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Virtual Reality

Google VR photo
Google VR

Google will reportedly release a Gear VR competitor this year


And it won't be cardboard
Feb 08
// Brett Makedonski
The past four years have been VR hype-dominated, but if you were really pressed to pin one as The Year of VR, I suppose it would be 2016. That's when most of these machines leave their comfy nests and beta states, and they ac...
Kickstarter photo
Kickstarter

Ant Simulator dev quits, claims partners spent money on 'bars, strippers'


Game is canceled
Feb 01
// Chris Carter
[Update: Game Informer managed to get the other side of the story, which you can read here. Either way, Ant Simulator is dead.] For the past few years, fans of VR have been keeping an eye on Ant Simulator -- a promi...
Goosed bumps photo
Goosed bumps

Help R.L. Stine escape the mantis in Goosebumps virtual reality


Story of my life
Jan 25
// Steven Hansen
Did y'all know they made a Goosebumps movie last year? And that Jack Black played R.L. Stine? And that creepy lil shit dummy is in it? It just hit home video release today and with it is Goosebumps VR for iPhone and Android. ...
News roundup photo
Also included: Kirby's penis
Another week, another wave of gaming news that’s almost impossible to keep up with! Last week we had dog poo, this week we have Jonathan Blow’s wee. I kind of hope that bodily waste doesn’t become a running ...


Apple VR photo
Apple VR

Apple continues to flirt with virtual reality


Company hires top VR researcher
Jan 23
// Kyle MacGregor
We need another virtual reality headset like we need a hole in the head, but Apple appears unwilling to cede this burgeoning technology market to the likes of Sony, Samsung, and Facebook. Despite having made no official annou...
Sony VR photo
Sony VR

Is this how much the Sony VR system is going to cost?


Placeholder price or not? You decide!
Jan 19
// Vikki Blake
The PlayStation VR has been listed on three Swiss websites for sale around €450-€500. That’s roughly £342-£380, or $435-$544, depending upon where you are in the world.
Ocluus drift photo
Ocluus drift

What virtual reality world is Oculus' founder living in?


Says VR will drive high-end PC sales
Jan 13
// Steven Hansen
Oculus founder Palmer Luckey was back on reddit this week with a second question and answer session, this time on reddit's subforum "PC Master Race." There he plays to the crowd, saying, "I started out my life as a console ga...
HTC Vive photo
HTC Vive

Oculus competitor HTC Vive up for pre-order on February 29


Could be more expensive than the Rift
Jan 11
// Chris Carter
The shroud of the dark side has fallen. Begun, the VR War has. Oculus came out of the gate last week with a $600 pricepoint, and its biggest competitors, PlayStation VR and the HTC Vive, have yet to chime in. We're fixing to ...
Adr1ft photo
Adr1ft

Adr1ft hits Steam first on March 28


PS4 and Xbox One to follow
Jan 07
// Jordan Devore
The lonely first-person space adventure Adr1ft was previously confirmed as an Oculus Rift launch title, and that's still the plan. It will launch on March 28, 2016 for Steam (virtual reality is optional; you won't need a Rift...
PS VR photo
PS VR

Kaz Hirai: 'about 100 or more titles' in development for PlayStation VR


'More than 200 developers signed up'
Jan 07
// Darren Nakamura
Sony hasn't made a lot of noise about its virtual reality headset at CES this year (especially considering the hubbub surrounding Oculus Rift's pricing). The BBC asked Sony CEO Kaz Hirai about it, and he shared some news that...
Oculus Rift photo
Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift boss: 'shipping a consumer product is more complex than janking out a dev kit'


Lucky for some
Jan 07
// Vikki Blake
Oculus Rift boss Palmer Luckey has apologised for suggesting that the VR product would cost “in the ballpark” of $350, admitting that he “handled the messaging poorly.” Responding to comments on a leng...
Rift reactions photo
Rift reactions

Local man stunned to learn virtual reality requiring high end PCs is a niche luxury


To some, $600 is a lot of money
Jan 06
// Steven Hansen
Facebook-owned Oculus stopped playing coy today and announced the price and release date for its Oculus Rift "virtual reality" headset. At $600, the barrier to entry is steep, and that's if you already have a powerful persona...
Aurai photo
Aurai

Could Aurai be competition for Oculus Rift?


Significantly less expensive
Jan 06
// Darren Nakamura
Sure, Oculus is making big waves at CES right now, but some lower-profile tech is also on display. Making its debut today is Aurai, another device that fits on your face and reminds me of LeVar Burton's character from Star Tr...

