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@Casino_VR Brings the Poker Experience to the Comfort of Your Home Via #VR

It is not necessarily a new thing to see online gaming merge with virtual reality. Afterall, what can give VR that extra level of immersion is being social or the ability to play with other people. Such games that have implemented this, include Detached, Arizona Sunshine, Damaged Core, Mindshow and New Retro Arcade: Neon. But for those of you looking for a great virtual casino experience to immerse yourself in, then Casino VR is a must.

Co-founded by Hamza Siddiqui and Marco Kobelt, Casino VR premise is to provide a real-life casino simulation, which allows players to play poker in the comfort of their own home, while competing as if they were face-to-face with the other players. This will very well rid of the hassle of putting on a poker face, which will force other players to look for other tell-tale signs. The team from Casino VR explains, “VR is finally able to portray true presence and immersion. With such a technology, Casino VR envisions to combine online gaming and casino gaming into one.”

They are always running tournaments everyday of the week, giving people the opportunity to win stacks of poker chips and free VR games. To ensure a high-quality gaming experience, updates are continually made, with one being “Lockdown,” which limits the inflation of poker chips by preventing players from joining active poker tournaments after a certain amount of time has pass by. Currently, Casino VR is only accessible for Oculus Rift(Windows) and GearVR owners.

Casino VR definitely plans to add new games, but for the time being, they’re having fun hosting the future of online poker. If you want to test your poker skills in virtual reality, you can visit Oculus Home to download their app. You can also connect with them via Twitter @casino_vr.

Thanks for reading!

@Sketchfab Enables Social Media and Websites to Embed #VR Enabled 3D Content to be Viewed on VR Headsets

Understandably their are many VR enthusiasts, developers and artists experimenting and creating content for the next-level interface, known as virtual reality. When the Oculus Rift made it’s debut, the virtual reality community revolved around immersive gaming, then afterwards an explosion of different ways to utilized VR happened, with online social environments, immersive filming, collaboration software, hi-end branding experiences, streamlined VR creation platforms and 3D drawing platforms.

With this said, their is an online community of 3D artists that is leveraging VR’s potential to enable people to view their creations via VR. Sketchfab was founded 2012 in Paris, France, by co-founders Alban Denoyel, Cedric Pinson and Pierre-Antoine. Their original intent was to provide a hub for 3D artists to connect and publish their creations, based off their dissatisfaction of an absence of such platform. Now there are over half a million creators who have contributed an endless amount of 3D content for people to discover and enjoy.

Through their platform, users are able to discover 3D models related to gaming, characters, creatures, architecture, technology, science and cultural heritage, among other things. On top of being connected to one of the largest 3D creation community, users benefit from discounts, such as eLearning, software tools and online retail stores. There is also a blog, informing users about updates on Sketchfab, events, new tutorials and stories from the community. Now they’ve added a new feature for the Sketchfab community.

Being a 3D creator’s community, it is only natural they would implement a virtual reality platform. Now users who own the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift or even an mobile VR headset, can now download their app, which enables them to view 3D models in virtual reality. Even better, through webGL enabled browsers(mobile) and webVR through Google Chrome, people can view 3D content on websites and social media embedded with Sketchfab’s VR viewer, without leaving the page.

It has already been in the works, in trying to fiure out how to succesful implement VR content online, especially without people needing to download a huge file. With Sketchfab’s VR viewer allowing people to create 3D content, then share it with social media to be viewed in VR, is another step closer to ensuring the immersive marketplace will be succesful. You can keep up-to-date with Sketchfab, either through their blog or via Twitter @Sketchfab.

Thanks for reading!

@Framestore VR Team of Dedicated Developers are producing Hi-end #VR films in Partnership With Leading Brand Companies

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Its always interesting to see what digital developers and films experts are doing to push forward the potential of virtual reality. I’ve written in a previous post about how Storyhunter has incorporated a community of experienced directors and developers to understand and explore the various ways VR can enhance the very experiences that two-D screens are not able to achieve. This is why Framestore deserves recognition in their feat of producing high caliber films in virtual reality.

Framestore VR is a team of highly experienced and skilled filmmakers from Framestore Pictures, who produces groundbreaking immersive experiences, as well as work with brands and enthusiasts to provide them with a deeper understanding of VR’s possibilities through workshops. They have had the pleasure of working with Marvel, Samsung, HBO, Samsung, Paramount Pictures and other hi-profile leaders in the entertainment industry.

