• Intriguing New VR Projects Unearthed In Final Unreal Dev Grant Round
    Project M VR

    Epic Games this week revealed its final round of Unreal Dev Grants. The program, which has been running for the past four years, offers funding to companies using Unreal Engine. It gives indie studios a leg up with no-string-attached funding.

    Most notably, though, it’s a chance to unearth some VR projects we hadn’t previously heard about. Epic issued $500,000 across 17 different companies, six of which are working in VR. On the gaming front, there’s SnapClick: Fossil Diggers FR from Australia-based The Orphanage. As the name suggests, it casts you as a paleontologist that uncovers dinosaur fossils. Once found you piece them together to make animated models of dinosaurs. Check it out in the trailer below.

    EVR Studios’ Project M is also a recipient. You may have seen a teaser for the experience back in 2017. It offers stunningly realistic virtual characters. The actual game will be a story-based adventure that we’re excited to see develop.

    Elsewhere there’s a location-based game named Eclipse – 4D Virtual Reality from Backlight. This is a space-set adventure in which four players are cast as astronauts light-years from home. They work together to make their way through a ship. Also on the arcade front is nDreams’ Shooty Fruity Arcade, a location-based adaptation of its popular wave shooter.

    In terms of film there’s a new project from Mr. Kite called Glimpse. It’s a short animation in which players become Herbie, a struggling artist (who is also a panda). Herbie is wallowing away in his studio, upset about his relationship with a deer. Sign us up.

    Finally there’s money for Virtual Helsinki, a project to digitally recreate the Finnish capital from Zoan.

    And that’s it. That’s all of the $5 million Epic pledged towards the grants four years ago now spent. That said, now that it’s earning Fortnite money, surely there’s grounds for an even bigger scheme to take its place.

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  • GDC 2019 Day 1 Roundup: Beat Saber For Quest, Vive Finger Tracking, OpenXR Release
    gdc 2019

    Now that the 2019 Game Developers Conference (GDC) is in full swing it can be tough to keep track of everything. Each day is jam-packed full of announcements and as we get the time to go hands-on with everything we’ve got impressions and news stories coming out extremely quickly.

    You can let this article serve as your one-stop shop for links to everything we’ve written about GDC 2019 to date. We’ll try to keep it updated within 24 hours of a story posting, but you should check the GDC tag or the UploadVR homepage for real-time updates on all current GDC stories.

    Day 1: Monday 18th March

    Beat Saber announced as Oculus Quest launch title: the most popular and widely known VR game to date will be available on day 1 for the $399 standalone headset

    HTC launched finger tracking for Vive and Vive Pro in a free SDK, as well as gesture tracking for Vive Focus

    OpenXR was provisionally released, letting developers make apps that work across all VR hardware

    NVIDIA claimed that their GeForce NOW streaming service will one day support VR on headsets such as the Vive Focus Plus 5G version

    Tagged with: GDC, gdc 2019

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  • Nvidia Says GeForce Now Will Enable Wireless Streaming VR/AR
    Nvidia Says GeForce Now Will Enable Wireless Streaming VR/AR

    GDC isn’t the only major tech event going on this week. The GPU Technology Conference (GTC) 2019 is also currently underway in Silicon Valley. GPU maker Nvidia just hosted its keynote and there are some interesting notes on the VR front.

    Specifically, the company revealed that it’s expanding its RTX Server lineup, increasing its cloud computing capabilities. Basically, it’s now got better technology running intensive applications in cloud data centers streamed right to your given device. In a blog post announcing the news, the company revealed it will have VR and AR applications running on “cloud-based hardware” at this week’s event.

    Going a step further, Nvidia also announced that its cloud streaming platform, GeForce Now, will “enable wireless VR and AR.” Currently available in Beta, GeForce now enables streaming of traditional games to a normal display.  In theory, bringing the experience to VR headsets could allow high-fidelity VR games to run on headsets that don’t have to local compute power to support them. We saw something similar at MWC last month when HTC demoed 5G streaming on its Vive Focus headset.

