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Found 25 results

  1. I don’t own a virtual reality headset and have little familiarity with the Sniper Elite series but Sniper Elite VR made me consider diving into both. The upcoming game, a collaboration between developers Rebellion and Just Add Water, uses the immersion of VR to enhance the already tense thrill of sharpshooting. This reinvention on the popular series is a standalone entry set in World War 2 era Sicily. Nazi forces, specifically German U-boats, occupy the Italian city. Players join up with the local resistance force to help drive them out. Story specifics are scarce, but author Tony Schumacher, known for his John Rosset series of war novels, lends his writing chops to the campaign. Rebellion boasts the adventure will take players across a variety of locales, from wartorn villages to airfields and bunkers. I spent a brief time with Sniper Elite VR at E3 where it had been officially unveiled. Rebellion had the game set up for PlayStation VR, though it’s also compatible with Oculus Rift and available through SteamVR and Viveport. On Sony’s headset, players can control the game using either PlayStation Move, PlayStation Aim, or the DualShock 4. The Aim became my weapon of choice; it’s gun-shaped form lends to the most authentic sniper experience. The demo began by dropping onto the rooftop of village warzone. Shots whizzed perilously towards by my head from an enemy on the ground which forced me to quickly grab a weapon to retaliate. As I brought the the Aim controller to up my eye the view transitioned into a sniper scope for realistic aiming. It’s an awesome mechanic that effectively sold the idea that I was holding an actual sniper rifle. I took the shot which then entered into Sniper Elite’s famous slow-motion x-ray kill cam, which has been rebuilt from scratch to suit VR. The bullet tore through his sternum, graphically displaying every shattered bone and ruptured organ as it exited his body. I dashed across makeshift bridges to other rooftops and took down foes hunkered in adjacent buildings and on the street. At one point a tank entered the fray and unleashed a barrage of cannonfire. The explosions looked and sounded great. The well-tuned controls impressed; I never had an issue with performing an action. Popping in and out of cover, physically dodging incoming fire, then peering into the scope and nailing a clean headshot felt unexpectedly thrilling. Movement and camera control can either be the standard smooth transition like in regular shooters or the staple VR teleport. I opted for the former and used the sticks to run and look around as normal. Though functional and familiar, that smoothness came at a price: a mild spell of motion sickness that forced me to wrap things up sooner than expected. Still, as I hobbled out of the demo room, I walked away pleased with what I played. Rebellion has done a lot of work to make VR a natural fit for Sniper Elite and it should be a unique treat for fans. Unfortunately, the game has no release window as of yet. We’ll have to wait and see when we can engage in this brutal and immersive fight for liberation. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games
  2. I don’t own a virtual reality headset and have little familiarity with the Sniper Elite series but Sniper Elite VR made me consider diving into both. The upcoming game, a collaboration between developers Rebellion and Just Add Water, uses the immersion of VR to enhance the already tense thrill of sharpshooting. This reinvention on the popular series is a standalone entry set in World War 2 era Sicily. Nazi forces, specifically German U-boats, occupy the Italian city. Players join up with the local resistance force to help drive them out. Story specifics are scarce, but author Tony Schumacher, known for his John Rosset series of war novels, lends his writing chops to the campaign. Rebellion boasts the adventure will take players across a variety of locales, from wartorn villages to airfields and bunkers. I spent a brief time with Sniper Elite VR at E3 where it had been officially unveiled. Rebellion had the game set up for PlayStation VR, though it’s also compatible with Oculus Rift and available through SteamVR and Viveport. On Sony’s headset, players can control the game using either PlayStation Move, PlayStation Aim, or the DualShock 4. The Aim became my weapon of choice; it’s gun-shaped form lends to the most authentic sniper experience. The demo began by dropping onto the rooftop of village warzone. Shots whizzed perilously towards by my head from an enemy on the ground which forced me to quickly grab a weapon to retaliate. As I brought the the Aim controller to up my eye the view transitioned into a sniper scope for realistic aiming. It’s an awesome mechanic that effectively sold the idea that I was holding an actual sniper rifle. I took the shot which then entered into Sniper Elite’s famous slow-motion x-ray kill cam, which has been rebuilt from scratch to suit VR. The bullet tore through his sternum, graphically displaying every shattered bone and ruptured organ as it exited his body. I dashed across makeshift bridges to other rooftops and took down foes hunkered in adjacent buildings and on the street. At one point a tank entered the fray and unleashed a barrage of cannonfire. The explosions looked and sounded great. The well-tuned controls impressed; I never had an issue with performing an action. Popping in and out of cover, physically dodging incoming fire, then peering into the scope and nailing a clean headshot felt unexpectedly thrilling. Movement and camera control can either be the standard smooth transition like in regular shooters or the staple VR teleport. I opted for the former and used the sticks to run and look around as normal. Though functional and familiar, that smoothness came at a price: a mild spell of motion sickness that forced me to wrap things up sooner than expected. Still, as I hobbled out of the demo room, I walked away pleased with what I played. Rebellion has done a lot of work to make VR a natural fit for Sniper Elite and it should be a unique treat for fans. Unfortunately, the game has no release window as of yet. We’ll have to wait and see when we can engage in this brutal and immersive fight for liberation. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games View full article
  3. Jetpacks sit high among the list of awesome contraptions many of us will likely never use. Fortunately, Ascend is a virtual reality title that simulates that experience while adding a competitive wrinkle. Team Newspaper Hats’ upcoming game pits competing headset users against each other in clashes that combine aerial dogfights with Capture the Flag-style gameplay. At E3 2019, I strapped inside of an Oculus Rift to take to the skies in, quite literally, high-stakes combat. Ascend takes place on an abandoned, dystopian world where its remaining warriors engage in aerial contests in the name of glory. The demo features two characters: Mufid the Inventor and Gloriana the Highborne. The former wields plasma blasters while the latter uses twin holoswords. Ascend’s multiplayer supports up to three players so I imagine at last one more warrior will be added in the future. Since I have more experience using guns in VR than melee weapons, I opt for Mufid. The free-for-all mode Fracture stands as the centerpiece of Ascend. This contest tasks players with collecting objectives and then delivering them to the top of a tower at the map’s center. The first person to deliver them all wins. Objectives are represented by glowing orbs scattered across the area. Since VR still hasn’t been widely adopted, a multiplayer game runs the high risk of having a shallow user pool. Thankfully, Ascend