• MWC 2019: HTC CEO Cher Wang To Talk ‘Realizing Vive Reality’ At Keynote
    MWC 2019: HTC CEO Cher Wang To Talk ‘Realizing Vive Reality’ At Keynote

    HTC will take the stage at this month’s Mobile World Congress event, putting its Vive Reality initiative in focus.

    Company CEO Cher Wang will host a keynote speech at this year’s show. HTC told us that the overall theme of her talk will concern “realizing Vive Reality”.

    That’s a loaded topic for HTC. The term Vive Reality was first coined during 2018’s Vive Ecosystem Conference in china. At the time, the company said the term defined interconnecting technologies like VR, AR, 5G and AI. It’s Vive’s vision for an ecosystem in which, say, your phone can talk with your VR or AR headset, letting you know when you have new messages etc.

    Since then, though, ‘Vive Reality’ has taken on another meaning at HTC too. At CES last month the company announced the Vive Reality System. This is a new VR platform set to power its upcoming Vive Cosmos platform. The service will provide direct access to Viveport but also let users meet up with friends in virtual environments and launch core apps like Mozilla’s VR browser.

    We’d expect the MWC keynote to be largely concerned with the former use of the term. But that doesn’t mean that the Vive Reality System won’t play a part in the talk. In fact, we’re hoping HTC has some big announcements in store for MWC considering that we’re still waiting on a release date and price for the Vive Pro Eye and, well, just about any news on Cosmos.

    The keynote kicks off at 14:30 CET on Monday, February 25th.

    Tagged with: cher wang, htc vive, MWC, Vive Reality

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  • The Wizards PSVR Edition Now Due In Early March
    The Wizards PSVR Edition Now Due In Early March

    Carbon Studio’s spell-casting VR adventure, The Wizards, should finally arrive on PSVR very soon.

    The Wizards PSVR edition is aiming for launch in “early March”. The team said as much over on r/PSVR this week. Carbon had planned to get the game out in February but it’s apparently just shy of making that goal. That said, the game has passed submission and the team has the all-clear for release. Expect a more solid release date in the next few weeks.

    To celebrate the news, Carbon released some new footage of the game running on PSVR below. Based on first impressions the visuals look rock solid. We can definitely see a little blurriness in the textures compared to the PC VR version but overall it looks like a job well done.

    via Gfycat

    We quite enjoyed The Wizards when it first hit Rift and Vive early last year. We thought the spell-casting battles were a lot of fun, though there were a few issues. “Plenty of collectibles, a replayable Arena mode, and lots of mission augmentations add up to this being one of the best ways to live out your most fantastical magical fantasies in VR,” we said in our review. “We just wanted more and preferably multiplayer of some kind.”

    As we wrote in January, the game will be one of the first to support the PSVR edition of the 3DRudder foot controller. That means you’ll be able to move around using the controller on your feet instead of trying to navigate with the Move controllers.

    Tagged with: Carbon Studio, PSVR, The Wizards

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  • Review: Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs The iconic mobile franchise gets a proper 3D makeover.
  • Hands-On: Angry Birds VR Is Exactly What You Expect And That’s Okay
    Hands-On: Angry Birds VR Is Exactly What You Expect And That’s Okay

    Angry Birds is releasing today on Rift and Vive and we've already played it. Here are our impressions from some time with Angry Birds VR!

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  • The Next VLC Media Player Update Will Include VR Support

    The internet’s most reliable media player is getting its fourth major update. In terms of quality, there are few consumer media players more flexible than VLC. A staple among PC users since 2001, the orange traffic cone icon has become a legendary piece of software, serving as a beacon of hope for those struggling to

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  • WebXR Device API Working Draft Published
    WebXR WebVR

    Standards group W3C moved VR and AR on the Web forward this week with the publication of a draft specification.

    The WebXR Device API “describes support for accessing virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) devices, including sensors and head-mounted displays, on the Web.” When paired with 3D content made in WebGL, the API can turn a standard URL or web address into a portal to another world.

    Most VR developers build interactive virtual worlds in engines like Unreal and Unity. Programmers often write the underlying logic of those worlds in a language like C#. WebXR (which builds on earlier work called WebVR) could open up VR and AR development to developers familiar with Web-based tools like Amazon Sumerian, or languages like Javascript.

    “The WebXR Device API will provide the first opportunity for AR and VR to help people at web scale,” explained Trevor Flowers, chair of the Immersive Web Community Group. “It will be wild to see how millions of web creators across the globe use their existing skills to build a wider web.”

    The new WebXR application programming interface is still unstable and in need of further refinement. Eventually, though, it is likely to become another W3C standard. A wide range of devices can use the API including head-mounted displays “whether they are opaque, transparent, or utilize video passthrough.”

    The draft is edited by Brandon Jones of Google and Nell Waliczek of Amazon for the Immersive Web Working Group of the W3C.

