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Oculus Rift

Theatre mode photo
Theatre mode

I can think of about one good use for Samsung's Gear VR


Get robbed on the train
Nov 06
// Steven Hansen
The Crescent Bay model of the Oculus Rift is pretty neat. Going immediately after to try out the Samsung Gear VR, which lacks the positional tracking and cool set of demos, at Games Connection Europe was weird.  There wa...

Crescent Bay gives me hope for the consumer Oculus Rift

Nov 05 // Steven Hansen
Rather than being sat in a chair, the demo was is a closed off room, and I was stood on a roughly 4x4 black mat. The positional tracking meant that you could move around (within the mat's boundaries), rather than needing a controller for movement. The 360 degree view meant being able to look up, whip all the way around, and feel like you're properly in a virtual space. What began was a series of demos set in a variety of virtual worlds. One was set on an empty space ship and as I crouched down in real life to get a closer look at the grate I was standing on, I was imagining all of the potential survival horror opportunities, if something were to claw at the vent as I neared. It's basically what Until Dawn is trying to do, a bit clumsily, with fixed cameras, zoom ins on objects, and sixaxis rotation.  Or maybe we can finally have a decent detective game where you're actually tasked with examining a crime scene and drawing conclusions. It's just the input that needs to be worked out. There's something discordant about moving your head like normal as the camera, but still walking by pushing up on a controller. That's the real problem with Oculus, but there could be some cool, Oculus-tailored experiences. One of the demo worlds was a miniature, moving paper craft diorama of a town. I walked forward, leaning down, to get a better look at the little paper craft firemen that were trying to put out a fire. It was neat. If Oculus never catches on for games, it will still be neat as virtual tourism, or a cool way to explore virtual 3D objects. There was a crescent-headed alien talking at me in one demo and I instinctively waved, with my real-life hand, when he waved at me. Another was set on top of a rad skyscraper in some alternate future that still uses zeppelins. I stepped forward two steps, looked down, and got a bit of vertigo. Don't push me, 'cause I'm close to the edge.  The most upsetting world was the Unity world, which just sent large blue things at you. It was like being in a space ship engine. And when you turn around and a giant electric blue stone is coming right at you, it's freaky. Now I know how new ghosts feel when something's coming right toward them and just phases through.  Last, most videogame-y, was the Unreal demo which dragged you in a straight line amidst slow-motion action on a New York-looking street. Looking right and left were assumed allies being shot at by a giant robot, a car blew up and spun in the air above you, frightened driver still inside. It mostly just made me want to watch Birdman because it reminded me of that wild action bit from the trailer, sans the existential crisis and surreal. 
Oculus eyes-on photo
Maybe far away from videogame applications, but cool for putting you in a virtual space
I've had some fun with the first and second iterations of the Oculus Rift, but it's mostly a novelty I don't want to spend extended time in, especially if it's not a genre suited to the Rift. Anything in a cockpit works well,...

Ustwo  photo
Ustwo

Monument Valley dev working on pretty VR game Land's End


Pirates of the Cari-VR
Oct 06
// Steven Hansen
Monument Valley was a chill little game and now the team is working on a new project for the Samsung Gear VR headset. Now that Samsung's involved (and Sony still toiling away with Morpheus), how long before VR is a...
Monsterum photo
Monsterum

I had a good time watching Monsterum scare people


This Oculus Rift title has you being hunted
Sep 30
// Alasdair Duncan
I talked yesterday about how horror games are difficult to demo at a convention; you need to block out so much noise and activity around you to be really immersed in what you're playing. Team Junkfish had no such problems as...
Alien Make-Out Simulator photo
Alien Make-Out Simulator

Alien Make-Out Simulator demands your passion


Hardcore lip locking technique required
Sep 28
// Jonathan Holmes
What do AAA videogame developers do in their off time? If you're Dawn Rivers of Harmonix, you make more videogames. Specifically, you make a videogame for the Oculus Rift where you kiss a multi-mouthed alien until it either ...
Oculus Crescent Bay photo
Oculus Crescent Bay

Oculus VR unveils new headset called Crescent Bay


Shiny new prototype is new, shiny
Sep 21
// Kyle MacGregor
This weekend at the Oculus Connect virtual reality conference in Los Angeles, CA, Oculus VR announced Crescent Bay, the next prototype on the path to the consumer version of the Rift. The Crescent Bay is described as a massiv...

