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Localisation At The Heart Of The Matter As “Final” Lone Echo Patch Goes Live

2017 was quite the year for a number of videogames in the virtual reality (VR) space. There was the continued success of Resident Evil VII biohazard, which continues to pull in numbers to VR and not that long ago received a ‘Gold Edition’ release. There’s the Bethesda VR trinity of titles that took VR by storm at the end of the year, with Fallout 4 VR, DOOM VFR and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR all taking plaudits. There was L.A. Noire’s new lease of life and the creation of The VR Case Files by Activision too. 

Lone Echo

Flying the flag in its own way however has been Ready At Dawn with their Oculus Rift titles Lone Echo and multiplayer spinoff Echo Arena. It was the latter (alongside The Unspoken) that was the centre-point of VR’s first real eSports tournament The VR Challenge League which will complete its inaugural season at the beginning of March at the Intel Extreme Masters (IEM) Event in Katowice, Poland. Echo Combat, which continues broadening the Echo universe and is set to be a big expansion to Echo Arena is also due out this year.

This doesn’t mean Lone Echo has been forgotten in the proceedings though, and a new patch – referred to in the email VRFocus received about it as “Lone Echo‘s final patch” – has just been released. a triple hit of updates bundled together under the banner of the Atlas Patch.  Predominantly these revolve around a combination of additional localisation and new features which have been added to increase the amount of physics related play available in the game. This has been added by Ready At Dawn as they look to take more of an advantage when using the capabilities of higher end CPUs and which can be now found in the videogame settings under ‘CPU Intensive Features’.

Lone Echo
For non-English speakers, or for whom English is not their first language French, German and Spanish have now been added to the title – both audio and text. You can find patch notes relating to the other additions below:

High-Density Set Dressing
You’ll find higher concentration of floating props in various areas of the Station Interior and the Mining Facility. This change will be most noticeable on the Kronos II Bridge, in the Activation Bay, and at both the Primary and Depleted Dig Sites.

Attractor Gun
This unique physics toy sucks in small props while you’re pressing the trigger, shooting them out at high speed upon release. There are two available in the game—look for them in the Activation Bay and at the Primary Dig Site.

Ragdoll Jack Husks
Normally, rigid, inanimate husks of Jack are left behind to mark your death locations. Now, these bodies can gain full ragdoll physics, so you can throw them around the environment with full limb mobility. Note that Jack Husks created by touching Bio Threat challenges will remain static objects attached to the Bio Threat.

Discussing the update on the Oculus Blog, Game Director Dana Jan explained why it was important that this update take place for the studio. “We know that language plays such an important role in our ability to connect to each other and the world around us—the same holds true for the virtual characters and virtual world that we’ve created in Lone Echo. It’s why conversation is one of our core mechanics. We’re happy to announce this localisation update so that more players can enjoy this experience. Thanks for your patience and support.”

A new trailer for the patch has also been released, and you can view that below. VRFocus will be bringing you all the news that relates to the upcoming updates to the Echo universe of titles, and more in the weeks ahead. Source:

Clever Fox’s Latest Project Coming To Slamdance Film Festival

Throughout 2017 we saw an increase once again in the use of immersive technology being used to tell a story. After a 2016 which saw a combination of both virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) – but mostly VR in this instance – being incorporated into various festivals as special attractions, 2017 saw the technology much more firmly entrenched in proceedings. With a number of festivals dishing out specific awards for VR related projects and elsewhere VR projects gaining critical acclaim and recognition with a number of high profile awards for storytelling and more.

Slamdance Film Festival - DIG

And while it is still only mid-January. the march towards a number of film festivals has already begun with the likes of the Raindance Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival and more already coming into view on the horizon. One of the first film festivals of the year is the 2018 Slamdance Film Festival. Which this year will run from January 19th to January 25th in Park City, Utah. It just so happens that one of the studios involved in the first time Slamdance hosted submissions for immersive film that has announced a submission for this week’s event.

Immersive entertainment studio Clever Fox was one of the studios, along with the likes of Littlstar, that encouraged production houses in 2016 to submit in the immersive category. Over the years on VRFocus we’ve covered a number of their projects including last year’s The Summoning, 2016’s Broadcast and 2015’s Warp Chase. This time they’ve teamed up with ARwall to present a new AR experience called What We Leave Behind.

An exercise in curating social experiences, What We Leave Behind takes people into a fantastical other world and, using AR to conceal their identities, encourages them to tell personal stories, thoughts and opinions which they would not neccessarily do if their identity was known.

