News

  • The Weather Channel To Use MR To Showcase The Power Of Tornadoes See the power of a tornado as it hits The Weather Channel headquarters.
  • New Valve Knuckles Prototypes Add Thumbticks, Now Shipping To Devs
    New Valve Knuckles Prototypes Add Thumbticks, Now Shipping To Devs

    A new generation of the Valve Knuckles controllers are rolling out to developers with thumbsticks added on. The touchpad is reduced to a small strip on the updated controllers.

    Among the changes:

    Improved industrial design and ergonomics
    Updated input set and layout
    Improved strap fit and feel for more hand sizes
    New sensors, enabling new interactions
    Improved battery life, USB-C charging port
    Added support for SteamVR Tracking 2.0

    The new “force sensors can be used in conjunction with capacitive sensors to enable higher fidelity interactions. With these two sensors working together, we can detect the full range of the hand position – from completely open, to holding the controller lightly, to gripping it tightly. This helps us understand user intent and makes things like ‘pickup and throw’ with Knuckles EV2 much improved.”

    Here are some videos showing the new controllers in action:

    As part of the roll-out, a new tech demo called Moondust set in the Portal universe will be available to “hundreds” of developers receiving the new controller prototypes.

    Tagged with: Knuckles

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  • Endeavour Foundation Uses VR To Help Teenagers Train For Jobs In Australia, a non-profit organisation is trying to help teenagers with intellectual disabilities gain life skills by using VR.
  • E3 2018 Hands-On: Virtual Rabbids Features A Big VR Maze And Lots Of Shooting
    E3 2018 Hands-On: Virtual Rabbids Features A Big VR Maze And Lots Of Shooting

    Last week I wrote about an Assassin’s Creed VR experience I found at an Ubisoft event that was tucked away in a corner created by a company called Triotech. It was on display using one of their proprietary VRMaze booths, which combine wireless Vives, backpack PCs, and smart level mapping to simulate actually exploring a multi-level building. That same booth also had a “Virtual Rabbids” game as well.

    Virtual Rabbids only used a single Vive controller so instead of shooting a bow and arrow like in Assassin’s Creed VR, I was shooting a laser gun. Everything else just involved me physically moving around, evading laser shots from the Rabbids, and ducking behind walls for cover.

    Triotech’s VRMaze platform seems incredibly versatile. Using the same little square-shaped room with a cutout in the middle (shown in the video above and image down below) they can map out a variety of game experiences. Despite standing in the same real world spot, I didn’t feel like I was playing a game with a similar layout at all.

    The Assassin’s Creed VR game was much more narrative, with big climactic moments, a giant boss fight, and even a leap of faith at the end. For Virtual Rabbids, it’s all about pure arcade fun. I’d walk into a room and have four or five Rabbids flying around or floating in the air, firing lasers at me. It only took a minute or two for me to trust the tracking system enough to duck around behind walls and not need to feel out things with my hands first.

    For this setup they were only use two Vive sensors in the corners, like you would at home, with see-through walls at the center of the “maze” to allow the signals to pass through. However, if I leaned down too much or stood in the corner just right it’d still occlude the controllers and headset every now and then. Adding more sensors would have helped a lot.

    Virtual Rabbids was a fun, simple little shooting gallery. Combining wireless VR with a small, discreet space like the VRMaze worked really well. Something like this wouldn’t look out of place at all to see at an arcade and the short play sessions are nice and manageable.

    Triotech currently has over 300 locations around the world and you can see an interactive map of each right here. It’s unclear which of them feature the Rabbids and which  feature the Minotaur maze, but an Assassin’s Creed VR experience is also coming soon.

    Would you play a brief Rabbids VR experience like this at home? Let us know down in the comments below!

    Tagged with: E3 2018, Rabbids, ubisoft, VRMaze

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  • Madame Tussauds Adds VR Escape Room In Hollywood
    Madame Tussauds Adds VR Escape Room In Hollywood

    Madame Tussauds Hollywood is offering a new VR attraction next to the Walk of Fame and the Chinese Theatre.

    The 4-player VR installation is from the Virtual Room and situated among the wax inhabitants of Hollywood Boulevard. The Virtual Room operates similar installations in Europe, as well as a second location in Hollywood.

    The system inside Madame Tussauds uses up to four HTC Vives in separate pods. You can see the other players in VR and the microphones work well to foster communication. The future is dying due to some mishap with time travel and it is now up to your team to go back to various points in the past and change history. Each player has a room-scale space to walk around inside and tasks require players to work together. Destinations the team can visit include the moon for the 1969 Apollo landing, an ancient Egyptian area and a medieval dungeon.

