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Climb Into Rec Room’s new Full-Body, Animated Costumes



A lot of virtual reality (VR) videogames and platforms tend not to render an entire body as it’s much more difficult getting areas like elbows to work correctly. Social platform Rec Room is no different, providing users with a head, torso and a pair of hands, all you need for social interaction in a virtual world. Today that changes somewhat, with Rec Room rolling out full-body, animated costumers for users to wear.

Rec Room

Rec Room has become a hub for user-generated content, with its millions of players creating all sorts of extravagant and in-game items which can be sold. The same goes for these new animated costumes which can be created by yourself or other Rec Room users. Make a costume that perfectly suits your real-world look, make up something that’s weird and wonderful or how about creating a costume resembling one of your favourite characters, the choice is yours.

Considering how creative you can be in other areas of Rec Room these new animated costumes should allow users to go even wilder with their ideas – an MCU costume party, anyone?

This is just the latest in a series of updates and announcements from the Rec Room team, most recently announcing that the platform would finally be coming to Android devices later this year. Rec Room did originally start as a VR social app with lots of fun mini-games, growing extensively over the past couple of years to include support for iOS, PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X, Xbox One, Steam, Oculus Quest, and PC VR headsets. Android users can pre-register on the Google Play Store to earn in-game rewards.

Rec Room

Naturally, the addition of all these platforms has swelled Rec Room’s user count seeing +500% user activity growth in 2021 alone, with 15 million+ lifetime users, 1 million of which come from VR. The Android launch should jump those figures even higher.

Rec Room is completely free to download and start exploring and make new friends. If you do get into the content creation side of things then Rec Room’s Creator Compensation Program will even allow you to make money if users like what you’ve built. For further updates on Rec Room, keep reading VRFocus.

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Review: Stride




Game shows like Ninja Warrior always look utterly impossible and completely exhausting yet time after time contestants manage to finish these endurance events. Being way too unfit to even remotely attempt something so physically demanding the closest any of us might are likely to get is a videogame like Stride, the new parkour experience from Joy Way, where you can wall run, jump from building to building and feel like you’ve had a decent workout.


Stride appeared last year in early access for PC VR headsets, showcasing some impressive free-running abilities that really immersed you in the experience. But it only had one gameplay mode, “Endless”. Now with its arrival on Oculus Quest, there’s a lot more to Stride, with three modes, modifiers and unlockables. More content is great yet there’s a noticeable hollowness to the whole experience.

As the name implies free running is about maximising the space around you, traversing the environment any way you please and Stride is very effective in that regard. It provides all the tools you’d expect and more, even going so far that it does blur the line between realism and being a bit too superhuman. You can leap and grab ledges, wall run to distant platforms and unleash a grappling line at specific locations. Once you’ve gone through the extensive tutorial – definitely don’t skip it – and completed a few levels there is a nice flow to Stride, if you don’t misjudge that next leap of course.

As you might expect Stride is an intense experience from start to finish, with locomotion purely stick-based with the option to run by waving your arms back and forth. This does help with the immersion but when you screw up (and you will), suddenly falling several stories before the game restarts never gets any easier. VR legs are a must here, don’t introduce someone to VR with Stride!


That being said, if you are a VR veteran you can have plenty of fun here. Those three modes are split between Timerun, Endless and Arena and they’re not too hard to figure out. Timerun is all about completing a series of set courses under a certain time, 12 levels with a maximum of three stars for each. Endless mode is just the same as any endless runner you’ve previously played, try to get as far as possible. You can fall but there’s a massive ominous wall of death continually encroaching which will end your run.

The final area is the Arena and this gives you the most scope for experimentation – with plenty of Mirror’s Edge feels – providing rooftops to run, leap and gun across. It’s also the one mode that is most underused and really could’ve provided the meat of Stride. Timerun and Endless are both fine little additions if they were opened up after completing a big campaign yet as two-thirds of Stride they quickly become throwaway modes. Endless does offer procedurally generated levels to mix things up although you’ll notice familiar patterns after a few sessions.  

Whereas Arena’s potential is boiled down to run to this checkpoint or run and collect this bag as fast as possible. The changing level and ability to mix up your routes are what’ll keep you coming back. Joy Way has tried to further expand the Endless and Arena modes with modifiers which do help to a degree, where you can switch on Instadeath to increase the score or activate immortality which will decrease it. As mentioned, its clean-cut aesthetic and point focused gameplay robs Stride of some much-needed charisma, a videogame you can like but not love.


