Posts Tagged ‘VR’

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”

fallout-4-vr-pc

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

best-vr-games

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

ricka

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 »

Oculus Touch Review: The Games

I’ve already yammered about the design and capabilities of the Oculus Touch motion controller hardware itself, and now it’s time to talk software. Around 50 Touch-enabled VR games and apps launched this week – more than I can feasibly hope to look at, but I’ve been able to finger-gun and swipe and prod in enough of ’em to give you a clear sense of what this whole experience is like right now for games and software, and whether the Touch is generally a goer or not.

Also: SUPERHOT.
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Oculus Touch is a superior motion controller to the Vive’s

I’ve been playing with them there Oculus Touch controllers for the last few days – a pair of wireless, motion-tracking handheld devices that, in theory, bring the Oculus Rift more in line with the HTC Vive and its wavy, donut-ended pointers. Turns out they’re quite a bit better. Read the rest of this entry »

Google Earth VR is a Vive must-have, but…

Got a Vive? Gotta have this, then. Google’s VR mod of its long-running planet-modelling app was one of the things that was shown to devs and us media types back when Valve were first demoing the Vive. It’s now finally passed on to you, the consumer and/or unwitting sharer of vast amounts of personal data, as Google Earth VR, a free download via Steam. It’s a lovely thing, allowing you to have a giant’s eye view of anywhere in the world, much of it rendered in 3D.

Clearly, visiting a blurry version of Monument Valley and looking down at its smudged textures from 100 foot above is no substitute for a real visit to canyon country, but it’s a neat shortcut for reminding oneself of the majesty of nature. And a recent ‘flight’ over Tokyo or Hawaii is good for questioning one’s life choices as one trudges home through the November rain.
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Skreleton’s Hotdog Kitchen: Exactly What It Sounds Like

Shooting things in virtual reality with the HTC Vive controllers is probably the best feeling I’ve ever had in a video game. I don’t care how nonsensical the experience is, I just want to shoot stuff. Enter Skreleton’s Hotdog Kitchen [official site] by Scott McBee, where you too can take the role of a skeleton shooting hot dogs into the mouths of giant floating heads with a crossbow. Read the rest of this entry »

The HTC Vive Is Getting An Official Wireless Add-on

Huh. The smart money was on the Vive (and indeed Oculus Rift) not embracing the wireless future is so desperately needs until a full second generation of the hardware, but seems like we might get to cut the cord a whole lot sooner than that. An HTC partner company is about to start selling a little bolt-on box that makes the existent Valve-friendly headset entirely wireless. Finally, we can frolic freely, like Lawnmower Lambs.
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Goggs On: Trackmania Turbo Adds VR Support

There is no game I want to try in VR more than Trackmania Turbo [official site]. Nadeo’s loop-de-looping, barrelrolling, wallrunning, ultraboosting time trial racer this week added support for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive cybergoggles, and I want in. I want to whip round gravity-defying tracks, fling myself from huge ramps, roll, spin, crash, then fall to my hands and knees vomiting. This isn’t me ragging on VR; I genuinely want to become ill from carhorror. Sadly, those spoilsports have designed a few clever camera tricks to reduce the chances of that. Booo. Boo to you. Read the rest of this entry »