VR Digest: Valve releases updates;
Samsung's Gear VR giveaway

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 71 – June 8, 2016

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

Samsung Expands Gear VR Giveaway

Samsung lowered the cost for a complete VR system this week, throwing in a free Gear VR with the purchase of any 2015 or 2016 Samsung phone through June 19. Unlike the S7 promotion earlier this year, the new offer includes a Gear VR free with the purchase of the Galaxy S6 or Note 5.

Valve Releases Updates

Valve released a series of updates this week, including a big software update for The Lab. The free software bundle on Steam includes a collection of mini-games which now have leaderboards and endless modes, making arcade game Xortex and archery game Longbow more fun and fully fledged titles.

For developers, Valve released rendering tools for the Unity game engine. The toolset was used to create The Lab and allows developers to use more dynamic lights in the scene while still taking advantage of MSAA, a technology which enables sharp, smooth graphics but is incompatible with “deferred” renderers like the new standard Unity 5 renderer.

The toolset also enables dynamic adjustments to the rendering complexity of the scene, helping to maintain a solid 90 frames per second even on minimum-spec hardware without relying on reprojection/asynchronous timewarp, a technique that can create artifacts in the image.

The company also released data detailing the room sizes among SteamVR users. 81% of Vive users have a play area at least 6x5 feet in size.


A wonderful 6-minute video by London-based designer/filmmaker Keiichi Matsuda packs in an enormous number of Mixed Reality use cases, warning us of a future digitally plastered over with too much information.

AMD is lowering the barrier to PC-powered VR with a $200 graphics chip that exceeds Oculus' minimum specifications. NVIDIA's GTX 1070 is more powerful but costs twice as much, and AMD claims that two of its new RX480 cards connected together will exceed the performance of the new GTX 1080 at a significantly lower price. We would caution that a single GPU build is easier to set up, smaller, and requires less power, but it's an enticing proposition.

A new trailer was released for Obduction, set to arrive on July 26 from Cyan, the company that made Myst.

Insomniac Games released Oculus-exclusive title Edge of Nowhere, receiving positive reviews for the $40 psychological horror game, which was funded by Oculus.

New lenses covered by BBC could be manufactured in silicon chip foundries and would enable new aberration-free “flat” lens designs that have promising applications for microscopes, cell phones, and VR goggles.

SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk is 99.999999999% sure (4-minute video) that we are already living in a computer simulation and don’t realize it.

The Proto Awards are accepting submissions for great VR experiences through July 24.

Epic Games released version 4.12 of Unreal Engine, including initial support for a VR Editor so developers can manipulate a scene while wearing a headset.

Studio Transcendent (publishers of VR Digest and a VR content studio) is planning a meetup at the Skirball Center in west Los Angeles next Wednesday, June 15th, coinciding with E3. RSVP to for more information.

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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