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The Second Coming of Augmented-Reality Glasses

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With virtually all smart devices having a voice assistant AI: Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, Cortana, and Bixby. It is not difficult to predict that AR glasses manufactured by the Big Tech will also include this technology. While usage of voice assistant is not popular due to privacy concerns and still unnatural responses, it is slowly becoming more and more ubiquitous in our every life. The most popular products with voice assistant AI’s are smartphones and smart speakers.

Photo by Rahul Chakraborty on Unsplash

By far the most popular is the Amazon Alexa with about 69% share of the U.S. smart speaker market, reported the Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) in January 2018. With already 29% U.S. adults under the age of 50 reported to own a smart speaker, as the product become cheaper, we will see this number increase. Amazon also allows internet-of-things (IoT) developers to access its Alexa voice assistant service through Alexa Voice Service (AVS), more devices will have Alexa built-in, which further accelerate the improvement of the voice assistant AI.

These AI will continue to improve as users interact with them more, allowing them to learn and improve on their voice recognition models. By the time AR glasses are re-introduced, touch interface may even be obsolete.

Source: https://arvrjourney.com/the-second-coming-of-augmented-reality-glasses-3e439afb1a2?source=rss—-d01820283d6d—4

AR/VR

The Invisible Hours Brings Its VR Murder Mystery Drama To Quest ‘Soon’

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While things might seem to go slowly on the new release front for Oculus Quest a lot of the time, that hasn’t been the case lately. There’s a slew of big titles dropping very soon and now we can add murder mystery drama The Invisible Hours from Tequila Works to that list.

The game’s developer, Tequila Works, announced it’s “coming soon” to Oculus Quest over on Twitter:

The premise in The Invisible Hours is essentially like one giant murder mystery party is playing out before you and as an outside observer you have to piece together the pieces to solve the murder of one Nikola Tesla.

Rather than actually “doing” a lot in The Invisible Hours, you spend most of your time observing and searching for clues while you browse environments and listen to conversations. The characters, world building, and performances are the cornerstones here — and being able to explore more freely on the wireless Oculus Quest will be a great boon to immersion.

In his original review from 2017, Jamie from UploadVR wrote the following before awarding it a 9 out of 10 on our previous review scale:

“The Invisible Hours is unlike anything else you’ll play or watch in VR this year; a genuinely enthralling murder mystery boldly told in an entirely new way. Its character-driven drama is near faultless not just in the dialogue and plotting but also in the superb staging and pacing that brings the world to life. It’s an experiment that pays off in spades and could well provide a template for VR storytelling to come.”

That’s pretty high praise.

Stay tuned to UploadVR for more news on upcoming Oculus Quest games like The Invisible Hours. Let us know what you think down in the comments below!

Source: https://uploadvr.com/the-invisible-hours-quest/

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Minecraft Gear VR Support To End In October, No More Multiplayer & Realms

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It’s nearly the end of the road for the Gear VR version of Minecraft; support for that version of Mojang’s enduring hit will end in October.

What does that mean, exactly? Well, as of October there will be no new updates for Minecraft Gear VR, and multiplayer and Realms support will be taken away too. You’ll still be able to play the game in single-player, but Minecraft with no online mode is a bit of a sad thought, isn’t it?

Support is also ending for Windows 10 Mobile, Android devices with less than 768MB of RAM, iOS devices running iOS 10 or below, or video cards that only support DirectX 10.1 or below. Make sure you’re updating where necessary if you want to keep playing.

Minecraft is still available on Oculus Rift and it doesn’t sound like support is ending there. Gear VR itself is basically dead at this point; Samsung itself has stopped updating its software, Facebook dropped Oculus SDK support for the device and the latest Samsung phones don’t support the headset, so it’s not too surprising to see this news. Minecraft never came to Oculus Go but, even if it had, that platform’s going the way of the dodo soon too.

Many of our hopes for Minecraft VR’s future rest on Oculus Quest, then. Back in June, Facebook’s John Carmack revealed he had the game up and running on the standalone headset, but could never get his company and Mojang owner Microsoft to collaborate on release. Minecraft VR support has always been a pet project for the legendary developer. Look, here he is wearing a Gear VR and playing the game at an Xbox E3 conference a few years back.

Minecraft Gear VR

Online support for a port is gaining ground, though; even the Oculus Gaming Twitter account is encouraging fans to let Mojang know they want it. Fans are upvoting the idea on the official Minecraft site, too.

Still, even if it never comes to Quest, we’ll always have Minecraft Earth, right? Right?

