• The VR Job Hub: Flight School Studio, Resolution Games and More A few jobs here, a few jobs there...
  • Stress Level Zero Teases Next Gen Experimental VR Game ‘Boneworks’

    Valve Knuckle controllers bring a new level of detail to this physics-based adventure game. Best known for their multiplayer shooter Hover Junkers, as well as the fantastically bizarre Duck Season, LA-based developer Stress Level Zero has been pumping out AAA VR titles since 2016. Last year however, the team released a video on their Node

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  • Oculus Quest ‘Significantly Faster’ Than Oculus Go, 6DoF Tracking ‘Doesn’t Affect’ Performance
    oculus quest rear

    Oculus Director of Ecosystem Chris Pruett revealed in a forum AMA yesterday that Oculus Quest will be “significantly faster” than Oculus Go:

    Quest is significantly faster than Oculus Go from both a CPU and GPU perspective. Part of this is just the raw performance of the chipset itself, but a lot of it has to do with the effort we’ve put into the design of the headset and the core rendering architecture. Tracking isn’t in contention with and doesn’t affect the performance of your application.

    Oculus Quest is essentially a VR games console. Like Go it is standalone with all the compute onboard, but unlike Go it has room scale tracking and Touch controllers.

    Whereas Go features a Snapdragon 821 chipset, Quest uses the newer and faster Snapdragon 835. It’s around 30% more powerful, or can achieve the same performance with around 40% less energy.

    It’s All About The Cooling

    But the chip itself likely isn’t the main reason for the “significant” performance improvement. Like Pruett’s comments suggest, it’s also the design of the headset.

    A key element often overlooked in computing hardware performance is cooling. The limiting factor in smartphones for example is not the chip’s raw capability, but the fact that when running at full speed it will very quickly exceed its maximum temperature. To avoid hardware damage the chip must then downclock itself until it cools down more, or even shut down. This is called thermal throttling.

    Oculus Go features a heatpipe, but not a fan

    Thermal throttling is arguably the core flaw of smartphone VR. It can limit graphically intense experiences to a matter of minutes. To overcome this, Go used a heatpipe and the entire front is metal, allowing it to act as a heatsink.

    This cooling system allowed Facebook to overclock the Snapdragon 821, and to sustain that performance for hours. The result was that Oculus Go performs “significantly better” than a Galaxy S7 using the same chip.

    Quest goes even further with cooling by adding an active cooling fan. This has rarely ever been done with ARM processors. The new Apple TV and the HTC Vive Focus are the only instances on the consumer market we know of.

    With the active cooling system, Quest should be able to have higher clockspeeds than smartphones or Oculus Go. Everything still needs to be rendered for each eye but the higher clock speed should provide more complex and detailed virtual worlds compared with Go. Of course, Quest will still not come close to the power of a PC.

    Hardware Accelerated Tracking

    Interestingly, Pruett confirmed that the 6DoF headset and controller tracking “doesn’t affect” performance. Developers seemingly won’t have to worry about it when optimizing their game.

    This is because tracking is not done on the CPU, but rather on the Hexagon DSP- digital signal processor. DSPs are dedicated programmable chips designed specifically for sensor and image processing. Smartphones mostly use the DSP to enhance the photos taken by their cameras- Quest uses it for VR tracking.

    Tagged with: facebook, insight, oculus, Oculus Go, oculus insight, Oculus Quest

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  • Stress Level Zero’s Latest VR Title Boneworks is an Experimental Physics Game It's due out at some point this year.
  • Vive Focus Plus Doesn’t Feel Quite Ready For Prime Time
    Vive Focus Plus Hands-On

    I got to HTC Vive’s booth at 10am on the first morning of Mobile World Congress. My first order of the day was an interview with General Manager Dan O’Brien, which took me to around 10:45am. Then I got my hands on HTC’s 5G demo, which used a Vive Focus Plus to stream PC VR. It was now 11am. The booth had been open for two hours. I was ready to go in search of more Focus Plus demos.

    The problem is, they were all out of batteries. All three of them.

    I had some pretty conflicting experiences with HTC’s new standalone headset at MWC. The trouble is it’s tough to know whether this speaks more to the quality of the headset or the difficulties of demoing inside-out tracking on a busy show floor.

    My 5G demo, for instance, seemed quite positive at first glance. As I wrote about in my preview earlier this week, streaming over HTC’s 5G hub added on some noticeable latency, but tracking overall seemed solid. The redesigned headset, meanwhile, was comfortable to wear. According to HTC, Focus Plus also features improved optics. It was hard to see much difference without the old model right next to me. It felt around the same quality as a Vive Pro, either way.