Through their partnerships, they have created a impressive portfolio of immersive entertainment. One such experience was a collaboration with Samsung and Marvel to produce 360-degree video, “Battle for Avengers Tower.” Built for the Gear VR and currently viewable on YouTube 360, you get first-hand slow-motion experience as Iron-man, as he flies through hordes of sub-Ultrons and aiding his friends, to eventually run into Ultron Prime himself.

As stated by Framestore VR, “The solution was to open with an epic real-time rendering, fully interactive environment and then transition to a stunning pre-rendered 360 video.” In order to direct the gaze of viewer to next action sequence or heroes, they utilized rockets and flying weapons, such as Thor’s hammer, which smoothly shifts viewers attention.

They confess that the most time-consuming technical obstacle, was the rendering of the spherical video. The entire production time of this 360 video took them under 2-months. Once released, Battle for Avengers Tower obtained over 2million views and was talked about on CNET, VRFocus, Wired and Android Headlines.

Though this is one of the many immersive films Framestore has produced. They’ve worked with Fiat for “The Power of X,” Universal Hip Hop Museum for “Kurtix Blow,” Marriott for “The Teleporter,” HBO Game of Thrones for “Ascend the Wall,” and their multi award-winning film in partnership with Lockheed Martin, “The Field Trip to Mars.”

Overall, Framestore VR main goal is to create Oscar-winning immersive experiences that will inevitably push the VR marketplace forward. To stay up with their latest developments and plans, you can connect with them via Twitter @Framestore.

Thanks for reading!

@AskGreenlight Insights Provides Analytical Information About the Direction of #Virtual and #Augmented Reality Marketplace

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With mixed reality applications showing true potential for changing the way we interact with media itself, it can be daunting for companies to understand how to best utilized virtual and augmented reality for suiting their needs, whether it be brand promotion, service enhancement or just plain ol’ entertainment. Lucky for these companies, there is a research firm who can help with strategies in leveraging this enhanced media.

Greenlight Insights provides analytical data pertaining to the direction of the mixed reality(MR) marketplace. The research firm is powered by Clifton Dawson(Chief Executive Officer), Steve Marshall(Senior Vice President), Erica Bishaf(Director of Consumer Insights), Eddie Lou(Managing Director), Peter Krasilovsky(Chief Analyst) and Ben Delaney(Distinguished Analyst). Through their efforts, they create daily/weekly newsletters, thoughtful insights about attended MR conferences and customized research services.

Through their customized research, they “deliver tailored research that addresses specific business needs for a wide range of operators, vendors and industry bodies within the virtual reality industry.” Companies will gain information about market size, distribution channels, public insight(consumer surveys & focus groups), as well as strategic analysis for entering the marketplace and informative events.

They also participate in VR/AR and host webinars which explains and explores the growing immersive marketplace. You do have the opportunity to join these webinars by registering through their website. For companies that don’t necessarily want to employ a team to seek out business specific opportunities, can purchase Greenlight Insights reports, with their latest one extracting data from 1200 people, which covers attitude towards VR, attitude towards advertising, payment models and purchase intent.

Greenlight Insights has definitely made it their obligation to understand the mixed reality field, and their reports can prove to be a game-changer for most businesses seeking in-depth analysis about the direction of VR/AR and how they can benefit from it. You can stay up-to-date on their blog or via Twitter @AskGreenlight.

Thanks for reading! Let us know your take on Greenlight Insight with a comment below:)

Meet @Funomena, A #VR Game Development Studio Focused on Imaginative #Immersive Experiences for the Broader Audience

Its great to see skilled game designers and developers exploring the different avenues of virtual reality. With the immersive nature of VR, people can exercise their empathy skill much more fluently, simply because we will be apart of the world, rather than looking at it through a distant screen, like the TVs most of us are accustomed to. VR undoubtedly provokes much more stronger emotions and interactions that no other media interface can do.

With this said, I want to point out a creative community of developers that go by the name of Funomena. The studio was founded by Robin Hunicke and Martin Middleton, with the goal of creating games that will have an positive impact on the world. Both met at TheGameCompany working on award winning PlayStation game, “Journey.” During this time, they got to learn each others values in life, work and having fun. After some time apart, they rejoined back in 2013 to start Funomena.

Since then, they have acquired other like-minded digital artists and programmers, as well as built a portfolio exploring virtual and augmented reality. One game to mention within their portfolio is “Woorld.” This unique game, is an AR experience built with Google’s Tango Technology. Within a sandbox-style setting, you can create your own colorful woorld by placing virtual objects and creatures on your own floor or tabletop. It also encourages friends and family members to exercise their own imagination for a shared experience.

