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Future of virtual reality

@LindenLab Creator of “Second Life” is Developing Online #VR Platform for Monetizing VR Content Online

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What is the necessary components to establish the “Metaverse?” That is the question VR futurists will be asking for a long time, or at least until communities and societies begin to embrace this technology. Though at this current stage, we have the networking capabilities, artificial intelligence or smart algorithms, online security measures and virtual reality headsets. Though it still up to developers and content-creators to create environments to facilitate meta-interactions.

Speaking of meta-interactions, Linden Labs(creators of Second Life), is developing an immersive platform which allows people to monetize on digital content they create online. This could very well-be another realized component for the “Metaverse.” This could also effectively bring about or revolutionize how we interact online, or at least in the near future. If you’re curious if Linden Labs is qualified to develop such an ambitious platform, then you must not heard of “Second Life.”

Second Life was their first product, launched 2003, which allowed users to create and exchange content. It is one of the most successful pioneering online social platforms, which has seen billions of dollars transacted among it’s users. It is one of the largest online library of digital content. With business opportunities being realized within this platform, it is not too far fetched to believe Linden Labs will re-create this specifically for distribution of VR content.

Their VR project, “Sansar,” is still in development, scheduled to be publicly available early 2017. As stated by them, “Sansar will democratize VR as a creative medium, making it easy for people to create, share, and monetize their own social VR experiences.” If you are already creating virtual reality content or experiences, you can apply for Creator Preview, which will give you early access and let you help shape the platform of Sansar.

Their next platform, may very well be another key to unlocking what we envision as the”Metaverse.” In the near future, when VR is more affordable and people are immersing themselves in vastness and endless gateways to virtual worlds, the only reason we would take off these majestic headsets is to head to work. But what if you could make money in the “Metaverse?” You can keep up to date by following via Twitter @LindenLab.

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@Eyefluence is Developing Intutive Eye Tracking Technology for #VR and #AR Interfaces

When VR headsets became something tangible, something that would fool our eyes into believing we where in a different reality, the question inevitably arised, “How would we interact with these digital worlds via virtual reality?” To compliment the immersive aspect of VR headsets, there needed to immersive control input. Vive and Rift already comes with its dual motion controllers, and Neuro Digital Technologies already have an working vibrotactile haptic device, which let’s you “feel” digital environments. But what about using your eyes to input commands? This is exactly what Eyefluence has been working on.

Eyefluence was founded in year 2013 by Jim Marggraff and David Stiehr and is powered by over 25+ people. As stated by them, “At Eyefluence, we are engineering the first and only true eye-interaction technology designed to revolutionize what’s possible in AR, VR, and MR environments.” They are designing an input interface which turns intent instantaneously to action via your eyes. Their interface is designed from the beginning to be device agnostic, meaning Rift, Vive, PSVR, StarVR and OSVR wil be able to implement Eyefluence tech into their headsets.

Augmented reality headsets are already utilized by employees in major industries. What eyefluence wants to do is make workflow a lot more intuitive and hands-free. For instance, in the medical industry, surgeons can still operate on patients, while still being able to access viable information hands-free, and construction workers can access databases, blueprints and compliance files, without searching through loads of paper or carrying around a tablet, which again frees up their hands. Eyefluene tech also provides Continuous Iris ID to take place of passwords and logins, providing an more secure and intuitive connection for employees.

Virtual reality promises to transport people into worlds undiscovered and discover new places that already exist. It will revolutionize storytelling, gaming, social activities and media in general. For those who suffer nauseous experiences in VR, Eyefluence tech will minimize head movements and automatically calibrate pupils and lens distortion. In immersive social applications, your eye movements and gaze can effectively be seen by others, adding another level of “presence.”

With much breakthroughs in eye-centric input technology, Eyefluence is being acquired by Google. This partnership will definitely fast-track their developments, which will potentially improve efficiency of VR content and applications being produced. You can keep up with Eyefluence by visiting their blog or connecting via Twitter @Eyefluence.

