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  • Measure Is Apple’s Official ARKit App For Measuring Objects
    Measure Is Apple’s Official ARKit App For Measuring Objects

    It looks like Apple is getting serious about augmented reality and its ARKit platform at its WWDC event today. Measure is just one way that it’s showing that.

    This new app, set to be introduced in the upcoming release of iOS 12, simply uses your iPhone’s camera to, you guessed it, measure objects. By tapping on the corners of a suitcase, for example, your phone can quickly measure its dimensions, though it can also recognize images by itself. Check it out in the images below.

     

     

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  • Apple Announces New File Format For AR
    Apple Announces New File Format For AR

    Apple announced a new file format for AR designed to enable experiences that work throughout the iPhone and iPad operating system.

    The new format, called USDZ, was annouced with support for Adobe’s creative cloud, suggesting that Apple devices could be used to bring images, video and text into an AR creation.

    Updates to come.

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  • How Lucasfilm Used VR To Design Solo: A Star Wars Story’s Daring Train Heist
    How Lucasfilm Used VR To Design Solo: A Star Wars Story’s Daring Train Heist

    Anyone that’s seen Solo: A Star Wars Story comes out talking about one of the film’s biggest set-pieces in which a young Han Solo and young(er but still incredibly old) Chewbacca lead a daring heist aboard an Imperial train. It makes for a stunning sequence, and is the latest scene in a Star Wars movie to be produced with the help of VR.

    In a piece on the official Star Wars website, Lucasfilm design supervisor James Clyne revealed that the crew first created the setpiece within VR and effectively put themselves in the movie. This helped the crew judge just how feasible Han and co’s action were (outside of, y’know, surviving on a speeding train suspended around freezing cold mountains). Clyne put on an unspecified pair of VR goggles and actually acted out some of the movie’s stunts.

    “I just put my back against the one wall and I ran,” he said, also adding that he nearly tripped over and fell into the back wall as he ran around. Don’t worry; someone was holding the wires for him as he stumbled about, though is still sounds almost as dangerous as the real thing.

    “And I went back and reported back to production, the directors — I, normal Joe, can jump over that!” Clyne added.

    This is far from the first time Lucasfilm has used VR to help bring its Star Wars movies to life. Virtual sets were also made for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, for example.

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  • Sony To Reveal ‘Eagerly Anticipated’ PSVR Games This Week In Countdown To E3
    Sony To Reveal ‘Eagerly Anticipated’ PSVR Games This Week In Countdown To E3

    Sony is doing E3 just a little bit differently this year, focusing on four big upcoming PS4 games at its media showcase next Monday. But the build-up to the show is going to be a little different, too.

    Over the course of this week Sony is going to have several reveals as a way to countdown to its press conference, and three of them will be PSVR related. On Wednesday, 6th June at 8am PT/4pm BST, a new PS4 game with PSVR support will be announced, and on Saturday, June 9th a new PSVR title will be revealed at the same time. The most exciting, though? Sony says an ‘eagerly anticipated game’ will come to PSVR on Sunday 10th June, again at the same time.

    Well, that’s a good way to get us pretty excited before the show. From the sounds of it, the ‘eagerly anticipated game’ is already announced and either A. is getting optional PSVR support or B. is a port of an existing Oculus Rift/HTC Vive game. Our brains are already swimming with possibilities, but we’ll have to wait and see what Sony has in store.

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  • Swords of Gargantua Is The Closest VR Has Gotten To Dark Souls Yet
    Swords of Gargantua Is The Closest VR Has Gotten To Dark Souls Yet

    Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: the game I just played reminded me of Dark Souls.

    Wait, wait, don’t head to the comments to berate me just yet. I promise I’m not making that comparison because I died a couple of times or I saw a giant spider. Instead, it’s pretty much everything else about Swords of Gargantua that reminds of me From Software’s ode to masochism.

    Gargantua, like many other VR adventures, desperately wants to get melee combat right, but on its own terms, much like in the way From did all the way back in 2009 with Demon’s Souls. It wants to steer clear of the messy physics of a thousand other Early Access titles as well as the easily-cheated, bolted-on motion controls of Skyrim VR. The free demo released last week suggests that it could well pull it off, though there’s a little more refinement required.

