• Lavan’s Magic Projector Transports Better Than Any Other VR Attraction
    Magic Projector Haptioscope Dreamscape Immersive Lost Pearl

    There is a cinematic element to all three of Dreamscape Immersive’s launch projects.

    Alien Zoo is just like a trip to Jurassic Park. The Blu grows from its origins wowing VR early adopters in Vive and Rift headsets at home in 2015 and 2016. On Dreamscape’s big stage, The Blu’s underwater encounters with giants of the deep becomes an even more grandiose multiplayer adventure. The engrossing immersive effects make for indelible memories.

    Lavan’s Magic Projector: The Lost Pearl

    Lavan’s Magic Projector, though, is one of the best introductions to VR available in 2019 — though it may not be very kid-friendly.

    There was a heavy Indiana Jones theme on this adventure. Photo provided by Dreamscape Immersive.

    It was 2012 when the Oculus Rift Kickstarter first promised people could “step into the game.” Seven years on most people at home only take a step or two in any direction while wearing an Oculus Rift or PlayStation VR headset. Excellent for Beat Saber, sure, but not for exploring large underground Indiana Jones-like temples.

    The Dreamscape system uses five sensors. Two sensors attach to the back of the hands and two attach to the top of your shoes. A fifth is mounted to the top of the Oculus Rift headset. This system fulfills the promise of the original Rift in spectacular fashion with full body tracking. Magic Projector ticketholders take a step through a doorway much like the one Dorothy Gale took for the first time on the big screen more than 70 years ago.

    Stepping Through The Screen

    Dreamscape launched a trial run early last year of Alien Zoo followed by a more permanent location at one of the highest end malls in the Los Angeles Area — Westfield Century City. The Blu, Alien Zoo and Lavan’s Magic Projector are $20 per ticket and vary enough for each to feel surprising, even if you’ve seen the other two.

    Here is the official description:

    In 1936, American inventor Clarissa Lavan announced an invention that would change motion pictures forever – the Haptioscope, a projector that not only showed movies, but allowed you to enter into them. But on the night before its premiere, Clarissa mysteriously vanished, and her invention was lost to time. Until now. Dreamscape Immersive has rebuilt the fabled Haptioscope. Those brave enough to step into its unknown worlds, need only to turn it on.

    A look at the check in booth. Photo provided by Dreamscape Immersive.

    The entry to Dreamscape is a standard tablet-based onboarding process. Ticketholders need to sign the agreement and pick an avatar. Dreamscape sets an age guideline of at least 10 years old and 48-inches tall to participate. Unfortunately, none of the avatars are proportioned for children. That means a young girl joining us on our journey was proportioned and had features like an adult while bout half as tall as the rest of us.

    Age Guideline

    The Magic Projector’s elements are potentially frightening to those stretching the age guideline.

    The little girl who joined us held her guardian’s hand and bravely followed her through the underground temple’s traps.

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  • HaptX VR Gloves Uses Telerobotics To Transmit Touch Across The Globe

    HaptX lets you control a robotic hand, and feel what the robot feels, anywhere in the globe. During the 1950’s Ralph Mosher, project engineer behind GE’s Cybernetic Anthropomorphic Machines Systems (CAMS), pursued the idea of using robotics as an extension of human arms in a way that could precisely mimic human movements in real-time. The

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  • Facebook ‘Open To Weird, Artsy Games’ For Oculus Quest If ‘High-Quality’
    oculus quest controllers casting

    When asked if Oculus Quest store curation will allow for “weird, artsy games”, Facebook’s Chris Pruett had the following to say:

    We are absolutely open to weird, artsy games (which describes some of my favorite titles!) as long as they are polished and high-quality. Our core goal is to ensure that everything in our store finds an audience that wants to engage, whether that be a mainstream title or a niche. My advice here is to focus on making the artistry of your work shine.

    Last week Facebook announced Quest’s store would have a different content policy than previous headsets — a more console-like policy. On Rift and Go developers submit near-finished games. On Quest, Facebook wants developers to submit a “concept document” early in development. The claimed goal is to have a “high quality” content catalog with “polish, substance, and depth”.