supports cross-play across its three platforms: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Windows MR. This should hopefully help bolster the player count. Flight is executed by Ascend’s Lean Motion System. Leaning your head forward allows players to soar in that direction. Designated buttons on the Oculus Touch controllers operate upward and downward propulsion. While it does emulate the sensation of a using a jetpack, I also couldn’t help but feel like I was piloting Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit. As I load into the tutorial area the somewhat sensitive head-tracking takes adjusting. I repeatedly wiz headfirst into walls (the virtual kind, thankfully) until I figure out the right degree to lean in for smooth flight. Once I do, I’m able to zip around the world with relative ease and it feels great. Best and most importantly of all, I don’t feel a hint of motion sickness. Fracture begins and I immediately notice the in-game markers indicating the general locations of the objectives. I spot the first orb, collect it, and then race upwards towards the top of the tower. Just when I figure out how to correctly stick the landing in this zone, my opponent and demo partner discovers and eradicates me. If nothing else, the setback reminds me of my own offensive arsenal. In addition to shooting lasers Mufid has a neat special ability. Holding the controllers sideways charges her Bullet Hell technique. Upon release Mufid fires a spherical barrier that traps and ricochets any bullet fired inside of it. This is great for capturing foes and then tearing them to shreds with a single shot. After respawning I locate my opponent, now clutching an orb, racing to the tower. I see this as a great chance to try my special move. Miraculously, I catch her inside of the sphere on my first attempt and watch in glee as my follow up shot annihilates my adversary. I collect the now free orb, fly up to the tower unimpeded, and, after waiting for a timer to deplete, score the first point. I have my bearings by this point so I proceed to go on the offensive, relentlessly chasing and blasting my opponent before they can locate the last two objectives. Shooting feels good and it’s genuinely thrilling to take someone down. My aggressive strategy pays off; I capture the remaining two orbs with relative ease, giving me the 3-0 victory. Ascend plays well and definitely has its thrills, but I worry about its longevity. Fracture seems to be the only mode it has going for it thus far, and playing the same thing will eventually get old. Hopefully some more destinations will make their way into the game. But if jetpacks + sports + combat sounds like a winning formula, look for Ascend to launch on PC this summer. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games
  4. Jetpacks sit high among the list of awesome contraptions many of us will likely never use. Fortunately, Ascend is a virtual reality title that simulates that experience while adding a competitive wrinkle. Team Newspaper Hats’ upcoming game pits competing headset users against each other in clashes that combine aerial dogfights with Capture the Flag-style gameplay. At E3 2019, I strapped inside of an Oculus Rift to take to the skies in, quite literally, high-stakes combat. Ascend takes place on an abandoned, dystopian world where its remaining warriors engage in aerial contests in the name of glory. The demo features two characters: Mufid the Inventor and Gloriana the Highborne. The former wields plasma blasters while the latter uses twin holoswords. Ascend’s multiplayer supports up to three players so I imagine at last one more warrior will be added in the future. Since I have more experience using guns in VR than melee weapons, I opt for Mufid. The free-for-all mode Fracture stands as the centerpiece of Ascend. This contest tasks players with collecting objectives and then delivering them to the top of a tower at the map’s center. The first person to deliver them all wins. Objectives are represented by glowing orbs scattered across the area. Since VR still hasn’t been widely adopted, a multiplayer game runs the high risk of having a shallow user pool. Thankfully, Ascend supports cross-play across its three platforms: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Windows MR. This should hopefully help bolster the player count. Flight is executed by Ascend’s Lean Motion System. Leaning your head forward allows players to soar in that direction. Designated buttons on the Oculus Touch controllers operate upward and downward propulsion. While it does emulate the sensation of a using a jetpack, I also couldn’t help but feel like I was piloting Tony Stark’s Iron Man suit. As I load into the tutorial area the somewhat sensitive head-tracking takes adjusting. I repeatedly wiz headfirst into walls (the virtual kind, thankfully) until I figure out the right degree to lean in for smooth flight. Once I do, I’m able to zip around the world with relative ease and it feels great. Best and most importantly of all, I don’t feel a hint of motion sickness. Fracture begins and I immediately notice the in-game markers indicating the general locations of the objectives. I spot the first orb, collect it, and then race upwards towards the top of the tower. Just when I figure out how to correctly stick the landing in this zone, my opponent and demo partner discovers and eradicates me. If nothing else, the setback reminds me of my own offensive arsenal. In addition to shooting lasers Mufid has a neat special ability. Holding the controllers sideways charges her Bullet Hell technique. Upon release Mufid fires a spherical barrier that traps and ricochets any bullet fired inside of it. This is great for capturing foes and then tearing them to shreds with a single shot. After respawning I locate my opponent, now clutching an orb, racing to the tower. I see this as a great chance to try my special move. Miraculously, I catch her inside of the sphere on my first attempt and watch in glee as my follow up shot annihilates my adversary. I collect the now free orb, fly up to the tower unimpeded, and, after waiting for a timer to deplete, score the first point. I have my bearings by this point so I proceed to go on the offensive, relentlessly chasing and blasting my opponent before they can locate the last two objectives. Shooting feels good and it’s genuinely thrilling to take someone down. My aggressive strategy pays off; I capture the remaining two orbs with relative ease, giving me the 3-0 victory. Ascend plays well and definitely has its thrills, but I worry about its longevity. Fracture seems to be the only mode it has going for it thus far, and playing the same thing will eventually get old. Hopefully some more destinations will make their way into the game. But if jetpacks + sports + combat sounds like a winning formula, look for Ascend to launch on PC this summer. Don't forget to sign up for Extra Life to help sick and injured kids in hospitals around the US and Canada by playing games View full article
  5. First-person puzzler/philosophical journey The Talos Principle received acclaim when it first released on PC in late 2014. After being ported to console and mobile, the game makes the next logical leap: virtual reality. The Talos Principle VR is available now on Steam for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. According to developer Croteam, the game has been entirely redesigned for VR and features fully customizable controls. This version runs for $39.99 but owners of the original game receive a 25% discount (knocking it down to around $29.99). Additionally, the four-episode Road to Gehenna expansion is included with The Talos Principle VR. Any of you Oculus or Vive users plan on to taking a look at The Talos Principle?
