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Ready Player Me 3D Avatars Step Into Somnium Space’s Metaverse

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Wolf3D’s Ready Player Me avatars are already used in plenty of social virtual reality (VR) apps including VRChat, Mozilla Hubs, and MeetinVR. Today, another social world has been added to that list with Somnium Space now supporting the avatar creation software.

While Somnium Space already had a basic avatar creation solution, the addition of Ready Player Me greatly expands the customisation options for users. It also enables Somnium Space users to utilise the avatar apps’ most interesting feature, the ability to create a character simply by uploading a selfie.

All of this can be achieved directly inside Somnium Space without any need for a separate app. You can create an avatar directly inside the Somnium WEB client before stepping into the virtual world. After uploading a photo – or you can skip that part and build an avatar from scratch – you’re presented with a massive list of customisation options to alter facial features, hair and hair colour as well as clothing.

“We are very excited to partner with Wolf3D and bring native support for Ready Player Me avatars into our Somnium WEB client. This is another important step towards our ultimate goal of interoperability. Allowing users to express themselves across the Metaverse is one of the most important aspects of their digital existence,” said Artur Sychov, Founder & CEO of Somnium Space in a statement. “We are committed to this goal and happy to add another layer of self-customization alongside user-generated Somnium Blockchain (NFT) Avatars and Somnium Classical Avatars.”

Somnium Space has been running since 2018, providing a virtual world where users buy land parcels that they can build upon or sell if they so wish. Built on the Ethereum blockchain network, you can join Somnium Space for free and explore its metaverse using PC VR headsets or online through a PC or mobile device. Because of its blockchain backbone, assets, avatars, and land parcels – basically any in-game assets – can be tokenized and stored in a blockchain wallet as NFTs to be sold through marketplaces like Opensea.

As Somnium Space continues to expand its feature set during 2021, VRFocus will keep you updated.

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Source: https://vrarnews.com/details/ready-player-me-3d-avatars-step-into-somnium-spaces-metaverse-60bfb9734018543c56c26bf2?s=rss

AR/VR

Former NASA Engineer Developing VR ‘Donkey Kong’ Game

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A former member of the VR Lab at NASA’s JSC is working on a VR rendition of the classic Nintendo game and it looks absolutely incredible.

When you think about which classic arcade games would make for amazing VR experiences, Donkey Kong immediately comes to mind. Jumping over fireballs, smashing barrels with a hammer, and climbing up and down ladders sound like a blast in VR.

Paul Nathan, a former member of the VR Lab at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, thought the same thing, which is why he’s developing his own VR rendition of the legendary Nintendo platformer. Donkey Kong VR is a fully immersive VR experience built specifically for the Oculus Quest 2 that has you playing the role of Mario as you face off against the giant gorilla in your quest to save Pauline.

Like the original, you have to run around and climb different levels of steel girders as your arch-nemesis throws barrels at you. And because it’s in VR, the game delivers an intense super cardio workout similar to the one you’d get from physically intensive VR titles like The Climb 2, Pistol Whip, and Supernatural.

During an interview with VRScout, Nathan talked about this inspiration behind Donkey Kong VR, saying, “Like a lot of people I have a love for classic games. There’s an old-school arcade I started going to back in college and I’d spend hours there. I wanted to see what a classic game would look like inside VR,” Nathan adds, “Unlike other popular arcade titles Donkey Kong has interactions that translate well into VR.”

Image Credit: Paul Nathan

In order to develop his next-gen homage, Nathan employed the Unity game engine to transform the 2D arcade game into a 3D VR world. And as you might expect, it wasn’t easy; Nathan faced plenty of challenges along the way. This includes the issue of modeling Donkey Kong’s different poses during gameplay; he’s pretty huge afterall! According to Nathan, the barrel animations also required a fair amount of iteration to get right. It took the former NASA engineer a lot of tinkering and some artistic liberties in order to make it work.

In addition to 3D visuals and animations, Nathan also had to figure out how to bring the important parts of gameplay to life. This meant figuring out how to jump, climb, and smash barrels in VR. He also had to figure out how barrels traveled through the game and how many barrels Donkey Kong threw at you. 

