• AltspaceVR Update Brings Custom Avatars, New Worlds & The Return Of Reggie Watts

    The creative team from AltspaceVR announced new updates during their Town Hall that lets users be themselves in VR. AltSpaceVR released their biggest update of the year that delivers new options to bring your own personality and flair into the virtual space with customizable avatars that allow you to add hats, facial hair, glasses, hairstyle,

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  • VRgineers Brings Sharper, Wider Lenses To $5,500 VR Headset XTAL
    VRgineers Brings Sharper, Wider Lenses To $5,500 VR Headset XTAL

    Most of the virtual reality headsets available today have been constrained as much by pricing considerations as the current state of component technologies, but VRgineers’ professional-grade XTAL isn’t quite so limited — for $5,500, enterprise customers get access to some of the highest-end parts around. VRgineers is upgrading XTAL with new lenses that promise to dramatically improve the VR experience for both existing and new customers.

    As was the case before, the company describes the new lenses as aspherical and non-Fresnel, but they’ve been improved to bolster visual quality across four different visual measures.

    180-degree diagonal field of view (FOV). The new lenses increase a user’s FOV by 10 degrees, noticeably widening the perceived width and height of VR imagery for a more immersive experience.
    A larger in-focus area. VRgineers promises a 50 percent larger “super-focused” area compared with the earlier lenses, enabling eyes to see more detail rather than blur.
    Reduced distortion. Because of their need to gather and transmit light within small, tight spaces, VR lenses tend to exhibit obvious distortions such as blurring and god rays. XTAL’s new lenses cut the distortion for cleaner results.
    A bigger eye box. XTAL already has a system called AutoEye that automatically adjusts lens positions to match each individual user’s interpupillary distance. The new lenses increase their eye box size by 20 percent, increasing the likelihood of a clear image without adjustment.

    VRgineers says that the new lenses were custom-made in partnership with Israeli consortium VR Optics, which focuses on making components for VR and AR headsets. The technology is currently exclusive to XTAL headsets.

    “XTAL’s new non-fresnel lenses will deliver a wider field of view and binocular overlap, a bigger sweet spot, and much less distortion compared to the existing model,” said VRgineers CEO Marek Polcak. “This is critically important to our customers. When prototyping a new automobile design, for instance, they’ll be able to see more of the vehicle at once, and come closer than ever to a true-to-life image.”

    The updated version of XTAL will continue to use a pair of 2.5K OLED displays, delivering a total of 5,120 by 1,440 resolution, along with 180-degree Leap Motion 2.0 hand tracking and integrated eye tracking. Current XTAL customers on a professional support package can get the upgraded lenses free of charge from VRgineers, while new customers will receive the lenses in XTAL units ordered starting today. VRgineers says that it will publicly demonstrate the upgraded headset at CES 2019 next month in Las Vegas.

    This post by Jeremy Horwitz originally appeared on VentureBeat.

    Tagged with: XTAL

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  • The VR Job Hub: There are Positions at Admix, VR Education and Gearbox Software More immersive jobs from around the world.
  • Something for the Weekend: All Aboard for Steam Discounts It's cold and gloomy, so stay inside and grab a Steam deal.
  • Viewr Gives Friends A Window Into What You Are Doing In VR
    Viewr Gives Friends A Window Into What You Are Doing In VR

    Virtual reality experiences can be amazing, but they’re often isolated. So Viewr is a new tool that lets your friends see what you are doing in VR.

    The team at #include in Brisbane, Australia, created Viewr (which the company spells ViewR) for VR developers to integrate this capability into their games, making the VR experiences more social and shareable.

    Usually, there’s no way for a bystander to see what you see while wearing a VR headset. Now Viewr is creating a window into that VR world so a friend can observe what is happening.

    Above: Here’s how spectators normally see you as you play a VR game.

    Image Credit: Viewr

    Viewr creates a position-tracked streaming spectator experience, and it is available as a Unity software development kit (SDK) with a simple applications programming interface (API) that developers can include for free in their VR games.

    In addition, gamers can run an installer to add Viewr to an existing game. #Include has modded Viewr into Superhot VR, Beatsaber and Budget Cuts — three of the most popular VR games.

    “Virtual reality is a really exciting and fun experience, but it is extremely difficult to share what is happening inside the VR headset in a meaningful way,” said Chang-Yi Yao, CEO of #include, in a statement. “Seeing what the player is seeing through a computer screen or TV does not give you the spatial information required for the full picture that an observer needs to fully appreciate VR. With Viewr, VR games can now be something that more than what one person can experience easily — all without the additional expensive, complicated set-up. You just connect to your computer through the app and use your phone as a camera to see what your friend is doing in VR.”

    Above: What spectators see via Viewr when you are playing a VR game.

