May 2017

News

How Mozilla is Driving WebVR Content & Tooling with the A-Frame Framework

Mozilla’s mission statement is to ensure that the Internet remains a global public resource, open and accessible to all, and they’ve been helping to bring VR to the web for the past three years. A-Frame is an open source framework for creating WebVR content that has gained a lot of momentum over the last year with more participants on the A-Frame Slack channel than the official WebVR Slack. LISTEN TO THE VOICES OF VR PODCAST https://dts.podtrac.com/redirect.mp3/d1icj85yqthyoq.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Voices-of-VR-538-Diego-Marcos-Kevin-Ngo.mp3 Diego Marcos I had a chance to catch up with A-Frame core developers Diego Marcos & Kevin Ngo at the IEEE VR conference in March to get an overview of A-Frame, and how it’s driving WebVR content and innovations in developer tools. Mozilla is…

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Sony’s Richard Marks Expects Natural Voice Input to Play Major Role in VR’s Future

In a recent interview with Glixel, Dr. Richard Marks, head of Sony’s Magic Lab R&D team, talked about PSVR’s development history, social VR, and a possible holodeck-style future. He thinks voice input has unrealised potential, and could become the way users launch into different VR experiences in the future, customising them in real-time thanks to procedural generation. Mark’s Magic Lab played a pivotal role in developing ‘Project Morpheus’ the prototype VR headset that would eventually become PlayStation VR. Project Morpheus prototype | Photo courtesy Sony Following a recent Christmas break where he says he studied a robot vacuum cleaner, tested all available voice-input devices for the home (such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home smart speakers), and watched every…

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Now You Can Own a Fidget Spinner in VR, Because Why Not

Fidget spinners—little spinning hand toys—are one of the latest fads to see explosive growth, rising rapidly in popularity faster than the most hopeful startup. With a seemingly endless number of spinners available to purchase, developer Vladimir Storm decided to make a virtual reality fidget spinner because… you know… why not? Fidget spinners are exactly as simple as they sound: they’re just a little triangular toy that you grip in the middle and then spin. A number of sellers claim the toys “relieve anxiety and ADHD,”—claims which are almost certainly unsupported—but hey, at least people seem to enjoying playing with them anyway. The toy sprung up this January, rocketing its way upward in viral popularity, quickly exceeding the search interest of even…

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New ‘Alien’ Multiplayer Free-Roaming VR Experience in Development by Fox

20th Century Fox’s Interactive Entertainment and theme park arm FoxNext is building a 2000 sq. ft free-roaming multiplayer VR experience set in the world of the Alien movie franchise. The Alien movie franchise is among the most enduring in history, with very entry re-imagining a universe that was conceived almost 40 years ago with the latest, Alien: Covenant, in theatres right now. Yes the series has been a mixed bag from a critical perspective, but there’s a good chance that if you’re reading this, you grew up loving the 1986 sequel to Ridley Scott’s masterful 1979 original, Aliens, directed by James Cameron. If you’re nodding your head in enthusiastic agreement while reading this, then I’ve got some great news for you. .IRPP_kangoo…

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Watch: ‘TO THE TOP’ is an Exhilarating Climbing Game With Great VR Locomotion

Electric Hat Games’ TO THE TOP is a vibrant, rapid-paced climbing game that demonstrates a brilliantly innovative locomotion technique that the development team claims results in “zero motion sickness”. Take Crytek’s The Climb, mix in a dash of Mirror’s Edge and sprinkle over a little inspiration from Survios’ latest and impressive locomotion prototype and you have TO THE TOP, a new climbing action game from Electric Hat Games. .IRPP_kangoo , .IRPP_kangoo .postImageUrl , .IRPP_kangoo .imgUrl , .IRPP_kangoo .centered-text-area { min-height: 100px; position: relative; } .IRPP_kangoo , .IRPP_kangoo:hover , .IRPP_kangoo:visited , .IRPP_kangoo:active { border:0!important; } .IRPP_kangoo { display: block; transition: background-color 250ms; webkit-transition: background-color 250ms; width: 100%; opacity: 1; transition: opacity 250ms; webkit-transition: opacity 250ms; background-color: #eaeaea; box-shadow: 0 1px 2px rgba(0,…

