Train Heist

    One brave design supervisor tests the authenticity of Solo’s most daring sequence in an epic virtual leap. There’s no shortage of action-packed moments throughout Solo: A Star Wars Story’s 2 hour and 15 minute runtime. Afterall, you’re riding alongside Han Solo himself for the Kessel Run, one of the most infamous moments in Star Wars

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  • Apple’s FaceTime Gets AR Effects With Animoji
    Apple’s FaceTime Gets AR Effects With Animoji

    Ever wanted to call your friends and greet them as a koala bear? No? Well you’re going to be able to anyway.

    Apple is updating its FaceTime video calling app as part of its iOS 12 launch later this year, and it includes some AR features. Along with support for group video calls (finally) that support up to 32 users (!), you’ll now be able to animate yourself as a range of critters, utilizing the new face-scanning technology that’s being implemented in the iOS update like tongue recognition.

    We saw these effects at work on-stage during Apple’s WWDC presentation today. With the tap of a button, everyone of a group call was transformed into animals, including tigers, koalas and a unicorn. Their words were accurately lip synced and, although you could see user’s faces momentarily reappear due to slight glitches, it looked like a lot of fun.

    Not only that, but you’ll also be able to turn yourself into the Memoji that Apple also introduced today, which is an emoji that looks like a cartoonish version of yourself and is fully customizable. This feature was introduced with the help of Apple CEO Tim Cook.

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  • WWDC: Apple Previews Shared AR App Experiences

    A new file format (USDZ) makes way for ARKit multi-user support. Apple continues to jump firmly into the world of augmented reality (AR). Announced during WWDC, you can soon expect AR apps to have multi-user functions, letting you see and share AR experiences with friends at the same time. “AR is transformational technology.” Craig Federighi,

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  • ‘Memoji’: Apple Announces Personalized Avatars For Messaging
    ‘Memoji’: Apple Announces Personalized Avatars For Messaging

    Apple announced an upcoming update to its animoji software that will allow users to personalize their avatar for messaging.

    Apple calls them “memoji” and demonstrated a wide range of options iPhone owners could use to adjust the look of their avatars.

    Apple debuted animoji last year with the high-end iPhone X. The feature is the result of its earlier acquisition of startup FaceShift and enables iPhone X owners to send cute pictures animated with their facial movements. The avatars people could use with animoji were limited to a variety of emoji characters, but with the updates announced today Apple promised to allow people to carefully personalize their avatars to reflect however they want to look.

    In addition, the company promised to add the functionality to FaceTime calls with lots of people in the conversation simultaneously.

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  • Lego’s Official ARKit App Brings Bricks To Life
    Lego’s Official ARKit App Brings Bricks To Life

    Lego’s new official AR app, debuting on Apple’s ARKit, will bring your bricks to life.

    Debuting at Apple’s WWDC press conference today, the app takes advantage of the new sharing feature that’s included with ARKit 2, also announced today. This allows friends to build Lego sets together in the real world, and then point your iPhone or iPad’s camera at them to turn them into a digital toy box. You can virtually decorate your real set and its surroundings as well as bring in Lego characters and even peer inside buildings.

    If you explore the area around your new virtual scene, you’ll find characters that you can complete missions for. At one point a fire broke out, which one player extinguished while the other made sure the citizens were safe. Pressing one button will strip away the outside of buildings allowing you to see what’s doing on inside. At one point we even saw Batman join in on the action.

    Lego says that these experiences are coming to iOS 12 later this year and will support up to four players. It’s exciting to think about where the company could go with the app, especially with branded content like Star Wars and Marvel sets.

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  • Apple’s ARKit 2 Adds Shared Experiences
    Apple’s ARKit 2 Adds Shared Experiences

    Apple showed some major updates to its AR platform and revealed that ARKit 2 in iOS 12 includes shared experiences.

    Demos offered on stage during Apple’s developer conference included one from Lego that promised up to four players who could see the same digital environment. The app even featured object recognition to incorporate real-world Lego creations into the experience.

    Google recently announced a “Cloud Anchors” feature that promises similar functionality and other startups like 6D.AI are working in the same area. It will be interesting to see how well the Apple feature works and if it functions without an Internet connection.

    Here’s how Apple describes its new features in ARKit 2:

    Shared experiences with ARKit 2 make AR even more engaging on iPhone and iPad, allowing multiple users to play a game or collaborate on projects like home renovations. Developers can also add a spectator mode, giving friends and family the best views of AR gameplay from a different iOS device.

    Persistent AR will also change the way consumers interact with AR apps by creating opportunities to leave virtual objects in the real world to which users can return. They can start a puzzle on a table and come back to it later in the same state or create an art project over the course of a few weeks without starting over each time.

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