Let’s also mention the gun mechanics as they need a bit more work. Oculus Quest has some excellent VR shooters available for it so when you get a title that isn’t quite up to the task you quickly notice. You have a singular pistol to dispatch enemies with, grabbed from your shoulder for some reason. At close range it works well enough without feeling satisfying to use. At medium or longer ranges it really is pot luck. Now you might say this encourages exploration of the environment to get closer, however, on endless you don’t get that opportunity it needs to work the first time.

Stride is a very mixed experience on Oculus Quest. Whilst that might be due to the PC version still being in early access and you’re essentially getting the same version here, this is still a full release for Quest, hence the review. Stride’s parkour mechanics are what really sell the experience as there’s nothing quite like it for Oculus Quest. There are points where the gameplay is very addictive and engrossing as you try to perfect each jump and wall run. On the other hand, Stride can get repetitive too quickly and lacks that spark to make it a great VR game.   

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‘STRIDE’ for Quest Review – Not Exactly ‘Mirror’s Edge’ in VR and That’s Okay



STRIDE has been in early access for SteamVR headsets for nearly a year, but now Oculus Quest owners can take a crack at the free running action, which effectively replicates a few ideas from the parkour-style platformer Mirror’s Edge (2009) and translates them pretty well into VR. Stride’s single player modes are fun arcade affairs which offer just enough reason to come back for more, although it will be interesting to see how the studio does with its upcoming campaign and multiplayer modes.

STRIDE for Quest Details:

Available On: Oculus Quest
Cross-play: No (multiplayer planned for future)
: Joy Way
Release Date: August 5th, 2021
Reviewed On: Quest 2


Stride on Quest offers up some vertigo-inducing gameplay that will force you to move quickly, shoot accurately, and use the full gamut of movement options to traverse the crenelated rooftops of its heavily Mirror’s Edge-inspired world, as well as the obstacle courses that provide an admirable mashup of the game’s most challenging stuff. At present, there’s three modes, all of which are single player: arena, endless, and time run mode. It’s not a bunch, but it may be enough.

You can focus on honing your best parkour moves in endless and time run, but arena mode is more open-ended, requiring you to be a little more pragmatic as you digest all sorts of imposing jumps and surprise bad guys on your way to specific objectives. It offers up a seemingly Mirror’s Edge-style classic rooftop area which is chocked full of enemy waves and various tasks like stealing briefcases without being spotted by snipers or reaching random checkpoints.

You might even want to call it “Mirror’s Edge in VR,” but that’s not entirely accurate. It’s cool and well executed, but it’s smallish arcade-style affair that takes those wild parkour things and applies it to quick bursts of gameplay, and not a long-format game with a narrative, characters, voice actors beyond the tutorial—at least for now. There’s supposedly a story mode coming, but more on that below.

Anyway, you can mostly find your own way around and you’re almost always obligated to take out baddies, either by your trusty semi-automatic pistol or melee. This is where the game’s three-second slow-mo button comes into play, as you make epic jumps and cinematic kills for a truly John Wick-esque thrill. Slow-mo is recharged automatically, and can be handy when you find a gaggle of gun-totting biker dudes just around the corner or a sniper has his laser pointed at your head. It feels awesome when it all comes together and you can execute a jump, grab a ledge almost just out of reach, and pop over a wall to slow-mo shoot a group of baddies.

Although arena looks the most like the narrative-heavy Mirror’s Edge, this mode is essentially a straight forward race against the clock as you fulfill increasingly difficult objectives. While you’re definitely missing out on the overall reason for why you’re shooting dudes in the face, the game’s large format levels make way for a wider variety of movement possibilities than the more linear modes I’ll talk about below.

Endless mode offers up linear levels that are procedurally-generated and ramp up in difficulty until you lose all three of your lives. A red line follows you which can steal a life if you fall behind, and every bullet or nose dive to the ground detracts one too. A creeping black pixelization slowly infects the world around you so you know when the red line is near—a subtle but really useful touch. Once you reach the hardest difficulty, it becomes an unlimited series of the game’s most challenging stuff.

You can chose which level difficulty to jump into, or start from the very beginning and naturally progress your way to the hardest difficulty tracks, which require crazy wall-slides and the highest, most difficult jumps in the game by far. I am all about endless mode too. The red line offers enough incentive to keep you on your toes, and the masterful mix of obstacles are always a surprise to encounter, like successive windows that you can artfully crash through like a super hero, or successive wall-slides that transition into a zipline to an platform with two snipers waiting for you. It’s insane.

Finally, there’s time run, which presents you with about a dozen timed tracks to test your skills against the leaderboard. Time run feels similar to endless, however it’s compartmentalized so you can learn each level by heart and go against the game’s greatest players on the leaderboard. At first, this was the most daunting of modes since you’re almost assuredly going to be slower than anyone who’s mastered the game’s specific locomotion scheme.