Source: https://uploadvr.com/minecraft-gear-vr-support-ending/

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A Chat with the Team Behind VR Puzzler Tetris Effect

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Tetris® Effect, the latest incarnation of the popular block puzzler, debuted on Oculus Quest last May. Since then, longtime fans and newcomers alike have fallen under its psychedelic charms, with Polygon noting “This is a portable version of a game that became an instant classic, on what may be the best VR hardware for most players. It couldn’t have come at a better time.” The Verge also gave Tetris® Effect good marks, saying, “…as with every other game for the Quest, it’s wonderful to play without wires and to be able to jump in right away with minimal fuss.”

Each weekend, the Tetris® Effect community is invited to participate in the popular “Weekly Ritual” event. Players from all over the world play specially curated stages and contribute toward a global goal. If the combined cerebral might of players accrues enough points in the allotted time — the event lasts 24 hours — all participants win a special avatar.

To learn more about Tetris® Effect, we spoke with Monstars Project Manager Yasuyuki Togo, Technical Director Atsushi Kusunose, and Synesthesia Artist Yoshitaka Asaji; as well as Resonair Sound Director Noboru Mutoh.

How would you describe Tetris® Effect to someone new to puzzlers in VR?

It’s classic, familiar Tetris®, heightened by design to immerse the player in a synesthetic combination of sound, visuals, and interaction. It is designed to help induce a flow state for the player, where they can lose themselves in the experience.

How does VR change the way players experience such a classic puzzle game?

Playing Tetris® Effect is like going to a live fireworks show; you hear the sounds and watch the effects live. In 2D, you were playing Tetris on the other side of the screen, but in VR, you’re experiencing everything from the inside. With the 2D screen removed, you feel like you’re there, with the game unfolding right in front of you. We designed Tetris Effect so that the music, backgrounds, sounds, effects, and vibrations all sync with the gameplay. We believe this synesthesia experience is enhanced in VR.

Can you talk about some of the different game modes? Which is your favorite?

We all like Journey Mode, but our favorite Effect Modes are Purify and Master. Purify is a mode in which you “purify” the dark blocks with Line Clears near the infected block. The focus here is to keep the Combo going, which makes this mode unique. You concentrate on clearing lines consecutively, rather than aiming to clear multiple lines at once — so the more you get into it, the more you’ll find yourself enjoying the fun of clearing lines over and over.

Master Mode has the highest difficulty level in Tetris® Effect. In the final stages of development, this mode was so popular among the team that we fought every day to see who would clear the most lines. The challenge is simple: How fast can you play? We think the sense of accomplishment from crossing a barrier you couldn’t pass before is the best of all the modes.

What was the biggest challenge in bringing Tetris® Effect to life in VR?

The main challenge was to design a visual and audio presentation that wouldn’t distract from the gameplay, but instead enhance the experience while maintaining excellent performance.

How’d the team go about creating the music and sound effects in Tetris® Effect?

We aimed to make the music and sound effects cohesive. We used vocal talent for tracks and sound effects to help create an emotional connection between players and the experience. Sound effects are all carefully designed, so even when played alone, they touch the heart.

How do spatial audio, haptic feedback, and other VR features enhance the experience?

The haptics were designed to match the beat of the music and enhance the experience by complimenting the flow of the music and levels. We did lots of tests internally and included alternate vibration patterns in the vibration options — so please try it out!

Can you talk about a favorite level or scenario that stands out in your mind?

THE DEEP: This is the first stage we worked on during development, and we worked on it until the very end of the project. The whale starts as a small fish in the deep sea, but it eventually changes shape and flies out into space. The stage was the beginning of Journey Mode, and the beginning of our development staff’s journey as well.

KARMA WHEEL: The simple background and percussion sounds can be very addictive! We love the sound of rotating Tetriminos — it makes us want to keep hitting the rotation button over and over, even in unnecessary situations. Because the background design is simple, the sound effects stand out even more.

STRATOSPHERE: Depending on the time of day that you play this stage, the sound will vary. There are three unique sound variations, so please try playing at different times!

What’s the “Weekend Ritual” event all about? Any highlights you’d like to share?

This happens every Saturday, for 24 hours. A global point goal is set, then users play that week’s featured mode and contribute to this overall point goal. If 100% of the Community Goal is reached in 24 hours, a rare avatar unlocks for anyone who participated in the event.

How has the gaming community responded to the game so far?

We’ve had a great response so far! Most people who play the game prefer the VR experience to playing on a standard screen. We are also honored to have won awards and accolades that include Game of the Year 2018 from Giant Bomb and Eurogamer, a SXSW Gaming Award for Excellence in Musical Score, and a BAFTA nomination for Audio Achievement.

Jump in and chill out with Tetris® Effect on Oculus Quest today!

Source: https://www.oculus.com/blog/a-chat-with-the-team-behind-vr-puzzler-tetris-effect/

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