    We experienced a few bugs when I tried the experience with some friends. Before we started, one player’s height was set wrong so her feet were in the floor. The rest of us spent our first 10 minutes in a virtual waiting room as that was fixed. We also experienced a progression-halting bug during one of the experiences. A wooden rod we needed to move an object in the world simply didn’t appear for me. Any time you get stuck, a game operator watching outside VR can push the experience through to its next step.

    It is possible that pricing can change, but initially tickets are around $12 per person to visit just one of the locations we tried for about 10 to 15 minutes. That adds up extremely fast, with a longer trip in VR to multiple destinations easily costing well over $100 if four people wanted to experience all of it. Madame Tussauds and Virtual Room are offering an interesting take on VR attractions and cooperative experiences, but more work needs to be done with their software design, however, so that people can trust that the reason they are stuck is they haven’t figured out a piece of the puzzle — not because the experience itself is broken.

    Tickets are available on a walk up basis only at the time of this writing, but online tickets should be available soon.

    I’ll be curious to see how this attraction performs in light of new launches like The VOID’s new $33 horror experience, or Dave & Buster’s 5-minute Jurassic World experience which costs only $5.

    Tagged with: Madame Tussauds

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  • New Screenshots Released For RollerCoaster Tycoon Joyride The upcoming PlayStation VR release is looking good.
  • Open Beta for Echo Combat Goes Live The Echo Combat open Beta is available for free, starting from today.
  • ‘No Obstacle’ Stopping Google From Bringing USDZ To Android AR, Adobe Exec Says

    A new open source file format is helping pave the way for augmented reality. Apple announced earlier this month they would adopt the new USDZ file format for 3D content across its AR-enabled iPhones and iPads, which can display illusory, animated images placed in your real surroundings. But the file format could also make its

    The post ‘No Obstacle’ Stopping Google From Bringing USDZ To Android AR, Adobe Exec Says appeared first on VRScout.

  • VIDEO: Facebook Researcher’s Talk About More Comfortable VR Headsets
    VIDEO: Facebook Researcher’s Talk About More Comfortable VR Headsets

    Facebook’s research into a more comfortable VR headset with a wider field of view was revealed at the company’s developer conference in early May. A few weeks later, at a symposium put together by the world’s preeminent researchers and engineers in display technology, Douglas Lanman of Facebook Reality Labs (formerly Oculus Research) detailed the reasons they built a varifocal VR headset prototype, code-named Half Dome.

    Until now there’s only been some cell phone footage to share from the actual keynote address by Lanman, but the Display Week channel on YouTube just posted an HD video of the presentation. It is not to be missed by anyone interested in trying to understand why eye tracking and varifocal displays could be integral parts of future headset designs.

    The talk also offers a rare look into a fraction of the work underway by teams working under Michael Abrash at Facebook Reality Labs. The group is pursuing breakthroughs in immersive technology that might take longer to commercialize. And with the work shown at Display Week, Facebook representatives made clear “we may never see these specific technologies in a product.”

    Lanman’s presentation also revealed work like the “multifocal perceptual testbed” allowing them to answer questions like “is this driving accommodation correctly?” As a refresher, here’s how Lanman described some of the issues they’ve been researching:

    “Nearly all consumer HMDs present a single fixed focus. Some have focus knobs, but most just lock the optical focus of the displays to something around two meters. When you look at a near object, vergence (eye rotation) and accommodation (deformation of the eye’s crystalline lens) move together. As your lens deforms to focus on a nearby virtual object, it is focusing away from the fixed focus of the HMD. So, most people report seeing some blur. Sustained vergence-accommodation conflict has been linked, in prior vision science publications, to visual fatigue, including eye strain.”

    Tagged with: Facebook Reality Labs, Varifocal

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  • E3 2018: Justin Roiland’s Trover Saves The Universe Answers The Question “What If Your Eye Sockets Had Little Faces?”
    E3 2018: Justin Roiland’s Trover Saves The Universe Answers The Question “What If Your Eye Sockets Had Little Faces?”

    If you own a virtual reality headset and play games, chances are you’ve experienced something Rick and Morty creator Justin Roiland has had a hand – or at least a voice — in. From Accounting to Hover Junkers, The Lab to Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality, Roiland is prolific in the VR scene, and even started his own VR-focused company: Squanch Games (formerly Squanchtendo but they changed the name after a small upstart with a similar moniker decided to get into video game development). Squanch’s next game — Trover Saves the Universe (TSTU) — was recently revealed at E3, where I had a chance to sit down with the Squanch team and get some hands-on and eyes-within-eyes time with TSTU.