Project Morpheus seems to be lagging behind Oculus Rift a bit

Sep 19 // Brett Makedonski
The second game took the VR experience from the ocean to the sky. War Thunder, in this capacity, is a flight simulator that’s been optimized to work with two impressive controls – a pilot’s stick and a large throttle. Tasked only with flying past checkpoints that were marked by blue smoke, I slowly but surely weaved around mountains and hit them all in order. There were other planes firing bullets, but they never hit me, and I never really saw them. Maybe that’ll be fleshed out more if the project is eventually developed as a full game, but it served no real purpose for this demo. Judging by these two demos, it seems as if Project Morpheus just isn’t at the point that Oculus Rift is yet. There’s still a considerable amount of screen blurring when moving your head – something that sticks out like a sore thumb when you see it first-hand. Additionally, the resolution didn’t look as sharp as the titles I’ve played on Oculus. However, it almost feels like a shame to have to make comparisons. Virtual reality experiences continue to be incredible each and every time, no matter what game is on display. These two were no exception. Project Morpheus may not be as far along as its competition yet, but it’ll get there eventually. And, when it does, everyone will win.
Project Morpheus at TGS photo
Still enjoyable, though
As the virtual reality races wages on, different prototypes keep coming out for Project Morpheus and Oculus Rift. I had yet another chance to play two new titles on Project Morpheus at Tokyo Game Show. While they were certain...

SoundSelf with Oculus Rift is the ultimate trip

Sep 08 // Alessandro Fillari
[embed]280557:55545:0[/embed] The creation of SoundSelf was done not only out of a desire to create a different kind of audio-visual experience with VR, but was also an experiment in spirituality and understanding the practice of tapping into the player's trance state. Initially, he was concerned about finding outside interest for such a bizarre title, and opted to learn C++ and make the game himself. Fortunately, he found another developer willing to take this bizarre ride with him and expanded upon the game's scope. "After two and a half years of working on it, this is our first vertical slice," said Robin Arnott, while recounting the history of SoundSelf. "And that's because that took so much experimentation and trial and error to even find the thing that works about it. We're not building off thirty years of successful and failed experiments like first person shooters are." Before my session with the game, they brought us into their tent on the show floor where we sat on cozy pillows and drank warm tea. This prep period was to relax players, as SoundSelf doesn't use a traditional control setup. With the Oculus Rift headset, players manipulate the experience with the sound of their voice using only a microphone. Once I laid back on the floor and put on the headset, the word 'chant' appeared on the screen, prompting players to hum to themselves. Doing so would engage the experience, and with the headset, you can look around in real-time and see the experience change as you react to it with your voice. But before you think of this as some pretentious turbo-indie game that claims "you're the controller!", I can tell you that this title actually lives up to that potential. Granted, this is very much like a ride, to put it simply. But that's actually the point. Ultimately, Arnott wanted to create an experiment that would tap into a player's trance-like state while they're engaged in a videogame. "SoundSelf for me was me trying to understand perception, and what perception means for self...by trying to hack it. By poking at it, and seeing what it does to people's brains, I'm coming to terms with and understanding my own brain and my existence as a perceptual being." During my time with the game, I definitely got the sense that the creator wanted to try something a bit different. While I was reacting to the SoundSelf, I noticed that it was altering the visuals and audio of the game. I giggled to myself a couple times during the demo, and the game would pick up the noise from my throat microphone and alter the experience in real-time. I cannot stress enough that pictures and even video do not do it justice. Seeing the visuals move around dynamically was akin to looking through a morphing kaleidoscope with a mind of its own. One major influence that Arnott wasn't shy about sharing was the Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite sequence from 2001: A Space Odyssey. In it, an astronaut travels through a near endless pathway of psychedelic lights and sounds to reach a destination that would bring about his rebirth. In many ways, the creator of SoundSelf hopes to recapture that same sense of wonder. "The Star Child sequence in 2001: A Space Odyssey is a sequence of reinvention of self," said Arnott. "And Kubrick did that with twenty minutes of [EXCITED GESTURES and GIBBERISH], because he wanted to put you in that experience of subjective transformation, and I think SoundSelf is an experience of transformation." The comparison to 2001 was very accurate and quite apt. While many games strive to be like movies, not many can actually recreate the same sense of awe while at the same time being true to themselves. This title manages to let players experience their own personal trip through the stars, dynamically created by their own senses and rhythmic pitch. By and large, this was the most experimental game I played at PAX. It was also just a demo showing the vertical slice -- the final release will likely be a bit more comprehensive. In many ways, and I mean this in the best way, it felt like a palette cleanser. I was exhausted coming into SoundSelf, but left lighter and in a better mood coming out of it. It was therapeutic, which is something I don't say too often about games. And I honestly can't think of a better compliment than that.
SoundSelf photo
Creator Robin Arnott talks about this VR trek through vibrant sights and sounds
It's no secret that gaming conventions are fertile ground for developers to try out their new creations. Back in April, Jonathan Holmes got the chance to check out SoundSelf with Robin Arnott, the creator of the unorthodox ho...

