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Beat Saber Multiplayer for PlayStation VR Arrives Early 2021

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Last week to coincide with the launch of Oculus Quest 2, Beat Games launched the long-awaited multiplayer mode for Beat Saber across PC VR and the Quest platform. There was one notable absence, PlayStation VR support. Today, the studio has confirmed a delay until next year.

Taking to Twitter the team said: “Dear PS VR players, we’re so sorry that multiplayer is still not available for PS4. Bringing MP to PS4 is a priority for us, but development is taking much longer than we’d expected. We’re trying to deliver multiplayer in January if everything goes to plan.”

Even with Beat Games’ acquisition by Facebook towards the end of 2019 the studio has continued to support all the platforms Beat Saber is available on. As can be quite often the case, porting content to PlayStation VR isn’t a simple or quick process hence why it launched so many months after the PC version.

The studio went onto say in subsequent tweets: “We will keep working on multiplayer for PS4 as fast as possible, along with exciting new music content on the way!,” responding to one disgruntled player: “We’re really sorry and totally understand your feelings, we want to release multiplayer asap, but the development is taking us longer than we expected. Please bear with us, we are doing our best.”

Beat Saber has garnered a legion of fans thanks to its easily picked up gameplay and continually updated selection of tracks; the latest coming from rock band Linkin Park a couple of months back with a BTS music pack arriving in November.

The multiplayer mode allows up to five people to compete against one another, either in a private party with friends or taking part in a random match. The feature doesn’t support cross-platform gameplay – although the studio is looking into it – and there isn’t any built-in voice chat but the mode does support all the official base songs as well as those in DLC.

For further updates to Beat Saber including that PlayStation VR multiplayer date, keep reading VRFocus.

Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2020/10/beat-saber-multiplayer-for-playstation-vr-arrives-early-2021/

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Cybershoes for Quest Kickstarter Reaches Funding Goal in First Day

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Cybershoes, the makers of a locomotion peripheral for VR headsets, launched a Kickstarter late last week for a new Quest-compatible version of the device. Within only 12 hours of the campaign’s launch, Cybershoes for Quest reached its threshold funding goal of $30,000.

Unlike conventional VR treadmills, which require you to stand on a parabolic base and slide your feet with special, low-friction shoes, Cybershoes offers a seated experience that requires the user to slide a pair of shoe-mounted devices forward and backward to simulate walking or running in-game. To accomplish this, the devices include integrated barrel-shaped wheels in each shoe and an inertial measurement unit (IMU) to register foot orientation.

It sounds weird, and it is, but it’s both more compact and cheaper than a VR treadmill, and it’s easier to operate too.

Following its 2018 Kickstarter campaign for its first PC VR-compatible device, the Vienna-based startup is again raising funds for its next iteration of Cybershoes, this time focusing on a Quest compatibility module that is designed to also work with the company’s standard Cybershoe model.

The head-mounted Quest module includes an additional IMU, which when fused with the shoes’ data, can be processed to obtain X and Y motion. For power, the device plugs in directly to either Quest or Quest 2 via the USB-C port.

Image courtesy Cybershoes

The question with these third-party peripherals always ends up being game support, or the lack thereof. Developers will need to integrate support for Cybershoes into their games using the team’s SDK, something Vertigo Games has already done this for its popular zombie shooter Arizona Sunshine. 

Provided the campaign reaches the $60,000 mark, Cybershoes will also offer a workaround compatibility layer for other games via SideQuest, the unofficial store for Quest games and experiences.

“With a few games, like [The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners], we’ve already established compatibility by adopting the Cybershoes to the game. The Cybershoes app will bind the Cybershoes movement onto the Quest’s touch controllers. This process is very similar to how compatibility is achieved on the PC version of the Cybershoes. In the last year, we’ve integrated over 50 games by finding out the best settings,” the team says.

The company is selling both the Cybershoes + Quest module through its Kickstarter, starting at the early bird price of $280. Alternatively, users who already own a pair of Cybershoes can buy a Quest module on its own for $50, which is estimated to retail for $80 after the campaign is concluded.

At the time of this writing, the campaign has already raised nearly $50,000, with 36 days remaining until the campaign’s close.

Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/cybershoes-oculus-quest-kickstarter-vr-locomotion/

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Oculus CTO Wants Android Apps on Quest, But is “not winning” the Debate Within Facebook

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Oculus CTO John Carmack has said publicly that he’d love to open up Oculus Quest to Android apps to boost the headset’s usefulness, but admits he’s “not winning” the debate internally at Facebook.

Although the Quest home environment looks nothing like the home screen of your Android phone, the headset actually runs the Android operating system underneath it all. Allowing users to install and run Android apps on the headset—if just in a ‘flat’ mode on a virtual screen controlled by a laser pointer—could drastically boost the value of the headset by bringing all manner of video players, web browsers, productivity tools, utilities, and even flat games to the device.

Android apps running on Quest is apparently something Oculus’ own CTO has been arguing for internally.

Legendary developer John Carmack—who for several years held the role of Oculus CTO but now maintains a less formal “consulting CTO” arrangement—said during his Facebook Connect keynote in September that he doesn’t believe Oculus will be able to convince a meaningful portion of Android developers to rewrite their applications specifically for the headset. Instead, he says, the company needs to find a way to bring existing Android applications to Quest.

[…] it also works cooperatively with sort of our Android applications like Fandango or the other things there, and that’s still one of the things that absolutely kills me, where I think we need more Android applications.

We do not have a sorted out strategy—I’ve got a long spiel about this that I’m not gonna have time to get to—but we have all these existence-proofs and examples of… Microsoft tried really really hard to move all apps to a brand-new system [UWP and/or Windows Phone] and it just… doesn’t work out… I don’t think it’s gonna work out for us.

I think that we need to support our Android apps [on the headset] in a broader sense. We have progressive web apps as the backstop for everything, but on the mobile platforms the progressive web apps […] generally lose out [in terms of performance] to native applications, and we care more about performance in VR than in mobile systems, so I think we need a solution there, and we haven’t sorted it out.

If Oculus allowed existing Android apps onto Quest, it could radically improve the usefulness of the headset by allowing users access to a much wider range of apps. They wouldn’t be ‘native’ to VR of course, but it’s easy to understand how much more value users would see from the headset if they could load up, say, the Disney Plus app on a big virtual screen or run their favorite web browser on the headset instead of being stuck with the default. And wouldn’t it make sense to be able to run the Facebook app on Quest?

Because Quest is already running Android, it would be trivial from a technical standpoint to get Android apps up and running on the headset, and there’s a few ways Facebook could approach it.

For one, it could simply allow access to the Google Play store on the headset, allowing users to download apps they already own through the store, and then project those apps onto a flat screen inside the headset.

But it seems highly unlikely that Facebook would take this approach, as the company has clearly followed the ‘walled garden’ playbook of making the Oculus app store allowed on the headset. Instead of the Google Play store, Facebook could begin accepting ‘flat’ Android apps into the Oculus store and allow them to be distributed that way.

The company could also skip its own store and choose to allow users to sideload any Android APKs they have access too, leaving the feature mostly in the hands of power-users.

Unfortunately, we may not see any of these avenues pursued, despite Carmack’s insistence. In a recent tweet on the topic he noted, “I continue to argue for [Android apps on Quest], but so far, I’m not winning.”

Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/oculus-quest-android-apps-carmack-debate/

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Quest’s Official Non-store App Distribution Channel is Coming in Q1, 2021

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Facebook announced back in June that it planned to offer developers a way to distribute Oculus Quest apps outside of the official, curated, Quest store. Now the company indicates it has “high confidence” that the feature will be deployed in Q1, 2021.

Since the launch of Oculus Quest, Facebook has opted to ‘curate’ the Quest store by selectively permitting apps based on factors like quality, presentation, and scope. After backlash from some developers, and the burgeoning Quest ‘sideloading’ platform SideQuest, Facebook said it would offer an official avenue for developers to distribute their apps outside of the Quest store.

New Quest Distribution Path

In a video posted by the official Oculus Developers page on Facebook, Clorama Dorvilias, product manager at Facebook Reality Labs, explained that Oculus had added a new ‘Roadmap’ section to the developer website which highlights upcoming development features.

In previewing the roadmap, Dorvilias showed that the “New Quest Distribution Path” feature is expected in Q1, 2021. The company had previously said the feature was expected in “early 2021,” and now indicates “high confidence” that it will be available within Q1.

