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Editorial: Iron Man VR Shows Why We Need PSVR 2 Sooner Rather Than Later

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By now there’s probably more than enough snappy Tony Stark quotes immortalized by Robert Downey Jr. that you could make an entire review of Iron Man VR just lifting from the movies.

But, reflecting upon the newly launched PSVR-exclusive’s technical performance, I can only think of one line from an iconic scene in Civil War: “You’re in dire need of an upgrade. Systemic – top to bottom.”

Iron Man VR is a brilliant, brilliant game. Its combat is some of the most intricate and thrilling you’ll find in VR today and its story goes to great lengths to cover new ground for a character that’s been pretty thoroughly explored over the past decade and a bit. But, like the Mark 1 armor that saves Tony from captivity, it can also be rusty, clunky and requires a lot of patience. It’s clear from playing even the game’s first mission that Iron Man VR is pushing PSVR and the PS4 to their limits, and that we’re way past due for a new model.

The game’s loading times, for example, are numerous and lengthy; a thrilling opening setpiece that sees Tony suit up mid-air is brought to a screeching halt as you transition from Stark to suit, and every time you die you’ll be waiting around a minute to get back into the action. The PS4 is trying desperately to keep pace with developer Camouflaj’s ambitions but ends up often squandering that of the action and storytelling.

Some environments, too, are on the unsightly side; a visit to Shanghai, China recalls PS2-era architecture. It’s undoubtedly the best that can be done to get a wide-open area running in PSVR with long draw-distances, but even then some of the game’s combat sequences see the framerate drop on a standard PS4, which is the first time I’ve noticed that happen after Sony’s reportedly rigorous Q&A process.

It’s the headset itself that puts up the best fight; Camouflaj’s impressive 360-degree design somehow manages to work despite PSVR’s traditional tracking limitations. But it’s not perfect, and the Move controllers still make for a mental minefield when first getting to grips with the game. Plus, after two play sessions I took my headset off to discover that the PSVR headset I’ve kept well-maintained since launch day now has twisted, mangled wires from the amount of turning; something you don’t see on wired PC headsets.

All of this is a sign that developer’s aspirations are outgrowing the limits of the aging PSVR headset. The console has had a fantastic 2020 thus far, with Iron Man, The Walking Dead: Saints & Sinners, Paper Beast and other great games whetting our appetite while we wait for Dreams, Pistol Whip and Star Wars: Squadrons, but it’s clear that in Tony Stark’s latest adventure — one that was supported and published by PlayStation itself no less — the system has met its match. Anyone that wants to go above and beyond Iron Man VR will need a better foundation.

Fortunately, it seems like more stable footing is nearly here. Sony’s PS5 boasts near-instant load times thanks to an onboard solid-state drive (SSD) and an increase in horsepower might make only slight differences for traditional games, but could do wonders for the scope and polish of VR titles. Comments from Sony’s R&D division, too, suggest that a potential PSVR successor could be wireless, or at least provide that option (follow everything we know about PSVR 2 right here). Bundle all that in with revised controllers and expected updates to tracking and screen resolution, and you have a headset that could well make a gigantic leap forward.

That promise has me looking forward to hopefully revisiting Iron Man VR on new hardware just as much as I eagerly anticipate a sequel. PS5 launches this holiday season and will support the original headset, but we’re yet to see what else Sony has in store for the future of VR.

Iron Man VR is available on PSVR now.

Source: https://uploadvr.com/iron-man-vr-psvr-2/

AR/VR

Gnomes & Goblins to be Wevr’s Biggest Production, 10x Larger Than the Preview

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To say that Gnomes & Goblins has been a little elusive is probably an understatement. The project is the work of Wevr in collaboration with Jon Favreau, the director behind films like Iron Man as well as Disney+ series The Mandalorian. The title is now slowly coming out of the woodwork ahead of an expected 2020 release, with Wevr now confirming to VRFocusthat it’ll be the company’s biggest production to date in a recent interview.

