VR Digest: Palmer leaves Oculus

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written by John Dewar (@jstarrdewar) Issue 114 – April 5, 2017

VR Digest: A Virtual Reality newsletter brought to you by Studio Transcendent

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Palmer Luckey Leaves Oculus

In a major twist on what was already quite a dramatic tale, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey is departing his company and its parent Facebook. No reason was given for the departure, but the social media giant did provide a farewell message.

“Palmer will be dearly missed. Palmer’s legacy extends far beyond Oculus. His inventive spirit helped kickstart the modern VR revolution and helped build an industry. We’re thankful for everything he did for Oculus and VR, and we wish him all the best.”

Luckey was embroiled in a couple of recent controversies including the Zenimax lawsuit and a $10,000 donation to Nimble America, which was using the money to put up crude billboards against Hillary Clinton’s campaign (and separately causing reddit controversies among Donald Trump supporters). After being forced to respond to the Nimble America brouhaha, Luckey went silent, and hasn’t been seen or heard from except for his testimony at the Zenimax trial in January, which resulted in a $500 million penalty against Oculus, Luckey, and CEO Brendan Iribe (who co-founded the Oculus corporation with Luckey).

Luckey is undeniably brilliant, and has always been outwardly personable and filled with energy and enthusiasm when interacting with developers at Oculus related events. We hope that he surfaces with a new venture soon, but it may be a while, depending on the terms of his departure from Facebook.

Galaxy S8 Announcement Recap

The Samsung Galaxy S8 smartphone will go on sale April 21 for $750. Samsung confirmed pricing of a new Gear VR with an external motion controller, which retails for $129. Pre-orders placed on or before April 20 receive the Gear VR for free. Also announced, was a new, refined version of the Gear 360 camera which now works with iPhones.

The S8 features a 5.8 or 6.2 inch OLED with a 2960 x 1440 resolution. In normal usage, the phone defaults to scaling up a 2220 x 1080 image, only switching to maximum resolution when placed in the Gear VR.

A new version of Oculus Home is coming along with the new Gear VR. It uses a new rendering technique called “Cylindrical TimeWarp Layers” which nearly doubles the resolution of text displayed in the Gear VR by making more efficient use of the pixels in the display. The technique does not create similar gains in image resolution because of aliasing concerns (images have to be softened to prevent jagged crawling lines from moving around). John Carmack explained the technique in a Facebook post.

The Cylindrical TimeWarp Layers are built into an all-new version of the Oculus Runtime, which is not available to developers just yet. The new Oculus Home is the first application that will use its rendering capabilities. The update is gradually rolling out to all Gear VR users now.


Google has confirmed that Huawei's Mate 9 Pro, revealed earlier this month, will soon support Daydream VR through a software update.

UploadVR was invited to try Ubisoft’s upcoming Star Trek: Bridge Crew cooperative multiplayer game and had a great time, which they documented in a mission playthrough video and a reaction video.

HTC is offering a $100 discount on the Vive and a free download of their $20 Arcade Saga title today only to celebrate the system’s first anniversary.

A new Unity asset called Mixcast VR aims to make setting up Mixed Reality output from your Unity applications much easier. It is not offered on the Asset Store–instead it is being sold on Steam with a monthly subscription pricing model.

Everyone loves Robo Recall, Epic’s free-for-Touch-owners robot shooting game. However, it can be a chore to reorient the front facing direction when teleporting around the levels. For users with a room-scale 360-tracking setup (requiring at least three Oculus sensors), Epic has enabled 360 play in a new update.

A new AMD driver will add support for Oculus’ Asynchronous Spacewarp rendering technology to older Radeon GPUs. It also adds support for SteamVR’s Asynchronous Reprojection technology for the RX480 and RX470.

VR Digest™ is a Virtual Reality Newsletter brought to you by Studio Transcendent, a producer of premium Virtual Reality experiences. We publish weekly on Wednesdays.

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