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Valve Releases ‘Half-Life: Alyx’ Steam Workshop Tools for Making & Downloading Mods

Valve today launched new Half-Life: Alyx modding tools which will allow developers and tinkerers to make and publish mods and user-generated content via the Steam Workshop system. Valve says the tools will allow for the creation of new levels, models, textures, and animations for the game. It’s been about a month and a half since Half-Life: Alyx launched and […]

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Valve today launched new Half-Life: Alyx modding tools which will allow developers and tinkerers to make and publish mods and user-generated content via the Steam Workshop system. Valve says the tools will allow for the creation of new levels, models, textures, and animations for the game.

It’s been about a month and a half since Half-Life: Alyx launched and made its mark as one of VR’s most acclaimed games ever. Today Valve has released the promised modding tools which will allow the game’s community to make and distribute new content for Alyx.

Valve says the Alyx Workshop Tools are still in beta and it plans to improve them over time, but for now here’s what’s being released:

  • Hammer – the latest version of the Source 2 level editor.
  • Material Editor – the tool for creating and tuning materials in Source 2.
  • ModelDoc – a tool for viewing, editing, and compiling models with animation, collision, and other gameplay attributes.
  • AnimGraph – our animation tool used to create complicated animation setups with blends and transitions.
  • Particle Editor – for making new particle effects.
  • Subrect Editor – for creating smart texture sheets known as “hotspots.”
  • Source Filmmaker – the Source 2 cinematic renderer and animation tool.

The tools include several sample maps which demonstrate the pipeline that Valve used to make the game’s levels.

“The entire set of Half-Life: Alyx maps is also included as editable source for reference; this includes a large collection of interactive objects and prefabs. We’ll have news on more features and some smaller additional tools and examples in an future update,” Valve writes.

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Valve Explains the Deceptively Simple Design Process That Made ‘Half-Life: Alyx’ Excellent

Developers and modders can download the official Half-Life: Alyx modding tools here on the Valve developer site where they’ll also find documentation, though Valve notes that it’s still writing the docs.

Once published, players will be able to install Half-Life: Alyx mods through the game’s Steam workshop page.

Alongside the release of the Alyx modding tools, Valve today also released a native Linux version of Half-Life: Alyx which uses the Vulkan rendering API. This also brings optional Vulkan rendering support to the Windows version of the game.

The post Valve Releases ‘Half-Life: Alyx’ Steam Workshop Tools for Making & Downloading Mods appeared first on Road to VR.

Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/half-life-alyx-modding-tools-downloads-steam-workshop/

AR/VR

8th Wall launches Face Effects tool for AR facial animations

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8th Wall is launching Face Effects, a new cloud tool that enables developers to create facial effects that wrap around someone’s face using augmented reality technology.

8th Wall made the announcement at the Augmented World Expo 2020, a digital event that highlights AR technology, such as glasses that overlay animations on the real world.

The face filter developer tools are based on WebAR, which enables AR experiences to be accessed via a web browser instead of an app. 8th Wall Face Effects is designed to give developers and brands control to create face filters that are interactive, real-time, and that live on their own websites.

Developers can launch a new category of face filters we have not yet seen before, including those that leverage real-time applications programming interfaces (APIs), a wide variety of asset types including video textures, multiplayer support, and more. Tom Emrich, vice president of product at 8th Wall, and Rigel Benton, interaction designer, showed me a demo during an interview.

VB Transform 2020 Online – July 15-17. Join leading AI executives: Register for the free livestream.

“We’re on a mission to make augmented reality accessible to everyone,” Emrich said. “And we’ve done that by creating developer tools that allow for our developers to create AR and VR experiences that harness the full power of the open web. We are now adding face effects to the mix. And so with face effects, our developers are going to be able to anchor 3D objects to face attachment points. So you can add virtual hats, virtual jewelry, or glasses to your face.”

One of the cool things I saw was the ability to tap my webcam to overlay augmented reality sunglasses on my face. It wrapped the glasses around my face in a realistic way — something that is pretty hard to do. You can see a demo here that is viewable via a webcam.

Beyond WebAR, 8th Wall Face Effects can also be used across all devices (iOS/Android and desktops using a webcam) and benefit from no app required. You just click a link to experience it. Developers can choose the asset types, file sizes, and content to maximize the value for their audience.

Above: Dean Takahashi of VentureBeat wears some virtual 3D glasses.

Image Credit: 8th Wall

In this way, Face Effects created with 8th Wall could use the live activity of sports data feeds to constantly change the design a fan face paint (yep, sounds scary to me too). Fans could livestream a video as a texture on their faces, connect multiple users together to create a shared shopping experience, and integrate with developers’ preferred analytics, customer relationship management system, and payment systems in virtual try-on products.