Gnomes & Goblins

First a little backstory. Obviously, with a big name like Favreau’s attached to it Gnomes & Goblins instantly grabbed headlines when it was announced in 2016. Virtual reality (VR) development was still in its early years back then and the type of experience the director wanted to build had barely been imagined. What was even more surprising – and helped stoke the flames of interest – was the release of a free demo showcasing the miniature fantasy world. That demo is still free on Steam for HTC Vive and Valve Index if you’ve not tried it yet.

After that there was silence. Many thought the project had been shelved – as so many are – until, out of the blue, a teasing tweet and website appeared saying ‘Coming Soon’. That might have been a little preemptive as it then took until now for Wevr to really begin talking about what’s set to be its biggest project to date.

VRFocus got the chance to chat with Wevr’s Jake Rowell, Director/Executive Producer and Neville Spiteri, Executive Producer, about the project and what’s been happening over the past several years.

“The 2016 release, the preview, was really a tester, a little sampler as Jon [Faverau] would call it,” Rowell started to explain. “And after that we sat down and basically started a whole new project up, greenlighting a whole new adventure and the idea was from the preview which was a small room-scale, forest adventure plot but our goal quickly became ‘we want to do the entire forest’. And we want to grow that one relationship with a single character to a society of characters, and we want to introduce the gnomes and what they’re about and we want to introduce more of the magical element you got at the end with the bell when you shrink.”

Gnomes & Goblins

“One of the things Neville and I have done since the beginning even with theBlu is to start something small, do a sample set of it and then grow the product over time. And what’s gone on from 2017, ‘18 and ‘19 is really this small team ‘big dreams’ effort for what Gnomes & Goblins could be for an actual release that we want to charge for,” Rowell continued.

“We know that its a lot larger than the preview, like a 10x, but its not as large as we probably would have liked it to be sometimes. Jon had some very big visions, but we’ve set it up for the future of the franchise, so there’s a lot of promise.”

When it came to actual gameplay and what you can do Rowell and Spiteri didn’t want to detail too much but they did say: “It’s a VR interactive experience, we’re not trying to make a movie, we’re not really trying to make a full-on game. There are game features and aspects to it, we do have a collectable system, we do have different interactable items that you can progress through the world.

“There are movie elements where there’s a high-level story narrative that you’re following through the goblin, your own personal heroes journey in a lot of ways,” Rowell continued. “We want you to be you, we don’t want you to role play like you’re Mario or some other character, you’re walking into this VR world as you, you decide how you want to interact with it.

“Do you want to hang out with the goblin character all day or do you want to poke a little deeper into this world? And we have a lot of references to Disneyland and we also have a lot of references to the show Westworld where if you want to come in and just do the first base level stuff you can and it’s really enjoyable and you can do it for as long as you want. If you want to start peeling back the layers a little bit there’s a lot more there to discover and find and see, like Alice in Wonderland the deeper down the rabbit hole you go. And that’s by design in the space, so you do have a layered cake going on between an arc of a story which is your heroes journey and then as you poke into the world you have a lot more agency, you realise there are a lot more things to do and see.”

Gnomes & Goblins

As VR continues to grow it never stops adding fresh faces who’ve either never tried or maybe only sampled the technology briefly. And it was important to balance the experience for newcomers and veterans alike: “A lot of inspiration came from Animal Crossing and how Animal Crossing handles its user base, I think you can come in and play it as a newbie and you can be super experienced and have a lot of fun,” Rowell reveals.

“We’ve watched the evolution of the VR industry and we looked at what consumers and players and fans of the medium gravitated towards,” Spiteri explains. “It’s pretty clear that the affordances in VR of having a degree of interactivity where you can not only move around but you can also fully immerse yourself and be fully embodied with pretty sophisticated controllers [is important]. We’ve been watching what’s been resonating and whether it’s been experiences like Job Simulator or Beat Saber or Half-Life: Alyx, these are all very, very different experiences. Even though you could say our focus is not to make a game but these are interactive, fully embodied gaming mechanics, things that you would associate with a game. So we haven’t shied away from ‘game’ because if ‘game’ means that you can really feel like you’re in the world, navigating through it, interacting with it and are part of it well that’s certainly part of the vision and experience we want to deliver to consumers.”