If your looking for a virtual reality game with an compelling storyline, then “Luna” will definitely pique your interest. Luna puts you in a fantastical origami-like storybook, which follows the adventures of Bird, who is trying to find their way back home. After being tricked into eating the waning moon, young Bird gets blown away from the safety of it’s nest by a great storm.

With no recollection of a way to get back home, Bird must look to the stars to recover back memories lost. Bird must also travel out into the forest and interact with other animals. Through this, totems can be collected, which can be pieced together to re-ignite the beauty lost from the world, as well as discover the hidden fable of Bird’s daunting journey.

As explained by Funomena, “Luna is designed to be a highly tactile experience – combining aspects of gestural motion, imaginative play, creative exploration and musical improvisation.” They also had a strong focus towards people who are new to VR, by creating a unique comfortable and entertaining game that’ll appeal to a broader audience. With this, they’ve incorporated an interactive musical score, credited to Antoy Wintory, which slowly comes together as you build up the totem.

Luna has been showcased at PAX 2016 and they’re hard at work to make sure the game fulfills it’s true potential as an unique VR experience. Definitely look out for it when it becomes ready for your headset. Overall, Funomena is on the right track when it comes to being a leader in VR experiences and leveraging VR’s immersive nature to appeal to a wider audience through an emotional connection. You can keep up-to-date with Funomena on their blog or via Twitter @Funomena.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts on Funomena’s Luna with a comment below:)

@iQagent Provides Augmented Reality(#AR) Tech Solutions for Industrial Use

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Believe it or not, but we are entering a new age of interfacing and consuming data. With intricate modifications of cameras, digital screens, micro-chips, gyroscopes, accelerometers and other crafted hardware/software, has enhanced the way we interact with the virtual and digital world as we know it.

Within a few years, mainstream would’ve discovered and embrace with confidence, the real and absolute benefits of virtual and augmented reality. Though for now, there is one company who deserves recognition for leveraging this tech for industry purposes.

iQagent is a leading developer of award-winning app, which allow ground floor workers to view various points-of-interest via augmented reality(AR) or displayed digital overlays of data within physical environments. The app works with QR codes installed on locations, such as motors or production lines, which enables tablets/smartphones streamlined process to view real-time data, with a more intuitive interface.

This is extremely useful for engineers, maintenance staff and production supervisors. Now instead of wasting time searching for information on equipment and such, iQagent saves time(a.k.a. money), giving instant access to relevant info. Their software works with various systems, such as Linux, Windows OS, Ubuntu, Rasberry Pi and iOS.

There is a demo, showcasing how the app performs and features. For companies who decide to implement their AR system, have the option to have an iQagent agent install the system. They’ve also connected with trusted resellers globally, including GTSoft Oy(Finland), Wunderlich-Malec Engineering Inc(USA) and iQuest Inc, who are willing to work with industries to understand their needs and help find the right solution through iQagent’s AR technology.

Being a leader in AR tech for industrial use, undoubtedly iQagent’s will only get better, especially with the major investments being put into immersive interfaces. Researchers studying the mixed reality marketplace are even predicting AR to surpass VR, in terms of mainstream adoption. But for now you can check out their blog or follow them via Twitter @iQagent.

Thanks for reading! Let me know you thoughts about augmented reality being used for industrial use with a comment below:)

@RogueInitiative Reveals Debut #VR Game “Crowe: The Drowned Armory”

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How many developers does it take to make next-level virtual reality games? Who knows. But since Oculus Rift and HTC Vive has been driving an dominant presence in revolutionizing the way we see education, entertainment and social activities as we know it. With this, plenty of dev artists are tackling the challenge of creating highly-engaging and comfortable VR experiences, so that in the near future, such experiences would not be limited to merely the enthusiast.

One studio that is taken on virtual reality, goes by the name of The Rogue Initiative(TRI). You’d be amazed by by the power-source of this studio, as it’s developers, digital artists and the like have came from leading companies, such as Sony Pictures, Disney, Pixar, WEVR, Electronic Arts and so on.

Pete Blumel is the main head of the studio, who harbors over 19 years of experience in feature films and interactive experiences. He is aided by Cathy Twigg(Chief Executive Officer) and Hrish Lotlikar(Shief Business Development Officer), as well as an advisory board, which includes Micheal Bay, Ryan Wang, Lynda Obst, Amitt Mahajan and other leaders of respective fields.

