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  • The Best Samsung Gear VR Games of 2018 These are VRFocus' favourite videogames from the last 12 months.
  • 7 Things You Can Do to Overcome VR Motion Sickness
    7 Things You Can Do to Overcome VR Motion Sickness

    Editor’s Note: With so many new people getting VR headsets this holiday season we thought it would be valuable to republish this listicle from 2017 focused on ways to overcome VR motion sickness. If you’re experiencing severe effects the best thing you can do is take off the headset and stop right away, but there are some other steps to take that might help you grow more accustomed to the immersive realm more quickly.

    Motion sickness: it’s far from the flashiest aspect of VR, but it’s a real problem for some people when they put on a headset and enter a virtual world. VR motion sickness happens when your eyes tell your brain you’re moving around in a VR environment, but your body feels like it’s sitting in a chair or standing still. If you’re prone to the problem, these conflicting inputs cause you to feel miserable. Specifically, you might experience sensations like nausea, dizziness, headaches, sweating, excessive salivating, or all of the above. Even worse, these symptoms can continue for hours after you take off the headset and compound together.

    Even if you’ve experienced VR motion sickness first-hand, don’t give up hope just yet. It’s possible to mitigate and even overcome VR-induced motion sickness altogether. We’ve already gone over a few tips that developers can use  to limit reactions here, so we’ve included some advice specifically for consumers below. Next time you’re having issues, give some of these a try.

    Baby Steps

    Let’s say you’ve had a bad experience playing a VR game. You tried it, and the moment you started moving around in the virtual world, your stomach lurched and your head started to spin. You might not be inclined to venture back into VR, but if you give up now, you’ll be depriving yourself of some truly amazing experiences. It’s actually possible to overcome VR motion sickness without using any crazy tricks at all. You can do it simply by taking it slow.

    If a game makes you feel queasy, start out by limiting your play sessions to just a few minutes at a time. When you start feeling uncomfortable, shut your eyes, breathe deeply, and take a short break before trying again. If you gradually increase the time you spend in those games, there’s a good chance you’ll overcome the discomfort in just a few days’ time. Before long, you’ll be cruising around imaginary worlds like a pro. For many people, getting their “VR legs” just takes patience and practice.

    Have Someone Tell You You’ll Be Okay

    This one sounds bizarre, but at least one study suggests it’s rooted in scientific fact. According to the report, you may be able to overcome VR motion sickness simply by having someone tell you you’re going to be fine. The study focused on naval cadets who, prior to boarding their assigned vessel, were told they were unlikely to suffer from seasickness, regardless of whether it was true.

    As a result, the cadets who’d been given this “verbal placebo” got seasick at a lower rate than cadets who hadn’t. Assuming the

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  • FeelReal Smells Success as it Takes Another Shot at Kickstarter Success The crowd-funding campaign will be launching soon.
  • Latest Oculus Unity Integration Expands HTC Vive Support, Improves Rift GPU Performance
    Latest Oculus Unity Integration Expands HTC Vive Support, Improves Rift GPU Performance

    Last month, Facebook added basic support for HTC Vive to the Oculus Unity Integration. In the December release the company expanded that support, as well as reducing the GPU cost of Oculus Rift support.

    Rift Performance Improvement

    The Rift’s GPU performance improvement in Unity apps has been achieved by making the occlusion mesh culling “more aggressive”. This should free up some GPU time for rendering. However, it comes at the cost of making the editor preview smaller.

    OVROverlay: Vive Support & New Sample

    The latest feature of Oculus Integration to support the HTC Vive (and in theory any SteamVR headet) is OVROverlay. This is the Oculus compositor layers system, sometimes called “TimeWarp layers”. On HTC Vive these layers will be passed to SteamVR’s compositor.

    Image from Oculus Developer Guide

    CTO John Carmack often espouses the importance of rendering UI & text via TimeWarp layers. He went as far as calling it “the biggest” tip for sharp text in VR. OVROverlay is the way to do this in Unity.

