Train2Game News Marvel Powers United VR

Disney unveiled the first Marvel virtual reality game: Marvel Powers United VR.
The new game from Marvel Entertainment is being built for the Oculus Rift + Touch VR headset and hand controls. You can play as various Marvel characters, including the Incredible Hulk and Rocket Raccoon from Guardians of the Galaxy.

In the game, you can team up with other players and use hand gestures to use your superpowers against enemies in a 3D virtual world. The title shows growing momentum for the fledgling medium of VR, which is expected to be a $25 billion market by 2021.

The title will debut as an Oculus exclusive in 2018. The demo showed three players working cooperatively in different parts of a level with limited movement. The Hulk can do things like throw his fists into the distance, catch projectiles, and hurl them back. Rocket Raccoon and Captain Marvel are also in the video.

Train2Game News Oculus Rift available at GAME 

The highly-anticipated Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) system is now available at GAME.
With great offers, demos and expertise, GAME will be the best place on the high-street and online for gamers to get into VR. There will be no better deal on the high street thanks to GAME’s trade-in and finance packages and in addition GAME Reward customers will earn 2 per cent credit on every purchase, earning over £10 back on Oculus Rift.

Instore demos* with GAME experts can be booked online and will allow gamers to both sample immersive gaming, and receive advice on making sure their PC and home set-up will deliver the very best experience.

*Oculus Rift demo experiences are available at the following stores from the dates listed. Demos can be booked through Oculus Live:

·         GAME Manchester Trafford, intu Trafford Centre, M17 8DF                                   22nd Sept

·         GAME West Thurrock, Lakeside Shopping Centre, Essex, RM20 2ZQ       23rd Sept

·         GAME Metro Centre, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, NE11 9YG                       23rd Sept

·         GAME Bluewater, Kent, DA9 9SP                                                                 23rd Sept

·         GAME Glasgow (Union St), Glasgow, G1 3RB                                             23rd Sept

·         GAME Nottingham (Victoria), Victoria Centre, NG1 3QN                             24th Sept

·         GAME Stratford, Westfield, London, E15 2EN                                              24th Sept

·         GAME Watford, Harlequin Shopping Centre, WD17 2TH                             24th Sept

·         GAME Merry Hill, Merry Hill Centre, West Midlands, DY5 1SR                   25th Sept

·         GAME Cardiff, Capital Retail Park, CF11 8AZ                                              25th Sept

Check out www.game.co.uk for more details

Train2Game News CRYENGINE supports VR

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Developers can now tap into the game-changing power of CRYENGINE to create virtual reality experiences following the latest update to Crytek’s all-in-one software solution.

The release of CRYENGINE 3.8.1 adds Oculus Rift support to the engine, granting both full licensees and Engine-as-a-Service subscribers equal access to the new VR toolset. The addition of VR development capabilities to CRYENGINE is complimented by initial support for AMD’s LiquidVR™ technology, which is dedicated to making VR as comfortable and realistic as possible. Future updates will bring support for additional VR platforms into the engine.

Crytek’s Frank Vitz, Creative Director CRYENGINE, said: “Since showcasing our own work with VR, we’ve seen an overwhelming response from developers who want to use CRYENGINE for their virtual reality projects as well. Our experience in stereoscopic 3D, combined with the engine’s rendering power and ability to deliver high resolution images at a high frame rate, means CRYENGINE offers a degree of visual fidelity that many people feel is foundational to a compelling VR experience. We can’t wait to see what other CRYENGINE users create now that they have VR capabilities at their fingertips.”  

Today’s update also adds OpenGL support to CRYENGINE, allowing developers to more seamlessly port their PC projects to Linux.

Finally, today’s update also empowers full engine licensees to put CRYENGINE to work when developing games for Android TV systems. With Android devices designed for the living room set to become increasingly popular, CRYENGINE ensures users are equipped to bring their vision to life for a whole new audience.

CRYENGINE is available royalty free for as little as 9.90 USD/EUR per month. For more information visit www.cryengine.com.

Train2Game News Unity working closely with Oculus

unity-logoDuring Oculus Connect, Oculus and Unity Technologies announced that they have expanded their strategic partnership that will strengthen Unity’s engine support for Oculus, providing the 3.3 million strong Unity development community with cutting-edge tools to create incredible virtual reality experiences for the Oculus Rift and Oculus VR Store.

The new partnership will introduce a new dedicated Oculus add-on for both the free and Pro versions of the Unity platform that the Unity community will enjoy at no additional costs. The Oculus add-on will include stereo imaging optimizations, 3D audio support, deeper Unity editor integration, inclusion of the Oculus Rift in the Unity development and debugging workflow, integration of Oculus-specific APIs within Unity, and direct publishing to the Oculus platform.

“There are so many incredible VR projects on Unity, and this partnership will make it even easier to build more great experiences for the Oculus platform,” said Brendan Iribe, Oculus CEO. “We’re thrilled to be working with Unity to put world-class tools in the hands of developers.”