  6. First-person puzzler/philosophical journey The Talos Principle received acclaim when it first released on PC in late 2014. After being ported to console and mobile, the game makes the next logical leap: virtual reality. The Talos Principle VR is available now on Steam for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. According to developer Croteam, the game has been entirely redesigned for VR and features fully customizable controls. This version runs for $39.99 but owners of the original game receive a 25% discount (knocking it down to around $29.99). Additionally, the four-episode Road to Gehenna expansion is included with The Talos Principle VR. Any of you Oculus or Vive users plan on to taking a look at The Talos Principle? View full article
  7. The sky-high price tag for VR has been one of the primary barriers keeping a majority of gamers away from the technology. At Oculus' Connect 4 event earlier today, Facebook announced plans to remedy that situation by dropping the price of its original headset as well as introducing a significantly cheaper model. In with the new first. Oculus Go is a standalone, "all-in-one" headset retailing for $199. Similar Samsung Gear VR, no PC (or phone) is required; just strap it on and play using the Wii nunchuck-esque single palm controller. Oculus Go arrives in early 2018. As of today, you can purchase the standard Oculus Rift model for $399.That package includes two touch controllers, two sensors, and seven free games. That's one whole Benjamin down from the $500 price that went into effect earlier this year, which in itself was a cut from $600 launch tag. If you've been eyeing VR but haven't taken the plunge yet, are these announcements enough to entice you? Does VR interest you at all?
  8. The sky-high price tag for VR has been one of the primary barriers keeping a majority of gamers away from the technology. At Oculus' Connect 4 event earlier today, Facebook announced plans to remedy that situation by dropping the price of its original headset as well as introducing a significantly cheaper model. In with the new first. Oculus Go is a standalone, "all-in-one" headset retailing for $199. Similar Samsung Gear VR, no PC (or phone) is required; just strap it on and play using the Wii nunchuck-esque single palm controller. Oculus Go arrives in early 2018. As of today, you can purchase the standard Oculus Rift model for $399.That package includes two touch controllers, two sensors, and seven free games. That's one whole Benjamin down from the $500 price that went into effect earlier this year, which in itself was a cut from $600 launch tag. If you've been eyeing VR but haven't taken the plunge yet, are these announcements enough to entice you? Does VR interest you at all? View full article
  9. The concept of creating cinema in virtual reality is still in its infancy, but those interested in the format's potential can check out the first short film from London-based VR studio, Breaking Fourth. Titled Ctrl, the film is coming to PlayStation VR and centers on a young e-sports player named Liam, who competes in a strategy game tournament where viewers have "front row seats" to the action. However, Liam may be fighting for much more than just a tournament victory. According to Breaking Fourth, Ctrl aims to explores "themes of power, control and escapism...whilst forcing you to confront the unrelenting nature of the character’s reality – and as the plot develops, you may find yourself reflecting on your own experiences…" The film was shot in full 360 degrees, offering watchers a completely immersive experience. You can get a feel for Ctrl by checking out its trailer below. PlayStation VR owners intrigued by the project will be able to download Ctrl from the PlayStation Store this Friday, June 23rd. You can read more about the movie by reading Breaking Fourth's PlayStation Blog post. View full article
  10. The concept of creating cinema in virtual reality is still in its infancy, but those interested in the format's potential can check out the first short film from London-based VR studio, Breaking Fourth. Titled Ctrl, the film is coming to PlayStation VR and centers on a young e-sports player named Liam, who competes in a strategy game tournament where viewers have "front row seats" to the action. However, Liam may be fighting for much more than just a tournament victory. According to Breaking Fourth, Ctrl aims to explores "themes of power, control and escapism...whilst forcing you to confront the unrelenting nature of the character’s reality – and as the plot develops, you may find yourself reflecting on your own experiences…" The film was shot in full 360 degrees, offering watchers a completely immersive experience. You can get a feel for Ctrl by checking out its trailer below. PlayStation VR owners intrigued by the project will be able to download Ctrl from the PlayStation Store this Friday, June 23rd. You can read more about the movie by reading Breaking Fourth's PlayStation Blog post.
