• Oculus Home Beta Adds Custom Environment Support
    Oculus Home Beta Adds Custom Environment Support

    The latest update to the Oculus Home Public Test Channel adds custom environments support. Home is the Oculus Rift‘s default environment.

    This feature was first hinted at two weeks ago when the ‘_CustomHomes’ folder was added along with an example file.

    Oculus Home was once a static environment, but recieved a total overhaul in late 2017 adding customization.

    Support for user generated objects was added back in June. A subsequent update even added animation support. And later in the month the platform added realtime social, allowing up to 7 friends to visit your home and see those custom objects.

    But until now the actual home geometry was the same for all users. The background could be changed between hills, space, a bay, or a future city, but the home itself could not. Valve’s competing SteamVR Home software has supported custom environments since 2017.

    The changelog states that there are a range of ambient audio tracks, as well as the ability to customize interior & exterior lighting.

    The Problem

    Of course, the social platform is still severely limited by being exclusive to the Rift. Facebook still hasn’t added official support for different PC headsets on Oculus, despite its own Spaces social app supporting the HTC Vive. In fact, there’s not even any indication it will support the company’s own Oculus Quest.

    The company has occasionally hinted at support coming in future, but we’re almost 3 years out from the Rift launch now and there’s no sign. Until then, Oculus Home can’t be a true VRChat competitor, or anything close. But for users with Rift owning friends the platform has made huge strides in the past year.

    Tagged with: Oculus Home, oculus rift

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  • Comics Come To Magic Leap With New Series From Watchmen Artist
    Magic Leap One comic books dave gibbons

    Magic Leap One’s latest attempt to change traditional media takes aim at comic books. And it’s doing so with a little help from the artist behind Watchmen.

    Madefire, a digital comic service that specializes in bringing books to new tech, is now available on the AR headset. We actually reported that the platform would be coming to the headset all the way back in 2017.

    As you might imagine, the Madefire app projects virtual panels into the real world. But the platform goes a step further with what it calls ‘Motion Books’. These are 3D, moving panels that invite you to look at the action from different angles. It’s very different to reading a traditional book.

    Madefire’s library includes books from major labels such as DC and well as indie projects too. As part of the release, the company is launching a new book from Dave Gibbons, the artist behind Alan Moore’s seminal series, Watchmen. The series is called Treatment. You can see Gibbons talking about the project in the video below.

    Not only that, but the platform has a creative tool that allows you to publish books on Magic Leap without learning to code. Check it out if you fancy yourself to be the next big comic creator.

    Madefire is no strange to immersive tech, though. Its app is already available on Gear VR. Will it ever replace the traditional comic book? We’re not so sure while VR and AR are in their current states. But as the tech improves we could definitely see ourselves building a virtual comic book collection.

    Tagged with: comic books, Dave Gibbons, Magic Leap, Magic Leap One, Watchmen

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  • The Mage’s Tale PSVR Review: Still One Of VR’s Best RPGs Yet
    mage's tale floating wizard

    The Mage's Tale on PSVR is a great VR RPG that helps usher in a new era of innovation for first-person dungeon crawlers. Read our review!

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  • Bow to Blood: Last Captain Standing Update to Add Oculus Rift and HTC Vive Support in April The original PlayStation VR version will also be getting additional content.
  • Ace VR Ship Battler Bow To Blood Coming To Rift/Vive, New PSVR Content In Tow
    Ace VR Ship Battler Bow To Blood Coming To Rift/Vive, New PSVR Content In Tow

    Bow to Blood, one of last year’s most underrated PSVR gems, is pulling into the PC VR port soon.

    Developer Tribetoy today announced Bow to Blood: Last Captain Standing. It’s essentially a port of the original game coming to Switch, Xbox One and PC. HTC Vive and Oculus Rift support is being added to the latter. Check it out in the trailer below.

    In Bow to Blood, you enter a televised tournament. Commandeering a flying ship, you take part in different match types that have you completing objectives to earn points. The core gameplay is sharp but where the game really shines is its relationship system. Over the course of the tournament, you can choose to ally with other contestants to avoid being voted off.

    That means completing favors for friends and making fragile alliances. You’ll often find yourself having to stab people in the back before it happens to you. It’s a wonderfully unpredictable system that gives the game some life.

    But the news keeps getting better. The original PSVR version of the game will also be receiving a free update that includes new additions from Last Captain Standing. That means a new Hard difficulty, more enemy ships and improved visuals.

