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Explore the International Space Station as Mission:ISS Lands on Gear VR

There are plenty of virtual reality (VR) experiences available for those who enjoy heading out into the stars, some more realistic than others. In March developer Magnopus launched true-to-life simulation Mission:ISS for Oculus Rift, made in collaboration with NASA. Now Samsung Gear VR users get to try the experience for themselves, completely free for the mobile headset.

Mission:ISS has been created to provide an accurate representation of the ISS for users to explore, using NASA Space Station models, the VR Laboratory at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and feedback from astronauts themselves.

Mission:ISS Gear VR

Just like the Oculus Rift version players will be able to dock incoming cargo capsules, conduct spacewalks, and perform mission-critical tasks. They’ll also be able to learn about the station’s 18 year history and hear stories from the astronauts that have spent time in orbit above the Earth.

But Mission:ISS In a blog postingisn’t a straight port due to the performance limitations of the mobile headset. the developer states: “The Mission:ISS development team did some investigating and rather than port the experience directly to mobile using much of the existing code, we decided to redesign from the ground up to get the best quality and interactivity.”

This meant reconsidering the main navigation controls for the Gear VR controller whilst re-optimising both the interior and exterior environments for mobile devices. “Players can still use the same set of basic and advanced controls as the Rift including: snap rotation, pressing forward or backward on the touchpad to move in space, or grabbing walls and bars with the trigger to move through the ISS,” the team adds. “We’ve upgraded you to one-handed rotation in the GearVR release. But we didn’t stop there. Now, we’ve added the ability to roll while floating!  Just push forward on the touchpad while twisting your wrist, to roll while floating through the ISS.”

There’s also a bunch of new additions for the Gear VR release, including a faster way for users to jump to a favourite specific mission, an updated tablet interface so that users can now see all the achievements they’ve currently unlocked as well as browse the remaining achievements, plus re-recorded all the voiceovers adding a bit more polish.

VRFocus will continue its coverage of Magnopus, reporting back with any further announcements.

http://ift.tt/2iEHRrD Source: https://www.vrfocus.com



Cineplax and IMAX VR Centre Now Open

Earlier this year, Cineplex and IMAX announced a partnership to bring a virtual reality (VR) centre to Toronto, Canada. The centre at Scotiabank Theatre has now been unveiled, and will offer location-based VR experiences to visitors.

The Scotiabank Centre will offer a combination of movie-based VR tie-in content and VR videogames in an immersive, multi-dimensional setting. Facilities on offer include a Player’s Lounge where visitors can relax and get to know other players, and ten specially designed VR pods which have been created to allow user mobility and interaction in virtual environments, and which can be modified to suit the needs of specific content, both single and multi-player.

“As one of our country’s leading entertainment destinations, we are always looking for new ways to evolve and offer a variety of innovative experiences to our guests,” said Ellis Jacob, President and CEO, Cineplex. “We are proud to continue our partnership with IMAX for the launch of Canada’s first VR Centre and excited to demonstrate once again that we are more than just movies.”

“We are excited to be launching Canada’s first IMAX VR Centre at such an iconic location as the Scotiabank Theatre Toronto with our longstanding partner, Cineplex,” said Mark Welton, President, IMAX Theatres. “Together, we look forward to ushering in the next evolution of immersive entertainment and bringing the highly social and interactive IMAX VR experience to audiences in Toronto.”

MAX VR Centre Pod Layout

Sessions in the VR Centre are expected to last between seven and fifteen minutes, with content provided by the many partnerships IMAX has fostered with filmmakers and videogame developers. Content already expected to be coming to the IMAX VR Centre includes Star Trek: Bridge Crew, Archangel, and Justice League: An IMAX VR Exclusive.

Tickets for IMAX VR experiences at the Scotiabank Theatre can be purchased on-site. Further information can be found on the Cineplex website.

VRFocus will bring you further information IMAX VR projects as it becomes available.

http://ift.tt/2jcHcNG Source: https://www.vrfocus.com



Review: Final Fantasy XV: Monster of the Deep

A surprising number of people became somewhat addicted to the fishing mini-game when playing through Final Fantasy XV. Developer Square Enix seems to have aimed this title squarely at that crowd, throwing in a generous helping of fan service alongside it.