  11. Though I’ve only dabbled in virtual reality since it hit the market, I haven’t played or seen much to get me truly enthused with the concept. That was until I gave Blasters of the Universe a go during E3. The project began as a game jam between an artist and developer at studio Secret Location before larger vision focused on bringing the challenging and reflex-focused bullet hell genre to first-person VR. So far, I believe Secret Location is one the right track. Blasters of the Universe got my adrenaline racing like few VR experiences I’ve encountered. Playing with the Oculus Rift and Touch controllers, I held a gun in my right hand and a shield in my left. One of two loadouts were available. One was big, powerful gun paired with a durable shield and a missile barrage special attack. The other was a smaller gun with faster firing rate that can split into a pair of firearms as a special attack. It also came with a smaller shield that deflects bullets back at enemies. I opted for the former. The full experience will boast full weapon customization with players outfitting arms with a selection of parts (like a laser sight) and modifier, such as bullets that rebound off walls. Shields also come in different types, such as one that can be split into three static barriers to take cover behind. Soon after I plunged into the neon-tinted techno world, a squad of robots and weird floating heads converged upon me from all sides and opened fire. The player’s head is the only area that receives damage, so identifying gaps in the elaborate bullet patterns and aligning your noggin so that it slips through is crucial. Shields block a limited number of attacks before it has to recharge, meaning players must be mindful of when to block and when to dodge. The opening minutes saw me getting wailed on from above and blindsided elsewhere since I kept focusing only on what was in front of me. After taking a rain of bullets to the face, I learned to fully scout my surroundings. Before long, I found a nice rhythm of bobbing and weaving around bullets, throwing up my shield to catch incoming attacks, and blasting enemies into oblivion. I even crossed my arms at points for maximum style points. The sensation felt extremely cool and empowering–it really felt like my entire being against the world, and I licked my chops at each new wave that dared to challenge me. Taking damage and interrupting a great groove feels devastating in traditional bullet hell games and it’s even more jarring here with bullets hitting you square in the face and halting everything for about a second. However, this only got my blood pumping more as I immediately wanted revenge against my polygonal transgressors. This was my first time using the Touch controllers, and they felt comfortable and sported great responsiveness. The level’s boss was a large, teleporting robot that unloaded missiles like no tomorrow. My defensive skills got a serious run for their money, and the boss' constant warping between positions made it a challenging foe to take down. I eventually toppled it with the help of my handy missile barrages. Once I took off the headset and returned to reality, I needed to catch a breather but wanted nothing more than to jack back in and keep blasting. Blasters of the Universe will feature four campaign levels, each with their own endless version for players to return to and fight for bragging rights across the cross-platform leaderboard rankings. Per the norm with bullet hell games, the challenge raises exponentially as the game progresses (to my surprise, difficulty was scaled back in my decidedly tough demo). Despite the difficulty, I had a very fun time with Blasters of the Universe. If you want to try it for yourself, the game is available now on Steam Early Access for Oculus Rift and Vive. The full release is slated for later this year. View full article
  12. Though I’ve only dabbled in virtual reality since it hit the market, I haven’t played or seen much to get me truly enthused with the concept. That was until I gave Blasters of the Universe a go during E3. The project began as a game jam between an artist and developer at studio Secret Location before larger vision focused on bringing the challenging and reflex-focused bullet hell genre to first-person VR. So far, I believe Secret Location is one the right track. Blasters of the Universe got my adrenaline racing like few VR experiences I’ve encountered. Playing with the Oculus Rift and Touch controllers, I held a gun in my right hand and a shield in my left. One of two loadouts were available. One was big, powerful gun paired with a durable shield and a missile barrage special attack. The other was a smaller gun with faster firing rate that can split into a pair of firearms as a special attack. It also came with a smaller shield that deflects bullets back at enemies. I opted for the former. The full experience will boast full weapon customization with players outfitting arms with a selection of parts (like a laser sight) and modifier, such as bullets that rebound off walls. Shields also come in different types, such as one that can be split into three static barriers to take cover behind. Soon after I plunged into the neon-tinted techno world, a squad of robots and weird floating heads converged upon me from all sides and opened fire. The player’s head is the only area that receives damage, so identifying gaps in the elaborate bullet patterns and aligning your noggin so that it slips through is crucial. Shields block a limited number of attacks before it has to recharge, meaning players must be mindful of when to block and when to dodge. The opening minutes saw me getting wailed on from above and blindsided elsewhere since I kept focusing only on what was in front of me. After taking a rain of bullets to the face, I learned to fully scout my surroundings. Before long, I found a nice rhythm of bobbing and weaving around bullets, throwing up my shield to catch incoming attacks, and blasting enemies into oblivion. I even crossed my arms at points for maximum style points. The sensation felt extremely cool and empowering–it really felt like my entire being against the world, and I licked my chops at each new wave that dared to challenge me. Taking damage and interrupting a great groove feels devastating in traditional bullet hell games and it’s even more jarring here with bullets hitting you square in the face and halting everything for about a second. However, this only got my blood pumping more as I immediately wanted revenge against my polygonal transgressors. This was my first time using the Touch controllers, and they felt comfortable and sported great responsiveness. The level’s boss was a large, teleporting robot that unloaded missiles like no tomorrow. My defensive skills got a serious run for their money, and the boss' constant warping between positions made it a challenging foe to take down. I eventually toppled it with the help of my handy missile barrages. Once I took off the headset and returned to reality, I needed to catch a breather but wanted nothing more than to jack back in and keep blasting. Blasters of the Universe will feature four campaign levels, each with their own endless version for players to return to and fight for bragging rights across the cross-platform leaderboard rankings. Per the norm with bullet hell games, the challenge raises exponentially as the game progresses (to my surprise, difficulty was scaled back in my decidedly tough demo). Despite the difficulty, I had a very fun time with Blasters of the Universe. If you want to try it for yourself, the game is available now on Steam Early Access for Oculus Rift and Vive. The full release is slated for later this year.