    Gargantua’s demo does well to capture the isolated exploration of the Souls games. Even in the few corridors you trek down, there’s a sense that you’re trespassing, as if the howling winds are a warning to leave the ancient halls. A splash of Sony’s ICO is present, too, though it’s more menacing at its core.

    Locomotion is simple enough, either using smooth movement or a leaning system. Eventually you enter an arena, lazily observed by a monarchic monster sitting on a throne, with towering walls surrounding you. What the art design lacks in detail, it makes up for in tone and scale. Minions twice your height slowly start to approach, proving effectively daunting as they attempt to corner you. It’s pretty clear from the start you’ll be in for a tough battle.

    Combat makes some pretty sensible decisions. You can dual-wield, but you’re most likely to be using one of your weapons as a defensive measure. Every enemy swing can be blocked, which causes them to bounce back a little, leaving an opening for you to attack. I found myself tightly focused on my opponent’s movements, trying to anticipate their next attack and prepare my block with my left arm while readying my counter with the right. You can charge swings by holding your blade above your head and even toss swords at enemies to give you a bit of space as you search for a new weapon.

    There’s rare heft to Gargantua’s combat. Your items won’t simply phase through each other, for example, instead dragging along each other and preventing any kind of maniacal arm-swinging. They don’t feel like they slice so much as batter, with damage coming from the crash of connecting with heavily-plated armor. A stamina gauge implements some pacing, too, though reading it is a little confusing at this point in time.

    Gargantua’s battles had me thinking about what was going on. A helpful lock-on system allows me to focus on other matters, like my positioning and distance from other enemies. Rather than barreling in, slashing away until my enemy slumps to the floor, I found myself taking patient, well-timed swings before backing

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  • The Matrix’s Hugo Weaving To Star In Full-Length 3D VR Film
    The Matrix’s Hugo Weaving To Star In Full-Length 3D VR Film

    As Agent Smith, actor Hugo Weaving helped shape modern perceptions of virtual reality with his role in The Matrix trilogy. Now, Weaving is set to star inside VR itself.

    The actor, also know for his role in The Lord of the Rings and Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, will star in a full-length VR movie called Lone Wolf, Variety reports. The film, directed by Jonathan Ogilvie, will also feature Hotel Mumbai’s Tilda Cobham-Hervey.

    Lone Wolf follows a terrorist cell that conspire to attack the Sydney Opera House in Australia, with Weaving playing a police minister. The audience will view the action through surveillance-style shots in a point of view mode and more. Currently the piece is looking to raise $2 million in funding before going into full production, with plans for a full release in 2019.

    As with other recent VR experiences starring well-known actors, there will be a full 2D version of the movie as well as the VR edition. Whereas most VR movies offer 360 degrees of viewing and 2D footage, though, Lone Wolf will feature 200 degrees viewing but show in 3D. It will be interesting to see if sacrificing a full panoramic image for the 3D effect pays off.

    In the past year we’ve also seen VR features starring John Travolta, Wesley Snipes and Nicolas Cage. It certainly seems like VR film making is finally attracting big names.

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  • NASA’s New Travel Bureau Lets You Visit Far Off Exoplanets In VR
    NASA’s New Travel Bureau Lets You Visit Far Off Exoplanets In VR

    Forget Mars; NASA’s new Exoplanet Travel Bureau lets you travel to new planets much, much further away.

    This new website puts exoplanets — planets that are outside of our solar system — within reach with the help of VR. You can journey to three new worlds and explore a 360 degree rendition of each. Note that these aren’t actual images of each planet, but instead artist impressions of what they could look like based on existing data.

    You can take a trip to the neon-soaked sights of Trappist-1e, the lonely surface of Kepler-186f and admire the peaks of Kepler-16b. Each surface has annotations explaining various features. Special shout out also goes to the posters you can download for each, which look absolutely incredible.

    If you have a compatible smartphone and VR viewer than you can take a trip to these new worlds as if you were really there, though we’d love to see these starting steps used for something deeper.

    Some of us will be lucky to see humans landing on Mars in our lifetime, but we’re far, far off from coming into contact with these exoplanets, so it’s great to see NASA bringing us that bit closer to them now. This is just one of several immersive reality projects NASA has in the works, including partnering with other developers to bring us to Mars, the ISS and more.

