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Horizon Workrooms to Introduce Zoom Meetings in 2022

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Several weeks ago Facebook launched its vision for work-based collaboration in virtual reality (VR), Horizon Workrooms. Designed to help colleagues connect remotely, this week it has been revealed that the highly popular video conferencing service Zoom will be integrated into Horizon Workrooms next year.

Horizon Workrooms - Zoom

Horizon Workrooms is currently in open beta for Oculus Quest headsets, allowing anyone to test the new software. With the integration of Zoom, users will be able to join Zoom Meetings and use Zoom Whiteboard directly within VR, to create what could be a seamless experience between the two platforms.

With companies having to switch to remote working during the course of 2020, many have turned to video platforms such as Zoom to stay connected. This has helped Zoom’s popularity soar but has also meant a new term being coined in the process, “Zoom fatigue”. Whereby people find themselves in so many video meetings that it just becomes mentally draining, lacking the fluidity of being together in person. So it’s no surprise that Zoom aims to combat such an issue with initiatives like this with Facebook.

A sneak peek was shown at Zoomtopia this week, Zoom’s annual conference (taking place virtually, of course!). Inside Horizon Workrooms users will be able to dial into those video calls as they normally would, so they can sit around a virtual desk with others in VR whilst talking to even more over Zoom. And with Zoom Whiteboard on hand, brainstorming new ideas shouldn’t be too difficult either as everyone in the meeting can add their input.

Horizon Workrooms

Zoom and Facebook haven’t said when they plan to integrate this functionality into Horizon Workrooms during 2022 but the software has plenty of features to keep you busy. There’s the mixed-reality desk and keyboard tracking, which alongside Oculus Quest’s hand tracking means you can see your desk and keyboard to naturally type as you would outside of VR. There’s also remote desktop streaming, spatial audio, and the new Oculus Avatars for that immersive feel.

There are plenty of other ways to collaborate in VR with Horizon Workrooms joining the likes of Spatial, MeetinVR and Arthur to name a few. For continued updates in this field, keep reading VRFocus.

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Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2021/09/horizon-workrooms-to-introduce-zoom-meetings-in-2022/

AR/VR

Ultraleap Hand-tracking Update Delivers Improved Two-handed Interactions

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The latest version of Ultraleap’s hand-tracking tech is finally available today on Windows for use with the Leap Motion Controller accessory and promises to improve two-handed interactions, speed, and robustness. The release includes a demo experience showcasing how hand-tracking can be used as a primary input for a standalone XR device.

Ultraleap today publicly released ‘Gemini’, the company’s fifth-generation hand-tracking software which was initially made available in a developer preview earlier this year. The improved hand-tracking software has already been deployed to headsets like Varjo’s and been made available for devices based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR2, and now it can be downloaded on Windows to be used with the company’s existing Leap Motion Controller accessory which can be mounted to VR headsets. Support for MacOS and Linux are expected further down the road.

While the Leap Motion Controller is by now quite old, the company has continued to refine the software that underlies it, improving on what is already recognized as some of the best hand-tracking tech available in the industry. More recently, Ultraleap has released improved hand-tracking modules with a wider field-of-view and other improvements, though these aren’t available as a standalone accessory.

Image courtesy Ultraleap

With the Gemini update, Ultraleap says it has improved two-handed interactions, initialization speed, and the robustness of its hand-tracking. Alongside the Windows release of Gemini, the company is also making available an ‘XR Launcher’ demo experience which shows how the hand-tracking tech can be used for a fully functional XR interface.

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Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/ultraleap-gemini-v5-hand-tracking-update-windows-release/

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AR/VR

‘POW POW: Dye It Up!’ Is A Family-Friendly VR Battle Royale Game

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Battle it out in competitive paintball matches set throughout a sprawling college campus.

Over the past year, popular multiplayer games such as Population: One and Rec Room’s ‘Rec Royale’ game mode have proven that the battle royale genre is a perfect fit for VR headsets. For those unfamiliar, battle royale is a multiplayer game genre in which multiple teams go head-to-head in a “last man standing” competition. More often than not these battles take place throughout large outdoor battlefields.

POW POW: Dye it up!, a new multiplayer VR game from Polish developer PunkPirates (Escape Room VR: Stories), offers a refreshing change of pace from existing battle royale experiences by having players compete throughout a sprawling college campus that bears a striking resemblance to a certain fictional community college with a long history of paintball shenanigans. Coming soon to SteamVR headsets, this colorful PvP shooter promises a battle royale experience perfect for the whole family.

Instead of using real firearms, you’ll duke it out using a variety of paint-based weaponry, from pistols and machine guns to shotguns, grenades, and miniguns. You can even use a pillow for close-quarters combat. As you explore the campus environment, you’ll discover new locations, from classrooms and hallways to gymnasiums and even a pillow fort. Okay, now I’m sure this is Greendale Community College

Image Credit: PunkPirates

The game will feature four game modes at launch. In addition to Battle Royale, there’s Splashfight (classic free-for-all), Pillow Fight, and a poorly-named game mode called Capture the Panties. Players will have the ability to customize their avatars with a variety of outrageous-looking skins, my favorite being the inflatable “riding a dinosaur” costume.

