• Hands-On: Codename Neon From Niantic Is A Real-Time Multiplayer AR Laser Tag Game
    Hands-On: Codename Neon From Niantic Is A Real-Time Multiplayer AR Laser Tag Game

    Pokemon Go, for all it does right to get people moving and interacting with the world through an AR lens, has a lot of limitations. One of the biggest shortcomings is how it handles the social aspect of the game. There really isn’t a way for you to interact with other players in real-time in the game world at all and even though millions of people play the game every day around the world, it often ends up feeling like you’re all just playing by yourself.

    Some new advancements in Niantic’s AR “Real World Platform” could be changing that. At a press event located at their San Francisco, CA offices yesterday I got the chance to go hands-on with a new tech demo they’ve been working on that shows off seamless AR multiplayer.

    It worked a bit like laser tag, you can see some footage of it here:

    Basically we all ran around this warehouse room picking up white dots on the floor to get ammo. Then I’d tap on another player to shoot homing missiles at them. They couldn’t dodge the missiles once I shot it, but they could block it with a missile of their own. The demo lasted about 90 seconds, after which I was told I did “very well” scoring over 40 hits.

    It was…underwhelming. I am hoping this technology will be applied to Harry Potter: Wizards Unite in such a way that real-time wizard duels are possible, but no one was willing to talk about that game at the press event. It felt like a big, giant magical elephant in the room.

    The demo allowed for approximately six people to run around, all tracked in real-time, which was neat, but it wasn’t shown or explained in a usable context.

    Ironically enough the far more interesting two tech demos they showed at the event weren’t playable. First was some really impressive occlusion features for Pokemon Go made possible via the acquisition of  a new company, Matrix Mill, and the other was a cooperative puzzle solving game called Codename Tonehenge. Here’s that footage:

    This demo impressed me for two reasons: 1) all players had avatar masks assigned to them in real-time that were animated, meaning when you looked through your phone you’d see the avatars, not human people, and 2) it’s actually collaborative with objects that can be manipulated and interacted with. Now imagine that blown up on a large, city-wide or even worldwide scale using the mapping technology that powers stuff like Pokemon Go.

    Instead of people meeting up to sit and flick their phone screens at a park, they could  collaboratively solve puzzles and riddles in the real world via their phones. Or in the future, using a lightweight wearable on their eyes/face.

    Obviously Neon and Tonehenge are both very much tech demo ideas and not fully realized products, but they represent the first steps towards the “next generation” of mobile AR technology. And what makes it so exciting is that these advancements are happening on the software side with networking and machine learning

    The post Hands-On: Codename Neon From Niantic Is A Real-Time Multiplayer AR Laser Tag Game appeared first on UploadVR.

  • Niantic’s Latest Pokemon Go AR Demo Shows Impressive Occlusion Tech
    Niantic’s Latest Pokemon Go AR Demo Shows Impressive Occlusion Tech

    A lot of people still do not consider Pokemon Go “real” AR. At launch, the AR features were extremely limited and in most cases the camera would simply plaster an animated Pokemon over the top of your real world environment which resulted in the creature seemingly standing inside of objects and walking across things it shouldn’t be able to walk across. In short, it lacked real depth and environmental awareness.

    Recently Niantic acquired a London-based technology company called Matrix Mill. By using machine learning and neural networks, they’ve more or less solved the issue. Watch the results in the video below:

    “At Niantic, we frequently talk about how in order to augment reality, you need to be able to understand it,” says the Pokemon Go developer in a blog post. “The Matrix Mill team has come up with novel ideas that push the boundaries of what machines can process, thinking around occlusions, and seeing the world closer to the way human eyes can. As a result of this hard work, AR experiences can feel more natural to the eye, which is a goal we have squarely in our sights.”

    This sort of stuff is possible today using expensive cameras and advanced equipment, but everyday smartphones with single cameras on them like the Google Pixel 2 or the latest line of iPhones couldn’t achieve this effect. Now, with Matrix Mill’s help, Niantic can deliver much more convincing AR.

    By interpreting and then re-sending the data back to devices, the depth effect in AR works seamlessly and characters like Pikachu and Eevee can be occluded behind objects in the world or even people walking by in real-time.

    We don’t really know the timeline for when this sort of functionality will officially roll out to users, but it’s exciting nevertheless, particularly as the company preps for the eventual launch of their next AR game, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.

    Let us know what you think of this occlusion demo down in the comments below!