As Clever Fox explains – “We curate our digital life and hide behind it like a mask; a wall that separate us from each other. As we balance on the edge of a tipping point between a brave new world and social, economic and environmental disaster we invite you to enter an alternate reality where you’re free to share your hopes and fears for the future. We give you a new face and the freedom to say the things you can’t. What We Leave Behind is a collaborative storytelling experience using AR technology. Your story is collected online to inspire others.”

“ARwall is thrilled to participate in this ground breaking project at Slamdance. We are always looking for new collaborations that blur the lines between filmmaking, VFX, and augmented reality.” Says Eric Navarrette, CEO of ARwall. “What We Leave Behind will show festival goers first-hand how AR can be used by filmmakers to create visually stunning content in ways that have never before been attempted. We truly believe AR will play a strong part in the future of filmmaking and we’re immensely proud that Slamdance attendees will be among the first group of people to see our pioneering new technology.”

What We Leave BehindThe idea was conceived by artist Dekker Dreyer who worked on a number of the projects previously mentioned. “This is such an important project to me. We feel so isolated sometimes. We’re afraid to express ourselves because of what the comments will say or what we imagine our colleagues or friends will think of us. Creating this alternate reality / identity where we can tell our stories in a visually powerful environment is liberating. I’m humbled to be able to help bring this experience to the Slamdance Film Festival. It’s the first time I’ve ever heard of a project being created during a festival with the participation of both audiences and filmmakers. Slamdance is an incredible creative community and I can’t wait to see how they bring this project to life.”

What We Leave Behind will be featured daily at the festival and VRFocus will bring you more news from it as we get it. Source:

How Do Two Live One Life? VR Playhouse Introduces The Surrogate

As we’ve seen with increasing regularity the idea of using virtual reality (VR) to tell a different kind of immersive story is becoming more and more common place. Sometimes these come in the form of a videogame such as Artifact 5’s intreguing title Anamorphine which is due to come out in the near future. We’ve also seen creatives turn to VR to help craft their messages in more cinematic experiences and we’ve seen many times on the site all manner of topic covered in pieces for the likes of the Sundance Film Festival and Raindance Film Festival.

The Surrogate - ScreenshotToday’s news comes from Los Angeles, California. Home of VR Playhouse, a full-service production company and creative studio that specialises in creating new worlds in immersive media – both VR and augmented reality (AR). Founded by Christina Heller and Ian Forester, the latter of whom recently discussed his ideas for which industries will drive VR’s growth in 2018. The company have produced a broad range of prodjects, some of which we have previously featured on Everything from music videos to commercial tie-ups with the likes of Toyota.

Today the team announce a brand new VR experience by Creator and Director Peter Flaherty and Producer
Logan Brown which fuses 360 degree video with a CG environment to produce a look into how technology affects our everyday inter-personal relationships. Produced in a way that, according to the studio, channels the same attitude to contemporary storytelling as popular series Black Mirror.

Called The Surrogate, viewers enter the life of Juliana Bach who after being immersed in a world now overflowing with VR and AR experiences has now started suffering from anxiety from it all. The player takes on the role of a surrogate who Bach has hired to live her ‘physical’ life for her, and now she guides the player as they explore an old house Bach once shared with her former husband. Where you go in the twisting maze of rooms beyond the facade of a modern home is up to you – but how are two people supposed to live one life without living it together?

The Surrogate - Screenshot
“I wanted to take a different approach to how we are dealing with this kind of immersive technology as a storytelling tool by offering the viewer a story that combines cinematic live action with an interactive environment,” explains Flaherty. “The technology inspired me to tell a story that looks ahead to what our shared cultural future may hold in the coming years. I wanted to communicate how powerful this exciting new technology is, but how overwhelming it could be to live in a world proliferated with layered media.”

You can find a preview of the work on the Oculus Store, VRFocus will have more about the work being done by VR Playhouse and other creative studios with the VR medium very soon. Source:

VR’s The Star As Amusement Expo International Returns Next Month

Regular readers of VRFocus will know that we often dip into how virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and even mixed reality (MR) are being utilised in the world of arcades and amusements – or to use the umbrella term with other similar ventures, Digital Out-of-Home Entertainment (DOE), in our regular series The Virtual Arena by guest writer Kevin Williams. (The most recent two part column of which you can find here and here.)

The DOE industry is always a busy one with things changing all the time, and the addition of immersive technologies hasn’t done anything to slow things down. In fact there are a number of events already on the way in 2018, in the UK alone this week is the EAG and Visitor Attraction Expo; taking place at the ExCel Exhibition Centre in London from tomorrow, January 16th through to January 18th 2018.