    Exactly when we’ll see any real-world results for all these big claims is unclear. The question with any kind of streaming service is always concerned with quality and latency. The latter is crucial for VR; anything more than a fraction of a millisecond of latency and the user will notice the drag.

    “At AT&T Foundry, using NVIDIA CloudVR software, we were able to play an interactive VR game, over a 5G radio streamed from an RTX Server,” the developer wrote in its blog. “The result was a great end user experience, with only 5ms of network delay and no observable performance loss.”

    If Nvidia can deliver on these claims it will be big for VR.

    Tagged with: GeForce Now, nvidia

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  • HTC Brings Gloveless Finger Tracking To Vive and Vive Pro, Gestures To Vive Focus
    vive pro finger tracking

    HTC released an SDK which allows developers to add finger tracking to their Vive or Vive Pro apps. For the Vive Focus standalone headset the SDK instead provides hand position and gesture recognition.

    The feature was first announced back in October. At the time HTC seemed to suggest it would not come to the regular Vive, but thankfully they’ve managed to pull it off. However the Pro will give better tracking quality thanks to its dual cameras.

    The software tracks 21 points on the hand at up to 30FPS on PC. On Vive Focus, the hand position tracking runs at 17FPS. As the tracking runs on the GPU, it shouldn’t affect CPU performance.

    The Vive Focus seemingly doesn’t have enough computing power for true finger tracking. Instead, it simply provides the position of the hand, not each finger. Gesture recognition is however available. It can tell the difference between pointing, making a fist, making an OK sign, and giving a thumbs up:

    The SDK is available as a free plugin for Unity or Unreal Engine. There’s also a C and C++ API. It’s not restricted to Viveport, so developers can use this in Steam apps too.

    Since the tracking is using the regular cameras on the headsets and not a depth sensor, HTC recommends against having “complicated backgrounds”. The lighting needs to be bright enough so your hands are visible but not so bright as to cause glare. To make things easier, HTC specifically suggests to “Roll up sleeves and make sure wrist is visible”

    The Potential

    In non-interactive VR experiences and social VR, controllers often feel more like a chore than a help. The ability to enter these experiences by just putting on a headset and seeing your real hands will be a welcome improvement.

    Enterprise customers using VR for tasks like architecture visualization often forgo controllers entirely due to this friction. Gaming-style controllers are simply much less appealing to non-gamers than directly seeing your hands.

    In social VR the ability to gesticulate freely with your real hands adds to immersion and increases social presence. I’ve spent a lot of time in platforms like AltSpaceVR- Leap Motion is by far my preferred method of input. Lets hope these kinds of apps integrate HTC’s new SDK soon.

    Tagged with: htc, htc vive, HTC Vive Pro, Viveport

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  • OptiTrack to Showcase its Signature Pulse Active Tracking Technology at GDC 2019 OptiTrack has lots to showcase to attendees.
  • John Carmack Used Beat Saber To Refine Oculus Quest Tracking
    Beat Saber Oculus Quest New

    Beat Saber might be VR’s savior in more ways that one according to John Carmack.

    Following today’s announcement that the hit VR game is coming to Quest, Carmack revealed an interesting fact. He said that he used the hit game to help refine Oculus Quest’s positional tracking. Specifically  Carmack was refining Quest’s six degrees of freedom (6DOF) extrapolation code. Beat Saber was his primary testing ground.

    I spent a couple weeks refining the 6dof extrapolation code, and the primary test was “does Beat Saber play better?” Which requires multiple runs after each change for statistical accuracy, of course.

    — John Carmack (@ID_AA_Carmack) March 18, 2019

    Oh, and as you can see from that tweet, Carmack is also currently third on Beat Saber Quest’s leaderboards.

    Extrapolation code refers to prediction algorithms for accurate tracking. It’s concerned with predicting how a user is going to move in an attempt to reduce any perceived latency. In the case of VR controllers, such code would use the kit’s accelerometers to decipher where a user is probably moving their hand next. Refining that code simply means getting faster, more accurate feedback out of the given device.

