Featured 360°: NASA, The Arrival and Heroes from Sundance

Featured 360°: NASA, The Arrival and Heroes from Sundance

Featured 360° is an ongoing series to highlight some of our favorite videos from creators and brands for you to enjoy during the week. For this week’s installment of Featured 360°,  explore NASA’S newly discovered planetary system, take a step inside the Arrival’s other worldly spacecraft and get up close and personal with the dancers from Heroes.

NASA VR: On the Surface of Planet TRAPPIST-1d

“This 360-degree panorama depicts the surface of a newly detected planet, TRAPPIST-1d, part of a seven planet system some 40 light years away. You can explore this artist’s rendering of an alien world by moving the view using your mouse or your mobile device.”

This depiction of the newly discovered Earth like planetary system is based on NASA’s latest scientific data. Look around and see if you can spot the sister planets as bright points of light in the dark sky. Each world is roughly in Earth’s size range, in terms of both mass and diameter. Further observations will be needed to determine whether any of these worlds may be habitable, but it sure is cool to see it in 360°!

Arrival VR

Reel FX drops viewers into hazmat suits and into a mysterious spacecraft to get up close and personal with the aliens in a new, fully CG, 360° experience with Paramount Pictures and Viacom NEXT for this 8-time Oscar-nominated film Arrival.”

Step inside the alien ship that was the centerpiece The Arrival. The Reel FX team leveraged development models and images from Production Designer Patrice Vermette and Set Decorator Paul Hotte, both nominated for an Oscar for their work on the film, to maintain the elegance of the film and the integrity of the mythical linguistics at the core of the plot. Whether its working with the ink symbols used as a means of communication in the film or the development models, Reel FX did an amazing job compositing key moments from The Arrival into this under 2-minute VR ad.

HEROES: A Duet in Mixed Reality

“Presenting HEROES, A Duet in Mixed Reality – A full 360°, Virtual and Augmented reality dance experience set to the iconic song Heroes by David Bowie

Experience dance like you’ve never seen it before! HEROES stole the show at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival New Frontier and continues to move and mix reality. The piece begins in VR, then opens up into mixed reality using the Microsoft HoloLens. This 360° version gives you the VR portion of the performance as you dance and chase the dancers in the beautiful Theatre at Ace Hotel DTLA.


Published at Tue, 28 Feb 2017 22:34:57 +0000

Job Simulator Is Getting A Talking JobBot Plushie And Other Merch

Job Simulator Is Getting A Talking JobBot Plushie And Other Merch

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Job Simultator Is Getting A Talking JobBot Plushie And Other Merch

Job Simulator’s instruction-giving JobBots might be the most abused characters in all of VR. We throw things as them, tell them to shut up and generally try to ignore them. It must be horrible to actually be them. Now you can do all of those things in real life too.

Videogame merchandise company iam8bit today announced that it’s partnered with Job Simulator developer Owlchemy Labs to release a line of merchandise based on the popular VR game. Headlining the collection is a talking JobBot Plush, pictured above with Owlchemy’s own Alex Schwartz. Yes, you can finally grab the JobBots in real life and toss them across the room, just like you throw sandwiches at them in the game. You can also hug them, we guess, if you’re into that.

Not gonna lie. I immediately threw it. The physics were spot-on. A++ pic.twitter.com/oQfMsR6cnf

— Cy Wise 🚀 GDC (@cyceratops) February 28, 2017

JobBot has a set of phrases and even glows in the dark. What it can’t do, sadly, is teach you how to cook or fix a car. It costs $35 and is available to order now.

That’s not all, though. There’s a $25 t-shirt, a $10 set of magnets, two posters for $20, and a $10 JobBot pin. So if you really loved the game’s virtual office, then you can now make it your real office. Just don’t start wasting your staples and throwing your donuts. You’ll have to clean that up.

In all seriousness, this is a potential revenue stream we haven’t seen any VR developers really explore yet. Job Simulator’s memorable companions make it the perfect testbed, though the game itself is already a success; it’s made Owlchemy over $3 million in revenue and is the top-selling PlayStation VR (PSVR) app on the PlayStation Store. Currently the studio is working on its next game, Rick and Morty Simulator.