Monster of the Deep is a virtual reality (VR) fishing videogame. Those who were addicted to titles such as Sega Bass Fishing back in the day may wish to pay attention. Set in the expansive world of Eos, where the main Final Fantasy XV story is set, Monster of the Deep‘s story mode challenges players to take up rod and tackle to hunt down the ‘demon fish’, encountering fishing-mad Final Fantasy XV character Noctis along the way.

The experience starts by offering a surprisingly detailed avatar creation screen, which offers an impressive number of option to customise a character you will only see in pictures. Once your character is created, you are engaged in what was meant to be a relaxing fishing trip, which quickly goes pear-shaped and you need to be rescued by NPC Cindy. From there, you join Noctis and the rest of the Final Fantasy XV boys to travel the world in search of demon fish.

Each fishing spot has a number of regular fish that must be caught in order to spawn the huge, deadly demon fish. You can play with either Dual Shock controller or PlayStation Move controller, each having its own advantages. The Dual Shock offers greater precision, but the PlayStation Move offers increased immersion and is more intuitive, as you make a casting motion with the right Move controller to land your line in the water and the left to reel it in. Once the little fish have been caught, purple fog rolls in and the demon fish appears. At this point the title briefly transforms into a shooter as you need to weaken the beast with your exploding crossbow bolts.

The graphics of Final Fantasy XV were always fairly impressive, but in VR they look stunning. Everything is richly detailed and carefully designed, presenting something that does look like a fully fleshed-out world. There are occasional visual glitches, which can disrupt immersion. The sounds is crisp, the dialogue well-performed and the music shows the typical Square Enix flair.

The major disadvantages of Final Fantasy XV: Monster of the Deep is is repetitive nature. Though there is entertainment to be had from the title, there is little to compel players to return to the title once the story campaign is complete. Though the title offers other modes, such as the Tournament Mode where players compete against other Final Fantasy XV characters to catch the biggest fish, or Hunt Mode where players track down rare fish. For a more zen experience, there is Free Fishing mode, which has no goals or missions, just a relaxing VR fishing simulator. The current unavailable competitive mode may also offer a reason to return to the title.

Final Fantasy XV: Monster of the Deep is one of the best-looking PlayStation VR titles currently available. Its possible to waste quite a lot of time simply taking in the scenery. The title also uses the limitations of the PlayStation VR cleverly, by letting players sit facing the camera most of the time, it eliminates most of the tracking issues the PlayStation VR is known to have. Though far from a deep experience, Final Fantasy XV is surprisingly absorbing, and can chew up an impressive amount of time, despite its slightly repetitive gameplay.

http://ift.tt/2A0TdOf Source: https://www.vrfocus.com



Become More Social in VR as Rec Room Beta Hits PlayStation VR

Today Against Gravity opens the doors to Rec Room for PlayStation VR owners, allowing even more players to interact in the cross-platform experience which supports Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Windows Mixed Reality.

Released in beta form for free, Rec Room is described by the developer as a ‘VR social club’, allowing users from across the globe to get together in one location and engage in various lighthearted mini-games, such as paintball, disc golf or charades, as well as epic quests and adventures, and new toys in the sandbox machine.

Rec Room Laser Tag GIF

Rec Room beta is available in North America, South America, and the EU region:

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bahrain
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Rep
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Kuwait
  • Lebanon
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Oman
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Qatar
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Africa
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Turkey
  • UAE
  • UK
  • Ukraine

Against Gravity has confirmed that PlayStation VR players won’t need PlayStation Plus to enjoy Rec Room, although if they do pay for the service they get a burst rifle skin in paintball.

Recently the team has added a bunch of new updates including a video screen to the RC Car so that you can now drive in drone mode, making laser tag a full time game, a new group Quest titled The Curse of the Crimson Cauldron, a revamped tutorial, teaching the handshake (add friend), fist bump (party up), and Stop (mute/ignore/report) gestures, the Code of Conduct is highlighted more prominently and the keyboard now has shortcuts for common email addresses.

As for the future, Against Gravity has previously confirmed that a pirate-themed quest will be going live sometime in early 2018.

