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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! https://t.co/nzMPZx5jtQ

    — 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.

    Tagged with: Catan VR, Settlers of Catan

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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.

    Tagged with: Cortopia Studios

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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.

    Tagged with: Animoji

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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.

    Tagged with: ARKit, lego

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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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  • 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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