    As well as adding support for OVROverlay to HTC Vive, this update also adds a new sample scene & tutorial for the feature. Carmack has often noted in his public talks that many developers still don’t utilize this, so the new sample scene should be a great help. If you’re a developer of a VR app that doesn’t use compositor layers for your text, we  recommend checking it out. VR headsets are low enough resolution as it is, so you should use all the software tricks available.

    Oculus Unity Profiler

    The final addition of 1.32 is the Oculus Profiler Panel, a popup window for Unity specifically made for profiling VR performance. It works on Rift apps locally and from Oculus Go over USB. The release notes state that the feature doesn’t work properly on Gear VR yet. This is a welcome addition and should make finding the cause of performance issues easier.

    Tagged with: htc vive, oculus, oculus rift, SteamVR, unity

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  • Made-For-VR ‘FlyInside’ Is What VR Flight Simulation Needs
    flyinside vr flight simulator

    After almost two years of development, FlyInside Flight Simulator has launched in Early Access on Steam. FlyInside is a made for VR flight sim which supports Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Windows MR heasdsets.

    Virtual reality is well suited for cockpit sims, providing a sense of depth and scale monitors simply can’t match. Even from a practical perspective, looking around a cockpit naturally with your head is far easier than using a hat switch or D-pad. TrackIR is a useful middle ground, but is awkward for large movements since it isn’t 1:1 and the monitor is still stationary.

    FlyInside originally began in 2015 as a Kickstarter for a mod for Flight Simulator X (FSX). The project raised more than double its $13,500 goal, unlocking Leap Motion support as a stretch goal, as well as support for Prepar3D, a newer flight simulator based on the FSX codebase.

    Why A New Sim?

    Through either mods or official updates, all major PC flight simulators today have some form of VR support. However, the fact that VR was an afterthought in these sims is often all too obvious. Performance is sub par, the menus are difficult to operate, and a lot of functionality is almost impossible while essentially blindfolded, requiring complex keyboard mappings. FlyInside standalone is tackling these issues by building from the ground up for VR.

    Performance has been a key focus for the team’s custom engine. In VR low framerate feels sickening, so must be a priority. In our brief testing we found performance to be adequate on a GTX 970 with only a few hitches- noticeably better than the mod for Flight Simulator X.

    The sim lets you decide which input device you want to use. You can use your VR controllers as virtual hands, Leap Motion to use your fingers directly, or the traditional option of a HOTAS (joystick).

    Using Touch controllers in the mod for FSX felt tacked on and glitchy, but in the standalone it now feels native. Flicking switches, adjusting levers and even controlling the stick can all be done with your hands.

    Aircraft

    While all flight sims come with default aircraft, most enthusiasts use 3rd party solutions from studios who develop highly detailed models for multiple sims. For FlyInside, the studio has included 10 aircraft from studios MilViz and TFDi Design:

    Light Aircraft

    Baron B55
    Cessna 310R

    Airliners

    Boeing 737-200
    Boeing 717

    Legacy

    T-50 Bobcat
    DHC-3 Otter

    Military

    T-38 Jet Trainer

    Helicopters

    Bell 407
    MD 530
    CH-47 Chinook

    Future Plans

    According to the early access listing on Steam, FlyInside plans to add:

    Improved scenery
    World-wide scenery coverage
    Live road and air traffic
    ATC functionality
    Improved flight model physics
    Additional aircraft and missions

    The team intends to be in early access for 6 to 12 months. The sim will be at a higher price when it launches, with the price increasing when new features are added.

    We’re certainly impressed with the initial early access build. VR flight simulation was once thought to be a simple addon for existing sims, but it’s now clear that a deeper appreciation of the challenge is needed. VR represents a unique interaction paradigm in which

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  • Steam’s Top Selling VR Titles for 2018 Include Beat Saber, Arizona Sunshine and Pavlov The best selling Steam titles of 2018 have been released.
  • Valve Reveals 100 Best Selling Steam VR Games Of 2018
    top steam vr games 2018

    Valve released a list of the 100 top selling VR games on Steam in 2018.

