VR Digest: Black Mirror
imagines VR/AR nightmares

The week's top VR news brought to you
pre-digested and ready for assimilation!
VR Digest: A VR newsletter brought to you by Studio Transcendent
written by Ian Hamilton (@hmltn) issue 91 – October 26, 2016

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

Black Mirror Imagines VR/AR Nightmares

Black Mirror season 3 premiered on Netflix this week during a relatively light week for VR news. If you haven’t seen the show, it is essentially a modernized Twilight Zone focused on our relationship with technology. You can start with any episode as each story stands alone. The newest season’s six episodes feature a heavy focus on VR and AR technology.


Playstation VR’s seemingly successful launch has generated intense search interest.

Xiaomi announced some very interesting new products including a ceramic, bezeless attempt to preempt the iPhone 8 industrial design, a note-for-note copy of the Galaxy Note 7 called the Mi Note 2 that hopefully won’t inherit its inspiration’s combustibility, and a new VR headset that combines the capabilities of the Gear VR (purportedly) with the superior industrial design of the PSVR headset.

Controversy erupted when a woman wrote about being virtually groped by an anonymous troll during her first experience with VR. The story quickly went viral. It prompted a think piece by Oliver Kreylos on how to police multi-user experiences and an editorial in UploadVR by the creators of the game in which the incident took place and how they are attempting to address the problem.

Valve Software launched its answer to the Asynchronous Time Warp technique Oculus uses to help VR experiences run smoothly at 90 frames per second. “Async Reprojection” is available in the latest SteamVR beta update but only works on NVIDIA cards with the latest drivers. Valve’s Alex Vlachos told UploadVR that an answer to Oculus’ Asynchronous Space Warp was also coming, although it only works on a subset of a subset of the GPUs in use today.

You can enable Asynchronous Space Warp for Oculus (if you own an NVIDIA 9-series or newer GPU) by making a simple change to the Windows registry. We tried it and can report that it works amazingly well, but it had the unexpected side effect of wrecking 60fps video playback since it forces applications to run at 45fps.

A profile of Dante Buckley, the creator of VR shooting game Onward, reveals the college dropout sold around 18,000 copies of his game so far, suggesting that at $25 the game has made roughly $400,000.

A preview of Epic’s Unreal Engine 4.14 was released, featuring an experimental forward shading renderer that “supports high-quality lighting features, enables Multisample Antialiasing, and is faster than the Deferred Renderer in select projects.”

This will benefit VR projects because Multisample Antialiasing is much better at reining in jaggy lines than the Full-Screen and Temporal Antialiasing solutions currently offered by the Deferred Renderer. In the current version, users must combat this by increasing the overall rendering resolution, which greatly impacts performance.

Multiplayer VR game Star Trek: Bridge Crew is delayed till March 2017, “in order to deliver the best game experience possible at launch.” The game had been expected to launch in November.

The hilarious game Accounting from startup Squanchtendo launched on Steam. Be warned, it is chock full of explicit language.

The CEO of secretive and well-funded AR startup Magic Leap wrote “we just achieved a number of major product dev milestones…. Heavy work still ahead of us.”

The highly anticipated successor to the Myst franchise, Obduction, finally launches its VR version for Oculus Rift on Halloween. Kickstarter backers will get access on Friday via a keycode. Studio Transcendent, publisher of VR Digest, helped Cyan film the stereo video characters featured in the story, a technique best appreciated in Virtual Reality.

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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