    Tagged with: Matrix Mill, niantic, pokemon go

    .special-buttons > * { text-align:left !important; } FacebookTwitterRedditMore

    The post Niantic’s Latest Pokemon Go AR Demo Shows Impressive Occlusion Tech appeared first on UploadVR.

  • Get Creative as Oculus Medium 2.0 Brings Improved Performance, Rift Core 2.0 Integration and More The update goes live today.
  • Oculus Medium Finally Gets Home Sharing And More In 2.0 Update
    Oculus Medium Finally Gets Home Sharing And More In 2.0 Update

    Oculus Medium, the company’s VR sculpting app that launched alongside its Touch controllers in December 2016, just got a big update adding some crucial new features.

    Headlining Oculus Medium 2.0 is the ability to bring the creations you make into the new Oculus Home. As those that are taking part in the Rift Core 2.0 beta will know, the new Home allows you to customize your own space with a set of pre-made items. With this update, though, you’ll be able to bring your own personal creations into the space to show off for the first time. You’ll be able to export sculpts directly into your Home inventory, which will allow you to make your space truly unique for the first time.

    Just as this week’s Tilt Brush update added a new Beginner Mode, this Medium update also brings in several new tutorials to help get you up to speed. These will address new tools like Layer Resolution Visualization and Elastic Move. The app’s performance has also been updated with increased rendering power, and there’s a new management system with a UI overhaul to make sorting through your tools and creations more intuitive than ever.

    Finally, as you might have expected, Medium 2.0 is going to update to become a Windows 10-only app. Yesterday Oculus announced that it is updating its minimum and recommended settings for Rift to require Windows 10, noting that users that don’t upgrade won’t be able to use all the features of the Oculus platform. It sounds like Medium is one such feature.

    Oculus is promising yet more updates for Rift Core 2.0 later in the week, so stay tuned.

    Tagged with: oculus medium

    .special-buttons > * { text-align:left !important; } FacebookTwitterRedditMore

    The post Oculus Medium Finally Gets Home Sharing And More In 2.0 Update appeared first on UploadVR.

  • Pokémon GO Developer Niantic Labs Acquires Matrix Mill to Advance its AR Platform Imagine Pokémon actually interacting with the real-world.
  • Uncharted Creator Amy Hennig Looking Into VR After EA Split
    Uncharted Creator Amy Hennig Looking Into VR After EA Split

    One of the driving forces behind Sony’s Uncharted series is looking to start working in VR.

    Amy Hennig is best known for her work with Naughty Dog on Nathan Drake’s adventures over the past decade, though recently she’s been working at EA on an untitled Star Wars project. However, last October we heard that the studio working on the title, Visceral Games, had been shuttered. Now Eurogamer reports that Hennig herself has left EA and her sights set on VR.

    “I’m working independently and staying independent,” Hennig told the site. “I just started my own small little independent studio and am consulting with some people. I’m hoping to bring some people on board, I would love to have a little company of about six to eight people, 15 at the most, and do some more projects, do some VR stuff – I’m consulting with some VR companies and doing a ton of research because I haven’t played a lot to immerse myself in it.”

    Whatever the developer is planning, it sounds like early days. Still, the thought of an Amy Hennig-directed VR project is an exciting one indeed. Uncharted helped push a new wave of more believable videogame protagonists not just visually but also in the way characters acted and spoke as well. A VR experience that gives us lifelike interactions with those characters could be very intriguing to say the least.

    Tagged with: Amy Hennig

    .special-buttons > * { text-align:left !important; } FacebookTwitterRedditMore

    The post Uncharted Creator Amy Hennig Looking Into VR After EA Split appeared first on UploadVR.

  • Pixvana Creates New VR Video Playback Technology for SPIN Play The new "overlay" functionality helps improve visual fidelity.
  • High Fidelity Announces Close of Series D Funding Round VR blockchain company High Fidelity has announced it has successfully raised $35 million in latest funding round.
  • HTC Teams Up with China Mobile in 5G Initiative To help the development of the HTC Vive Focus, HTC has teamed with China Mobile for 5G project.
  • Marvel Powers United VR Adds Black Panther to Roster Pre-orders now available through the Oculus Store.
  • Black Panther Joins The Fray As Marvel Powers VR Release Date Revealed
    Black Panther Joins The Fray As Marvel Powers VR Release Date Revealed

    After a long and somewhat concerning silence, Oculus today confirmed that its superpowered exclusive, Marvel Powers United VR, arrives next month.

