Tag: virtualreality

New ‘Ready Player One’ trailer reveals more of the real-world story

The initial trailer for Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Ready Player One focused on the virtual world of OASIS, and for understandable reasons: it's a visual showcase for a crucial part of the story. However, Warner Bros. wants to remind you that reality plays an important part as well. It just posted a new trailer that dives deeper into the real-world story, even as it makes a few extra nods to video game nostalgia.

As with Ernest Cline's book, the story centers on Wade Watts and his bid to win James Halliday's Easter Egg hunt, which promises both half a trillion dollars and (more importantly) control of OASIS. That, in turn, leads to an ideological battle -- Wade and fellow competitor Art3mis are racing to find all the clues before the megacorporation IOI gets them and exploits OASIS for profit. Wade is effectively drafted into a resistance movement, and his moves will have consequences in both VR and real life.

There aren't quite as many tributes to digital culture as in the first trailer, but there are a few pleasant surprises -- there's even a certain iconic Overwatch character that shows up. It's hard to say if Ready Player One will live up to the rapidly mounting hype when it premieres on March 30th. However, the trailer shows that Spielberg and crew are aware that clever references and dazzling visuals aren't enough to carry the movie.

Oh, and there's one more thing: Cline revealed in a livestream (shortly after the 27-minute mark) that he's writing a sequel to Ready Player One. He has precious few details, but he noted that Spielberg's movie helped jumpstart his work on a follow-up. Even if the movie falls flat, you'll have something to look forward to.

Source: Warner Bros. (YouTube), Ready Player One (Facebook)


BT Sport to offer 360-degree video highlights and replays

Tottenham Hotspur star Dele Allie weaves through three defenders before whipping a cross into the feet of Harry Kane. You jump out of your seat, only to let out a groan as the linesman blows his whistle and raises a flag for offside. But was it offside? You're not so sure. If only you could get a different perspective... Enter the BT Sport app. The British broadcaster has announced today that it will soon offer 360-degree highlights and instant replays. They will be shown alongside standard replays for "a minimum of" 20 sporting events — including the UEFA Champions League, the Premier League, the FA Cup and World Title boxing — over the next six months.

The first supported fixtures will be Tottenham versus APOEL Nicosia (Champions League) on December 6th and Tottenham versus Manchester City (Premier League) on December 16th. These are big games (if you're a fan of Pochettino and his merry men, anyway) which you'll be able to watch from a variety of camera angles not available during the normal broadcast. That means you can review and debate key moments, or just marvel as Kevin De Bruyne, Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling slowly dismantle Spurs' title-winning hopes. Similar to Google's YouTube app, all of the clips will be viewable with or without a compatible VR headset.

BT is far from the first sports broadcaster to experiment with 360-degree video. Sky has committed to virtual reality, with a range of 360-degree films from the Tour de France, Formula 1 and other sporting events. The BBC offered 360 video during last year's Olympics, and across the pond the NBA is broadcasting every league game in VR. It's not clear, however, how large the audience is for this sort of content. Watching through a headset is certainly novel, and the pitch-side view is a cheap substitute for being there in person. But a new standard for watching sport? I'm not so sure.


Sony begins 14-day in-home PSVR trial program

Sony's grip on the indie market is slipping, though that may be part of the plan for the future of Playstation. More and more, we're seeing the company support virtual reality and its flagship PSVR system with various games, accessories and bundles hoping to convert us all to the immersive gaming platform. In yet another push, Sony just announced an initiative aimed at those of us who haven't taken the plunge, yet: a way to try out PlayStation VR in your own home. Of course, the demand is so high that the site you use to sign up has already reached the maximum number of users.

According to Gamasutra, the 14-day, in-home trial bundles will include a PSVR headset, a PlayStation Camera, two Move controllers and a copy of Skyrim VR. If you were lucky enough to get one of the initial 1,400 slots Gamasutra says were available, you can keep the whole kit for $300, a $150 discount over a Skyrim VR bundle at its regular retail price. We've reached out to Sony for more details and will update this post when we hear back.

Via: Gamasutra

Source: Sony


Sony begins 14-day in-home PSVR trial program

Sony's grip on the indie market is slipping, though that may be part of the plan for the future of Playstation. More and more, we're seeing the company support virtual reality and its flagship PSVR system with various games, accessories and bundles hoping to convert us all to the immersive gaming platform. In yet another push, Sony just announced an initiative aimed at those of us who haven't taken the plunge, yet: a way to try out PlayStation VR in your own home. Of course, the demand is so high that the site you use to sign up has already reached the maximum number of users.