Oculus Rift up for pre-order right now, costs $599.99, out in March

Jan 06 // Chris Carter
[embed]332092:61753:0[/embed]
Oculus Rift photo
Do you want it?
[Update: All initial "day one" stock has been claimed, apparently selling out in 14 minutes. Further units for sale are now pushed back to May 2016.] This week, Oculus had a few announcements up its sleeve, including the...

Oculus Rift photo
Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift dev kit backers are getting a free finalized Rift


This guy's face
Jan 05
// Jordan Devore
Ahead of Oculus Rift pre-orders opening tomorrow morning (price still TBA), Oculus has a nice surprise: the thousands of Kickstarter backers who pledged for a Rift Development Kit 1 will receive a free Kickstarter Edition Ocu...
Or don't, who cares photo
Or don't, who cares

Pre-order the Oculus Rift VR headset this week


Still no price or date
Jan 04
// Steven Hansen
We still do not know how much the impending Oculus Rift virtual reality headset will cost or when it will be released, but we might know soon. Oculus just announced that the Rift will be open for pre-order this week, January ...
Oculus Touch photo
Oculus Touch

The Oculus Rift's Touch controllers need more time


Now targeting the second half of 2016
Dec 31
// Jordan Devore
The Oculus Rift's Touch controllers already weren't going to make it in time for the virtual reality headset's launch, but now they're even further off. Oculus VR expects to ship Touch in "the second half of 2016," noting tha...
Oculus Rift photo
Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift comes with a cool 3D platformer


Lucky's Tale
Dec 30
// Jordan Devore
Lucky's Tale convinced me that 3D platformers can make terrific use of virtual reality. I had my doubts going in, thinking the game looked decent at best, but came away impressed. So did Brett. It's good news, then, that it's...
HTC Vive photo
HTC Vive

The HTC Vive has been improved, details at CES


They've apparently made a 'breakthrough'
Dec 20
// Mike Cosimano
Recently, Engadget published a report from an HTC Vive-centric developer forum in China that claims HTC has made a "very big technological breakthrough" on its Steam VR-powered virtual reality headset. Originally, the headset...