    “W3C approval is not required prior to browsers shipping a feature,” Jones explained in a direct message. “It is encouraged that at least two browsers have an interoperable implementation of a feature prior to standardization. As a result some browsers may choose to ship WebXR after the API has stabilized but before the W3C has finished reviewing it.”

    Tagged with: webvr, WebXR

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  • VR Opens Up New Possibilities For Disabled Musicians

    Infinite Instrument’s customizable interface is proving to be an effective tool for physically disabled musicians. Performance Without Barriers, a research group specializing in digital music interfaces for disabled musicians, has begun employing VR technology as part of their project to empower musicians suffering from physical disabilities that prevent them from being able to operate conventional

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  • Livestream Schedule For Week Of Feb. 4th: The Mage’s Tale On PSVR
    Livestream Schedule For Week Of Feb. 4th: The Mage’s Tale On PSVR

    This week we're embarking on a dangerous quest to rescue our master in inXile Entertainment's The Mage's Tale on PSVR. Magical RPG adventures await!

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  • Oculus Audio SDK Update Adds Dynamic Geometric Sound Propagation
    oculus audio propagation

    The latest update to the Oculus Audio SDK adds the long awaited dynamic audio propagation feature.

    The Audio SDK spatializes audio sources in realtime using head-related transfer functions (HRTF). It also allows for volumetric and ambisonic sounds.

    The SDK’s spatializer originally simulated audio reflections/reverb by assuming a predefined rectangle around the user. That approach however assumes the user is in the centre of that rectangle. It also obviously doesn’t work properly when moving around a scene. In early 2018 a feature called Dynamic Room Modeling was added. This allows developers to define the current room as a 3D rectangle with a position. When the user changes to a new room the developer can update the rectangle for that room.

    This required a relatively large amount of effort on the developer’s part however, and only fully works in perfectly rectangular spaces. It also couldn’t model the transition between different sized spaces- such as going from inside to outside.

    How the Audio SDK now ‘sees’ a scene

    The new dynamic audio propagation analyzes the game geometry in realtime and accurately models the reflections. The developer simply needs to tag each object with an acoustic material to let it know how it should absord or reflect sound. Materials like carpet will absorb far more than materials like metal.

    Valve’s competing Steam Audio has had this feature for almost two years now, so this isn’t new to the PC space.

    Tagged with: oculus audio sdk, Oculus Go, Oculus Quest, oculus rift, oculus sdk, spatial audio, vr audio

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  • Respawn Reaffirms Its New Game Is Not Titanfall VR
    Titanfall VR Oculus Exclusive shooter

    Respawn Entertainment is a very, very busy developer. Earlier this week the company launched its new free-to-play battle royale game, Apex Legends. Later this year it’s also set to release Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Now it’s confirmed that more Titanfall content is in the works, but it’s not a Titanfall VR spin-off.

    Studio CEO Vince Zampella reaffirmed as much in a recent tweet. In response to recent reports that Apex Legends (itself set in the Titanfall universe) had replaced the much anticipated Titanfall 3, Zampella noted that the studio was “working on more Titanfall” for later in the year. When one fan stated that this would be the VR game Respawn is working on, the CEO simply replied: “No!”


    — Vince Zampella (@VinceZampella) February 5, 2019

    Respawn already stated that its VR game would not be set in the Titanfall or Star Wars universes when it was announced in 2017. It seems like plans haven’t changed over the past two years.

    What we do know is that Respawn’s game will be exclusive to Oculus headsets (definitely the Rift, Quest TBA). It’s a shooter that aims to give you an experience “closer to what a soldier would experience in real combat.”

    The initial teaser trailer for the game (above) states that it’ll be out this year. That said, it was a no-show at Oculus Connect 5 last September. Oculus assured us that work on the game was progressing at the time. Still, with so many other projects in the works and Oculus revealing other exclusives like Asgard’s Wrath, we’re beginning to wonder if this project will really be out in 2019.

    Tagged with: Oculus Studios, Respawn Entertainment, Titanfall VR

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  • Xing: The Land Beyond Hits PSVR Next Week With Exclusive Level
    Xing The Land Beyond PSVR

    The long-awaited PSVR port of Xing: The Land Beyond is nearly here.

    Developer White Lotus Interactive announced today that the game will launch on Sony’s headset on February 12th. Xing is a first-person adventure game in which you explore a peaceful, idyllic island. The world around you is filled with puzzles to complete and story to unearth, though it’s also just a nice game to exist inside of.

    The game arrives on PS4 with optional PSVR support. It can be played with either DualShock 4 or two Move controllers. There’s also an exclusive level of Sony fans named Agnirok. It features new puzzles and story elements.

    For White Lotus, the PSVR version of Xing has been a long time coming. The game began development in 2012, raising $30,100 via a Kickstarter campaign in 2013. At the time, White Lotus speculated the game would be out later that year. The PC VR version of the game, however, didn’t arrive until last 2017. Nearly a year and a half on and we’re finally at the console release.

