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‘Final Approach: Pilot Edition’ Lets Oculus Rift Players Take Flight

Final Approach lands for the Oculus Rift with developer Phaser Lock Interactive coming up with a novel solution to the VR platform’s current lack of motion controllers, instead of guiding planes into land, they let you fly them.

Phaser Lock Interactive‘s Final Approach was one of the best launch titles for the HTC Vive back in April, but it was heavily tied to both the room-scale and motion controller features currently unique to the SteamVR platform, meaning it was tough for Oculus Rift owners to get a look in. Now, the developer have released a new companion version packed-in alongside the original, created be played entirely without motion controllers and their solution also has the side effect of adding a cool new feature.

The core of the original game, which itself was loosely based on airport control titles made popular on mobile gaming platforms, was that you – as the person in charge of their airport – were responsible for ensuring all aircraft landing or taking off did so safely, or at least without colliding horrible with other pilots. On the HTC Vive version, you guided those planes into land by drawing a path in 3D space from the aircraft’s location to the landing strip, a great mechanic that proved to be endlessly satisfying.

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The new ‘Pilot Edition’ takes a more arcade oriented gameplay approach, asking you take direct joypad control over the craft in question while de-emphasising some of the task-juggling elements from the original title. Those arcade elements include air-bound bonus missions and those ‘zoom point’ emergency activities like fire extinguishing and bird control look still to be present.

We’re not sure if what all that we loved about Final Approach will translate into this more traditional collection of gameplay mechanics, but as you get the original Final Approach packed in with the new Pilot Edition, any Oculus Rift owners wanting to invest now ahead of Oculus Touch motion controllers appearing later this year (with luck) now have something to tide them over with in the mean time.

Final Approach: Pilot Edition is currently available for 25% off if bought through Oculus Home for a limited period and available on Steam too.

The post ‘Final Approach: Pilot Edition’ Lets Oculus Rift Players Take Flight appeared first on Road to VR.


Watch: 6 Minutes of Golem Gameplay on the PlayStation VR

Here’s 6 minutes of gameplay from Golem, the forthcoming action adventure game from Highwire games, on the PlayStation VR – recorded at Sony’s showcase event held during GDC 2016 in March.

At GDC, Sony were out in force to mark the announcement of their PS4 powered virtual reality headset the PlayStation VR, now due to arrive on October 13th this year. The company held a showcase event immediately after their GDC event comprising a large selection of titles. One of the most anticipated among them was Golem, a new action adventure title from Highwire Games, a new development studio formed from ex-Bungie staffers, including Halo composer Marty O’Donnell.

See Also:  Halo Composer Marty O’Donnell on the Music and Design of Golem for PSVR
See Also: Halo Composer Marty O’Donnell on the Music and Design of Golem for PSVR

Ben Lang went hands on with the title and you can take a look at what he experienced in the video embedded at the top of this page.

Although the story behind Golem is a little mysterious right now, we know that you play the role of a bedridden girl, who seems able to ‘possess’ stone creatures, the titular Golems, and control their actions. For what purpose and to what ends is unknown right now, as Highwire are keeping the plot details under wraps for now.

IGN also went hands on with the title in March, check out the gameplay from that session below.

Golem is coming in 2016 for PlayStation VR, no specific release date is known. PlayStation VR is due for release on October 13th this year.

The post Watch: 6 Minutes of Golem Gameplay on the PlayStation VR appeared first on Road to VR.


Play Metroid Prime on Your Oculus Rift CV1 with Dolphin VR

The latest release of Dolphin VR, an impressive Nintendo Gamecube emulator that ads VR functionality to games, adds support for Oculus’ consumer headset the CV1 so now you can play Metroid Prime in VR, with head tracking and have it look better than ever.

We wrote very fondly some time ago about Dolphin VR, a version of an already impressive emulator that allows PC owners to play Nintendo Gamecube titles on Windows. Dolphin VR went even further by re-rendering certain games to add full head tracking support to titles which (obviously) never included any at all.