First hands-on with Crytek's newest game The Climb

Dec 15 // Steven Hansen
The Climb is simple. Once you strap into an Oculus virtual reality headset, two disembodied hands appear in front of you. Pulling the left or right triggers on the Xbox controller clenches the respective fist. "Aiming" the hand at a divot in the cliff, by way of moving your head towards where you're trying to grab, prompts the hand to appear as if it's reaching a bit more urgently, signalling to you it's ready to grab. And that's it, hand over hand, you're climbing rock. I played a course in south east Asia on easy difficulty, which only necessitates two types of grips. The most technical thing I had to do was let go with one hand and quickly grasp the same hold with the other. That and you'll want to occasionally hold the bumpers to chalk your hands so they don't start bleeding down your players' hip fitness wristband. I might be stereotyping, but I'm pretty sure it read, "YOLO" at some point. But that was it. There was some hand over hand lateral movement across a plank and a jump or two to otherwise out of reach handholds, but it's mostly about the physical intimacy of climbing up a giant rock and occasionally physically turning your head around to soak in the beautiful vista. Miles of CryEngine rendered landscape juxtaposed against surrogate fingertips. "The engine gives us that ability to do the distance, the scale, the largeness and intimacy," Crytek's Director of Production David Bowman said. Crytek came out hot in 2013 with three big releases: Crysis 3, Warface (hah!), and Ryse: Son of Rome. The first and third were sales letdowns. The second has a name that gave me immense pleasure for a year or so and might have made money in Asian and European markets where is launched sexy female soldiers. Its 2014 announcements -- a Johnny Come Lately MOBA Arena of Fate and Darksiders follow up from former Vigil employees Hunt -- have been radio silent in 2015. Its other known project is a VR game with dinosaurs. Bowman noted that Crytek is, "going to continue to make traditional great, fantastic games," but said that, "VR gives us a new toolset, a new platform, a new media that plays to our strengths. It plays right into what we do better than anybody. This is our chance to really shine." Virtual reality is an important part of Crytek's future. Where Ryse was basically an Xbox One tech demo, a piece of impressive "next gen" looks, The Climb is something like that for VR, albeit with a lot more substance than the QTE-heavy movie knockoff. Bowman calls it, "one of the premier Oculus content experiences," and says it will be released "early" in the Oculus' life cycle. "They love it," Bowman said. Oculus made a smart decision pairing its still-not-dated, still-not-priced Rift VR headset with a strong piece of software in EVE: Valkyrie. The Climb may not have that pack-in position, but Bowman says the simplicity is what will sell VR to a wider audience. "The approachability of this, we have really high hopes for it as far as bringing in people who might not consider themselves gamers. And if you are a gamer, there's a lot of sport here. It's free climb solo. That level of danger in real life means you're not going to go out and do it probably yourself, but here you have this extreme sport that's now accessible to you. "What every hardware platform needs is that application that you can say, 'Hey, I bought this, I have fun with it, and now I'm sharing it with my friends and family, and I feel good about it because they're able to appreciate it.' And now all of a sudden they're going, 'I had fun doing that, so I'm going to buy one,' and it tends to snowball. That's how hardware adoption happens." And while Bowman maintains Crytek will continue to make "traditional" games, the company has, "probably the largest VR team, the largest that I'm aware of anyway." "We're trying to position Cryengine to be the best toolchain to work in VR," Technical Director Rok Erjavec added. More people using the engine for good VR experiences increases the likelihood of VR somehow catching on where something like 3D has failed. "2016: Early adopters. 2017: Friends and family of those early adopters going, 'I want one too,'" Bowman said. "By 2019, I'm saying this is going to be one of those ways you access all sorts of experiences, not just games, but data in general. We want to be riding that curve, that wave." It starts with The Climb. "When we started doing climbing originally during our tech demos...we realized, 'Hey, this is fun. This a fun thing to do, just inherently." It took some time to get there, of course. The Climb started with a full pair of disembodied arms, but testers of different size felt out of sorts with the one-size-fits-all proportions, so the team lopped the arms off and reduce the interface to floating hands.  "We thought it'd be really fun to fall and hit the rocks and bounce and stuff. Man that makes you so sick. Don't do that." The sweet spot for falling -- to put that knot in players' stomachs without leaving them retching -- turned out to be 2.3 seconds of freefall and then a fade to black. "A lot of our developers and our QA team, god bless them, they have had to endure some really fun experimentation," Bowman said. He was cagey on how many staffers puked, but noted that during early prototyping, the team had to account for the fact that a developer might have to get out of the thing after about an hour of work due to nausea. Now, level designers work in the visor all day. "We had people run to the bathroom, though." Well, if anyone did puke during those early phases of prototyping, it's between them and their porcelain god. Bowman was cagey on just how much stuff would appear in The Climb, too. "We have a set amount of content and we're well under control as far as delivering that...and we're going to be expanding that content hopefully in the future as well," is all I got when I asked about different regions, or weather conditions. As for changes to the time of day, "absolutely." Beyond the physical interaction and varying locales, the team seems excited for the latent speed run and otherwise competitive angle to satiate the hardcore or give greener climbers something to keep them coming back.  To that end, VR does offer technically bombastic experiences pared down in a way that "non-gamers" might find appealing without being patronizing -- like I said, The Climb was simple, but plenty of fun. "When I put a strange controller in your hand and say, 'Okay, I need you to press this combination of buttons,' you've instantly alienated a lot of people," Bowman said. The Climb also supports touch controllers and features a, "solution set that works for a variety of different input devices," so hopefully we'll be bringing you Donkey Konga free climb speed run videos next year. As for other simple experiences that turned out to be "inherently fun" in VR that Crytek might want to explore? "Can't talk about them yet because we're going to use them."
Preview: The Climb photo
Crytek goes in with engaging VR
Is free solo climbing cool? I'm sure there's been some virality in its danger in the YouTube era, but we've had, what, Cliffhanger, which was more about guns and biceps than cliff hanging, and then the arbitrary opening Missi...

Free EVE: Valkyrie photo
Free EVE: Valkyrie

Oculus Rift pre-orders come bundled with one of the best VR games


Free EVE: Valkyrie plus hint at release
Dec 10
// Steven Hansen
If you want to sell VR, you need the ardent early adopters to show it off and the people they show it off to to be impressed. To that end, it helps to have some dang good software support, so it makes sense that EVE: Valkyrie...