    My experience was considerably worse in my other demo, though. Around 20 minutes after finding out all the headset’s batteries were flat I returned to find medical company SimforHealth with a fresh device. The company was showing a medical training app that teaches nurses to change dressings when in a patient’s home.

    Things started off fine, as I busied myself teleporting around the house and gathering requested items. Focus Plus’ new six degrees of freedom (6DOF) controllers feel a little cheap compared to most other VR controllers. Tracking was occasionally wobbly, but usable. However, a short while into the piece things got inexplicably worse. I didn’t start to wobble so much as glide until I was in an entirely different part of the room. I started to wrestle with trying to stay in one place as I performed simple tasks like holding my hands out to wash them. This persisted on-and-off for about five minutes. Then the headset told it me had less than 15 percent of its battery left.

    Having seen enough, I took the headset off perhaps to find the source of my woes. A SimforHealth representative was standing right in front of me, helpfully making sure no one bumped into me or that I didn’t walk into a wall. As appreciated as his help was, I’m this is likely what was causing havoc on the headset’s front-mounted sensors. A group of visitors huddled right next to me too. That surely didn’t help.

    A reasonable explanation, perhaps, but it brings up legitimate concerns about Focus Plus. This is an enterprise headset. It’s likely to be used in situations where people are trying VR for the first time and need to be supervised just like I did. The tracking is much easier to confuse

    The post Vive Focus Plus Doesn’t Feel Quite Ready For Prime Time appeared first on UploadVR.

  • Blind, Apex Construct & VR Regatta all Nominated for Viveport Developer Awards The winner will be announced during GDC 2019.
  • Modders Bring Half-Life To Oculus Go Via Quake’s Engine
    half life

    Thanks to the efforts of open source developers and modders, you can now play the original Half-Life on your Oculus Go. Well, sort of. It actually works by importing the game’s files into Quake’s engine.

    Video from MrNeitey

    Half-Life’s engine, GoldSrc, was actually just a modified version of the Quake engine. That engine was written by John Carmack and Michael Abrash in 1996 for Quake itself. Coincidentally, both now work on VR at Facebook. Carmack in particular was heavily involved in the creation of the Go headset.

    The open source project QuakeGVR adds the Oculus SDK to a 2002 modification of the original engine.

    So modders figured out that you can import the assets from Half-Life to the VR Quake app’s directory and actually play Half-Life. It’s not perfect, but the engine is similar enough that it does mostly work.

    Source: UploadVR

    It’s a little awkward to move around with Go’s touchpad, but that’s just the limitations of the platform. We didn’t try playing with a gamepad when testing it.

    The developer of QuakeGVR stated they plan to bring the project to Oculus Quest– so hopefully you can play Half-Life on Quest too with full 6DOF head tracking when it releases.

    The fact that a game released in 1998 using a modified engine from 1996 can be played on a standalone VR headset from 2018 says mountains about the value of open source software. Hopefully the VR development community adopts more open source principles so 20 years from now we can play Superhot VR in the Holodeck.


    Want to get this running on your Go? As QuakeGVR isn’t available on the Oculus Store (likely due to copyright reasons), you’ll need to sideload it.

    To learn how to do that, follow our guide: How To Sideload Apps And Games On Oculus Go

    Once you know how to sideload:

    Download the latest release of QuakeGVR on your PC

    Connect your Oculus Go to your PC and use the ADB command to sideload

    Launch Quake in the Unknown Sources section of your Oculus Go library. Make sure it works properly, then close it.

    Sideload the Amaze File Manager if you do not already have a file manager on your headset.

    Download the Half-Life 1 game files from the Oculus Browser in the headset. Alternatively, download them on your PC and then drag it into the Download folder on Go (but the USB transfer may take some time).

    Put on your headset and launch the Oculus TV app. Scroll down and open Amaze File Manager.

    In the QGVR folder delete the folder called id1

    Navigate to the Half Life files zip you downloaded. Click on it and click EXTRACT.

    Navigate to the extracted folders. MOVE/CUT the id1 and hl folders to the QGVR folder (where you deleted the old id1 folder).

    COPY progs.dat from the hl1 folder to the id1folder.

    When you open QuakeGVR it should now be Half-Life. Note that the menu won’t be different and it may take a very long time to load. But we tried it and it worked, so it should for you too.

    DISCLAIMER: Sideloaded apps are by definition not vetted

    The post Modders Bring Half-Life To Oculus Go Via Quake’s Engine appeared first on UploadVR.

  • AI-Powered Virtual Human Teaches Employees Communication Skills

    Talespin combines AI with VR to educate users on proper leadership & communication skills. Yesterday, enterprise XR developer Talespin introduced a new training tool that utilizes an AI-powered virtual human to teach users “soft skills” — attributes that allow for effective communication and interaction between others — through realistic workplace scenarios. Utilizing a combination of

    The post AI-Powered Virtual Human Teaches Employees Communication Skills appeared first on VRScout.

