This blog, with its scan-able, modern interface, doesn’t only cover the best news and reviews from the world of VR but also the people and artists behind it. Find the latest news regarding VR Vive, Rift, and Cardboard and interesting podcasts and videos all in one place!
Punch and slash your way through a catalog of hit songs from any web browsing device.
Although still in its infancy, webVR has already proven a viable solution for providing low-performance interactive VR experiences directly from a web browser. So far the technologies primary use-cases have been simplistic gaming experiences, virtual showrooms, and various other undemanding experiments.
Moon Rider, a new open source VR music visualization and rhythm game, pushes the boundaries of what web-based VR by offering an impressive, Beast Saber-like gaming experience without the need of a download or dedicated app. Accessible from the Oculus Quest via the Oculus Browser, or the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive through the Supermedium app or Firefox desktop app, Moon Rider features four different play modes set to a generous catalog of hit songs: Visual Mode, Ride Mode, Punch Mode, and Classic Mode.
Image Credit: BeastSaber
Visual Mode is a relaxing passive experience perfect for just chilling out and discovering new music. Similar to Visual Mode, Ride Mode is also a calming, impossible to fail experience, only this time you’re given the option of following a pleasing wave of colorful comets that vibrate gently upon contact.
For more of a challenge, you can try Punch Mode as well as Classic Mode. Classic Mode is a near identical replication of the classic Beat Saber experience, tasking you with slashing colored bricks in designated directions for the best score. Like Classic Mode, Punch Mode also features colored blocks in which to break, only instead of cutting them with laser swords, you’re punching them with your mighty Hulk fists.
Image Credit: BeastSaber
Being that the experience is running through a browser as opposed to a dedicated app, there is a noticeable hit to performance. There is a significant amount of lag and screen tearing, as well as some audio desync that took me out of the experience on several occasions.
Still, it’s an impressive use of WebVR technology that does an incredible job at replicating the Beat Saber experience. Playing on my Oculus Quest, I simply typed the address in my browser, and boom, I was instantly inside a black-and-white tunnel busting up waves on blue-and-pink blocks. And due to the experience being open source, the song catalog is absolutely stacked with hit songs.
“Our hope with Moon Rider was to technically demonstrate that websites are capable of quality 3D and VR experiences, where web technology has traditionally been dismissed in the games industry,” said a representative of the Moon Rider development team in an interview with BeastSaber.
Image Credit: Supermedium
“I think there are many people that aren’t aware that the Web can be a legitimate way to build and experience VR content in the future. We had fostered a large open source developer community in A-Frame, and wanted to show that A-Frame and the Web were viable open tools for building native-like VR content.”
Moon Rider is available free in VR on the Oculus Quest via the Oculus Browser and on the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive via the Supermedium app or Firefox desktop browser over at Moonrider.xyz. Google Daydream and Oculus Go users have access to only the Ride and Viewer Modes.
You can also play the game in standard 2D on computers and smart devices via the Firefox and Google Chrome web browsers. The trio of developers behind Moon Rider—currently working on the Supermedium VR web browser—are the same team behind Beatsaver Previewer, a popular tool for discovering and curating new Beat Saber tracks.
If you are familiar with Boston, then you know all about the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, a stunning strip of land filled with beautiful gardens, promenades, plazas, and fountains that takes you through multiple Boston neighborhoods, from Chinatown all the way to Boston’s North End.
Thanks to an incredible partnership between the Greenway Conservancy, Hoverlay and Boston Cyberarts as part of the Conservancy’s 2019 Public Art exhibition, The Auto Show, the Greenway is now one of North America’s largest AR art installations.
The Greenway Park Augmented Reality (AR) Art Exhibit on Hoverlay - YouTube
Using the free Hoverlay app, visitors can walk the pathway will come across floating spinning cubes placed in specific locations on the Greenway. Each cube gives you instructions on how to unlock the AR experiences hidden within the pathway.
Each location delivers a unique AR experience depending on where you are on the Greenway.
In an interview with VRScout, Nicolas Robbe, Chief Executive Officer and co-found of Hoverlay talked about the Greenway project saying, “This project really started as a public art project, led by Lucas Cowan the art director for the Rose Kennedy Greenway,” adding, “His vision was to use AR to bring a view of the future and a view of the past to the public.”
To do this, Cowan turned to Nancy Baker Cahill, John Craig Freeman, and Will Pappenheimer—three AR artists from a prominent AR artist collective called Boston Cyberarts—along with historian Amy Finstein, to transform the Greenway into a treasure hunt of AR imagery that explores the past, present, and future through old photos and audio narratives about the area you are in, as well as contemporary AR art that you can walk around inside.
The goal of the exhibit is to merge historical and contemporary images onto our everyday reality, creating a new dimension for visitors to experience by allowing them to explore the environment in an intuitive new way.
The historic photographs shown within the AR exhibit narrate more than a century of growth and change along the Greenway. Each image captures the city’s changing economic prospects, its accommodations for new modes of transportation, and its embrace of city planning and modern engineering to address successive eras of challenges.
