Tue.Feb 18, 2020

Google Brings Web-based AR to Chrome in Latest Beta

Road to VR

Last week Google released a beta of Chrome 81 for Android, Chrome OS, Linux, macOS, and Windows, which means a stable version is just around the corner. One of the most important updates to arrive in Chrome 81 is the ability to use web-based AR apps.

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The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners Makes Top Steam Releases List for January 2020


Valve released the list of top Steam releases for January 2020 and Skydance Interactive’s The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners made the cut — the only VR title to be featured on the list. The monthly Top Steam Releases list looks at the top 20 games released on Steam each month.

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Somnium Space Launches Social VR Platform Powered By Ethereum Blockchain


Own virtual land and design your own home in Somnium 2.0. Somnium Space is an open-source social VR world powered by blockchain and shaped entirely by its users, allowing them to buy digital land where they can build VR homes and buildings.

Star Wars: Vader Immortal Was Nearly A Very Different Type Of VR Experience


ILMxLAB’s Star Wars: Vader Immortal episodic series was one of our favorite VR experiences of 2019. But it was almost a very different piece entirely.

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Three Totally Creative Uses of Quest Hand-tracking

Road to VR

Oculus brought controllerless hand-tracking to Oculus Quest as an experimental feature back in December , and while it’s useful for navigating around the headset’s menus when you don’t want to pick up the controllers, developers have begun prototyping more creative uses for the tech. Controllerless hand-tracking on Quest is a great convenience feature. While we still expect controllers to be the go-to for hardcore games , there’s definitely opportunity for casual and novel games and experiences to prosper with hand-tracking. Daniel Beauchamp is one VR developer that’s dreaming up creative uses for hand-tracking on Quest that go far beyond laser pointer and touchscreen interactions. He’s created a series of prototypes as a means of understanding the capabilities of the feature and what kind of interactions and experiences can bring delight to users. Here’s three that he shared recently. Thrown Hand. Turning the tracked hand into its own independent object allows for a ‘remote control’-like capability where the hand propels itself around the environment by ‘crawling’ as the player continues to move the fingers on their real hand. Intriguingly, one could consider this a form of VR locomotion which only applies to a specific body part. This also extends the range of potential interactions in a more interesting way than 2DOF interactions like laser pointers and guns. Finger Skateboard. Harkening back to the ’90s fad of fingerboarding (AKA Tech Decks), Beauchamp envisions a game mechanic where players control a tiny skateboard with their fingers. In later experiment he even showed some basic physics, allowing the user to flip the board to do tricks. Fingerboard physics coming along nicely! pic.twitter.com/61cB0EwTrv. — Daniel Beauchamp (@pushmatrix) February 9, 2020. Hand Walking. While it’s easy to get around using VR controllers thanks to a combination of 6DOF motion and physical inputs like buttons and sticks, things get more complex with just your hands. In this prototype, Beauchamp shows a locomotion scheme where the player puppeteers a leg gesture with their hands to walk forward. While not likely a serious solution for VR locomotion, it’s a thought-provoking concept and one which could form the basis of other interesting interactions involving the personification of the user’s hand. Experimenting Outside of the Box. Beauchamp is the Head of VR and AR at Shopify, a leading e-commerce platform. While he told us that his Quest hand-tracking experiments are done on his personal time, he applies the same concepts to how he thinks about the intersection of XR and e-commerce. “One of the best ways to unlock new & powerful ideas is to build upon silly ideas. That’s what I’m doing with hand-tracking. Rather than starting with ‘How can I build a useful product with hand tracking’, I play around with many little ideas that bring a smile to people’s faces. They may seem random, but I’m learning a lot about what’s possible with the tech and interactions that could be applied elsewhere,” Beauchamp said. “I wish more VR devs did this. Don’t put the burden on yourself to build out a whole game or build out a whole product. Build many small things, no matter how silly they may seem. You’ll be surprised at just how much you learn.” SEE ALSO Delighting Users with Rich Interactions is Key to Making VR Engaging & Effective. He stresses the need for rapid-prototyping, something he felt important enough that he and the Shopify VR team built a VR rapid-prototyping tool for rapid experimentation. “A lot of people are surprised Shopify has a VR team. We’ve had one for the past five years. Our goal has been to figure out how VR will impact the world of commerce. This problem space requires outside-the-box thinking. Every time I talk about VR & shopping, people immediately suggest shopping malls. And to me that’s such a narrow view,” said Beauchamp. “In VR you have the ability to do anything you want, be anyone you want, and be anywhere you want. You are a wizard…and you want to shop in a regular mall? Wizards don’t shop at boring malls. So we’ve tossed out a lot of the notions you’d expect from a brick and mortar store bound by reality. We’re looking at things that are delightful and effective that are now possible in this new medium.” But how do you think outside-the-box if the box is all you can see? Beauchamp suggests tossing out what you think you know. “I think you just have to consciously throw out the [interaction] tropes [of real life and traditional games]. Like just prevent yourself from using them. Come up with ideas that don’t use them first, then evaluate if you still need them.” – – — – – Quest hand-tracking is expected to eventually leave its experimental status behind and become a full-blown feature on Quest, and other VR headsets are likely to follow, making the time ripe for developer experimentation ahead of implementation. The post Three Totally Creative Uses of Quest Hand-tracking appeared first on Road to VR. hand tracking News VR Design VR Development daniel beauchamp oculus quest hand-tracking quest fingerboard

First Worldwide Pistol Whip Tournament To Run In March, Open To Anyone


The Virtual Athletics League (VAL) is teaming up with Cloudhead Games to launch the first worldwide Pistol Whip tournament, spread across three weekends in March.