Tagged with: job simulator, JobBot, owlchemy labs, Plushie

Published at Tue, 28 Feb 2017 21:46:01 +0000

ROM: Extraction Gets New Level In Free Overrun Upate

ROM: Extraction Gets New Level In Free Overrun Upate

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ROM: Extraction Gets New Level In Free Overrun Upate

ROM: Extraction from First Contact was already one of the more polished shooters for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, and today it’s getting even more content.

The developer, which is comprised of former Call of Duty developers, announced the launch of Overrun, a free update that adds a new chapter. As the name suggests, it will see you fight off swarms of aliens as they crawl onto your ship. To help them in their battle First Contact is adding a new two-handed plasma rifle named the EOS-15. Check out the mixed reality trailer below. It’s complete with dubstep.

Based on the footage it looks a like pretty intense affair, putting player’s back against the wall as they blast away at foes. The plasma rifle looks like a bright and powerful weapon, and you’ll simulate holding the rifle with two hands, a little like you might in games like Bullet Train from Epic Games.

The content will be on display at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) this week at AMD’s Capasaicin and Cream event but, of course, if you’re at home you can play it already.

It’s a welcome addition to the game, which we were quite fond of when it launched later last year. Our biggest issue, though, was with a general lack of content. First Contact is also looking to add a free multiplayer update to the game this year, though last we heard that was planned for early 2017. It looks like the studio might not make that window.

If you haven’t already dived into Extraction then now’s a great time; First Contact is shedding 75% off of the price for a limited time, taking it to around $5. If you’re at all interested then best grab it now before it goes back to its normal price of $19.99. Not a bad deal.

Published at Tue, 28 Feb 2017 19:00:21 +0000

With 6,000 Downloads, Unity’s Editor VR Is Making VR Dev Accessible To All

With 6,000 Downloads, Unity’s Editor VR Is Making VR Dev Accessible To All

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With 6,000 Downloads, Unity’s Editor VR Is Making VR Dev Accessible To All

Unity launched its Editor VR service in an alpha form late last year, and the engine-maker appears to be pretty happy with the results so far.

Editor VR is an in-VR section of the larger Unity engine that lets you edit virtual scenes in games and more. Taking to the stage at the company’s GDC 2017 press conference this morning, Principal Designer on the Labs team, Timoni West, revealed that the platform has had over 6,000 downloads since its launch. That might not sound like a huge amount, but given the platform’s alpha phase it’s a good start. Some of those users have already contributed code back into the platform’s code base too.

The Unity Labs team is developing an XR Foundation Toolkit to help #VR creators design, prototype & test experiences. We’ll share more soon.

— Unity (@unity3d) February 28, 2017

West then showcased some of the Tools that are now included in the alpha version. These are creative apps and middleware that are imported into the Unity engine, to literally provide developers with more tools to make VR experiences. They include animation apps like Tvorii, and ProBuilder, which allows you to build, texture and edit meshes inside VR.

The company wants yet more Tools, though, and to encourage developers to contribute their work, Unity is hosting a competition with an undisclosed cash prize and a chance to showcase at May’s VR and AR-focused Vision Summit.

Unity isn’t just leaving the development of Editor VR up to the community, though. West’s biggest announcement was its own Tool, the Cross Reality Foundation Toolkit (XRFT). This was described as a “framework” for just about anyone interested in working in VR, AR and MR, allowing them to “get up to speed” without starting from scratch.

“We want to give you the building blocks for interaction and locomotion,” West said, “and everything else you need.”

Included in the XRFT will be elements like cross-platform controller input, customizable physics systems, AR/VR-specific shaders and cameras, object snapping and building systems, debugging and profiling tools, and support for all major VR and AR platforms. The toolkit will be released as an open-source beta “over the next few months.”

It sounds like this could be the next big step in Unity’s plan to make VR development accessible to everyone and anyone.