Sheila Novak, the public art manager for the Rose Kennedy Greenway told Boston’s WBZ-TV, “It is a totally different kind of experience. There’s a lot of beauty in augmented reality as an art form,” Novak continues, “Visitors will be able to engage with new ideas throughout a mile-and-a-half long augmented reality experience.”
Visitor reaction has been wonderfully positive. The mile and half art project blends the history of Boston, the lush greenery of the Greenway path, and AR technology into a stunning immersive experience that promises to expand the minds of its visitor’s as they unlock the different AR experiences. “It opens your mind to a whole new world just below the surface,” said Robbe.
As for the future of AR and public spaces, the team at Hoverlay sees AR tech as a brand-new way to connect with the public, tell powerful stories, create new perspectives, drive a sense of connection with what is around them, and provide on-the-spot actions.
In total, there are 16 AR installations along the Rose Kennedy Greenway. To experience all of them, you’ll have to take a trip to Boston, download the Hoverly app to your Apple or Android device, tune into the TheGreenWay AR channel on the app, and start exploring.
The AR exhibit will be available for the next 6 months.
A few short weeks ago, my friend and former colleague, the prolific Aidan Wolf, connected the dots between an old school effect built into a JVC camcorder and the seemingly infinite possibilities of AR resulting in an app he’s called, Doodle Cam.
Inspired by a clip chronicling each camera ever used by James Rolfe, aka Angry Video Game Nerd, Wolf found inspiration in the “Title-Memory” effect. This switch electronically copies rudimentary, written text into a pseudo-mask layer over the footage shot through the camcorder through simple, in-camera post-processing. A single question emerged: why not do the same for real-time AR?
From first idea to debuting demo, the process of creating the initial version of Doodle Cam—now matured as a patron-only beta version—took Wolf about a week to build. “It started as a test that took about five hours to put together, but a week later I posted the first video on Twitter,” he shared. “The plan is to finish the app by the end of the month. I’ve worked on things for months, even years, and they haven’t gotten the kind of engagement this has received!”
This independent project by Wolf, releasing through his personal company, Kevaid, exists to encourage imaginative exploration and AR ease. “The thing that drives me the most is bringing people into this new reality, into AR, and finding ways to make it accessible. I often journey back to being a kid and wanting to engage in what I now recognize as augmented reality,” Wolf expresses.
“It’s fun, it’s a toy,” he continues. “It democratizes AR creation and brings the light into your everyday reality through drawings. I made it for pure enjoyment.” To use Doodle Cam, users simply point their phones at a drawing on paper or another canvas, press the copy button in app, then point the phone’s camera to where they want to place the copied image in space. They can record photos or video of their doodle which are saved directly to their phone.
Currently, Doodle Cam can be accessed for$5 USDwhen a user participates in Wolf’s Patreon. With a tentative release date of early June, a polished version will be purchasable for $1.99 through major app retailers.
With an animation feature recently added, future updates to Doodle Cam include multiplayer functionality, persistent doodles in space, image cropping, and multiple, stylized copying styles.
With a playful attitude and enthusiasm for the future of AR, Wolf encourages other creators to dream big and keep their eyes open for inspiration. “You never know where creative influences are going to come from, so it’s always good to absorb as much information as you can from things you enjoy.”
A new era in VR technology arrives with the Oculus Quest standalone headset.
The Oculus Quest shouldn’t exist—at least not at this price. First teased at Oculus Connect 3 in 2016 as “Oculus Santa Cruz,” the Quest has spent the last three years evolving into a jaw-dropping piece of technology that could end up defining the future of an entire industry.
Whereas a majority of major VR headsets force the user to choose between comfort or quality, Oculus has somehow managed to find a sweet spot between the two, offering users a combination of untethered 6DoF technology and captivating visuals that fall just short of PC VR quality. Most importantly, the Oculus Quest ditches the past complexities and considerable expenses of modern VR, ushering in the dawn of true consumer-level virtual reality. No cables. No PC. No sensors.
After spending just a short time inside this game-changing technology, it’s already one of our favorite pieces of VR technology to ever hit the market. Here’s our review of the incredible Oculus Quest:
Oculus Quest: Under the Hood - YouTube
Right off the bat, the Oculus Quest looks and feels incredibly well-made. The compact design and fabric material wrapped around the sides of the visor give off a futuristic—but approachable vibe, while the matte-plastic faceplate feels sturdy and reliable. This is an important detail as the front plate houses four forward-facing cameras located along the edges of the visor. These cameras enable the headsets passthrough mode, which allows users to view the real-world when outside their designated play spaces, and assists with the headsets inside-out tracking.
While the pass-through mode has proven itself an incredibly useful feature—allowing users to step into and out of VR easily without having to remove their headset—I wouldn’t go performing any physically-intensive activities with it just yet. While the four built-in cameras do an amazing job of stitching the real-world together into one clear image, depth perception is almost entirely nonexistent. The good news is the visor can flip up several inches, allowing you to perform simple tasks without fully removing your headset, such as checking your phone or having a drink.
