Tag: virtualreality

‘The Walking Dead’ VR scene puts you in the shoes of a walker

Would you submerge yourself in a fear-inducing virtual setting overrun by zombies? That's the world The Walking Dead has expertly crafted during its seven-year run, and now AMC is inviting you to step into it, courtesy of its VR app. You can grab it for iOS, Android, Samsung Gear VR, and Google Daydream right now, but the real fun begins on Sunday. Directly after the show's 100th episode, the network is dropping an exclusive VR scene.

The immersive experience will put you in the action from both sides. You'll start off trapped in an abandoned car waiting for help to arrive as the walkers inch ever closer. If that doesn't sound terrifying enough, you'll also get to join the herd and feast in the carnage. Once you get your fill of claustrophobic horror, you can peruse the extras, including trailers and features from that other AMC show Into the Badlands. The network is also promising to keep the app stocked with virtual experiences for the foreseeable future.

The AMC VR app follows the announcement of The Walking Dead: Our World -- an augmented reality game coming soon to iOS and Android. The two combined should turn you into a regular zombie-slaying survivalist.


Samsung’s 360 Round camera livestreams 3D VR

Samsung already has a virtual reality camera in the form of the Gear 360, but it's not really for pros -- it's for everyday users who want to record a 360-degree video on the street. What if you're a pro, or a well-heeled enthusiast? Samsung has you covered: it's launching the previously hinted-at 360 Round. The disc-shaped device carries a whopping 17 2-megapixel cameras and six microphones (plus two mic ports) to create 3D (that is, stereoscopic) VR video. It's powerful enough to livestream 4K VR at a smooth 30 frames per second, helped in part by software that promises to stitch together immersive video with virtually no lag.

Other nods to pro use? The Round is IP65 water resistant, so you can use it in the rain, and its unibody design is meant to keep you shooting for "hours" without the need for a noisy cooling fan.

Samsung is releasing the 360 Round later in October for American buyers at an unmentioned price, with other countries coming later. Keep in mind that the camera is only one part of the cost, though. You'll need a monster PC, especially if you're livestreaming. A post-processing rig demands at least a Core i7-6700K, 16GB of RAM and GeForce GTX 1080 graphics, while livestreaming and preview machines ask for a 10-core i7-6950X, 32GB of RAM and two GeForce GTX 1080 Ti cards. You're probably not going to use the Round for your video blog, then, but this makes high-quality 3D VR a viable option using off-the-shelf PCs.

Source: Samsung


Hulu’s VR content is now available on Windows Mixed Reality headsets

With its latest OS update, Microsoft has officially begun to support VR headsets from companies like Lenovo, Acer and Dell and today, Hulu announced its VR content will now be available across the lineup of Windows Mixed Reality headsets. The company has also added its VR app to the Microsoft Store.

Along with this announcement, Hulu also revealed that with Microsoft, it has developed two new VR projects -- The Driver, which follows NASCAR driver Jeffrey Earnhardt and lets viewers experience what it's like to be on a racetrack, and A Curious Mind, a pop science show hosted by Dominic Monaghan (The Lord of the Rings, Lost) that explores our planet. For the next 30 days, both The Driver and A Curious Mind will be available exclusively to Microsoft Mixed Reality headset users. Afterwards, they'll become available on Hulu's other supported platforms including Gear VR, PSVR, Daydream and Rift.

The Hulu VR app is available for free and users can access over 85 pieces of VR content. For those with a Hulu subscription, they can also view the streaming service's entire 2D library in immersive 3D environments. You can watch trailers for The Driver and A Curious Mind below.

Source: Hulu


Steam will support VR in very large rooms

If you want to play a room-scale VR game using Steam's current tracking method, you need to do it in a 13-by-13 foot area. That's fine for your living room, but what if you want more space? Don't fret: Valve has announced that SteamVR Tracking 2.0 will support a cavernous 33 feet by 33 feet space starting in early 2018. You'll need four trackers to do it instead of two, but this could be very helpful for arcades or any other experience that could benefit from greater freedom of movement.

The company is looking at support for even more tracking stations and thus a larger space, but it doesn't have a timetable to offer. Don't expect to run around a warehouse-sized VR environment, folks. There also won't be an official mounting option for SteamVR until later in 2018, and the finished next-generation tracking system won't work with existing HTC Vive headsets. Developers can use the Vive through engineering samples that add a blinker for backwards compatibility.

As you might guess, this won't make a huge difference if you only ever experience VR in your den. It's more about public or commercial VR, where you want as few arbitrary boundaries as possible. However, it's advances like these that could be crucial to VR as a whole. Walkabout VR should ideally be limited only by the size of the room, not the trackers. This isn't technically unlimited, but it's close enough that more developers could let their imaginations run wild.

Via: Gamasutra

Source: Steam


PlayStation’s updated VR headset arrives in Japan tomorrow

You may want to hold off buying the current-gen PSVR, as its successor is imminent. We already knew the updated headset will come with integrated headphones and HDR passthrough support (courtesy of a new processor unit). And, now Sony is blessing us with a release date -- for Japan, anyway. The company's native home will be the first to get the refreshed VR device when it lands there on Saturday. Meanwhile, everyone else will have to wait. At 44,980 yen ($401), the new headset will match the starting price of the original (although, its older sibling now comes bundled with the PlayStation Camera at no extra charge).

