• Hands-On: Blind Is A Clever Puzzle Game That Challenges Your Senses
    Hands-On: Blind Is A Clever Puzzle Game That Challenges Your Senses

    For a medium that immediately and powerful overwhelms your eyeballs, there is a surprising amount of content being created to explore blindness. From Notes on Blindness, a touching and beautifully narrated collection of short stories and Hotel Blind, to Stifled, a striking horror game in which you can only see by the use of sound (whether it be your own microphone or throwing objects in the game world) there’s some good content out there. But the upcoming VR exploration/puzzle hybrid adventure, Blind, is both aptly titled and cleverly produced.

    At the start of the game the main character is in an awful car accident that seemingly renders her blind. You spend the first few moments feeling your way around a dark, lonely mansion (as in literally reaching out and patting surfaces to create reverberations so you can see where you’re going) until you finally come across a record player with a sophisticated, yet creepy, man’s voice coming out of it — directed at you.

    Throughout the course of the game you’ll have to solve puzzles as you explore the sinister mansion in your quest to uncover what’s happened to you (and your brother) as well as how to get out.

    Blind touches on a lot of subjects. Not only is it a poignant story of loss and loneliness, but it provides a creative simulation of what it might be like to live without sight if you had the ability of echolocation via a heightened sense of hearing — or basically how Daredevil can see what’s around him through the use of sound.

    Not far into Blind you get a walking stick that can be used to tap on areas of the environment and create sound waves the erupt outward and echo across objects. It’s a satisfying visual to see the world light up around you in black and white and feels great to use. If you tap too frequently or loudly then the sounds can overwhelm you and ring in your ears while turning your environments into visual white noise.

    I’ve obviously never had to deal with the complete loss of sight in my life so I can’t speak to the accuracy of the simulation, but from a gameplay perspective it works well. In Stifled you use a very similar tactic to explore environments in what amounts to essentially an elongated, survival-horror-themed game of hide-and-seek, but in the case of Blind, it’s mostly just a puzzle game.

    That’s not to say that the sudden rumblings of thunder or unexpected noises didn’t make me jump from time to time, but Blind is very much not a horror game. It’s more aptly described as a dark, unsettling location for a series of loosely connected puzzles strung together by a serviceable narrative.

    Visually, although minimal, Blind is gorgeous. It’s basically a black and white art style, but the way the sounds light up the environments and subtly flutter in and out of your sight is expertly crafted. Depending on the type of surface you tap with your cane — and

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  • Electronauts To Get Free DLC Adding Music With More Genres
    Electronauts To Get Free DLC Adding Music With More Genres

    We love Electronauts, Survios’ new VR music app that puts you in the role of a virtual DJ. But, as we said in our impressions last week, we’re not the biggest fans of the app’s tracklist, which only consists of dance music. Good news, then: more genres are on the way.

    Survios itself said as much in a recent Ask Me Anything session on Reddit. “Yes, we have many more songs lined up for periodic release via free content updates,” a member of the development team replied when asked about DLC for the game. “Expect not only more music, but a wider variety of genres and styles… plus some more big headliners too. We’re really excited about the tracks we’re currently working on for future release.”

    Elsewhere the team promised that there were “quite a few” hip hop songs on the way to the game later this year, including classic tracks and current hits. No dates on when any of it will arrive, but it’s a promising start.

    Visually, much of the game looks like the ultimate rave right now. If Survios is adding in new songs from different genres, then we’re hoping the visual style can be mixed up a bit too. It would also be great to see some new kinds of interactions for new kinds of music.

    Electronauts is available now on Rift, Vive, Windows and PSVR VR for $19.99.

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  • OrbusVR: Reborn Is A ‘Ground-Up Re-Imagining’ Of The VR MMORPG With New Classes And Content
    OrbusVR: Reborn Is A ‘Ground-Up Re-Imagining’ Of The VR MMORPG With New Classes And Content

    Today via Reddit, the OrbusVR development team revealed that the VR-exclusive MMORPG is getting a massive overhaul for the start of 2019. Known simple as OrbusVR: Reborn, the overhaul is part expansion and part relaunch for the indie MMO.

