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Review: Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual!

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Nostalgia can be a cruel, cruel mistress. If you’ve fond memories of something from your childhood which you then encounter later in life, there’s a good chance it won’t live up to them. Remember Super Mario 64 from the ‘90s? An absolute classic, unless of course you revisit it and realise you blocked out that unforgiving camera. Or how about bringing back a videogame comedy duo like Sam & Max? Well, that’s just what Happy Giant did with Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual! And it isn’t the virtual entrance you’d hope for.

Sam And Max VR

If you’ve never heard of Sam & Max then don’t worry, as their last videogame outing was over ten years ago in Sam & Max: The Devil’s Playhouse. This weird duo are a pair of crime-fighting detectives known as the Freelance Police, Sam being the saner hat-wearing dog and Max, a hyperkinetic rabbit. Their first adventures were point-and-click based, solving dastardly plots both on and off-world, with their own brand of zany humour.

Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual! Aims to bring their funny banter back to life whilst adding a sprinkling of VR gameplay. However, if you’re expecting several hours of madcap puzzling, trying to decipher some villain’s intricate plot then you’re going to be disappointed. In fact, if you’re not already a Sam & Max fan then this title likely won’t make you one.

It starts really strong, encountering them both in a city street fighting some giant alien monster to which they enlist your help, handing you a rocket launcher in the process to dispatch said beasty. After that you become their newest recruit, joining them in their office to throw a few darts and shot cockroaches with a pistol. It’s after this point that Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual! starts going a little downhill, not rapidly, just when it becomes clear most of the videogame is a series of basic mini-games.     

Sam And Max VR

Anyone even remotely familiar with VR will know the gameplay setup, a bit of physical exertion climbing walls or dodging swinging axes followed by some shooting gallery style mechanics. There are nine of these in total, completed in lots of three and all feeling rather mediocre. The one standout mini-game was the escape room which was fun even if the puzzles weren’t super difficult. After each, Sam & Max give you an A-F rating so you can come back again to improve, if you really wish to, with no progression penalty no matter your rating.

The gameplay highlights actually come in between all these mini-games where you do get to go on cases! One area involves an incident at a supermarket with demons appearing, each one needing to be dispatched in a particular method. These range from killing a cereal loving creature with milk to making a demon drink a refreshing holy water slushie. Most of the solutions are fairly explanatory but there are moments where they can be quite obtuse, even with a small finite area to explore. There is a hints section in the menu but you’re best off listening to Sam & Max who’ll provide handy clues through their chatter.

And it’s here in the dialogue, voice acting and overall comedy writing that Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual! really does shine. Their irreverent humour excels making it one of the very select VR few to make you giggle, nay, even laugh at points, maintaining a high calibre throughout. Veteran gamers of the franchise will instantly be familiar with the comedy thanks to some of the original Sam & Max team joining HappyGiant on the project as well as the original voice actors.

Sam And Max VR

Just because some of the talented team who made the first games are present, doesn’t mean the rest is plain sailing. While generally quite interactive, the gameplay is basic. Picking up items like the milk carton, for example, you have no way to adjust how you grip it. So the carton always points the same way in either hand which looks really weird. Or woe betides dropping anything on the floor, best of luck with that, especially if you’re playing seated – it’s simpler to move on and leave it.

Then there are the bugs and glitches which make the videogame feel rushed. In one of the final boss sections, Sam’s dialogue suddenly vanished removing any clear indication of what to do next. A little further on Max needs to be thrown at the boss but don’t miss! Missing saw him fly off into the night sky never to return. Expecting some protracted joke, after five minutes it was time to relaunch the game and try again. Smaller annoyances saw items continually glitch through the environment, making some puzzles harder than they needed to be.

Sam & Max: This Time It’s Virtual! is one of those VR experiences you want to love because the characters are so well defined, amusing and likeable, even when Max is handing you a bundle of lit TNT. That’s not enough to carry the experience when a big chunk of the gameplay is either shallow or frustratingly twitchy. Clocking in around 3-5 hours, once the final boss was down that was really enough, with no desire to pop back into improve a mini-game ranking. The pictures of all the old games were kind of cool though.

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Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2021/07/review-sam-max-this-time-its-virtual/

AR/VR

Epic Games Acquires Sketchfab, the Massive 3D Object Library Compatible with AR/VR Headsets

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Sketchfab, the platform that lets you view, share, and download 3D models via traditional monitors and AR/VR headsets, today announced its been acquired by Unreal Engine creators Epic Games.

Founded in 2012, Sketchfab plays host to over 4 million 3D assets, all of which are accessible through its web-based platform across PC, mobile, and immersive headsets. In a blogpost announcing the acquisition, Sketchfab says it aims to make 3D, AR and VR content more accessible and grow its creator ecosystem, something it says is “critical to an open and interconnected Metaverse.”