Looking at the developer’s website, it appears as though the project started as a Community fan project. Beginning in 2009, the popular television sitcom developed a cult following thanks to its pop culture references and self-referential humor. Each of the six seasons (with the exception of season five ) featured at least one paintball-themed episode.

POW POW: Dye it up! launches later this year in SteamVR Early Access. No word yet on an official price.

Feature Image Credit: PubnkPirates

The post ‘POW POW: Dye It Up!’ Is A Family-Friendly VR Battle Royale Game appeared first on VRScout.

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Source: https://vrarnews.com/details/pow-pow-dye-it-up-is-a-family-friendly-vr-battle-royale-game-6179c0a1428a9f2364814d91?s=rss

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AR/VR

Pikmin Bloom Arrives to Brighten Up Any Walk

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Niantic Labs’ videogames continually focus on getting players out and about and back in March the company announced a new project in conjunction with Nintendo based on its Pikmin franchise. Today, the pair have begun the global rollout of Pikmin Bloom, a colourful augmented reality-capable experience all about building up a squad of Pikmin simply by walking.

Pikmin Bloom

Offering a much more casual, combat free experience in comparison to Niantic Labs’ other AR titles, Pikmin Bloom is all about nurturing these tiny plant-like creatures which have appeared in several Nintendo videogames. To do this players need to walk, finding Pikmin seedlings along their path which can then be picked, adding to the Pikmin entourage. All the Pikmin will follow the player making flowers bloom on their journey.

When players take their daily stroll they’ll need to collect fruits along the way to feed their Pikmin, in turn making beautiful flowers bloom atop their heads. Their petals can then be collected and planted to create even more flowers with each step, unleashing a cascading effect of colour. That’s not the only interactive element, players will be able to utilise their red, yellow, blue and more Pikmin to remove giant mushrooms to gain more fruit.

As you may have realised, fitness is an integral part of the experience. Pikmin Bloom will have basic pedometer functionality, recording the number of steps players take as well as the routes they walked. Building upon that healthy lifestyle image they can add notes and photos to a lifelog, take pics with the Pikmin who can also bring back postcards of the places players have visited, shared with friends in the app. 

Pikmin Bloom

Whilst Pikmin Bloom is a free app Niantic Labs monetizing the title with in-game purchases, selling booster items to enhance the experience. There will also be monthly Community Day events.

Pikmin Bloom is available to download for iOS and Android devices on the App Store and Google Play respectively in Australia and Singapore, to begin with. Other regions will slowly be incorporated as Niantic Labs expands the launch. For continued updates on the latest AR projects, keep reading VRFocus.

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Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2021/10/pikmin-bloom-arrives-to-brighten-up-any-walk/

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Admix Raises $25m Towards Metaverse Ad Solutions

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For companies to realise their lofty metaverse ambitions they’ll not only need to spend money and hire plenty of staff they’ll also need to encourage the creative community to get involved. This requires the ability to offer different revenue streams, of which advertising is going to play an important role. This week, In-Play monetization company Admix announced the completion of a new $25 million funding round to help it scale and meet that demand.

Admix

The Series B funding round was led by Elefund and DIP Capital, with participation from Force Over Mass, Notion Capital, Speedinvest, Rocket Capital, Colopl Next, Sure Valley Ventures and Sidedoor Ventures as well as growth investor Kuvi Capital. The round brings Admix’s total funding to date to $37 million.

Unlike mobile a lot of mobile ads which pop up and become intrusive, Admix’s solution allows both virtual reality (VR) and non-VR Unity developers to integrate ads into their videogames – think billboards on the side of a building. This way developers can make free-to-play titles whilst still being able to make money.

“This funding round validates the incredible hard work which the entire team has worked so tirelessly to reach. We see the internet entering a new stage: Web 3.0 or the metaverse, characterised by real-time 3D interactions and a new creator economy, spearheaded by the video games industry,” said Admix CEO Samuel Huber in a statement. “We are establishing In-Play as the monetization layer for gaming and the metaverse. While many players in our industry are essentially agencies, Admix is building critical infrastructure for creators to monetize their content in the best way possible.”

Admix - Samuel Huber
Admix CEO Samuel Huber. Image credit: Admix

“Sam and Joe are exactly the type of founders we want to work with at Elefund. They created Admix and In-Play with their incredible vision for the future of digital gaming, and we believe that they will continue to play a significant role in shaping how consumers and businesses exist and interact in what the world will come to know as the metaverse,” Serik Kaldykulov, Founder and Managing Partner at Elefund adds.

In the VR space, Admix isn’t the only one looking to place non-intrusive advertising into videogames. Facebook was slightly more controversial in its approach by testing VR ads in Resolution Games’ PvP shooter Blaston during the summer. This was quickly reversed by the developer after fans complained about ads being in a game they had paid for.

For further updates on how creators are going to monetise the metaverse, keep reading VRFocus.

Disclosure: Admix is the parent company of VRFocusVRFocus retains its editorial independence.

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Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2021/10/admix-raises-25m-towards-metaverse-ad-solutions/

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