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  • Rift/Vive Gap Narrows In Latest Steam Hardware Survey Results
    Rift/Vive Gap Narrows In Latest Steam Hardware Survey Results

    Last month saw the Oculus Rift pull even further ahead of the HTC Vive in Valve’s Steam Hardware Survey results, but the gap has narrowed again in May.

    This month’s results show less than 1% difference in headset usage between Rift and Vive, with the former holding 46.1% of the overall VR usage and the latter coming in closely behind at 45.31%. That’s pretty much neck-and-neck, whereas last month saw Rift at 48.92% and Vive at 44.06%. Is it possible that, with a few months on the market now, the new Vive Pro has helped HTC regain some of the ground it’s lost? The 3K resolution and improved design certainly make it an attractive headset, though the $799 entry price is very steep.

    The Vive, meanwhile, now costs $499. That’s its lowest price ever, though still $100 more than a Rift.

    Perhaps it’s instead concerned with a fix for the survey Valve implemented last month, which addresses ‘over counting’ of ‘cyber cafe customers’, though this seems doubtful. The rest of the results are business as usual: Windows VR headsets remain in the 5% territory and 1.48% of VR users still have an Oculus rift DK2.

    As always, we have to point out that the survey results aren’t a definitive means of tracking how many VR headsets are out there. It’s an optional survey that requires users to have used their VR headsets that month in order to be registered on the charts. With the gap this close, there’s no way of knowing for sure if it’s Oculus or HTC on top right now. It also doesn’t tell us how many units either company has actually sold.

    After the Vive Pro’s release, it’s set to be a quiet few months for PC-based headsets now. How will these results look at 2018 reaches its second half, and will HTC pull back in front?

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  • Vancouver Is Now One Of The Largest VR Hubs In The World

    XR companies based in Vancouver have skyrocketed from 15 to 200 in just three short years.   A lot has changed in the XR industry since 2017. In teaching hospitals, brain scans have transformed into dynamic, moving holograms. Apps now let individuals walk around the homes of their loved ones without stepping outside their door. Home

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  • Apple Will Likely Debut Digital Health And ARKit 2.0 At WWDC, But No Hardware
    Apple Will Likely Debut Digital Health And ARKit 2.0 At WWDC, But No Hardware

    Apple’s plans for the 2018 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote next week include a new “Digital Health” initiative and a major update to its ARKit augmented reality software, but no new hardware, Bloomberg reports. As noted in January, the company decided to hold back on larger updates to its operating systems this year to focus on bug fixes and performance improvements, resulting in a fairly tame-sounding slate of WWDC announcements.

    According to the new report, Apple will address recent concerns over device addiction with Digital Health, a collection of settings and usage monitoring tools that will help users reduce device and specific app usage. Several months ago, the company publicly committed to improving iOS’ parental controls, as well, which will likely tie into the Digital Health initiative.

    The company also plans to show version 2.0 of its ARKit augmented reality tools, the report says, including features that can save and share the locations of both users and augmented reality objects — ideal for multi-player gaming. Google recently unveiled similar AR object-saving functionality under the name Cloud Anchors at its I/O developers’ conference, sweetening its offering by including both Android and iOS compatibility.

    On the Mac front, Bloomberg says that “the focus this year will be on integrating more deeply with iOS,” potentially including the debut of Marzipan, a previously reported initiative to let iOS apps run on Macs. A separate report has claimed that the Mac App Store will be redesigned to resemble the iOS version, including an editorial-style presentation of featured content.

    Other OS-level improvements are said to be fairly minor, including unspecified updates to FaceTime, the Stocks app, and Animojis, as well as the ability to temporarily hide (or “snooze”) notifications. Similarly ambiguous are Apple’s plans for Siri, which are said to include “more predictive” features this year, with “more significant changes” planned for the future. Similarly, Apple is said to be holding a redesigned Home Screen, AI assistance for Photos, and more iPad file management tools for 2019.