One of the interesting ways the game uses to keep things feeling fresh is its reward system. Stride doesn’t reward quickly or easily, so you’ll have to spend time getting good in order to unlock even the most basic things like added health packs, full-auto fire, and a low level of armor. Across endless and arena mode you can also put on the training wheels for a zero-sum win if you just want to check things out and practice, or you can alternatively switch on more difficult modifiers for larger point gains, such as instadeath.

The combination of robust locomotion (more below) and challenging obstacles make for really fun moments, and that interplay is basically the main draw to the game. Were it any less interesting or well-done, these three modes might otherwise feel like sideshows to a main event which still needs to be added to the game. Joy Way is aiming to add both a story mode and multiplayer to the Quest version at some point in the near future, although those may just be icing on the cake for people looking to simply play an over-the-top game that promises fast-paced climbing, jumping, wall-running, and sliding down ledges.

If anything, it’s nice to see that the studio has taken the time to get the fundamental bits right before extending beyond arcade-style gameplay, but I really wanted to play online infection tag in Stride, which plays a lot like the breakout hit Gorilla Tag. I also would love to see more weapon options come into play with a greater range of enemy types, but I can concede that maybe Stride isn’t about being a shooter so much as it’s focused on getting players to build parkour skills.


When people say Stride is “the Mirror’s Edge of VR,” I see what they mean in some fundamental ways. Sure, it has rooftop jumping and shooting action, but in Stride it’s extremely apparent from the get-go that you’re playing an arcade-style game with no lore or overall objective. The tutorial is a long and pointed bit of gamey gristle to chew through, which could be improved for more when it eventually adds a bonafide campaign.

That’s not a knock on Stride: it’s perfectly capable of selling itself through its collection of fun and interesting gameplay mechanics, but it’s still super clear you’re playing a game that plainly throws discrete objectives at you and nothing more. You kill the samey-looking dudes who randomly spawn. You always shoot the same weapon. To its credit, baddies aren’t dumb and they’re well-animated to respond to physical punches and pistol whips. And it’s a hell of a lot of fun busting through a pane of glass to get there.

On that note, the shooting experience is an overall adequate mix of arcade-style reloading—lower the pistol to your hip and it automatically reloads—and real shooting prowess which relies on iron sights. It’s a shame though that the gun is pitched at a slightly higher angle than many other VR shooters. I have some ingrained muscle memory from Pistol Whip, Space Pirate Simulator, and The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners. All of those seem to offer more or less the same physical pistol-shooting dynamic, so it took some time to rethink my natural shooting stance. A slightly lesser gripe comes down to wall-slides, which can be unpredictable at times if you’re not being completely deliberate with your movements. I didn’t know where to complain about that, so here it is.

In the end, the Quest version of the game proves to be well-optimized, which is probably helped somewhat by its more minimalist art style and mostly static environments, save the odd door to open or window to smash through.


Considering how fast-paced the game can be, requiring frenetic combinations of jumping, climbing, and shooting, I found it exceedingly comfortable. This is because you’re nearly always in direct control of your virtual movement; the game’s running and jumping mechanic are cleverly designed to make those two actions super comfortable, and require a good degree of physicality to perform. Here’s how it works:

To accelerate to a running speed, you need to pump both arms back and forth like you’re drumming or running in place. To jump, you need to hit the ‘A’ button and release it while making an upward thrust with your controller. When the physical movement of your hand combines with artificial locomotion in-game, it removes a lot of the inherent weirdness of simply hitting a button and doing your thing.

The game is best played standing, although there is a seated option that includes adjustable height so you can dial things in. The game’s reload mechanic requires you to have access to your hip, which isn’t easy if you’re in an office chair with arm rests. You’ll also need to physically crouch to avoid overhead obstacles, which is absolutely a silly prospect when seated. As you’d imagine, it’s also a pretty intense workout, so make sure to have air conditioning/fan in the hottest months and some sort of cover for you facial interface if you don’t want to soak it with sweat.

STRIDE Comfort Settings – August 5th, 2021


Artificial turning ✔
Smooth-turn ✔
Adjustable speed ✖
Snap-turn ✔
Adjustable increments ✔


Artificial movement ✔
Smooth-move ✔
Adjustable speed ✖
Teleport-move ✖
Blinders ✖
Adjustable strength ✖
Head-based ✔
Controller-based ✖
Swappable movement hand ✖


Standing mode ✔
Seated mode ✔
Artificial crouch ✖
Real crouch ✔


Subtitles n/a
Languages n/a
Alternate audio n/a
Languages n/a
Adjustable difficulty ✔
Two hands required ✔
Real crouch required ✔
Hearing required ✖
Adjustable player height ✔

The post ‘STRIDE’ for Quest Review – Not Exactly ‘Mirror’s Edge’ in VR and That’s Okay appeared first on Road to VR.