According to Gamasutra, the 14-day, in-home trial bundles will include a PSVR headset, a PlayStation Camera, two Move controllers and a copy of Skyrim VR. If you were lucky enough to get one of the initial 1,400 slots Gamasutra says were available, you can keep the whole kit for $300, a $150 discount over a Skyrim VR bundle at its regular retail price. We've reached out to Sony for more details and will update this post when we hear back.

Via: Gamasutra

Source: Sony


Google lets developers find 3D assets without leaving VR

Google recently unveiled Poly to give VR and AR developers an easy way to find 3D assets for their virtual worlds. Now, it has introduced Poly API to help developers work with and discover those assets directly in virtual reality. "It's just so much more natural to work in VR in something like [VR painting tool] Tilt Brush and then use it in a VR project," said CEO Max Weisel from VR developer Normal.

Poly, as a reminder, is a big collection of royalty-free 3D objects and "scenes" that developers can incorporate into virtual or augmented reality apps, games, and other programs. The idea is to help creators populate their worlds with objects (either as-is or modified) to boost development speed and quality.

With its Daydream platform, Google has a vested interest in getting as many AR and VR apps out there as possible. Nevertheless, the objects will work on other platforms, too, including Apple's ARKit. They include simple characters and objects like trees, plants, fountains, or bricks, along with more elaborate things like a full 3D version of Wonder Woman.

Poly API lets developers pore through its large collection of assets, while interacting directly with them via Poly in VR. You can search by keyword, category, format, popularity or date uploaded, and even by model complexity and other factors. "Think of Poly like Google for assets," said Mindshow CCO Jonnie Ross.

For developers using Unity or Unreal Engine, Google has also created the Poly Toolkit, letting you import 3D objects and scenes directly into a project. "Finding and creating 3D assets are both time-consuming processes," said Mindshow CEO Gil Baron. "Poly API not only speeds up the exploration of production, but the production itself." For consumers, that should in turn lead to more and better VR apps.


HTC’s latest VR investments include a brain control startup

HTC is continuing its quest to fund promising VR startups, and its latest batch includes a few pushing the boundaries of what's possible in virtual spaces. The Vive X program is backing 26 companies that include Neurable, the company building a brain control system for the Vive headset -- they'll have help fulfilling their vision of wand-free VR. Other notable investment targets include eLoupes' light-field based surgery imaging system, QuarkVR's 4K-per-eye simultaneous video streaming and Wewod's location-based VR (which has served customers like Disney and Nintendo).

Other startups focus on everything from racing simulators and theme park rides to behind-the-scenes frameworks for multiplayer or VR character animation.

The support brings Vive X's startup tally to more than 80 companies and gives a better picture of HTC's strategy. Itwants to get its fingers in as many pies as possible to foster the VR community at large and create a wider audience for its headsets. Some of these startups could wind up supporting the competition as well, but HTC is clearly betting that it's worth the risk.

Source: Vive


Oculus’ reworked VR interfaces will be ready to test in December

If you happen to have an Oculus Rift headset and want to try its big interface makeovers, you won't have to wait long. As promised, Oculus has confirmed that both its Rift Core 2.0 VR interface and the companion desktop app redesign will be available in public beta form sometime in December. Rift Core 2.0 is unsurprisingly the most conspicuous update -- it's reworked to center around Oculus Touch control, and adds a dashboard you can access from virtually anywhere. You can use Rift 2.0 on Windows 7 or later, although you'll need Windows 10 if you want the dashboard to overlay on top of running apps or to give your desktop apps a virtual display.

The desktop app, meanwhile, is focused mainly on discovery. You'll see Oculus news, an update store with quick access to wish lists, your library and your Oculus-toting friends.

There's no firm timeframe for the launch of the finished software. Either way, both interfaces could be crucial to Oculus' future. Now that a Rift headset and controller combo is considerably more affordable, Oculus' take on VR is accessible to a much wider audience -- it needs an interface that many people can use without much thought.

Via: VentureBeat

Source: Oculus


VR at the Tate Modern’s Modigliani exhibition is no gimmick

In recent years, HTC has partnered with several museums to cultivate VR as a tool for art and learning. New projects are always in the works, and recently the company launched the Vive Arts program, reaffirming its commitment to working with developers and cultural institutions to further explore VR as an artistic and educational medium. The first installation under the Vive Arts banner has now opened at London's Tate Modern gallery as part of a new exhibition celebrating late-19th/early-20th-century Italian painter and sculptor Amedeo Modigliani. And to its credit, the VR portion of this retrospective is no gimmick.