  • Why GDC 2019 Could Be VR’s Most Important In Three Years
    Why GDC 2019 Could Be VR’s Most Important In Three Years

    February was slow, wasn’t it? For such a short month it sure does drag on. But it’s only lasted so long because we’ve been really, really looking forward to March. Or, more specifically, we’ve been looking forward to the 2019 Game Developers Conference.

    That’s for a lot of reasons.

    This GDC could well be VR’s most significant, at least since 2016. That year Oculus, Valve, Sony and HTC put the finishing touches on their launch campaigns. VR was on the cusp of going consumer and everyone was excited. The 2017 and 2018 iterations, while eventful, didn’t hold such importance.

    But now in 2019 VR feels like it’s yet again on the cusp of something new. Perhaps not a second generation, but an intriguing mid-way point that will see the same suspects head off on exciting new tangents.

    Oculus Quest and Rift S

    Last year Oculus used GDC to lift the curtain on the Go headset. We got an in-depth hands-on and a first glimpse at games ahead of launch at F8 the following May.

    We’re expecting a similar sort of roll out for the highly anticipated Oculus Quest. We already know we’ll see new demos for the six degrees of freedom (6DOF) standalone headset at the show. This could be Quest’s big coming out party, a chance to show everyone what this device is really capable of.

    But Quest isn’t all we might see from Oculus at GDC. This month we found code that seemed to corroborate the existence of Oculus Rift S. Rift S is rumored to be a refreshed take on the Rift with inside-out tracking and an updated display. It could even be out this year. We’ve got our fingers crossed that Oculus has more news in store for us at GDC, even with Quest on the way.

    HTC Vive Cosmos

    HTC also has something in the works on the consumer VR side. At CES 2019, the company announced Vive Cosmos. It’s a PC VR headset with inside-out tracking. That’s about all the company will confirm on-record.

    But not-so-sly hints and teases promise much more than that. HTC suggested Cosmos can also be powered by phones for portability. Not only that but the device will be modular, likely allowing users to swap out components for a VR experience that best suits them.

    Cosmos is due to release later this year and GDC marks the perfect time to tell us more. This week, Vive announced a Developer Day for the first day of the show. There it will lay out its road map for 2019. Expect Cosmos to play a big part in that.

    Valve’s Own SteamVR Headset

    Oculus and HTC might not be great at keeping secrets, but no one plays its cards closer to its chest than Valve. After launching the Vive with HTC in 2016, we’ve heard that the SteamVR creator could be branching out with its very own headset. Supposed pictures of the device circulated the internet last year. GDC could be the time to reveal all.

    Sources tell us the headset would feature a 135 degree field

    The post Why GDC 2019 Could Be VR’s Most Important In Three Years appeared first on UploadVR.

  • Avaloki Episode 1 Review – A Humble Beginning For Something Quiet Different

    Avaloki could be something special. Its Buddhist-inspired tale of two siblings on the search for their exiled father promises wonder and connection. Does it deliver?

    The jury’s still out.

    The first episode in this interactive series offers just a taste of things to come. You embody an ancient spirit and explore the lives of two children requesting your help. You can see the seeds of a strong bond and otherworldly narrative being sewn, but they don’t get a chance to grow in this installment.

    There are some interesting ideas at play here. The brother and sister pair stare up in hope that you’ll guide them, which spurs you to do so. Interactivity’s at play too, letting you select stories you show them by tossing illuminated orbs at stones. But it’s strange to embody a role you yourself don’t truly understand. To be someone without knowing their intentions and to act as if you do is a jarring experience. These kids seem to be dependent on you, but what exactly can you do for them? It’s an idea that pulls the narrative along with intrigue but also a sense of displacement.

    Avaloki’s highlights, though, are its incredible flashback paintings, realized in Google Tilt Brush. They prod and hint about the children’s father in cryptic ways, but I was too busy studying the artistry on display. Strokes flow with precision and the depth gives them the appearance of an ancient image come to life. They’re truly a sight to behold, so much so I wish the entire experience would integrate them more like Dear Angelica. By comparison, the rest of the world looks somewhat bleak and blurry.

    Director Priyam Parikh says that many meaningful relationships in our lives begin by sharing intimate stories. That might be true of Avaloki, but we’ll have to wait for the second episode to find out. For now, I was left intrigued by these foundations and eager to see what’s next. That’s not a bad start.

    Final Say: Worth Watching

    Avaloki is available now for free on Oculus Rift via Oculus Home.