Details of the acquisition are still thin on the ground, however Sketchfab says it will remain independently branded moving forward and will be working closely with Epic Games. Sketchfab says it will continue to support other game engines, Unity included.

The acquisition no doubt comes as a direct result of Epic securing a $1 billion financing round back in April, $200 million of which came from Sony Group Corporation. Epic still hasn’t tipped its hand on what that Metaverse will look like, however the company says it’s looking to build connected social experiences starting with its most successful properties FortniteRocket League and Fall Guys.

“Joining Epic will enable us to accelerate the development of Sketchfab and our powerful online toolset, all while providing an even greater experience for creators,” said Alban Denoyel, CEO and co-founder of Sketchfab. “We are proud to work alongside Epic to build the Metaverse and enable creators to take their work even further.”

Sketchfab has partnered with Epic Games in the past as a recipient of an Epic MegaGrant. Unreal Engine, one of the two largest game development platforms alongside Unity, officially supports the 3D model platform via a plugin, as well as Epic’s RealityCapture and ArtStation.

“We will maintain and expand our integration efforts with all creation tools and 3D/VR/AR platforms, so you can easily upload to and import from Sketchfab everywhere,” the company says.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.

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Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/epic-games-acquires-sketchfab-massive-3d-object-library-compatible-ar-vr-headsets/

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AR/VR

Epic Games Acquires Sketchfab, the Massive 3D Object Library Compatible with AR/VR Headsets

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Sketchfab, the platform that lets you view, share, and download 3D models via traditional monitors and AR/VR headsets, today announced its been acquired by Unreal Engine creators Epic Games.

Founded in 2012, Sketchfab plays host to over 4 million 3D assets, all of which are accessible through its web-based platform across PC, mobile, and immersive headsets. In a blogpost announcing the acquisition, Sketchfab says it aims to make 3D, AR and VR content more accessible and grow its creator ecosystem, something it says is “critical to an open and interconnected Metaverse.”

Details of the acquisition are still thin on the ground, however Sketchfab says it will remain independently branded moving forward and will be working closely with Epic Games. Sketchfab says it will continue to support other game engines, Unity included.

The acquisition no doubt comes as a direct result of Epic securing a $1 billion financing round back in April, $200 million of which came from Sony Group Corporation. Epic still hasn’t tipped its hand on what that Metaverse will look like, however the company says it’s looking to build connected social experiences starting with its most successful properties FortniteRocket League and Fall Guys.

“Joining Epic will enable us to accelerate the development of Sketchfab and our powerful online toolset, all while providing an even greater experience for creators,” said Alban Denoyel, CEO and co-founder of Sketchfab. “We are proud to work alongside Epic to build the Metaverse and enable creators to take their work even further.”

Sketchfab has partnered with Epic Games in the past as a recipient of an Epic MegaGrant. Unreal Engine, one of the two largest game development platforms alongside Unity, officially supports the 3D model platform via a plugin, as well as Epic’s RealityCapture and ArtStation.

“We will maintain and expand our integration efforts with all creation tools and 3D/VR/AR platforms, so you can easily upload to and import from Sketchfab everywhere,” the company says.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.

Click here to access.

Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/epic-games-acquires-sketchfab-massive-3d-object-library-compatible-ar-vr-headsets/

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AR/VR

Epic Games Acquires Sketchfab, the Massive 3D Object Library Compatible with AR/VR Headsets

Published

on

Sketchfab, the platform that lets you view, share, and download 3D models via traditional monitors and AR/VR headsets, today announced its been acquired by Unreal Engine creators Epic Games.

Founded in 2012, Sketchfab plays host to over 4 million 3D assets, all of which are accessible through its web-based platform across PC, mobile, and immersive headsets. In a blogpost announcing the acquisition, Sketchfab says it aims to make 3D, AR and VR content more accessible and grow its creator ecosystem, something it says is “critical to an open and interconnected Metaverse.”

Details of the acquisition are still thin on the ground, however Sketchfab says it will remain independently branded moving forward and will be working closely with Epic Games. Sketchfab says it will continue to support other game engines, Unity included.

The acquisition no doubt comes as a direct result of Epic securing a $1 billion financing round back in April, $200 million of which came from Sony Group Corporation. Epic still hasn’t tipped its hand on what that Metaverse will look like, however the company says it’s looking to build connected social experiences starting with its most successful properties FortniteRocket League and Fall Guys.