Jumping and moving mechanics were relatively simple to develop; Nathan built in a trigger that lets your Mario avatar jump in VR by pushing down on the right thumbstick of your Quest controller. For an extra dose of realism, you could always jump in real life as you press down on the thumbstick to get your heartbeat pumping. To run back and forth, you simply move the thumbstick forward while turning your body left or right to determine the direction. Though he hasn’t tested it yet, Nathan states that you could, theoretically, run back and forth down a long hallway in order to move, removing the need for artificial locomotion entirely.

Image Credit: Paul Nathan

Climbing is an important aspect of the gameplay in Donkey Kong. To achieve this in VR, Nathan used an approach similar to the one featured in games like The Climb 2 and Vader Immortal. In order to climb upward, you simply grab the ladder and move your hands down to lift your avatar. To descend, you grab the ladder and move your hands upward.Similar to the original 1981 classic, you can grab a hammer and physically swing your arms to smash barrels as they come towards you.

To give you a little bit of an edge over Donkey Kong, Nathan has incorporated a 2D view in the background so you can see where the barrels are, there’s even a scoreboard where you can enter your initials if you place in the top 5!

Image Credit: Paul Nathan

It all sounds pretty complex, but thankfully Nathan has some pretty good experience to fall back on. During his time at the VR Lab at NASA, Nathan helped develop applications and software systems for the astronaut training program using VR technology. He talked a little bit about his work, saying, “VR allows astronauts to train for high-risk scenarios without putting them in actual danger. They come into our lab and we put them inside VR simulations. There’s also a VR headset onboard the International Space Station so they can refresh themselves before going out on spacewalks. That was my first job out of college. I did that for a little over a year and a half.”

Though the game is built for the Oculus Quest platform, Donkey Kong VR uses a Unity plugin that also supports PlayStation VR and Windows Mixed Reality. That being said, Nathan has yet to test his game on said headsets, but, technically, it should work.

Image Credit: Paul Nathan

Unfortunately, with Nintendo being Nintendo and all, you won’t find Donkey Kong VR on the Oculus App store or SideQuest anytime soon. “As much as I’d like to make the game publicly available, Nintendo is notorious for shutting down fan games,” said Nathan. “They are very protective of their IP. If Nintendo ever wanted to hire me to work on an official title I’d be honored!”

Gah! Nintendo, if you’re listening, please hire this guy! The world needs Donkey Kong VR!

If you’d like to know more about how Nathan built his Donkey Kong VR project, check out this YouTube video.

Feature Image Credit: Paul Nathan

The post Former NASA Engineer Developing VR ‘Donkey Kong’ Game appeared first on VRScout.

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Source: https://vrarnews.com/details/former-nasa-engineer-developing-vr-donkey-kong-game-60c8f576924a55bd040e3e30?s=rss

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AR/VR

Turtle Beach Reveals Elaborate Microsoft Flight Simulator Controller

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Turtle Beach just announced a new PC and Xbox controller designed to be used with Microsoft Flight Simulator, and it looks incredibly detailed, even if some of its features won’t be very meaningful to VR players.

The Velocity One will be launching in the near future and features multiple impressive components. It’s got a 180-degree yoke handle, a modular throttle quadrant and a huge amount of buttons, switches and levers to bring you closer to the experience.

It looks exciting but it’s important to point out that many of Velocity One’s coolest features won’t really be that relevant to VR players. For example, the LCD display for flight stats is a very cool idea, but not of much use when you’ve got a headset obscuring your view of the real world.

There also isn’t any force feedback or rumble to speak of, which will take away from the immersion somewhat.

And, just to temper those expectations a tiny bit more, Velocity One costs $349.95. That might be worth the price for flatscreen players (especially those looking to pick up the soon-to-launch Xbox version), but it’s a big ask for VR players that won’t be utilizing all of its bells and whistles. Still, you can sign up for pre-orders right here, and it’s due to release this summer.