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@JauntVR, Conde Nast Entertainment & 30 Ninjas is Developing First-ever Episodic Action-adventure #VR Series “Invisible”

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What is the future of storytelling? How will we experience character archetypes that has filled the very essence of stories in a new and profound way? We have listened, read and watched, but with the rise of virtual reality, we will immerse ourselves in the very world’s that has pushed our imagination and Mind’s eye to new limits. This is exactly what JauntVR and their partners have been doing, and now with their latest project, they are making another headway into the future of storytelling.

If you don’t know, JauntVR is a leader in immersive films and creator of 360 camera Jaunt One, which their community uses to create hi-quality immersive stories. They have partnered up with Conde Nast Entertainment(CNE) and 30 Ninjas, to bring about their latest project, “Invisible.”

Launched 2013, CNE has over thousands of videos in their portfolio, as well as received numerous rewards, including Producers Guild Award and nine Tellys. 30 Ninjas, founded by Julina Tatlock and Doug Liman, produces interactive VR experiences, which has received Social TV Grand Prize, Emmy Awards and won one Shorty. Pretty impressive partnership, meaning “Invisible” will definitely be a treat for the VR consumer.

Invisible is the first episodic action-adventure series, developed specifically for virtual reality. The series follows a prominent, yet secretly supernatural, New York City family, the Ashlands. Their supernatural abilities, like invisibility, is passed down through generations. With this, an very exceptional child is born, which catches the public’s interest, putting the Ashlands secret in jeopardy.

With so much to accomplish, Julian Tatlock outlines the various questions they’ve had to ask during development, like “What can we write for VR? What tells the best story and how can we push the technology so that we break people’s expectation? Everyone else is concerned with defining the rules of VR. We’re fascinated with the invention.”

President of Jaunt Studios commends the project stating,”Episodic series such as INVISIBLE are the future of mainstream VR content and will make waves attracting ever growing audiences. This partnership also ensures that Jaunt will continue to remain at the forefront of premium VR content production and distribution.”

Invisible is definitely an experience some of us have been waiting for. It isn’t just accessible to hi-end VR HMD owners but can be watched in 360 when download JauntVR app on Google Play or iTunes. Since this adrenaline-inducing show is an series, you can expect more episodes on the way. You can keep up with JauntVR’s latest developments via Twitter @JauntVR or @30Ninjas.

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Dante Buckley’s Studio Downpour Interactive is Producing the Popular Online Mutlipalyer #VR Game “Onward”

It’s barely been half a year since the release of hi-end VR interfaces, such as HTC Vive and StarVR, and there is already an army of developers, artists and enthusiasts who is creating the very foundation of future VR experiences. In a previous post, I made a statement about the success of the VR marketplace relies on skilled developers to pave the pathway. This doesn’t necessarily mean those with over ten years of development experience, but also those who have fortified their talent with grounded knowledge.

This brings me to Downpour Interactive. This studio was created from the ambitious desire of an college drop-out, known as Dante Buckley. With a little tuition, he invested in developing his very own game, titled “Onward.” After a year of development, and finally released on Steam Early Access, Onward has received over 700 reviews on Steam, averaging out to “Very Positive” gaming experience and boasts a steady 50 players online at any given moment, which cannot be said for most online VR multiplayer games on the market.

Onward is an online multiplayer first person shooter game built for VR HMDs. It is a real-world simulation, where player must rely on coordination, communication and markmanship skills for finishing objectives successfully. There are no HUDs, no handicap crosshairs and limited respawns, giving the game its edge. With multiple maps, varying weather conditions and times of day, each match tests your combat skills and requires team cooperation.

Since it’s development, Onward grossed over $400,000, which is pretty impressive, being developed primarily by one person. Dante also created a blog tracking his progress, which includes implementation of weapon customization, new objectives, motion control inputs and Early access. In an Skype interview with UploadVR, regarding a question about comfort level, he states, “I got lucky with how people don’t really get sick. People that get sick in other games don’t seem to get sick in Onward.” A definite barrier he’s managed to overcome in a VR experience.

With Onward having an active fan base and continuous growth in popularity, Dante is currently hiring for other talented people to join his team in ensuring steady success for Downpour Interactive. The game is still in development, but you can purchase the game on Steam for $24.99. If you want to learn more about the direction he plans for his studio, go ahead and contact him.