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Samsung announces Gear VR, powered by Oculus


Uses Galaxy Note 4's innards and screen
Sep 03
// Dale North
Stick a phone on your face for instant VR! We've heard that Samsung and Oculus were working together, and today we finally get to see what they've been working on. It's a virtual reality headset that uses the Galaxy Note 4, c...
World of Diving photo
World of Diving

World of Diving out now on Steam Early Access


Explore the depths with this procedurally generated underwater exploration game
Aug 26
// Alessandro Fillari
A few months ago, I got the chance to check out Vertigo Games' World of Diving. Set in a procedurally generated world, players can explore the depths of the ocean while interacting with aquatic life, uncovering lost treasure...
Oculus Rift photo
Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift DK2 uses a Samsung smartphone screen as its display


This thing's got the biggest bezels I've ever seen!
Aug 01
// Brittany Vincent
During a teardown of the new Oculus Rift DK 2 unit, iFixit.com has found that the Oculus Rift uses a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 screen as its display unit. Speculation is that with Oculus trying to ship 45,000 units as well as ha...
Pollen photo
Pollen

BEES?! Pollen explores this question and more on the moons of Saturn


On PC and optimized for Oculus Rift
Jul 30
// Brett Makedonski
"Mystery is part of the plot," Mindfield Games says about its newly announced Pollen. Dumped onto a space station on Titan, Saturn's largest moon, the player's sure to encounter many questions that need to be answered. The f...
Oculus Rift photo
Oculus Rift

There's a Pacific Rim virtual-reality experience for Oculus Rift


Cool idea, lame video
Jul 28
// Jordan Devore
Legendary Pictures and Reel FX brought a Pacific Rim virtual-reality experience to San Diego Comic-Con last weekend and gee, doesn't that seems like a worthwhile idea for a full game? Pacific Rim: Jaeger Pilot puts players i...
Oculus acquisition photo
Oculus acquisition

Facebook has now finalized the acquisition of Oculus VR


Neither side has much to say
Jul 21
// Brett Makedonski
It's been months since Facebook announced the proposed acquisition of Oculus VR for approximately $2 billion, but that deal was just finalized today. In a joint statement released to the media, the two sides simply said ...
Rift grift photo
Rift grift

Grift: Oculus cancels Rift pre-orders for people trying to sell them


Oculus grift
Jul 15
// Steven Hansen
The second version of the Oculus Rift is shipping, albeit not quick enough to meet demand. Over 45,000 have been pre-ordered. Only 10,000 of those are expected to ship this month. Meanwhile, enterprising capitalists who got a...
Alien: Isolation VR photo
Alien: Isolation VR

Alien: Isolation on Oculus Rift won't see the light of day


That's a bummer
Jul 07
// Brett Makedonski
One of my favorite experiences at E3 was playing Alien: Isolation on Oculus Rift. The extra layer of immersion that virtual reality could provide did wonders for an already terrifying game. Unfortunately, it seems as if...
Oculus Connect photo
Oculus Connect

Oculus VR announces developer conference Oculus Connect


If only there were hardware that could allow people to meet up virtually
Jul 07
// Darren Nakamura
In a blog post this morning, modern virtual reality pioneer Oculus VR announced a new developer conference with a focus on its hardware. Oculus Connect is intended to "bring together engineers, designers, and creatives from a...
Oculus photo
Oculus