Located on the sides of the headset is a USB-C port for charging and connecting to PC’s, a standard power button, and two 3.5mm audio jacks (one on each side). While the Oculus Quest does feature built-in spatial audio located in its straps, you are free to plug-in your own pair of compatible headphones. Located on the bottom of the headset is a volume adjustment button as well as an IPD slider, allowing users to manually select the distance between their lenses to create the best possible picture. As more and more headsets continue to opt for automatic software-based IPD adjustment—which doesn’t support those outside the normal IPD spectrum—it’s nice to see Oculus favoring hardware that helps a wider range of potential users.
In terms of comfort, the Oculus Quest comes in just below the Oculus Go and miles above the Lenovo Mirage Solo, another standalone 6DoF VR headset. Similar to the Go, the Quest features a three-strap system (two on the side, one on the top) culminating in triangle-shaped harness at the back of the head which does a solid job of distributing the overall weight of the device. The face padding is comfortable and blocks a majority of light from entering the headset; although despite our best efforts I did notice just the tiniest sliver of light creeping in from the bridge of my nose. Not enough to ruin the experience, but a noticeable occurrence none-the-less. The Quest also comes with a spacer attachment for those with glasses.
As for the weight, the Oculus Quest weighs 571g; more than the Oculus Go, but still light enough that I didn’t feel weighed down during any games. Film and TV is another story, however. When engaged in an intense table tennis match against the surprisingly condescending robot opponent in Racket Fury, I didn’t have time to feel the weight of the front visor as I continued my losing battle with the worlds most disrespectful AI. When I was kicking-back binge-watching Stanger Things, however, I had a little more time to feel the actual heaviness of the device. So while you should have no problem gaming for multiple hours, odds are the Quest won’t end up being your headset-of-choice in terms of TV and film.
The Oculus Quest includes dual OLED display panels with a display resolution of 1440 x 1600 per eye— the same as the Oculus Rift—and a 72Hz refresh rate thanks to its Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. Simply put, the visuals—while a noticeably lower quality than that of the Oculus Rift—are still an impressive accomplishment considering the limited power offered by the Snapdragon processor. So while hyper-realistic experiences are still a long way away for standalone VR, you can expect a consistent, stable frame rate with little to no motion sickness.
Image Credit: VRScout
Some games, such as SUPERHOT and Beat Saber look nearly identical to their PC VR counterparts, while others—including Robo Recall and Apex Construct—take a noticeable hit graphically. To summarize, if you’re someone who values stable performance and well-designed gameplay over graphical fidelity, this is the headset for you.
In terms of battery, expect 2-3 hours of playtime before having to recharge. This will of course depend on what type of content you’re displaying; visually-taxing games will drain the battery faster than watching a film). Still, 2-3 hours was about the max amount of time I could spend in the headset at one time, so battery life shouldn’t be an issue. For those of you who prefer lengthier playimes, a standard USB battery packs can keep your session going longer.
At the time of this writing, the Oculus Quest features over 50 apps and games available for download. This includes everything from ports of established hits, such as Apex Construct, Beat Saber, SUPERHOT, and Creed: Rise to Glory, as well as brand new offerings, like Shadow Point, Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series, and Journey of the Gods. Of course, the tried-and-true VR games feel fantastic on Quest; titles like Beat Saber and SUPERHOT were meant for untethered play. But these new experiences—built from the ground up with the Quest in mind—establish a very promising future for the Quest catalog.
Fantastic narrative-driven experiences like Vader Immortal, Shadow Point, and Bonfire prove that professional VR storytelling has begun to find its feet; meanwhile social experiences such as VRChat and Pokerstars VR have found new life on the headset, offering users an easier, more convenient way to party in virtual nightclubs or lose their cash to a bunch of strangers. Helpful apps such as Bigscreen and Virtual Desktop let the user to remotely access their computer, allowing them to play 2D games, complete work, or just browse the web straight from their headset.
Pretty much every experience feels better on Quest thanks to the freedom of untethered gameplay.
Oculus Quest Day One Guide | Accessories Games Setup - YouTube
THE GUARDIAN SYSTEM
While it’s true I’ve been having a blast taking down stormtroopers in Vader Immortal and serving up some dope moves in Dance Central, I often find myself having the most fun simply messing around with the Quest’s Guardian system. When establishing a new play space, Quest users must draw the boundaries of their play area using their Touch controller; just seeing how incredibly accurate the tracking is enough to put a smile on your face.
Upon stepping out of the designated play space, the headset automatically switches to “pass-through” mode, allowing users to see a live black-and-white feed of their physical surroundings. As you walk around your physical environment, you can turn back to your place space to see the guardian system patiently awaiting your return. It sounds simple—I know—but it really is such an impressive safety system that doesn’t get enough credit considering how accurate the tracking is.
The updated Touch controllers are a pleasure to use. The ergonomic design fits comfortably in a majority of hands and their small, lightweight design makes them easy to hold up for long periods of time. The button inputs feel extremely solid, and the analog joystick features a surprising amount of grip. The controllers are powered by single AA batteries located beneath a magnetic cover which can sometimes come lose during intense play.