    More than 1,000 titles released on Steam this year with VR support, according to Bellevue, Washington-based Valve Corporation. The vast majority of the releases are VR-only but the only completely new 2018 VR release to reach the top “platinum” tier of gross revenue on Steam was Beat Saber — which sold more than 100,000 copies in its first month of availability on PC this year.

    We’ve linked to our reviews below for most of the titles in the platinum, gold and silver tiers. Other top selling VR titles at the platinum level include Fallout 4, Gorn, Orbus, H3VR, Pavlov, Skyrim (which released on PC in 2018 but appeared on PSVR in 2017), Superhot, Job Simulator, Onward, Arizona Sunshine and one title intended for adults only.

    Gold tier of top grossing VR content on Steam in 2018.

    The gold tier of titles includes Budget Cuts, Raw Data, Virtual Desktop, Stand Out, Tilt Brush, Sprint Vector, Sairento, Zero Caliber, I Expect You To Die, Space Pirate Trainer and Doom VFR. The silver tier includes two Serious Sam games as well as OVR, In Death, Moss, Box VR, Fruit Ninja, L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files, Richie’s Plank Experience, Creed, Dead Effect 2, Blade & Sorcery, VTOL, Audioshield and Duck Season.

    Silver tier of top grossing VR content on Steam in 2018.

    You can check out the 2016 and 2017 lists as well, with a lot of titles on 2018’s list also represented in previous years.  The full list on Steam also includes 60 games at the bronze tier as well as a new section this year that lists top releases of 2018.

    Top VR releases of 2018 on Steam.

    Tagged with: 2018, steam, top selling, valve

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  • PSVR 2019: PlayStation Owned VR In 2018, Can Sony Stay Ahead In 2019?
    blood and truth psvr

    It was clear, by the end of 2018, that something was shifting in the VR landscape. A litany of identically-themed editorials about how PSVR had actually had an impressive year (including our own) offered a rare ray of sunshine from mainstream outlets. Against all odds and its own track record with peripherals, Sony proved that VR is a viable gaming platform.

    But how does it keep that momentum going next year?

    Competition Is Heating Up

    2019 will see PSVR at an interesting crossroads. While Sony may have maintained the lead in software thus far, hardware is a different story. PSVR’s camera-based tracking system has always been a distant third to SteamVR and Oculus tracking and that gap’s only going to grow in the new year. Valve is pushing on with the next iteration of its VR offerings and Oculus is honing in on inside-out solutions. PC and mobile headset resolutions are also still improving whereas PSVR’s display remains the same as it was in 2016.

    Playing Superhot VR or Beat Saber tether-free with a full range of movement on Oculus Quest could mean that PSVR starts to show its age next year. But, with 2019 increasingly looking like it may be the PS4’s swansong, the chances of any refreshed VR hardware are increasingly diminished. We’d love to see an inside-out tracked headset that enabled 360-degree movement in existing PSVR games but we seriously doubt we’ll see such an update until the true follow-up for the next console.

    Sony arguably doesn’t need to pay this too much attention in 2019, though. Technical superiority seemingly hasn’t earned the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive better sales than PSVR’s, which now total over three million. But the threat of more accessible and more capable headsets is one that Sony can’t ignore for long.

    Game On

    The smartest path may be to simply brute force it on the content side. Astro Bot, Firewall and Wipeout are just three examples of games that made clever use of PSVR to overcome its hardware limitations in 2018. And these games weren’t just ‘good for PSVR’; they were arguably better than anything you’d find on Rift or Vive too.

    There’s some promising stuff on the way. We remain cautiously optimistic about Blood and Truth and a few others. That said, Astro Bot wasn’t announced until early 2018 and released later in the year, so we’re confident that Sony has bigger things on the way. We still haven’t seen what’s Sony’s new UK-based VR studio is working on, either.