“Oculus and Unity have been working together for a long while now and share a giddy kind of excitement for the future of virtual reality,” said David Helgason, CEO, Unity Technologies.

“Oculus is an innovative technological leader that is ushering in a new era for creating fully immersive interactive experiences, not just of games, but of all kinds. We’re incredibly happy to play a role in this and see that our entire developer community, who are already producing some really incredible stuff, can bring their crazy ideas to life inside the Oculus Rift.”

Oculus and Unity’s work to make Unity a powerful development tool for virtual reality development has resulted in hundreds of Oculus projects created using Unity technology, including Lucky’s Tale, DarkNet, The Gallery: Six Elements, and Titans of Space.

Train2Game News VRTGO Conference

VRTGOThe North East of England will be host to the first major VR conference in Europe on September 11 2014 at the Baltic Centre in Gateshead.

The conference will be looking at both entertainment, commerical and serious applications for Virtual Reality. In addition attendees will have the oppotunity to go hands on with both Sony’s Project Morpheus and the Oculus Rift.

The conference will look at where the future of VR is taking the entertainment and games industry and see what this cutting edge technology can do for serious applications for automotive, modelling, training, marketing etc.

There will be speakers from a number of different companies talking about the different features of VR and how it can be used to create new exciting experiences. Speakers from SCEE, CCP and Zerolight with plenty more that are yet to be announced.

An after-show party is planned which could be excellent for networking and discussing ideas with other like minded individuals.

So attend and witness the future of interactive entertainment first hand. You can sign up using the eventbrite link here.

Train2Game News Oculus Rift researched with Children

Oculus RiftGood news for Oculus VR and Facebook as new research from Dubit shows kids not only love to use Oculus Rift but they want to see it used in schools and other areas outside of gaming.

They are some of the findings from research recently carried out by youth research and digital entertainment agency, Dubit, and virtual reality consultancy KZero into children’s experiences of, and expectations for Oculus Rift – the virtual reality headset created by Oculus VR, which was acquired by Facebook for $2bn in March this year.

Dubit’s work was carried out with 12 children aged between seven and 12 years-of-age. All 12 played a variety of games using the headset (first development kit version) before working together in pairs to explain their feelings and reactions towards the technology.

Dubit’s head of research, Peter Robinson led the groups. Commenting on the children’s experiences he said: “The overarching message from our sessions is that children love using Oculus Rift and felt immersed in the games in ways they’ve never felt before! Comments along the lines of it being the best way to play games were common. Oculus VR may not see children as their core market but there’s no doubting the device’s potential popularity with kids.”

Robinson continued: “We were glad to see that none of the children in our groups felt dizzy or ill after using the headset; the only usability issues occurred when the children had to move their heads to look down and found the headset heavy. A couple of the younger children also reported fitting issues with the head-straps. With lighter headsets on the way we don’t see Oculus Rift causing many usability issues for young wearers.”

Since Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus VR there has been much discussion around the technology’s application outside of gaming. This was also covered in the research with Robinson saying: “Without prompting all children said they thought virtual reality would be great in their schools. They thought it would make lessons more interesting and allow them to take ‘virtual field tips’. But they wanted to do more than just visit new places; they wanted to go back in time and interact with people, like the Captain of the Titanic or people living in Tudor England and get their views on history. They were more interested about exploring history than changing it through gaming.

“We also found that children placed great emphasis on exploration – a trait they wanted to see in all games, not just educational experiences.”

Bearing in mind the age of the children Robinson didn’t find it surprising to hear them suggest that Minecraft would be great on Oculus Rift: ”It’s striking how much of an impact Minecraft has had on children’s gaming expectations. While most of the children wanted to see Oculus Rift used in first-person-shooter games like Call of Duty – yes, even the young ones – it was games that allowed them to explore, like Skyrim, or create their own content, Minecraft, that came up time and time again as being great fits for virtual reality. We didn’t have the heart to tell them that Notch had refused to bring his game to the system due to the Facebook acquisition – maybe now he’ll reconsider.”

During Dubit’s tests the children controlled the games using either head movements, an Xbox control pad or keyboard and mouse. Robinson said: “Xbox pads were the most familiar to the children and the preferred control method, unless the games were meant to be passive, like the rollercoaster simulator, in these cases they were happy to have no control. In most cases the children wanted even greater immersion and suggested peripherals such as steering wheels would make the experience feel even more realistic. Kinect was suggested so the game could track the player’s movements. The consensus was that an innovative device like the Oculus Rift needed an innovative method of control.

“While we understand that it won’t be children buying this technology with their pocket money it’s still interesting to see how much they think it will cost. It can also help us understand whether they see it as better or worse than current technology.
“While there was quite a swing between estimates the average price suggested by the children was £430, quite a lot higher than we expected. To gauge their ability to estimate such costs we asked them to guess the price of existing technology like games consoles, mobile devices and TVs. In all cases, except for the TV, their average estimates were within £50 of the correct price, showing they have a good idea of tech costs.”