Version 5.0 of Dolphin VR has now been released and it adds Oculus SDK 1.3 support, which of course means that those who have a consumer edition Oculus Rift can now play their favourite titles (warning not all work with head tracking). This is an older playtest demonstrating those VR enhancements in action on the DK2. Metroid Prime in particular has always been a title which seemed perfect for VR (ignoring the locomotion issues with first person viewpoints of course) and it turns out it really was. Thanks to the incredibly enhancements Dolphin VR affords you, you’ll now be able to experience one of the best games ever made in the most immersive way possible.

In order to play any title with Dolphin VR, you’ll first need a Gamecube disc image (we do not condone piracy here, you’ll need to own an original copy first) either by downloading or ripping yourself. Also, you’ll ideally needs a GameCube pad and converter, but a windows gamepad with sufficient analogue sticks (an Xbox 360 / One controller works fine).

Download Dolphin VR 5.0

Here are some essential instructions and notes the author included which we’d advise you read carefully before diving in:

  • In Oculus Home, you need to go to the Oculus window and click on the Cog, Settings, General, and allow unknown applications.
  • In the VR settings you should probably turn off Avatar > Show Controllers because that is currently only implemented for the Vive (and only in D3D11).
  • In the Graphics settings you should choose either the D3D11 or OpenGL backend, and set the internal resolution to something like 3x or 2x.
  • In the Controller settings you should choose emulated remote and configure, then load one of the included profiles starting with “Xbox” (or “Remote” if you’re really desperate to use the Oculus remote).
  • In Options > Hotkey Settings, you should probably load “Xbox GameCube Complete” or “Keyboard Default”.
  • You should rip your GameCube and Wii discs and wads to an external hard disk using your Wii (look for instruction on the internet). They should usually be .iso, .gcm, .gcz, .wbfs, or .wad. Put them in a folder and go into the Config settings, Paths tab to add that path.
  • You should enable cheats.
  • Before starting a new game, right click that game in the game list, and choose properties. Go to the Hide Objects tab and check the glitchy objects you want to hide for VR. Go to the AR Codes tab, and check the Disable Culling codes to force the game to draw things you can’t normally see.
  • Then you can choose your game, click play, and put on the HMD. It should be in VR.
  • There are still lots of bugs and issues. Most games only partly work.
  • If you are inside a game but it looks like a 2D 360 image, then the UnitsPerMetre VR setting is wrong and you need to set it to a larger number (try 100).

If you run into trouble, head over to the dedicated forum thread

You can learn more about Dolphin VR over at the official site, you can donate to the project here and up to date versions are usually posted in the Oculus Developer Forums here. Finally, for a more generic Dolphin emulator setup guide, Mushroomtomatoes have an excellent one here.

The post Play Metroid Prime on Your Oculus Rift CV1 with Dolphin VR appeared first on Road to VR.


This VR Training Simulation is One of the Best We’ve Ever Seen

One of the best we’ve seen, this video, demonstrating a dangerous workplace simulation for train operators, shows how virtual reality and motion controllers might revolutionise training in the work place.

Anyone who’s experienced the torture of mandatory safety training and the accompanying exercises and videos will know that traditional methods to educate employees on the risks of a workplace are often less than effective. But what if you were able to step into different scenarios and environments that demonstrated these things to you? Seem to me that user engagement would skyrocket and along with it, the success of driving home the training.

sentient-600x435The Australia based Sentient Computing seem to share in this line of thinking as they recently released a video (embedded at the top of this page) showing their work on a training simulation, built to educate train workers on how to safely operate high voltage switching equipment. This particular experience was built for HTC Vive, with room-scale and accurate motion controllers giving trainees that all important ‘hand presence’ throughout.

