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Microsoft Announces Mesh, a Foundation for Building Multi-user XR Applications

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Today during the Microsoft Ignite developer conference, the company announced Mesh, a new cloud-based service which Microsoft says will streamline the creation of multi-user XR applications.

Soon to be offered under Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing arm, Mesh is a foundation for building multi-user XR applications. The tool will offer developers a framework for connecting users into shared instances which support spatial voice communication, cloud-based asset management, persistent scenes, and a common avatar system. While the service is primarily geared toward immersive applications, it can also support non-immersive access points like web browsers or smartphones.

The company compared Mesh to Xbox Live, which functioned as a toolkit for building networked multiplayer games in the early days of online multiplayer on Xbox. Like Xbox Live, Mesh is designed to accelerate the development of multi-user XR applications by providing ready-made solutions for common needs, like networking, spatial voice communication, and object synchronization & interactivity.

Fortunately, Microsoft says that Mesh will be a platform independent service, meaning developers that take advantage of it will still be able to distribute their applications wherever they’d like (be that on Steam, Oculus, HoloLens, or elsewhere).

To demonstrate its capabilities, the company has created a Microsoft Mesh demo application which will be available through the Microsoft Store. The application functions like a collaborative virtual workspace where users can come together to view, discuss, and annotate shared 3D assets. Users inside the app are represented by the Mesh avatar system which allows for avatar customizations to be shared between Mesh-enabled applications.

Image courtesy Microsoft

One such application is Altspace, Microsoft’s social VR app. The company says it has rebuilt the app to take advantage of Mesh, including the Mesh avatar system. That means if you change your avatar in Altspace, you’ll see the same changes seamlessly synchronized to the Microsoft Mesh example app as well. Microsoft says it plans to build Mesh-enabled immersive capabilities into Microsoft Teams and Dynamics 365 services as well.

Microsoft seized the opportunity to show off the new Mesh-enabled Altspace by hosting the Microsoft Ignite keynote fully in virtual reality for the first time, allowing users from around the world to connect remotely to see the immersive event live. During the virtual keynote, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Technical Fellow Alex Kipman appeared as high resolution scans of themselves while making the presentation.

Image courtesy Microsoft

We don’t know yet exactly when Microsoft Mesh will become available to developers, nor what the pricing model will be, though we’ve reached out to the company for additional information.

The post Microsoft Announces Mesh, a Foundation for Building Multi-user XR Applications appeared first on Road to VR.

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Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/microsoft-mesh-announcement-multi-user-xr-service/

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MLB The Show heads to Game Pass, and Mario has passed away | GB Decides 190

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Join Transform 2021 for the most important themes in enterprise AI & Data. Learn more.


On this week’s episode of the GamesBeat Decides podcast, reviews editor Mike Minotti shares some deeply troubling information about the nature of the game Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days.

Also, Mike and fellow editor Jeff Grubb talk about MLB The Show launching on Xbox Game Pass, Mario’s death, and Balan Wonderworld. Join us, won’t you?

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GamesBeat’s creed when covering the game industry is “where passion meets business.” What does this mean? We want to tell you how the news matters to you — not just as a decision-maker at a game studio, but also as a fan of games. Whether you read our articles, listen to our podcasts, or watch our videos, GamesBeat will help you learn about the industry and enjoy engaging with it. How will you do that? Membership includes access to:

  • Newsletters, such as DeanBeat
  • The wonderful, educational, and fun speakers at our events
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  • Special members-only interviews, chats, and “open office” events with GamesBeat staff
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Source: https://venturebeat.com/2021/04/02/mlb-the-show-heads-to-game-pass-and-mario-has-passed-away-gb-decides-190/

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Solaris: Offworld Combat Gets PSVR Physical Launch In June, Planned Digital Release In May

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Solaris: Offworld Combat is coming to PSVR this June with a physical release from Perp Games. According to a First Contact Entertainment representative, the digital version is planned to release a month earlier in May.

