Posts Tagged ‘VR’

Q.U.B.E. 2 looks like a G.O.O.D. 1


I may be addicted to this kind of nonsense and I want to finish this article so I can get to the serious business of playing this game. If you played Q.U.B.E. then you probably have some expectations set for what kind of brain-scratching world altering goodness that a sequel can bring. But the entire first person puzzle world has been churning out such exceptionally high bar work in the last few years, I’m hoping that Q.U.B.E. 2 won’t just rise to meet the challenge, but might be the new high-water mark. Am I done writing, yet? No. Okay here’s more.

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Oculus issuing $15 apology voucher for #goggpocalypse


There is no pain greater in our universe than not being able to use your virtual reality goggles for a whole day. As such, the $15 Oculus store voucher the Rift-makers are offering by way of apology for yesterday’s #goggpocalypse, in which messed-up software effectively broke their headset for a while, only begins to salve the wound. I demand that Ian Oculus comes to my house and installs triple-SLI GTX Titan Blacks in my PC this very evening.

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ICEd: Oculus Rift cybergoggles are broken today while the megacorp work on a fix

Update: this is now fixed, though users will need to take a long route to the update. Oculus officially confirmed that the problem was an expired software certificate, which caused further problems because it also wonked the usual updater.

I keep telling you: if you want to jam with the console cowboys in cyberspace, you’ve gotta roll your own goggs. These megacorp-supplied cybergoggles are controlled by The Man, the very shadowy organisations you should be jacking in to undermine. The vulnerability of megacorp hardware was revealed today when technomancers across the globe woke up to discover the Oculus software throwing up an error message, leaving Rift headsets effectively broken. Oculus say they’re aware of this and are trying to fix it. If you’re hoping to escape meatspace tonight and enter a data trance, you might want a backup plan. Read the rest of this entry »

Beat Saber is Guitar Hero for wannabe Jedi


“May the Force rise to meet you” as the priests and altar boys of the Star Wars universe say. In Beat Saber, a VR rhythm game described by its creators as “a mashup of Guitar Hero and Fruit Ninja”, this is exactly what happens. The Force, manifesting here as coloured panels with glowing arrows painting on them, fly toward you in time to a healthy beat. You’ve got to hit them with your laser sword (VR wand things) to keep on bumpin’. It looks neat, and much better demonstrated in the following video. Read the rest of this entry »

Fallout 4 VR is huge, technically impressive, and gimmicky


Fallout 4 VR is almost exactly what the phrase ‘Fallout 4 VR’ implies. Which is to say, the entirety of Fallout 4 rendered in giant-scale gogglevision. It’s funny – for some time there was this expectation that VR needed a full-fat mainstream game to truly get its wings, but now that’s finally happened, it just feels like the most normal thing in the world. Read the rest of this entry »

EVE developers CCP pulling out of VR

CCP, creators of one of our favourite VR games, EVE Valkyrie, are ceasing all VR development, according to a report on Icelandic business site The Reykjavík-based studio is best-known for its fantastically complex MMO EVE Online but has invested heavily in VR games. Sci-fi dogfighting sim Valkyrie is its flagship goggle-game, but one-on-one ball-lobbing sport Sparc (currently PSVR only) is a bit of a cracker as well. I see this as a blow to the viability of VR as a major gaming platform not only because Valkyrie is one of the few games that makes the tech tempting to me, despite being available in non-VR form as well, but also because CCP have sounded so bullish about the field in the past.

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Oculus cut Rift price, announce standalone Go headset

Oculus GO

One of those newfangled windows into cyberspace just got a bit cheaper, with the Oculus Rift (bundled with its motion controllers) now priced at £399/$399. That’s down from the previous $499 price point, and effectively makes the summer sale a permanent deal.

They’ve also announced the Oculus Go, a self-contained VR headset.