Arguably, attention to detail when creating an environment is no more important than when lives are at stake, and Sentient seem to have taken that ethos to heart with every step of the worker’s actions from donning the safety helmet (not how the user intuitively re-orients the helmet before putting it on) to hatches on the switch gear requiring two handed operation for safety catches etc.

OK, this may not be the sexiest demonstration of virtual reality you’ve ever witnessed (no zombies or jump scares) but Sentient’s work here once again emphasises the as yet untapped potential of applications utilising VR to revolutionise their potential. Putting a worker inside this environment, allowing them to safely work through procedures again and again, requiring them to physically perform motions similar to those in real life, builds muscle memory and confidence so that when they’re faced with the equipment in real life, they’ll be able to get on with the job.

Sentient Computing specialise in data visualisation and training and seem to be moving more and more towards immersive techniques as part of their commissioned projects. Earlier work include this high voltage switching experience built for the Oculus Rift DK2 and Razer Hydra motion controllers (see above).

It’s an interesting area, one to which VR is bringing new ways to engage people in order to help them work more safely and efficiently and although it seems awfully mundance, it’s these sorts of non-gaming applications that will help cement VR (and eventually AR) as a technology to change all aspects of our lives – with any luck, for the bwtter.

The post This VR Training Simulation is One of the Best We’ve Ever Seen appeared first on Road to VR.


Steam and Oculus Summer Sales Offer Steep Savings on 100+ VR Games

Steam’s legendary seasonal sale is now underway, but this year, virtual reality consumers have two competing platforms from which to browse bargains as Oculus joins Valve in a summer VR game sale head to head with some attractive discounts.

Strange to think that, just last summer we didn’t even have consumer grade VR headsets for which to buy software and now, the two main players in distributing games for immersive platforms are going head to head vying for our money with both Steam and Oculus Home starting Summer sales for their titles this week.

Steam’s sales run until July 4th while Oculus’ (including those for Gear VR) last until July 5th.

By now the topic of software exclusivity and hardware lock-ins have been widely discussed of course, with Oculus’ strategy to bring new content just to its store, to work just on its VR hardware, seen as controversial by some. However, the very fact we now have two major sources of solid VR content means competition, and that is rarely a bad thing for consumers.

We’ve compiled the entire list of discounted VR games for you (note that only Vive games marked as supporting room-scale and the HTC Vive are listed here from SteamVR, though you can see the full list here {including those that support the Rift and non-room-scale}).

SteamVR Summer Sales (HTC Vive)

Game Discounted Price
Hover Junkers $24.49
The Gallery – Episode 1: Call of the Starseed $23.99
Universe Sandbox ² $19.99
A Chair in a Room : Greenwater $19.99
Final Approach $17.49
Pool Nation VR $16.99
Kodon $16.99
The Solus Project $15.99
Vanishing Realms $15.99
SculptrVR $15.99
Audioshield $14.99
Modbox $14.99
Quar: Battle for Gate 18 $14.99
V ARRR $14.99
Armed Against the Undead $14.99
A Legend of Luca $14.99
The Brookhaven Experiment $14.99
Battle Dome $13.49
Cosmic Trip $13.49
Left-Hand Path $13.49
Zombie Training Simulator $13.39
Space Pirate Trainer $12.74
Carpe Lucem – Seize The Light VR $12.74
Periodonica $12.49
HordeZ $11.99
Astroderps $11.99
Chamber 19 $11.99
World of Diving $11.99
Orc Assault $11.99
ZenBlade $10.49
Tabletop Simulator $9.99
Cloudlands : VR Minigolf $9.99
Chunks $9.99
Minigolf VR $9.99
#SelfieTennis $9.99
Cyberpong VR $9.89
Dolphin Defense $9.89
Paintey $9.74
Pierhead Arcade $8.99
Hoops VR $8.49
Water Bears VR $7.99
Babel: Tower to the Gods $7.49
Proton Pulse $7.49
vrAMP $7.14
VR Baseball $6.73
HoloBall $6.49
5089: The Action RPG $6.39
Felt Tip Circus $6.39
Hyper Bowling VR $5.84
Light Repair Team #4 $5.35
Catlateral Damage $4.99
Jeeboman $4.99
Nighttime Terror VR: Dessert Defender $4.99
Crystal Rift $4.99
Garage Drummer VR $4.79
VROOM: Aerie $4.49
Pong Waves VR $4.24
Octoshield VR $4.24
Minigame Party VR $4.24
Euclidean $3.99
Spells ‘n’ Stuff $3.99
PlanetFate $3.95
Diorama No.3 : The Marchland $3.49
L U N E $2.69
A-10 VR $2.49
The Grand Canyon VR Experience $2.49
Lost Route $2.49
Holodaze $1.49
Heaven Island Life $0.49

