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Tournament Paintballer Snapshot VR Hits Steam in September

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Giant Scam Industries paintball inspired arena shooter Snapshot VR launched yesterday for PC VR headsets on Viveport. The studio has now confirmed the early access launch on Steam will take place at the beginning of September (not August like the listing currently states).

Snapshot VR

Available through the Viveport Infinity subscription service, Snapshot VR is a quick-fire first-person shooter (FPS) where rounds can be over in less than a minute. Modelled on real-life paintball tournaments, two teams of up to five players must eliminate each other in compact, dynamic maps.

Snapshot VR dispenses with a lot of the bloat of other multiplayer shooters, featuring one-shot kills, physics-based projectiles, and nearly unlimited map variety. There’s a training mode where players can place either stationary or moving targets via the 2D Paintball Field Creator, then head out solo or as a team to run drills to learn how to be a cohesive unit.

“We are stoked to finally get Snapshot VR into the hands and headsets of players,” said Jesse Keogh, Founder and Lead Engineer at Giant Scam in a statement. “We’ve been working night and day to bring a polished and, most importantly, fun multiplayer experience to VR platforms and can’t wait for players to get involved.”

Snapshot VR

Having played competitive paintball the Giant Scam team has ensured the VR experience lives up to its real counterpart. So pre-made maps are based on real-world NXL layouts whilst a wealth of metrics and information is available for post-game analysis so teams can tweak their strategies. There will also be three locomotion options so that most players can comfortably and easily move in the hectic environments.

Snapshot VR will be available through Steam on 1st September 2020, supporting Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Valve Index and Windows Mixed Reality headsets. As further details are released, VRFocus will keep you updated.

Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2020/07/tournament-paintballer-snapshot-vr-hits-steam-in-september/

AR/VR

AMD Announces Radeon RX 6000-series GPUs with USB-C “for a modern VR experience”

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AMD today introduced the Radeon RX 6800, 6800 XT, and 6900 XT graphics cards based on its latest RDNA 2 architecture. With a release date in November and prices starting at $580, AMD is aiming to compete directly with NVIDIA’s latest 30-series GPUs. And—better late than never—the RX 6000-series cards include a USB-C port to “power head-mounted displays with just one cable for a modern VR experience.”

Before we dive into details, here’s the release date, price, and basic specs of each card:

RX 6900 XT RX 6800 XT RX 6800
Price $1,000 $650 $580
Release Date December 8th, 2020 November 18th, 2020
Compute Units 80 72 60
Game Clock (GHz) 2.02 2.02 1.82
Boost Clock (GHz) 2.25 2.25 2.11
Memory (GDDR6) 16GB
Connectors DisplayPort 1.4 w/ DSC*, HDMI 2.2 w/ VRR*, USB-C* 2x DisplayPort 1.4 w/ DSC, 1x HDMI 2.2 w/ VRR, 1x USB-C
* connector counts unspecified

See a detailed spec comparison here

Based on its new RDNA 2 architecture, AMD is positioning its 6000-series cards to compete directly with Nvida’s latest 30-series GPUs in price, performance, and features.

Infinity Cache, Ray-tracing, and Smart Access Memory

New to the 6000-series cards, ‘Infinity Cache’ is 128MB of memory directly on the GPU die. AMD says the cache acts as a “bandwidth amplifier” for the rest of the card’s memory; 16GB of GDDR6 combined with the 128MB Infinity Cache increases “effective bandwidth” by up to 3.25 times compared to the same amount of memory without the cache.

“This global cache is seen by the entire graphics core, capturing temporal re-use and enabling data to be accessed instantaneously. Leveraging the best high frequency approaches from Zen architecture, AMD Infinity Cache enables scalable performance for the future,” the company explains.

The 6000-series cards also introduce hardware accelerated ray-tracing with one ‘Ray Accelerator’ per Compute Unit. The card’s ray-tracing tech is based on the DirectX 12 Ultimate implementation; AMD says developers can mix and match rasterization and ray-tracing effects, with “an order of magnitude” improvement in ray-tracing operations compared to the last generation of Radeon cards.

Image courtesy AMD

The company is also introducing a unique feature for users who pair AMD’s 6000-series GPUs with the company’s own 5000-series Ryzen CPUs. Called Smart Access Memory, the company says the feature allows the CPU to access more of the GPUs memory at once, resulting in a performance boost of a few percentage points depending upon the title. While not a groundbreaking change in performance by itself, it’s essentially ‘free’ (if you have the right combination of hardware), and a smart way to leverage the company’s broader hardware portfolio.