    This has lead to concern among developers as to just how restrictive the curation will be. Additionally, it’s still unclear exactly what Facebook’s definition of “high quality” is. Games, like all art, are inherently subjective. Pruett’s comments on openness to “weird, artsy” games may dispel some concerns that the curation would stifle gameplay innovation.

    But what if, despite a developer’s best efforts, their game is still rejected? Pruett suggests the best course of action would be to release on Rift instead. Facebook isn’t changing the Rift store’s more lax content policy, as it sees the PC as a more “experimental” platform where players are more tolerant of quality issues. If the game does well on Rift, Pruett tells developers to “use your success there as an argument for Quest”.

    Tagged with: facebook, oculus, Oculus Quest, oculus store

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  • Oculus Quest and Go Enterprise Edition’s in Development for 2019 A recent job vacancy has revealed all.
  • Have an Early Holiday as Owlchemy Labs Confirm a Release Date for Vacation Simulator PC VR headsets will see an earlier launch than PlayStation VR.
  • The Morrigan Offers Simple But Enjoyable VR Dungeon Crawling
    The Morrigan VR Dungeon Crawler

    We’ve been here a fair few times now. The dingy confines of dungeon hallways have become a second home to VR fanatics. Their hidden keys are our lost TV remotes, dislodged stones are neglected renovation projects. The dungeon crawler is VR doing what comes naturally to it; sword-swinging, arrow flinging action, with a good bit of inventory shuffling and pretend food eating in the mix for good measure.

    That seems to be The Morrigan in a nutshell.

    This is the VR debut from The Pixel Mine, a UK-based indie developer that includes Framestore VR developer, Micheal Cable. Cable is working on the game in his spare time. It is, for all intents and purposes, Vanishing Realms with a slightly fresher coat of paint. You get the same core thrills here that you did in 2016; locking blades with skeleton warriors, lighting up corridors with a torch in-hand and trading arrows with archers. That spark of authentic adventuring is still there, though The Morrigan does show threatening signs of a genre turning stale.

    “VR is really hard to do well and I wanted to fully immerse myself in the problems and look at solutions,” Cable tells me over email. “I wanted to challenge myself and explore more of the VR space in terms of interaction and gameplay than I had in the past.”

    Levels come in snackable sizes, usually revolving around a featured setpiece or hook. Cable tells me he wanted to capture the spirit of films like Indiana Jones and the swashbuckling sword combat of Errol Flynn battles. One mission had me navigating a maze-like garden with sharp corners hiding lumbering skeletons that give you a fright. Another channels its inner Lord of the Rings with a fight sequence across an enormous bridge. It’s a slideshow of different design tropes, a greatest hits of fantasy cinema and gaming stuffed into a VR headset. There’s the leap of the heart when a set of spikes suddenly springs up in front of you, the undeniable satisfaction of a successful parry and the unbeatable immersion of nocking an arrow onto your bow.

    One appreciated touch is the ability to pick up enemy’s weapons once they’ve been defeated. Your arsenal will quickly fill up with an assortment of swords, shields and even a hammer or two. At its very foundation, simply existing in The Morrigan’s world, holding a torch up high to light the way and keeping your sword at the ready, feels great.

    All of that is well and good, but it’s been seen before and, in some areas, surpassed. The Morrgian’s combat system is a familiar face at a time when others are breaking new ground. It works soundly on paper; you need to align the sharp end of your blade with your foe and then take a proper swing (not just a wrist-waggle) to do damage. Enemies generously telegraph their sword swings, giving you time to parry before swiping at exposed body parts. It works well if you show patience and stick to the rules. There’s a play time joy to

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  • Oculus Go & Quest Enterprise Editions Expected To Launch This Year
    oculus quest oculus go

    A job listing spotted by Variety reveals that “Enterprise Editions” of Oculus Go and Quest are in the works. The listing claims that the editions will launch “in 2019”.

    The job is listed as having the following responsibilities:

    Design and develop enterprise features into Oculus mobile VR system applications
    Design and develop VR frameworks to enable enterprise use cases such as corporate training
    Ensure security and privacy concerns remain a top priority and are identified and addressed
    Work with external developers innovating on future-of-work experiences

    Facebook already sells Oculus Go to businesses through the Oculus For Business program. At $299 per unit the bundle includes 64GB of storage, a commercial warranty, and two facial interfaces.

