Train2Game News VRFocus event in London

VRFocus Ltd., the UK-based specialist media outlet focusing on immersive technology has today announced a new event in collaboration with Realities Centre London, to bring virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences being shown off at this year’s Gamescom event to London for a special showcase.

The Post Gamescom #XR Review will play host to a number of developers and studios from the UK and showcase their projects; allowing people not able to attend the world’s largest videogame convention this August another chance to get hand-on and find out more about those utilising VR and AR.

Amongst those currently confirmed are Cherry Pop Games with Football Nation VR, Dream Reality Interactive and Rebellion’s physics-based platform title Arca’s Path VR and The Persistence, Firesprite’s roguelike horror for PlayStation VR.

Along with the opportunity to play the videogames on show there will also be a number of speakers and a panel discussing VR and AR’s role at this year’s Gamescom event and the latest in immersive technology news. Led by VRFocus.com Editor and CEO Kevin Joyce and the website’s Video Production Manager Nina Salomons.

“The UK XR community is hugely passionate, and the Realities Centre is keen to enable everyone access to all the latest developments whether or not they have the budget to attend international trade shows. Partnering with VRFocus for the Post Gamescom #XR Review enables Realities Centre further reach into the UK community and to attract the biggest names in XR.” said Thomas Gere, Realities Centre CEO.

“Gamescom is always a highlight in the annual videogames event calendar, and over the years has become one of the biggest showcases for new and exciting hardware and software. Working with UK developers to bring their titles back to UK audiences is exactly the kind of opportunity that VRFocus was always designed to provide.”, added Kevin Joyce, VRFocus CEO and Editor.
The event takes place on Thursday, 6th September 2018, at the Realities Centre at Huckletree West, Mediaworks, White City in London.

Applications for tickets can be made at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/vr-gaming-showcase-with-gamescom-review-in-association-with-vrfocus-tickets-45551446603.

Regular tickets are free, and demos and talks will begin at 7PM. Those who purchase a VIP ticket however will be able to gain access to the demos an hour earlier. Please See the Eventbrite listing for further details.

Train2Game News Guide on Unity VR

Explore the latest features of Unity 2018 to create immersive VR projects for desktop and mobile devices using this practical guide written by Jonathan Linowes.

The second edition of this popular how-to book has just been published. It has been updated, revised and expanded to 200 more pages than the first edition.

Unity has become the leading platform for building virtual reality games, applications, and experiences for this new generation of consumer VR devices.

Unity Virtual Reality Projects walks you through a series of hands-on tutorials and in-depth discussions on using the Unity game engine. With its practical and project-based approach, this book will get you up to speed with the specifics of Virtual Reality development in Unity. You will learn how to use Unity to develop VR applications that can be experienced with devices such as Oculus, Daydream, and Vive. Among the many topics and projects, you will explore gaze-based versus hand controller input, world space UI canvases, locomotion and teleportation, software design patterns, 360-degree media, timeline animation, and multiplayer networking. You will learn the Unity 3D game engine via the interactive Unity Editor as well as C# programming. By the end of the book, you will be fully equipped to develop rich, interactive virtual reality experiences using Unity.

What You Will Learn

  • Create 3D scenes with Unity and other 3D tools while learning about world space and scale
  • Build and run VR applications for specific headsets, including Oculus, Vive, and Daydream
  • Interact with virtual objects using eye gaze, hand controllers, and user input events
  • Move around your VR scenes using locomotion and teleportation
  • Implement an audio fireball game using physics and particle systems
  • Implement an art gallery tour with teleportation and data info
  • Design and build a VR storytelling animation with a soundtrack and timelines
  • Create social VR experiences with Unity networking

To order your copy: https://goo.gl/iLuVf4

Train2Game News VR and AR for Unity

Parkerhill Reality Labs is making public its plans for the BridgeXR Pro Toolkit for Unity, a lean SDK manager for developing cross-platform VR and AR applications.

BridgeXR is for developers implementing virtual reality and/or augmented reality applications using the Unity 3D game engine. BridgeXR manages multiple VR and AR SDKs in a thin device-independent layer within the Unity editor, while leveraging the best of breed software from leading VR and AR vendors.

“BridgeXR is designed to stay out of your way, permitting you direct access to performant vendor-supplied toolkits while keeping your project device-independent,” says Jonathan Linowes, president of Parkerhill. “With BridgeXR, you can avoid the industry’s API fragmentation that can disrupt your development.”

Using BridgeXR, you define platform bridges in the Unity Editor. A bridge is a platform-object mapping in your project providing dynamic in-editor serialization and runtime instantiation. Types of bridges include scene loader, player rigs, prefabs, input gestures, and plug-ins.

Developers continue to use the world-class optimized toolkits from leading tech giants. Rather than try to replace them, BridgeXR builds on top of the high level tools you know and trust, including SteamVR Interaction System, Google Daydream Elements, Oculus SDK, Windows Mixed Reality Toolkit, Google ARCore, and Apple ARKit. There is even a VRTK bridge for transitioning apps away from that toolkit.

With BridgeXR, you are encouraged to use Unity’s latest features and best practices, including in-editor developer tools, Unity events, scriptable objects, playables, timelines, and asset bundles.

BridgeXR also includes a reaction semantics framework using Unity Events. Translate device input events into your application’s semantic events. Assemble reusable reaction collections, including audio reactions, particle effects, timeline sequences and animations.

Parkerhill is taking inquiries to participate in the BridgeXR private beta release. Preference will given to collaborative contract clients interested in hiring the studio’s development services that build upon Parkerhill’s technology and Unity 3D. For more information, visit http://www.parkerhill.com/bridgexr/ or email info@parkerhill.com.

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 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.