Scalpers force Oculus to suspend Rift orders in China


It's looking for alternative ways to get the DK2 to developers
Jul 06
// Brett Makedonski
Everybody wants to get their hands on the headset that's on the cutting edge of virtual reality. One of the basics of economics is that when demand is high but supply is low, price gets driven up. Oculus VR won't necessarily ...
South Park VR photo
South Park VR

Visit a 3D recreation of South Park with the Oculus Rift


Walk inside Big Gay Al
Jul 04
// Steven Hansen
Maybe Stick of Truth is more true to the series' 2D look, but this 3D, virtual recreation of the town of South Park is a pretty cool alternative. Characters keep their flat look and always orient themselves towards you ...
Oculus Rift photo
Oculus Rift

Oculus just started shipping out the first batch of DK2s


About 10k are going out
Jul 02
// Brett Makedonski
If you're one of the many people that plunked down $350 for the Oculus Rift Development Kit 2, it might end up on your doorstep sooner than later. Oculus recently announced that the first 10,000 units were sent from the manuf...
ZeniMax vs. Oculus photo
ZeniMax vs. Oculus

Oculus responds to ZeniMax's virtual-reality lawsuit


ZeniMax is after that Facebook money
Jun 25
// Jordan Devore
ZeniMax sued Oculus VR and founder Palmer Luckey over trade secrets related to the Oculus Rift virtual-reality headset, and now we have the defendants' side of the story. A representative of Oculus shared the company's court ...
Oculus photo
Oculus

Oculus to acquire the company that designed the Xbox 360 controller


The two have been working together on multiple projects
Jun 24
// Jordan Devore
Oculus VR says it plans to close a deal to acquire product design and development consultancy Carbon Design Group by the end of summer. The companies have been working on "multiple unannounced products" for almost a year. Her...

EVE Valkyrie is the best use of the Oculus Rift so far

Jun 12 // Steven Hansen
My time with Valkyrie was short, a two-on-two deathmatch. I spent a lot of the time marveling that I could look up through the clear cockpit and out into space. Then suddenly remembering that I should probably be watching the (space) road so I don't run into debris or opposing missiles. The space dogfighting was straightforward. Thrusters to accelerate, a brake to slow down. The ship was equipped with missiles and a machine gun. The missiles can shoot up to five at once if you paint your target long enough. I managed a kill and two deaths. Looking up and seeing the missiles that are coming to kill you is pretty neat. When your cockpit shatters and you lose control of the ship and you've been killed, it feels odd. And then you're back in runway and ready to rocket out to space again. It's a neat experience, one the Rift is tailored for. 
EVE Valkyrie photo
Hands-on at E3
EVE Valkyrie is super neat. It looks like a cool dogfighting-in-space game when you watch a trailer, but actually being in the cockpit with the Oculus Rift? It's a trip and used to great effect. Looking down at your fake che...