A VirtualLink to the Past

AMD’s own versions of the Radeon RX 6000-series cards include USB-C across the board, which, for VR in particular, would allow the cards to support the VirtualLink standard—a USB-C ‘alt-mode’ which was designed to provide VR headsets with data, power, and video through a single port.

Indeed, the company’s marketing says the port can “power head-mounted displays with just one cable for a modern VR experience,” though the timing is pretty odd given that the VirtualLink standard was initially introduced in 2018 and has since been abandoned. On the flip side, Nvidia was early with support for VirtuaLink by including USB-C ports on its first wave of RTX 20-series GPUs, only to eschew the power on the latest 30-series cards.

Still, as far as we know, a USB-C port on the RX 6000-series cards should mean that VirtualLink devices could work just fine, and headset makers could always devise their own single-cable headset connection based on the card’s USB-C port.

Variable Rate Shading

Image courtesy AMD

The RDNA 2 architecture of the 6000-series GPUs also supportS Variable Rate Shading which allows fine-grain control over the shading rate from one frame to the next. This can be used to essentially lower the resolution of some parts of the scene (say dark areas or those without much detail) while maintaining full resolution in important, or high detail parts of the scene.

For VR headsets specifically, the Variable Rate Shading feature opens the door to more precise foveated rendering, which could be static (to match lens distortion) or active (to align with eye movement). AMD hasn’t shown its own VR-specific solution (like Nvidia’s Variable Rate Supersampling) but the underlying tech to support this kind of foveation is there under the hood.

– – — – –

We’ll be looking forward to getting our hands on AMD’s 6000-series cards to see how they handle upcoming high-resolution headsets like HP’s Reverb G2 and memory hungry games like Microsoft Flight Simulator (2020).

Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/amd-radeon-rx-6900-xt-6800-xt-price-release-date-specs/

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Crowdfunded AR Startup Tilt Five Secures $7.5M Series A Investment

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Tilt Five, the startup behind the eponymous AR headset for tabletop gaming, today announced it has secured $7.5 million in Series A funding.

The funding round was led by SIP Global Partners with participation from BITKRAFT Ventures, Galaxy Interactive, and games industry veteran Ken Birdwell, who is known for his previous work on the Half-Life series at Valve. Jeffrey Smith of SIP Global Partners is said to join Tilt Five’s board of directors.

The company says its Series A will be used to hire additional employees, build partnerships, and expand available content.

Founded in 2017 by Jeri Ellsworth, Tilt Five launched its Kickstarter campaign late last year hoping to attract $450,000 to bring its AR headset to life. Within only 24 hours Tilt Five was fully funded, going on to garner over $1.7 million throughout the month-long campaign. Including current pre-orders for the AR headset, this brings the startup’s overall funds to nearly $10 million.

Image courtesy Tilt Five

Tilt Five uses a similar projection-based technology to Ellsworth’s first AR headset system, CastAR, which attracted $15 million in venture funding before closing down in 2017. Similar to CastAR, Tilt Five includes AR glasses, a special retroreflective game board, and a 6DOF wand controller—all of which is made to work with multiplayer interactions in mind, both local and online play.

Tilt Five’s tech isn’t based on the same sort of wave-guide optics as conventional AR headsets though, which gives it a few important benefits over conventional designs; the headset actually projects the image via two head-mounted micro projectors and tracks the wand controller via inside-out sensors.

Image courtesy Tilt Five

This allows Tilt Five to achieve a reported 110-degree field of view, which is far and away larger than HoloLens 2, Magic Leap 1, or even the Nreal Light headset. Also, because it relies on PC, tablet, or smartphones to drive the experience, it only weighs 85 grams. Still, it’s limited to the playspace of the special gameboard, however judging by the startup’s early crowdfunding success, it’s clear there’s plenty of tabletop gamers out there looking for a more immersive experience.

“Tilt Five was founded on the idea that we can bring family and friends together to play in the real world, enhanced with the magical capabilities of immersive 3D technology,” said Jeri Ellsworth, Tilt Five CEO. “While the tech giants invest billions in far-off solutions, this investment expands our ability to deliver on a proven set of technologies resulting in an affordable, social and wearable device.”

Tilt Five says it’s ramping up production now with the intent of shipping kits to Kickstarter backers and pre-order customers over the next two quarters. It’s base model kit currently available for pre-order, Tilt Five XE, includes a pair of AR glasses, a game board and single wand— priced at $359. Larger format kits including three AR glasses, three wands and a gameboard, are said to arrive sometime next year.

Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/tilt-five-investment-ar-glasses/

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Where to Change Quest 2 Privacy Settings and See Your VR Data Collected by Facebook

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Oculus Quest 2 is the first Facebook headset to require a Facebook account. It’s the culmination of a trend of deeper integration between Oculus products and Facebook services. That means it’s worth knowing what privacy settings are offered to you and what data Facebook collects on your VR usage. Here’s the overview.

Where to Find Oculus Quest 2 Privacy Settings

Although there’s not a lot of customization of privacy settings available right now, at least Facebook makes them easy to change. In fact, you can do it right now from your web browser by checking out the Oculus Privacy Center and then scrolling down to Privacy Settings.

Here what you can control and what each option does:

Who will see your activity on Oculus?

This controls how your current activity in VR is displayed on your profile (like which app you’re using). If you don’t want anyone to know what you’re currently up to in VR, change this to ‘Only Me’.

Who can see your friends list on Oculus?

This controls who can see the people your VR friends are through your Oculus profile. If you don’t want anyone to see who your VR friends are, change this to ‘Only Me’.

Who will see your Facebook name on Oculus?

This controls which name people will see associated with your Oculus profile. Depending upon your setting, people may see your Oculus username or the first and last name of your Facebook profile. This also controls whether or not people can search for your Oculus profile by your Facebook name. If you don’t want anyone to see your real name in VR or be able to find your Oculus profile with your real name, change this to ‘Only Me’.

There’s one other key setting you can change: whether or not Facebook stores recordings of your voice captured by the Voice Commands feature; by default any time you use Voice Commands, a voice recording of the command will be stored on Facebook’s servers.

You can only disable this option from within your headset, here’s how:

  1. In your headset, bring up the Quest menu by pressing the Oculus button on your right controller. Find the Settings section (gear icon).
  2. On the left of the Settings section select ‘Device’
  3. In the Device menu, select ‘Voice Commands’
  4. In the Voice Commands menu, switch off the ‘Store Voice Commands’ option

How to See What Data Facebook Has Collected About Your VR Usage

Image courtesy Facebook

Facebook stores information about what you do in VR for various purposes, including basic account functionality (like knowing which games you’ve purchased), and advertising (like showing you an ad in your Facebook feed for Oculus games you recently searched for in your headset).

You can see a fairly comprehensive list of the data associated with your Oculus account by accessing the View Your Information section of the Oculus Privacy Center. Here’s the overview of what’s shown there:

  • Profile Information
    • Real name
    • First name
    • Last name
    • Username
    • Email address
    • Profile photo
    • Avatar 2D image
  • Other Information About You
    • Current and past profile photos
    • Language selection
  • Information About Your Account
    • Account creation time
    • Account creation source
    • Account status
  • Your Apps and Content
    • Apps you own
    • Recently viewed apps
    • Bundles you own
    • In-app entitlements
    • Achievements
    • Subscribed events
    • Named rooms
    • Cloud saves
    • Chat threads
  • Your Ratings and Reviews
  • Information About Your Devices
    • Which Oculus devices are registered with your account
    • Associated devices (names of computers or phones used with Oculus headsets)
    • Online status history
    • Oculus Home status
    • Device sharing
    • Users you are sharing with
  • Your Settings and Preferences
    • Who can see your real name (setting)
    • Who can search for you by your real name (setting)
    • Who can see your friends list (setting)
    • Who can see your activity (setting)
    • Notification preferences
    • Email subscriptions
    • Interests (based on Oculus Explore Feed)
    • Allow Non-Oculus apps (setting)
    • Incognito mode (setting)
    • App activity privacy
  • Friends
  • Security and Login Information
    • Login history
    • Active sessions
    • Location history
  • Rift Home Information
    • Last login
    • Total homes
    • Active homes
    • Item uploads
    • Place uploads
    • Unlocked home items
  • Your Voice Activities

The above is the data that Facebook captures about your VR use, but if you’re using Quest 2, your VR usage data is inherently associated with data collected by Facebook on your non-VR activity. Thus it’s also worth looking over that information to know what kind of data will potentially be used to influence your activity in VR.

You can find the data Facebook has collected on your non-VR activities by visiting the Access Your Information page on Facebook.

The Fine Print

If you want to dig in deeper to understand what Facebook legally says about its collection and usage of your data, here are the key documents that lay out the company’s position:

Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/oculus-quest-2-privacy-facebook-data-collection-settings/

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