Image Credit: Oculus
The only other negative I can find involves the movement of the “halo” frame from the bottom of the controller to the top of the handle, which can sometimes result in awkward weight distribution during certain experiences. Virtual guns, for example, feel a little odd to hold in-game thanks to a majority of the weight being pushed further back on the controller. The original Touch controller had the halo ring facing the floor, forcing most of the weight to the front of the controllers. In order to provide adequate inside-out tracking between the controllers and the Quest headset (which relies on inside-out tracking as opposed to external sensors), Oculus repositioned the sensor-filled ring above the controller. The result is near perfect controller tracking at the cost of balance. Not uncomfortable by any means, but a definite inconvenience.
Similar to the approach taken with the Oculus Go, the company is putting a major focus on shared experiences right out of the gate. Using the Oculus Quest dashboard, users can record gameplay, live stream to Facebook, even cast their headset to compatible smartphone and Chromecast devices.
The idea is to curve public perception of VR as an isolating experience and instead package it as a shareable experience which those outside the headset can still enjoy. Being able to cast to smartphones and TV’s is a fantastic option for anyone looking to entertain guests, while the recording and live streaming functionalities open up a world of possibilities in terms of VR gaming personalities.
Image Credit: VRScout
Features such as casting and live streaming are limited at the moment, with users able to cast strictly through the Oculus app or Chromecast devices generation 3 and up and live streaming relegated strictly to Facebook. Hopefully, as VR continues to develop into a mainstream technology, we’ll begin to see more streaming options begin to appear.
The Oculus Quest is available in two models: 64GB for $399 and 128GB for $499. Considering the amount of technology packed into this headset, $399 honestly feels like a bit of a steal. It’s clear Facebook is prioritizing mass VR adoption over profits with the Quest.
Again, this is an all-in-one tetherless 6DoF headset for just $399. No cables, no expensive gaming PC, no external sensors required. Sure the visuals aren’t as impressive as the Oculus Rift or HTC Vive, but you’re essentially getting the same gameplay experiences without the need of an expensive gaming PC or external sensors.
THE VERDICT: Buy it now!
If you’ve been on the fence about VR—whether it’s due to the expensive price of entry or intimidating hardware—now is the time to jump onboard. The Oculus Quest is the perfect headset for both VR veterans looking for a more convenient way to access their favorite titles, as well as complete newcomers looking for their first VR experience.
Games like SUPERHOT and Beat Saber feel as though they were meant for the Quest, and the ability to seamlessly hop into classic PC VR titles is a total game-changer.
We knew well before launch that the Oculus Quest had the potential to revolutionize the VR market, and now that we finally have the device in our hands, we can say with certainty that our expectations have been met completely.
Whatever your opinion on the future of VR may be, rest assured the Oculus Quest will be apart of it. This is a headset not only for those interested in VR, but those interested in revolutionary technology as a whole.
One of VR’s most popular military shooters makes a surprise appearance on the Quest.
After spending just a few hours with the Oculus Quest hardware, Pavlov VR developer David Villz (davevillz) confirmed yesterday via Twitter that the fast-paced multiplayer shooter will be heading to the standalone headset. Today, davevillz announced that Pavlov VR Quest, Open Alpha is now available for Quest owners to sideload onto their headsets.
In a series of follow-up tweets responding to curious fans eager to learn more about the Quest port, Villz shed more light on some of the differences between the original PC VR release and the upcoming standalone edition. One important note is that while the developer does intend to release Pavlov VR on the official Oculus Store, the game will not be heading to the Oculus Rift-compatible store.
First couple of hours with the hardware on hands, this is cool. I can confirm Pavlov is coming to the Quest. pic.twitter.com/L3ksxtJQWH
“Only to quest store or w/e is called,” states Villz in a tweet. “For PCVR on steam due to workshop – there’s no reason for it to be in Rift store without it.”
The Oculus Quest release will also lack a dedicated workshop, as well as custom map creation; although Villz promises he and his team will be taking inspiration from player creations to develop original content specifically for the standalone headset. As far as cross-platform support goes, don’t expect to be battling alongside your friends on the HTC Vive anytime soon.
“It’s fundamentally not ideal to have crossplay, even tho it’s possible,” adds Villz. “I example, Index Players at 144hz have a huge advantage over Quest player who would play at 72hz.
While it’s unclear as to when we can expect a full launch on Quest, Villz has already released an extremely rough open alpha which Quest owners can sideload onto their headsets right now. While the alpha is completely free to download, it does take quite a few steps to get it loaded properly onto your headset.
First, you’ll have to set up your Quest for sideloading. You’ll need to signup as a developer through Oculus by creating an organization for your personal account; it’s 100% free and takes less than 30 seconds. This will allow you to activate developer mode via the companion app on your smartphone. After that, you’ll have to download a particular set of software from Oculus that will allow you to sideload apps from unknown sources onto your device.
Image Credit: davevillz
VR YouTuber Tyriel Wood recently released an excellent tutorial on how to begin sideloading on your headset if you’d like some additional reference. Davevillz also provides his own set of specific instructions for accessing this particular alpha.
Again, this is just an open alpha build, so expect a whole lot of bugs and glitches. We gave the demo a shot this morning and while we had fun trying out the wide array of weaponry available, we noticed plenty of missing textures and broken objects. Still, to build and release a playable alpha of Pavlov VR after only a day with the hardware is an extremely impressive accomplishment. With the Quest catalog is currently dominated by “family-friendly” titles, it’ll be nice to have a more serious, gritty experience available on the standalone headset.
Comfort and quality collide with the latest Windows Mixed Reality headset.
Windows Mixed Reality, while not the highest quality VR platform currently available, is an excellent jumping-off point for those looking to step into the world of VR without breaking the bank. Multiple budget-friendly headset options, compatibility with a massive library of experiences offered by SteamVR (and Oculus via LibreVR’s Revive app), the list goes on.
With the launch of the latest Windows Mixed Reality headset, the HP Reverb, the company hopes to step up its usual offerings with a significantly more powerful PC VR headset capable of competing directly with higher-end devices, such as the HTC Vive Pro. And while the HP Reverb is an impressive upgrade from its various cousins—such as the Samsung Odyssey and Acer AH101—the headset still falls short in several key areas that, unfortunately, keep it just shy of greatness. Here is our official review of the HP Reverb Windows Mixed Reality headset:
HP Reverb VR Headset – Pro Edition | The New Benchmark In Commercial VR | HP - YouTube
In terms of visual appeal, the HP Reverb is a slick-looking VR headset. a sleek, lightweight design paired with a charcoal fabric front plate creates a sense of approachability that’s lacking from other more intimidating VR devices. A simplified single cable system removes a majority of the frustration that comes with multiple branching wires. The experience offered by the headset is made even more convenient thanks to inside-out tracking which removes the need for any external sensors to keep track of its position.
However, we did not notice some issues with keeping our headset connected to the cable. The connector attaching the Reverb to the primary cable is located very close to the headset itself, which creates a noticeable amount of tugging during certain motions. We also found the connector be surprisingly loose, which resulted in the headset becoming disconnected from the PC on several occasions. Now, this could be an intentional safety feature designed to prevent users from ripping their headset out of their computer; regardless, we found ourselves worrying about accidentally disconnecting on a regular basis, which definitely took a toll on immersion.
Where the HP Reverb truly shines is in its comfortability. Next to the Oculus Go, the HP Reverb is the most comfortable VR headset available at the moment. The circle-based ergonomic backstrap does a commendable job at balancing the headsets overall weight, allowing you to spend even longer sessions in VR without any discomfort.
Image Credit: HP
Weighing in at 1.1lbs, the Reverb feels extremely light. This is due in large part to smart design choices that result in better weight distribution. Similar to Oculus headsets, the Reverb features two velcro harnesses on either side of the headset as well as a third going over the center.
The real magic, however, is a circular pad that rests on the back of the users head which provides a surprising amount of support by effectively distributing a majority of the headset’s weight. The machine-washable face padding provides an adequate amount of comfort, while at the same time doing an excellent job of preventing any outside light from leaking into the headset.
The HP Reverb features built-in spatial audio provided by two on-ear headphones with the option to plug-in third-party headphones via a 3.5mm jack located at the rear of the headset. For added convenience, the Reverb’s front visor can be raised up several inches; not enough to see what’s happening in the room, but enough to check your phone or make sure you aren’t stepping on your cat. When you do need to pop back into reality, you can use Microsoft’s patented mixed reality “Flashlight” to illuminate your real-world surroundings; this is possible thanks to Reverb’s two forward-facing cameras.
Side-by-side example of First Generation VR4 (left) and the HP Reverb (right) // Image Credit: HP
The visuals on the HP Reverb are absolutely fantastic. With two 2.89-inch LCDs offering a resolution of 2160×2160 pixels per eye (the HTC Vive Pro features a resolution of 1,600×1,400), the Reverb provides arguably the most impressive visual experience currently available on a VR headset. Every texture presented includes a stunning amount of detail, resulting in hyper-realistic environments that immerse you deeper into your experience.
RGB-stripe sub-pixels and 90Hz refresh rate create a sharp, crystal-clear image which does a commendable job at minimizing the dreaded “screen door effect” that plagues a majority of modern VR headsets; almost to the to point where it’s gone completely. There is, however, a noticeable inconsistency with brightness and color that creates a bit of a “Mura” effect during certain experiences. Like the other visual issues stated above, however, the effect is minimal and fleeting.
Automatic software-based IPD adjustment does an excellent job of adjusting to a users personal preference, but that’s only if your IPD measurement resides within the allowed range of 55mm to 71mm. Those with measurements outside that spectrum are just plain out of luck. I did notice a slight amount of flickering throughout my time inside the headset coming almost exclusively from the right side of my field-of-view. Although the sudden slashes lasted only seconds and appeared only rarely, it was still enough of a disruption to take me out of several experiences. But considering just how truly crisp and detailed the visuals are, I was generally able to look past any minor inconsistencies.
No matter just how visually captivating the experience may be or how satisfying the gameplay is on the HP Reverb, at the end of the day you’re still—unfortunately—using a pair of Microsoft Mixed Reality controllers. While the Reverb headset does everything it can to increase user immersion, it seems as though the controllers are dedicated entirely to breaking it. In terms of comfort, the controllers are a disappointment. No matter how you position your hands it’s almost impossible to maintain a solid grip. The large magnetic battery plate also has a habit of becoming loose during intense moments of play, creating an even more cumbersome scenario.
Image Credit: HP
A far as button layout is concerned, the Windows Mixed Reality Controllers are a bit of a mixed bag. While the clickable touchpad is responsive, it dominates the rest of the controller. In comparison, the physical menu button is so small it often becomes lost between the various larger inputs that surround it. And the single analog stick—while convenient—is fairly slippery.
Are the controllers servicable? Yes, but only barely. The rich, sharp visuals and considerable comfort offered by the headset feel bizarre when paired with the awkward design of the controllers; so much so that various experiences actually felt somewhat cheapened.
WINDOWS MIXED REALITY
Much like other Windows Mixed Reality devices, HP Reverb users begin their experience inside a customizable home space referred to as ‘Cliff House.’ This gorgeous open-format home serves as a users base of operations, allowing them to navigate their games and apps, check the weather, access the Microsoft Store, move around 3D furniture, project 2D windows anywhere on their walls, even stream their favorite media from a personal in-home movie theater.
Seeing as the Windows 10 pop-up window doesn’t allow access to every app or setting, you’ll find yourself visiting Cliff House often. While not nearly as convenient or well-designed as the spaces provided by SteamVR or Oculus, Cliff House’s unique layout and residential feel is still an interesting take on the virtual home format.
Windows Mixed Reality’s ‘Cliff House’ // Image Credit: Microsoft
At the time of this writing, the HP Reverb headset has yet to be released to the public. Originally, the company was advertising a late April launch, which was then pushed back to May 6th. Several retailers have since had the item listed on their websites, however the headset remains unavailable.
HP has stated that the Consumer Edition of the HP Reverb will be available for $599, while the Pro Edition—which features an easy-to-clean leather face pad and short cables—will go for $649.
Despite a handful of issues in terms of visuals and design, the HP Reverb is still hands-down the best most impressive Windows Mixed Reality headset offered so far. The visual clarity alone makes this a smart purchase for any user who values a visually-impressive VR experience, and the excellent level of comfort offered by its effective ergonomic design will only keep you immersed longer.
However, if you’re someone who much prefers a seamless in-headset experience, this may not be the option for you. While an overall awesome piece of technology in terms of hardware, the device still operates on the Windows Mixed Reality platform and uses the standard Windows Mixed Reality controllers. That being said there are some workarounds for using Vive wand controllers with WMR headsets, an option I definitely recommend to anyone thinking about picking up a Reverb.
Image Credit: HP
There are times when you may experience some slight stuttering or flashes during moments of intense physical play, and once in a while you may accidentally disconnect the headset from the cable, but your journey inside the headset will generally be a pleasant one.
Put simply, the HP Reverb is an impressive headset held back by the frustrations of the Windows Mixed Reality Platform. For $599, this may not be the friendliest option on the market, but if then again, you are getting a better visual experience than the HTC Vive Pro for considerably less (the HTC Vive Pro headset currently costs $799, not including the necessary external sensors and controllers).
If you’re looking for affordability and convenience above all else, pick up an Oculus Quest or Oculus Go. If you want the best visual experience currently available in VR, choose the HP Reverb.
Download your footage before the cloud-based stitching service closes on June 28th.
Sorry Google Jump users, but Google has made the decision to shut down their cloud-based video stitching service on June 28th citing a decline in Jump Assembler users.
This past Friday the tech giant sent an out to all Jump users sating, “As these new cameras, formats, and editing tools became available, we saw usage of Jump Assembler decline.”
If you happen to be a current Jump user, you have until June 26th to upload your footage and squeeze out every last drop of Google’s stitching services before they suspend services at 11:59 PM Pacific Time. But don’t dilly dally, you only have until June 27th to download all of your VR video files back to your computer, a process Google recommends you start as quickly as possible.
Anything left on Google’s Cloud Storage will be deleted immediately after Google suspends their service on June 28th.
Image Credit: Google AR & VR
But why would you delete all of your hard work when you can save them directly to your computer? That would be crazy. Google thinks so too. So, they are suggesting three not-too-complicated ways for you to download your work directly from Jump Assembler/Google Cloud Storage:
1. Jump Manager is an easy-to-use toll that allows you to download stitched footage only.
2. Gsutil is a Python application that lets you access Cloud Storage from the command line and perform a number of bucket and object management tasks.
3. Cloud Console is a tool that will let you manage your Jump data via a web-browser.
All three options will let you premanetly save your work to your computer.
Jump: How to Set Up the GoPro Odyssey - YouTube
If you happen to own a pricey YI HALO or GoPro Odyssey 360 camera, both of which available on Google’s Jump page – don’t worry, you will be able to use almost any 3rdparty stitching software, such as Mistika VR or the Nuke Cara VR plugin, to continue your work creating VR content and ensure your super expensive 360VR camera doesn’t end up collecting dust.
Google launched its Jump program as a way to provide professional VR video solutions to creators around the globe in the hopes of spreading VR technology to the masses through popular platforms such as YouTube.
Since its introduction, however, things haven’t panned out the way Google expected. In late 2017, Google ended a partnership with IMAX that would have pursued the development of a high-end VR camera used for cinematic use; this was then followed by the shut-down of their Spotlight Stories VR studio this past March.
Image Credit: Google AR & VR
It appears as though Google is putting their VR initiative on the back burner for now as they refocus their efforts on AR technology. During the opening keynote at the companies recent Google I/O developer conference, neither the Daydream platform nor VR technology was referenced once. It’s also rumored that Google has reorganized a large portion of its Daydream VR team to focus more on its AR projects.
This isn’t to say Google is bailing on VR all together; just adjusting its priorities on a technology it thinks will have a bigger impact with its user-base, such as AR enhancements for Google Maps.
You can find more information via Google’s official FAQ page.
Developers use Oculus Quest to create location-based VR game inside their office.
When Oculus presented attendees at OC5 with an arena-scale multiplayer demonstration of Dead and Buried 2 powered by the Oculus Quest, we knew the Quest was something special. And although Oculus has since squashed any rumors of arena-scale VR coming to Quest headsets at any point in the near future, this hasn’t stopped other developers from taking on the challenge themselves.
In fact, it appears as though one team in particular has been making significant advancements with shared space multiplayer on the standalone headset. In a video posted to YouTube entitled “Oculus Quest ‘Shared Space’ Demo,” Thurst Vector—the same team behind the one-of-a-kind Virtual VFR project—showcases a sci-fi-themed VR experience operating on the Oculus Quest which features two users, both wearing Quest headsets, occupying the same virtual space in real-time.
Oculus Quest "Shared Space" Demo - YouTube
Similar to existing location-based VR services, such as The VOID or Dreamscape, the video shows both users move through the experience by physically walking around the environment. Based on the description provided by the company on its website, the team designed the virtual free-roam environment to match their real-world office, allowing them to navigate their way through the experience without having to worry about accidental collisions with real-world objects.
After being guided through a portion of the ship by a high-pitched robot companion, the two players then found themselves ducking for cover as a horde of autonomous drones begins a vicious attack. After taking out all enemy units with their futuristic laser pistols, the team continues forward into an elevator which leads them to the outside of the ship and the open vastness of space.
Image Credit: Thrust Vector
From there, they make their way across the exterior of the ship while simultaneously shooting down a second wave of hostile drones before returning to the bowels of the ship. At this point, the team must retrieve a pair of security cards and enter a precise set of codes in order to prevent a virus from causing the ships reactor core from self-destructing.
While the objectives themselves are simplistic, Thrust Vector’s prototype free roam experience is an unbelievably exciting example of the unrestricted gameplay capable with the Oculus Quest. Normally, this type of location-based experience would require thousands of dollars in equipment to produce, and even then users would still be forced to wear bulky PC VR backpacks.
Image Credit: Thrust Vector
With this project, Thurst Vector has proven that with the right amount of love and proper calibration, the Oculus Quest VR headset is a definite game-changer for the world of free-roam VR. Although only two players are featured in the video, the team claims their system can support 2-6 players at any given time.
As the company states in the description, their “shared space” demo was created by two programmers and one artist as part of an 8-day developer jam. An official release is scheduled for this summer beginning in the Austin, Texas area.
After what feels like eons of waiting, the Oculus Quest standalone VR headset is finally available to the public, along with over 50 immersive launch titles. Quest owners have their veritable pick of the litter, with major titles such as SUPERHOT VR, Robo Recall, Vader Immortal: A Star War VR Series, Beat Saber, and dozens of other high-profile releases available straight out of the gate. Of course, now that we finally have our hands on these long-awaited releases, our attentions have focused on the next wave of software heading to the headset.
Let’s take a look at five ambitious VR experiences coming soon to your Oculus Quest:
An absolute delight on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets, Owlchemy Labs’ follow-up to their 2016 smash-hit Job Simulator takes everything you know and love about the original and doubles-down hard. Colorful environments married with eccentric, outlandish characters set the tone for a relaxing journey across a variety of popular vacation destinations. You’ll be hiking through winding woodland trails, hanging out in mountainside hot tubs, and diving deep into the waters of Vacation Island to photograph marine wildlife and discover buried treasure.
Vacation Simulator’s simplistic visuals make it a no-brainer for the Oculus Quest, offering users both new and experienced a relaxing immersive adventure bursting with personality. Vacation Simulator is confirmed for release on the Oculus Quest this holiday season.
The Under Presents VR - Oculus Quest Trailer [CONFIRMED] - YouTube
The Under Presents
We’re big fans of Tenderclaws’ collaborative live theater VR experience ever since trying it for ourselves during this year’s Sundance Film Festival. A unique blend of live theater and social interaction, The Under Presents places users aboard The Under—a magical time-traveling ship—where they’ll interact with professional actors live on a virtual stage.