    Reportedly, OrbusVR: Reborn will not only include four brand new character classes (Bard, Shaman, and two others that aren’t revealed yet) but will also feature robust new avatar customization options, all-new enemies, new areas, new activities, upgraded PvP systems, a better new player experience, and a much more detailed art style. The new visuals retain the low-poly look of the game’s current style, while adding more detail and nuance to the environments. The team is also aiming for improved stability and performance as well. It looks like a significant upgrade across the board.

    OrbusVR is an indie VR MMO that does a lot right, but is still very much a work-in-progress. Its ambition is admirable and it has a lot going for it and seeing a developer so dedicated to ironing out issues is relieving. When I spent time with it I found myself enamored with the combat system, particularly memorizing actual combos with the Warrior, and shooting arrows as the ranged Archer class. Now with four more classes on the way it’s about to get even more interesting.

    The Bard class will have control over small orbs to conduct a “mini orchestra” and provide support to the party as a whole. “By keeping in-sync and choosing the right instrument at the right time, you can support your party members, heal your allies, weaken your enemies, and even deal a little damage of your own,” reads the website. Whereas the Shaman is all about dealing damage with high-powered magic and large totems that spread effects throughout the battlefield.

    According to the announcement website, “enemy AI has been vastly improved, and enemies will now dodge incoming projectiles, retreat and seek help, and choose between rushing the player or hanging back at a distance depending on the situation,” which all sound like very good updates. As it stands currently, they’re very much of the “stand there and get hit” variety.

    In addition, the announcement site promises a wide range of new activities as well to complement all of the existing dungeons, quests, and other content. Namely, they’re introducing airship adventures for parties, dragon pet racing, and a multitude of public events in the game world. They’re also introducing a level-scaling system for non-endgame content, similar to what’s in The Elder Scrolls Online. This is all on top of brand new dungeons, raids, and gear.

    In a comment on the Reddit thread, the developer explained the focus of revamping the new player experience: “

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  • Seven VR Titles Nominated At This Year’s Emmy Awards

    VR continues its mainstream invasion as a new pack of virtual content makes its way to the prestigious award ceremony. This September the Primetime Emmy Awards will celebrate its legendary 70th anniversary, once again honoring the absolute finest in U.S. television entertainment. For the last two years, VR content has managed to quietly infiltrate its

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  • Prey: Typhon Hunter Add-On Will Include Three VR Escape Rooms And Competitive Hide-And-Seek
    Prey: Typhon Hunter Add-On Will Include Three VR Escape Rooms And Competitive Hide-And-Seek

    Back at E3 2018 we went hands-on with both new VR adaptations from Bethesda in Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot and Prey: Typhon Hunter. While Cyberpilot faltered a bit with its mindless, repetitive wave-based combat, Typhon Hunter caught us by surprise with meticulously detailed environments and well-paced puzzle solving. It was basically an elaborate, Prey-themed escape room experience. We liked it so much in fact that we picked it as our favorite HTC Vive game at the show.

    Now this past week in Dallas, TX at the annual QuakeCon event, press got the chance to go hands-on with both titles once again, but this time it looks like a few more details were gleaned from developer discussions.

    According to Polygon, Ricard Bare, lead designer at Arkane, developers of Prey, said that the VR title will ship with three escape rooms, all of which will be playable in VR instead of just the single room. Each area will take anywhere from 30-60 minutes to complete. Enemies won’t attack you here and it’s not randomly generated at all, so you can just focus on unraveling the layers of intricate puzzles.

    The other game mode featured in Typhon Hunter is on the polar opposite end of the gaming spectrum as a sort of competitive hide-and-seek mode where one player takes on five other players that are all acting as shape-shifting mimics in the game world. This mode will also support VR, although it’s unclear if the VR player is forced to portray Morgan, the protagonist, a mimic, or if they can pick just like a non-VR player would be able to do. Hopefully it also features cross-play between VR and non-VR players like in other titles, such as VRChat.

    As a part of Bethesda’s mission to continue supporting VR when it makes sense, Typhon Hunter is scheduled to release later this summer (that means soon!) for anyone that purchased Prey’s Mooncrash single-player non-VR DLC. Hopefully we get a firm date soon. Let us know what you think of how that sounds down in the comments below!

    Tagged with: Arkane, Bethesda, Prey, Quakecon, Typhon Hunter

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  • Community Download: What Is VR Gaming Missing Most Right Now?
    Community Download: What Is VR Gaming Missing Most Right Now?