Thanks for reading!

@GameCoder_Team Creates Macabre-style #VR Game “Sophie’s Guardian”

The early days of the immersive marketplace, is just like the early days of any innovative tech that has revolutionized the way we live. There is much experimentation, criticism, creative ideas, investments and leap of faith, all culminating into a standard and various niche content for what we know as virtual/augmented reality. VR/AR seed has been planted years ago, but now we finally get to see what grows from it. Speaking of a niche content, there’s a studio who is adding there own unique immersive experience.

Game Coders Studio is a game development studio located in Guanajuato, Mexico, who has been partnered up with Bandai Namco, Sony Interactive and Renderfarm. They utilize different game engines, including Unity, Unreal and Lodestone, which is used to produce content for PC, consoles, mobile and VR platforms. In partnership with Renderfarm Studio, they have created an immersive macabre-style game, titled “Sophie’s Guardian.”

Sophie Guardian follows a vigilante teddy bear, after a nine-year-old girl and her mother move to an aged house on the outskirts of town. As Sophie explores the house, bringing her gruffy teddy bear along, she finds a eerie room with etched walls and forgotten things. As Sophie’s Guardian, “Griff” the teddy bear, you must protect Sophie from the thins that bump in the dark.

As a gunslinging stitched-up Teddy bear named “Griff,” there are three different game modes that you can take on. Guardian mode is liken to story mode, where you must protect Sophie from the evil dolls. If you want to put your skills to the test, Gunslinger mode puts your accuracy and reflexes on edge with ever-increasing hordes. To bring your friends in on the action, Puppeteer gives your friends the power to unleash the horde on you.

With it being available on Steam, there are several achievements you can strive for. Such achievements include Insomnia(where you must survive 9 minutes as Gunslinger), I’m the Juggernaut( where you must kill 500 club dolls) and First Blood(where you must kill your first doll). Completing all these achievements will definitely make you Sophie’s true Guardian. You can check VRFocus compiled list in one of their posts.

Overall, Game Coders Studio has definitely made an unforgettable experience in VR with “Sophie’s Guardian.” And with it’s game style, with waves of enemies testing your might, it institutes high replayability, with you wanting to top your local and global leaderboards. The game is currently available on steam, but hopefully it will be made available for all VR platforms to enjoy. You can keep up-to-date on developments by following them on Twitter @GameCoder_Team.

Thanks for reading!

Say Hello to @PrologueVR, a Developer and Graphic Artist in the #VR field

The very foundation of virtual reality is being realized at this very moment. Countless developers, artists and enthusiast have taken up the torch to light the way for the future of human interactivity in the digital world. With the recent release of Playstation VR to it’s core gamers, there is inevitably going to be a positive flux in VR adaption and new-found enthusiasm in experiencing media in an extraordinary way.

Speaking of extraordinary experiences in VR, Prologue Immersive has been making their mark in this growing industry. Based in Venice, CA, the studio was founded by Kimberly Cooper(CEO) and Kyle Cooper (Designer), who original founded Prologue, their independent company focused around the two-D cinematic screen. Their work can be seen in American Horror Story, XMEN, Sherlock Holmes, Iron Man 1&2 and Bungies game “Destiny.”

With an insurmountable years of experience in developing hi-quality graphic designs for major entertainment and production studios, Prologue states by “by using our ‘pure imagination,’ we are determined to offer content that will exemplify all the possibilities of the new VR / AR medium.” To help guide them in this endeavor, they have Hideo Kojima who heads Kojima Productions responsible for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and Mike Viola who is the Principal Technologist at NASDAQ, as advisers by their side.

They also had the unique opportunity to try out the popular VR headsets, including Google Cardboard, Samsung GearVR, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Microsoft Hololens, and a well-rounded understanding of CryEngine, Unreal Engine 4 and Unity. Through their wealth of knowledge, they’ve have been creating VR content for education and entertainment.

One such educational experience they’ve produced is “Science360,” for the Gear VR. They wanted to make visualizing hypothetical and hard-to-imagine situations much more easier by placing the students within these situations. For instance, instead of student’s using their Mind’s Eye to imagine what it’s like to travel at the speed of light, students can actually experience that scenario. Science360 has had positive reviews by VRJam and Engadget.