    “There’s a lot to learn about Bow to Blood and not all of it’s to love, but what does work elevates the game to soar with all the majesty of its battle-hardened ships,” we said in our review of the game. “This is a deliciously strategic bit of randomized arena battling that might not make the most compelling case for VR itself but stands as a thrill to play in its own right.”

    Look for Bow to Blood: Last Captain Standing to arrive sometime in April.

    Tagged with: Bow To Blood, Bow to Blood: Last Captain Standing

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  • The Ring In AR Makes The Horror A Little Too Real
    The Ring In AR Makes The Horror A Little Too Real

    Here’s one use of AR that’s utterly ingenious and yet we wish it never existed. Someone’s brought The Ring to life in terrifying form. Oh good.

    The Ring was an excellent 1998 Japanese horror film (which got a not-so-excellent English remake in 2002). The series is best known for its iconic, horrific image of a creepy girl crawling out of a TV. She then pursues and murders people that have been watching a video of her. It’s enough to make you switch off. Well, in AR, you can’t really do that.

    In the video above, the ghostly figure crawls out of the TV before pursuing the AR user across the halls of an office. While the initial stunt is chilling in itself, we’re most impressed by the AR rendition of the classic ‘turn around’ jump scare. Not even our real reality is safe anymore.

    It’s an old video but we thought it’d brighten up your Monday morning (sorry). It’s the work of AR developer extraordinaire Abhishek Singh. He’s a regular topic of discussion here at Upload, making a Super Mario level in HoloLens and bringing Road Runner cartoons to life. He seems to have all of the best ideas for AR apps. You can follow along with his work at this website.

    To think that Singh was doing this sort of work with year-old AR tech has us excited for what’s next. Rumor has it Microsoft will be revealing the second iteration of its HoloLens device at MWC later this month and we’re hoping for some big improvements.

    Tagged with: ar, HoloLens, The Ring

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  • More Savings Galore as Steam’s Lunar New Year Sale has Begun Check out the Reward Booth for additional goodies.
  • Classic Win32 Apps Now Run In Windows Mixed Reality
    Classic Win32 Apps Now Run In Windows Mixed Reality

    .A new Windows Insider build adds the ability to launch classic Win32 desktop applications in Windows Mixed Reality.

    Preview build 18329 adds “the ability to launch Desktop (Win32) applications (such as Spotify, Paint.NET, and Visual Studio Code) in Windows Mixed Reality, just like how you launch Store app.” Access the feature by bringing “up Pins Panel, then go to all apps, where you will find a folder named “Classic Apps (Beta)”. In this folder, you will be able to select and launch any Desktop (Win32) applications.”

    We are expecting a major announcement from Microsoft later this month at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The company released the standalone HoloLens AR headset in 2016 and is due to release a follow-up. In 2017, Microsoft equipped partners with its tracking technology to power a series of VR headsets. The company’s future plans in VR are unclear.

    Microsoft supports Universal Windows Platform apps for virtual worlds to visit downloaded from the company’s storefront. The company also encourages developers to ship on Steam if they have a virtual world that’s built as a classic Win32 app. Traditional flat-screen UWP apps can also be pinned to surfaces in Microsoft’s home space. Until now, though, classic windows apps haven’t gotten the same treatment.

    The feature is in development, according to Microsoft, and they are working to address bugs. So be sure to report the bug if you encounter a problem. We haven’t tried the latest Windows Insider builds yet to to test out the functionality but we’ll update this post when we do.

    Tagged with: microsoft, Universal Windows Platform, windows mixed reality

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  • British Army Spends £1 Million To Trial VR Soldier Training
    British Army Spends £1 Million To Trial VR Soldier Training

    The British Army awarded Bohemia Interactive Simulations (BiSim) a £1 million contract to develop VR training software. The scheme is called ‘Virtual Reality in Land Training’ (VRLT).

    The army claims VRLT “will allow soldiers to train in a wide-range of complex and hostile simulated scenarios that are not easy to recreate on a training ground”.

    The software is based on BiSim’s Virtual Battlespace 3 (VBS3). VBS1 was created back in 2001 by Bohemia Interactive as a fork of the game Operation Flashpoint. Bohemia Interactive went on to develop the ArmA series and spun BiSim off into a separate company. VBS is now used by over 30 militaries around the world.

    The British Army has been using VBS3 for over 2 years now. But it hopes change from a desktop interface to VR will “improve environmental immersion”.