Elsewhere, Flight Simulator is due to get a tie-in with the new Top Gun movie later this year. There’s not much info on what it will include but expect some skins and maybe some incredible music at the very least.

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Source: https://vrarnews.com/details/turtle-beach-reveals-elaborate-microsoft-flight-simulator-controller-60c8d94c35cb7cb1783588b0?s=rss

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AR/VR

PSVR Shooter ‘Fracked’ Gameplay Trailer Reveals More Explosive Action, Coming Summer 2021

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Fracked, an upcoming single-player shooter, just got a brand-new gameplay trailer that shows off more of its high-energy action.

Developed by nDreams—the same team behind Oculus exclusive Phantom: Covert Ops (2020)—Fracked is heading exclusively to PSVR sometime this summer. The updated gameplay trailer was revealed at both IGN’s ‘Summer of Gaming’ event and UploadVR’s game showcase.

In it, we get a look at some new action as you take on enemies skiing down a mountain, and have to fight through a horde of different baddies at a funicular station—that’s fancy talk for a train that can go up steep inclines.

If you’re wondering what the hell is going on, here’s what nDreams says about Fracked.

The corporation dug too deep unleashing the ‘Fracked’ from the depths. Across one day, take on an interdimensional army that combines hive mind mentality and gun-wielding supremacy – the perfect targets to unload round upon round into. Fracked is in-your-face action with a cutting commentary on corporate greed and the climate change emergency. Save the day, to save the world.

The studio says Fracked features a unique cover system as well as multiple first-person free movement methods. You’ll be able to lean into your skis as you traverse the game’s many mountains, physically climb to safety when, say, the funicular’s tracks have been destroyed, and make dangerous base jumps when you need a quick getaway.

There’s no clear release date yet, as nDreams is still quoting a Summer 2021 launch. We’ll have our eyes peeled for any news to pop up, so check back soon.

The post PSVR Shooter ‘Fracked’ Gameplay Trailer Reveals More Explosive Action, Coming Summer 2021 appeared first on Road to VR.

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Source: https://vrarnews.com/details/psvr-shooter-fracked-gameplay-trailer-reveals-more-explosive-action-coming-summer-2021-60c8cff2aa32085d7561f749?s=rss

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Windlands 2 is Getting Physical With PlayStation VR This Summer

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PlayStation VR is still going strong after all these years, thanks to continual developer support and the fact that its the only virtual reality (VR) headset where collectors can buy a physical copy of the games. It being E3 2021 week, Psytec Games and Perp Games have announced that not only is Windlands 2 coming to PlayStation VR, but you’ll also be able to pick up a boxed copy this summer.

Windlands 2 - Screenshot

At the time the original Windlands challenged the concept of VR locomotion as swinging around was deemed too intense, hitting most major platforms including PlayStation VR. When Windlands 2 came out in 2018 it further improved that sense of swinging through expansive environments. Ahead of launch PlayStation VR support was mentioned but never materialised, so it has been a few years in the making.

In this sequel, players can explore this verdant land with up to 4 friends, soaring through ruins with grappling hooks and a bow destroying gigantic titans to save the world.

“We are pleased to announce that we are working with PSVR specialist Perp Games to bring you the boxed version of Windlands 2,” said Psytec Games in a statement. “We know there is nothing quite like collecting boxed PSVR games, especially with PSVR 2 around the corner, and we can’t wait to get it into your hands.”

Windlands 2 - Screenshot

“Since developing one of the first truly great PlayStation VR games, the team at Psytec Games have not sat on their laurels but continued to develop the fun and wonder of the Windlands Universe. By adding up to 4 player CO-OP and range weapons, they have created a game in Windlands 2 that will bring countless hours of joy to the VR gaming community,” said Rob Edwards, Managing Director at Perp Games.

The digital and boxed format versions of Windlands 2 will be available on PlayStation VR for late Summer 2021. For further platform updates, keep reading VRFocus.

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Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2021/06/windlands-2-is-getting-physical-with-playstation-vr-this-summer/

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