• The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Odyssey To Support Nintendo Labo VR
    The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Mario Odyssey To Support Nintendo Labo VR

    Okay, someone may need to pinch me. It appears I’m dreaming. Nintendo just announced that two of its biggest Switch games will get support for its Labo VR headset later this month. One is Super Mario Odyssey and the other is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

    This can’t be right, can it? I’m asleep still, surely.

    Both games will get free updates adding support on April 25th. Super Mario Odyssey will be getting a new mini-mode with fresh challenges. From the looks of the video below you’ll play the game much like you do other VR platformers like Astro Bot and Moss.

    As for Breath of the Wild, Nintendo says the entire game will be playable in VR, just without the cutscenes. It doesn’t appear to change the perspective — it will still be third-person — but you’ll be able to turn VR support on and off via a menu.

    Experience 2 beloved games in new ways with the Toy-Con VR Goggles from the #NintendoLabo: VR Kit!

    — Nintendo of America (@NintendoAmerica) April 5, 2019

    This was unexpected news to say the least. Labo VR itself launches on April 12th. It’s a set of cardboard-based peripherals users hold up to their head. As far as we know, there’s no headstrap, so you’ll have to keep the kit fixed to your head yourself as you play. Still, a lot of us had assumed that Switch just wouldn’t be able to run Breath of the Wild-sized games in VR. The headset has a 720p display and there won’t be any positional tracking, so we’re still not expecting a high-end experience.

    We’ll have to reserve judgement for the full release but, for now, color us intrigued. Just pinch me one more time.

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  • Asynchronous Spacewarp 2.0 Released For Rift, Promising Greatly Reduced ASW Artifacts
    Asynchronous Spacewarp 2.0 Released For Rift, Promising Greatly Reduced ASW Artifacts

    Facebook finally released Asynchronous Spacewarp 2.0 for the Oculus Rift and Rift S PC VR headsets. This should result in far fewer visual artifacts when ASW is enabled.

    What is ASW?

    Low framerate in VR is not just a visual annoyance, but can actually cause discomfort and even sickness. Your graphics card failing to maintain framerate can be incredibly frustrating. ASW was invented to minimize these issues.

    The original Asynchronous SpaceWarp (ASW) was released in December 2016. When your GPU isn’t maintaining framerate in VR, ASW kicks in automatically. It forces the running app to render at half the refresh rate of the headset and generates a synthetic frame after each real frame. So when ASW is engaged, half the frames are real and half are synthetic. Whenever performance returns to normal, ASW deactivates and the app returns to normal rendering.

    Valve added a similar feature for the HTC Vive in SteamVR in November called “Motion Smoothing”. Windows MR headsets have “Motion Reprojection”. Earlier this month, Pimax added a similar feature called “Smart Smoothing”.

    ASW 2.0: Incorporating Depth

    ASW 1.0, like the similar technologies from other companies, uses the changes (ie. motion) between previous frames to generate the synthetic frames. The result is preferable to dropped frames. However, since it has no understanding of depth, only color, their extrapolation is imperfect so there can be visual artifacts such as seen in the video above.

    The major change of ASW 2.0 is that it now incorporates understanding of depth. This should enhance the quality of the extrapolation and result in much fewer artifacts. It could make it hard to distinguish between ASW and real frames — and that could radically improve the Rift experience on weaker GPUs.

    Facebook claims ASW 2.0 also reduces headset latency because timewarp itself is now positional. The company also claims it will work even when the app drops below half framerate.

    Unlike all the other techniques so far however, ASW 2.0 won’t work on just any app. The developer has to submit their depth buffer each frame, otherwise it will fall back to ASW 1.0.

    Both Unity and Unreal Engine, which together power the vast majority of VR apps, now submit depth by default when using their Oculus integrations.

    ASW isn’t available on Oculus Quest, as the mobile hardware isn’t powerful enough to do the extrapolation.

    Want more detail on the various reprojection technologies and how they work? Read our guide: VR Timewarp, Spacewarp, Reprojection, And Motion Smoothing Explained.

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  • Vader Immortal Will Bring ‘Lightsaber Battle’ To The Oculus Quest

    ILMxLAB teases lightsaber game mechanics in their upcoming Star Wars VR series. With this year’s official Star Wars Celebration set to kick off next week in Chicago, the rumor of possible announcements regarding both Star Wars Episode IX and The Mandalorian is in full swing as fans prepare for any new updates surrounding the highly-anticipated

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  • Five Incredible Fan-Made VR Games You Can Play Right Now

    If you want something done right, sometimes you have to do it yourself. I think it’s fair to say most of us are familiar with the concept behind fan-made games. Hard-core devotees with some spare time and at least partial game development experience take it upon themselves to help bring their interest–whether it be a

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  • ‘Lightsaber Battle’ Confirmed For Vader Immortal On Quest
    Star Wars: Vader Immortal Episode 1

    ‘A panel at the upcoming Star Wars Celebration will detail “breakthroughs” with “lightsaber battle” in Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series.