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The Pistol Whip Smoke & Thunder Update Arrives Next Week



Pistol Whip: Smoke and Thunder

Cloudhead Games has been teasing Pistol Whip’s next campaign Smoke & Thunder for a few months now, dropping players into a wild west-themed experience with lots of additional content. Today, the studio has announced that the Pistol Whip: Smoke & Thunder update will arrive in a weeks time.

Pistol Whip Smoke & Thunder

Just like Pistol Whip’s first cinematic campaign 2089, Smoke & Thunder will feature five scenes taking players on a story-driven journey revolving around sisters Jessie (Victoria Hogan, Kingdom Come: Deliverance) and Tess (Avalon Penrose, Hades). In between each scene, the narrative will play out via illustrated cutscenes created by comic artist Fico Ossio, and colourist Raciel Avila. 

Smoke & Thunder won’t simply sport an original story and snazzy theme, it’ll feature tracks from The Heavy, Black Pistol Fire, Bones UK, Devora, and Magic Sword. There will be new pistols for that ultimate gunslinger feel, perfect for taking down the new enemies and final boss.

Once the campaign is complete you can then head on over to the new Arcade mode to play both 2089 and Smoke & Thunder‘s scenes. The difference this time is the ability to choose whatever weapon and modifier you want for an endless stream of combinations.

Pistol Whip Smoke & Thunder

Don’t forget, as Cloudhead Games previously revealed, the Smoke & Thunder update will also include the new Styles sandbox system. This is where you’ll really get to mix up the gameplay experience in Pistol Whip, creating new setups with a preferred weapons type and five modifiers. This will see the inclusion of Brawler, transforming the previous No Ammo modifier into a new melee mode.

There is one final change to Pistol Whip and that’s the price. The Smoke & Thunder update will launch next Thursday, 12th August and will be free to existing Pistol Whip owners. The core videogame itself can still be bought for $24.99 USD across all platforms until 15th August. After that date, the Pistol Whip price will be increased to $29.99 to help support the creation of more content. VRFocus will continue its coverage of Pistol Whip, reporting back with the latest updates. 

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Future applications of AR and the integration into our everyday life



The future of Augmented Reality (AR) is here now. AR has been around for quite some time, longer than many may think. For it to be accessible and useable for all, in the way we think of it, it is still is very much in its infancy, maybe just getting into its toddler phase. Developers and designers are crawling around in the space and starting to find their feet and soon users will be walking around with their devices; phones or glasses, whatever they may be, with a new way of seeing and interacting with the world.

Like the introduction of any new innovation, it happens little by little and then one day we realise just how much of an impact it has made and just how far along it has come. Sometimes there can be an explosion of application and it seems like it came out of nowhere, and I believe that will be the case with AR. It has been utilised in different spaces for sometime now.

In sports and entertainment such as NFL or WWE it shows viewers pertinent information, entertaining entrances, or advertisements. Pokemon GO was probably the most interaction users have had with AR, and probably to most their first conscious introduction to AR, because in some respect they are in control with how they interacted with AR within their environment, rather than just viewing it.

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1. How VR could bring transhumanism to the masses

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4. Enterprise AR: 7 real-world use cases for 2021

IKEA use it with SPACE where users can see how an item is going to look in their home before purchasing it, recently I have seen Amazon too have started to have a feature to allow users to do the same without down loading an app. We use AR without even realising it, well, maybe not all of us, but those who use Snapchat or Instagram or any of the like that use filters. Yep, those dog ears, nose and tongue that launches out when you open your mouth is your reality being augmented to give you that cute picture that seems to be a popular way to advertise yourself on dating sites, go figure. So we are already interacting and using AR and in someway already taking it for granted.

So here I am, sat enjoying my flat white pondering on what the future holds for us and our interaction with the world and AR and the impact it will have on us personally as well as how it will impact us socially. How will we feel about AR being integrated into our everyday life?


I’ve had my time on dating apps, a few actually. Some want you to just give the basic information and then you are swiping left and right as soon as possible, while others want you to fill out some kind of personality survey and spill your life story, taking what seems like half a day to complete, but after that you will have a greater chance of matching with someone who will be a good personalty fit for you. You scroll through your preferences, but it is left less up to chance, though you never know until you actually meet and see if that connection is real or not.