    Pricing Perfection

    Another price cut could also be in order. Sony did a great job incentivizing PSVR’s current price point with bundles in 2018, but the further away it can get from Quest’s $399.99 price tag the better. Is it possible that PS4 and PSVR could reach a lower all-in price than Quest in 2019? We hope so.

    2019 may be the last year that PSVR can justify technical shortcomings. But, if this is to be a victory lap, let’s hope Sony makes it a killer one. I’m betting it can.

    Tagged with: 2019,

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  • The Best Google Cardboard Games of 2018 These are VRFocus' favourite videogames from the last 12 months.
  • Therapists Using VR To Treat Mental Health Issues

    Limbix is building up immersive content that therapists can use to tackle phobias, depression and anxiety. There are over 300 peer-reviewed studies that show VR is an effective tool for treating mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, trauma, and addiction. It’s no wonder, therefore, to see a host of companies developing therapeutic content that

    The post Therapists Using VR To Treat Mental Health Issues appeared first on VRScout.

  • VR & AR 2018: A Year In Review

    Immersive technology continues its push towards mainstream appeal. If 2016 was the birth of modern VR/AR technology, than 2018 was its elementary school graduation. While this past year may have seemed like a quiet one when compared to the more exciting releases featured in 2017 and 2016, these past 12 months have been crucial in

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  • UploadVR’s Best Of 2018 VR Award Nominees
    vr game of the year astro bot tetris skyrim beat saber firewall psvr rift vive

    We’ve finally reached the very end of 2018 and it’s been quite the eventful year for the VR industry. Not only did new headsets like the HTC Vive Pro and Oculus Go release, but Facebook announced the upcoming Oculus Quest as well for next year. Sony has even sold through three million headsets, which was before Black Friday, so it’s probably even more now.

    On the gaming front there haven’t been as many groundbreaking titles on the PC VR side, but PSVR really grew into its own with a slew of amazing exclusives. Overall, this has been an amazing year for VR and we can’t wait to see what 2019 holds.

    So we mashed our heads together and put together this full, detailed list of the very best VR games, hardware, and experiences of the year. All lists are ordered alphabetically and we’ve chosen the first listed item as the image to be fair. Unless that item was used in an image already, in which case we’ve used the next down.

    We’ll announce the winners next week!

    Best VR/AR Hardware

    Magic Leap One
    Mirage Solo
    Oculus Go
    Samsung Odyssey+
    Vive Focus
    Vive Pro

    Best PSVR Game

    Astro Bot: Rescue Mission
    Beat Saber
    Firewall Zero Hour
    The Persistence
    Tetris Effect
    WipEout Omega Collection VR

    Best PSVR Experience

    Crow: The Legend
    Electronauts
    Titanic VR

    Best PC VR Game

    Beat Saber
    The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR (PC)
    The Exorcist: Legion VR
    Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice VR
    Moss
    Transpose

    Best PC VR Experience

    Crow: The Legend
    Spheres
    The Great C
    Titanic VR
    Vestige

    Best Mobile VR/AR Game

    Anshar  Online
    Arca’s Path
    Catan VR
    The Walking Dead: Our World

    Best Mobile VR Experience

    Crow: The Legend
    Nothing To Be Written
    Shattered State

    Best Location-Based VR Experience

    Dave & Buster’s Jurassic World
    Dreamscape’s Alien Zoo
    Nomadic’s Arizona Sunshine
    Sandbox VR’s Davy Jones Adventure
    SPACES’ Terminator
    The Void’s Nicodemus

    Best Visuals

    Age of Sail
    Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice VR
    Seeking Dawn
    The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR (PC)
    Tetris Effect

    Best Ongoing Support For A VR App

    Bigscreeen
    Onward
    Pavlov VR
    Rec Room

    Best Multiplayer/Social

    Brass Tactics
    Echo Combat
    Firewall Zero Hour
    Marvel: Heroes United V R
    WipEout: Omega Collection VR