    The panel will be streamed live at 11:30 am Pacific time on April 12.

    Little is known about the Darth Vader-focused VR series from writer and executive producer David S. Goyer, but the panel will bring him and “narrative designer Mohen Leo to discuss the creation of the first installment, while Lucasfilm Story Group creative executive Matt Martin will explore how the project ties into the broader Star Wars canon.” Facebook’s Colum Slevin, who previously worked at Lucasfilm, will be there as well discussing the project’s debut on Oculus Quest.

    The teaser for the project at the OC5 VR developer conference revealed a fiery planet and the promise of going toe-to-toe with the dark lord. Until now, though, lightsaber battle hasn’t been formally confirmed for the game.

    ILMxLab is the group responsible for virtual pet Project Porg on the Magic Leap AR headset as well as the VR attraction Secrets Of The Empire, available at VOID locations. In 2016, the group released the experimental Trials On Tattooine on Steam for Vive headsets featuring a brief encounter with the Millenium Falcon and R2-D2.

    Facebook is slowly revealing its list of launch titles for its Oculus Quest standalone, and Vader is playing a major part in the company’s marketing.

    “This is the one I’ve been searching for,” Vader says in the most recent ad.

    We’ll be watching the Star Wars Celebration panel stream live and will share any meaningful updates.

    Tagged with: Lightsaber, Oculus Quest, Vader Immortal

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  • No Man’s Sky Dev: ‘We May Be The Most-Owned Game With VR Support’
    no mans sky vr planet

    Unless you’ve been living on another planet for the past week (which is quite possible), you probably know that No Man’s Sky VR is coming this summer. You also probably know that VR support will arrive on PS4 and PC as a free update to anyone that already owns the game. That’s a generous upgrade for those with VR headsets, but developer Hello Games made an interesting observation about that fact.

    Speaking to UploadVR the team’s Sean Murray noted that No Man’s Sky could well become the most-owned game with VR support overnight. “Last year, .

    “But, what I wanted to say is, and this is a weird thing; we will be probably one of the few or the game that will be owned by the most people that has VR support.”

    True, sales figures for No Man’s Sky have never been revealed, but Murray’s estimate could be on point. VR native games are held back by the relatively limited install base of current headsets. Sony’s PSVR has sold 4.2 million units, for example, which is considered (though not confirmed) to be the highest-selling PC or console-based device. In comparison, the PS4 alone has sold well over 90 million units worldwide.

    There’s just one other flatscreen game that’s bound to have sold more than No Man’s Sky and has VR support: Minecraft. That’s guesswork of course but we doubt even No Man’s Sky’s sales measure up to Mojang’s behemoth. That said, Minecraft only supports PC VR, not PSVR.

    “That is interesting, I think, at the very least,” Murray continued. “It will be really interesting to see what it does for people, whether they think “Well, I’ve already got this game. Maybe I’ll try it out with the headset.” Or “Maybe I’ll turn on my headset.””

    Or, perhaps, how many potential headset sales could No Man’s Sky VR drive? That’s an exciting proposition indeed. We’ve been hands-on with the game and, to put it simply, it feels like a dream come true.

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  • Jason Rubin: Oculus Rift 2 Would ‘Need To Include Radical New Tech’
    Jason Rubin: Oculus Rift 2 Would ‘Need To Include Radical New Tech’

    The Oculus Rift S was introduced to a somewhat mixed reception last month. Oculus touted a device that made it simpler and easier to get into VR with incremental improvements. Many were instead hoping for something that raised the bar for PC VR. But, clearly, Rift S is not Rift 2. VP of Content Jason Rubin says that, to earn that name, a new headset would have to make big strides.

    “I think if we did something we honestly called a 2 and felt comfortable with that name, it would need to include radical new tech,” Rubin told Variety in an interview published this week. “Like body tracking, eye tracking, a new form of input, a lot of things that would create a new ecosystem.”

    We have seen glimpses of what Rubin’s talking about in prototype headsets shown by Facebook’s R&D labs. Last year, for example, Oculus showcased the Half-Dome prototype. It was a big step over the Rift, with a 140-degree field of view and varifocal displays. In comparison, Rift S has the same functionality as the original Rift, it just removes some of the clutter. There’s no need for external tracking sensors thanks to inside-out tech, for example.

    We’ve also seen teases of Facebook sampling hand-tracking gloves and implementing features like eye-tracking. “If we added things like that it would radically change the ecosystem,” Rubin said.

    Don’t expect Oculus to make that change for a while, then. Meanwhile, VR enthusiasts are pinning their hopes on Valve’s mysterious new headset, the Index, as the next step in high-end VR.