“Developers will have a way to distribute applications to anyone without having to be accepted in the Oculus Store and without sideloading,” the roadmap description says. “Applications will have to meet the obligations of the Oculus Content Policy, but won’t be held to the same technical standards as official Oculus Store Apps.”

Additionally, the roadmap indicated that a beta version of the feature would be made available to select developers in December, before the wider release in Q1, 2021.

Other items indicated on the developer roadmap for December: OpenXR support in UE4, a keyboard overlay for native Android apps, Unity debug symbol upload for OVR Platform Tool, crash analytics in the Developer Dashboard, and Visual Studio code debugging for UE4 and native VR apps.

Unlisted Apps & Keys

Oculus hasn’t offered much detail about how the Quest non-store distribution channel will work, or what, if any, limitations it will include beyond the need to comply with the Oculus Content Policy.

One approach, hinted by Oculus earlier this year, would be to have ‘unlisted’ application pages that can’t be found through the official Quest store, but which can be linked by URL, allowing developers to point users to the application page through a direct link. A parallel approach could be to allow developers to generate and manage ‘game keys’—which could be given away or sold through any channel of the developer’s choosing—which users would redeem through their Oculus app. The latter is already possible, in fact, but only available to applications which have been approved for distribution on the official Quest store.

The Cut

One big unanswered question about the non-store distribution channel for Quest is whether or not developers will be allowed to charge for applications distributed this way and, if so, whether or not Facebook will expect to take its usual 30% cut of the sale.

App stores generally justify taking a portion of app sales because they connect developers with customers by providing a marketplace and provide promotion within that marketplace. But ‘unlisted’ apps wouldn’t see any of those benefits because they wouldn’t appear in the official store, leaving it up to the developer to seek out customers directly.

Side Hustle

It also remains to be seen what this official non-store distribution channel will mean for SideQuest, which has become the defacto non-store distribution channel for Quest via sideloading. Depending upon the structure of Oculus’ approach, SideQuest could become a convenient platform for developers to list their unlisted apps for ‘store-like’ discovery by its community of users. But if Facebook doesn’t want to play nice, they could put policies in place to prevent this.

Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/oculus-quest-distribution-non-store-q1-2021/

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In Death: Unchained’s ‘Siege of Heaven’ DLC Descends in December

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After a successful launch back in July for In Death: Unchained on Oculus Quest, developer Superbright teased work on a new gameplay mode which would be some sort of archery range. Today, those details have been revealed as the Siege of Heaven DLC, scheduled to arrive next month.

It’s a wave mode which can be played alternatively to the game’s main loop, helping to open up In Death: Unchained to more casual players who might find the standard campaign a little intense. Viewed from higher ground in a safe spot, an easy mode lets newbies play at their own pace and get a feel for the mechanics.

For those already well-versed in In Death: Unchained the difficulty scales up for a real test of those bow skills. Plus there are features like new leaderboards, challenges and achievements to aim for.

“It’s a fully-featured game-within-a-game, with shorter more “snackable” session times, where players can focus on having fun shooting for 15 minutes, from a safe stationary position, enjoy the game’s beautiful visuals and arguably VR’s best archery mechanics,” says Superbright’s CEO Wojtek Podgórski in a statement.

“The community around the game has been amazing, and we see this free DLC as a gift to our players, a way of thanking them for their support. Our goal was to enhance the game in a way that will engage and challenge the advanced players, and boy it’s that and more – but we also wanted to make it approachable for everyone else,” Podgórski continues. “We’ve heard our players say they’d love to be able to share the fun with friends and family, but maybe the game was too scary or too demanding. And we listened – we’ve all loved the archery from The Lab, this is how most of us got started in VR. With this DLC we hope to bring this experience to VR’s best platform – Oculus Quest, so anyone should be able to pick up the game and enjoy the best their Quest has to offer, at their own pace. You can just give the headset to someone who’s new to VR – your friend, your mom or uncle, and they will have fun with it right away.”

In Death: Unchained’s ‘Siege of Heaven’ DLC expansion will be available for free from 8th December 2020. For further updates, keep reading VRFocus.

Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2020/11/in-death-unchaineds-siege-of-heaven-dlc-descends-in-december/

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