The three Oculus Rift games at E3 are all amazing

Jun 11 // Brett Makedonski
The first game, Superhot, was a concept title meant to showcase an interesting use of VR tech. It's a bullet time simulator where you walk down a hallway as three enemies shoot at you. The neat thing here was that Superhot only moved as fast as you did. If you ran full speed ahead, it'd be impossible to weave or lean around the bullets, because they came at you at full speed. If you crept along slowly, it was much more manageable as the bullets also crawled toward you, nearly completely still. Methodically leaning around bullets was supremely enjoyable, and almost made me feel as if I were dissecting the situation like I were solving a puzzle. Once in the rhythm of things, it wasn't too tough to advance, but it still required great care. About three-quarters down the hallway, a gun rested on the floor. After carefully firing three bullets at the assailants, I moved just enough to let them reach their targets, which ended the demo. Even though it was short, Superhot is the type of game that encapsulates the Oculus experience, especially for those that haven't tried it before. It'll be turned into a full production, as it recently met its Kickstarter goal. Superhot struck me as the exact type of title that Oculus VR wants in its stable as it introduces the Rift to the world. The next game was by far my favorite of the three. Actually, it's my favorite Oculus Rift title I've ever played. That game is Lucky's Tale, and it's basically Super Mario 3D World  in virtual reality. It's just as amazing as it sounds. Controlling an adorable cartoon fox donning a cape, I worked my way through a level by leaping over gaps and power slamming on enemies. Obviously drawing from Mario, there were blocks to jump and break, spilling collectable stars all over the place. Eventually, bombs needed to be picked up and thrown at targets, with the head-tracking serving as the method of aiming. Nothing in the demo was necessarily challenging, but that wasn't really the point. The world on display simply popped with vibrant color. I found myself spending plenty of time staring in all directions to take in the scenery. I realized halfway through that I was leaning forward to get as close of a look as possible. Lucky's Tale isn't the type of game that you can just look at and understand the magic of. Well, you could, but you wouldn't fully understand. It's just great to experience first-hand. And, it begs the question: If a small team can make something like this, what could a company like Nintendo do if it threw its vast resources at virtual-reality gaming? The last title was the one that I was most intrigued by -- Alien: Isolation. Having previewed the game twice, I have a good idea of how it works. The demo was a three-minute affair, and the goal was only to survive. Equipped with my motion tracker, I crept along, trying to get a glance at the Alien, but without it seeing me. The Xenomorph instills the same terrified sense that it does without a VR headset on. The atmosphere may be more immersive, but not significantly so. However, I didn't die before the three minutes ran out, so maybe that would've upped the ante. Given that it's just a very brief slice of what Isolation could be, it's difficult to gauge what the full version that Creative Assembly's working on may end up like. But, it's on-track to offer a different approach to Alien: Isolation that's equally as impactful. Those are the three new games that Oculus wanted to show off at E3. It makes sense why they chose those ones. All three offer a glimpse at different uses for VR and some of the directions that the technology is set to go in. Judging by these titles (and many that have been shown in the past), it's tough not to anxiously await the widespread adoption of virtual reality.
Oculus Rift previews! photo
Superhot, Lucky's Tale, and Alien: Isolation
I've had a chance to check out quite a few games on Oculus Rift. From Japanese indie projects at BitSummit to the latest build of EVE Valkyrie, I've gotten a good look at the progress of developing virtual reality games from ...

Oculus photo
Oculus

Oculus: We're not out to make VR games like The Last of Us


It's focusing on smaller experiences
Jun 11
// Brett Makedonski
Oculus VR has been hard at work assembling teams of developers for its first-party games initiative. However, when titles begin to release, don't expect them to be lengthy melodramas that aim to compete with other games in th...
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Alien Isolation gets Oculus VR support, Naughty Dog co-founder joins Oculus


Oculus starts strong
Jun 10
// Dale North
Oculus comes out with some big news early on the first day of E3. First, they've picked up Naughty Dog co-founder Jason Rubin. He will take over as Head of Worldwide Studios at Oculus VR, heading up first-...
Oculus hires photo
Oculus hires

Oculus hires former Valve business director


And a bunch of new hires, many of them former Valve
Jun 04
// Steven Hansen
Jason Holtman headlines a recent list of Oculus hires post Facebook aquisition. Holtman will head the, "business development and partnership side of the Oculus platform working closely with Marshall, head of platform enginee...
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Words With Friends creators launch new studio, new Oculus Rift exclusive platformer


Lucky's Tale coming to VR, debuting at E3 2014
Jun 04
// Dale North
Playful Corp, a new company formed by the creators of Words With Friends, will debut their first virtual reality game at E3 next week. Lucky's Tale is coming exclusively to the Oculus Rift under a partnership between Playful ...
IndieCade photo
IndieCade

IndieCade Showcase @ E3 lineup: The games you need to know


Don't look, just keep your eyes peeled
May 31
// Brittany Vincent
IndieCade is coming around once again, with more than 30 independent games to be shown off at this year's IndieCade Showcase @ E3. The selections were culled from entrants that will be available at this fall's larger IndieCad...
EVE Valkyriet photo
EVE Valkyriet

This is the thought process behind making EVE Valkyrie


Five devs talk about making a VR game
May 29
// Brett Makedonski
For a panel at EVE Fanfest 2014, some of the developers at CCP's Newcastle studio sat down to discuss what exactly goes into making EVE Valkyrie. The long version's in this video. The short version is that whatever they're doing, it's great so far.






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