Developers can simply scan a QR code to open up a cloud editor that adds a 3D object to your face. The edges of virtual sunglasses can stop at the edge of your face because an occluder prevents it from going right through your face. You can put virtual tattoos on your face to see what they look like before you make them permanent.

“You can jump into a Tilt Brush app and create some art that you could import easily,” Emrich said. “We always provide templates that can really kickstart development.”

Benton showed a chain of mini skulls hanging from his pirate’s hat. The virtual skulls bounced off his real head, as the physics system detected the outline of his head and prevented the skulls from going right through it.

Palo Alto, California-based 8th Wall has about 20 employees, and it was founded in 2016.

Jason Yim, CEO of mixed reality agency Trigger, said in a statement that 8th Wall will enable brands to entertain, engage, and sell in new ways via the web.

With 8th Wall Face Effects, developers can anchor 3D objects to face attachment points, render face mesh with easy to use face components with textures and shaders, and design completely custom effects. Similar to 8th Wall’s existing World Effects and Image Target AR, Face Effects supports development with popular web frameworks such as A-Frame and Three.js.

New developers can sign up for a 14-day free trial of the 8th Wall platform. Existing developers can simply log in and get started using the Face Effects project templates.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/venturebeat/SZYF/~3/gI0rRlwZ87s/

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Niantic’s latest AR features add realism to Pokémon Go

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Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/venturebeat/SZYF/~3/XgQKIXZWQr0/

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Qualcomm expects all-in-one 5G XR viewers in 1-4 years, glasses in 5-10

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Since Qualcomm provides chips and software for most of the world’s best known virtual and augmented reality headsets, it’s uniquely able to forecast the future of mixed reality hardware. Just ahead of this week’s Augmented World Expo, Qualcomm XR chief Hugo Swart used a Spatial holographic conference to brief media on how that future will likely play out. And though some of the major innovations are years rather than months away, the company is laying the groundwork today.

Over the next decade, mixed reality is widely expected to become a key transformative technology for both businesses and average customers, as VR and AR wearables enable users to work and play in hybrid digital/real-world spaces. While prior-generation accessories have been tethered to computers or used smartphones as displays, standalone XR devices and smartphone-tethered “XR viewers” are rapidly gathering steam, a process that’s expected to continue until lightweight standalone 5G XR glasses are available, potentially replacing phones.

Today, Qualcomm is publicly unveiling the XR Optimized certification program for Snapdragon smartphones, offering device makers XR viewer specs, supporting software, and a branding badge so customers will be able to easily identify phones compatible with the headsets. As of today, nine companies — ranging from Nreal to Pico — are making compatible viewers, while seven smartphone OEMs and 15 major cellular operators are backing the initiative.


VB Transform 2020 Online – July 15-17. Join leading AI executives: Register for the free livestream.

Using USB cables for connectivity, these XR viewers will initially rely on smartphones for data, a practical necessity that could help move the entire category forward. Businesses and consumers will be able to make headset purchases from local stores, potentially with subsidized hardware and service bundle pricing. Qualcomm’s XR initiative is already being backed by Verizon in the U.S., five prominent European networks, and the top carriers in China, Japan, and South Korea.

The next step forward will be wirelessly tethered XR viewers, and Swart said Wi-Fi 6E will be used to let cable-free VR and AR viewers connect to smartphones and computers, relying on 6GHz spectrum as an alternative to 60GHz millimeter wave Wi-Fi. Over the next one to four years, cabled XR viewers will transition to fully wireless connections while still using host devices for processing and network (5G) connectivity. Standalone XR devices will become lighter and sleeker during the same period but won’t achieve true glasses-like form factors for a while.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Qualcomm expects that the next big step — standalone XR glasses that look like today’s spectacles but have their own processing and 5G capabilities — are five to 10 years off. While Swart didn’t get into the finer details of that timeline, it’s clear the underlying display, processing, and battery technologies that will enable lightweight XR glasses aren’t ready to converge in a consumer product yet, but annual advances in chip miniaturization and cellular power consumption are continuing to bring the dream closer to reality.

Hardware will only be part of the story, of course. Over the next few years, Qualcomm partners are working on complete XR ecosystems. Niantic is developing its own AR platform for world-scale gaming. And former HTC head Peter Chou has launched XRSpace, a company with XR hardware and Manova — a metaverse-like gathering place akin to Facebook Horizon — to connect users for various XR experiences. Consumer adoption of solutions on the road to completely standalone XR glasses remains a question mark. But interest in early standalone VR headsets like the Oculus Quest has been encouragingly strong over the past year.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/venturebeat/SZYF/~3/AG1i23tHoEE/

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