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Bethesda’s Hines on VR: “It’s something all of our studios are looking at and talking about”


A couple of weeks back – when I also went hands-on with both Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and The Evil Within 2 – I goggled up and gave the upcoming VR version of 2016’s Doom a spin, as well as bearing witness to other folks’ flailing and giggling in Skyrim VR and Fallout VR. Bethesda’s triptych of 3D ultravision spin-offs are due before the year is out, with Skyrim only available on PSVR at least initially and Fallout and Doom only officially supporting HTC Vive, for obvious reasons. Their arrival is a pretty big event for a technology that so far has leaned far more heavily on brand new things rather than established names.

Curious about what this means for the technology and for Doom, Skyrim and Fallout, I picked Bethesda VP Pete Hine’s brains about the whys and wherefores, and what it might imply for the future of their own VR efforts. Also below: my own quick impressions of Doom VFR [official site].

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The 23 best VR games for PC


Here they are then – the best games to play in virtual reality…and those games are “watching football,” “drinking”, “a nice cup of tea”, “fleeting emotional connection to another human being” and all those other everyday activities you believe to be real, as opposed than a simulation you have been experiencing since you first plugged your frail, mollusc-like form into a headset 19 years ago. SPOOKS!

But, should you persist in maintaining this fantasy, let’s go one level deeper and talk about the entertaining, satisfying or otherwise nifty games available for what is the current VR state-of-the-art in your imagined world: the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. The rival headsets are getting on for a couple of years old now, and in that time there’s been what can feel like a ceaseless storm of new games for them. How to choose, how to choose? Well, start here. These are not the only good’uns, please understand – but they are our favourite virtual realities right now.

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Making Eye Contact In VR


They say eyes are the windows to the soul. At the very least, eye contact is one of the most intimate forms of connection two people can make with their underwear on. Valve spent a fortune ensuring that looking into Alyx Vance’s eyes wouldn’t be robotic and awkward. A big reason for Vampire: Bloodlines’ characters being so successful is that they, likewise, hook you in the eyes and refuse to let go. Of course, being a horror game, some of them would probably rather be doing it with a fish-hook.

In virtual reality, eye-contact becomes code for ‘alive’.

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HTC Vive cybergoggles get £160/$200 pricecut

HTC and Valve’s Vive cybergoggles today received a permanent price cut, taking the virtual reality headset from £759/$799 to £599/$599. Unlike the current £399 Rift sale, this is a permanent change. And it comes just in time for Rez Infinite, which our Alec has declared to be “the greatest VR game to date.” I myself am holding out for goggs with spring-loaded steel spikes over the temples so when I die in the game, I die in real life (which I understand to be a fundamental part of VR) but if you’ve simply been waiting for a lower price, voila. Read the rest of this entry »

Report: Oculus to announce $200 standalone VR headset this year

VR in Murder She Wrote

Facebook is planning to unveil a $200 (£150-odd) wireless Oculus VR headset later this year that you can use without connecting to either a PC or a phone, according to a Bloomberg report.

The new headset, codename “Pacific”, will be a fully standalone product. So you’ll be able to take it out of the box, strap it on your head, and start playing games and watching videos. That means it will have some kind of built-in display, which would be a first in the space.

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Vive ‘Knuckle’ controllers promise five-finger gestures

As much as I still have brief giggles with the occasional VR toy, it’d take something close to a miracle to make me spend more large sums of money on anything goggle-related any time soon. Where once I might have gazed at details about Valve’s upcoming second generation motion controller for the Vive with covetous awe, now I stop short at “huh, that’s kinda cool, I guess.” The ‘Knuckles’ controllers are Valve/HTC’s riposte to the Touch handheld gizmos for the Oculus Rift, and read like a meaty upgrade from the responsive but limited wands that ship with the Vive. Most importantly: these suckers can purportedly track which each finger on each of your hands is up to.
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ZeniMax’s legal war over Oculus Rift targets Gear VR

