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VR Digest: Unity Shows In-VR Editing Tools

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written by Ian Hamilton (@hmltn) issue 55 – February 17, 2016

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

Unity Shows In-VR Editing Tools, Vives Given Away To Devs

The Unity Vision Summit in Hollywood showcased Unity’s answer to Epic’s in-VR editing tools. You can see a live demo of the technology 48 minutes into the 1 hour and 44 minute keynote video.

Valve’s Gabe Newell also promised to give free HTC Vives to all the developers at the event while Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey said around 90 percent of the projects on the Oculus store are made in Unity and they’ll be offering all Rift buyers a 4-month free trial of Unity Pro.

The Vision VR/AR award winners were also named during the summit. U2’s Song For Someone 360-degree music video won “best live-action experience”; the Apollo 11 educational experience won “best film/interactive story”; Portal-like stealth game Budget Cuts won “best VR game”; Technolust won the artistic achievement award; creativity sandbox Modbox won a technical achievement award; puzzle game Eleanor of Ayer won “best AR experience”; wondrous exploration game Thunderbird won “best VR experience”; atmospheric puzzler I Expect You To Die won the Vision Inspire Award.
 

Bits

Retailers including Best Buy, Amazon and Microsoft started offering Rift and “Oculus Ready” PC bundles starting at around $1,500 to ship in late April.

The Khronos group released version 1.0 of Vulkan, a cross platform graphics API that is the successor to the current industry standard, OpenGL. For end users, the primary benefit of Vulkan is that it will be more efficient on the CPU, much like proprietary solutions from Apple (Metal) and Microsoft (DirectX 12). This will lead to enhanced performance, especially for VR applications that must draw the scene twice, once for each eye. Google has announced that it will be supported on Android benefitting mobile platforms like Gear VR.

GameStop’s CEO spoke to Fox News and started talking about VR, saying “we will launch the Sony product this fall.” His comments come near the end of this 4-minute video. Previously Sony said they had targeted a release in the first half of 2016.

Oculus released a plug-in for Unity that is “used to sync avatar lip movements to speech sounds from a canned source or microphone input.” Here is a demonstration.

Mobile World Congress in Barcelona next week is likely to reveal a number of phone-centric VR news, including the next Samsung and LG devices. The HTC Vive was revealed at the same event last year. Sweden-based Univrses will be one of the companies showing technology at the event and a 1-minute video teases mobile position tracking.

Mattel teased an updated View-Master VR viewer with a headphone jack, adjustable focus and a more robust holder for a wider variety of phones. Its $30 predecessor helped popularize Google Cardboard by putting it on store shelves.

The TED conference is underway this week in Vancouver with both AR and VR being hyped at the event. The Void’s is showing its custom Rapture head-mounted display and vibrating vest combined with experiences that are matched to physical walls and environmental effects. Harrison Ford tried The Void’s VR experience and it looks like he was happy afterward. A 2-minute video shows reactions to the Meta AR glasses which are to be shown today.

Academy Award nominees will get a gift bag this year with a Gear VR and matching phone pre-loaded with experiences by Venice-based WEVR.

The developers behind Vive creativity puzzler game Fantastic Contraption are exploring turning their impressive mixed reality streaming solution into a Unity plug-in so that more developers can show viewers a real-world person combined with the world in which they are playing.

Gear VR owners can try out a $3 Gear VR experience made for the movie Goosebumps with some fun jump scares included.

Paul Bettner of Playful Corp, creator of Rift launch title Lucky’s Tale, is the 300th interview by Kent Bye of Voices of VR. It’s a 32-minute podcast.

Epic CEO Tim Sweeney spoke with Ian Hamilton, and their Q&A covers the past, present and future of VR. Sweeney said the recently-revealed in-VR mode for the Unreal Engine 4 editor would be available soon:

“At GDC in March we will announce an overarching plan and the release timing of Unreal Engine VR support. And it will be coming sooner rather than later. We’ll be getting it out into everyone’s hands as soon as possible and the date will be announced soon. The real immediate benefit to this stuff is being able to build and tweak environments in VR. I think you’ll be able to pick it up and it is still a professional tool, so it’s not as easy as a program like Medium could be when they are designing something from the very beginning for simplicity…but it is certainly in the realm of you can pick up as a hobby. I think you’ll find it easier than the old style 2D interface.”
 
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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