    VBS3 has had basic VR support since October 2016, but this contract should allow that support to be expanded. An important new feature will be a realistic custom avatar system. This will let soldiers recognize each other’s faces.

    “Mixed reality” will also be tested to allow soldiers to “see and interact with physical objects”. No further details of this feature were provided, but we’re curious what hardware this will involve.

    VRLT is only a trial for now. Soldiers will give feedback and the army will decide whether to make this a part of future training. But VR offers immersion and physicality that a monitor can’t compete with. VR training software has been high successful across multiple industries already, and it seems likely VRLT will be successful too.

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  • Community Download: What Do You Want From The Vive Cosmos?
    Community Download: What Do You Want From The Vive Cosmos?

    One of the biggest announcements out of CES 2019 was the Vive Cosmos. What are you most curious about for this upcoming headset from HTC?

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  • VR Game Releases For February 2019
    VR Game Releases For February 2019

    Get ready for another new month in the world of VR! We've got some really exciting new VR game releases to look forward to this month.

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  • Experiencing Detroit Through The Eyes Of Eminem

    VR film “Marshall From Detroit” gives Sundance attendees a closer look at the city responsible for one of hip hop’s greatest acts. For over the past twenty-three years, Marshall Mathers (a.k.a Eminem) has changed hip-hop in an explosive way. Growing up, Marshall dreamed of rapping his way out of Detroit, MI, but, years and fortunes

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  • Get Voting for the 2019 Game Developers Choice Awards Audience Award Only five VR titles have made the cut.
  • This AR Motorcycle Helmet Is As Sleek As It Is Advanced

    The Jarvish AR motorcycle helmet combines form and function into one cutting-edge package. It’s really a stroke of genius when you stop and think about it. On the one hand, there’s the growing appetite for augmented reality functionality among consumers; having real-time, hands-free digital information and applications overlaid onto our surroundings is, after all, the

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  • Holopoint Chronicle Review: A Fitting Follow-Up To A VR Fitness Gem
    Holopoint Chronicle

    Sequels don’t come much more by-the-numbers than Holopoint Chronicle. But then, for a game so matter-of-fact as ‘shoot arrows, get fit’, you don’t really need much else, do you? The original Holopoint helped people lose weight and the sequel looks like it will do the same.

    This is evolution over revolution, with incremental improvements and additions leading to an overall better, more robust experience. The core of the game is the same; holographic projections appear around you and you have to shoot them with a bow and arrow as quickly as possible. When hit, targets fire a projectile back at you and you need to lean out of the way.

    It’s a rhythm that keeps you alert, engaged and, most importantly, active. Holopoint is all about keeping on your toes and spinning in circles at all times in search of targets. Enemies will disappear if you don’t shoot them in time so you won’t have much opportunity for a breather. Were it less intense of an exercise it would surely lose its edge.

    For context, I’m a regular runner. After my first 20 minute session with Holopoint Chronicle my heart was beating hastily and I was working up a sweat. The next day the muscles around my waist. Clearly it was the first time I’d used them in a while. This was all from some of the game’s earliest missions, where things are introduced at a pretty sturdy pace. If you’re looking for a VR game to keep you fit, this is definitely one to bear in mind, with one caveat.

    Intensity comes at the cost of comfort. I’d love to be able to spend an hour or more working out in Holopoint but the constant spinning left me feeling dizzy and nauseous pretty quickly. Again, I’m not someone that suffers from VR sim sickness often, so make of that what you will.

    But some of Chronicle’s additions do take some of that strain away. New projector objects give you hints as to the next target’s location, for example. That eases the frustration of suddenly being shot in the back and keeps you from being overwhelmed for just a little longer. You can now also notch up arrows without having to reach into your quill, a somewhat bothersome step in the first game.

    But there’s still room for improvement. For starters, there’s still absolutely no introduction to what Holopoint is, how it works and how you progress. You sort of just have to stumble your way through it. I had no idea how to unlock later levels in the campaign, which discouraged me from actually doing so. Holopoint is a game that gets by on the strength of its core mechanics, but with a little spit n’ shine it could really inspire VR gamers to take their fitness to the next level.

    Final Score: 7/10 – Good

    Holopoint Chronicle is a fitting follow-up to a VR fitness gem with some welcome additions. This remains one of VR’s most engaging active games even if it requires a strong stomach (in more ways

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