They’re latest immersive experience can be seen on JauntVR, titled “Memos from Hell.” If you like macabre stuff, you’ll definitely find this 360 film entertaining. As explained on Jaunt, it “is a VR film series that revolves around a graduating class of ‘Tempters’-devils trained to harvest their victims’ souls.” One cool aspect, which helps with the 360 experience, is you are the entree on the table, surrounded around demons talking about the collection of souls. Though this film is not for the weak minded.

Overall, Prologue has been creating some very impressive immersive content. As is agreed with many developers and enthusiast, if VR plans to move forward out of the niche realm to mainstream and wide-spread use, there will need to be varying kinds of content to appeal to a wide range of people, and Prologue Immersive is definitely at the forefront of facilitating this adoption. To keep up with them, you can follow them on Twitter @PrologueVR.

Thanks for reading!

@SecretSorcery is Releasing Their Fantastical Debut #VR Game “Tethered”

When the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive finally made it to the public marketplace, many were overwhelmed by the computer requirements and the price barrier they presented. Most people do not own an hi-end gaming computer, which meant for them, it would be around an $2500 investment. With the release of Playstation VR, it will be a lot easier for people to explore immersive content, especially with PS4 units in millions of homes. For these owners, it’s really about an $500 investment, and with the content coming out, will be very well worth it.

With that said, I would like to recognize one studio who is bringing gamers into the clouds. Established in 2015, Secret Sorcery is an independent British game development studio who has found an keen interest in virtual reality. Powered by experienced developers, the studio has been working on original immersive content, which includes their debut VR title, “Tethered.”

Tethered is an third-person strategy-based game, which takes place in the clouds. You are an spirit guardian who has awakened to see your land and it’s peeps ravaged by the creatures of the night. The archipelago your land is part of, has suffered the same fate, with each island’s spirit guardian held prisoner at the Nexus Totem’s. With such despair, the inhabitants of the floating islands have fell into a suicidal depression. Your objective: Free the Spirit Guardians and restore Hope.

Following the basics of an strategy game, you are in charge with building structures and upgrading the peeps. You’ll have access to various structures like the Moot Hall, Barracks and Workshop which in turn can be upgraded to other specialized structures. For example the Moot Hall can be upgraded to a Tavern or Hatchery. Speaking of Hatchery, eggs will spawn, which will add to your workforce, but beware as eggs do rot. Once enough Spirit Energy has been collected, the island’s Spirit guardian is freed from the Totem.

As most developer know when creating for VR, is keeping the experience comfortable. So Secret Sorcery implemented the standard teleportation method with an gods-eye-view. There are clouds placed around the floating islands, that can be pointed and teleported to, which provides you with a different view of the island. They’ve also employed an more intuitive interface, with a click-and-click approach. If you need a peep to hatch an spawned egg, click on the peep, then click on the egg.

The world of tethered took it’s inspiration from Hayoa Miyazaki, the master artist behind “Spirited Away” and “Howl’s Moving Castle.” Reason for this, is they wanted “a fantastical setting [which]… would free us up from the constraints of reality, offering up a magical world that surrounds the player as they step into VR.” In order to achieve this, they turned to their friend skilled in creating fantastical settings, Espen. They provided him with the base concept art, and he would refurbish it into something of beauty. Originally, Tethered was imagined as islands grounded by a planet, rather than a magical floating archipelago, until Espen came along.

Needless to say, Tethered will offer a unique experience, when it comes to visuals and gameplay. If strategy games are your thing, or simply looking for cool worlds to explore in VR, then this game is definitely a must for your VR to-do list. Tethered is currently available as a pre-order for Playstation VR. To follow updates and developments, you can connect with the studio on Twitter @SecretSorcery.

Thanks for reading!

@Rebellion Has Re-imagined Retro Arcade Game BattleZone for #VR

Who doesn’t love a good ol’ retro game now and then? If it wasn’t for affordable consoles of the modern-day, gaming arcades would still be as popular as it was back in the mid twentieth century. Actually, if you want to experience the arcade environment again in virtual reality, then there is New Retro Arcade: Neon. Though, if you’re looking for an re-imagined retro game built for virtual reality, then BattleZoneVR is one to add to your VR to-do list.

