Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV fishing game for PSVR just got a new English language teaser trailer. The Japanese version was teased on stage at the Tokyo Game Show (TGS) this past week.
The Final Fantasy VR experience lets you head out on a fishing expedition with Noctis and his crew across a number of picturesque locations in Eos. Comprised of a ‘free fishing’ mode and a story mode that features a showdown with a fishy menace that lurks in the deep.
Releasing 21st November 2017 as a stand-alone downloadable game separate from Final Fantasy XV, the fishing game first took form as a first-person shooter add-on to FFXV. The shooter has since been scrapped and replaced with the fishing simulator, likely due to its poor reception at E3.
Despite persistent rumours that HTC are planning to sell their virtual reality (VR) division, the company still seems to be very much involved with developing new VR technology. Reports have emerged suggesting that the company is currently testing untethered cloud VR services in China.
As many critics have pointed out, one of the major barriers to entry for current generation high-end VR is the cost, since a gaming PC rig with respectable specs can easily run to over $1000 (USD). According to Engadget, HTC are addressing this concern by untethering the HTC Vive from the PC, and using a 60 Mbps broadband connection to stream VR content from Viveport.
The advantage of this approach is twofold: Firstly, VR users will not need a PC, or the cumbersome wired setup currently required. Secondly, users will no longer need to wait for content to download to the PC.
There are, however, some problems with this approach. For any streaming content, there is the problem of latency – low latency is one of the keys to eliminating simulation sickness, so any increase in latency could pose an issue. In addition, any disruption to an internet connection would render the device effectively unusable – a major concern for users in areas with unreliable connections. On a related note, problems with the Viveport service would also mean the content is unavailable.
If commercial trials of this cloud VR service are successful, and issues such as connectivity can be resolved, cloud VR service could potentially be an option for those on a budget who are interesting high-end VR.
VRFocus will continue to report on new developments in VR technology.
Ninja Whale Studios, the developer behind 2016 title Mount Wingsuithas announced that its next virtual reality (VR) videogame Tractorball will launch on Oculus Rift and HTC Vive in October.
Tractorball is a fast and furious vehicular ball game, where players control the ball with a large “pin ball” style flipper on the front of their tractor to score goals against the opposing team.
Featuring four course layouts in five game worlds for a total of twenty levels, Tractorball offers co-op and 2v2 multiplayer as well as unlockable single-player leagues and tournaments. Players will be able to use rocket boosts and twenty unique dirty trick power-ups to gain the advantage.
The single-player has 20 different tournaments of increasing difficulty, unlocked with XP gained from scoring goals, winning matches and killing opponents on the field. Tournaments range from simple knockout rounds, to points based or a full round of qualifying matches with playoffs at the end.
Tractorball will launch via Steam on 4th October 2017. VRFocus will continue its coverage of Ninja Whale Studios, reporting back with the latest updates.
ARK Park, the VR multiplayer adventure game based on the world of ARK:Survival Evolved (2017), is officially releasing on PlayStationVR this December.
ARK Park bills itself as an experience promising to be a veritable Jurassic Park (1993), filled with all makes and model of dinosaurs from the ARK universe. We got a hands-on at this year’s GDC with the demo built for HTC Vive, and while you can’t really call it educational—there are a number of fictional creatures mashed in alongside your lumbering Apatosaurus—it certainly delivers sheer wow factor with its well-rendered dinos.
ARK Park focuses on exploration-based ‘Excursions’ through a number of biomes where you collect fragments of dino-DNA. Collecting these fragments can be used to unlock new crafting blueprints and new maps. Production studio Snail Games says collecting them all “will require a combination of puzzle-solving logic, quick reflexes, a trained eye, and careful resource management to bag the genes from the rarest and most prized creatures.” You can also collect and incubate eggs to raise your own virtual dinosaurs pets that you can ride once they reach adulthood.
The game will be launching with ten freely-explorable maps, including both solo play or online multiplayer.
Although we didn’t get a chance to experience the game’s battle mode during our demo, Snail Games says its offering a mode where you defend your base from rampaging dinosaurs with weapons that you forge yourself during your exploration of the park. Strategically choose your weapons from a selection of melee, ranged, and specialized combat items to conquer each level.
ARK Park will support both controller and PlayStation Move, and supports English, Chinese, and Japanese voiceover and subtitles.
Those of you who read the thrice weekly toe dip into the world of 360 degree video that we call Life In 360° regularly will know that we often try to show off a variety of dfferent sights from around the world. Our travels taking us here, there and everywhere throughout the globe. However every time we’ve done this the one thing we’ve not looked at has been, that, if were to visit these places, where exactly would we stay?
As such today’s two videos offer two views from contrasting locations where you can stay on holiday. The first comes courtesy of British newspaper The Telegraph and gives a behind the scenes look at The Goring: one of London’s most prestigious five-star hotel experiences and used by members of the Royal Family. Here you can enjoy vintage champagnes, drink cognac from a crystal decanter in your private bar and dine in comfort in a Michelin star dining room.
Then we have somewhere else you can go. It’s not got as many luxuries, but it certainly has more blue sky. The location in question is Manistique Lakeshore Campground in Michigan, Missouri. CampgroundViews take a slow drive through the location and give viewers a bit of an idea s to the history and facilities of the plot.
We’ll be back with more Life In 360° on Wednesday at the usual time. Be on the look out for virtual reality (VR) news throughout the week on VRFocus.
Pimax, the China-based VR headset manufacturer known for their 4K headset, have recently hit Kickstarter with their newest devices, the Pimax 8K and 5K VR headsets. Surpassing their initial goal of $200,000 within the first few hours, Pimax went on to gather a staggering $1 million in funding after only 5 days on the crowdfunding platform.