The post Steam and Oculus Summer Sales Offer Steep Savings on 100+ VR Games appeared first on Road to VR.


Oculus Reverses DRM Decision: “We won’t use hardware checks as part of DRM on PC in the future”

In a new update to the Oculus Rift PC runtime, the company has removed a controversial DRM provision which checked to ensure that users running Rift games were actually using a Rift headset.

In a statement shared with Road to VR the company has committed to not use such a check for DRM in the future:

“We continually revise our entitlement and anti-piracy systems, and in the June update we’ve removed the check for Rift hardware from the entitlement check. We won’t use hardware checks as part of DRM on PC in the future.

We believe protecting developer content is critical to the long-term success of the VR industry, and we’ll continue taking steps in the future to ensure that VR developers can keep investing in ground-breaking new VR content.”

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See Also: Platform Politics: Inside the Oculus and ‘Revive’ Dilemma

The move is reversal of an earlier decision which saw the implementation of a hardware check within Oculus’ DRM scheme: the software would verify that a Rift headset was actually attached to the computer before allowing any games to be played. That initial decision was met with negativity from the VR community who saw it as an effort to keep other headsets, such as the HTC Vive, from being able to play Oculus games through hacks like ‘Revive‘, which unofficially added the ability for Vive users to play Oculus games. It was pointed out that the headset check appeared counter to prior comments by Oculus Founder Palmer Luckey that the company would not block people from modifying games to work with other headsets.

Oculus stated at the time that the addition of the headset check was not added specifically to counter the Revive hack, but instead a measure of anti-piracy.

While Revive may not have been intended as a piracy tool, it has opened the door to piracy at a certain level. For instance, Lucky’s Tale, which comes bundled with the purchase of the Oculus Rift, can be played with a Vive using Revive for free. But as we know, ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch’, and someone ends up eating the cost when a user who hasn’t bought a Rift plays the game without paying for it. This was presumably a major reason for Oculus to add the headset check to DRM in the first place.

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See Also: How to Use the Oculus Rift With SteamVR in 4 Steps

However, this meant hacks that aimed to add compatibility to other headsets would necessarily need to break the headset check (as Revive did shortly after it was added), which ended up at least partially aligning the efforts of those wanting additional headset compatibility with those seeking to pirate games from the Oculus platform. Removing the check means those efforts can once again diverge, hopefully making it easier on all ends to allow compatibility hacks without exposing developers to piracy.

LibreVR, the creator of Revive, tells Road to VR regarding the news:

“I welcome this change of heart from Oculus and I hope it’s the first step in getting rid of hardware exclusive games altogether. I hope it will generate goodwill for Oculus, they deserve it for taking a more consumer-friendly approach.

I’m relieved that I don’t have to play a cat-and-mouse game with their DRM and can focus instead on adding support for more games. Without undermining the protections that ensure developers get compensated for their content.”

Despite this change, Oculus isn’t promising hacks like Revive won’t break in the future. The company has previously warned, “Users should expect that hacked games won’t work indefinitely, as regular software updates to games, apps, and our platform are likely to break hacked software.”