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WATCH: Developer Shares A Fisherman’s Tale Proof Of Concept Video From 2016


A Fisherman’s Tale was one of our favorite VR games from last year. It was charming, intriguing and featured some mind bending puzzles.

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‘The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners’ Among Steam’s 20 Top-selling Games Released in January

Road to VR

The Walking Deal: Saints & Sinners (2020), a VR game based on The Walking Dead comic book series, had its fair share of success when it launched on PC VR headsets late last month.

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Boneworks Stabilizes Climbing, Adds Save Points And Brawl Mode


Boneworks received its first big content update with the addition of mid-level save points, a new brawl mode and several core improvements such as stabilized climbing and hand responsiveness.

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‘Boneworks’ Update Adds Checkpoint System, New Content, Climbing Improvements & More

Road to VR

After its launch in December, one common Boneworks gripe was the lack of any mid-level checkpoints, which meant players had to complete entire levels in a single play session otherwise they would lose their progress and be forced to restart the current level.

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Community Download: How Important Is SideQuest For Facebook’s Oculus Quest?


Community Download is a weekly discussion-focused articles series published (usually) every Monday in which we pose a single, core question to you all, our readers, in the spirit of fostering discussion and debate.

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Virtual World Somnium Space Rolls out v2.0, Adds Full Body Avatars, Builder & More

Peter Graham

There might be a growing collection of virtual reality (VR) videogames that can off big expansive worlds to explore but if you’re looking for something more akin to Ready Player One’s Oasis then your options are fairly limited.

Media Molecule Reiterates Dreams PSVR Support ‘Soon’, Multiplayer Coming After


Last week, the long wait for the highly-anticipated PS4 release Dreams finally came to an end. After seven years of development, Dreams finally released on PS4 — however, we’re also still waiting on PSVR support.

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Soul Axiom Rebooted to Include VR Support for PC Headsets

Peter Graham

Wales Interactive – the team behind virtual reality (VR) horror Don’t Knock Twice – recently announced it was updating its 2016 puzzle videogame Soul Axiom for Nintendo Switch.

Ghost Giant Oculus Quest Review: A Warming Adventure Made Stronger Still


When we first reviewed Ghost Giant on PSVR in early 2019 we said this: “It’s an experience in which emotional weight guides your each and every action, giving you reason to act beyond a simple state of failing and succeeding.

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One Step Closer to Mass Adoption of AR Headsets Thanks to New Waveguide Technology


AR headsets are still struggling to reach the mass adoption phase, despite positive market insights. They are still uncomfortable to wear and expensive to manufacture. But this is about to change, thanks to the new Katana waveguides launched by WaveOptics at the beginning of February 2020.

Cyberpunk Puzzler Soul Axiom Retooled Is Getting VR Support


Don’t Knock Twice developer Wales Interactive is returning to VR with a retooled version of its 2016 puzzle game, Soul Axiom.

Unpacking AR Business Models: AR as a Service, Part III

AR Insider

This post is adapted from ARtillery Intelligence’s report, Mobile AR Strategies & Business Models. It includes some of its data and takeaways. More can be previewed here and subscribe for the full report. In AR’s early stages, a common question continues to be asked: where’s the money?

Virtual Athletics League to Host Pistol Whip Tournament Starting March

Peter Graham

One of the most original rhythm-action titles of 2019 was Cloudhead Games’ first-person shooter (FPS) Pistol Whip, which recently won ‘Immersive Reality Game of the Year’ at the 2020 D.I.C.E. Awards.

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Finding the Tangible Value of XR in Business, with Nestlé’s Richard Hess

XR for Business Podcast

You may not immediately think of XR technologies when you think of Nestlé, who are more likely to conjure the idea of milk chocolate and bottled water. But their immersive technology lead Richard Hess drops by to explain how even a food company like Nestlé can benefit from embracing emerging tech, on the 100th episode of the XR for Business podcast. Transcript coming soon].

Review: Throw Anything

Peter Graham

If in the highly unlikely event of a mad scientist deciding to bring the dead back to life in a bid to carry out his nefarious commands, what would your first reaction be?

CES 2020 Interview: Bringing the Game Show World Into VR

Peter Graham

It’s time for VRFocus’ last interview from CES 2020 and it’s not what you might expect. Away from all the high tech gadgetry, glossy stands and hordes of visitors all shoulder to shoulder was a smaller event dedicated to virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) called DreamlandXR.