    Most Immersive Moment

    Killing the police in Accounting+
    Meeting Astro Bot
    Stealing time in Deracine
    Suiting up as a Marvel hero
    Swirling around a black hole in Spheres

    Most Active VR Game

    Beat Saber
    Creed: Rise to Glory
    Knockout League
    Sprint Vector

    Developer of the Year

    3rd Eye Studios
    Beat Games
    First Contact Entertainment
    Secret Location
    Survios
    Vertigo Games

    Most Anticipated App Of 2019

    Defector
    Dreams
    A Fisherman’s Tale
    Star Wars: Vader Immortal
    Stormland
    Untitled Respawn Game

    Overall VR Game Or Experience of the Year

    Astro Bot: Rescue Mission
    Beat Saber
    Firewall Zero Hour
    Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice VR
    Spheres
    Transpose
    WipEout: Omega Collection VR

    Winners will be announced next week on December 31st! Let us know your picks or other nominations down in the comments below!

    Featured image collage created by David Jagneaux for UploadVR.

    Tagged with: awards, best vr, game of the year, VR awards

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  • The Best HTC Vive Games of 2018 These are VRFocus' favourite videogames from the last 12 months.
  • Facebook and Valve Are On Diverging Paths In 2019
    Facebook and Valve Are On Diverging Paths In 2019

    The secrecy is extreme surrounding Valve Corporation in Bellevue, Washington.

    Leaks are rare because the privately held game-maker is composed of only a few hundred people. This group is also the operator of Steam, which launched in the early 2000s and up until very recently enjoyed a 30 percent cut of every game sold through its PC games marketplace. This ballooning revenue source over the last decade led some to estimate Valve makes the most profit per employee of any company.

    Most people don’t know that Valve’s engineers are also the ones responsible for the “lighthouse” tracking technology that was key to HTC Vive’s first-to-market PC VR advantage when it launched in 2016. Tracked hand controls and room-scale movement freedom were essentially exclusive to Vive developers and customers for most of 2016. It wasn’t until December of that year when Facebook delivered a comparable experience with Oculus Rift.

    In 2017, Microsoft partnered with PC manufacturers and built a line of low-cost Windows-powered VR headsets. While it served both Microsoft and Valve to make these Windows-based headsets work with Steam too, where does that leave HTC and its Vive headset if Valve builds its own?

    I’ll get back to HTC in a bit, but for now I want to focus on two of the leading drivers of PC VR: Facebook and Valve.

    Diverging Paths In 2019 For Facebook And Valve

    While Valve leaks are rare, there was one recently showing a head-mounted display featuring a circuit board with the company name on it. This suggests Valve is developing its own head-mounted display which would likely be equipped with the second generation of its SteamVR Tracking technology.

    A Valve HMD with a wider field of view and hand-strapped Knuckles controllers, as well as upgraded room-scale tracking, sounds like a recipe for an incredible second generation PC VR development kit. Such a kit would seem to improve immersion in every way relevant to developers who are exploring what it means to build virtual worlds for people to explore, work or play inside.

    Critically, though, while such a headset might be perfect for inspiring developers it wouldn’t necessarily be what the VR market needs for significant expansion. To access a larger market, VR headsets need to lose the wired tether to the PC for convenience while also decreasing overall system cost.

    This is where Facebook is aiming with its $400 Oculus Quest releasing early next year, hoping that among its 50-plus launch titles there will be enough compelling content to convince millions the headset is the right time to buy in.

    On the PC side, these same priorities likely contributed to Oculus co-founder Brendan Iribe leaving the company. That’s because the so-called “Rift S” TechCrunch reported Facebook is building might use the Oculus Quest tracking system. This would allow Facebook to standardize on components, provide a consistent tracking experience across different Facebook headsets and make the overall setup of an Oculus Rift much more convenient compared with the original. This decision would likely also help Facebook leaders continue their apparent strategy of taking a loss on hardware in hopes

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  • Mash Your Opponents in Spuds Unearthed Next Month It'll launch into Early Access for PC VR headsets first.