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Now on Rift: How Harmonix Turned ‘Rock Band VR’ Into a Brand New Gameplay Experience

The developers at Harmonix didn’t set out to create an open-ended music creativity tool with Rock Band VR, but once they realized how compelling it was to simulate the feeling of being a rock star on stage in VR, then they completely pivoted the production of their game. They discovered that it wasn’t as gripping in VR to force users to focus on any single gameplay mechanic, and so they focused on allowing users to look around to cultivate deep feelings of immersion and stage presence. Now available on the Oculus Rift and Touch, Rock Band VR brings players into their rockstar fantasy by using the Rock Band VR adapter to attach a Touch controller to make the guitar part…

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‘Starfighter Inc.’ Promises VR Space Combat Sim Built on a Hard Sci-Fi Foundation

Starfighter Inc., said to be the spiritual successor to X-Wing vs. TIE Fighter (1997), is one of the most interesting space combat simulation projects currently in development. Recently relaunched on Kickstarter, developers Impeller Studios’ new crowdfunding campaign has a smaller goal but much more to show. Impeller Studios formed in 2013, launching their initial Kickstarter campaign for Starfighter Inc. in 2015, looking to raise $250,000 to assist the development process. Unfortunately, the campaign failed to reach its goal, stopping just 10% shy of the required funds. The team had already committed to completing the project, so development continued as promised, and now the project is back on Kickstarter, with a modest $150,000 goal, and a “stronger, clearer, and more detailed…

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‘Assetto Corsa’ Racing Sim Adds Support for Vive & OSVR via Native OpenVR

This week’s v1.13 update to Assetto Corsa includes native OpenVR support, adding official Vive and OSVR support to the title. The popular racing simulator previously only supported the Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive owners had to use the Revive hack to launch the game in VR. Assetto Corsa has a long history with virtual reality, having supported the first Oculus Rift DK1 development kit in 2013, back when the simulator itself was in its early stages. With major physics engine and content development to focus on, VR support was always in an ‘early’, unfinished state, but its core driving experience was so convincing, it was worth the effort to jump through the hoops required to race in VR. .IRPP_kangoo , .IRPP_kangoo…

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‘Warpaint’ Brings Tabletop Gaming-inspired Turn-based Strategy & Customization to VR

Recently launched on Steam, Warpaint is a turn-based strategy game that lets you customize your troops by painting them to your taste. The game supports both Mac and PC, and features VR support via SteamVR (Vive, Rift, and OSVR). Taking inspiration from board and tabletop games like hexagonal chess and Warhammer, Warpaint’s gameplay is easy to pick up but hard to master. Real-time strategy gaming seems to suit VR pretty well, but few developers have chosen the turn-based approach; Warpaint shows that the more sedate pace of turn-based strategy is a natural fit for VR too. Commanding an army of dwarves with different movement abilities, the gameplay is mostly tactical, and played with a surprisingly high degree of tension, thanks…

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‘Apex’, the Next Real-time VR Music Video from Creator of the Acclaimed ‘Surge’, Premiers Next Month

Arjan van Meerten, the indie 3D artist and musician behind the widely acclaimed Surge VR music video, has confirmed Apex as his next project. Update (3/21/17, 11:35AM PT): In development since 2016, the followup to the acclaimed Surge is finally set to make its world premiere. Apex will debut at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival next month as part of the event’s Virtual Arcade section. A teaser for the experience states:  Step into a surrealistic and darkly beautiful vision of a fiery urban apocalypse; one populated by skeletal ghost animals, abstract shapes, maniacal smiling giants and, of course, you. It isn’t clear when (or how) after the debut that Apex will get a release date for the rest of us, but…

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The VOID Opens Mixed-Reality Location in Dubai

THE VOID, the untethered mixed-reality park, is opening a new location in Dubai, UAE. The new Dubai-based park is the company’s second public location, and will be hosting their Ghostbusters: Dimension experience—the same currently running at their first location at Madame Tussaud’s New York. The makers say the new park, located on the high-rent shopping area of The Beach on the Dubai Marina, is however a “limited engagement” with a presumably finite amount of slots available to the public before it closes. The park opens on March 24th, with tickets going on sale the 23rd. No definite closing date has been reported. photo courtesy The VOID The Void combines a real world environment—i.e. a predetermined play space and objects within it—with corresponding virtual imagery…

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NASA’s ‘Mission: ISS’ is an Impressively Detailed View of Life in Zero Gravity

NASA and Oculus have launched their collaborative project ‘Mission: ISS’ for the Oculus Rift for free and it’s offers a detailed, visually sumptuous virtual reality trip to space that most of us would otherwise never experience. Virtual Reality’s transportative powers being used to live out experiences most of us will never have in real life is rarely most effective than in the realm of space travel. Given the tiny fraction of Earth’s inhabitants that have (around 500 to date) or ever will venture beyond the planet’s gravitational field, VR can give as what life is like for those brave enough to travel beyond it. Mission: ISS is the latest VR experience to try to convey what it feels to be…

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HTC to Sell Shanghai Phone Factory for $91 Million, Invest Proceeds in VR Business

Despite its major role in the growing VR space, HTC’s overall business continues to struggle financially, posting significant losses over the last two years. Working to turn things around with a restructuring of assets and priorities, the company is facing the sale of a smartphone factory in Shanghai. The proceeds from the $91 million sale will largely funnel toward the company’s Vive VR business, according to China Daily. On Wednesday, HTC’s board made the decision to sell the factory to Shanghai Xingbao Information Technology as part of an effort to return the company to financial stability. According to HTC, the sale of the nearly 1.3 million square-foot factory and the land on which it’s built will not have an impact on the…

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Epic Games Busts ‘Robo Recall’s’ $10 Million Myth

Good news. Robo Recall, one of the best looking games available on a VR headset today, actually cost a lot less to produce than the rumored $10 million. It’s certainly a compliment to the small team at Epic Games responsible for the game that the notion of a $10 million production budget was so widely spread and accepted. Robo Recall is great, but, it turns out, not $10-million-great. The Origin The suggestion of a $10 million budget started with an interview with Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney at last year’s VRX conference where he addressed the fact that Oculus had offered to fund production of game so that it could be published for free on their platform, saying that “Oculus is…

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‘Raw Data’ Early Access Review, Now with Oculus Touch Support

Raw Data, a first-person combat game from Survios currently in Early Access, is one of the most fast-paced and exciting games out for HTC Vive and Oculus Touch right now. Far from being a simple shooting gallery, Raw Data gives you an impressive range of abilities and physical agency, making you feel like you’re in real danger. And if you can master the controls, you’ll feel like a superhuman badass too. Raw Data Details: Official Site Developer: Survios Publisher: Survios Available On: HTC Vive (Steam), Oculus Touch (Home) Reviewed On: HTC Vive. Oculus Touch Release Date: July 15th, 2016 (Vive) – March 16th, 2017 (Touch) Note 03/16/17: The article has been updated to include impressions of the game’s recent support for Oculus Touch. You’ll find those impressions in a section at the…