At the end of next month however, the DOE industry’s attention will switch back to Las Vegas, Nevada (just after we’ve finished there for everything with CES 2018) for the upcoming Amusement Expo International at the Las Vegas Convention Center. There, for the very first time there’ll be an entire day of panels and seminars all dedicated to VR as well as a dedicated pavilion for VR related exhibitors.

“Arcades will continue to be the locations where most people will first experience VR”, says Bob Cooney who acted as curator for the Amusement Expo International’s ‘Virtual Reality Education’ programme of events. “Billions of dollars have been invested in virtual reality startups based on the expectation that the consumer market was poised to explode. However, with consumer adoption emerging slowly, companies are now flocking to location-based entertainment as a means to showcase their products and build the consumer awareness they hope will lead to greater adoption.”

The current event list is scheduled as follows, with all events taking place in Pavilion 4 at The Westgate Hotel on Tuesday, February 27th:

9:15 AM – 10:15 AM – Introduction: Virtual Reality – History and Trends of Consumer and LBE VR

10:30 AM – 11:30 AM – SWOT Analysis for the LBE Market

12:45 PM – 1:30 PM – Moderated Panel: Marketing and Positioning your VR Attraction for Maximum Reach and ROI

1:45 PM – 2:45 PM – Moderated Panel: Why and How VR Attractions Require a Different Operations Mindset

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM – How to Select the Right Content and Equipment for your Audience

4:15 PM – 5:15 PM – Thinking Outside the Box

VRFocus will bring you more information about the activities at the event as they are revealed. Source:

Sony to Launch ‘Lost in Music’ VR Campaign with Khalid

Sony Corporation has announced the second instalment of its brand campaign, called ‘Lost in Music’. The brand campaign consists of live music events and a virtual reality (VR) music video for PlayStation VR, both featuring Grammy Award nominee singer and songwriter, Khalid.

Sony Corporation Lost In Music

The Lost in Music campaign will roll out with a two-day live event, kicking off with Khalid in Los Angeles, CA, on 19th January 2018, held at the LA Hangar in Los Angeles. Upon arriving at the event, attendees will discover what it is like to be enveloped in sound as they walk through a specially designed entrance tunnel called the Acoustic Vessel ‘Odyssey.’ The experience will feature 576 speakers, which create an experience where sound field synthesis technology allows guests to follow various sounds as they move around them in the Odyssey. Once they have travelled through Odyssey they will arrive at ‘Dreamscape,’ a performance space designed specifically for Khalid and some special guests.

There will also be an event to launch a Lost in Music video series in New York in February 2018, and the Odyssey and Dreamscape experiences will travel to South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference & Festivals in Austin, Texas, from 15th – 16th March 2018.

The new VR music video from Khalid will debut on 15th March 2018, at SXSW. The video will then be available on the PlayStation Store from spring 2018 to be enjoyed on PlayStation VR. No specific release date or pricing details have yet been made available.

“I am so excited to be featured in Sony’s Lost in Music campaign for 2018. I can’t wait for the events in LA and Austin, it’s going to be so awesome to connect with my fans through an experience unlike anything I’ve done before. Plus, I get to show them an awesome new VR music video,” said Khalid.

Khalid photo

“Lost in Music aims to deliver unique experiences combining technologies and music as only Sony can,” said Midori Tomita, VP in charge of UX Business Development, Brand Strategy of Sony Corporation. “We are thrilled to have this opportunity to work with Khalid, who was recently nominated for five Grammy Awards, including best new artist. His unique talents are truly highlighted in this latest instalment of our Lost in Music brand campaign, and we are confident that music fans who experience either the concert events or the VR music video will be wowed.”

You can find out more about the campaign at the official Lost in Music website, and VRFocus will keep you updated with all the latest VR music videos heading to PlayStation VR. Source:

Preview: Knights of the Drowned Table – Drunken Tales That Don’t Quite Stand up

Every good tale starts in a bar, with weary adventurers sat round a glowing fire recanting their stories of treasure, monstrous enemies and heroic deeds. And it’s from this noble starting point that Knights of the Drowned Table by RillyBoss Studios begins its escapade, with you grabbing a mug of the local ale to give to one of the three characters in the bar to hear – and relive – their tale. Whilst that initial premise sounds good what follows are tall tales that could do with more embellishment.

Knights of the Drowned Table screenshot

 RillyBoss Studios has taken a novel approach to a fantasy based virtual reality (VR) adventure where you can select a level by joining a character at their table to hear them talk about what has happened to them. Upon giving them a refreshing beverage you’re then transported into their adventure, which is either a maze like dungeon, a snow filled castle or a sandy wasteland.