    Said to be missing at WWDC this year: new hardware. While rumors of new MacBooks, MacBook Pros, iPad Pros, and possibly MacBook Airs have circulated for months, none are expected to debut next week. Nor is the Apple Watch Series 4, which is predicted to arrive in the fall retaining prior models’ sizes, shapes, and band compatibility while increasing screen real estate. However, Apple is reportedly planning to unlock a new rainbow-colored “Pride” watch face (shown above) for current Watches during the event, as discovered by 9to5Mac. A store with additional watch faces could be a major draw for the platform, but it has not been rumored ahead of the event.

    Traditionally, Apple makes new versions of its operating systems available to developers shortly after the WWDC keynote speech concludes. The company released beta versions of minor, bug-fixing updates to iOS 11.4, tvOS 11.4, and watchOS 4.3 yesterday, alongside an unexpected beta of macOS 10.13.6. It is expected to debut early betas of iOS 12, macOS 10.14, tvOS 12, and watchOS 5 at WWDC.

    This post by Jeremy Horwitz originally appeared on VentureBeat. 

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  • Channel Your Inner 90’s Child With POGs AR

    One of the biggest fads of the 90’s returns with an AR multiplayer twist. The 1990’s were full of crazy fads like fanny packs, Snap, and Beanie Babies – but one of the biggest fads was POGs. The game where players would face-off by stacking collectible milk caps – or POGs – with the objective

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  • The Biggest Rift, Vive And Windows VR Releases Of The Week 05/07/18
    The Biggest Rift, Vive And Windows VR Releases Of The Week 05/07/18

    Well, Budget Cuts may not have made it to release this week, but there’s plenty to check out in its absence. You should definitely look to spend some cash on something this week.

    Overload, from Revival Productions
    Price: $29.99 (Rift, Vive)

    The long-awaited full release of a new six degrees of freedom (6DOF) shooter from the makers of the classic Descent games. You steer around zero-gravity environments from the safety of a cockpit, blowing enemies away with a variety of weapons. This might be tough on the stomach but it’s a lot of fun if you can handle it.

    Downward Spiral: Horus Station, from 3rd Eye Studios
    Price: $19.99 (Rift, Vive, Windows)

    A dark, eerie space odyssey that builds off of last year’s Downward Spiral: Prologue. You explore a deserted space station, uncovering what happened to the crew and fighting off a swam of drones with an ever-growing arsenal of weapons. The zero gravity locomotion is just as immersive as it’s ever been, and this is one of VR’s most atmospheric games.

    Soviet Lunapark VR, from Mundfish
    Price: $18.99 (Rift, Vive, currently discounted)

    The developers behind the very-promising Atomic Heart launch their own cooperative multiplayer VR shooter in Early Access. Even though it’s a wave shooter, this looks like a weird delight, exploring delipitated soviet theme parks and creating lots and lots of gore. It’s an Early Access release right now with more campaign content planned.

    Along Together, from Turbo Button
    Price: $19.99 (Rift, Vive, currently discounted)

    Turbo Button’s charming little platformer, Along Together, finally makes its way over to other headsets since debuting on Google Daydream. You play as a young child’s imaginary friend, guiding them through environments with your giant hand that can move platforms and more. This is an enjoyable adventure well worth seeing through.

    Tales of Wedding Rings VR, from Square Enix
    Price: $19.99 (Rift)

    Square Enix’s latest take on VR is to adapt manage into the format, creating moving panels and full 3D scenes. This adapts a classic story in which a young boy follows a girl into a magical realm, finds out she’s a princess, then marries her and finds out he has to marry four more girls to beat an evil force. Because of course.

    Red Matter, from Vertical Robot
    Price: $34.99 (Rift)

    This intriguing story-driven VR adventure has players traveling to one of Saturn’s moons during a dystopian sci-fi Cold War. You explore a secret research facility in search of a dangerous new project, solving puzzles as you go. This looks like the kind of game that was made for VR and well worth checking out.

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  • The Biggest PSVR Releases Of The Week 05/07/18
    The Biggest PSVR Releases Of The Week 05/07/18

    It’s a great week to be a PSVR fan! There’s plenty of great indie games to choose from this week, and only one of them requires you to fire a gun! This is absolutely a set of games you should be checking out.

