- Q&A: SculptrVR Completes Journey To All Major Platforms With PSVR Launch
Sculpting VR creativity platform SculptrVR is the work of just two people and yet, over the last two years, they’ve brought the software to practically every major VR platform. PSVR becomes the latest headset to get SculptrVR with a launch on June 19.
Nathan Rowe and Brandon Hjelstrom work together on the project, which is based around Rowe’s voxel engine while Hjelstrom “has done more of the interactions, multiplayer, and content server.” The software was originally released for the HTC Vive launch in April 2016. Here’s the original trailer:
And here is what it looks like more recently:
Each of the creators took the lead on different ports as they brought SculptrVR to more headsets — Oculus Touch, Gear VR, Go, Daydream and, now, PSVR. Bringing the software to so many headsets means Rowe and Hjelstrom faced a number of tough decisions and sacrifices along the way. After all, they started with a creativity platform built to take advantage of intuitive 6dof hand interactions and then they brought a version of it down to 3dof mobile headsets with multiplayer working between them. This means their software also offers unique insight into the advantages of each platform.
With the PSVR launch I thought it would be a good time for a Q&A with Rowe focused on some of the challenges they’ve faced bringing SculptrVR to so many VR headsets.
Q: Why did you pick Vive as your first platform and how did you plan to expand beyond there?
A: Vive was the first consumer VR headset to launch with integrated motion controllers, so it was the obvious place to launch first. We actually released SculptrVR on April 4, 2016 — one day before the Vive launch — because I saw a reddit post where someone already received their Vive. Our intention was to launch second on PSVR. That didn’t exactly pan out. We ended up launching on Rift, then Daydream, then GearVR and Go before finally hitting PSVR. We built SculptrVR in Unreal Engine 4 specifically because it was known to run well on PS4. We’ve had builds of SculptrVR running on PSVR since before its launch back in mid 2016! But back then SculptrVR was releasing major new content updates every couple weeks. We were evolving way too fast to lock down a build for PSVR launch.
Q: What was the biggest surprise or challenge in actually trying to implement a cross-platform VR game?
A: The Good: Multiplayer is easy. I said that wrong.. Multiplayer was hard, but once you have multiplayer working with dedicated servers, it automatically works on all platforms in UE4. Epic has had decades of time to mature their multiplayer framework, and it shows!
The Bad: Cross platform voice chat is surprisingly hard. It’s 2018 and FINALLY there’s starting to be easy to integrate cross-platform voice chat solutions. Until recently the only integrated voice chat solutions in UE4 were piggy-backing off one of the platforms. There’s Steam Chat, Oculus Chat, PlayStation Chat, etc., but they couldn’t talk to each other. Today we still haven’t implement cross platform
The post Q&A: SculptrVR Completes Journey To All Major Platforms With PSVR Launch appeared first on UploadVR.
- Catan VR Releases Onto Steam Catan VR arrives on Steam with cross-platform multiplayer.
- Media Molecule’s Vision for Dreams Revealed in New Artwork A further look at PlayStation 4 creation engine Dreams.
- Apple’s Memoji Are A Decade Late And Just In Time
Apple’s iOS 12 addition of Memoji — personalized “me” versions of its Animoji animated emoji — isn’t exactly novel. Video game makers realized the potential of avatars over a decade ago: Nintendo debuted Mii characters for the Wii back in 2006, and both Microsoft and Sony followed suit with avatars in 2008. So after Apple showed animal-focused Animoji last year, Samsung naturally responded with human AR Emoji. Apple’s eventual human response was inevitable.
Having played with Memoji for the past week in the first beta of iOS 12, as well as some of the prior avatar creation systems on game consoles, Apple’s decision to finally embrace this concept strikes me as highly familiar — yet still timely. Avatars started to make sense for video games a decade ago, but they haven’t had an obvious purpose on smartphones, tablets, or personal computers until recently. Now that VR and AR are starting to become popular and 5G phones are on the cusp of offering holographic video calling, it makes sense to have a 3D version of yourself ready for communications.