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  • ZenART VR Seeks Kickstarter Funding for Photo Realistic Travel App The campaign hopes to raise $75,000.
  • Iron Man VR Uses Prediction And ‘Black Magic’ For 360 Tracking On PSVR
    Iron Man VR 3

    Iron Man VR was one of the nicest surprises at Sony’s PSVR event last week. True, we already knew about the game, but many agree the reveal trailer didn’t do it much justice. When we actually played the game, though, we found something with a surprising degree of freedom, including 360 degree gameplay. Yes, on PSVR.

    How on earth does that work?

    As you probably know, PSVR is tracked by a single camera. This allows affords you 180 degrees of play space when using two Move controllers. Turn around, though, and the camera will lose sight on the Moves. But in Iron Man VR the player can spin around and fire off repulsor blasts seemingly free of concern. Camouflaj Studio Head Ryan Payton explained to GamesBeat how it pulled this off.

    “We have some absolute wizards working at Camouflaj and our development partners at Dark Wind in New York,” Payton said. “They weren’t intimidated by the challenge of having only the single PlayStation VR camera. We designed the game so players can move around 360, uninhibited, and not have to worry about where they’re looking and whether they’re facing the camera. There’s a bunch of tricks underneath the hood, a dozen or so unique things we’re doing that are predictive, that use the gyroscope in the Move controllers.

    He added that the prediction algorithm the team had created as ‘very’ accurate. Lots of VR hardware companies rely on predictive tech to deliver more immersive experiences, but this is the first time we’ve heard of a game developer utilizing such a system.

    Of course, we’ll need to get some longer time with Iron Man VR to test the limits of those predictions. For now, though, it seems like the developers have a small miracle on their hands. We’ll find out more as Iron Man VR races towards its 2019 release window.

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  • Why it’s Time to Reinvent the Vocabulary of Virtual Reality Joel Khalili's latest guest post surmises VR's marketing language needs an overhaul.
  • Nat Martin Wants To Change The Way You Interact With AR Environments

    Nat Martin and his team have created an AR controller that is sparking a lot of interest with big tech companies. Nat Martin received a lot of attention in 2017 when Tech Insider released a video showing how Martin re-imagined the way you could interact with AR through a device he called a Scroll ring, a device

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  • Oculus Introduces Next Generation Of VR Avatars With ‘Expressive Avatars’ Update

    More lifelike avatars and a new avatar editor arrive on Oculus Rift & Go headsets. Since launching in December of 2016, Oculus Avatars has brought a much-needed sense of humanity to the Oculus platform, allowing users to interact with one another on a personal level while in VR. With every new update, the platform has

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  • Is it the Beginning of the end for PlayStation VR’s Dark Eclipse? All purchasable content from the PlayStation Store will cease in July for Dark Eclipse.
  • Oculus Avatars Become Even More Expressive and Customizable in new Update It's all in the eyes.
  • Hands-On: Blood & Truth Is Shaping Up To Be A True PSVR Blockbuster
    Hands-On: Blood & Truth Is Shaping Up To Be A True PSVR Blockbuster

    We have played Blood & Truth a lot over the last couple of years. In fact, this is our fifth hands-on preview of the game (here is one, two, three, and four). Back when it was first announced I got my hands on an early demo that took place in a hotel casino and, to be honest, the movement system was a bit off-putting despite the locale being great. I didn’t like how everything felt on-rails and you couldn’t manually pick where to move around. But now after seeing so many other areas of the world and getting a better sense for the pacing and how well everything flows, I totally get it.

    Blood & Truth isn’t a game that lets you go wherever you want because it’s not about that. It’s about delivering a very specific action hero feeling that’s tied to action films such as James Bond, Mission Impossible, and Jason Bourne. You go from point A to point B as quickly as possible, killing anyone that gets in your way, and it’s just a non-stop adrenaline-pumping thrill-ride. After playing it again last week at a pre-PAX East demo event I’m more excited than ever to sit back and enjoy the show.

    If you played The London Heist on PSVR Worlds then you have a good frame of reference. That short vignette was only about an hour or so long and was very small in scope, but it was developed by the exact same team at Sony’s London Studio. Ever since then (that’s about two and a half years) their studio of 85+ people has been heads down working on Blood & Truth as a full-fledged spiritual successor.

    In it you take on the role of a special agent that’s in the middle of an interrogation. As the interrogator presses you for details on your past, you relive those missions through flashbacks which formulate the actual missions in the game itself. It’s a good format that lets them tell a non-chronological story across various locales without feeling disjointed.

    Ian Wright, the Design Director on the game, tells me that you’ll be able to replay missions to get a higher score and you’ll even be able to try them out using new weapons you’ve unlocked later on for more of a challenge or just to blow stuff up even more. Since it’s a linear action game, that sort of replayability will be important for lots of people that enjoy spending more time with Blood & Truth after the credits roll. But since it clocks in at around six hours total from start to finish, it’s got a decent amount of meat on its bones for a game of this type.

    The above demo and video interview are from a preview event held in October 2017.

    The best thing about the mission I tried last week is just how varied it was. There were moments of stealth where I ducked from cover point to cover point. I picked locks. I set C4 charges and

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