    But the software is still not tailored for enterprise use. Facebook’s target with Go has been mass market consumers. Features needed to make it a practical business product like a kiosk mode still don’t exist, but it’s planned for future. The OS also can’t be locked down or customized for enterprise needs.

    HTC on the other hand has taken the opposite approach. The Vive Focus standalone is intended primarily for enterprise, not consumers. For $150 per headset the company offers Kiosk Mode, batch configuration, and remote app deployment. Just last month a higher end version, Vive Focus Plus, was announced with 6DoF controllers.

    Enterprise editions of Go and Quest could be significant competition for HTC. While a less capable device, Go is only a fraction of the cost. And Quest offers the same resolution and 6DoF controllers capability as the Focus Plus- yet still at a lower price. If the Focus Plus is considerably higher priced than the $599 Focus, HTC could be in trouble in the enterprise market.

    Tagged with: facebook, HTC Vive Focus Plus, oculus, Oculus Go, Oculus Quest

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  • Vacation Simulator Release Date Finally Announced (For PC)
    Vacation Simulator Release Date Finally Announced (For PC)

    Summer starts a little early this year. So do winter and spring, for that matter. The Vacation Simulator release date has just been revealed and you won’t have to wait long to play it.

    Owlchemy Labs’ follow-up to Job Simulator hits PC VR on April 9th. It was originally scheduled to come out late last year but suffered a last-minute delay. The previously-confirmed PSVR version will follow later on in the summer. It’s set to cost $29.99 at launch. Check out the game’s various locations in the trailer below.

    Set in the year 2060, Vacation Simulator sees robots attempt to replicate the ancient art of the human vacation. As with Job Simulator, though, don’t expect everything about the world to be entirely accurate. These games are about experimenting with virtual worlds and pushing the limits of interactivity. Job Simulator’s lovable brainless bots are also back, and this time more interactive. You can simply wave to them to start connecting with them.

    “You don’t need a button, you immediately go to wave and it just feels natural,” said Andrew Eiche, Chief Technology Owl and Cable Slinger at Owlchemy Labs in a prepared statement. “It’s a simple, powerful interaction that allows players to interact with characters and connect with the VR world in a very personal way.”

    As the trailer reveals, Vacation Simulator is comprised of four destinations. The previously-seen Beach area lets you build sandcastles and head underwater, whereas a new Forest locale allows for bird-watching and fishing. There’s also a new Winter world where you can throw snowballs and chill in a hot tub. Finally, there’s a resort hub world. As previously revealed, you can explore these locations as your own personalized avatar, too.

    In a prepared statement, Owlchemy Labs CEO Devin Reimer called the game “bigger than anything we’ve ever done”.

    Vacation Simulator is Owlchemy’s first major release since it was acquired by Google in May 2017.

    Tagged with: owlchemy labs, Vacation Simulator

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  • Soundscape VR is Reaching for the Stars With Multiplayer Expansion Soundscape Universe There's a bunch of new features to heighten the user experience.
  • Stephen Hawking VR Experience Takes You On A Tour Of The Universe
    Stephen Hawking VR Atlantic Productions

    A new VR experience will take users on a tour of the universe with none other than Professor Stephen Hawking.

    UK-based Atlantic Productions announced Stephen Hawking’s Black Holes Immersive Experience last week. The production company had been working on the piece with the physicist himself before his death in March 2018. It’s a location-based VR experience that will include narration from Hawking himself. It’s due for release in early 2020 alongside a new theatrical documentary recounting Hawking’s life.

    That’s about all we know for now. We don’t know where the piece will be hosted nor which headset it will use.

    “We are especially pleased as our father always searched for innovative ways to explain science to the widest audience possible and was fascinated by the potential of new technologies to enthral his audience,” Lucy Hawking, Professor Hawking’s daughter, said in a prepared statement. “This project, which began in his office in Cambridge two years ago, will now take viewers on a stunning cosmic journey to reveal our father’s vision of the universe.”

    We can’t wait to see more of this project. Experiences like Spheres prove that VR is the perfect medium for space exploration. Combining that sense of immersion with Professor Hawking’s passion for and knowledge of the universe could make for amazing VR.