    The backstory to Trover Saves the Universe is one we can all relate to, whether we have kids or pets or neither. The power-hungry Glorkon has stolen your precious pups, scooping them up and placing them into his eye sockets so he can use their lifeforce in an attempt to take over the universe. You have to team up with Trover, a purple cosmic being with two little faces for eyes (sticking things in your eye holes is important in this universe, you see), to thwart Glorkon and get your doggos back safe and sound. Video games! Amirite?

    You are “the man in the chair.” Literally a man who also just happens to be in a chair. I mean, what’s to get, right? It’s pretty much spelled out for you. Because of your chair-boundedness, you don’t walk around the colorful landscape yourself. Rather, you control Trover. While TSTU takes place in a first-person perspective from your chair, it plays very much like a third-person platformer as you move your purple buddy around the world and warp to him when he gets to certain defined points.

    While primarily a 3D platformer, there are also myriad puzzles to solve in TSTU, both action-oriented and brain teasers. You might have to send Trover through a pack of ghastly gremlins, or solve a Witness-style tile puzzle. One such puzzle in the demo was a series of three grid sequences in which I had to light all of the corresponding squares to open a door. Trover isn’t all that patient during the puzzle parts though, and encouraged me to skip the last of the progressive sequences by screaming something along the lines of “Fuck it, let’s just bust through this thing!” while tearing the door off its hinges. Whatever works, right?

    Since Roiland is involved, you can expect a lot of over-the-top humor driven by peculiar, rambling creatures who prattle on through a series of non-sequitors seemingly uninterested in your own plight to find your dogs. One character I met in my demo was the aptly named Mr. Pop-up, an annoying little orange guy with a band-aid over where his winkle would be if he follows the standards of human anatomy. But who knows, there might be a little face with two eyes for eyes down there. He continually

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  • Golfshot AR Brings Augmented Reality To The Course Improve your performance with a host of handy features.
  • Enter the Casino With Social Club VR Developer Perilous Orbit launch its latest VR project, a casino experience.
  • New Trailer For VR Multiplayer Seeking Dawn Arrives Brand new trailer gives a glimpse of revamped gameplay.
  • Bethesda Plans To ‘Continue To Support’ VR In The Future On A ‘Case-By-Case’ Basis
    Bethesda Plans To ‘Continue To Support’ VR In The Future On A ‘Case-By-Case’ Basis

    For the past year or so, Bethesda has been at the forefront of the VR gaming scene. Last year they released Fallout 4 VR, Skyrim VR, and DOOM VFR — all of which sold “really well” — and now they’re developing two more VR games focused on the Wolfenstein and Prey franchises, as well as a VR port of The Elder Scrolls: Blades, an upcoming mobile game.

    That’s a lot of VR from just one company. Ubisoft, Sony, and Oculus are perhaps the only other major publishers/developers that are as actively involved in VR development and you’d be hard-pressed to find any company in the entire game industry with a better overall track record than Bethesda.

    Naturally, this makes me curious about just how heavily involved in the VR ecosystem they intend to be. There aren’t that many headsets out there, at least not compared to the millions of PS4 systems, PCs, mobile devices, Xbox Ones, Nintendo Switch consoles, and more. Until VR reaches that critical mass point we’ll likely have to settle for ports and tiny spin-off projects. But if most of them are as good as Skyrim VR, I’m not gonna complain.

    At E3 2018 we got the chance to speak with Bethesda’s Senior Vice President of Global Marketing and  Communications about their plans for the future of VR, as well as Fallout 4 VR on PSVR and Fallout 76’s absence of VR support.

    “Every studio that we have is thinking about the kinds of things they can deliver on different platforms, but it’s always going to be a case of deciding if it’s a good fit for timing and the experience,” said Hines. “Any of those guys have carte blanche to come up with anything, but it really resides at that level as opposed to me going to Harvey Smith [Arkane Studios Director) and saying, ‘Harvey, I want Dishonored in VR.’ It needs to come from Harvey coming to us. They have to be the ones to come up with it and say how they’re going to do it. It has to come from the programmers and artists to say this is what we could do and this is how it would work with this experience.”

    Having played plenty of VR games that either don’t feel like they were adapted to VR well or should have never been in VR to begin with, this is great to hear. Developing games for VR is just as much about delivering something that feels right as it is delivering something fun and good.

    “That doesn’t mean we don’t talk about it of course, like if they’re considering VR, but it’s more like that context of what are you thinking and not demanding a game and platform from our developers,” said Hines. “VR is still on our radar and it’s something we want to continue to support, but it’s got to be case-by-case, where does it make sense, and where is it a good fit. When we talk to devs we just want to make sure that they

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  • Football Nation VR Hosts the Virtual World Cup One of the team from developer Cherry Pop Games discusses trophies and golden boots.