Train2Game News Get Schwifty in VR


Adult Swim Games and Owlchemy Labs present Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality available for HTC Vive and Oculus + Touch. Get it now on Steam and Oculus Home.
Watch the Launch Trailer on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsCGXcpa3Qw&feature=youtu.be
Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality smashes together the absolute VR chaos of the award-winning Job Simulator with the ridiculous, all-out, take-no-prisoners comedy of Rick and Morty.

Rick and Morty have teleported into your living room for a cutting-edge VR adventure from Adult Swim Games and Owlchemy Labs (Job Simulator).

Experience life as a clone of Morty and all the trauma that comes with it. Step through portals to strange worlds, help Rick with his bizarre experiments, and use your hands in VR to pick up and play in an interaction-filled 3D Rick-ality. 

Follow Rick’s directions (or don’t!) to solve puzzles and complete missions in this fully voice acted adventure.

Train2Game News Unity plugin supports EditorVR

VR game development on the Unity platform just received a massive productivity boost. 
Today, KinematicSoup Technologies announced that Scene Fusion now officially supports EditorVR. The announcement was in response to Unity Technologies’ latest update to the platform, released on March 11th, 2017.

Scene Fusion is a Unity plug-in that adds real-time collaboration for level design to the Unity engine, which reduces the amount of time it takes to build and ship a game by up to 33%. With the growing popularity of VR, the decision to support it in Scene Fusion was an easy decision for Justin McMichael, CEO of KinematicSoup.

Unity launched the first publicly available experimental build of EditorVR for Unity, on December 15, 2016. Since this launch, the team at KinematicSoup has made efforts to ensure Scene Fusion builds have supported the continuous development of EditorVR, and plans to continue this trend.

 “Our goal is to provide complete interactivity to game developers so that they can bring games to market sooner and work more efficiently. We see VR as a natural next step to the evolving landscape of game development. The benefits of real-time collaboration have never been greater than they are in VR. Being able to have people in and out of VR interact together on a single scene creates a very fast and efficient workflow that results in faster game development.”

 Justin McMichael, CEO, KinematicSoup

Scene Fusion has been in development since 2015 and has since become popular among many Unity-based game studios.

Interested in learning more about Scene Fusion? Visit https://www.kinematicSoup.com/scene-fusion 

Train2Game News VR audience survey

Steel Media has completed a survey of its audience on new specialist VR site TheVirtualReport.biz. 
Highlights of the report have been provided ahead of the report’s full release alongside Steel Media’s flagship event in London. The biggest mobile gaming conference in Europe, Pocket Gamer Connects London, takes place 16-17th January 2017 and incorporates VR Connects, a dedicated area for the VR industry.

The survey highlights provide key insight into the future of this rapidly expanding sector. The VR and AR industry is looking forward to 2017 despite some apprehensions. Over 62% predicted a positive or very positive outlook for VR this year. Only 16.13% had doubts due to Brexit. Adoption of the latest tech is being fuelled by indie developers working with VR and AR, but the industry is calling on government to safeguard its future.

Lack of investment in UK, or a skills shortage, were considered the two most likely threats to the VR business caused by Brexit. Uncertain consumer interest in VR was considered the biggest current threat generally, said 60% of those who took part. Government investment in tech R&D was the biggest factor which 46% of those surveyed thought would help the UK stay at the forefront of VR development.

Many of those surveyed have yet to release a VR product, almost 50% have been operating for under two years and most have under $20,000 in development budget. Of those that disclosed their expectations, the majority expected their 2016 profits to be 5% or less, although almost 34% expected this to be more than 2015.

There are key hardware players at the forefront of VR and AR who respondents are working with. HTC Vive, with 63%, was seen as most important, closely followed by Oculus Rift with 55%. Mobile VR also featured significantly, with Google’s platforms Android/Daydream (53%) and Samsung Gear VR (52%) taking the third and fourth slots.

117 VR industry professionals took part in the survey, Developers were the largest group who took part at 55%. The majority of those surveyed were from: Europe (41%), UK (16%) and US and Canada (26%).

Chris James, Managing Director, Steel Media:  “The games industry in the UK is vital to the British economy. Mobile continues to be a successful business area. And our research now shows that developers see huge potential in VR and AR. It’s interesting that any doubt in 2016 came not from Brexit but from the need for education and investment. We’ve launched our new event VR Connects alongside our hugely successful mobile event, and continue to grow our website TheVirtualReport.biz, to support this growing sector. This is just the beginning!”