    Image Credit: #include

    Viewr allows you to see the VR world from a spectator’s perspective using a phone or other mobile device. It is not a headset view, but rather a separate one completely, like a camera or a portal that a spectator can hold up to watch what is going on in the VR space.

    This allows your non-game playing companion to get a sense of size, scale, and position of things in the virtual world and comprehend where it is, making for a powerful shared experience.

    “We want Viewr to be everyone’s pocket portal into virtual reality; the instant interface between you and the virtual world,” said Yao. “As we grow, we see Viewr being an excellent way to incorporate VR into business use cases since your phone does not host the virtual world, the computer does, and it works beautifully even if the device is fairly limited. The potential for this new technology is incredibly exciting.”

    How Viewr works

    Above: You can see what a VR user sees with ViewR.

    Image Credit: ViewR

    Viewr has two parts which talk to each other: a mobile Viewer; and a PC host that runs in the VR game. The host PC streams a view of the virtual world based on the position of the mobile device, and the mobile app displays

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  • Check Out Your Travel Destination In VR Before You Book

    Rizort Inc. adds several new locations to its collaborative vacation planning VR app. According to a recent Forbes survey, 77% of people who use VR want more social engagement, and I’ve long believed social is they key to getting the tech to a mass-market stage, but that needs to be done in the context of things that

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  • How To Fix “Can’t Reach Oculus Runtime Service” Rift Error
    How To Fix “Can’t Reach Oculus Runtime Service” Rift Error

    Are you getting a ‘Can’t Reach Oculus Runtime Service’ error when trying to use your Oculus Rift?

    This error can happen either when Facebook pushes out a broken update, or when your Rift software becomes corrupt.

    Luckily, it’s usually fairly easy to fix:

    Go to

    Click ‘Download Oculus Rift Software’ then run the downloaded file

    Click Repair

    If all goes well, the Oculus software and your Rift should start fully working again. Don’t worry, your Rift games and save data should be unaffected.

    If this still doesn’t work, it means that antivirus software on your PC is blocking the Rift drivers. Try adding the entire Oculus software folder as an exclusion in your antivirus, or uninstall your antivirus and use the built in Windows Defender if you have Windows 10.

    We also recommend you take this opportunity to update your video card drivers, as this is often the cause of other PC VR issues that you could encounter in future:

    Update NVIDIA GeForce GPU Drivers

    Update AMD GPU Drivers

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  • Electronic Duo Knower Release new Track ‘One Hope’ Exclusively on Beat Saber Could there be more Christmas gifts on the way from Beat Games.
  • VR Furballs Adds a Christmas Party Mode The update has now gone live.
  • IMAX Officially Closes its Pilot VR Programme Its last three locations will close next year.
  • The Biggest VR Releases Of The Week Of 12/09/18
    The Biggest VR Releases Of The Week Of 12/09/18

    Two weeks into December and things still aren’t quieting down on the VR releases front. In fact, we might be so bold as to say this is one of the strongest line-ups we’ve had for this list in some time. Dig deep; it’s gonna be an expensive week.

    Miss last week’s releases? They’re right here. What else is to come? You can find out right here in our December games list.

    Borderlands 2 VR, from Gearbox
    Price: (PSVR)

    Gearbox’s massive RPG shooter gets the full VR treatment with a comprehensive if somewhat lackluster port. The entire original game is here to play with Move or DualShock 4, giving you hours of content to gun your way through. Sadly, though, four-player co-op has been dropped, and there’s no support for PSVR’s excellent Aim controller.

    Slightly Heroes, from Hatrabbit Entertainment
    Price: $9.99 (Rift, Vive, Windows, Go)

    This is a cheerful multiplayer hero shooter in which you pick a character, each with their own skillset, and duke it out in colorful environments. We’re also very intrigued by the Oculus Go support.

    Shattered State, from Supermassive Games
    Price: (Daydream)

    The developers of Until Dawn debut their first VR project not made in collaboration with Sony. Shattered State is a very interesting experimental VR experience in which you take on the role of an intelligence agency in a country threatened with civil war. You call the shots and have to live with the outcomes, but you can also go back and replay the experience to your heart’s content. Definitely worth a look for Daydream owners.

    Prey: Typhon Hunter, from Arkane Studios
    Price: $39.99 (Vive, PSVR)

    The original Prey gets a DLC update with a brand new VR mode. Sadly, it’s not the full game, but it is a rather intriguing single-player escape room set within its world. Solve puzzles in an adventure set days before the events of the main game.

    Blade and Sorcery, from WarpFrog
    Price: $19.99 (Rift, Vive, Windows)

    The Early Access build of what’s quickly become one of the VR community’s most requested games is finally here. Blade and Sorcery has you building your own character then heading into arena-based battles to slice and stab your way through a heap of enemies. Realistic physics and brilliant magical attacks mean this is definitely one to check out, though you might want to put on a raincoat for the bloodshed.