The post Oculus Reverses DRM Decision: “We won’t use hardware checks as part of DRM on PC in the future” appeared first on Road to VR.


‘ABE VR’ is Now Available for Free, Becomes BBFC’s First Rated VR Title

ABE VR is a psychological horror experience recently released for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift that puts you in the shoes of a serial killer’s next victim.

Based on the 2013 short film ABE, a project written and directed by Rob McLellan, ABE VR follows the same story line as its predecessor, but with a deeply visceral ‘up-close and personal’ effect that only VR can deliver.

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Road to VR Senior Editor Paul James had a chance to review ABE VR in May, saying the experience “successfully manages to take advantage of virtual reality’s ability to convince you that you’re sharing or invading personal space with real beings. Unfortunately, in the case of ABE, that being is a malfunctioning, murderous robot whose obsessive hunt for requited love has lead him to ‘fix’ all of those who don’t reciprocate … permanently.”

ABE VR, created by Hammerhead VR, was awarded a ’15 certificate’ age rating from the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), the UK’s version of Motion Picture Association of America—making it a precedent-setting world first for cinematic VR experiences, or what the BBFC classifies as ‘Linear Virtual Reality’.

You can download ABE VR on Steam and Oculus Home for free

The post ‘ABE VR’ is Now Available for Free, Becomes BBFC’s First Rated VR Title appeared first on Road to VR.


The SpaceVR Satellite & Astronaut Edgar Mitchell’s Paradigm Shift

ryan-holmesAstronaut Edgar Mitchell was the sixth man to walk on the moon, and upon his return to earth he had a profound mystical experience. Being able to see the earth from space expanded his worldview about human’s role on the planet and the nature of human consciousness. Other astronauts also reported being profoundly affected by seeing the earth from a third-person perspective in space, and Frank White coined this phenomena as the Overview Effect. It’s described as “a feeling of awe for the planet, a profound understanding of the interconnection of all life, and a renewed sense of responsibility for taking care of the environment.”

Ryan Holmes was so inspired by this vision of the Overview Effect that he wanted to see if it’d be possible to recreate it for everyone through the power of virtual reality. After a number of different iterations, SpaceVR announced at SVVR Conference and Expo that they have raised a $1.25 million seed financing round led by Shanda Group with participation from Skywood Capital.

I had a chance to catch up with Ryan at SVVR to talk about SpaceVR’s plans to eventually bring live VR feeds from space, the logistics of launching a satellite with VR cameras, and some of the educational and experiential offerings that they plan on providing in the future. Today’s podcast also features an interview with astronaut Edgar Mitchell that I conducted in 2009 at the Institute of Noetic Sciences conference, which is the frontier science research institute that he founded in 1973 to study the anomaly of consciousness.

LISTEN TO THE VOICES OF VR PODCAST


Here’s the brief Overview documentary about the Overview Effect that inspired Ryan to start SpaceVR.


Support Voices of VR

Music: Fatality & Summer Trip

The post The SpaceVR Satellite & Astronaut Edgar Mitchell’s Paradigm Shift appeared first on Road to VR.


Matrix Inspired VR Stealth Game ‘Black Hat Cooperative’ Launches

Black Hat Cooperative is a neat two player VR title which draws upon The Matrix for inspiration, that asks you to escape a labyrinth whilst being pursued, just like Neo, with only your ‘operator’ companion outside VR guiding you.

One of the most effective and tense scenes from the seminal action movie The Matrix (1999) for me was actually one with no bullet time slow motion and very few special effects. Thomas Anderson, played of course by Keanu Reeves, has just discovered that the world as he knows it may not be quite as real as he’d been led to believe and having been contacted by the mysterious Morpheus at his workplace. Anderson is told he’s being stalked by guardians of the digital simulation he’s a part of, and that in no uncertain terms he needs to get the hell out of there, right now, guided only by Morpheus’ voice on a cell phone.