Despite the namesake, Pimax headsets aren’t actually 8K or 5K resolution, as they respectively feature dual 3840×2160 LCD panels and dual 2560×1440 OLED panels. These display resolutions are however higher than your standard Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, which is where some of the fanfare is coming from.
Arguably the biggest attraction is the headsets’ 200 degree field of view (FOV), which proved to be both impressive and helpful for peripheral awareness in our hands-on with an early prototype.
As one of the first adopters of Valve’s Lighthouse tracking standard, both 8K and 5K headsets will also hook into existing Vive tracking basestations and Vive motion controllers—although some funding tiers provide their own Pimax-built basestations and motion controllers.
All of these factors no doubt led to the funding campaign’s overall success, which is still going strong with over a month to go before its conclusion.
On the less positive side, the actual input for the 8K headset is only 2560×1440 per eye, which is then upscaled to 3840×2160 per eye, so it’s not truly rendering at the display’s full resolution. The company however offers a version of the headset that does away with the integrated upscaler and renders at full display resolution, but suggests at very least a GTX 1080ti. There’s also concerns about how games can actually render the headsets’ 200 degree FOV, with Norm from Tested saying in his hands-on that he felt that Pimax was noticeably stretching FOV to fit—something that isn’t exactly great for spatial awareness.
Despite its misgivings, Pimax seems to be squeezing everything out of current gen GPUs and display tech, which is why the company is using a software technique they call ‘Brainwarp’ that renders an image only on a single display at time, doing it 150/180 times per second. Pimax says users “perceive a complete 8K at 150/180 Hz with high frame rate,” and that it “boosts refresh rate, reduces latency and decreases GPU pressure for Pimax 8K.”
“We are so honored to be in the presence of such a passionate VR community,” the company said. “This makes us more than certain that we are striving for the same goals!”
The company hasn’t posted any stretch goals yet, but has said they’ll be adding “more little gifts in your Kickstarter package,” today at some point. We’ll be updating, so check back for more.
Raw Data (2016) launched more than a year ago in Early Access. Following a number of major updates including the addition of a PVP mode, the game is set to hit version 1.0 and launch out of Early Access on October 5th on Rift and Vive, are will also come to PSVR for the first time on October 10th. At an event this week developers behind the game shared a range of interesting player metrics that informed the development of the game.
Speaking at VRDC Fall 2017 this week, Survios CTO Alex Silkin and Design Director Mike McTyre stressed to VR developers in the crowd that collecting proper player analytics should be a major priority. The pair said that it was a mistake to wait as long as they did before they began collecting and analyzing player data from Raw Data, but once they did they found a number of major surprises that disrupted their understanding of how players were playing, and prompted them to make changes.
What Players Want and What Players Do Can Be Radically Different
Silkin and McTyre said that some of the most vocal changes players were requesting of the game turned out not to be as popular as they might have thought. Among those consistent requests from the community were more maps/missions and PVP.
As they looked into the data, the team was surprised to find that only 21% of players had gone past the 5th mission in the game, despite there being more than 10 levels total.
As for PVP, a massively requested feature—which the pair said took a lot resources for development and maintenance—only 13% of players have given it a try.
About 80% of players played only the single-player mode, and while cooperative play was billed as a major selling point to the game, only 17% of players have played that mode.
Players Not Playing as Intended
In Raw Data players can make use of Defenses, deployable objects like turrets and force shields, an important part of the player’s survival tool kit. Yet the team found that just 1% of players were even using them! ‘Powers’ and teleportation were also underutilized, prompting the developers to add a helper system to remind players about all the capabilities at their disposal.
When it came to the launch of one of one of the game’s new heroes, the developers thought players would be excited to play as ‘Boss’, the shotgun wielding street merc. But the data showed a palty 7.5% of players were choosing him. The team discovered that some of his abilities were overly complex and players weren’t using them, making the hero feel weaker than the others. The devs ended up altering the way the hero played to make him easier to understand and a more attractive choice.
Rift vs. Vive Population and Preferred Controls
Raw Data was designed initially as a 360 degree experience for the Vive and launched in July 2016. I wasn’t until March 2017 that the game was adapted for the Oculus Rift and Touch and launched on Oculus Home. That’s contributed to the population split of 80% Vive and 20% Rift players.
Among the two headsets, there’s a clear trend among the three control schemes offered in the game:
Sticky: Click Grip buttons once to pick up a weapon or object. It will remain in your hands until you interact with another item.
Toggle: Click Grip buttons once to pick up a weapon or object. Click Grip buttons again to drop it.
Hold: Click and hold Grip buttons to pick up and use a weapon or object. Releasing the Grip buttons will make you drop the item.
The developers said this makes it clear that user preference in control schemes can vary drastically from one platform to the next, so providing options is important.
As Raw Data is one of the best selling VR games to date, it’s probably worth heeding the following advice. When it comes to selling your game, Silkin and McTyre said that customers respond well to bundled deals (where multiple games are discounted together). “Bundle often,” was their suggestion.
The duo also said that platform-wide sales events drive spikes in sales too, like when Steam or Oculus Home has a seasonal or holiday themed sales. Silkin and McTyre encouraged developers to participate in those sales since they drive lots of user traffic to the storefronts. “You might be surprised at what a simple $2 or $3 discount can do,” said Silkin.
And, of course, the pair said developers should strive to be on as many VR platforms as possible. That’s important given the size of the VR marketplace right now. And with new platforms like Windows VR launching soon, developers should plan from the start to be multi-platform with as little porting work as possible so that they can reach as wide an audience as possible.
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Survios credited video game analytics firm Exostatic for helping to implement and analyze Raw Data metrics.