The survey took place on the TheVirtualReport.biz, giving insight from VR professionals operating in the games industry. The survey was completed in tandem with a survey of the mobile games industry on PocketGamer.biz. The full results of both surveys will be available online to coincide with the launch of the biggest mobile gaming industry event in Europe,

Pocket Gamer Connects London, and its sister event VR Connects London, take place on the 16th and 17th of January at The Brewery on Chiswell Street. Some tickets to the event are still available at the time of writing. Over 74% of people surveyed said they considered networking opportunities to be the deciding factor on whether to attend an event or not; for this reason PG Connects and VR Connects has a dedicated Pitch & Match meeting system, two SpeedMatch sessions, the Very Big Indie Pitch and VR Indie Pitch for showcasing projects and more, including the hugely popular Global Connects party.

More information can be found at http://www.vr-connects.com/london and http://www.pgconnects.com/london

Train2Game News No Camera Motion Controller VR

​Finch, a virtual reality startup, will showcase their Mobile VR Kit based on No-Camera Motion Controller at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Finch has designed the Shift as the first no-camera motion controller to bring exceptional VR experience to smartphone owners. Shift matches the functionality of the best motion controllers for Oculus and HTC Vive without the need for external cameras and wires. By the end of 2017, Finch is aiming to add inside-out room scale tracking by smartphone camera and will have at least 50 mobile VR multiplayer apps compatible with Finch Shift.

The controller employs modified IMU sensors to determine real-time hands’ position with sub-centimeter accuracy and a 360-degree tracking range. Coupled with the ‘PC-to-mobile’ streaming software, it allows running existing Steam VR, Oсulus and HTC Vive apps and games on smartphones. The Finch Shift will also allow mobile gamers to interact in virtual reality through a multiplayer option.

Finch Shift’s Developer’s Kit, priced at $179, includes the sets for both hands, SDK/API, accessories, three demo games and the streaming software pack. The DK1 will be shipped in February 2017. The consumer version will hit the market in the second half of 2017 after Finch’s Kickstarter campaign this spring.

“We believe that Finch Shift VR Kit will accelerate consumers’ interest to virtual reality in the near future. The main reasons for slow market expansion have been limited functionality and low quality of content for mobile VR, and prohibitive costs of high-end hardware. With the Shift Kit, anyone who has a decent smartphone can play the best virtual reality games from SteamVR and mobile VR app stores. Plus, you can share the fun with your friends, just like you do it with console gaming,” said the company’s CEO Alexey Kartashov.

In spite of billions of dollars invested in virtual reality startups, current market demand for VR gadgets is significantly below earlier predictions. The industry experts see the mobile VR segment as the key to the doors to virtual reality consumer adoption. Tractica researchers forecast global sales of smartphone-powered VR devices to reach 323 million units between 2015 and 2021. However, lack of natural input devices and other challenges with quality of mobile VR experience have been serious roadblocks to the mobile VR sector growth.

The Finch team believes that it has found a solution to the problem. By combining existing high- quality content with affordable devices, they hope to introduce the exciting world of virtual reality to millions of smartphone owners around the globe.  The attendees of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next month will have an opportunity to try Finch Shift in action at the Augmented Reality Marketplace (Las Vegas Convention Center, South Hall 2, booth 26737).

Finch Shift website: www.finch-shift.com .

Train2Game News eSports VR Game 

Seattle-based Drifter Entertainment has announced that is has raised $2.25 million in seed funding to continue and bolster development of its virtual reality e-sports games. 
Drifter founders Ray Davis, Kenneth Scott, and Brian Murphy have spent their careers building platforms including HoloLens, Oculus Rift, Xbox One, and Unreal Engine 4, as well as games such as Gears of War, Doom 3, Halo 4, and Bullet Train.

The investment has been led by the highly regarded VC firm, Signia Venture Partners.  Signia has previously invested in Alibaba, Boxed, Playdom, Adify, and Flycast Communications. The firm’s other gaming investments include Super Evil Mega Corp and Phoenix Labs.  Signia partner, Sunny Dhillon, will be joining Drifter’s board as a result of the investment.  “You rarely come across a founder like Ray with the technical and creative chops found in very few gaming company founders. We’re excited to build market defining virtual reality games with Team Drifter,” says Sunny Dhillon.

Another major investment comes from Initialized Capital, which has been among the first checks invested in billion dollar companies like Instacart, Cruise, and Zenefits. “We’re looking for foundational companies and this is our first VR bet, because this is the first time we saw something in the space that really felt like it could be a major level up in gaming,” said General Partner and cofounder, Alexis Ohanian (also: cofounder, Reddit).

Additional investors in Drifter to date include Presence Capital, The VR Fund, Pathbreaker Ventures, and Anorak Ventures.

“We’re thrilled and humbled by the support we’ve received from our investors, both financial and otherwise,” says Drifter’s Ray Davis, who most recently served as general manager for Unreal Engine 4, following his time at Microsoft on the HoloLens project. “We feel incredibly lucky to have found the right partners that not only want us to succeed, but clearly understand our vision for the future of VR gaming.”