Tagged with: Editor VR, unity, XRFT

Published at Tue, 28 Feb 2017 18:34:44 +0000

GDC 2017: Epic CEO Tim Sweeney on How we Get to Mass VR and AR Adoption

GDC 2017: Epic CEO Tim Sweeney on How we Get to Mass VR and AR Adoption

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Tim Sweeney Epic Games

We’re not even one year into the release of the current crop of VR HMDs and mobile headsets, and while sales are in the millions, it’ll still be a while before every household has a VR device or every person walks around the city with AR-equipped glasses. So what will it take for VR and AR to be an omnipresent technology? Price is certainly one important factor, but Epic Games’ founder Tim Sweeney thinks it’ll come down to two things: better optics and smaller form factor.

“To displace monitors and keyboards and mice and become truly the way we do all these things in real life, you’re going to need about 4K resolution per eye,” Sweeney concludes. “And miniaturization that’s much more convenient to wear all day, every day.”

Thankfully, Sweeney doesn’t see these hurdles as issues that will take long to overcome.

“All these things are already happening; Moore’s law alone will get us to 4K per eye,” Sweeney postulates. “There are multiple manufacturers building 4K LCDs that are smartphone-sized, and as soon as they’re miniaturized and built into OLEDs, that’ll be the next step.”

In case you’re not familiar, Moore’s law states the density of transistors a circuit board can hold doubles about every two years, and that means smaller size, greater computing power and reduced weight.

“Reducing the weight is just a matter of componentization,” explains Sweeney. “Remember what computers looked like 20 years ago and what they look like now, and think about everything Apple packs into a tiny iPhone package. If you open it up you’ll see they’ve designed custom circuit boards and custom components that all mesh together in these amazingly compact ways — that’s all coming to VR and AR.”

“I think what we’re seeing in VR is we have not yet even gone through a single cycle in which custom hardware has been built just for the application; we’ve been repurposing cameras and displays and motion sensors from smartphones,” Sweeney continues. “When someone starts designing from the ground up for VR, the results are going to be staggering, not only in the quality and capabilities, but also the ability to be reduced into a more convenient form factor.”

While Sweeney believes the technology will hit great strides in comfort and usability over the next few years, it may be a bit longer until we’re at the point where it’s as ubiquitous as smartphones.

“I think we’re on a 10-to-12-year track until the display part of VR and AR is reduced to the size of your glasses — no more weight, no more inconvenience, something you can wear all the time and make part of your everyday, ordinary life.”

Tim pauses for a second before adding an important and clever clarification, “And if it looks goofy, that’s okay… it’ll Photoshop everyone else’s out in real-time.”

Tagged with: 4k display, GDC, Tim Sweeney

Published at Tue, 28 Feb 2017 17:00:43 +0000

GDC 2017: Here’s Every New Game Oculus Announced Today

GDC 2017: Here’s Every New Game Oculus Announced Today

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GDC 2017: Here’s Every New Game Oculus Announced Today

Oculus has said before that 2017 is all about content for its VR headsets, and it sure proved it today. As part of its showcase for this year’s Game Developers Conference (GDC), the company revealed a slate of new titles heading to both the Oculus Rift and Gear VR in the coming year. There’s a lot of them to get through, so we thought we’d list them below.

We’ve got impressions of each of these games live now, so make sure to follow through for more information and deeper thoughts on each. One thing’s for sure: Rift and Gear owners have a lot of goodness heading their way. Let’s take a look at some new Oculus games.

Augmented Empire, from Coatsink
Gear VR

Esper developer Coatsink is back with this brand new strategy RPG for the Gear VR, channeling classic games like XCOM and Mass Effect 2 for what it says will be a much deeper experience than anything it’s made before. Expect this to be a truly hardcore offering for the mobile VR audience, which isn’t something we often seen.

Brass Tactics, from Hidden Path Entertainment
Oculus Rift + Touch

Trust the makers of Defense Grid 2 to craft a compelling strategy game for VR. Unlike the studio’s last VR game, though, Brass Tactics is designed for use with Oculus Touch. It’s a multiplayer game that focuses on tactics, getting players to utilize huge armies to wipe out their opponents. It looks like a colorful take on the gengre, and heaps of fun.