    Community Download is a weekly discussion-focused articles series in which we pose a single, core question to you all, our readers, in the spirit of fostering discussion and debate. 

    It’s been a while since we’ve posted a new Community Download! Several months, in fact. This used to be a weekend series but we’re reviving it for Mondays so that we can keep the discussion going all week long. Look for new topics each and every Monday for now on.

    Since all of the major headsets have been out for a while now (about 2 1/2 years for Rift and Vive, over that long for Gear VR/Oculus mobile store, almost two years for PSVR, and so on) the market has done a lot of growing up. We’ve seen our fair share of zombie games, naturally, lots of great simulation games, multiplayer releases are really getting their footing lately, and there are some great new games on the horizon for the rest of this year.

    But out of everything that we do have, we’re still missing a lot. We don’t have anything truly on the scale of the Oasis from Ready Player One yet, there isn’t a fully-featured MMORPG for VR quite yet even if Orbus VR is a step in the right direction. Games like Skyrim VR and Fallout 4 VR are huge and awesome, but they weren’t made for VR.

    So out of all the things that we still don’t have: What do you think VR gaming is missing most right now?

    Everyone will have a different answer to this question and I’m genuinely curious what you all are looking for next as the market continues to grow. Let us know your answers down in the comments below!

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  • Most VR Pros Believe Adoption Is Still Limited By Cost And Lack Of Content
    Most VR Pros Believe Adoption Is Still Limited By Cost And Lack Of Content

    A survey conducted by VR Intelligence and SuperData questioning nearly 600 VR and AR professionals offers a glimpse into the health of the industry and its overall direction.

    One question asked about the major barriers to mass consumer adoption of the technology, with 62 percent of respondents saying lack of content was a barrier in 2017. This year, only 52 percent of respondents listed that as a concern. Likewise, the share of respondents who thought the price of HMDs was a barrier to increased adoption dropped from 60 to 52 percent from year to year. Respondents also listed usability, size/design and lack of consumer awareness as significant barriers to adoption both years, but overall sentiment didn’t change much year to year regarding those.

    “The change in opinion on pricing is most likely a reflection of the price drops from major headset manufacturers like HTC,Oculus and Google; while developments in content creation are starting to alleviate this particular barrier to adoption,” the report states. “Additionally, standalone devices like Oculus Go and Lenovo Mirage have brought down the entry point price of high-quality VR as they do not require a console or powerful PC.”

    VR Intelligence is the organization behind the VRX series of events, the next of which will be held Dec. 6-7 in San Francisco. The survey covers a number of questions surrounding specific use cases for VR and AR and how businesses are thinking about investing in those areas. One data point indicates that proving there would be a return on investment remains the biggest concern to overcome in convincing businesses to start using VR or AR tech.

    The full report covers a number of subjects, including growth by business area over the past 12 months, and whether that growth met expectations, as well as the relative priority of VR and AR to their businesses over the next year. You can get the full report here for free.

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  • Watch David Hasselhoff Drive KITT From Knight Rider In New 360-Video
    Watch David Hasselhoff Drive KITT From Knight Rider In New 360-Video

    The Gumball 3000 is a 3,000-mile car rally that happens every year from London to Tokyo featuring a wide multitude of celebrities driving across the world and making pit stops. From the likes of Usher and David Hasselhoff to Ken Griffey Jr. and more, it’s a star-studded event.

    This year Finger Food Studios teamed up with LNG Studios to create an episodic series of 360-degree videos chronicling the rally dubbed “A Gumballer’s Journey.” The videos take viewers on a ride both along the street at pit stops and inside the vehicle with featured celebrity guests.

    You can watch the first two entries in the series right now on the Gumball 3000 Facebook page here (Episode 1, featuring Gumball 3000 founder, Maximillion Cooper) and here (Episode 2, featuring David Hasselhoff, wife Hayley Roberts, and KITT from Knight Rider.) Both videos are available in 4k at those links and can also be viewed in VR via Rift, Vive, Gear VR, PSVR, or Go. Both episodes can also be found over on LNG’s YouTube, so pretty much anything that can access YouTube in VR is good to go.

    In the second video Hasselhoff reminisces about KITT and how even though it isn’t the actual original car from Knight Rider, it feels extremely accurate even while adorned with logos and sponsorships.