In whichever level has been chosen you can freely wander around using touchpad locomotion controls. A vignette appears to make movement more comfortable for players plus there are snap rotation features for those uncomfortable with roomscale turning. Other than that no other options are available for those that want to change the walk speed – there’s no running – or remove the vignette.

Movement really isn’t an issue unlike the combat at this current stage. This is your basic hack and slash principles where you can grab an axe or mace and just bludgeon a foe to death. Hit points erratically pop up – blows to the head seem to do the same damage as swiping at ankles – and the various weapons lying around don’t offer much in the way of changing your strategy. Shields can be picked up to offer some sort of defence against projectiles and there is a bow about if you want to keep your distance – most enemies will rush you so melee is the more default system.

Knights of the Drowned Table screenshot

As progress is made through each area the character continues to recite their tale, reminiscing about why they were there and invariably giving you a clue as what to do next. Unfortunately there are moments where a creature will suddenly appear and begin its attack, screaming away, and more importantly drowning out whatever the storyteller had to say. So if you missed it then tough luck.

Certainly at the moment Knights of the Drowned Table is a little rough and ready and as a single-player adventure offers only a slightly entertaining experience. Now there is a multiplayer/coop element that does help to improve things, bringing in a few mates – up to five in coop – scales the difficulty depending on how many are available so it can become more challenging if you don’t mind the constant swipe a few times to kill an enemy then move on gameplay. Knights of the Drowned Table is going to be one of those titles that needs Steam community input to help shape it in early access. If that happens then Knights of the Drowned Table maybe one to watch in 2018. Source:

Starbreeze Bringing VR Installation Experience Hero To Sundance Film Festival

We are but a few days away from diving full pelt into cinema season and this year’s Sundance Film Festival taking place in Utah, USA. It, and the Slamdance Film Festival (which we will be discussing more tomorrow on VRFocus) are but a few days away and the latest immersive technology project to be revealed comes by way of a familiar name – Starbreeze AB.

The independent creator, publisher and distributor of videogames, who are best known for their work on the Payday series of videogames, working with Behaviour Digital to launch the popular horror thriller Dead by Daylight and, of course, being the driving force behind the StarVR head mounted display (HMD) – now produced in partnership with Acer. Starbreeze are now teaming with iNK Stories, who are an entertainment company based out of the US in both New York and Los Angeles who have previously worked with franchises like Grand Theft Auto and, from a VR perspective, also contributed to Capcom’s highly acclaimed PlayStation VR title Resident Evil VII: biohazard.

The pair are working together to bring a new experience called HERO to the festival, which is to be held from January 18th to the 28th, 2018. A Vérité VR experience, it will be shown throughout the festival at a large scale immersive installation in the Kimball Art Center, found in Park City, Utah as part of the Sundance Institute’s New Frontier initiative.

In HERO you enter the modern world in a place of crisis. But when people are in trouble and everything around you is tearing itself apart, what do you do? Combining an interactive virtual world with a documentary style, physical sensations – although the press release from Starbreeze doesn’t expressly clarify in what sense this is implemented – and DTSX object-based audio, HERO will ask attendees, in an era of civilian warfare what a hero is, and if they have what it takes to be the hero people need.

VRFocus will be bringing you more news regarding the Sundance Film Festival in the days to come. Stay tuned for more by following us on social media for the very latest. Source:

AR Property Videogame Mossworld Looks For Funding With Initial ICO

As we all know augmented reality (AR) got, without question, its most important boost in terms of popularity and awareness thanks to Niantic Labs’ videogame Pokémon Go, based off of the popular series by Nintendo (via The Pokémon Company). Whilst some would debate the title as the best example of a AR videogame, despite efforts by Niantic in recent months to improve that part of the service, few would deny it has helped public awareness of the concept of AR no end.

Mossland - Interaction ConceptAs a result of the success of Pokémon Go, the idea of location-based AR mobile videogames has gained quite a bit of popularity and we’ve already seen a number of clones, or at least heavily inspired examples, of the concept come to be. Perhaps the most notable of these being Garfield Go.  Now another location-based AR title is setting out to make its mark on the market with the launch of its pre-Initial Coin Offer (ICO).

Mossland might sound like an environmental themed videogame, but in fact its description makes it sound like a bit of a cross between the aforementioned Pokémon Go, Monopoly and Swarm/Foursquare. In Mossland you can acquire various virtual properties of real locations, these can then be sold, traded, liquified as an asset with the trading being done via cryptocurrency exchange. Players can also work on properties they own to increase their overall value, this is done by installing AR objects at properties. The more you ‘decorate’ the property the more valuable it will then become. The title will also use location-based P2P advertisement via Mossland’s new advertising platform allowing users to set AR advertising campaigns for locations through a simple interface after setting an advertising budget.