The coolest thing about VR space dogfights? The menus

Dec 10 // Steven Hansen
You can start a game, look behind you at the space bar, head to the hangar to look at your ships and "pimp your rides." I went with gaudy army camo all day, even though there are no trees in space, unless you consider trees on planets to be in space, technically. The hangar is where you peruse your ships and pick your four options in the Launch Tube (basically loadouts chosen when you respawn). There are Fighter, Heavy, and newly shown off Support ships. [embed]325655:61472:0[/embed] The latter can shoot spherical webs into space. If your enemies fly through them, they get debuffed and vision obscured by nanobot spiders on the cockpit; if your friendlies fly through, they help them out. The supports ended up being the higher-scoring ships in most of the games we played, which went from team deathmatch to an objective capturing mode wherein you deploy drones to capture one of three points, rather than needing to hover in place, freeing you up to continue on. Or you destroy enemy drones and deploy your own. But the drones have a cool down upon destruction, so loosing one and leaving it unprotected might not be the best idea. EVE: Valkyrie has no single-player, but it does have PvE introductory segments that focus on the backstory as well. There are short objective modes, a free-fly just for zooming around learning maps and maneuvers, and a survival mode with increasing AI waves. Given its eSports ambitions, the team is pulling the old, easy to learn, whereas, "over a period of months you can be a master." There are also ships to unlock and ways to mix the three classes. Progression milestones unlock blueprints, and there are overall Pilot Reputations as well as class breakdown. Once you land a blueprint, new ships are paid for in salvage, which is collected from dead opponents during matches and split evenly between all players and differentiated into three rarity types. Aside from gaudy army camo, you can also customize the UI colors, cockpit controls, and other aspects from the first-person view you'll spend most of your time in. The flying is smooth and simple, with a boost and barrel roles mapped to the triggers. Looking around the cockpit rather than straight down the sights will help you keep track of enemies zipping around in vast 3D space, and the lock-on missiles are actually mapped to where you're looking to encourage you to keep your head on a swivel and allow you to lock on to opponents just by line of sight. Plus, it's pretty neat to look down at my surrogate mannequin VR body and suddenly have boobs. While sensitivities will vary, I was happy that could spend over an hour ensconced in VR without issue. And the partnership with Oculus to launch with all Rift pre-orders is a smart one on both accounts: Oculus gets software to sell the very idea of VR while Valkyrie ensures a more robust early player-base.
EVE: Valkyrie preview photo
Hands-on, eyes-on with EVE: Valkyrie
EVE: Valkyrie has been one of the best full-game showings for virtual reality (versus novel tech demos, which are still my favorite use of VR) for a while now and as we edge towards the early 2016 wave of VR release (Rift, Vi...

VR photo
VR

The Modern Zombie Taxi Co. shows why you should stick to Uber


Taxis are bad news
Dec 05
// Brett Makedonski
Two years ago at BitSummit, I saw a game called Modern Zombie Taxi Driver. It was a neat little VR game that I never really thought would turn into anything. Now, at PlayStation Experience, it has been slightly rebranded and...
Eagle Flight photo
Eagle Flight

Ubisoft's Eagle Flight is coming to PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, and HTC Vive


Feel the breeze
Dec 05
// Zack Furniss
A couple months ago, Vikki wrote about this video where Ubisoft put a camera on a bald eagle to promote Assassin's Creed Syndicate. Looks like that same footage was used for Eagle Flight, Ubisoft's new VR game (PlayStation V...
Rock Band VR photo
Rock Band VR

Harmonix is doing Rock Band VR for Oculus Rift


Huh, okay
Dec 03
// Jordan Devore
As announced this evening during Geoff Keighley's The Game Awards, Harmonix and Oculus are partnering for Rock Band VR. A rough clip with first-person footage of a player holding a guitar was shown, as well as a bit between Oculus founder Palmer Luckey and the band DragonForce. He wore flag pants, you guys. The Oculus Rift launches in Q1 2016, and Rock Band VR will be out sometime next year.
Virtual Reality photo
Virtual Reality

Samsung's $99 Gear VR headset out now in US


International release to follow
Nov 21
// Kyle MacGregor
Oculus and Samsung's $99 Gear VR headset is now available in the United States. The attractive price point comes with one caveat: the device is only compatible with this year's line of Samsung smartphones (the Galaxy Not...
Back to Dinosaur Island photo
Back to Dinosaur Island

Crytek's VR adventure Back to Dinosaur Island free on Steam


Not the same as Robinson
Nov 18
// Darren Nakamura
Is it possible to go "back" to Dinosaur Island without ever having been there in the first place? Apparently it is, because Crytek just released a short virtual reality demo on Steam called Back to Dinosaur Island. From the r...
PS4 photo
PS4

Korean horror game White Day looks fantastic


Coming to PlayStation VR
Nov 04
// Kyle MacGregor
Today at a Sony Computer Entertainment media event in South Korea, a local studio Roi Games showed off an impressive-looking PlayStation VR project by the name of White Day. It appears to be a remake of White Day: A Laby...
Cat games photo
Cat games

VERY IMPORTANT: PlayStation VR has a game where you play as a cat


Smitten by the kitten
Nov 03
// Brett Makedonski
Thus far, Sony's South Korea presser has been predictably light on news. Shu has some sweet checkered pants. There was a lengthy dubstep dance routine. Only 3,200 people are watching on Twitch. PlayStation VR has hogged the s...
More Tekken photo
More Tekken

Tekken 7 will use PlayStation VR


But how? And why?
Oct 27
// Jordan Devore
When I slid out of bed this morning and started prepping for Sony's press conference at Paris Games Week, I didn't imagine the event would be home to so much Tekken stuff. First, there was a cute bit in which series producer ...

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