    It’s no secret that the studio is pinning a lot of hopes upon this release, too. Just over a year ago now the team revealed Xing had sold poorly on PC. The team has spent the past year pouring its efforts into the console version.

    “It is an understatement to say development on Xing has been an incredible journey for us, and knowing that our adventure is finally coming to a head fills us with emotion,” the team’s Koriel Kruer wrote in a PlayStation Blog post announcing the news. We’re not sure what’s next for the team following the game’s launch.

    Tagged with: adventure, PSVR, xing: the land beyond

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  • Dick Wilde 2 May Finally Signal The End Of VR’s Wave Shooter Era
    Dick Wilde 2 May Finally Signal The End Of VR’s Wave Shooter Era

    I’ll tell you a guilty secret; I kept playing Dick Wilde for quite a while after I gave it 6/10. Not because I thought I’d maybe misjudged it as a merely decent wave shooter, but because it was actually a pretty good workout. Its feverish difficulty could make it a chore to play for some but also an excellent way to burn calories.

    I’m not sure Dick Wilde 2 will have even that going for it, though.

    It’s not that this sequel is notably ‘bad’ in any one area, more that it insists on retreading ground covered a hundred times over as this exhausted genre finally runs out of steam. The past six or seven months have been good to VR; we’ve had Astro Bot, Firewall, A Fisherman’s Tale and many others. Returning to a wave shooter now is simply an ugly reminder that this used to be the extent of VR gaming. That’s not something that throwing multiplayer into can fix.

    Tellingly, myself and VR gaming wizard David Jagneaux didn’t have much to say about the game as we shot our way through four levels. We’ve seen this all before and often in better games; 10 minute missions in which you shoot everything in sight and not much else. Rarely did it amount to anything more than simple background noise to our conversations. We mindlessly raised our arms in the general direction of bad guys. Then we thoughtlessly held down triggers until everyone was dead. Just as soon as it happened, everything was forgotten. If that’s not a sign of another uninspiring addition to an overly-saturated genre, I’m not sure what is.

    Co-op is an appreciated effort, but I fear it just makes the game too easy. From what I could tell there wasn’t much different between playing the game in single or multiplayer, making the latter somewhat unbalanced. You can choose between easier and harder paths in this one, though it didn’t seem to make much difference in co-op. Without the “refreshing” challenge of the first, Dick Wilde 2 looses what little edge the series already had.

    Single player does fare a little better. Choosing the harder path by myself felt like I was playing the old Dick Wilde, complete with weaving out of the way of enemy projectiles. If you do die you go back to the very start of the level and it’s tough to muster the enthusiasm for another round.

    But, even at its most grueling, it’s hard to shake the feeling that Dick Wilde 2 is behind the times. It’s not loathsome, but it’s unremarkable to the point of irrelevance. It certainly didn’t help that the preview build’s arsenal was locked out lackluster pistols, shotguns and uzis. One of the first game’s better features was its makeshift arsenal of nail guns and razor-blade spouting death machines. Screenshots and trailers suggest that that kind of fun is hidden away for later levels, though.

    Not a great first impression, then. This seems to be a sequel that cruises downstream without much to say

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  • Preview: Dick Wilde 2 – Big and Bolder, but is it Better? The southern gunslinger is back, with more swamp-based gunplay.
  • PSVR’s Blood And Truth Rating Suggests Launch Is Nearing
    PSVR’s Blood And Truth Rating Suggests Launch Is Nearing

    It’s been months since we’ve seen anything new from PSVR-exclusive shooter, Blood And Truth. But a new listing for the game suggests launch may finally be within reach.

    The Australian Classification board yesterday awarded the game a MA 15+ rating. The listing says the game has strong violence and language as well as mild sexual references. This doesn’t necessarily mean that launch is imminent, but it’s a good sign that developer Sony London is entering the home stretch. Other games like Astro Bot Rescue Mission and Firewall Zero Hour have been announced and released in the same window that we’ve been waiting for this.

    That said, there aren’t any PEGI or ESRB listings for the game just yet. It may be that it’s still going through those rating processes.

    Blood And Truth was first announced all the way back in 2017. It’s Sony London’s follow-up to the London Heist minigame found in its PlayStation VR Worlds launch compilation. Playing as a former SAS agent, you take to the streets of the UK capital and engage in shootouts with gangsters.

    We’ve been hands-on with the game a few times now and we’re hoping for a polished final product. It uses dual Move controllers and node-based locomotion. It can feel a little dated, but there are some good ideas in there too.

    The game is one of two Sony-owned VR projects being developed in the UK right now. Last month we reported that the company’s new Manchester-based studio is also working on an ‘AAA’ PSVR title and is still hiring for the project.

    Tagged with: blood and truth, PSVR, shooter

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  • Military Simulation Specialist BISim Awarded £1m Contract by British Army for VR Training Programme The pilot will examine VR's potential for defence training.