Rebellion are the re-imaginaries of this classic 80’s arcade game. Founded in 1992, Rebellion is an impressive studio, which has had several games top the charts, which include the Sniper Elite series, Nazi Zombie Army, Star Wars Battlefront: Renegade Squadron and Aliens vs. Predator. They are also acquired cult comic publisher, 2000 AD, who are responsible for Judge Dredd and Rogue Trooper. With over 23 years of experience developing great games and being avid arcade junkies, they’ve put their skills to the test to bring BattleZone into the future.

If you don’t know the backstory of BattleZone, the game takes place in a technologically advanced wasteland filled with robots who are controlled by The Corporation(an all dominating industrial complex). Humanity is nearing extinction, who now relies on you and your Cobra( the most powerful battle vehicle ever) to take down The Corporation and it’s legions of mechanized forces.

The current iteration of BattleZone is built from the ground-up specifically for PlayStation VR. No two maps you battle in is the same, as it is procedurally generated, which means it’s important for you to choose the tank and load-out most handy for you. There is different ways to customize your cobra, with an arsenal of tools of destruction, including machine guns, laser-guided missiles, shield bursts, etc.

As you continue to chip at the corp, you’ll gain access to more powerful tanks, weapons and equipment, ensuring that you can stand against the more formidable foes. You’ll also be collecting data which allows you to boost your health and shields. If you’re worried about facing the corporation alone or just want a squad to ensure their downfall, there is a co-op mode.

With highly detailed colorful environments and ever-changing battle sequences for the PSVR owner to immerse themselves in, it induces high competitiveness and replay-ability. BattleZone has received recognition from VideoGamer.com (“One of the best shooters I’ve played in ages”), GamesRadar(“This is a PlayStation VR launch you’ll want on your day one list”) and other VR enthusiasts. The game is currently available in major retailers for price of $40, which will be well worth it. To follow-up on their developments and announcements on Twitter @BattlezoneVR.

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@MaximumGames and Untold Games Develops Futuristic Intergalactic #VR Game “Loading Human” for Playstation VR and Oculus Rift

Having own the HTC Vive for some time now(more like a few months), I don’t see how anyone who doesn’t own one of these majestic interfaces can criticize it. Fact is, it act as an portal to the places you want to visit the most. Whether it be seeing the Eiffel tower full-scale or witnessing the Avenger’s Tower under siege “in-person.” Virtual reality provides a great opportunity for developers to experiment with space and storytelling.

Speaking of storytelling, Maximum Games and Untold Games have partnered, to develop the technologically advanced world of “Loading Human.” Maximum games, as described by them, “a boutique publisher of quality electronic entertainment.” Untold games, founded in 2013 and backed by a team of professional developers and artists, follows the ideas and imagination of Creator Director, Flavio Parenti. Together, they are exploring the future of storytelling.

Loading Human follows the protagonist, Prometheus Baarick, who’s dying father, Dorian Baarick, is requesting him to venture on an intergalactic mission to retrieve an energy source, the Quintessence. But his romantic interest in Dorian’s assistant, Alice, will have him contemplating about this task at hand. “Loading Human dives deep into complex questions of familial and romantic love, duty and sacrifice, science and romance.” It’s a future where technology distorts reality.

The studios plans to make this an episodic adventure, where each DLC will delve into each characters perspective, providing players a complete understanding of the technologically advanced world and the dynamic relationships taking place within it. You’ll explore memories of their past and witness their future.

The game takes inspiration from classic adventure games like Maniac Mansion and The Secret of Monkey Island. If you like exploring, which VR definitely prompts you to do so, there will be various sceneries to check out, as well as puzzles to solve, adding another dynamic to the immersive game.

Loading Human is currently available for order, which you can find available retailers on their site. If you plan on owning or’ve purchased the PSVR, then this is a game definitely worth looking into. You can follow new developments and connect via Twitter @MaximumGames.

Thanks for reading!

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