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Tips And Tricks On How To Manage Meetings In Virtual Reality

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This is the second part of an article that tackles the challenge of onboarding newcomers to VR collaboration remotely. In the first section (that you can find here) I discussed in detail some general principles to help you during the REMOTE onboarding process up to the moment all participants join the virtual space (set up and shipping of the HMDs, unboxing, hardware introduction, and wearing the headset). While doing that I tried to be hardware and software agnostic as much as possible so that you can adapt the process to your own need.

In this article I will instead talk about:

  • What to expect and how to manage a group of people in a VR environment
  • How to learn the basic controls while having fun
  • Icebreaker activity for VR sessions
  • How to deal with (hardware) diversity

You made it in VR… now what?

Now that you are in VR it’s time to have some fun (finally). Managing the attention of people in VR is VERY different from the real world. When you invite someone in your house, you wouldn’t expect them to wander to your bedroom, open your cabinets or move the furniture around. Well… that is exactly what is going to happen if you don’t plan properly the space in which you welcome your guests. The first suggestion is to use an enclosed area. Many platforms nowadays offer various environments and you can also use some tricks to give the illusion of an “enclosed space”. In the example below, after losing people in my own environment, I decided to put a curtain without a collision box to give people the impression that part of the room would be inaccessible.

Many VR collaboration platforms support images so you can also import a wall texture to achieve a similar result. The other suggestion is to leave in the room only the elements you would be fine for people to interact/play with. This sadly means that very often you will not be able to “prepare” the whole scene in advance. 3D Models, post it, videos etc need to appear later on during the session or you will need to repeatedly ask people to “wait” leading to some unnecessary “frustration”.

Let’s learn VR like kids: one step at a time while playing

Now that the welcome space has been “child-proofed” it’s time to guide every user through the basic commands. The first thing to cover is movement. I will not get into the old story about motion sickness and I assume by now everyone that is reading this article is fully aware of this issue. Regardless of the locomotion and comfort options offered by your platform of choice, remember to explain clearly how to move and how to snap-turn. Do not forget to ask questions and be patient if people have a hard time. You will see that all the hard work you did at the beginning while explaining the buttons on the controllers will pay off. At the same time remember to acknowledge the participants when they succeed at their tasks.

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Depending on the crowd or the purpose of your meetup you might consider having a suitable ice-breaker. What I found works very well is a VR readaptation of the game called “Stop & Go”. This simple ice-breaker gets people to stand up, move a little and laugh. The moderator (probably you) will state aloud in sequence a series of 3 couples of commands: stop-go, hands up-hands down, name-cheer. You start with the first couple of commands and after a few seconds of alternating between the 2 tasks you will announce that the meaning of the 2 words is switched (stop when you say “Go” and walk when you say “Stop”). You will repeat the exercise with the 3 couples of commands, stand up from your chair, have a laughs and get everyone ready for whatever is to come.

https://medium.com/media/27ec00bc5a2f8c6ef198eb95455aa10d/href

While moving to more “advanced” tasks make sure to associate the explanation with some sort of exercise. An example could be the 3D drawing that is supported by many of this platform. Show people how to draw and ask them to guess what you are drawing, then have everybody draw and try to guess each other’s “masterpiece”.

I love diversity (but in VR might sucks)

I see some sort of race between VR collaboration platforms that are trying to support as many devices as possible: desktop, 3DOF VR, ALL possible HMD on earth, mobile, tablet, cardboard, AR headsets etc. This poses a very complex challenge when participants join using different hardware. Let’s take the simplest example: the participants join from a mix of Quest and HTC Vive. The first and most obvious obstacle is that you would need to know, remember and repeat the basic commands for the 2 different devices. The second problem is that the UI and/or functionalities might not be the same. For example, if you want to host a meetup in Mozilla hubs, Quest users can type directly from their headsets while HTC Vive users need to access their physical keyboard (do not ask me why but that is how it works). The third problem is that the visual experience might differ substantially. I am not referring to screen door effect or shadow quality, I am talking about major changes that developers needed to adopt in order to have the experience run on a mobile device. In Engage for example only the avatar of the host is present with a full body representation. In hubs instead, lights and shadows basically disappear making everything look more flat on mobile devices.