This powerhouse is now on a path to producing next-level VR entertainment. They’ve already introduced their first immersive game, titled “Crowe: The Drowned Armory.” TRI utilized Unreal Engine 4 to bring the world of Crowe to life, which is fleshed out in a narrative format, which will be released in chapters.

The game follows a young villager, known as Crowe, who is trying to learn about the true past of his society. Within a fantastical sci-fi environment, players will be challenged with puzzles, foreign enemies and ancient temples, in order to help Crowe learn the secrets hidden within his community.

There is still more to expect from The Rogue Initiative as they get their feet wet within the growing marketplace. Though with a highly talented and skilled team, we should expect to see some hi-quality VR games released from this studio. To keep up-to-date with TRI’s developments, you can follow them via Twitter @RogueInitiative.

Thanks for reading! Let us know your thoughts on The Rogue Initiative with a comment below:)

@RemoriaVR are Developing Motion Controllers for Smartphone #VR Headsets

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Ever since modern virtual reality headsets became available, the has been a need for a more natural way to interact with the virtual worlds, rather than tapping on a keyboard or single controller. Of course the HTC Vive has it’s own motion controllers and Rift will have a some soon. The are also studios, such as Leap Motion, which can use hand gestures as input.

One studio, by the name of Remoria VR, was disappointed at the limited input that mobile VR headsets for smartphones allowed. If you’ve ever tried Powis VR or Google Cardboard, then you know there is only one button on the headset that allows you to interact with VR content.

With this, developers of mobile VR apps, had to figure out different ways for users to interact within the digital environment, such as head-tracking. Truth is, these techniques took away from the immersive nature of VR.

Remoria thought this was a no-go, which prompted them to develop their own motion controllers, that would be compatible with smartphones and maintain user’s ‘presence.’ These controllers are now known as ‘LIGNUM.’ As explained by the studio, “LIGNUM is a wireless Bluetooth LE controller with a set of sensors that allow motion and orientation tracking at extremely low latency.”

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LIGNUM is compatible with Cordova, iOS and Android devices, as well as Windows, Mac and Linux operating systems. Embedded within the controller is a magnetometer, accelerometer and gyroscope, with inputs being 1 mini joystick, 3 buttons and a power switch. All of this comes down to a 50g controller that can work with Unity3D and UnrealEngine 4.

Honestly, this maybe one avenue for newcomers to gain a better feel for VR, if a controller designed for these immersive mobile apps was available. Remoria is currently allowing developers to try out their controller for free, so if you’re interested, go ahead and visit RemoriaVR.com. If you’re not a developer, but are interested in their developments, you can follow them via Twitter @RemoriaVR.

Thanks for reading! Let us know your thoughts on RemoriaVR with a comment below:)

#Quixel and Wiktor Ohman Unleashes Hi-tension #VR Game “Homebound”

Most can agree, modern virtual reality interfaces like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, have unleashed a unprecedented way to explore the space we inhabit. Which is to say, an unprecedented way to explore outer-space. It’s one thing to stand on solid virtual ground, but it’s another to have the sensation of floating in the cosmos. There have already been games, such as Ashnar Studio’s “Detached” and Crowd Control Production’s “Eve: Valkyrie,” which places gamers among the stars. Now Quixel has added their own game to this list.

Swedish studio Quixel specializes in digital textures for game studios and freelancers to create high quality, realistic environments. They currently boast the Quixel Suite 2, which exponentially speeds up the workflow, saving developers time, a.k.a money. It can be used with Unreal Engine and Unity, which most developers use to create hi-quality games.

Their game inspired by the mind of veteran 3D artist, Wiktor Öhman, titled “Homebound.” Homebound puts you in a malfunctioned, halfway destroyed spaceship bound to crash land on Earth. Your objective: Survive the Crash.

The game was built for the Vive and Rift, as well as takes advantage of motion controller input, or if you prefer a mouse/keyboard or gamepad. Homebound’s detailed environment was made possible with Quixel’s game engine texture solution, giving the game a very realistic atmosphere, vacating the perception you were ever at home.

There are three different levels you can travel through, which includes Earth, Earth’s atmosphere and Deep Space. After initial play, about 10-30min of gameplay, you can challenge your own score with ‘Time Attack.’ Perfect for hi-replayability and entertaining your friends. With the game being a part of SteamVR, you also can take on additional challenges to unlock Steam achievements.

This maybe the first VR game which utilizes Quixels leading texture pack for game engines, though either way, if you’re a fan of space games or need another experience to add to your VR to-do list.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts on exploring outer-space with a comment below:)

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