  13. Valve has been hard at work trying to perfect their virtual reality platform. They've just taken a big step by creating SteamVR Home, an interactive VR hub for Steam games. SteamVR Home is currently in beta, but can be accessed by simply opting into it. What does SteamVR Home do? Over the past year, Valve has been taking feedback from players and refining their vision for what a VR hub should be. The waters of virtual reality are still largely untested, so that feedback was critical to learning how SteamVR Home should function. Many environments and backgrounds have been uploaded to the SteamVR Workshop and creators have been clamoring for more tools so they can piece together better hub areas. Now, players will be able to create those areas with sound, better detail, animation, interaction, and even social elements. Those better environments can now attain higher resolutions, support animation, sound, and even games in their own right. To find the perfect hub, players can teleport around areas and explore hundreds of hubs created by the community. if one of the environments suits a player's fancy, they can save it and even create special props and drawings to decorate and personalize the space. The social integration is a huge addition. Those functions are now built into SteamVR Home. Players can invite friends into their home space or make an entire environment open to the public so anyone can join. Voice chat is possible, people can interact with the various decorations and tools in the given environment, and friends can explore new worlds together. Each player will be able to fashion an avatar for themselves, complete with accessories and props. Players can unlock more accessories by completing quests in other SteamVR areas. Of course, these wouldn't be very good hub areas if they didn't serve as, you know, hubs! From the default home area, players can launch VR applications, scroll through their friends list, and access other rooms. Creators will also be able to integrate those features into custom hubs. Many of the features in SteamVR Home have been borrowed from another Valve application titled Destinations. If you've been using Destinations and are worried about losing all your progress or stuff, don't fret. All of those in-game achievements and items will carry over into SteamVR Home. Destinations will cease being updated and all focus will switch over to SteamVR Home. Valve released a statement to those who have supported Destinations, saying, "We've been amazed by the incredible work the community has done in Destinations, and appreciate all the feedback you've given us as Destinations has gone from a simple photogrammetry viewer to something more. You are all veterans of this creative space and we hope you'll pass your knowledge and experience along as the rest of the SteamVR community gets access to these worlds." If you are interested in opting into the SteamVR Home beta follow these steps: Open Steam > Find SteamVR in your Library > Right click and go to Properties > Select the Betas tab and pick SteamVR Beta.
  14. Valve has been hard at work trying to perfect their virtual reality platform. They've just taken a big step by creating SteamVR Home, an interactive VR hub for Steam games. SteamVR Home is currently in beta, but can be accessed by simply opting into it. What does SteamVR Home do? Over the past year, Valve has been taking feedback from players and refining their vision for what a VR hub should be. The waters of virtual reality are still largely untested, so that feedback was critical to learning how SteamVR Home should function. Many environments and backgrounds have been uploaded to the SteamVR Workshop and creators have been clamoring for more tools so they can piece together better hub areas. Now, players will be able to create those areas with sound, better detail, animation, interaction, and even social elements. Those better environments can now attain higher resolutions, support animation, sound, and even games in their own right. To find the perfect hub, players can teleport around areas and explore hundreds of hubs created by the community. if one of the environments suits a player's fancy, they can save it and even create special props and drawings to decorate and personalize the space. The social integration is a huge addition. Those functions are now built into SteamVR Home. Players can invite friends into their home space or make an entire environment open to the public so anyone can join. Voice chat is possible, people can interact with the various decorations and tools in the given environment, and friends can explore new worlds together. Each player will be able to fashion an avatar for themselves, complete with accessories and props. Players can unlock more accessories by completing quests in other SteamVR areas. Of course, these wouldn't be very good hub areas if they didn't serve as, you know, hubs! From the default home area, players can launch VR applications, scroll through their friends list, and access other rooms. Creators will also be able to integrate those features into custom hubs. Many of the features in SteamVR Home have been borrowed from another Valve application titled Destinations. If you've been using Destinations and are worried about losing all your progress or stuff, don't fret. All of those in-game achievements and items will carry over into SteamVR Home. Destinations will cease being updated and all focus will switch over to SteamVR Home. Valve released a statement to those who have supported Destinations, saying, "We've been amazed by the incredible work the community has done in Destinations, and appreciate all the feedback you've given us as Destinations has gone from a simple photogrammetry viewer to something more. You are all veterans of this creative space and we hope you'll pass your knowledge and experience along as the rest of the SteamVR community gets access to these worlds." If you are interested in opting into the SteamVR Home beta follow these steps: Open Steam > Find SteamVR in your Library > Right click and go to Properties > Select the Betas tab and pick SteamVR Beta. View full article
  15. Hi! *waves* I'm curious about how you all feel about VR? With products now ranging from a $30 Google Cardboard to a $600 Oculus Rift, it seems like VR is quickly going to become part of our normal gaming arena. I've heard people say it's a gimmick that they don't need, while others are chomping at the bit to get their hands on one. I feel like it was so recently that I was having conversations about how "futuristic" VR seemed and how it would be forever until anything was released! I personally would love one - but I also feel it's not necessary. I'm completely satisfied with the gaming experiences I currently have, but I do think we are due for a little something to mix it up. Do you think this is it? Which one of the many now available would you get?