So far I mentioned only when people join from 2 different headsets but what happens when someone joins from desktop while someone else is in VR? Well, all the points mentioned above hold EVEN more true AND you get even less understanding about what they are doing. Let me explain. One of the great benefits of VR collaboration is that everyone is engaged and isolated from the distractions of the real world. You can read body cues and understand if people are struggling, happy, frustrated, curious etc. When everybody is in VR it is like if you play on the same field. When someone joins from desktop you cannot know if their avatar is not moving because they are clicking somewhere else or if they just switched tabs and are writing emails.

But enough with complaints! What can you really do to solve/mitigate these issues?

  1. The easiest way is to design the event and provide access only for people joining from one type of device. I know this might sound “racist” and against all the efforts to make VR more inclusive, but it might be your best bet to provide a great experience for everyone.
  2. If this is not possible (or you just feel braver) think and develop the activities around the strengths and weaknesses of each device. People from desktop for example can easily find stuff online and type, while people in VR are much better at positioning objects in space. Assigning specific tasks to the different groups will make everyone feel special in their own way and might lead to some interesting collaboration opportunities.
  3. Last option is to just admit in advance that you’re human. You cannot know the button configuration for every HMD on the market and just being polite and clear about your lack of knowledge will not be seen as a weakness. Moreover, sometimes it doesn’t matter how hard you try, some people will not have a good experience for factors that are outside your control (wifi connection, a missed update etc). Just learn to deal with the losses and move the experience forward for the sake of the other participants.

I hope you enjoyed this article and, if you found it useful, share it with anyone that is trying to find new ways to connect and collaborate in #virtualreality. If you have questions, would like to know more or just need some help do not hesitate to get in touch.

Don’t forget to give us your 👏 !

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Tips And Tricks On How To Manage Meetings In Virtual Reality was originally published in AR/VR Journey: Augmented & Virtual Reality Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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Apply to join Transform’s annual Tech Showcase

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Join Transform 2021 this July 12-16. Register for the AI event of the year.


VentureBeat’s annual Tech Showcase returns at Transform 2021: Accelerating Enterprise Transformation with AI and Data, hosted July 12-16.

VentureBeat will be selecting 5 companies to present the latest and greatest AI and data products on the main stage during the first day of Transform 2021.

We are looking for companies that have built the coolest products and solutions leveraging bleeding edge technologies to help businesses achieve real and tangible results using AI and data. Whether you are a stealth startup or Fortune 500, or anywhere in between, we welcome your submission.

If you have a story to tell, and an AI or Data product/solution with tangible business results and demonstrative use cases, please submit your application here before 5pm PST on Tuesday, June 1.

Selected companies will present on Transform’s main stage in front of hundreds of industry decision makers and will be featured in our on-demand video-hub following the event.

Attendees from across the globe will join online to hear from top industry experts on strategy and technology in the main application areas of AI/ML automation technology, data, analytics, intelligent automation, conversational AI, intelligent AI assistants, AI at the edge, IoT, & computer vision. Executives across industries are invited to join Transform 2021, so register today to join VentureBeat for 5-days of AI and data.

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AR/VR

Captain ToonHead Mixes FPS And Tower Defense On Quest

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Captain ToonHead vs the Punks From Outer Space looks as ridiculous as it sounds, and it’s coming to Oculus Quest soon.

Developer Teravision Games has been working on this title for a while, and previously confirmed it was coming to PSVR and PC VR headsets. Today, though, it’s confirmed it will also reach Oculus Quest this summer. Check out the gameplay trailer below.

Captain ToonHead is described as a mix of first-person shooter and tower defense. In the game, you’re earth’s frontline of defense against invading hordes of enemies that include green minions and, yes, dinosaurs.

VR staples like dual-wielding weapons are in but, as you fight, you’ll also be building towers around the map that help you take down streams of opponents. Your own weapons, meanwhile, include flamethrowers and what looks like… used sandals. If you couldn’t already tell, the game certainly knows where its sense of humor rests.

Weapons can be upgraded, too. There’s no solid date for Captain ToonHead yet but it will launch on Quest at the same time as other platforms. It’s also available to wishlist on Steam right now.

Are you going to be picking up Captain ToonHead? Let us know in the comments below!

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AR/VR

VR Tower Defense Game ‘Captain Toonhead’ Coming To Quest

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Teravision Games’ comically over-the-top FPS tower defense game arrives on Oculus, SteamVR, and PSVR later this summer.

