Posts Tagged ‘VR’

Compound is a free retro VR shooter with tremendous potential

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“This is a cool thing I found,” Dominic told our Slack channel. “But it probably doesn’t meet the qualifications for a news hit on the site.” I agreed. But then I watched the video and then I thought, “Yeah, it isn’t exactly news. There haven’t been updates on the game in a few months. But the people… the people should see the game.” And I wasn’t wrong. After all, a randomized rogue-lite free-roaming dungeon crawl based on 90s shooters — which keeps the blocky graphics and bullet-hell elements alive — well, I couldn’t imagine anyone being upset about me taking some time to share that. Even if it seemed I was putting in a lot of effort to hit the minimum word count for the piece. The piece that I was writing. Trying to hit the minimum word count for that. Which brings us to Compound. Compound is the name of the game.

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Stop a 70s serial killer in Dead Secret Circle

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This week, Robot Invader released the sequel to Dead Secret, which was one of the first VR horror-mystery titles I ever got to experience. I enjoyed that game’s puzzles and general otherworldy vibe — not to mention its Kansas based setting. (That’s where I’m from. There’s a lot of murders there. It felt good to solve one.) Dead Secret Circle builds on the successes of its predecessor by expanding the lore of the universe, but also leaning-in hard on a more stylized, bizarro look, where everything has neon outlines and the unspeakable evils seem more… unspeakabler.

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VR rhythm game Beat Saber swishes into early access

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My Vive, which once made me literally dance with joy, gathers dust. That’s less to do with how much fun I know I’d have if I set the damn thing up, and everything to do with the faff. I’ve got to deal with wobbly lighthouse stands, a PC that turns off if I bump into it and the hassle of putting contact lenses in. Why contend with all of that, when there’s so much I could play that’s only a few mouse clicks away?

Beat Saber will make me contend with all of that. It’s a VR rhythm game that equips you with two lightsabres and an urge to slice up blocks that fly at you in time to the beat, sometimes while dodging obstacles. It just came out on early access, and the devs say their goal “is to make players almost dance” – which is music to my ears.

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6 exciting VR games we saw at GDC

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The blessed boys and girls of Valve were showing off some VR games for the upcoming Vive Pro at the Game Developers Conference last week. They were encamped near the press room in a large chamber split up into little shacks, each running a game such as the robot-avoiding comedy stealth of Budget Cuts, or the sunbathing relaxation of Vacation Simulator. I went on a rapidfire journey through this shantytown of virtual reality, jacking into game after game, each lasting about 20 minutes. The results: this round-up, and an intense visual migraine that rendered me incapable of reading for a full 5 minutes. I’m being serious. I thought I was having a stroke.

But enough about visual anomalies that float around the inside of your eye like a terrifying optical aurora, let’s talk videogames. Here are the strange worlds I entered and all the ways in which I tried to undermine the developers from inside their own game. Sorry, VR fans!

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Standalone Vive Focus heading westwards later this year

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Hot off the heels of Vive Pro’s price announcement, HTC have now revealed that its first standalone VR headset, the Vive Focus, will also be making its way across the globe later this year. Originally limited to just shops in China, the Focus will become what HTC’s calling the first inside-out-six-degrees-of-freedom standalone VR headset to be available to regular folk like us. Uh-huh.

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HTC Vive Pro is going to cost £799, but normal Vive gets price cut to £499

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HTC’s new-fangled Vive Pro finally has a price and release date. If you want a piece of its higher resolution screen, fancy pants headphones and slightly comfier design, these blue-tinged VR cybergoggles are going to set you back a whopping £799. Pre-orders, you’ll be happy to hear, are also open right now at Vive, GAME, Overclockers and Scan.

If all that sounds a tad steep, however, you’ll be even happier to hear that the regular Vive has now had £100 knocked off its original price, taking it down to a mere £499.  Read the rest of this entry »

Weta Workshop getting into augmented reality games

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New Zealand-based special effects company Weta Workshop have had a hand in everything from Xena: Warrior Princess to Lord of the Rings. Indeed, I’m even wearing some of their clobber right now — a hoodie to commemorate the work they did on the Alliance armour in the Warcraft movie. That’s not the company’s only video game crossover, either, as Weta opened up a new studio today, specifically for games.

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Zelda, Contra become VR retro delights in 3DNes V2

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If you’re anything like me, you’re drowning under the purchases of games that have been re-released or remastered on a new platform, even if you’ve bought that same game several times already in your life. I do not know how or why I needed to drop $20 on a copy of Turok: The Man Who Hates Dinosaurs And Also Bad Dudes so I could play it on my Xbox One, yet here we are. If I had the hardware, I’d rather be sinking my time into revisiting all my favorite retro titles from a… different perspective… if you see where I’m going with this.

Old games look cool in VR. There. That’s what I was getting at. Anyhow, the 3DNes has a new version available for download and I think you’re going to want to see this.

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

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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

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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

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“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

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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 mbl.is. 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

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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”

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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

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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

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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

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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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