• Creating VR Content With Zero Coding Skills

    Four platforms to build original VR projects without any programming experience. Those unfamiliar with immersive technology have often perceived VR as some form of modern black magic that only highly-trained developers can properly harness. But today you no longer need to be a Unity professional or 3D designer to get into this sacred industry. There

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  • Facebook Shows Off High Quality Markerless Body Tracking From ‘A Single Sensor’
    f8 2019 muscular body tracking

    At Day 2 of F8 2019 today Facebook showed off a demo of body tracking with no markers or worn trackers. The tracking is able to track down to the muscle activation level, not just skeletal, giving a more detailed output:

    This is just a research project, not a product, but the results look impressive. It’s described as being done with a single external sensor, not an array.

    Body tracking is currently available for the HTC Vive by using Vive trackers, but as each tracker is $99 and you need many for high quality result this isn’t close to affordable. Additionally, each tracker has to be kept charged and then worn whenever users want to use body tracking in VR.

    A markerless approach from an affordable sensor could bring body tracking to mainstream VR one day. This would enable entirely new types of gameplay and greatly enhance social VR.

    Facebook intends for this technology to be used alongside the photorealistic avatars it showed off in March. An avatar that looks like you and moves like you would feel, to a friend in VR with you, like you.

    The company also showed off a larger scale body tracking demo where two players interacted with a virtual ball on a virtual pitch. This demo was key because it showed the latency was low enough for this kind of sport. They didn’t however say what amount of hardware was being used to achieve this. OptiTrack markers can be seen attached to the headset, so this was likely a multi-camera setup:

    Facebook is the company behind the Oculus brand of VR headsets, so these technologies will likely eventually end up in Oculus products. The company did stress however that a consumer launch of this technology was “years away”. If Michael Abrash’s timeline given at Oculus Connect 5 holds up, it may be planned for around the year 2022.

    Tagged with: facebook, full-body tracking, oculus

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  • Oculus Quest Enterprise Edition Brings Standalone VR To Businesses

    Enterprise-grade bundle available for $999 plus a $180 annual fee. Yesterday, Facebook unveiled a slew of new details surrounding the next generation of its VR hardware line-up. We learned that both the Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S will be shipping to customers May 21st and that Viveport Infinity would be offering owners of either

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  • Oculus Rift S Comes Bundled With VR Art Apps Quill And Medium
    Oculus Rift S Comes Bundled With VR Art Apps Quill And Medium

    Today Oculus confirmed that both Quill and Medium will be bundled with the Oculus Rift S PC VR headset when it releases on May 21.

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  • Valve Index Pre-orders now Live; Shipping begins 28th June There are a range of pricing options depending on what you need.
  • Valve Index Pre-Orders Now Available: $499 Headset, $999 Bundle
    Valve Index Full Kit Controllers HMD Base Stations Controllers Knuckles

    Starting today you can now pre-order the Valve Index VR headset in a variety of bundle configurations starting at $499 for just the headset, up to $999.

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  • Valve Confirms a ‘Flagship VR Title’ is Coming in 2019; Will Support Any SteamVR Headset Don't expect any more details just yet.
  • Oculus Quest Enterprise Edition Is $999, Needs $180/Year Subscription After First Year
    quest enterprise edition

    At F8 2019 this week Facebook announced an enterprise edition of the Oculus Quest 6DoF standalone headset. It’s priced at $999 and has 128GB of storage, like the $499 consumer model. It will launch this fall.

    The first year of software services is free, but after that companies must pay $180 per year for access.

    The edition will include mass device management from a web interface. Administrators will be able to deploy device profiles en-masse, install or update apps remotely, or even wipe devices.

    It also includes two years of enterprise-grade priority support via phone, live chat or email. Priority shipping is also offered for required hardware replacements.

    Enterprise editions will also have “exclusive features”, which possibly refers to features like controller-free kiosk mode.

    An Oculus Go enterprise edition is also on the way, with similar software services for a price of $599. While Facebook will sell Rift S in volume to enterprise, it doesn’t have the same software and services offering. The company seems to be betting that the enterprise market wants standalone VR, not PC based.

    The new enterprise offerings replace the old business offerings. Under the old offerings, Oculus Go 64GB was available for $299, but the only differences to the consumer model was the support, licence and included accessories.

    Facebook already has companies like DHL, Johnson&Johnson, Farmers Insurance and ExxonMobile on board. It looks like the company is directly taking on the $799 Vive Focus Plus in the enterprise space. It’s as yet unclear which offering the enterprise market will end up preferring.

    Tagged with: enterprise, Oculus Quest

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  • 2 Months of Viveport Infinity is Being Gifted to Oculus Rift and Valve Index Customers Oculus Rift owners can enter a sweepstake now.
  • Boneworks Gameplay ‘The Same’ With Oculus Touch Controllers As Valve Index Controllers
    Boneworks VR

    Boneworks is a great demonstration of the Valve Index Controllers, but it also has full support for the Oculus Touch controllers used on Rift and Rift S.

    On Twitter today Stress Level Zero developer Brandon Laatsch showed off a first person view of Boneworks with Touch:

    Boneworks is a detailed sandbox physics shooter developed by Stress Level Zero. SLZ previously developed multiplayer vehicular shooter Hover Junkers .

    Boneworks takes VR object interaction and physics to the next level- every object is simulated with their physics engine. We went hands on with Boneworks at GDC and wrote that it feels like the first next generation VR game.

    While the Index Controllers track each finger individually and allow the user to let go, the Touch controllers use a secondary analog trigger to track the middle finger and grip. To grab an object, users hold in that trigger. For Boneworks this seems to allow for the same interactions as Index controllers. Laatsch claims “gameplay is the same regardless of hardware.”