Columbia-based developer Teravision Games today announced that its upcoming VR tower defense game, Captain Toonhead vs the Punks from Outer Space, will be heading to the Oculus Quest and Oculus Quest 2 in addition to SteamVR and PlayStation VR headsets.

Available this summer, this zany FPS tower defense game will have you defending Earth from a never-ending onslaught of outrageous enemies, from t-rexes to cyber-C.H.I.C.K.E.N.s, using an arsenal of comically over-the-top weaponry. You’ll also have the ability to strategically place automatic “Toonret” towers capable of firing hot sauce-based projectiles and explosive “PIGñatas.”

Players take on the role of Elliott Salazar, a couch potato turned intergalactic superhero, Captain Toonhead, as they go head-to-head with various foes from the Voorhees P.U.N.K. Army. Armed with dual blasters and devastating chancla (flip-flops), you’ll battle wave after wave of ridiculous enemies across a series of futuristic environments in an effort to push back the galactic invasion. As you progress, you’ll unlock powerful weapons upgrades and take on increasingly difficult —but hilarious—enemies.

Image Credit: Teravision Games

“Our team is so excited and honored to bring Captain ToonHead to Quest; the fastest growing VR platform!” says Enrique Fuentes, CEO of Teravision Games. “We can’t wait to have players all over the world enjoying building crazy tower and throwing chanclas at T-Rexs and cyberchickens this summer!”

In addition to the comically over-the-top enemies and eye-catching environments, the game will feature full voice acting from an eclectic cast of memorable characters designed to help immerse you in the absolutely ludicrous world of Captain Toonhead.

Image Credit: Teravision Games

Personally, I’ve been eager to see more comedic VR games on the Oculus Quest. Existing titles such as Trover Saves The Universe and Job Simulator are excellent examples of the comedic potential afforded by immersive technology. Here’s hoping Captain Toonhead is able to inject a sense of silliness to the Oculus Quest platform.

Captain Toonhead vs the Punks from Outer Space launches later this summer on Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift, SteamVR, and PlayStation VR headsets. No word yet on an official price tag.

For more information visit the official website.

Feature Image Credit: Teravision Games

The post VR Tower Defense Game ‘Captain Toonhead’ Coming To Quest appeared first on VRScout.

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Roblox CEO Interested In Possible Oculus Quest Launch

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Co-founder Dave Baszucki says the Oculus Quest makes “perfect sense” for the popular online multiplayer game.

Could Roblox be heading to VR via the Oculus Quest? According to CEO and co-founder Dave Baszucki, there’s a genuine possibility.

First reported by RoadtoVR, Baszucki states in a Q1 earnings call with investors that the mega-popular online multiplayer game makes “perfect sense” for the Oculus Quest platform.

Image Credit: Roblox Corporation

“We have the same vision for the immersive 3D multiplayer cloud stuff of the metaverse in that we believe this should be accessible on all devices, both from viewing as well as interaction,” said Baszucki during yesterday’s call.

“And we’ve really innovated around this on phone tablet, computer, and Xbox console, showing that developers can create content that when pushed to our cloud, runs on all of these devices as well as auto translates into multiple languages. So absolutely long term, Switch, PlayStation, Quest, all of these platforms make perfect sense for Roblox.”

Baszucki goes on to clarify that while the above-mentioned platforms all serve as logical options for the game, the team cannot—at this time—provide any information regarding ship dates. According to Baszucki, the company is currently focused on the mobile experience.

Originally released back in 2006 on PC, Roblox has since exploded in popularity among younger players, generating a staggering $384 million last year alone. Last Wednesday the platform went public at $64.50 per share with an overall evaluation of $41 billion; not bad for a free-to-play children’s game.

If you’re like and can’t wait for an official Oculus Quest release, you may want to check out our video “How to Play ROBLOX in VR on Oculus Quest 2!.” Unfortunately, you will need a VR-ready PC in order to access the game in VR on Oculus Quest, but it’s a surprisingly simple process. Roblox accounts for some of my favorite moments in VR, so I highly recommend checking it out if you have the necessary hardware.

You can check out the full earnings call here to learn more.

Feature Image Credit: Roblox Corporation

The post Roblox CEO Interested In Possible Oculus Quest Launch appeared first on VRScout.

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