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A new game from Team Future Games, Black Hat Cooperative, takes the essence of this scene and constructs an elegantly simple game of cat and mouse from it, whereby one player inside virtual reality is being guided to safety by the all seeing eye of their very own Morpheus, a friend playing outside VR with a birds eye view of both their location and of the VR player’s assailants. The VR player has to escape, avoiding the guards and “invisible” traps, by finding their way to the exit through ever more labyrinthine environments, dodging between rooms once danger has passed, collecting keys and treasure along the way.

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The game was conceived as part of 2014’s Global Game Jam, then called Black Hat Oculus, and the developer has since tweaked, honed and expanded on the original concept. It’s another example of what could be seen as a new sub genre of games, successfully explored by the likes of Keep Talking and No One Explodes, another title which uses the player inside-and-out of VR conceit to drive gameplay. And like that game, we can see Black Hat Cooperative being a popular social experience.

The title has just hit Steam Greenlight and launched on the Oculus Store as yet only for the Oculus Rift, although the developers state an HTC Vive version is planned. You can check out the Steam Greenlight page here and hit it up on Oculus Home right here priced $9.99.

The post Matrix Inspired VR Stealth Game ‘Black Hat Cooperative’ Launches appeared first on Road to VR.


ILMxLab Executive Creative Director John Gaeta to Appear on Virtual Talk Show ‘Gunter’s Universe’ Friday

John Gaeta, often associated with his groundbreaking special effects within The Matrix trilogy, is currently working with xLab, Industrial Light & Magic’s arm dedicated to interactive media experimentation. He’ll be joining the live VR show Gunter’s Universe as a guest Friday the 24th of June.

See Also: ILMxLAB Discuss Pioneering VR Storytelling with Star Wars and Beyond

Gaeta’s role at ILMxLab includes experimenting with new forms of experiential entertainment including virtual cinema, sensor-based human interfaces, and immersive ‘theaters’. Having helped paint the concept of virtual worlds onto our collective minds with The Matrix, it seems appropriate that he will be a guest on Gunter’s Universe, a virtual talk show in which the majority of viewers are ‘jacked in’ with VR headsets to experience the show as though they are actually there in the audience.  Gaeta will join the show, which is hosted within VRChat, as a guest on Friday June 24th at 7:00pm PT (your timezone here).

The timing for this event comes on the heels of an announcement that ILMxLab have been collaborating with Magic Leap, a company shrouded in secrecy that is promising revolutionary augmented reality technology. Magic Leap has wowed industry experts who have been lucky enough to try their tech behind closed doors and has received some $1.4 billion in funding. In conjunction with the latest announcement a new video was released by ILM which shows Star Wars assets, including R2-D2 and C-3PO, through the lens of Magic Leap’s AR tech.

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See Also: Hands-on – Star Wars ‘Trials on Tatooine’ Let Me Wield the Iconic Lightsaber

Earlier this year we gave a hands-on report of ILMxLAB’s public showing of their Holo-Cinema at the Sundance Film Festival in which attendees were able to step into the Star Wars universe using a CAVE type system and positionally tracked stereoscopic glasses. At that time the team described how they envision the tech being used for interactive group cinematic experiences, education and more.

While it is unclear what Gaeta is allowed to discuss regarding the Magic Leap collaboration, we are sure to be entertained as we journey into the mind of a man who is helping to define the future of interactive entertainment.


See John Gaeta on Gunter’s Universe Live

When: Friday, June 24th @ 10:00pm EST / 7:00pm PST
Where: VRChat to join live with Oculus Rift, HTC Vive or monitor. The show will also be streamed on twitch at twitch.tv/gunter444
How: Download VRChat www.vrchat.net When launched you can set up your profile and avatar. Arrive early as seating is limited. See controls here.

The post ILMxLab Executive Creative Director John Gaeta to Appear on Virtual Talk Show ‘Gunter’s Universe’ Friday appeared first on Road to VR.


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