- Japanese PlayStation Awards 2018 Voting Now Open Voting in the PlayStation User'sChoice Awards offers chance to win a PlayStation 4 Pro and PlayStation VR bundle.
- Score A Strike With Premium Bowling On Early Access Premium Bowling aims to bring realistic bowling physics to VR Early Access title.
- Scottish Legends Come To Life In The Highland AR Legends City Experience
Use AR to uncover the story behind the Loch Ness Monster, Inverness Castle, and other legends as you explore the coastal city of Inverness. While every country develops their fair share of fables and legends, it seems although Scotland has always remained near the top of the list in terms of unsolved mysteries, hard-to-believe tales,
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- Twilight Path Review: Magical Mystery Without The Wonder
Twilight Path had a lot of potential. When I first covered the game in a hands-on preview last month, I noted Charm Games’ past success with Form and how it seemed that the core principles that made that VR puzzle adventure so memorable would be carried over into this spiritual follow-up, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. Twilight Path feels like a more ambitious project, but in the end it’s shallow and uninspired.
In Twilight Path you journey across a spirit realm solving puzzles and interacting with the magical world in an attempt to rescue and help spirits travel across the aptly named Twilight Path. Maybe this tells you a bit about my childhood growing up, but it reminded me a lot of Snake Way from Dragon Ball Z. The Path is falling apart here and it’s up to you to restore it and save the Spirit Realm.
While the narrative attempts to be more pointed and clear than it was in Form, it ends up falling a bit flat. The suggestive and otherworldly feeling that Form exuded was one of its defining characteristics, but Twilight Path seems too concerned with explaining things, only it never fully coalesces into a strong story.
All that aside though, make no mistake about it: Twilight Path is a gorgeous game. If the sheer visual spectacle of VR is all that you really look for in a game, then you won’t be disappointed here. The sense of scale is really excellent and I often found myself just standing still in place craning my neck to look around. But that window dressing doesn’t hide an otherwise uneventful journey through an esoteric world.
There are no locomotion mechanics in Twilight Path at all. You’ll stand in your actual play space, move around to reach out and grab things, and then automatically be transported to other areas and puzzles. There is but one section where you ride a device across a bridge. Normally this isn’t a big deal, but sometimes I ran into an issue where my play area wasn’t established in the correct spot physically, causing it to spawn inside of my real life desk without a way to move it.
Puzzles are similar to Form, but as stated, they feel less awe-inspiring. You’ll reach out and tweak objects or even use your spiritual powers to influence far-off creatures and leverage a nifty portal power that lets you peer through into another dimension. It works a bit like the Lens of Truth from The Legend of Zelda games (shown above.)
Form was so excellent because its puzzles were interesting and satisfying enough to stand on their own. In Twilight Path on the other hand, it feels more like they added spirit-babble story to try and pad the game with exposition since the actual gameplay wasn’t interesting enough on its own. I frankly just didn’t care about any of the characters. I can’t know for sure, but it feels overall rushed.
One of the hallmarks of a good puzzle game is when
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- Dystopian FPS Experiment Gone Rogue to Begin Third Round of Beta Testing Interested VR users can sign up through the studios Discord channel.
- Ready At Dawn Discuss Echo Combat and Lone Echo II Ready at Dawn CEO Ru Weerasuriya discusses new modes in Echo Combat and the reveal of Lone Echo II.
- ‘First Man’ WebAR Experience Takes You To The Moon and Back
The upcoming Ryan Gosling film receives a WebAR experience that uses the actual Moon to function. Universal Pictures First Man tells the story of the legendary Apollo 11 mission in which astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made history as the first human beings to set foot on the Moon. For NASA and their brilliant team of engineers,
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- The Elder Scrolls: Blades Could Be Oculus Quest’s Biggest Hit Or Greatest Missed Opportunity
I think Ian said it best in his pre-Oculus Connect 5 predictions piece last week: a low-cost standalone VR headset that could run both Beat Saber and Superhot could dominate the VR market in the years to come. Well, we know Oculus Quest has Superhot, we know it’s a reasonable $399 and there are plenty of hints that Beat Saber is on the way. But what about a game that could go even further than that? Something with wider appeal that could really convince naysayers that this was a worthwhile gaming console? At first, I thought it could be Star Wars: Vader Immortal.
Then it hit me; it might actually be The Elder Scrolls: Blades.
Despite its stunning visuals and breadth of content, Bethesda’s big new mobile game wasn’t met with an explosion of hype when it was revealed at E3 last June, largely due to the resistance to mobile gaming from those that prefer to play on consoles. Our ears pricked up, though, when we heard that the game was also coming to VR headsets. Specific devices weren’t confirmed, but Bethesda’s Todd Howard did show an image of an HTC Vive, promising cross-platform multiplayer, and explaining that he wants to release it on as many platforms as possible.