    Theta Legion, from Avant Games
    Price: Free (Go)

    Now this is interesting. Theta Legion seems to be a full FPS for Go with smooth locomotion and motion-controlled aiming. It’s clearly styled after classic games like Doom, which tend to work quite well in VR. There’s only four missions so don’t expect much content but it’s definitely intriguing to see a developer player with the genre on this platform.

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  • Frank Zappa Hologram Tour Set To Launch 2019

    “The Bizarre World Of Frank Zappa” tour will feature never-before-seen performances by Zappa. It’s no secret that legendary musician Frank Zappa was one of the most talented performers to ever grace the stage. Alongside his music, Zappa also gained notoriety for his work as a composer, activist, and filmmaker. However, what many people don’t know

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  • Free Capture App Lets You Scan 3D Objects With A Recent iPhone
    Free Capture App Lets You Scan 3D Objects With A Recent iPhone

    The face camera on an iPhone X or newer can be used to make 3D scans.

    A new app for iPhone makes it easy to produce 3D scans from any recent Apple device equipped with a front-facing camera for Animoji. This means the Capture app from Standard Cyborg can scan objects using an iPhone X, Xs, Xr, or Xs Max. The feature is implemented reasonably well, though it is also clear why Apple has yet to include this feature as part of the camera app itself.

    Apple used its purchases of Primesense and Faceshift over the last several years to put depth-sensing into every new iPhone’s front-facing camera. This system is tuned for facial recognition — to log into your phone automatically with your face — but it also allows people to overlay “animoji” on top of themselves as they talk.

    We’ve also talked to developers who are using Apple’s camera system for performance capture along with a full-body suit.

    Now, we’ve downloaded the free Capture app that works to make 3D scans using this same camera. Since it is the front-facing camera being used, you have to hold the iPhone’s screen facing whatever you want to capture — almost as if it is a very low power tricorder from Star Trek.

    The scans produced are in the USDZ format Apple embraced on iOS devices, and can be shared with other iPhone users via messaging in this format. At the time of this writing it only captures a monochrome 3D object that can be sent along to someone else. If you sign up for an account with Standard Cyborg, the company behind the app, it allows you to output the scans as an OBJ.

    Here’s quick scan of my family’s Elf on The Shelf sitting on top of an Oculus Sensor this morning and uploaded it to Sketchfab. We have bad lighting in our house and I’m not sure how much that affects the quality of the scan, but you can check it out below:

    Elf On The Shelf
    by hmltn
    on Sketchfab

    Tagged with: Capture app, iphone, Standard Cyborg

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  • Review: Shadow Uprising Entertaining if a little wooden.
  • AMD GPUs Can Stream SteamVR Games To Vive Focus, Mirage Solo and Oculus Go
    AMD GPUs Can Stream SteamVR Games To Vive Focus, Mirage Solo and Oculus Go

    AMD’s new software Radeon ReLive for VR will allow owners of their GPUs to stream SteamVR games to a standalone or mobile VR headset.

    The software currently supports the HTC Vive Focus, but it specifically calls out Daydream devices so it should work for Daydream phones and the Lenovo Mirage Solo as well. Support for the Oculus Go and Samsung Gear VR will be rolling out “soon”.

    Open source software ALVR provides similar functionality, but it only works with NVIDIA GPUs. AMD’s solution brings this functionality to the RX 470, RX 480, RX 570, RX 580, RX 590, and Vega GPUs. Earlier/weaker GPUs will not work. You’ll also need Windows 10, as earlier versions aren’t supported either.

    To set up the software, download the Radeon ReLive For VR app from Google Play or Viveport M. Then enable VR streaming in Radeon Settings on your PC and launch a SteamVR app. AMD’s direct control over the GPU driver allows them to make this a much easier process than alternatives like Trinus.

    AMD claims they made driver-level optimizations to provide lower latency than any alternatives. The company recommends using a router which supports the 802.11ac (‘WiFi 5’) standard, which should include almost any released in the past 4 years. It’s also recommended that you use the 5 GHz channel rather than 2.4 GHz.

    However, it’s important to note that Radeon ReLive isn’t a full PC VR alternative, and nor are any of the other streaming solutions. Current mobile and standalone VR headsets have rotation-only 3DoF controllers. The Daydream controller even lacks a trigger. Most of SteamVR’s content really needs positionally tracked input to be playable. Thus, this software really only works well as a solution for playing gamepad games or non-interactive experiences. But for those kind of apps, this will offer standalone headset owners a glimpse into what’s possible in VR with the power of a PC.

    Tagged with: amd, Lenovo Mirage Solo, Oculus Go, streaming, Vive Focus

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