The gradual rollout sets it apart from its predecessor, which was released simultaneously in the US, UK, Europe, and Japan one year ago today. To mark its birthday, Sony is giving PlayStation Plus subscribers 80 percent off over 50 compatible titles on its Store for a limited time. Word of advice to all the cat people out there: Set aside some change for the upcoming Neko Atsume.

Source: PlayStation (Japan)


NBA will broadcast every game in VR this season

While other broadcasters and sports leagues dabble in virtual reality, the NBA is taking the plunge. It raced ahead of the competition last year by streaming weekly live games in VR. Now, it's making its entire season immersive for League Pass subscribers. With the NextVR app, you'll not only be able to watch 27 live games on your Samsung Gear VR or Google Daydream headset, but you'll also get access to something called the Screening Room. Here you'll be able to pick and choose from every League Pass game in virtual reality. On top of that, the feature will let you select up to 13 NBA games to livestream on a massive virtual screen. And soon, you won't even be restricted to a Samsung, Google, or Asus phone -- as long as you're willing to invest in a Windows Mixed Reality headset, that is. Yes, Microsoft's VR platform (which is coincidentally arriving just in time for the new NBA season) will support NextVR.

Aside from providing more live action, the NBA is also tinkering with the viewing experience. New features include live stats within "the virtual scene." How that will work remains to be seen -- hopefully the infographics won't be too distracting, seeing as they're getting inserted within the field-of-play. A new point-of-view feature will also give you more control over the proceedings during the 27 live games (much like what Fox offered as part of its Super Bowl 51 VR suite).

If you don't want to fork out $200 on a League Pass subscription just to watch in VR, you can pay $7 for the game you wish to stream, courtesy of the NBA's on-demand service. Schedule details for live VR games can be found on the NBA website.


Columbia researchers might have the key to wireless VR

The millimeter wave frequency has the potential to do a lot. So far it's helping power 5G cell networks, but research from Columbia Engineering could expand that to self-driving cars and virtual reality headsets. It's a little dense, but the key bit is that the team figured out a new nonreciprocal way to transmit the waves, by using "carefully synchronized high-speed transistor switched that route forward and reverse waves differently." The school says it's basically like two trains charging head on on the same track, with them switching tracks at the last possible second.

Columbia writes that this will enable circulators to be built into conventional chips and enable full-duplex or two-way wireless communication. Because so many devices are running in low-energy half-duplex, the frequency spectrum is getting congested. Moving to full-duplex means less congestion, and also higher bandwidth capacity.

So, how does this affect you and me? The school says the radar in autonomous cars "inherently" needs to run in full duplex mode, and be cheap. So these chips would play a part there. The silicon could also be used to create truly wireless VR headsets too, given how fast millimeter waves can transmit the surfeit of data VR requires.

The ultimate goal? Building a bigger array, of course.

Source: Columbia Engineering


Pixar’s ‘Coco VR’ lets you explore the land of the dead

Pixar dropped the trailer for its next film Coco two months ago, and with any release by the much-lauded studio, eyes turned toward what masterpiece it would spin out next. But they've got something else suitably modern to help promote the movie: A VR experience.

A "social" VR experience, to be specific -- though what Disney's promotional material means by that is unclear. It is a delightful next step for Pixar to embrace new tech opportunities, like its storytelling course on Khan Academy, but the studio is definitely behind in producing VR experiences -- Alien: Covenant, Dunkirk and Blade Runner 2049 have all released their own earlier this year.

From the look of it, Coco VR will let players explore the vibrant Land of the Dead seen in the film's trailer. Whether you'll be able to make your own skeleton avatar or portray a character from the movie is unclear. Coco VR comes to Oculus Rift on November 15th and to the Gear VR on the film's US release date, November 22nd.

Source: Coco VR (Disney)


Respawn teases realistic VR warfare on Oculus Rift

Respawn Entertainment might be going back to its historic stomping grounds. In virtual reality. A quick tease from the Oculus Connect stage revealed that the team that made Call of Duty is working on what very well may be a VR take on wars of the past. Studio director Peter Hirschmann writes that it isn't Titanfall in VR, nor is it related to Star Wars, the game Respawn is working on for EA. "We really want to depict being a soldier in combat in a more fully fleshed-out and realistic way," CEO Vince Zampella says in the video below. No other details are available (not even a name) but the clip ends with a big "2019." Respawn has had a Rift development kit since at least 2013, so that could very well be a realistic release window.

"We're so excited to be working on a game that's going to make an impact on the industry," Respawn's Jon Shiring says. A bold claim, but coming from one of the architects behind Titanfall's network structure, the statement has some weight behind it.

Source: Respawn


Oculus’ VR avatars are coming to Daydream and Steam in 2018

Oculus' virtual reality avatars are clever stand-ins, but they have a few glaring problems: most notably, you can't see them outside of Oculus' own platform. Thankfully, they're being set free. Oculus has revealed that the avatars will have cross-platform support in 2018, including Steam VR and Google's Daydream. Whether or not there are any limitations to use on other platforms isn't clear, but Oculus is promising tangible upgrades to the avatars themselves.

Most notably, they'll look more natural: you can expect speech synchronization, skin shading and eyes that track for interesting objects (such as your finger or a bouncing ball). They won't look like today's glasses-wearing ghosts, in other words. Developers will even have the option of contributing their own apparel (including content that you have to unlock). All told, it sounds like you'll have a chance at creating a virtual self that looks and behaves more like you.

Source: Oculus