    Last month in response to fan queries on reddit, Laatsch detailed the extent of the game’s support for the Touch controllers compared to the Valve Index Controllers:

    I develop Boneworks every day using the Touch controllers since the majority of users will be using Touch or controllers with similar analog grip input. Others at our studio use Knuckles and other controllers.

    Boneworks will have feature parity regardless of controller choice. Obviously, finger tracking is visually nice and a controller that you can release when throwing is immersive, but it doesn’t effect the gameplay.

    While it seems that the Index will offer the best possible Boneworks experience, Laatsch’s comments seem to indicate that if you can’t stomach the price, the $399 Rift S should work well too- assuming the inside-out tracking holds up.

    Tagged with: Boneworks, oculus rift, oculus rift s, oculus touch

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  • Oculus Quest – The Review: Everything You Need to Know Is this the headset everyone's been waiting for?
  • Viveport Infinity Adds Support For Index And Rift S, Offers Freebies
    viveport infinity

    With all the big news from Facebook and Valve yesterday, HTC doesn’t want to go unnoticed. To that end, it’s offering freebies for people that pick up the new Oculus Rift S and Valve Index headsets.

    Over the course of June, anyone that signs into HTC’s Viveport platform with either of these two headsets (or the original Rift), will get two free months of Viveport Infinity. Infinity is HTC’s VR subscription service that offers unlimited access to over 600 different VR games and experiences. Unlike the old version of the Viveport Subscription, there’s no limit to how many titles you can download per month.

    Infinity is a good place to sample some of VR’s lesser-known gems. While it might not feature hits like Beat Saber and Superhot VR, it has got great games like Transpose and Windlands 2 as well as more diverse apps like Tilt Brush. There’s also some decent member’s benefits. This week, for example, members can claim a free copy of Rockstar’s L.A. Noire: The VR Case Files.

    If you decide to continue on with Viveport Infinity after your free trial it’ll cost you $12.99 a month. You can get it for a little less with an annual subscription too.

    It’s a nice promotion, although yesterday’s news has us asking where exactly HTC’s Vive Cosmos has got to. We haven’t heard much at all about the PC VR device since its launch in January and, if people are buying a bunch of new headsets in May and June, surely HTC might want to give them a reason to hold on a bit longer?

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  • Bullet Hell Shooter Blasters of the Universe Will be Free This Weekend on Oculus Rift And only this weekend.
  • Oculus Quest Comes With Demos For Beat Saber, Creed And More
    Oculus Quest Comes With Demos For Beat Saber, Creed And More

    The news is finally out; Oculus Quest, Facebook’s new VR headset, arrives on May 21. Over 50 titles are being lined up for the big day. But, given that you’ve just spent $399 on a new headset, you might be hoping to try a few games before you buy them. Well, good news; Quest comes loaded with five playable demos.

    Oculus detailed what’s coming pre-loaded on the headset in yesterday’s blog post. Five titles will have samples ready and waiting, including arguably the biggest VR game of all, Beat Saber. Beat Games’ smash hit will offer the tutorial and two songs with varying difficulty levels to get to grips with. Beat Saber is one of VR’s most instantly addictive games, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself heading to the Oculus Store after trying this one.

    Two new Oculus Studios games are also included in the mix. The first is Journey of the Gods, a cute little action role-playing game with a gorgeous art style. You’ll get “condensed versions” of the opening tutorial and boss fight here. Sports Scramble, meanwhile, is the latest from Armature. It’ll offer a tennis match either against an AI or friends online.

    Next up for shooter fans is an arcade classic, Space Pirate Trainer. The long-loved wave shooter offers its first level in this demo along with a boss fight. Finally, we have a boxing match in Creed: Rise to Glory. We love Creed on PC VR but thought it was actually one of the weaker Quest ports we’ve seen so far. Still, now you can make up your own mind before you decide whether to pick it up or not.

    It doesn’t sound like Oculus will be giving away any full games for free at Quest launch, but don’t forget the headset will come with cross-buy support. That means many of the games you bought on Rift via the Oculus Store will be ready and waiting on Quest. Yay, free games!

    Tagged with: Beat Saber, Creed: Rise to Glory, demos, Journey of the Gods, Oculus Quest, space pirate trainer, Sports Scramble

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  • Oculus Sells Out Of First Three Days Of Quest And Rift S Stock, New Preorders Ship May 24
    Oculus Sells Out Of First Three Days Of Quest And Rift S Stock, New Preorders Ship May 24

    Facebook opened preorders for the Oculus Quest and Rift S yesterday, with an initial shipping date of May 21. After one day of preorders, the website now provides an estimate of May 24 in the USA- indicating that the first three days worth of shipping allocation have sold out.

    Orders placed early yesterday still show a shipping date of May 21, so this isn’t an overall delay- it’s simply stock being sold to preorders.

    Of course, this doesn’t really tell us anything about how well Quest and Rift S preorders are selling. We don’t know the production rate or how Facebook has allocated stock between retailers. But being sold out of two days of stock already probably does indicate the launch wasn’t a total failure.

    The fact that both headsets are the same amount delayed does however seem to indicate that neither product under or over performed relative to each other. Valve announced pricing and specs for its Index PC VR system just before Rift S preorders opened, but the $999 pricepoint means it doesn’t seem to have dampened demand for Rift S.

    The Oculus website isn’t the only place to buy Quest or Rift S of course. Retailers like Amazon and Best Buy have stock available. Best Buy claims they still have launch day stock, whereas Amazon gives individual estimates when placing an order.

    Both headsets will be sold at physical Best Buy stores, but given this stock availability it’s unclear how easy it will actually be to pick one up on launch day.

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