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Oculus: Rift Won’t Be Superseded by New Version for ‘at least two years’

During an interview at the Game Developers Conference at the end of March, head of Oculus’ PC VR division Brendan Iribe stated that the Rift will remain the company’s flagship VR headset for “at least the next two years”. The report by The Verge also discussed the company’s future direction for inside-out tracking and glove-free hand tracking. Since stepping down as Oculus CEO, Brendan Iribe has lead the PC division of the company, a role focused on the day-to-day development of leading edge VR technology—so this estimated timeframe carries significant weight. HTC has offered similar prescriptions, describing recently the likely generational cycle for VR headsets to sit somewhere between a smartphone and a games console, and there have been grand…

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Google’s ‘Seurat’ Surface Light-field Tech Could Be a Graphical Breakthrough For Mobile VR

Google has revealed a new ‘surface light-field’ rendering technology that it’s calling ‘Seurat’ (after the famous Pointillism painter). The company says that the tech will not only bring CGI quality visuals to mobile VR, but it will do so at a miniscule filesize—a hurdle that other light-field approaches have struggled to surmount. Today at I/O 2017 Google introduced Seurat, a new rendering technology that’s designed to take ultra high-quality CGI assets that couldn’t be run in real-time even on the highest performance desktop hardware, and format them in a way that retains their visual fidelity while allowing them to run on mobile VR hardware. Now, that wouldn’t be very impressive if we were just talking about 360 videos, but Google’s Seurat approach…

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Watch Google’s ‘Visual Positioning Service’ AR Tracking in Action

At today’s annual Google I/O developer conference, Clay Bavor, VP of Virtual Reality at Google, announced a new augmented reality service called Visual Positioning Service, the latest development for the Tango platform that promises to not only precisely map the world around you in concert with Google Maps, but also give you a ‘GPS-like’ turn-by-turn navigational experience when you’re indoors. In addition, he announced an AR mode for an upcoming educational tool called Google Expeditions. Following some major VR announcements including Daydream-compatible standalone VR headsets in the works from HTC and Lenovo, Bavor moved on to Google’s AR operations, confirming that the Asus Zenfone AR, the second Tango-enabled consumer smartphone, is still on track for a summer 2017 launch. Google Tango…

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Half of SteamVR Tracking Course Attendees Using Tech for Non-gaming

In August of last year, Valve created the SteamVR licensing program to allow any developer to create their very own SteamVR tracked object. At that time, Valve partnered with Synapse, a Seattle-area product development firm, to provide a mandatory training program for all SteamVR licensees. Road to VR met with Synapse’s electrical engineering program lead and SteamVR Tracking instructor, Doug Bruey, to talk about the tracking system and how it will be used by companies in the future. From his experience teaching the SteamVR Tracking course, Bruey has an inside view on what companies are doing with the technology and when we might begin to see the fruits of their labor. Road to VR: How many students went through the SteamVR…

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‘Half-Life 2: VR’ Mod Gets Green-lit on Steam in 4 Days

Half-Life 2: VR, a revamped version of an older mod which will adapt the beloved Half-Life 2 for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, has been green-lit, signifying Valve’s official acceptance of the mod for distribution on Steam. Although Steam Greenlight’s days are numbered, the Half-Life 2: VR mod which we reported on last week has managed to squeeze through the program in just four days. That means the team behind the mod has the official thumbs-up from Valve to distribute the mod to players via Steam, making distribution, promotion, and updates of the mod much easier than releasing it directly via the web. The mod team reports that nearly 16,000 people had voted for the mod’s approval around the time it was…