From Other Suns, from Gunfire Games
Oculus Rift + Touch

The developer’s of Chronos return with a much more ambitious game. This is a procedurally-generated space adventure that has all the elements you need to make your sci-fi dreams come true. Team up with friends to maintain your ship and visit other worlds, battling dangerous enemies on the way.

Mage’s Tale, from inXile Entertainment
Oculus Rift + Touch

This was technically announced last week but we got a much clearer picture of it at GDC. inXile Entertainment is known for RPGs like the Wasteland series, but it’s turning to another classic genre, the dungeon crawler, for its VR debut. Mage’s Tale will be a lengthy action game that fully utilizes Touch to put you right in the loot raiding action.

Term1nal, from Force Field
Gear VR

The developers of Landfall only just released their debut VR game, but they’re already onto the next. Term1nal is an intriguing entry into the stealth genre for Gear VR, casting you as a hacker that must infiltrate the facility of a massive corporation using robots.

We also got updated hands-on with some games already announced for both platforms, including Singspace and Dragon Front, which is getting Oculus Touch support. Check out our updated previews below:

Robo Recall, from Epic Games
Killing Floor, from Tripwire Interactive
Arktika.1, from 4A Games

Tagged with: Augmented Empire, brass tactics, from other suns, GDC, Mage’s Tale, oculus

Published at Tue, 28 Feb 2017 15:05:21 +0000

Stunt Kite Masters VR (Oculus Rift)

Stunt Kite Masters VR (Oculus Rift)

“…yet another amazing application for VR that I never saw coming.”

Review System:Oculus Rift CV1
Price at period of Review: £4 ($5)
Comfort Rating: Green
Genre: Simulator
Size: 944.3 MB
Controller program: Touch Controllers
Best acting Position: Standing
Multi athlete: No

Stunt Kite Masters VR (Oculus Rift)

Introduction: Enjoy a dream of a Caribbean coastline, the wind is ideal, you pull the strings backwards and off you choose to go – your dragon rises up in to the obvious, blue sky. Together with your movements, you control the kite with great ease and relaxation through environment. Draw in the air with smoke figures and patterns, or train daredevil manoeuvres with your kite. Enjoy different modes in Stunt Kite Masters: control the wind course and wind-force, master the essential diverse influences together with your sporty stunt kite inside experience mode or show your trip skills within the challenging snake mode by collecting points plus dragon end getting longer.

Review: Sadly flying a kite isn’t as easy as you may think. Not merely must you know how to travel the fact (and frequently build it also). Then you must also get happy utilizing the climate. Too windy you can’t travel it, to soothe, to wet and even too hot! Yep, traveling a kite and getting those traveling problems perfect just isn’t effortless. So thank god Stunt Kite Masters VR has arrived along to provide us perfect traveling problems each day.

Stunt Kite Masters VR is a kite traveling simulator that gives you control over 2 different sorts of kites (with several customisable types to it) then chances are you reach choose from Snake Kite mode for which you need certainly to go around gathering performers to create your kites tale grow (like snake, however with a kite) or free fly mode that gives the opportunity to get accustomed to your kite. Which can be dead handy without a doubt because of the insufficient a tutorial. As soon as you pull the strings to get the kite in the air you’ll be taken back at just how practical and responsive the kite is. I really could have sworn I could feel the sand between my toes.

Verdict: While this application does get repetitive quickly, for a time it really immersed me as well as a second we started to think i truly ended up being on a coastline traveling a stunt kite! The kite seems so receptive and practical so it may have real-world kite traveling applications. Basically got good at this app i truly will be promoted to go out and purchase a proper kite. Graphics, control and physics wise I can’t fault this software. But the not enough instruction, game settings and surroundings choices is really what eliminates it in my situation. It can were such better with some quick step-by-step education missions, therefore I could gradually have the hang of kite. But even as it is, i do believe it’s just one more amazing application for VR that we never ever saw coming.


Download Stunt Kite Masters VR Now
Download Stunt Kite Masters VR Now

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Posted at Mon, 27 Feb 2017 14:29:30 +0000