As Nancy Ireson, curator of international art at Tate Modern, led the press tour around the exhibition, she explained that it was fitting for Modigliani to be the focus of the gallery's first VR installation. Modigliani was an early proponent of African art as more than just a curiosity after all, and was interested in film, which itself was a fledgling medium at the time. As you walk the many rooms, you come across sketches, paintings, nudes and sculptures of ever-changing style and influence. Eventually you come to a small, sparsely decorated room with rows of wooden chairs and an HTC Vive headset next to each.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

There are no room-scale sensors or controllers, because The Ochre Atelier, as the experience is called, is designed to be accessible to everyone regardless of computing expertise. And at roughly 6-7 minutes long, it's also bite-size enough that hopefully every visitor to the exhibition can take a turn. Its length and complexity don't make it any less immersive though. The experience itself is, superficially, a tour of Modigliani's last studio space in Paris: a small, thin rectangular room a few floors above street level.

In all, it took five months to digitally re-create the space. A wealth of research went into The Ochre Atelier, from 3D mapping the actual room -- the building is now a bed-and-breakfast -- to looking at pictures and combing through first-person accounts of Modigliani's friends and colleagues at the time. The developers at Preloaded took all this and built a historically accurate re-creation of what the studio would've looked like. You teleport around this space a few times, seeing it from different angles and getting more insight into the artist at each stop. Look at a few obvious "more info" icons from each perspective and you'll hear narrated the words of those closest to Modigliani at the time, alongside some analyses from experts at the Tate.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

At the tail end of the experience, you learn about why this space was so important. It was where Modigliani created his final pieces and enjoyed the last of his troubled relationship with alcohol and drugs before dying, aged 35, from tubercular meningitis. In this way, the experience concludes on a somewhat morbid, emotive note. Dotted around his virtual studio are some of his final works. You notice, once the experience is over and you leave the VR area, these very works greet you again back in the exhibition proper. It creates an impactful sense of continuity between the VR part of the exhibition and the real one. The Ochre Atelier isn't a gimmick or a quirky piece of new media for the sake of it, but a genuine complement to the static paintings and sculptures in the halls beyond. Walking back through the exhibition and scanning the walls, I felt I'd learned a little bit more about Modigliani, his personality and his motivations, and looked upon everything in a more intimate light.

Given the reputation of the Tate Modern, anything other than a well-researched, thoughtful VR experience wouldn't have made the cut. And it wouldn't have really fit the Vive Arts brief, either. As Vive Arts' director, Victoria Chang, told me at the event, it's an "initiative that is designed to advance creation and appreciation of art through the latest technology." The goal of the program is to challenge the idea that VR is mere entertainment and "to bring more high-quality, educational, artistic content to more of our consumers and to the general public around the world."

The Modigliani exhibition is now open at the Tate Modern until April 2nd, 2018, and for anyone who can't make it in person, a more comprehensive VR experience focusing on the artist will be released to Viveport in the coming weeks.


Amazon’s latest toolkit helps you quickly create VR apps

Amazon probably isn't the first company you think of when it comes to augmented or virtual reality (with a few exceptions), but it's determined to change your mind. The internet giant has unveiled a developer service, Sumerian, that promises to simplify creating AR and VR apps -- and general 3D apps, for that matter. You can drag-and-drop objects to quickly create 3D scenes, produce animated AI-driven characters (powered by AWS cloud services, naturally) and script interactions between the user and other objects.

When you're done, you can package your apps for multiple big platforms. Sumerian-made code will run on any web browser that can handle WebGL or WebVR, but it'll also play nicely with Google Daydream, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and iOS devices. Support for Android's ARCore is coming soon, too.

This probably isn't going to satisfy developers who have exacting needs (particularly game studios), but that's not really the point. This is more about making AR and VR app creation easier for companies that don't necessarily have the expertise and resources of a dedicated software developer. They can whip up a training space or a VR shopping helper without having to worry about code. It helps Amazon's bottom line by driving people to AWS, of course, but it could also lead to seeing AR and VR in more places.

Via: TechCrunch

Source: Amazon (1), (2)


The unconventional analogies of ‘Your Hands Are Feet’

Last week, we held the first Engadget Experience in LA, where Your Hands Are Feet was one of five immersive art projects to debut. The virtual reality experience drops you into a surreal world, full of experiential metaphors. Experiences like, for instance, what it's like to shave a giant's hairy pink leg in the desert. In our documentary, creators Sarah Rothberg and Amelia Winger-Bearskin explain their working partnership, visual style and the inspiration behind their psychedelic worlds.