Memoji is a strong first step in the right direction for Apple. Apart from the absence of a feature that automatically analyzes a photo for a first stab at mimicking you, Apple’s tool for creating a personalized cartoony version of yourself is easy to use. You start with a bald yellow head; change the skin, hair, and eye colors; add hair, glasses, and/or earrings; and tweak eye, nose, ear, chin, and cheek shapes.
While additional customization options would certainly be welcome, the current tool can mimic a wide variety of human faces, or go as decidedly alien as characters from Guardians of the Galaxy. That said, you don’t get to create a body, and since the tool is entirely focused on emoji-style faces, Apple’s current implementation tends to create cherubic rather than realistic results.
The key difference between Memoji and most earlier avatars is that Apple’s TrueDepth camera hardware enables your face to move a Memoji’s mouth, eyes, head position, and tongue, with the iPhone X providing reasonably good head and facial tracking. You can overlap your head with a Memoji during a FaceTime call, send a video to a contact where the Memoji’s lips generally sync with your voice, or shoot a single picture off in place of an emoji. It’s not hard to imagine a day when Messages or FaceTime conversations between two or more people will take place entirely with avatars rather than with texts or live video.
That’s particularly appealing given that companies are working on holographic video calling — calls that depict you, your caller, and both of your surroundings with full 3D depth. Pulling this off with humans will require multiple depth-sensing cameras on various angles, but doing it with computer-generated avatars will be much easier. Today’s Memoji are over-the-top cartoony, but as Facebook recently showed at its F8 conference, Facebook Spaces cartoon avatars (below) have evolved over time to become increasingly detailed and realistic.
From my perspective, the biggest problem with Memoji is the exceptionally limited range of hardware currently required for the feature. As of today,
- Vuzix Launch Developer Center For Vuzix Blade AR Smart Glasses Providing resources to help developer build new applications.
- This Week In VR Sports: Coca-Cola Planes, eSports Dreams, And AR Games Experience virtual tours, fast paced eSports action and some augmented basketball.
- Neil Patrick Harris Wants More VR Videogames The American actor takes to Twitter to express his love for virtual reality.
- Multiplayer FPS Onward Is Free To Play This Weekend Experience tactical military action in virtual reality for free.
- Experience Anne Frank’s House In New VR Title From Oculus Get a virtual tour of Anne Frank's house and Secret Annex.
- UploadVR’s Best Of E3 2018 Game Awards
Now that E3 2018 is officially over we decided to take a look back at the week and discuss what we played. There wasn’t a whole lot of VR this year and overall it was a bit underwhelming for the industry, but there were a few highlights for each platform.
In order to name winners, we’ve decided to break down the awards into three categories: Best Rift Game, Best Vive Game, and Best PSVR Game. One of those will also be dubbed Best VR Games of E3 2018 and we’ll have a section at the end mentioning a few of our other favorites as well. Worth mentioning as well is that a game must have been playable in order for it to be considered. We’re as excited anyone about Stormland, but it wasn’t at the show, and The Elder Scrolls: Blades was only playable on mobile phones.
That’s about it, so let’s get to it!
Best Oculus Rift Game: Echo Combat
This is the first E3 in years that Oculus didn’t have its own dedicated booth at. Instead, they had a couple demo stations tucked away at the back of the Facebook Gaming booth. But that didn’t stop Echo Combat from being the standout Rift game over at the Alienware booth. Echo Combat is the next VR game from Ready at Dawn, creators of both Lone Echo and Echo Arena. By taking the core gameplay mechanics behind those two games and adding on layers of complexity with different guns and asking players to compete over a payload that’s traveling across the map, they’ve once again crafted an addicted, beautiful, and exhilarating zero-G VR experience that we can’t wait to play more.