Now, again, Blades on PC VR sounds great though we’re not sure it’ll live up to the excellent port of Skyrim that just about anyone with a headset has already bought and it still comes with all the complications that have stalled the market from growing at this early stage. That said, the idea of exploring an all-new Elder Scrolls adventure on Quest with six degrees of freedom (6DOF) inside-out tracking providing realistic sword and shield combat as well as truly satisfying spell-casting is an exciting one. The chance to face off with your friends running the game on mobile nearby only sweetens the deal. We went hands-on with the mobile version at E3 to take a look at how the core game plays.
This is a series that’s so feverishly popular that Bethesda announced the sixth mainline installment before its even properly shown the game that’s coming before it. All signs point to Skyrim VR having sold well, and Elder Scrolls is the ultimate fantasy adventure, so Quest may represent the easiest way to virtually visit the sprawling universe yet. It’s got to be a no-brainer, right?
Except there’s one problem.
Earlier today, we asked Bethesda if there are any plans for the game on Quest. As expected, the company declined to comment past reconfirming the previously-announced mobile versions launching this fall. Perhaps Bethesda is playing its cards close to its chest, but it’s also a very real possibility that we never see Blades on Quest due to a larger struggle between Oculus and Bethesda’s parent company, ZeniMax Media.
As you may or may not know, Oculus and ZeniMax are currently enthralled in a lengthy legal battle. The latter accused Oculus of stealing technology when John Carmack, formerly of the Bethesda-owned id Software, moved over to the
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- Cybershoes Completes Funding Goal in 2 Hours And there's still 29 days to go.
- Review: In Death Repetitive, unforgiving, yet difficult to stop playing.
- Fantasy Adventure The Witching Tower VR Delayed It has been delayed by three weeks.
- Mixing Realities, True Haptics And Photorealistic Humans: 5 Big Takeaways From Michael Abrash’s OC5 Keynote
As always, one of the highlights of this year’s Oculus Connect developer conference was the staggeringly detailed keynote talk from Michael Abrash, Chief Scientist at the newly-renamed Facebook Reality Labs. Abrash’s team is paving the future of VR and AR for Oculus, developing breakthrough technologies that could someday make headsets even more immersive than they are right now. For this year’s talk, he provided an update on just how far the team has come in the past two years.
Specifically, Abrash revisited predictions he made for VR in 2021 back at Oculus Connect 3 in 2016. His talk then included a look at the future of aspects like display, audio and haptics alongside estimations of when we’d get our hands on improved versions of each. Last week, he went over each of those estimations and assessed how they were holding up. It was a lot to process, so we’ve run down five main takeaways from his insightful talk.
Displays, Foveated Rendering And Virtual Humans Are Developing Quicker Than Expected
Abrash summed up his talk by suggesting that his predictions were pretty much “on track”, though some areas have made much more progress than others. Reassuringly, he stuck by most of them.
For example, one of the most intriguing segments of Abrash’s OC3 predictions concerned displays. He estimated that, five years from 2016, we would see a VR headset with a 140-degree field of view (FOV), variable depth of focus, and a 4k x 4k panel resolution with 30 pixels per degree density. Well, things are looking good in this area.
At F8 earlier this year, Facebook introduced its Half Dome headset prototype. Though still very much a work-in-progress, the kit featured varifocal displays and a 140-degree FOV. “Half Dome achieved two of my three display predictions three years early,” Abrash admitted, further adding that implementing 4K displays with 30 pixels per degree would be “straightforward”.
Going into more detail, he explained that Reality Labs had made “significant progress” in varifocal displays (which provide accurate blur based on the proximity of virutal objects to your eyes) using an AI-driven renderer called Deep Focus.
Work in foveated rendering, which uses eye-tracking to fully render only the area of the display the user is looking at and thus save on computational power, is also on track thanks to the help of a deep learning tool that fills in missing pixels.
Virtually real humans have also come some way using an early system known as codec avatars, a “novel machine-based learning approach” that could one day “revolutionize how we communicate and collaborate.”
There are other technologies pushing past Half Dome, too. Abrash spoke of Pancake Lenses, which will allow much sharper images at resolutions that go beyond 4K, and could even support a FOV of around 200 degrees and more compact headsets (though he did note the latter two couldn’t be achieved in the same device). Even these are likely to be surpassed by waveguide displays currently in development for AR devices, however (more on that in a bit).
But Eye-Tracking, Realistic Audio And
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- Global Launch of AR Running Title Run An Empire Announced Seize control of territory in AR by running around the neighborhood.
- Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner M∀RS Eligible For PlayStation Player’s Choice Award PlayStation Blog opens Players' Choice poll for September 2018.
- The Business of VR – A guide for startups and investors SeedingVR's Jason Ballor goes in to why you should invest in VR - and how crowdfunding can benefit projects.