With AR integrated into a dating app I can envision those that are serious to find “The one” or even those just looking for a quick hook up would use an app that would be able to let you know in real time what are people’s intentions. I can see an amalgamation of apps like Match, Happn and Feeld. Sign up, choose your intentions, have the choice to be “live” so that anyone with the app could use their device and it would pop up information you have agreed to be shareable when you are in sight. I see users being allowed to have that information shown only with people that match their preferences also. Those that are after a serious connection, a compatibility score could be shown; I image users being able to to select an option such as “Happy to be approached” or “Send a message first”.

What could users that are looking for something less…..longterm let’s say, have? Well a virtual application of the red light, green light could easily be used. Imagine at a bar, users being able to put in their intentions, and allowing others know who are happy to be approached and who aren't. Again that is being shared with users they match with, or are within their set preferences.

Looking further into the near future where the use of glasses-like devices are at the point that they can rival what our smartphones are now, AR would be more immersive than being used on a phone that is clear. So having apps running in the background at all times, switching between or allowing apps to run simultaneously, then you could be walking down the read and see someone and when in a proximity up would pop up information.

Exposure or Exposed.

I wonder at first, how comfortable would people feel about this kind of openness or exposure? We already put so much information about ourselves out there on social media, dating apps that anyone can view, but now that someone could see use their personal device and see that personal information would be presented next to that person in real time, will that challenge what information they want to share with the world? At first there would be fear; apprehension, it’s new, how will people interact with me now? how vulnerable will people feel? As soon as you passing someone you see a pop up you would know they would see your info pop up too. Virtually you have locked eyes. How comfortable, or more so how uncomfortable will people be with that.

I don’t think it would take long before people adapt and it becomes the new normal. It wouldn't take too long to be accepted, but it will definitely take some time to adjust to. It would challenge the way we share information and more so challenge ourselves and our own insecurities, which is bigger than just AR.


Now with shopping this could be from food to furniture to clothing, and for this moment I am just thinking and focusing on the clothing aspect.

You walk passed a shop and what draws you in? Mannequins, well the clothes on the mannequin that is. You see and outfit, a top, a dress and think that's nice, that would look good on me, let’s see what else is in here, let me go in and have a browse. Now you are in the store and you find what you like, if you don’t have time or just don’t want to undress and try it on, what do you do? You hold it up against yourself to have an idea of how it will look on you. You repeat this process and you may end up buying things you might not.

Now imagining the integration of AR in this experience. You see that top, that dress you, that shirt you like and you decide to see how it would look like on you, not by holding it up to yourself but rather by viewing on your own virtual mannequin. What else, well with AI it would suggest the outfit, you would have the option of 2 or 3 different outfits as the AI would be learning your preferences. You decided you like it and want to buy it, so now the choice is do you buy it to take with your now, or have it delivered to your address, or even to an a place you will be later on? Options making the shopping experience seamless. Do you want to see the recommend outfit for yourself now? Yes, well now you are shown directions to where that product is in store along with information of how much it is, how many are left in your size. I can only see the integration of the physical and the virtual world as a positive one that is going to help create new spaces for retail businesses. It will expand as well as create a new shopping experiences that will be the better for both consumer and the retailers.

Going one set further, you are out and you enable a function that will allow you to see information about clothing that others are wearing. People would become human mannequins, a real time advert for those clothes. Again with AI being able to know that you have selected those clothes it will learn your style. You would see a piece of clothing and it would say how much it was, where it is available for purchase, maybe where the person purchased it, a history of when and how much. You could then go to purchase that from the place of your choice, finding the cheapest option, delivery options as before. Pick up in store, deliver to address.

What about if someone has decided to buy something that you are wearing. Could we get to a place that we can be compensated for being this living breathing advertisement? Why not? why not earn a percentage of that purchase going towards a wallet you hold with that store that you can redeem at anytime? Incentivising the user to use AR for the benefits of all the interested parties.

Living in and designing that future.

So can you imagine living a life where we would be shown information continually, how would we as designers be able to limit the cognitive overload, integrate information in a fun, engaging and interactive way that isn’t intrusive.

Personally I think the introduction of AR into our everyday lives is only a positive, and I am excited to (hopefully) be apart of it, designing products that people will use to enrich their life, as well as thinking and talking on what the future implications it has on us as a society. I am excited to have a hand in helping shape that future society that I and all of us will eventually live in.

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Future applications of AR and the integration into our everyday life was originally published in AR/VR Journey: Augmented & Virtual Reality Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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