    Tagged with: Avaloki

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  • AR Experience East of the Rockies Tells the Story of Canada’s Japanese Internment Camps Available now exclusively via the Apple App Store.
  • Varjo VR-1 Gave Me A Tantalizing Glimpse Of Human-Eye VR
    Varjo VR-1 Gave Me A Tantalizing Glimpse Of Human-Eye VR

    When Michael Abrash told a 2015 F8 audience VR needed a 16K display for “retinal resolution”, I knew it would be decades before headsets became as clear as day. Just four years on, Finland-based Varjo gave me a tiny window into that future with the VR-1. And I loved what I saw.

    We already wrote about Varjo last week, but when I heard it was at MWC I couldn’t resist seeking it out. It’s an expensive enterprise-level headset that claims to reach “human eye resolution”. I’d say that description is a little on the generous side, but it is close enough to trick an untrained eye at least.

    In our preview last week we wrote about the VR-1’s two displays. A “Context Screen” takes up the sides of the optics, described to me by Varjo CEO Niko Eiden as “a bit better” than the Vive Pro’s screen. The “Focus Screen” is the main attraction, though. It’s the circular center of the optics, operating at a much higher resolution. The size of the screen was comparable to holding a tennis ball at arm’s length away from you.

    The three scenes captured via photogrammetry stunned me the most.

    One captured what looked like a Japanese graveyard; rustic, symmetrical ancient stones sitting among lush, green vegetation. The coarse surface of the stones was strikingly apparent, to the point I could see the bumps and depressions. The grass beneath my feet was vibrant and sharp, enough to trigger the splendor of a summer’s day. I focused in particular on one clump of grass toward my right foot. Some areas — apparent capture errors — appeared blurred and stretched. By comparison, the areas captured correctly looked like real life.

    I was just as mesmerized by the capture of an artist studio in the last demo. The detail was staggering. I focused on flecks of paint which wouldn’t catch my eye in a normal headset. I could even read the spines of CD cases on a shelf maybe a half meter away from me. Every time I turned my head I would, for a fraction of a second, believe what I was seeing in front of me.

    Finally, I saw the airport demo we described in our last preview. This gave me a look at VR-1’s eye-tracking. I found it to be responsive and accurate. Given that the two parts of the VR-1’s display are so different, there’s no foveated rendering here.

    The VR-1 always wows at first sight, offering a precious few moments in which images look clear as day before the eyes refocus. I could only spot an incredibly fine and faint set of lines on the Focus Display by focusing on it. They don’t distract at all. What is obvious, though, is the contrast between Focus and Context screens. Moving my head to place an object along the line between Focus and Context screens shows how far consumer VR has to go. I was constantly aware of the Context Screen as I used the kit. It was a strange sort of

    The post Varjo VR-1 Gave Me A Tantalizing Glimpse Of Human-Eye VR appeared first on UploadVR.

  • It’s Time for VR League’s Season 3 With Kickoff Commencing This Weekend Season 3 will feature the league's biggest prize pool to date.
  • Resolution Games, Felix & Paul, More Win Magic Leap Indie Creator Grant
    Resolution Games, Felix & Paul, More Win Magic Leap Indie Creator Grant

    Last week, we reported that Magic Leap had seen over 6,500 applications to its Independent Creator Program. Today, the company revealed a handful of the winners.

    The Independent Creator Program provides funding and resources to smaller studios looking to work with Magic Leap One. Teams with less than 20 members were able to apply for grants between $20,000 – $500,000 to work on specific projects. They’d also be given free headsets and access to mentorship and other resources.

    Winners span various industries and include names that will be familiar to VR fans. Angry Birds VR developer Resolution Games was one of a handful of gaming companies to win, for example. Experiential studios like Felix & Paul and Within were also successful.

    While it’s true that studios like these are on the smaller side, they’ve also raised significant investment before or are already well-established in the immersive reality industry. Resolution Games, for example, raised around $13.3 million in funding over the past four years. Felix & Paul, meanwhile, regularly works with the likes of Oculus among other partners.

    We reached out to Magic Leap asking why it had chosen some of these studios over lesser-known applicants. The company didn’t immediately respond for comment.

    There were many lesser-known winners, too. Medicalholodeck uses 3D scans of the body for education and surgeon training, for example. Future Sight AR, meanwhile, is looking to bring AR solutions to construction sites. Cosmic Trip and Starbear Taxi developer Funktronic Labs also joined the list.

    Magic Leap lists 31 companies in total. Magic Leap says these are only some of the winners picked from the applications. Others remain in stealth mode.

    Tagged with: Felix and Paul Studios, Magic Leap, Magic Leap One, resolution games

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  • Testers Wanted for Repulse Game Studio’s Action Adventure Iragon Currently, in pre-Alpha state, the title supports both VR and non-VR modes.