    We’ve got it embedded right here for you to see as well:

    You’d be hard-pressed to put a 360-degree video in front of me in 2018 and elicit any sort of reaction other than “meh” but getting to sit inside the cockpit of KITT alongside David Hasselhoff is certainly  a step in the right direction. These sorts of videos are at their best when they show viewers things that they’d otherwise never get to see from a new perspective and this one definitely qualifies.

    Let us know what you think down in the comments below!

    Update: Fixed two typos and added more context on how to watch the videos.

    Tagged with: David Hasselhoff, Finger Food, Gumball 3000

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  • ‘A Fisherman’s Tale’ Is A VR Puzzler With A Miniature Twist

    Vertigo Games’ first attempt at a third-person experience makes its debut at Gamescom 2018 in Germany. Vertigo Games, the talented developer behind zombie-shooter Arizona Sunshine and turn-based strategy game Skyworld, announces its foray into third-person VR with A Fisherman’s Tale, a mind-boggling VR puzzler in which players must break the laws of physics in order

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  • Someone Turned All Of Shrek Into A Beat Saber Track (Yes, Really)
    Someone Turned All Of Shrek Into A Beat Saber Track (Yes, Really)

    Someone has turned all of the first Shrek movie into an 83-minute Beat Saber track. Yes, really.

    ShrekSaber, which I really can’t believe I just typed, is now available to download for the ever-popular VR rhythm game. Yes, a modder named KingPeuche has taken the entirety of the ogre’s original adventure and mapped it to one mammoth level in the Star Wars-inspired title. Notes are stuck to the soundtrack, but all of the dialogue is in there too. It’s like Shrek the audiobook… the VR game.

    This guy streamed it, just in case you still don’t believe me.

    Watch #SHREKTOURNEY – Literally 1.5 hours of the Shrek Movie Tournament Style from BennyDaBeastLIVE on

    That means immortal hits like Smash Mouth’s All Star and actually immortal hits like Hallelujah are now available inside Beat Saber, you just have to play through a lot of unbearably cheesy movie to get there.

    It took KingPeuche over 120 hours to make ShrekSaber. The modder told Beat Saber fansite, bsaber, that they had often seen requests for Shrek and Bee Movie (yes, really, Bee Movie) to be mapped to the game.

    “Sure it’s time consuming, but not only is it for Shrek, it’s for the history books,” Peuche told the site. “I’ve yet to see any rhythm game have an entire film be mapped. I think this would make a lot of people happy, and the initial support I received from the modding staff and community really gave me a push. I would spend most of my free time mapping anyways, so I figured I may as well use that time to make history.”

    Well, history has certainly been made.

    Oh and, don’t worry, KingPeuche is planning to map Shrek 2, too. VR is saved!

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  • Skyrim, Fallout 4 VR Developer Escalation Becomes Bethesda Dallas
    Skyrim, Fallout 4 VR Developer Escalation Becomes Bethesda Dallas

    Having been acquired by Bethesda parent company, ZeniMax Media, back in 2017, Escalation Studios this month became a bigger part of the publisher.

    Escalation has been renamed to Bethesda Games Studios Dallas, it was announced during Quake Con this weekend. The studio is known for its work helping Bethesda bring two of the biggest games in the industry, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Fallout 4, to VR headsets in 2017. Before Bethesda picked it up, it also created a VR version of Please, Don’t Touch Anything!.

    Currently, the team is helping the main Bethesda outfit, working on the upcoming Fallout 76 and its next-generation role-playing game, Starfield. It’s also working on Elder Scrolls: Blades, a new entry in the beloved fantasty series that’s set to receive VR support. There’s still no word on exactly when the game will launch on what headsets, though.

    Right now Bethesda has another two VR projects in the works. One is Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot, a spin-off of the popular revival of the classic shooting series, while 2017’s Prey is also getting VR support for its latest batch of free content. Hopefully Bethesda Dallas will be able to get back to some big VR projects in the near future, too.

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  • First Ever OpenXR Demo Heading To Siggraph 2018 This Week
    First Ever OpenXR Demo Heading To Siggraph 2018 This Week

    Khronos Group’s anticipated VR/AR standard API, OpenXR, is finally getting its first ever public demo at Siggraph 2018 this week.