“Joining Epic will enable us to accelerate the development of Sketchfab and our powerful online toolset, all while providing an even greater experience for creators,” said Alban Denoyel, CEO and co-founder of Sketchfab. “We are proud to work alongside Epic to build the Metaverse and enable creators to take their work even further.”

Sketchfab has partnered with Epic Games in the past as a recipient of an Epic MegaGrant. Unreal Engine, one of the two largest game development platforms alongside Unity, officially supports the 3D model platform via a plugin, as well as Epic’s RealityCapture and ArtStation.

“We will maintain and expand our integration efforts with all creation tools and 3D/VR/AR platforms, so you can easily upload to and import from Sketchfab everywhere,” the company says.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.

Click here to access.

Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/epic-games-acquires-sketchfab-massive-3d-object-library-compatible-ar-vr-headsets/

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AR/VR

The Number of VR Users on Steam Dropped Sharply Last Month, But Valve Isn’t Saying Why

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Valve’s monthly Steam Hardware & Software Survey, which we’ve been carefully tracking for years now, has been a useful way to gauge how many VR headsets are being used on the platform each month. The latest data shows an odd, sharp drop in the number of VR users on Steam, but Valve isn’t saying why.

Each month Valve collects info from Steam users to determine some baseline statistics about what kind of hardware and software is used by the platform’s population, and to see how things are changing over time, including the use of VR headsets.

The data shared in the survey represents the number of headsets connected to Steam over a given month, so we call the resulting figure ‘monthly-connected headsets’ for clarity; it’s the closest official figure there is to ‘monthly active VR users’ on Steam, with the caveat that it only tells us how many VR headsets were connected, not how many were actually used.

While Valve’s data is a useful way see which headsets are most popular on Steam, the trend of monthly-connected headsets is obfuscated because the data is given exclusively as percentages relative to Steam’s population—which itself is an unstated and constantly fluctuating figure.

To demystify the data Road to VR maintains a model, based on the historical survey data along with official data points directly from Valve and Steam, which aims to correct for Steam’s changing population and estimate the actual count—not the percent—of headsets being used on Steam.

Monthly-Connected VR Headsets on Steam

We’ve been tracking the data on VR headsets published in the Steam Hardware & Software survey ever since first-gen VR headsets hit the market. The number of monthly-connected VR headsets on Steam has always seen ups and downs, but last month was different.

In the latest data we saw a surprisingly sharp drop in headsets used on Steam. In fact, it’s the single largest drop we’ve ever seen in the data set—from 2.31% to 1.86%—which is why it stood out as perciular.

While it’s easy to look at the data and see that there have been upswings that are nearly, or as large, as the drop, the major upswings have had fairly clear explanations: the big jump from March 2020 to April 2020 was largely due to the launch of Half-Life: Alyx, while the jump from December 2020 to January 2021 was likely due to the holiday season (with Quest 2 having just recently launched). As for this big drop in the last month, we haven’t been able to come up with any clear explanation.

Road to VR has reached out to three separate people at Valve, on multiple occasions, for comment on the data, but we’ve received no response. Until then, we can only really wait to see if next month’s data brings any answers.

We have seen the Steam Hardware & Software Survey report some funky VR numbers here and there over the years, but usually a correction comes within a week or so. Here we are, three weeks into the month, and nothing appears to be changing. So at this point we can’t say for certain which of the following is true:

  • The data is correct, but the explanation for the drop is unknown
  • The data is correct, due to some kind of statistical adjustment made by Valve
  • The data is in error

Share of VR Headsets on Steam

Looking at the breakdown of individual headsets in use on Steam, we don’t see any strange jostling that we might expect to come with the odd drop in overall headset use.

Despite somewhat notable losses from Rift S (–0.69%), original Rift (–0.54%), and Quest (–0.08%), Quest 2’s gains (+1.74%) managed to grow Facebook’s share of headsets on the platform overall, pushing it to more than 60% for the first time.

Even with the strong growth of Quest 2, other headsets found some room to grow too, like Valve Index now at 16.68% (+0.19%), Vive Cosmos at 1.75% (+0.56%), and even the original HTC Vive at 11.24% (+0.13%).

Windows Mixed Reality dropped slightly to 5.48% (–0.17%), though this marks a three month loss-streak, down from 6.50% share back in March.

HTC’s Vive Cosmos Elite took a larger hit down to just 0.14% (–0.68%), making for a five month loss-streak. Combined, all of HTC’s headsets on Steam now account for 15.22%, less than Valve’s Index headset.

This month’s data also reflected the debut of two new headsets, HTC’s Vive Pro 2 at 0.08% and Pico Neo 3 at 0.27%.

PlatoAi. Web3 Reimagined. Data Intelligence Amplified.

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Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/steam-survey-vr-headsets-june-2021-sharp-drop/

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