Perp Games on Twitter: “We’re not finished just yet. Solaris Offworld Combat is the next game to be getting a physical box release. Coming in June to global markets! Will you be buying it? https://t.co/5sphrqsh10” / Twitter

Solaris: Offworld Combat on PSVR

Originally, Solaris was coming to PSVR late last year around the same time as the Quest and PC VR version of the game but got delayed. Now, it’s slated for release in just a couple of months.

The latest VR shooter from First Contact Entertainment (creators of Firewall Zero Hour) is a sci-fi competitive VR shooter that feels a bit like Quake in VR due to its speed and intense arena levels. It’s a very breezy, fast-paced game that’s accessible and easy to quickly jump in and out of. The closest comparison is probably Hyper Dash.

Soalris is a notable release because other than Firewall Zero Hour, there really haven’t been many options for shooter fans on PSVR. Alvo is coming soon too, but the headset is on its last legs at this point.

The PS Aim Controller continues to be one of the best things about the PSVR platform, so I’m all for seeing more games support it, but it’s a shame games like this didn’t hit PSVR earlier in its life cycle. Hopefully PSVR 2 on PS5 is backwards compatible and it can give late-life cycle games like this one new life when it releases.

Solaris is coming to PSVR very soon with a planned digital release in May and physical release from Perp Games in June. For more on this game make sure and read our Solaris: Offworld Combat review and stay tuned for all the latest in VR.

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Source: https://vrarnews.com/details/solaris-offworld-combat-gets-psvr-physical-launch-in-june-planned-digital-release-in-may-6067883a7b61f2d57cc2aa70?s=rss

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Black Box VR Developers Share Thoughts on the History and Future of VR Fitness

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The VR fitness genre is still relatively new, all things considered. Even though the space is still somewhat niche, it’s absolutely growing at a fast pace as seen by the number of games and players that continue to spring up. How did we get to this point though, you might ask?

Continue reading on VR Fitness Insider.

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Source: https://vrarnews.com/details/black-box-vr-developers-share-thoughts-on-the-history-and-future-of-vr-fitness-60677f1588a4542c7b3f4922?s=rss

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US Army Signs Contract For Wide-FoV HoloLens Headsets From Microsoft

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Microsoft won a large US Army contract to supply advanced AR headsets for frontline soldiers, based on the HoloLens platform.

The US Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) program aims to equip infantry with AR helmets for situational awareness and convenient display of sensor outputs.

The contract is worth up to $21.88 billion over 5-10 years. While the order has been widely reported as 120,000 units, a US Army statement to Breaking Defence suggests that is the maximum, not a fixed quantity.

Early evaluation units based on HoloLens 2

In 2018 Microsoft won the $480 million evaluation contract for just over 2500 units, based on HoloLens 2 with some modifications and an extra sensor.

The current, ruggedized, upgraded IVAS

The evaluation found the hardware not rugged enough for military use, and identified problems with the sensors at night. Since then the hardware has been significantly upgraded. It’s more ruggedized and houses many more sensors.

The field of view has been significantly increased from roughly 40°x30° to 80°x40°. That’s significantly wider than any other see-through AR headset on the market.

Reported use cases for the headset include:

  • overlaying icons on friendly units, objectives, threats, and points of interest
  • built-in night vision & thermal view modes
  • live picture-in-picture feeds from drones, including the Soldier Borne Sensors (SBS) personal drone
  • simulated weapons & enemies for training exercises
  • scanning nearby people for high temperature (COVID-19)
  • facial recognition for hostage rescue situations

The Army is also testing integrations with vehicles, such as soldiers being able to see-through the walls of the armored vehicle carrying them. That means on dismounting they’ll be situationally aware.

Some Microsoft employees have protested providing technology for the military, but that’s unlikely to have any effect given the enormous potential value of the contract.

IVAS is still in the late testing & evaluation stage, and the scale of deployment will depend on future budgets. But if things go to plan, frontline soldiers could be equipped with these game-changing AR capabilities by the end of the decade.

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Source: https://vrarnews.com/details/us-army-signs-contract-for-wide-fov-hololens-headsets-from-microsoft-60674ff1b6ff13366d9363db?s=rss

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