“The titles we’re working on are ambitious experiences designed for a new medium, and knowing that we’ll have the capital to see them through is certainly empowering,” says Murphy, who helped launch the Xbox One, Kinect, and HoloLens while working for Microsoft over the course of the last decade. His most recent project was helping to create the virtual travel experience Holo Tour for HoloLens. The studio’s third cofounder, Kenneth Scott, has worked as an art director for some 20 years in AAA game development, including id Software and Microsoft Game Studios on the Halo franchise. He’s spent the last two years building conversion on contact content at Oculus.

For more information on Drifter, please visit: http://driftervr.com

Train2Game News nDreams investment

nDreams Ltd., the UK’s largest independent developer/publisher solely focused on virtual reality (VR) entertainment software, today announced that it has received an investment of £2.0 million, the first of a two-stage round. 
Mercia Technologies PLC, the technology-focused investment business who has invested £4.1 million into nDreams previously, funded £1.0 million of the latest round. The rest of the investment comes from a group of angel investors.

The nDreams investment follows the recent launch of the award-winning The Assembly (view trailer) on Sony’s PlayStation®VR, coming after its number one debut on Oculus Rift and successful release on HTC Vive. nDreams also recently released Danger Goat (view trailer), its first title for the Daydream, Google’s new high-quality mobile VR platform that launched on 10 November 2016.

Patrick O’Luanaigh, nDreams’ CEO and Founder, said:

“We’re delighted that Mercia are continuing to support our growth by taking part in this investment, which is the first of a two-stage round. We’re also very pleased to welcome a number of private investors, all of whom have hugely successful business backgrounds and a wealth of knowledge and experience. I’m so proud of the team that we have assembled here at nDreams. This investment allows us to continue building on the momentum we have achieved, and to develop VR games and experiences of the very highest quality.”

Mike Hayes, Mercia’s Investment Director, Digital & Digital Entertainment:

“The continued progress of nDreams is an example of Mercia’s success in investing and mentoring UK technology businesses. We congratulate the nDreams team and believe that the Company has an exceptionally exciting future ahead, operating at the forefront of the VR content development.”

nDreams was one of the first game studios in the world to focus on VR software, and has been working on virtual reality since 2013. The company has also launched Gunner and Perfect Beach on the Samsung Gear VR and has several VR games and experiences in development.

Train2Game News VR Animation

Limitless, Ltd. today announced a new cloud-based animation toolset that allows rapid prototyping of animated VR content inside a virtual reality world. For the first time ever, anyone working on VR content can intuitively animate characters in real time within the VR world itself – and accomplish this at least 16 times faster than with current animation software.  By making VR content faster and easier to create, developers can run more experiments and create more compelling content for VR, including games and films that involve interactive character’s.

The new animation toolset is the first-of-its-kind and does not require professional training.  Limitless CEO and Founder Tom Sanocki saw the need for great VR content, but was watching VR directors and animators spend countless hours going back and forth between computer software and the VR environment where the content lives. Putting VR content creation inside the actual VR world eliminates the time-consuming back-and-forth between the computer and the VR environment, and also allows those without professional training to become VR animators on the spot.

According to Sanocki, “We are all animators at heart – we learned at an early age by playing with our toys.  We just need to remove the barrier formed by our software so we can all create stories using the inspiration that we already have inside of us.”

“I’ve seen the future of VR animation, and Limitless is getting it right,” said Bobby Beck, CEO/Founder Artella and CEO/Founder Animation Mentor.  “They are paving the way in VR animation for both professionals and the masses.”

The animation editing tools in the Limitless Creative VR Environment are strong enough for developers to use for prototyping, yet easy enough for anyone to animate.  Using a VR headset and hand controllers in the Limitless Creative VR Environment enables rapid prototyping for newcomers that would otherwise require weeks of intensive professional training. Plus, Limitless has a tutorial character within the VR environment to help walk anyone through the animation process.  Film directors, for example, can change the way a character moves, looks or acts instantly in real time.

Professional animator Jon Collins, who has previously worked at Pixar, ILM, Blue Sky, Blizzard, and ToyTalk, currently leads UX and animation as the Creative Director at Limitless.  “As a layout tool, this dramatically increases the rate at which sequences can be assembled and iterated on in CG. What would have normally taken me an entire day to do,  I can now accomplish in less than an hour,” said Collins.

“It has always frustrated me that although I can visualize motion and timing quickly and easily, the process of replicating these movements in CG with traditional animation software is time consuming and non-intuitive,” Collins added. “With the Limitless Creative VR Environment, both of these restrictions can be overcome in a matter of hours by anyone. By connecting a person’s innate ability to move their own body in beautifully rhythmic ways directly to VR characters in real time, the process of animation becomes much more intuitive and enjoyable.”