Best HTC Vive Game: Prey TranStar and Typhon Hunter
There just weren’t very many games showcased for the HTC Vive this year at E3. The main one two that we got to see were Prey and Wolfenstein: Cyberpilot, but the latter really didn’t have a very good demo showing at all. In Prey, I played the TranStar VR experience which is basically a puzzle room full of interactive objects. It’s not very original, but it’s super polished and well done. The asynchronous multiplayer Typhon Hunter DLC will have VR support as well, which we are very excited about.
Best PSVR Game: Firewall: Zero Hour
Out of the big three VR headsets, Sony’s PSVR by far had the best showing and they barely even talked about VR at all publicly. On the show floor they had over a dozen VR demo stations featuring the likes of Astro Bot, Evasion, Megalith, Beat Saber, and more. But the best demo and by far our most-anticipated PSVR title to date is Firewall: Zero Hour. It plays out a lot like Rainbow Six, but in VR, and we can’t wait to dive in with our Aim Controller on all nine maps when it releases.
Honorable Mention: Tetris Effect
“It’s the kind of game you want to play at the end of a long day to get out of your own head.” That’s how famed
- Viveport Offering Free Titles Every Weekend as Part of Summer Promotion There's also up to 90% off select videogames on the platform.
- Snap Inc Introduce Development Kit Developers will be able to use Snap Kit to introduce Snapchat features into other apps and services.
- E3 2018 Hands-On – The Elder Scrolls: Blades Feels Like A Natural Fit For VR
When Bethesda announced a new Elder Scrolls game at their E3 2018 press conference, I got extremely excited. Knowing that it was a mobile game designed to leech off of Fallout Shelter’s massive success, I tempered my expectations, but it was still a landmark moment to see one of my all-time personal favorite game franchise’s get a new entry — mobile or otherwise. The later announcement of The Elder Scrolls VI was enough to just send me over the edge, but that’s unrelated here.
Todd Howard got on stage and explained that with The Elder Scrolls: Blades, they want to bring it to as many platforms as possible, which means mobile obviously, but also PC, consoles, and even VR. Even though he mentions VR, I made sure to ask Pete Hines, Bethesda’s SVP of Global Marketing and Communications, if that was just an idea or if it was actually definitely happening:
“It’s definitely coming to VR,” said Hines. “ wouldn’t get up on stage and say it’s coming to VR if it wasn’t. We are absolutely going to do it for VR. As for when or how long that version takes beyond the phone version I don’t have any idea. It was a thing where, because of the control system, it felt pretty natural for VR.”
So that’s reassuring at least. At E3 they only had demos of the mobile phone version, so that’s all I was able to play, but I’ve got a pretty good idea of how the game works and why I think it would be a natural fit for VR headsets later on down the line.
When I saw the trailer for the first time (embedded above) mobile VR immediately came to mind. The movement system in the mobile phone version of the game is either virtual joystick-based (as in, you hold your thumb on the screen and move it around like an imaginary joystick is beneath it) or you can just tap to move to a spot in the distance. The latter feels a bit like old-school isometric RPGs, such as Baldur’s Gate, except the view is first-person.
The tap to move scheme would work great in VR since it’s basically teleport movement already, or let us use the joystick and trackpads of the Rift and Vive to move around easily. Done.
I didn’t get to try out a whole lot of the game, really just wandered around a castle dungeon and forest killing spiders and skeletons. For combat, everything I saw was purely one-on-one based. When you initiate, the camera centers on the enemy. At the bottom left there’s a block button, which can be timed to cause a small stagger, as well as ability buttons for shield bash and spells. It’s unclear if magic will be utilized in any other way.
To attack you just hold your thumb over the enemy and try to release it as soon as the two circles overlap each other. I liked the system because of how easy to pick up and do it
The post E3 2018 Hands-On – The Elder Scrolls: Blades Feels Like A Natural Fit For VR appeared first on UploadVR.
- Teamwork and Strategy Form the Core of Firewall Zero Hour Some of the developers from First Contact entertainment stepped up to discuss upcoming VR first person shooter.
- The Battle Against VR Sim Sickness Continues, Says Jason Rubin At E3 As VR enters a new phase, developers are still searching for new ways to tackle simulation sickness.