  16. Through a new movement system designed to be compatible with VR and scalable to varying physical environment sizes, a collection of former BioWare and Relic developers at Cloudhead Games have announced their solution to the nauseous feeling some people experience when interacting with virtual reality environments. The Blink VR system provides a combination of ways that players can navigate virtual space: Cinematic Blink, Precision Blink, and Volume Blink. They claim that their system will lead to a 100% nausea free experience for everyone. If true, this could represent a big win for VR which has run into hurdles when it comes to programming accurate movement that doesn't induce motion sickness. Cloudhead goes more in-depth on their system and its various benefits for VR development in the video they released alongside their announcement. In addition to the system they designed for in-game movement, Cloudhead Games also designed a system that can operate in standing room around a desk, a wide open living room space, or an airplane hanger. The system calibrates to a given area and reflects the boundaries in-game with unobtrusive markers designating the real world space players have to work with. The system also tackles smaller problems, like how to simplify VR controls or even what happens when a player walks into a wall. Cloudhead also took the opportunity to announce that they will be revealing the first episode of their four episode debut game called The Gallery: Call of the Starseed at PAX, August 28-31.The title will be a full VR experience and be the first game to make use of Blink for its navigation. Call of the Starseed will be the first commercially available VR title when it launches alongside the HTC Vive VR headset sometime this holiday season. While the technology looks impressive, are you sold on its nausea reducing abilities? What about the first VR game of the modern VR gold rush? Does it make you want to buy day one or will you be holding off to see what happens? View full article
  17. Through a new movement system designed to be compatible with VR and scalable to varying physical environment sizes, a collection of former BioWare and Relic developers at Cloudhead Games have announced their solution to the nauseous feeling some people experience when interacting with virtual reality environments. The Blink VR system provides a combination of ways that players can navigate virtual space: Cinematic Blink, Precision Blink, and Volume Blink. They claim that their system will lead to a 100% nausea free experience for everyone. If true, this could represent a big win for VR which has run into hurdles when it comes to programming accurate movement that doesn't induce motion sickness. Cloudhead goes more in-depth on their system and its various benefits for VR development in the video they released alongside their announcement. In addition to the system they designed for in-game movement, Cloudhead Games also designed a system that can operate in standing room around a desk, a wide open living room space, or an airplane hanger. The system calibrates to a given area and reflects the boundaries in-game with unobtrusive markers designating the real world space players have to work with. The system also tackles smaller problems, like how to simplify VR controls or even what happens when a player walks into a wall. Cloudhead also took the opportunity to announce that they will be revealing the first episode of their four episode debut game called The Gallery: Call of the Starseed at PAX, August 28-31.The title will be a full VR experience and be the first game to make use of Blink for its navigation. Call of the Starseed will be the first commercially available VR title when it launches alongside the HTC Vive VR headset sometime this holiday season. While the technology looks impressive, are you sold on its nausea reducing abilities? What about the first VR game of the modern VR gold rush? Does it make you want to buy day one or will you be holding off to see what happens?
  18. Way sooner than most people anticipated, PlayStation announced today at GDC that they would be releasing their PlayStation 4 virtual reality headset during the first half of 2016. The headset will accommodate glasses, offer an OLED display resolution of 1920x1080 with a framerate of either 60fps or 120fps. Sony boasts that the latency is half of what the models shown last year were capable of. No price has been announced. Perhaps that is something that we can expect to see revealed at E3? View full article
  19. Way sooner than most people anticipated, PlayStation announced today at GDC that they would be releasing their PlayStation 4 virtual reality headset during the first half of 2016. The headset will accommodate glasses, offer an OLED display resolution of 1920x1080 with a framerate of either 60fps or 120fps. Sony boasts that the latency is half of what the models shown last year were capable of. No price has been announced. Perhaps that is something that we can expect to see revealed at E3?
  20. At this year’s E3, I had the pleasure of using an Oculus Rift to participate in a 2v2 virtual reality space dogfight. I have never felt more like I was in the future. I arrived at my appointment with developer CCP with a small degree of nervous anticipation. I had been told about a month previously that I would be able to demo the latest build of Valkyrie; the build that they had recently updated to Unreal Engine 4. A month is more than enough time to read about and hear about the colorful variations of simulation sickness that have been cropping up since the advent of virtual reality technology. Along with the excitement I was feeling, I hoped that I wouldn’t get nauseated in a professional setting. However, CCP is a big company and I knew that they’d want to talk EVE Online and Dust 514 before we got down to their VR project. Not that I was complaining. I love me some sci-fi MMOs/Shooters. Past a reception desk and through a delightfully cool and dim waiting lounge, I met CCP’s product manager Ryan Geddes along with two other media members who hailed from the United Kingdom. He told us about the player-driven world of EVE Online and about a few of the newsworthy battles that have taken place there over the last year. In particular Geddes focused on the Battle of B-R5RB, which was a galactic kerfuffle of unprecedented proportions. Though not one of the largest battles in EVE history, it was by far the costliest. Over 75 titan-class ships were destroyed; Titans take over two months of real-world time to build. It is estimated that the in-game damages totaled over 11 trillion ISK. 11 TRILLION. This battle was so catastrophic that it has its own sizable Wikipedia page. Geddes wanted to emphasize how much of the EVE Online universe is driven by player interactions. Going forward, CCP wants to be able to respond more fluidly to their shifting game world. To that end, CCP will be releasing around ten smaller expansions every year instead of one or two larger expansions. The first of these micro-expansions released on June 3. It was dubbed Kronos and added new ships for pirate factions. The second will be released on July 22 and will be the first overhaul to how industry works in EVE Online. All items, ships, ammo, etc. are created by more industrial-minded players; the overhaul should make pursuing industry a more enjoyable path to riches and power for those with a shrewd mind for business. We were then given a brief overview of the history behind EVE Valkyrie. How it began as an after-hours project created by a few developers messing around with the Oculus Rift prototype in the office and grew into a popular attraction at CCP’s Fanfest events. It was originally developed on