Developers Reality Reflection are looking to fund the title with this ICO using Ethereum blockchain technologies with a presale beginning on 29th January 2018 with up to a 50% bonus.  It will close two weeks later at the end of February 11, 2018.

Mossland - Check In Concept“Based on our accumulated experience on 3D digital human character development and an extensive research on VR and AR technology, we released many successful VR titles including a fun rhythm action game Music Inside and a futuristic multiplayer sports game Speedball Arena.” Explained Wooram Son, CEO of Reality Reflection. “With many new VR and AR devices introduced in CES 2018, we believe 2018 will be a great year for VR and AR contents market. That’s why we believe Mossland will be a great hit.”

Pre-ICO information:

VRFocus will bring you more news on how the ICO has gone in February. Source:

Try on Bags and Phone Cases in Augmented Reality

Trying on clothes and accessories with the help of augmented reality (AR) seems like the new trend. It was only the other day we saw Amazon patents that allude to an AR armoire to try on digital clothes with, and now we see STM Goods and Element Case are both creating AR apps to try out backpacks, mobile phone cases and more.

STM Goods create a variety of accessories, bags and cases for electronics, and Element Case create premium smart phone cases and accessories, and their AR applications promise that users will be able to properly inspect and try out products before ever having them in their hands.

STM Goods’ application will allow users to “try on” backpacks and even inspect them in detail, looking at pockets, overall space, and more. Many of their bags come with their SlingTech and Cable Ready designs, making it easier for users to manage cables and carry electronics.

“AR will change the way people interact with our products,” said Ethan Nyholm, STM Brands Chief Executive. “Backpacks have traditionally been one of the toughest products to showcase in stores, unless a trained salesperson is there to demonstrate the special aspects of the merchandise, which typically is not the case. Now, thanks to AR, customers can see a demonstration of a product’s key features come to life before their eyes.”

Element Case meanwhile have a similar AR application, where the specifics of their premium smart phones cases are explained in detail. Customers get to truly understand the style and practical benefits of having a premium case, which can otherwise be difficult when they often come with a premium price tag.

Nyholm spoke more about the Element Case app, saying; “Element Case is all about advanced engineering and high-grade materials that maximize user convenience. By bringing an interactive experience with the cases to the customer, we can take detailed and often complicated messaging about a product’s attributes and make it easy to grasp visually. We’re taking point-of-sale product marketing to another level by leveraging today’s technology to go beyond what has long been expected in store. It is the future of marketing and we are on the cutting-edge.”

It’s an interesting way to get users more invested in the products of manufacturers, and we’re sure that we will see much more of this in the future. For news about when that happens, make sure to keep reading VRFocus. Source:

Unboxing the TPCast: Go into VR, Untethered

Since virtual reality’s (VR) inception, quite possibly the biggest hinderance to full immersion has been feeling cables droop down your back, or trail across the floor. When in a seemingly unlimited VR world, it cruelly reminds us of the limitations of VR. Well, with the new TPCast, all of those annoying cables and wires can be a thing of the past.


In the video below, Nina goes through everything you’ll find included in the TPCast set, featuring an Anker PowerCore to help keep everything powered even while moving about, a TPCast powerbox, a TPCast transmitter, and a TPCast receiver. Under all of that is a high-speed router to ensure that your connection is as fast and as low-latency as possible, while wireless. For a good look at everything included, make sure to take a look at our video below.

For what is a wireless, untethered experience, you do need a surprising amount of cables and wires – but of course, the whole point is that these cables are tucked away neatly behind your PC or under your desk, and not attached to your head while exploring the virtual world.

It’s fragile kit, so it’s a good thing you’ll find a consumer warranty in the box, along with a bunch of other user documents, such as safety manuals and user guides.

TPCast’s CEO Michael Liu has said; “TPCast is committed to supporting the Oculus Rift headset with our unique wireless technology solutions, and provide VR users a high quality, immersive VR encounter. With the TPCast wireless adapter, we will be changing the VR usage and experience by providing the complete freedom of movement with no cables attached.” You can pre-order the TPCast now in Europe.

TPCast aren’t just focused on providing wireless VR, they’re also hard at work alongside Huawei to develop a 5G Cloud Rendering solution; yet another piece of technology that will require low-latency and high internet speeds.

We will have all of the details you need on the TPCast and the untethered VR experience very soon, so for everything Oculus Rift and beyond, make sure to keep reading VRFocus. Source: