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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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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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.
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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.
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It’s great to see cool applications being developed utilizing augmented reality(AR). AR is proven to have many benefits, but the main one is it’s holography component. Multiple industries, such as production and manufacturing, implements AR to streamline workflow, as well as reduce paperwork and paper manuals when inspecting and operating equipment. AREA has in-depth documentation about this on their website. Though, one industry that is progressively adopting this technology is Education, which can be seen with applications like Quiver. What this really brings me to is Play Osmo.
Play Osmo develops educational gaming AR applications for Apple products(Ipad Mini/Air/Pro/etc.) aimed towards youth ages 4 to 12 years. Or as explained by them, “a unique gaming accessory for the Ipad that comes with games that will change the way your child plays.” Schools can even purchase their products for use in classrooms.
So what are the specifics of Osmo? When purchased, keeping in mind you own a Apple tablet, you’ll receive an starter kit, which includes an Ipad Stand, camera reflector, a set of alphabet tiles and wood tangram shapes. It is a one-time purchase with games free to download. They support languages in Spanish, Traditional Chinese, French, Italian, English and other major languages. If you’re worried your kid might accidentally break the base stand, they include a one year warranty, free repair of replacement.
Now for the games. They currently boast 8 games, covering topics such as coding, mathematics, art and business. One cool game parents will definitely find useful is Pizza Co. In order to teach most aspects of business, kids get to run their own pizza franchise. While cooking pizzas, kids learn about facial and body language, while gauging what the customer wants and getting the order right. When it comes to money, they learn basic mathematics, including fractions, to properly invest and grow their own business, essentially being their own boss.
When it comes to developing an working knowledge of computers, Osmo has a game called “Coding.” Through code blocks, kids control “Awbie,” an entertaining creature who loves strawberries. As commands are built with physical blocks, Awbie sets out on a strawberry picking adventure. The game can also be played with friends, bringing that much more fun and interactivity. As stated by Engadget, “Osmo’s blocks are like Lego for coding.”
Both schools and parents can provide entertainment and educational fun for their kids with Play Osmo’s interactive games. Besides simulating an learning environment, their product also helps young people get acquainted with immersive tech, such as Augmented Reality. You can connect with Play Osmo via Twitter @PlayOsmo.
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I do believe, even though there is much enthusiasm for immersive media, like virtual reality, it is going to be necessary for established and skilled developers to pave the pathway for future VR experiences, when everyone finally begins to embrace VR interfaces as a useful medium. Some of the experienced and skilled studios I’ve had the pleasure to write about include StireFire, Fierce Kaiju, Turtle Rock, Funomena and JanusVR. Which brings me to Team17.
Team17 is a long-standing game development studio, with over 25 years of experience, who is well known for their popular Worms franchise. You know, the game where you and your friends are gun-toting, bomb-tastic, rocket-aiming sweet little earthworms, who’s main objective is to blow the other worm off the map. Me and my friends use to play this game hours on end, months on end.
In partnership with Three Fields Entertainment, they are planning a release for their debut VR game, Lethal VR. As the name implies, you are lethal, but towards props. The game is meant to revitalize the classic arcade shooter games. You are placed in a shooting-range setting, where various props appear, where you must exercise precision and timing, while avoid hitting friendly targets, such as civilians.
In a room-scale experience, there are various locations to try out your gun skills, ranging from an futuristic shooting range to an old-western town. As seen by their trailer, you’ve the option to dual-wield pistols or if you want to practice being a ninja, shoot shurikens. Basically, Lethal VR let’s you practice being the hero action star you always wanted to be. The game is currently scheduled to be released for the HTC Vive and PlayStation VR.
Asides from their first ever immersive game, “Lethal VR,” they also invite gamers to test out unreleased games through their Usability Lab. So if you’re want your thoughts to count on their next game release as well as giving construction criticism on their next VR release, go ahead and sign up. Team17 has definitely developed a fun and professional reputation, which will be exciting to see what other immersive games they come out with, hopefully. You can connect with Team17 on Twitter @Team17Ltd.
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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.
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