    To The Top, from Electric Hat Games
    Price: $19.99

    One of our favorite VR games from last year finally comes to PSVR. To The Top is a unique VR game in which you gallop like an animal in order to speed through environments faster than you’d believe is possible in a headset. The intuitive control scheme makes it a real thrill and a year of updates have made it the full package.

    The Perfect Sniper, from Sinn Studio
    Price: $14.99

    Want to feel like a super slick hitman? Perfect Sniper might be your best chance so far in VR, offering you the chance to take out high profile targets from the safety of behind your rifle. But it’s not all about sniping; the game also has close-combat sequences that look like they’re a lot of fun, too.

    Black Hat Cooperative, from Team Future
    Price: $9.99

    This classic VR game finally comes to PSVR, bringing a brilliant take on stealth with it. You can’t see enemy locations when you’re in VR, but showing on a traditional TV screen is a map that shows everyone’s location. Work together with a friend to make your moves at the right time and reach the finish line safely.

    Along Together, from Turbo Button
    Price: $19.99 (currently discounted)

    Turbo Button’s charming little platformer, Along Together, finally makes its way over to other headsets since debuting on Google Daydream. You play as a young child’s imaginary friend, guiding them through environments with your giant hand that can move platforms and more. This is an enjoyable adventure well worth seeing through.

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  • Insomniac Teases Open-World VR Game, Full Reveal June 7th

    “Reclaim Your World” in an upcoming open-world VR adventure from one of gaming’s most prolific developers. When it comes to AAA video game development, very few companies are able to hold a candle to Insomniac Games. Founded in 1994 by Ted Price, the legendary studio has been responsible for some of the most treasured titles

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  • Taking Aim – How Firewall: Zero Hour Plans To Be VR’s Next Great Shooter
    Taking Aim – How Firewall: Zero Hour Plans To Be VR’s Next Great Shooter

    When developers first started theorizing the modern era of virtual reality headsets, I’d wager that shooters were a big part of the design discussions. Most of the great shooters are first-person games, which naturally lends itself to VR, and motion controllers are a great fit for holding things like gun in your hands. They even have triggers on them, or can be enjoyed with a gamepad and still feel good — especially if the game is focused on a cockpit.

    When the PSVR launched it came with Rigs, a fast-paced mech shooter that embodied a fake sport with multiple game modes, mech classes, weapon types, and more. It was incredibly fun, but the studio eventually got shut down. The first couple years of VR then were mostly marked by a flood of wave shooters that did little to inspire creativity.

    Eventually, Onward released on Steam for Vive (and eventually Rift) to bring hardcore, military-simulation style gameplay to the VR market with slow-paced, realistic firefights that felt like something out of a Rainbow Six or Ghost Recon game. People ate it up.

    When the PSVR got its PS Aim Controller, Farpoint, a single-player focused (although it has co-op and limited 1v1 modes) shooter about aliens and space came along with it. It’s a good game, but doesn’t really offer the same type of military simulation thrills. Bravo Team seemed like it might fill that void when it was shown during E3 last year, but that wasn’t the case at all.

    Now we’ve got Firewall: Zero Hour from First Contact. ROM: Extraction wasn’t exactly the most robust VR shooter, so I was hesitant at first. But after playing Firewall twice (both at PSX and then again at a pre-E3 event) I’m extremely optimistic about its future.

    “In terms of the core foundational aspect of what a team shooter is we aren’t reinventing the wheel, but we’re putting our own spin on it and we’re trying to do something interesting and unique through VR,” said Adam Orth, creative director at First Contact during an interview. “We want to have the most people playing our game, PSVR has the most headsets in the world, and there is a vacuum where this game needs to be. We saw that early on and based on the history our studio has of what we’ve made individually and together, as well as in VR, and what we wanted to accomplish tech-wise for a shooter, this was the project for us to do.”

    Having played most of the other VR and non-VR shooters that Firewall owes its inspiration to, the impact that VR has on its design can’t be overstated. I’ve played Onward and Pavlov, I’ve played Rainbow Six and Ghost Recon, and I can say that Firewall feels about as grounded as fans of tactical team-based shooters have come to expect, but with added layers of immersion.

    Not to mention using the PSVR’s Aim Controller just feels really really good. It was easily the highlight of playing through Farpoint and it adds so much to any

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