The Limitless animation tools can be used with any VR environment and character that has been imported into this part of the Limitless Creative VR Environment platform.  In October, the company will be opening the platform and animation tools to a small group of studios and partners to make sure the company is solving the right VR problems while keeping content creation easy.

Sanocki concluded, “Right now the biggest need in VR is good content and that is largely driven by characters. Forming a deep emotional connection with the characters we care about hits the core of mainstream entertainment. Our platform solves the tricky task of creating interactive characters in VR, and now makes it easy for anyone to animate those characters in real time.”

Train2Game News Huge VR Investment

​Another half a billion dollars was invested into virtual and augmented reality startups in the third quarter of this year, with a record $2.3 billion dollars invested in the last 12 months.
Q3 2016 saw the 9th straight quarter of investment trending upwards, as the money flowing into AR/VR is now being driven by major Sand Hill Road VCs and corporate investors. With check sizes averaging $9.3 million (or $16.4 million excluding seed deals) in the quarter, AR/VR investment is rapidly going mainstream. Details are in Digi-Capital’s new Augmented/Virtual Reality Report and Deals Database.

The mainline VC and corporate world accounted for 86% of the number of investors in AR/VR startups in the third quarter. The big name financial investors included Fidelity, Intel Capital, Softbank, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, Sequoia, DCM, Qualcomm Ventures, Raine, CITIC and more. The roster of corporate investors joining the fun added Amazon, Alibaba and News Corp. So while specialist AR/VR VCs drove the early investment market, growing confidence and check sizes has led to the number of mainstream investors accelerating.

Excluding Magic Leap’s massive rounds in 2014 and at the start of this year, the overall growth trend for AR/VR investment has now been upwards for over 2 years. In the context of more general concerns about tech market investment, that continued confidence on the part of serious investors that virtual, augmented and mixed reality are the fourth wave of consumer technology change is even more impressive.

As investment has continued to grow, the balance of where the money is going has become broader. While Magic Leap’s $793.5 million round was astonishing, it took less than $4 of every $10 invested into the market. VR/AR solutions/services was the next largest category, with video following close behind including NextVR’s $80 million round from heavyweights like CITIC, Netease and Softbank. Moving beyond AR head mounted displays (“HMDs”), VR HMDs still took in a respectable level of investment despite the presence of major corporate competitors like Facebook, Samsung, Sony and HTC/Valve. AR/VR peripherals, games, advertising/marketing, applications, tech and distribution startups also raised substantial amounts.

As the AR/VR market goes through the well-trodden path of hype cycle, facing reality, liftoff and maturity, the smart money is looking to the long term. VR will be big. AR will be bigger (and take longer). While exact market timing is impossible to predict (as evidenced by the unanticipated success of Pokémon Go), folks who know how early stage investment markets work are betting increasingly heavily on AR/VR’s potential.

To help foster growing AR/VR investment, Digi-Capital is holding its private quarterly Reality Check forum for AR/VR CEOs, corporate divisional heads and VC General Partners to do deals and solve industry issues in October.

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 Descendent Studios open source UE4 plugins


Descendent Studios, makers of Descent: Underground, announced the open-source release of several Unreal Engine 4 plugins they developed for the game.
The studio rolled out their GitHub repository on the heels of last week’s announcement that Descent: Underground won an Open-Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) Fund grant from Razer. Descent: Underground was the first high-end action title to natively support all of the major desktop VR headsets: OSVR, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift.

“We use open-source tools and libraries in the development of Descent: Underground,“ said Descendent Studios’ CTO, Jason “Stormwind” Spangler. “We wanted to give something back to the development community by making some of the code we’ve created available.”

Among the new open-source offerings for Unreal Engine 4 is “Blinken,” which adds support for color-changing peripherals like Razer’s Chroma line, AlienFX, Logitech G in both Blueprint and C++. Other plugins facilitate XMPP chat support, more robust configuration menus, and ping time displays. The repository also features contributions, additions, and fixes to a number of other open-source projects, such as the OSVR-Unreal plugin, nodervisor, discord-xmpp, and more. Descendent’s GitHub repository is available at https://github.com/DescendentStudios.

The Early Access version of Descent: Underground is available at http://www.descentunderground.com, Steam, and other online resellers. The game already features a number of multiplayer competitive and cooperative game modes, among them a horde-style “Survival” mode, and a tongue-in-cheek capture-the-flag mode called “Miner Mayhem”. Single-player “Survival” and “Vs. Bots” modes allow offline play in advance of the upcoming storyline campaign.

Descent: Underground is also bundled with the OSVR HDK2 VR headset now through Sept. 19, while stocks last at http://www.razerzone.com/store/hdk2.