As the single-player title takes you on a journey into this enchanted world, the gnomes and goblins which inhabit the forest form an essential part of the emotional connection Wevr is aiming for said Rowell: “I think at the core of our experience, yes the beautiful world is there because you need that with VR, you want someone to feel like they’re immersed in a space. Once you start peeling that back it becomes about personal relationships again. This is a single-player experience so your main relationship is with the goblins, and specifically your main goblin you befriend he becomes your guide into this world and so we’ve taken players through that befriending process in the preview. We’re going to do it again here but there’s an element where when you start peeling it back and see the society that decision tree becomes a lot more complex.

Gnomes & Goblins

“Each little goblin is kind of watching what you’re doing and there are moments where they’re looking at you, their ears are responding to you, if you throw something at them they’re going to flinch. If you try to come up and hand them something they’re going to get excited and happy. And all of those little elements are personal connections and we’ve taken it back and a lot of conversations with Jon and internally with the team, we’ve taken it back to a relationship like you have with your dog. Your dog becomes like your best friend and that relationship is almost a mirror to your emotional state. We’ve been very cognizant about our AI but also the design of our character and how it responds to you to create a bit of a mirror, you will pour more of the emotions into it based off of what’s in your head and your imagination, and the goblin’s going to be there to respond accordingly.”

With the team confirming Gnomes & Goblins will be its biggest production there’s still lots more to learn ahead of the expected launch later this year. As further details are released, VRFocus will keep you updated.

Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2020/08/gnomes-goblins-to-be-wevrs-biggest-production-10x-larger-than-the-preview/

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AR/VR

How to Create a Cloud-connect AR Experience in 15 Minutes or Less

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echoAR

Ever wondered how easy it could be to create an augmented reality (AR) experience? Ponder and wonder no longer! Here’s a step-by-step guide to quickly create and even share a cloud-connect AR experience!

Learn how to get an access key to start building 3D applications.

This is the easy part. Head over to echoAR’s registration page.

  1. Fill out the form with your name and email address
  2. Choose a plan (all start free 🎉)
  3. Set a password
  4. Check that you agree to our Term of Service
  5. Click the register button.

That’s it! Check your inbox for an automatic email with your key 🔑.

  • Check your spam folder if you don’t get an email within a few seconds

Learn how to get to the console and load your API key.

Now that you have an API key, you are all set to start working with the console. Upon registration you will be redirected to the console or you can use the link in the registration email to get back to the console anytime.

Make sure your 🔑 is set in the header or type and load it yourself.

Learn how to add a 3D model to the console.

You can add content by clicking the “Add To Cloud” button.

Click on one of the sample models, then “Next”, “Next” again, and then “Done”. Wait for the model to upload and appear in the Content page.

1. How to use subtle AR filters to survive your Zoom meetings?

2. The First No-Headset Virtual Monitor

3. Augmented reality (AR) is the future of Restaurant Menu?

4. Creating remote MR productions

Learn how to instantly see 3D models in AR through your phone.

Click on the “[ ]” icon to generate and show the QR codes. Make sure the “See on the floor”tab is selected and shows a QR code that can be detected by the camera.

  • If this tab does not exist, continue to the other options

Scan the QR code with your phone’s camera app or with a QR reader app.

  • Latest iOS and Android phones are able to read QR code with their default camera apps.

Click the pop-up message to get redirected to our website.

Click the “See in AR” button.

Move the phone around until it detects the surface around you and tap the screen to place the 3D model on the floor around you. You can scale the model by pinching the screen with two fingers.

You did it! 🎉

Click on the “[ ]” icon to generate and show the QR codes.