ZeniMax, the owners of studios including Bethesda and id Software, have sent their lawyers after Samsung over the Gear VR phone cybergoggles. Following their $500 million (partial) legal victory against Rift makers Oculus, where a jury agreed that Oculus folks had broken a non-disclosure agreement with ZeniMax and infringed upon their copyright, ZeniMax are trying to halt the Rift and going after related people and businesses. Seeing as Gear VR was made in collaboration with Oculus — marketing says it’s “Powered by Oculus” — ZeniMax think Samsung are using trade ZeniMax trade secrets, and so Samsung should pay them damages and royalties. Read the rest of this entry »

The VR believers and doubters at EVE Fanfest

It wasn’t hard to find the VR doubters at EVE Fanfest. One high profile EVE Online player told me he had no interest in CCP’s VR games but would “rather they have new teams working on VR than moving people from EVE to something like World of Darkness, which was left in the corner like a rotten apple.”

Another said he was “glad that the VR side of the business will be there to support EVE Online financially.” For a while at least, I figure it’ll be the other way around. It might seem strange to see a free-to-play MMO as the financial foundation that a studio relies on, but then CCP are a strange company and to some people their dedication to VR might seem like their strangest move yet. I spoke to VR Brand Director Ryan Geddes and CEO Hilmar Veigar Pétursson to find out what the future might hold, and why they believe VR is an important part of that future.

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Wot I Think: Epic’s VR shooter Robo Recall

Invent an exciting new games technology. Imagine all the possibilities. New worlds, new forms of interaction, new creativity mediums, maybe even new ways of humans interacting with each other.

Let’s be honest. It’s going to end up being all about guns, isn’t it?

And so it is that Unreal/Gears of War studio Epic’s Oculus Rift-exclusive first-person shooter Robo Recall [official site] joins Serious Sam VR and SUPERHOT VR in the so-far short roster of virtual reality titles I can see myself revisiting relatively often. What these have in common is, of course, face-shooting. I’m not proud, but I did have a bloody good time.
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“We’re building 3 full VR games, not experiments”- Valve

Given they’re at the forefront of virtual reality tech, it’s kind of odd that Valve don’t have a full-fat VR game to boast of themselves. We’ve had a few experiments, most notably minigame collection The Lab and armchair tourism app Destinations, but nothing that really justifies spending hours and hours and hours in your gogglebox of choice. Well, that’s going to change, as Gabe Newell hisself has confirmed that no less than three “full” VR games are in development. He’s also bullish that the technology, though it would seem to be no runaway commercial success as yet, is bound for great things. Read the rest of this entry »

Valve’s Destinations is the best and worst of VR

Valve’s Destinations [official site], a workshop/gallery designed to enable us to experience detailed recreations of real or fictional places in virtual reality, was released into early access last Summer. This is the first time I’ve used it in earnest – partly because I wasn’t able to maintain the floorspace needed for a full Vive setup, partly because the shine so rapidly came off VR once the initial awe had faded. I’ve finally pushed enough furniture into the stairwell to be able to give it a go. It’s both exactly what VR needs and all the technology’s disappointments focused into one place.

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Bitter Rift: Oculus has to pay $500 million to ZeniMax over VR headset, rules court

A US court has ruled that Oculus must pay $500 million to software developers ZeniMax over the VR headset they’ve developed. The jury ruled that Palmer Luckey, who co-founded Oculus, failed to abide by a non-disclosure agreement he had signed while working with ZeniMax and id Software. However, the jury also found that neither Oculus nor its founders stole trade secrets. This is all part of a very messy saga that’s been thundering on since 2014 and has seen appearances in court not only of Luckey but also John Carmack and Mark Zuckerberg.
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Dean Hall on VR development: “There’s no money in it”

Dean “Rocket” Hall, the force behind DayZ and more recently his own studio, RocketWerkz, has made some fairly strong comments about the perils of VR development, the hostility of the tech’s community, and his belief that profitability is extremely unrealistic for games developed for the host of new goggles. His own studio, he says, is unlikely to develop for VR again. Read the rest of this entry »