    Atlantic Productions is no stranger to VR. The studio’s immersive offshoot, Alchemy VR, has worked on experiences starring Sir David Attenborough, Tim Peake Dame Judi Dench and many more. The company’s Space Descent VR with Tim Peake piece is currently showing at the Science Museum in London.

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  • Enjoy Unlimited Gaming for a Month With Viveport Infinity’s Latest Offer Viveport Infinity launches 2nd April.
  • Massive PC VR Savings To Be Had In Humble Bundle VR Sale
    Massive PC VR Savings To Be Had In Humble Bundle VR Sale

    Humble Bundle’s latest sale is all about VR, and it’s got some frankly brilliant bargains.

    Let’s start with 50% off of Budget Cuts, shall we? Neat Corp’s stealth ’em up might not have been entirely to our liking but it’s grown a hearty fanbase. The same can be said for Bethesda’s Doom VFR, which is all 50% off. Killing Floor: Incursion, L.A. Noire, To The Top and Sprint Vector also get the half price treatment.

    But let’s talk about some really excellent deals. Stuff that you might not have played before? We’ll kick off with 66% off of Torn, taking it to $10.19. This is a visually-rich and thematically interesting little adventure with some great puzzles. At this price you’d be mad to miss it.

    If it’s some more substantial VR puzzling you’re looking for then you have to pick up The Talos Principle VR. Croteam’s superb existential brain teaser is not only a pitch-perfect port but it offers the entire DLC too. For 85% off (!), you can’t miss this at $5.99. Oh, and Star Trek: Bridge Crew at 70% off ($11.99) is a steal too.

    Rounding things off, an early 10% sale for the excellent A Fisherman’s Tale is appreciated. The excellent The Exorcist: Legion VR is also offering its entire five-part series for 20% off ($19.96).

    If you’ve just picked up a PC VR headset then this sale is a great place to start. And, if you’re planning to get a Vive Cosmos or the rumored Rift S this year, you might want to consider some early purchases too.

    Tagged with: deals, Humble Bundle, The Talos Principle, Torn, VR sale

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  • Japan’s New VR Ninja Dojo Actually Trains You To Be An Assassin
    vr ninja dojo japan

    Leave it to Japan to take location-based VR to the next level. As if Mario Kart and Dragonball VR experiences weren’t enough, you can soon train to be a ninja in VR. Really.

    The VR Ninja Dojo isn’t just some flashy wave-based VR arcade game. Well, it isn’t just that at least. It’s a full theatrical experience. Launching in Tokyo later this month, you’ll dress up at a ninja and undergo rigorous training. Throw ninja stars, learn how to wield a sword, maybe slit a throat or two (not really). Lessons are conducted in English. I’m not entirely convinced ancient ninja lessons would have been in English too, but there we go. Check out the flashy trailer below.

    Once the training’s over, you’ll adorn an HTC Vive headset. You’ll then be outfitted with a range of Vive Trackers fitted to your arms and a sword handle. Now it’s time for the wave-based game. The VR game consists of fending off ancient monsters both big and small. You’ll slice them up with your blade but also hurl ninja stars because everyone wants to do that. Massive boss encounters top things off. You can see footage of it below.

    If you think that gameplay looks familiar that’s because it is. This is a new experience from Five for, the developer of Circle of Saviors. That was a VR app that went viral a few years ago thanks to one ass-kicking player showing everyone how it’s done.

    The VR Ninja Dojo opens On March 18th and is taking bookings now. Entry price at the door is 8,000 yen, which equates to about $71 dollars (yikes). The experience lasts around 75 – 90 minutes and also includes a VR photo.

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  • RAF Museum London to Launch a VR Experience Based on the Dambusters See and feel like you're inside a real Lancaster bomber.
  • AR Firm Biba Recognized As One Of The Top 10 Most Innovative Gaming Companies

    The developers behind AR-powered smart playgrounds Child obesity rates in the United States have soared since 1970. Nearly one in five school-age kids in the U.S. currently have the disease, and parents can blame—in part—kids’ increasing desire to sit on the couch. While a number of factors influence children’s inactivity, video games in particular rank

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