Choose the “See on an Image” tab to show a QR code that can be detected by the camera.

Scan the QR code with your phone’s camera app or with a QR reader app.

  • Latest iOS and Android phones are able to read QR code with their default camera apps.

Click the pop-up message to get redirected to our website. Your browser should open.

  • You might need to allow camera access. In iOS, only Safari browsers are allowed to access the camera. In Android, Chrome browser is recommended as the default browser.

Your camera should open in the browser. Troubleshoot camera issues here.

Keep your camera pointed to the QR code to see the 3D model appear on top of the QR code.

You did it! 🎉

Go to the console in your phone’s browser by typing console.echoAR.xyz or scan the QR code below get redirected automatically.

Scan to go to the console

Make sure you are logged in and that your key is loaded.

Click on the “[expand]” icon next to the model preview.

You will get redirected to our website.

Click the “See in AR” button.

Move the phone around until it detects the surface around you and tap the screen to place the 3D model on the floor around you. You can scale the model by pinching the screen with two fingers.

You did it! 🎉

Learn how to instantly share 3D models and allow others to see 3D models in AR through their phone.

You can generate a short link and share it with others so they can see the same 3D model you have in the console.

Click the “<” icon to automatically copy a short link to the model into your clipboard. You are also able to automatically share it through WhatsApp, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Reddit.

Paste and share the link with friends on social media or send it as text. Sharing this link will automatically give other access to the model and also show a QR code they can scan for easy access. For example:

Clicking the short link redirects to our website where they can click the “See in AR” button to place the 3D model on the floor around them.

What to do when things don’t work as expected.

Troubleshoot issues here. You can check out our full documentation for other useful tutorials here.

echoAR (http://www.echoAR.xyz; Techstars ’19) is a cloud platform for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) that provides tools and server-side infrastructure to help developers & companies quickly build and deploy AR/VR apps and experiences.

Source: https://arvrjourney.com/how-to-create-a-cloud-connect-ar-experience-in-15-minutes-or-less-b33f5c732d04?source=rss—-d01820283d6d—4

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AR/VR

Mortal Blitz: Combat Arena’s PlayStation VR Open Beta Begins Next Week

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It was revealed in June that South Korean virtual reality (VR) developer Skonec Entertainment has been preparing for the upcoming release of its free multiplayer title Mortal Blitz: Combat Arena for PlayStation VR. Set to launch next month, the studio has just announced that an open beta will take place next week.

Mortal Blitz: Combat Arena

The beta will be split between Asian and Western regions, with the former seeing the beta launch next Monday, 17th August, with the US and Europe able to play the videogame from Thursday 23rd. Both betas will finish on the same day, however, Sunday 23rd.

While exact details regarding what the beta will feature haven’t been released just yet – as there’s multiplayer and solo modes in the main title – Skonec Entertainment has confirmed options to ‘customize your weapons and diversify your maps’ won’t be active until after the beta has been completed.

When Mortal Blitz: Combat Arena launches for PlayStation VR in September it’ll feature a 15+ mission campaign across normal, hard and expert difficulty levels to tackle solo. The core of the gameplay will revolve around its multiplayer for up to 4 people. Quick Match (2-4 players), Ranked Match and Event Match options will be available with players able to access stats, rankings, achievements and titles earnt after each match.

Mortal Blitz: Combat Arena

This is an arcade action FPS so there’s no hiding or camping anywhere. Players jump into arenas filled with hexagonal platforms which they can teleport between. On arrival, light barriers appear to give players some defence but these can be removed by opponents with weapon fire. Thus encouraging everyone to keep moving, looking for better vantage points in the undulating environments.

While this will be a PlayStation VR only title, to begin with, Skonec Entertainment has already confirmed it will eventually support PC VR headsets like Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. As further details for Mortal Blitz: Combat Arena are released, VRFocus will let you know.

Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2020/08/mortal-blitz-combat-arenas-playstation-vr-open-beta-begins-next-week/

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