    The Oculus Rift title, developed by Sanzaru Games, is launching on July 26th for $39.99, and is available to pre-order from today. Announced last year, Powers United VR is a cooperative action game in which up to four friends step into the boots/capes/cowls of their favorite Marvel heroes and complete missions together using a wide range of power sets. Villains like Loki and Ronan the Accuser will stand against you. We’ve been hands-on with the game and it offers a fun, if rather chaotic time.

    As you may have seen, Oculus has also been teasing the reveal of a new character for the game this week. If you hadn’t already guessed (it was really pretty obvious), Black Panther is joining the fray. Straight out of his hit movie (and a role in Avengers: Infinity War), Panther brings his advanced suit, powered by a fictional metal known as Vibranium, into combat. Players can expect to wield super-human strength and agility. We’d imagine those claws he’s so fond of will come in handy, too.

    A brief gameplay clip of Panther just arrived, which you can see below.

    Panther joins the six playable characters confirmed for the game so far, including Thor, The Hulk, Captain Marvel, Deadpool, Rocket Raccoon, Black Bolt and Crystal. We can’t help but notice some of the major players of Infinity War, like Iron Man, Captain America and Spider-Man, still haven’t been confirmed. Surely we can expect at least a few of these characters to be confirmed in the coming weeks, right?

    Tagged with: Marvel Powers United VR

    .special-buttons > * { text-align:left !important; } FacebookTwitterRedditMore

    The post Black Panther Joins The Fray As Marvel Powers VR Release Date Revealed appeared first on UploadVR.

  • The Walking Dead: Our World Mobile AR Game Releasing This July
    The Walking Dead: Our World Mobile AR Game Releasing This July

    Pokemon Go ignited a fiery passion for staring at phone screens while walking around outside so it was only a matter of time before more brands latched onto the concept. The Walking Dead: Our World is an upcoming mobile AR game created in partnership between Next Games and AMC. It’s due out for release on July 12th for both iOS and Android mobile device.

    Here’s the release date announcement trailer:

    In The Walking Dead: Our World you’ll walk around and explore the real world, kill zombies, rescue survivors, and level up your characters and gear in this real-world meets zombie-world mashup.

    An opportunity existed to integrate some survival horror elements into the experience as well, like Night Terrors does, but it seems like they’ve gone the accessible first-person shooter route instead. It doesn’t seem like zombies will be much of a threat in this one.

    You can see some actual gameplay here:

    Do you intend on slaying zombies with friends in AR when this releases in just a couple of weeks? Let us know your thoughts down in the comments below!

    Tagged with: pokemon go, The Walking Dead, zombies

    .special-buttons > * { text-align:left !important; } FacebookTwitterRedditMore

    The post The Walking Dead: Our World Mobile AR Game Releasing This July appeared first on UploadVR.

  • New VR Games Awarded Funds In Epic’s $1 Million Unreal Engine Dev Grant
    New VR Games Awarded Funds In Epic’s $1 Million Unreal Engine Dev Grant

    Epic Games’ latest batch of developer grants have been revealed and several VR companies are included in the list.

    The grants, which collectively total $1 million, are awarded to developers using the company’s Unreal Engine for their upcoming games and apps. Among the 37 teams securing money in the range of $5,000 to $50,000 today are Blacksmith Studios, New Reality Co. and VitaeVR, all of which are working on VR projects.

    Blacksmith is working on an intriguing puzzle game called Desolate Sands, in which players aim to dig deep by moving obstacles and using levers. VitaeVR, meanwhile, has a similarly interesting product in VStore, which is hoping to become a full VR supermarket that can be used to screen for early indicators of dementia. The game asks players to search a supermarket for certain items then pay for their items with the correct amount. Their performance is then measured and scores are delivered to clinicians.

    Finally, New Reality Co. is working on an unannounced VR project that focused on storytelling and art. The studio is headed up by Milica Zec and Windslow Porter, who both worked on VR experiences that appear at festivals like Tree.

    Another recipient in this round of grants is Mundfish, which is working on strange shooter Atomic Heart and released VR shooter Soviet Lunapark earlier this year. The latter title is in Early Access so hopefully some of the funding will go towards making that a bigger and better experience, too.

    Tagged with: Epic Games

    .special-buttons > * { text-align:left !important; } FacebookTwitterRedditMore

    The post New VR Games Awarded Funds In Epic’s $1 Million Unreal Engine Dev Grant appeared first on UploadVR.

  • Epic Games Announces No-Strings Funding For Unreal Developers The last round on Unreal Dev Grants heads out to 37 creative teams.
  • Need a 3D Model? The Sketchfab Store is now Officially Open for Business View and buy tens of thousands of 3D models.