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VR Digest: VR platforms finalized
for developers conference

The week's top VR news brought to you
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VR Digest: A VR newsletter brought to you by Studio Transcendent
written by Ian Hamilton (@hmltn) issue 58 – March 9, 2016

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

Cyan debuted a new trailer for its upcoming VR-enabled exploration title Obduction, the “spiritual successor” to the legendary Myst series. Studio Transcendent helped Cyan produce the full motion video captures used in the game, which were singled out for praise in a recent hands-on granted to Dustin Orgill of GameTyrant. The crowdfunded experience has now reached its beta and is on track to be released in June. It will be demonstrated publicly for the first time at the Epic Games booth at GDC.

VR Platforms Finalized For First-Ever Virtual Reality Developers Conference

With the rollout of consumer Rift and HTC Vive headsets beginning on March 28th and April 5th, respectively, Facebook and Valve are making the final push for the consumer launch of the Oculus and SteamVR consumer VR platforms. The sold-out Virtual Reality Developers Conference (VRDC) taking place on Monday, and Tuesday before the Game Developers Conference (GDC) is an opportunity for the VR platforms to showcase the technology and experiences coming to the public throughout 2016.

Oculus released a sample application and framework for Unity developers that demonstrates how to implement common solutions to VR interaction challenges. Facebook’s VR company will also be hosting a gaming showcase focused on multiplayer experiences. At the Oculus developer event last year the company announced Hulu and Minecraft would be coming to the platform, neither of which have launched yet. Key social functionality planned for the platform has also not been detailed yet.

Valve integrated mixed reality capture into its Unity plug-in, making it easier for developers creating experiences for SteamVR to build trailers that mix a person’s movements in the real world with what the person sees in VR. Visual effects expert Kert Gartner is working with the developers of Job Simulator (must-watch short test video) and Fantastic Contraption (test video) to put together mixed reality trailers for those games using the mixed reality capture technology combined with green screens. Valve also plans to debut “The Lab,” a compilation of room-scale VR experiments, at GDC.

Sony is holding a press conference Tuesday afternoon that is likely to reveal new details about its PlayStation VR platform.
 

Bits

A job posting spotted by UploadVR suggests Amazon will be competing with Hulu and Netflix for VR viewership. The manager will be responsible “for building the Virtual Reality experience within Amazon Video.”

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney took aim at Microsoft in an opinion piece published in The Guardian: “Microsoft wants to monopolise games development on PC. We must fight it.” At issue is Microsoft’s new Universal Windows Platform which purports to help developers target all of Microsoft’s Operating Systems at once (desktop, mobile Xbox, etc.), but which by default will only allow those applications to be installed via the Windows app store, cutting out competitors like Steam.

Chinese gaming cafe platform Shunwang announced that it is seeking Western content partners to help provide VR content for its new Vive rollout. They also shared some survey results of what their customers are interested in experiencing.

Eva Hoerth wrote a thoughtful piece about how awkward people look in VR after a humorous video she posted went viral.

“I’m calling on all of you to capture how hilarious today’s headsets look. I want our grandchildren to laugh and be thankful that they can just play around with holograms anywhere they want without spending hours setting up mountains of cables or battling with eye strain/vomiting.”

Six flags is experimenting with VR by allowing riders on six coasters around the country to ride with a Gear VR strapped to their face. The experience on the gear will be synchronized with the twists and turns of the real ride. It could turn out to be a boon for glasses-wearing coaster fans who generally don’t get much of a view for fear of losing their spectacles. The high-speed “Superman” ride will also get a Metropolis-themed VR option.

Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey commented on why Rift doesn’t support Macs: “That is up to Apple. If they ever release a good computer, we will do it.” Luckey later clarified the comment, revealing he uses a Macbook Pro and the only reason Oculus doesn’t support Mac is because Apple doesn’t use graphics cards tuned for VR or gaming (the Mac Pro is tuned for video editing instead, and the rest of the line relies on mobile-variant or integrated chipsets for reduced heat and power consumption).

Images posted online show the size difference between the Vive Pre controllers and the forthcoming Oculus Touch ones.

Oculus has started a weekly developer showcase to highlight new titles coming to its platform. First up is Hidden Path Entertainment with their indie hit Defense Grid 2. Oculus is hosting a trailer of the game’s new “Enhanced VR Edition”.
 

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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