The studio will be running an AMA on r/PSVR from 10am – 1pm PST (6pm – 9pm GMT) today, for anyone who has a question regarding the videogame. For any further updates on Rec Room, keep reading VRFocus.

http://ift.tt/2zVWMYp Source: https://www.vrfocus.com



Holiday Sales Spur on VR Growth in Gaming and Enterprise

According to a report published by International Data Corporation (IDC), forecasts worldwide revenues for the augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) market to reach $13.9 USD billion in 2017, an increase of 130.5% over the $6.1 billion spent in 2016. This is in-part a result of aggressive price cuts on behalf of Oculus VR and HTC Vive, as well as a promotional effort from Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) which saw the PlayStation VR’s ‘Black Friday’ sales receive a significant boost.

PlayStation VR Header 7According to IDC’s report, the increased expenditure on AR/VR won’t end with this holiday season. The market is expected to accelerate over the next several years, achieving a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 198.0% over the 2015-2020 forecast period and totalling $143.3 billion in 2020. The report also explains that the consumer market will be the largest AR/VR segment throughout the forecast period with worldwide spending on hardware, software, and services expected to reach $6.2 billion in 2017, an increase of 130.5% over 2016.

“AR and VR headsets get most of the media attention right now, but the hardware is only as good as the software and services running on it,” said Tom Mainelli, program vice president, Devices and AR/VR, at IDC. “On the virtual reality side, producers are quickly moving beyond games to create new content mainstream audiences will embrace. And on the augmented reality side of the fence we’re seeing commercial entities begin to more seriously evaluate the technology and begin to test the waters of app development.”

Vuzix Corporation, an AR specialist delivering smartglasses to enterprise and industrial clients, has expanded operations to 11 countries in an effort focused on industrial networking and remote management solutions. The Vuzix M300 Smart Glasses allow operators and maintenance workers that are already required to wear safety goggles to utilise the Vuzix M300’s high-resolution camera to record video of events and provide photo documentation of issues completed tasks completely hands-free.

“From the first majority to the next man in we continue to see the shift in the industry IoT strategy to introduce proven hands-free mobile devices like the Vuzix M300 Smart Glasses to machine operators and maintenance workers to provide remote HMI access to equipment in the field,” said Paul Boris, COO, Vuzix.

More information about IDC’s research can be found on the company’s official website, and VRFocus will keep you updated with all the latest details on the AR and VR markets.

http://ift.tt/2B1gb7b Source: https://www.vrfocus.com



Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner – Mars Gets YEBIS Visual Overhaul, SteamVR Support Confirmed

It’s a telling sign of the growing popularity of virtual reality (VR) when more and more well known studios start to bring their IP’s to the medium. There’s been Square Enix with a couple of titles, Monster of the Deep: Final Fantasy XV and Million Arthur VR: Character Command RPGor how about Bethesda with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VRFallout 4 VR and DOOM VFRThen in September during Sony Interactive Entertainment Japan Asia’s (SIEJA) PlayStation press conference for the Tokyo Game Show another gaming juggernaut entered the fray with Konami’s remaster of Zone of the Enders: The 2nd RunnerNow the studio has confirmed the adoption of YEBIS to improve the videogame’s visual quality.

YEBIS is an optical post-effects middleware created by technology and game development company, Silicon Studio Corporation, allowing developers to utilise various effects such as glare, depth of field, color correction and anti-aliasing in post process with live action video or CG real-time visuals.

Zone of the Enders The 2nd Runner-MARS YEBIS image 2

Using the software Konami has dramatically overhauled Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner – Mars for 4K resolutions, with YEBIS providing a wide range post-effects and upgrades to HDR and VR support.

“I cannot forget the excitement of the day we implemented “YEBIS”, when we saw many characteristic post effects of “ANUBIS” now shine with the brightness of the current generation standards, compared to how they first looked 15 years ago,” said Noriaki Okamura, Producer of Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner – Mars in a statement.

In addition to the YEBIS announcement, Silicon Studio Corporation have also confirmed that the title will support SteamVR, opening up the possibility that Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner – Mars will be released on both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive.

Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner – Mars is set to release in spring of 2018 for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4 Pro, PlayStation VR and Steam. It was originally released in 2003 on PlayStation 2, and again for PlayStation 3 in HD bundled with the original Zone of the Enders as part of the Zone of the Enders HD Collection.