    Oculus confirmed to UploadVR that Carmack’s tweet was accurate. It was also quick to point out that Carmack was far from the only person eager to test Beat Saber on Quest. Big surprise.

    Carmack’s comments are pertinent given that, in today’s announcement, Beat Games itself spoke about Quest tracking. The developer said that the visuals “look absolutely stunning, gameplay is smooth and polished, and tracking is just great. Watching the game evolve on this platform was pretty exciting.”

    Tagged with: Beat Saber, john carmack, Oculus Quest

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  • Denmark Is Turning To VR To Combat Teen Drinking Problem

     The country uses VR to educate teenage drinkers on the dangerous effects of alcohol. Alcohol abuse amongst teens is a common issue across the globe, but in Denmark, it is a huge dilemma. Danish teens between the ages of 15 to 17 years-old are the heaviest drinkers for their age in Europe according to a

    The post Denmark Is Turning To VR To Combat Teen Drinking Problem appeared first on VRScout.

  • GDC 2019: Beat Saber Will Be An Oculus Quest Launch Title

    VR’s best-selling title is confirmed for release on the upcoming standalone headset. This years highly-anticipated Game Developers Conference kicked-off with a bang today as Oculus confirmed the release of Beat Games’ insanely popular beat-slashing rhythm game on the upcoming Oculus Quest. According to an official blog post released by Oculus earlier this morning, the Quest

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  • Beat Saber is Going Mobile, Confirmed as Oculus Quest Launch Title Light sword swinging with no cable restrictions.
  • World War Toons Developer Studio Roqovan has Closed The World War Toons IP will live on.
  • Beat Saber Confirmed As Oculus Quest Launch Title
    Beat Saber Confirmed As Oculus Quest Launch Title

    Facebook’s $400 Oculus Quest standalone VR headset is launching with Beat Saber in its lineup.

    For Facebook, Beat Saber was a must-get its Oculus Quest launch lineup. The game is a system seller for some buyers. If you don’t own a PS4 or a high-end gaming PC, Oculus Quest is also going to be the lowest cost way to enjoy the VR game.

    Beat Saber is rhythm slashing game first that was released in May last year for PC VR headsets. It launched on Sony’s PlayStation VR in November and, by February, sold more than 1 million copies across those systems. That makes it one of VR’s highest and fastest selling titles. Beat Saber doesn’t require high-end graphics hardware while making incredible use of 6dof controllers. The game makes players feel like powerful light-sword equipped warriors fighting in perfect sync to the music.

    We are of course extremely curious if Oculus Quest Insight tracking system is able to keep up with higher level difficulties seen in the game. We also asked representatives of Oculus and development studio Beat Games if the recently launched song pack will be included in the Quest version. We’ll update this post if we hear back. Beat Games also has other plans for Beat Saber in 2019, including multiplayer, and we don’t know how that feature might be implemented with regard to Quest.

    There are still lots of unannounced titles still to be revealed for the launch of Oculus Quest. Facebook promised more than 50 titles for the system in 2019 with games like Superhot and Face Your Fears shown previously.

    Tagged with: Beat Games, Beat Saber, Oculus Quest

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  • Oculus Quest ‘Tracking Is Just Great’ Says Beat Saber Studio
    Beat Saber gameplay

    Beat Saber is officially coming to Oculus Quest! The developers of the hit viral sensation had good things to say about the upcoming standalone headset.

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  • Khronos’ OpenXR 0.90 Provisional Spec for VR & AR Devices Launched at GDC 2019 OpenXR aims to solve the issue of XR fragmentation.
  • Community Download: What Are Your GDC 2019 Predictions?
    Community Download: What Are Your GDC 2019 Predictions?

    This week is GDC 2019, one of the most anticipated gaming events of the year and we're expecting some huge VR news. What are your best predictions?

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  • Epic Games Awards the Final Round of Unreal Dev Grants The last $500,000 has now been spent.