Unreal Engine 3, but has since been moved over to Unreal Engine 4. The single-player experience will center on the story of Round, one of the first Valkyrie pilots. Round will be voiced by Katie Sackhoff of Battlestar Galactica fame. Project Legion was fleetingly mentioned as well. It began as an attempt to port Dust 514 to the PC, but ended up growing in unexpected and divergent ways from the PlayStation 3 title. Currently it is still a prototype and more details will be released later. However, Geddes wanted to reassure fans, subscribers, and players that they are leaving indelible footprints in the EVE universe. Every kill or death that they’ve experienced in EVE Online, Dust 514, and soon EVE Valkyrie, is cataloged and has an impact, no matter how small, on the larger universe. The end goal of CCP, the very long-term goal, is to unite all of their games on one platform where gamers can switch between Valkyrie, EVE Online, and Legion on the fly. However, that dream is still a long way off. The meeting concluded and I finally heard the long awaited words: “Would you like to try EVE Valkyrie?” Yes. Very much. Inwardly I exploded in eagerness. We were led over to an alcove in their lounge where four large chairs had been set up with Xbox 360 controllers and Oculus Rift headsets. Not quite knowing what to expect, I picked up the Oculus and found it to be surprisingly light. One of the British journalists to my left was about to take off his glasses when Geddes told him that he could keep them on. Newer models of the Rift can be used with glasses, apparently. And with that, I strapped the Oculus Rift onto my face. It is a curious sensation, stepping into someone else’s head. As soon as I had placed the Oculus Rift over my eyes, it felt like I had fallen through some sort of dimensional chasm and found myself in the cockpit of a spacecraft. Never mind that a small part of me knew that I was still seated in the cool, dim comfort of the CCP E3 lounge, the rest of my mind was thoroughly convinced that I was elsewhere. Even my brain was unconsciously duped by the Rift’s illusion. I know this because after a couple minutes I had the strange sensation of not knowing spatially where my arms were. I had to look down at the digital in-game arms that grasped the Valkyrie flight controls for the feeling to recede. Just writing that previous sentence was magical. The amount of difference being able to turn your head makes when playing a game is almost absurd, but it tricks your brain into thinking that you are physically present. I was able to turn my head and remain ensconced within this digital cockpit and fly through an asteroid belt as I attempted to gun down one of the enemy space journalists. It takes some getting used to, that looking around with your head business, but Valkyrie provides a great way to acclimate players to this new form of digital space. Targeting missiles is done by moving your head along with your target until you get a lock. After achieving a lock, you can fire your payload. The experience felt alien to me, but in the best possible ways. The Rift is an amazing bit of technology that is equal parts artifice and magic. I found myself unconsciously trying to shift my “camera” by using the right analog stick on the controller. Of course that didn’t actually work, but it speaks to how deeply current gameplay methods are ingrained into our gaming psyches. My time with Valkyrie was short and sweet. If you have the opportunity to sit down and play with it, I highly recommend that you do so. It is like having a small glimpse of the future. Virtual reality is coming and it is going to drastically change the landscape of gaming.
  21. At this year’s E3, I had the pleasure of using an Oculus Rift to participate in a 2v2 virtual reality space dogfight. I have never felt more like I was in the future. I arrived at my appointment with developer CCP with a small degree of nervous anticipation. I had been told about a month previously that I would be able to demo the latest build of Valkyrie; the build that they had recently updated to Unreal Engine 4. A month is more than enough time to read about and hear about the colorful variations of simulation sickness that have been cropping up since the advent of virtual reality technology. Along with the excitement I was feeling, I hoped that I wouldn’t get nauseated in a professional setting. However, CCP is a big company and I knew that they’d want to talk EVE Online and Dust 514 before we got down to their VR project. Not that I was complaining. I love me some sci-fi MMOs/Shooters. Past a reception desk and through a delightfully cool and dim waiting lounge, I met CCP’s product manager Ryan Geddes along with two other media members who hailed from the United Kingdom. He told us about the player-driven world of EVE Online and about a few of the newsworthy battles that have taken place there over the last year. In particular Geddes focused on the Battle of B-R5RB, which was a galactic kerfuffle of unprecedented proportions. Though not one of the largest battles in EVE history, it was by far the costliest. Over 75 titan-class ships were destroyed; Titans take over two months of real-world time to build. It is estimated that the in-game damages totaled over 11 trillion ISK. 11 TRILLION. This battle was so catastrophic that it has its own sizable Wikipedia page. Geddes wanted to emphasize how much of the EVE Online universe is driven by player interactions. Going forward, CCP wants to be able to respond more fluidly to their shifting game world. To that end, CCP will be releasing around ten smaller expansions every year instead of one or two larger expansions. The first of these micro-expansions released on June 3. It was dubbed Kronos and added new ships for pirate factions. The second will be released on July 22 and will be the first overhaul to how industry works in EVE Online. All items, ships, ammo, etc. are created by more industrial-minded players; the overhaul should make pursuing industry a more enjoyable path to riches and power for those with a shrewd mind for business. We were then given a brief overview of the history behind EVE Valkyrie. How it began as an after-hours project created by a few developers messing around with the Oculus Rift prototype in the office and grew into a popular attraction at CCP’s Fanfest events. It was originally developed on Unreal Engine 3, but has since been moved over to Unreal Engine 4. The single-player experience will center on the story of Round, one of the first Valkyrie pilots. Round will be voiced by Katie Sackhoff of Battlestar Galactica fame. Project Legion was fleetingly mentioned as well. It began as an attempt to port Dust 514 to the PC, but ended up growing in unexpected and divergent ways from the PlayStation 3 title. Currently it is still a prototype and more details will be released later. However, Geddes wanted to reassure fans, subscribers, and players that they are leaving indelible footprints in the EVE universe. Every kill or death that they’ve experienced in EVE Online, Dust 514, and soon EVE Valkyrie, is cataloged and has an impact, no matter how small, on the larger universe. The end goal of CCP, the very long-term goal, is to unite all of their games on one platform where gamers can switch between Valkyrie, EVE Online, and Legion on the fly. However, that dream is still a long way off. The meeting concluded and I finally heard the long awaited words: “Would you like to try EVE Valkyrie?” Yes. Very much. Inwardly I exploded in eagerness. We were led over to an alcove in their lounge where four large chairs had been set up with Xbox 360 controllers and Oculus Rift headsets. Not quite knowing what to expect, I picked up the Oculus and found it to be