VRFocus will continue its coverage of Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner – Mars, reporting back with the latest updates.

http://ift.tt/2mOV8CH Source: https://www.vrfocus.com



HTC Vive Offer’s £150 Black Friday Deal to EU Customers

Last week HTC Vive announced an awesome Black Friday deal to new customers where they could get the headset, the Deluxe Audio Strap, a free copy of Google Tilt Brush, and a redemption code for Fallout 4 VR, all for $599 USD. The only problem, it was only available for North American customers. For European customers looking for a deal HTC Vive has now remedied the situation with a new bundle deal, with one that’s even better.

Similar to the North American bundle, EU customers will be able to pickup a HTC Vive along with a Deluxe Audio Strap, a free copy of Google Tilt Brush, a redemption code for Fallout 4 VR and a pre-order code for DOOM VFR when they both come out, as well as one month’s free subscription to Viveport. All for the low price of £599 GBP, saving over £150.

DOOM VFR screenshot

As with any Black Friday deal this bundle is time sensitive, running from Friday 24th November 2017 until Monday 27th  November 2017 at midnight GMT. European customers can purchase the deal from Vive.com and the following authorised retailers in the UK, while stocks last: Game UK, Scan, Overclockers, Very.co.uk and Littlewoods.

Additionally, Viveport will also be taking part with discounted pre-paid subscription packages for Viveport subscription and discounts of up to 75 percent off on titles from Vive Studios. The Viveport deals will start on Wednesday 22nd November and end on Monday 27th November 2017.

Viveport Subscription will see huge savings on pre-purchased plans:

  • 3-month subscription – Select 15 Apps for just £12.99 (35% savings)
  • 6-month subscription – Select 30 Apps for just £19.99 (50% savings)
  • 12-month subscription – Select 60 Apps for just £29.99 (63% savings)

Obviously HTC Vive isn’t the only VR headset maker offering Black Friday deals. Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) has listed a bunch of deals for PlayStation VR, offering discounts to both North American and European customers, slashing the price of the headset or offering bundled videogame deals with titles like The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR.

Microsoft has embraced the Black Friday spirit, reducing the cost of Windows Mixed Reality headsets by up to $100. The only company not offering hardware reductions is Oculus, which could largely be attributed to its new permanent price of $399.

For the latest Black Friday deals, keep reading VRFocus.

http://ift.tt/2za162x Source: https://www.vrfocus.com



Bravo Team and PlayStation Aim Controller Bundle Revealed

The PlayStation Aim controller is slowly growing a list of compatible titles. Having launched with Farpoint earlier this year, the likes of Arizona Sunshine, Raw Data, The Brookhaven Experiment and Dick Wilde also added support for the accessory. The forthcoming Bravo Team from Supermassive Games will not only be compatible, but will also launch as part of a bundle package with the device.

Bravo Team & PlayStation Aim Bundle

The PlayStation Aim controller has been a highly sought after accessory since launch, frequently selling out at retail stores across North America and Europe. Farpoint is available to purchase both at retail and digitally via the PlayStation Store without the PlayStation Aim controller, however the general consensus of the virtual reality (VR) community is that it offers a far superior experience with the device.

The fact that Bravo Team would be compatible with PlayStation Aim had already been confirmed, however the retail bundle deal has been revealed via retailer communication. Bravo Team recently suffered a delay into next year, but upon launch will be available in a package with the PlayStation Aim controller as can be seen in the image on this page.

VRFocus has previously been hands-on with Supermassive Games’ 2018 releases, stating in a preview of Bravo Team: “Using the Aim controller feels very natural and intuitive. The normal face buttons let you reload, switch between cover positions and swap to an emergency sidearm in a pinch, as you might expect. While properly looking down the assault rifle’s red dot sight gives you a much more accurate targeting reticule for getting those head shots. You could also quick turn 180-degrees if you moved too far forward and enemies were behind you – also good for returning to a better defensive position.”

Bravo Team E32017 (3)No official price point has yet been confirmed for the Bravo Team and PlayStation Aim bundle, but VRFocus has been informed that a £79.99 GBP suggested retail price (SRP) is expected; approximately £20 less than the current Farpoint and PlayStation Aim bundle is available for via Amazon.