    The platform, which was announced at GDC last year, will be shown running an Unreal Engine VR demo inside both the StarVR and Microsoft’s Windows ‘Mixed Reality’ VR headsets at the event in Vancouver, Canada, from August 12th – 16th.

    OpenXR is designed to streamline development of VR and AR applications for studios working across the broad range of headsets and control inputs in the market today. Its interface is able to automatically adjust apps and control schemes to accommodate the varying specifications of these devices without asking developers to spend large amounts of time doing it all manually. The group includes over 140 members, with major players like Google, Sony, Valve, HTC, Samsung, Magic Leap, Oculus, AMD and Nvidia involved.

    Crucially, StarVR and Windows headsets offer very different specifications. The latter, for example, is one of the few home-based VR devices to currently offer an inside-out tracking system, and can run apps separate from the SteamVR and Oculus ecosystems on PC. StarVR meanwhile, is intended for location-based solutions and offers a higher field of view (FOV) and display resolution than many other VR devices as well as support for a range of peripherals. The two headsets should serve as a good example of how VR development can be simplified across two very different devices, then.

    Next up on the OpenXR roadmap is a provisional release for developers to test via an adopters program before a full launch later down the line. Dates for either haven’t yet been announced.

    Tagged with: Khronos Group, OpenXR

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  • Mario Kart VR Gets A Deeper Look As London Location Launches
    Mario Kart VR Gets A Deeper Look As London Location Launches

    You can finally try Mario Kart VR outside of Japan; Bandai Namco’s surprising collaboration with Nintendo launched in London earlier this month. This new video offers you a closer look.

    Footage from the video below was taken at the launch event for the racing experience, which is on show at the VR Zone in the Hollywood Bowl inside London’s O2 arena. It gives you a good look at the setup, which uses an HTC Vive, a pair for Vive Trackers for your hands, and a racing wheel and seat to provide a fully immersive experience.

    Meanwhile, inside VR, you’ll be transported to the Mushroom Kingdom to play as either Mario, Luigi, Yoshi or Peach. As you steer around a vibrant track you can reach out with your hands to grab and toss items. The experience can be played with up to four players.

    You can book a slot to play Mario Kart VR over on an official website. Later this summer the game will also come to VR Zone locations in Leeds and Tunbridge Wells. No word yet on a showing in the US, sadly.

    Tagged with: Mario Kart Arcade GP VR

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  • MoCap Giant Vicon Announces Location-Based VR Tracking System Origin
    MoCap Giant Vicon Announces Location-Based VR Tracking System Origin

    Leading motion capture company Vicon is jumping deeper into VR with a new tracking system for location-based solutions.

    You may have seen Vicon’s tech at work in hit movies like Blade Runner 2049 and Gravity as well as games like the VR-compatible Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, but its work in VR opens up a new avenue for the company. Using a combination of new hardware and software the new platform, named Origin, is designed to offer ‘unbreakable’ tracking to VR arcades and installations across the world for improved, multi-user experiences.

    To achieve this, Origin introduces three main components. The first is Viper, a lightweight camera that works with active marker technology. The camera’s sensors follow Origin’s wearable tracking clusters named Pulsar, which consist of several LED markers that a user would attach to their body (presumably fitted to a piece of clothing) and headset. A third device called the Beacon, meanwhile, allows Viper and Pulsar to communicate over a synchronized wireless network.

    This new hardware is paired with a software platform named Evoke, which is designed to keep tracking stable and also auto-fix any calibration changes between play sessions. The system comes with plug-ins for game engines (exactly which isn’t stated) for you to integrate into your software.

    Vicon is currently partnered with location-based VR company, Dreamscape Immersive, which is best known for its Alien Zoo experience, though we don’t know when or where we’ll see Origin integrated into one of its offerings. Vicon will be at Siggraph in Vancouver later this week to showcase its system, though.

    Tagged with: Origin, Vicon

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  • Beat Saber Tournament Looks To Become World’s Largest VR Arcade Event

    Over 120 arcades have signed on to participate in Virtual Athletics League’s upcoming International Beat Saber Tournament. Since its official release back in May of this year, Beat Saber has taken the immersive world by storm, quickly becoming one of the most popular VR games currently in circulation. The addictive VR rhythm game has developed

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