surprisingly light. One of the British journalists to my left was about to take off his glasses when Geddes told him that he could keep them on. Newer models of the Rift can be used with glasses, apparently. And with that, I strapped the Oculus Rift onto my face. It is a curious sensation, stepping into someone else’s head. As soon as I had placed the Oculus Rift over my eyes, it felt like I had fallen through some sort of dimensional chasm and found myself in the cockpit of a spacecraft. Never mind that a small part of me knew that I was still seated in the cool, dim comfort of the CCP E3 lounge, the rest of my mind was thoroughly convinced that I was elsewhere. Even my brain was unconsciously duped by the Rift’s illusion. I know this because after a couple minutes I had the strange sensation of not knowing spatially where my arms were. I had to look down at the digital in-game arms that grasped the Valkyrie flight controls for the feeling to recede. Just writing that previous sentence was magical. The amount of difference being able to turn your head makes when playing a game is almost absurd, but it tricks your brain into thinking that you are physically present. I was able to turn my head and remain ensconced within this digital cockpit and fly through an asteroid belt as I attempted to gun down one of the enemy space journalists. It takes some getting used to, that looking around with your head business, but Valkyrie provides a great way to acclimate players to this new form of digital space. Targeting missiles is done by moving your head along with your target until you get a lock. After achieving a lock, you can fire your payload. The experience felt alien to me, but in the best possible ways. The Rift is an amazing bit of technology that is equal parts artifice and magic. I found myself unconsciously trying to shift my “camera” by using the right analog stick on the controller. Of course that didn’t actually work, but it speaks to how deeply current gameplay methods are ingrained into our gaming psyches. My time with Valkyrie was short and sweet. If you have the opportunity to sit down and play with it, I highly recommend that you do so. It is like having a small glimpse of the future. Virtual reality is coming and it is going to drastically change the landscape of gaming. View full article
  22. In the wake of building enthusiasm for the successfully kickstarted Oculus Rift, Sony chose GDC 2014 to reveal its own virtual reality headset for the PS4. Details about this new piece of technology are scarce, but what we do know is pretty interesting. The headset will function similarly to the Oculus Rift with a head-mounted display at 1080p resolution with a slightly smaller field of view at 90o instead of the Oculus' 100o. Both the Oculus Rift and Morpheus have numerous built-in accelerometers and gyroscopes to accurately track head movements and translate that into in-game camera moves. So far, the biggest difference between the two peripherals is that the Rift will use a built-in camera to track head orientation and movement, while Morpheus will be making use of the PlayStation camera. Shuhei Yoshida, the president of Sony Computer Entertainment, confirmed that the PlayStation camera will be a requirement for Morpheus to function properly. The trade-off for this is that Sony is planning to have Morpheus fully compatible with all PlayStation controllers, even the PS Move (remember that thing?). No price point or release date has been announced as Morpheus is still an early prototype. however, it is a functional prototype and it will be available for demoing at GDC and possibly other events throughout the year. With Oculus and Morpheus heading toward a clash in the untested waters of VR technology, this could be one of the most interesting business battles in the video game industry for quite some time. Is VR the future of video game technology or is it just another fad that will fade away like 3D? View full article
  23. In the wake of building enthusiasm for the successfully kickstarted Oculus Rift, Sony chose GDC 2014 to reveal its own virtual reality headset for the PS4. Details about this new piece of technology are scarce, but what we do know is pretty interesting. The headset will function similarly to the Oculus Rift with a head-mounted display at 1080p resolution with a slightly smaller field of view at 90o instead of the Oculus' 100o. Both the Oculus Rift and Morpheus have numerous built-in accelerometers and gyroscopes to accurately track head movements and translate that into in-game camera moves. So far, the biggest difference between the two peripherals is that the Rift will use a built-in camera to track head orientation and movement, while Morpheus will be making use of the PlayStation camera. Shuhei Yoshida, the president of Sony Computer Entertainment, confirmed that the PlayStation camera will be a requirement for Morpheus to function properly. The trade-off for this is that Sony is planning to have Morpheus fully compatible with all PlayStation controllers, even the PS Move (remember that thing?). No price point or release date has been announced as Morpheus is still an early prototype. however, it is a functional prototype and it will be available for demoing at GDC and possibly other events throughout the year. With Oculus and Morpheus heading toward a clash in the untested waters of VR technology, this could be one of the most interesting business battles in the video game industry for quite some time. Is VR the future of video game technology or is it just another fad that will fade away like 3D?
  24. Ever wonder what it would be like to hop into the cockpit of a spaceship and dogfight your way across the cosmos able to look every which way without using a controller? EVE: Valkyrie from CCP will let you do just that. EVE: Valkyrie began as a passion project between a small group of friends within EVE Online developer CCP. Using the Oculus Rift, a set of virtual reality goggles that have yet to hit the market, the team created a basic multiplayer game pitting two players against each other in a virtual space. They showed it off at the MMO's Fanfest event to give dedicated EVE players a chance to feel what it would be like to pilot space fighters into combat. The higher-ups in the company caught wind of the project and were so impressed by the game and the reaction from fans that they green lit a fully-fledged release title. So, in case you didn't quite catch it: We are getting a virtual reality space combat simulator (aka the thing everyone has wanted to do since seeing Star Wars for the first time). We. Get. To. Play. That.
  25. Ever wonder what it would be like to hop into the cockpit of a spaceship and dogfight your way across the cosmos able to look every which way without using a controller? EVE: Valkyrie from CCP will let you do just that. EVE: Valkyrie began as a passion project between a small group of friends within EVE Online developer CCP. Using the Oculus Rift, a set of virtual reality goggles that have yet to hit the market, the team created a basic multiplayer game pitting two players against each other in a virtual space. They showed it off at the MMO's Fanfest event to give dedicated EVE players a chance to feel what it would be like to pilot space fighters into combat. The higher-ups in the company caught wind of the project and were so impressed by the game and the reaction from fans that they green lit a fully-fledged release title. So, in case you didn't quite catch it: We are getting a virtual reality space combat simulator (aka the thing everyone has wanted to do since seeing Star Wars for the first time). We. Get. To. Play. That. View full article
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