Bravo Team is now expected to launch in March 2018, exclusively for PlayStation VR. VRFocus will keep you updated with all the latest details on this and other forthcoming PlayStation VR videogame titles.

http://ift.tt/2zVBdGW Source: https://www.vrfocus.com



Play as Bumblebee in Paramount’s new Transformers AR Experience

To coincide with the release of Transformers: The Last Knight on 4K Ultra HD Paramount Home Media Distribution has today unveiled a free augmented reality (AR) experience for iOS app users.

Created by Viacom NEXT using Apple ARKit, Cade’s Junkyard AR Experience incorporates content from the latest film in the blockbuster series, with players controlling the actions of Bumblebee.

Transformers AR Screenshots Car

The app has been designed to appear as the virtual junkyard of protagonist Cade Yeager (Mark Wahlberg), with players able to create their own junkyard before going on a rampage, using Bumblebee to blow everything up, whether that’s in full robot mode using his guns or racing around in vehicle form.

“This augmented reality experience gives fans the chance to interact with the Transformers universe in a new and exciting way,” said Howard Hsieh, Vice President, Worldwide Digital Business Development, Paramount Home Media Distribution in a statement.  “The Transformers films appeal to a vast and diverse audience and we’re excited to give fans the opportunity to get in the driver’s seat and take BUMBLEBEE for a ride.”

 “With ARKit, we can seamlessly bridge virtual and physical worlds to create immersive experiences that bring storytelling to life,” said Chaki Ng, Senior Vice President of Viacom NEXT.  “We‘re thrilled to help break this new ground at Paramount with the iconic Transfomers franchise.”

Cade’s Junkyard AR Experience is free to download from the App Store until February 20, 2018. Users can also order  Transformers: The Last Knight on 4K HDR through the app. Additionally, the Transformers 5-movie Collection will also be available on 4K HDR for purchase exclusively on iTunes beginning today.

The app is Paramount’s first foray into AR, but not the first in terms of immersive entertainment. Earlier this year, in conjunction with Oculus Studios, REWIND, Dreamworks and HERE BE DRAGONS, the companies created the Ghost in the Shell experience to tie-in with the movie.

For the latest AR experiences on iOS 11, keep reading VRFocus.

http://ift.tt/2z9F67X Source: https://www.vrfocus.com



Vertigo Games Release Free Demo for Skyworld on Steam

Last month Vertigo Games in collaboration with Wolfdog Interactive released strategy title Skyworld across Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Windows Mixed Reality headsets. Today the teams have made the rare decision to launch a free demo on Steam, allowing players to get a hint of the gameplay experience. 

The demo features the opening mission from Skyworld’s single-player campaign – which was revealed just prior to launch – in which players start to build their empire in one of the videogame’s miniature fantasy VR worlds. There’s around 1.5 hours of unlocked content to enjoy with any progress made carrying over to the full videogame if players want to continue.

If you’ve not been keeping up with VRFocus’ coverage of Skyworldthe videogame is a one to two player experience, that mixes turn-based strategy with real-time battles in which you play a king looking over their battle map. From here armies and buildings can be created to storm enemy strongholds, whether that’s in the single-player campaign, skirmish mode or the online cross-platform multiplayer.

The main map (seen above) is turn-based, this is where you can move your general(s), create buildings to produce wood, stone, food and other essentials to help grow your army and upgrade them or unlock new units should you have the resources. The real-time battles take place when two generals attack one another, this flips the world map with two castles on each side. It’s then up to you and your army to destroy your opponents castle, strategically deploying troops onto the battlefield. Some cost more mana than others, so if you deplete your mana sending a more costly unit out into battle then you’ll have to wait for it to recharge.

Skyworld is available to purchase now for $39.99 USD/ € 39.99 EUR/ £ 30.99 GBP through Steam. Vertigo Games is a VR videogame studio located in the city of Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and is most well known for developing and publishing the successful first-person shooter (FPS), Arizona Sunshinewhich is also available on Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Windows Mixed Reality, as well as PlayStation VR.

VRFocus will continue its coverage of Vertigo Games and Skyworld, reporting back with any further updates.

http://ift.tt/2hHp4uS Source: https://www.vrfocus.com




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