These focus groups are the first in a number of internal research projects being carried out by Dubit on the new technology. The company also comprises of a games development studio, creating virtual worlds for the likes of BBC Worldwide, Cartoon Network and PBS KIDS. Their work in virtual reality began with their first virtual world for Oculus Rift, Fairy Forest. Over the next six months the agency is will publish further work, this time with the University of Sheffield, that looks to provide understanding of how children engage with entertainment across devices and platforms.

Train2Game News Mobile VR Headset

Oculus RiftSamsung and Oculus, the firm behind the Rift virtual reality headset, are working together on a new headset, rumours have claimed.

Engadget, citing “sources close to both companies”, reports that the deal will benefit both companies – Oculus will provide Samsung with early access to its mobile software development kit and will help develop the user interface for the headset, while Samsung will provide Oculus with early access to its upcoming high-resolution OLED screens, which the latter firm plans to integrate into its future headset models.

The screens, which provide a resolution higher than that of Full HD 1080p, will also be used in Samsung’s future smartphone models, the sources added.

The sources also teased some details of Samsung’s rumoured VR headset.

The headset is said to require a connection to a smartphone, which doubles as the display for the device.

The device also includes multiple sensors, including an accelerometer, with the processing power for motion tracking provided by the connected smartphone. The headset is said to support use with a game controller, or can be controlled instead using motion tacking and voice recognition. Physical control buttons are included on the outside of the device.

The sources added that the headset’s rear-facing camera supports for video pass-through, meaning that the user can choose to “see through the phone using the rear camera, which shows a video feed of the outside world to your eyes”.

Unlike the Oculus Rift, Samsung’s VR headset is said to be focused on media experiences rather than gaming, but some games are reportedly in development for the platform.

Train2Game News Facebook buy Oculus Rift

Oculus RiftThe news broke last night that Facebook has bought the Oculus Rift firm for $2 billion. The company is working on a virtual reality headset.

Oculus Rift got off the ground thanks to Kickstarter funding which allowed them to work on their virtual reality headset which would allow for extremely immersive gaming. Oculus’ crowdfunding campaign raised $2.4m, 10 times the amount originally sought, it then received a further $75m from investors. The Oculus Rift has yet to be released, but more than 75,000 orders for development kits have already been placed.

In a statement released by the Social Media Company, Facebook said it plans to expand the use of Oculus technologies to include “communications, media and entertainment, education and other areas”.

Commenting on the deal, Mr Zuckerberg said: “Mobile is the platform of today, and now we’re also getting ready for the platforms of tomorrow.”

The deal includes $400m in cash and just over 23 million Facebook shares, valued at $1.6bn. Oculus employees will also receive an additional $300m if the company achieves certain targets.

How this will affect the future of Oculus Rift is yet to be seen but the future is definitely on its way.

Source: BBC News

Train2Game News: Valve Virtual Reality first look next week

Valve logo Train2Game blog imageValve is just days away from releasing its own virtual reality software development kit, according to studio game designer Brian Coomer.

Speaking to the BBC, Coomer said the SDK would offer developers a standard method to provide an interface for virtual reality controllers.

Valve is expected to showcase the SDK and release it during the Steam Dev Days Conference next week, which takes place between January 14 and 15.

It is believed Valve is working on its own virtual reality technology, but will also support the Oculus Rift.

“There’s also technology in development at Valve based around head-tracking and headset manufacture and design,” he says.

“We are working with other companies right now but we have not made any specific announcements.”

As well as a VR SDK, Valve is expected to release a new toolset to assist developers with the creation of games for its Steam Machines, which uses the SteamOS and a unique haptic controller.

Train2Game News: Sony Virtual Reality Headset

PS4 VR HeadsetStrong speculation has risen that Sony plans to enter the virtual reality gaming space in a big way with PlayStation 4.

Multiple sources have indicated that Sony’s VR headset will work similarly to Oculus’. Internally, the device has been demonstrated with Evolution Studios’ PS4 racer DriveClub, with players able to look around the cockpit of a car.

The Liverpool studio, Evolution Studios, is home to the Worldwide Studios Stereoscopic 3D team, which has worked on 3D game development since 2008. The team, and 3D chief Mick Hocking, have been relatively quiet since PlayStation’s ill-fated 3D push in 2011.

Amid the growing popularity of the Oculus Rift VR headset among the development community and a small number of gamers it will be interesting to see how this Sony headset will stand up.

Sony’s VR headset was set to appear in some form at German show Gamescom last week, but was pulled. It is now expect it to be unveiled next year.

Sony Worldwide Studios boss Shuhei Yoshida declined to comment when asked about VR in an interview with Eurogamer at Gamescom. “We don’t talk about that,” was all he’d say. This week Sony Computer Entertainment Europe declined to comment when contacted by Eurogamer.

This is certainly one to keep an eye on.