Our time with the bizarre narrative-driven experience had us teaming up with NY-based theater collective Piehole as we went about participating in a variety of improvisational performances, both as a group and one-on-one. At one point, one of our group members was instantly transported to an isolated dock to interact with a lone fisherman (also played by a real actor).
It’s an incredibly unique, confusing, and thought-provoking experience that paints an interesting picture of the potential future of live immersive performances.
No word yet on when we can expect to see this ambitious abstract experience on the Quest.
Resolution Games, the same team behind Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs, has another title planned for release on the standalone VR headset, this time focusing their efforts on asymmetrical VR multiplayer. ACRON is described by the company as a board game-style cross-platform experience in which a team of squirrels—each of which controlled by the player via an iOS or Android device—attempt to steal as many acorns as they can from a towering tree, which is controlled by an opposing player in VR. Before the announcement of ACRON, the only other option for local multiplayer VR on the Quest was Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes; a fantastic experience in its own right, but one that ages very quickly. Allowing non-VR players to actively participate in the experience through smart devices opens up a wide range of possibilities in terms of replayability.
Resolution Games promises the arrival of ACRON on the Oculus Quest in the near future.
I think it’s fair to say a majority of Oculus Quest launch titles skew towards a more “family-friendly” direction. While there are plenty of more intense, adult titles available to play (Face Your Fears 2, The Exorcist: Legion VR, Drop Dead: Duel Strike) it feels as though we’re still missing a more serious military shooter akin to Onward or Pavlov VR.
NDreams looks to fill the gap with Phantom: Covert Ops, a stealth-based FPS shooter that tasks players with saving the world from a ruthless enemy force. The catch? Players will be forming the entirety of their dangerous missions from a tactical kayak. Yes, a tactical kayak.
Players are encouraged to approach each enemy encounter differently using a variety of upgradeable equipment and weaponry. Although information is sparse, it appears as though Phantom: Covert Ops will feature a fully fleshed-out narrative campaign, as well as some form of player progression.
Phantom: Covert Ops launches on Oculus Quest sometime later this year.
Crytek's The Climb - Launch Trailer for Oculus Rift - YouTube
Considered one of the first visually-stunning VR experiences for the Oculus Rift, The Climb will eventually be making its way to the Oculus Quest, bringing with it all the vertigo-inducing excitement you fell in love with back in 2016.
Developer Crytek has confirmed the entirety of the game will be heading to the standalone headset, including all the mountains featured in the original as well as both multiplayer and tour mode. Whether you’re looking to compete against friends in a death-defying race to the summit, or just soak up the scenery, The Climb is a must-own for anyone looking to genuinely freak themselves out in VR. While there’s no doubt the Quest version will feature downgraded visuals, it’s a small price to pay for tetherless mountain climbing.
The Climb will launch on Oculus Quest in 2019.
Obviously, this is just a fraction of the amazing titles making their way to the Oculus Quest this year. For continued updates on new games and breaking announcements, be sure you’re keeping up with us here at VRScout.com.
The latest iteration of Glass features an improved camera and a more powerful CPU for $999.
Earlier today, Google announced the latest addition to its Google Glass hardware line-up with Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2. The company promises the new AR headset will help businesses increase the efficiency of its employees by offering them hands-free access to a world of information in real-time.
Available exclusively for enterprise use, this newest iteration is built on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR1 platform and features a new AI engine, offering users a noticeably more powerful hardware experience. This has resulted in considerable improvements to power and performance—including an improved camera for higher quality video streaming and collaborative features—and opens up the possibility of computer vision and advanced machine-learning.
Glass Enterprise Edition 2: A hands-free device for smarter and faster hands-on work - YouTube
To help protect all the delicate technology stuffed into the sleek device, Google teamed up with Smith Optics to create a set of Glass-compatible safety frames capable of withstanding the harsh conditions of working environments such as manufacturing floors and maintenance facilities.
Here’s a detailed spec breakdown of the Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 headset:
SoC — Qualcomm Quad Core, 1.7GHz, 10nm
OS — Android Oreo
Memory & Storage — 3GB LPDDR4 / 32GB eMMC Flash
Wi-Fi — 802.11ac, dual-band, single antenna
Bluetooth — 5.x AoA
Camera — 8Mp, 80 DFOV
Display — 640×360 Optical Display Module
Audio Out — Mono Speaker, USB audio, BT audio
Microphones — 3 beam-forming microphones
Touch — Multi-touch gesture touchpad
Charging & Data — USB Type-C, USB 2.0 480Mbps
LED — Privacy (camera), power (rear)
Battery — 820mAH with fast charge
IMU — Single 6-axis Accel/Gyro, single 3-axis Mag
Power Saving features — On head detection sensor, and Eye-on screen sensor
Ruggedization — Water and dust resistance
Weight — 46g (pod)
Image Credit: Google
Thanks to multiple improvements to hardware, Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 allows employees to collaborate remotely in real-time via live video streaming, reference helpful documentation, and safely access specific applications using hands-free voice commands.
Those interested in bringing incorporating this technology into their own workplace will be delighted to hear that Glass Enterprise Edition 2 features a much simpler development process; due in large part to an Android foundation and support for Android Enterprise Mobile Device Management.