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Submission + - Unreal Engine Will Soon Allow Developers to Build Games Inside of VR (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Epic Games, the creators of Unreal Engine, has been a longstanding supporter of VR. They were on board way back when Oculus sparked the VR industry in 2012 with a Kickstarter that would snowball into a rekindling of consumer virtual reality. Having been one of the first major game engines to support VR headsets like the Rift, the company has been aggressively positioning Unreal Engine as the go-to tool for VR developers. Now they're taking a massive next step, showing the first look at bringing developers themselves inside of virtual reality to craft games with the full set of UE4 tools at their fingertips.

Submission + - Survey of Play Locomotion Techniques in Virtual Reality (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: While newcomers to the VR arena are tempted to want their favorite games (like Call of Duty) in virtual reality, the reality is that VR is a wholly different design space, and cramming first-person-shooters as we know them today into VR will not result in a comfortable experience. Developers aspiring to create for VR should start first by thinking about how players will navigate their experiences. Road to VR has compiled a helpful list of several different methods of moving players through large scale VR environments while maintaining comfort, immersion, and playability.

Submission + - Magic Leap Raises $794 Million to Accelerate Adoption of Secretive AR Tech (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: A massive new $794 million Series C investment in secretive AR startup Magic Leap puts the company among the world's most valuable startups, now reportedly valued at $4.5 billion. The company has aggressively teased what they believe to be revolutionary augmented reality display technology, allowing a mixture of the real and virtual dimensions in a way previously not achieved. Although they've played coy to the public, offering little more than bold claims, investors like Alibaba, Google Ventures, and Qualcomm Ventures have bought into the company's vision to the tune of $1.39 billion in total raised by Magic Leap thus far.

Submission + - Creator of Minecraft Develops Experimental VR Project (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Despite his on-again off-again relationship with VR headset maker Oculus, the creator of Minecraft, Markus “Notch” Persson, has developed an experimental virtual reality project that leverages WebVR technology to run directly within a browser using a Rift DK2 headset. Notch contributed $10,000 to Oculus' 2012 Kickstarter, and even traveled from Europe to visit the company in its early days. After Facebook's $2 billion acquisition of Oculus in 2014, his enthusiasm dwindled, saying "I definitely want to be a part of VR, but I will not work with Facebook." One month before selling his own company to Microsoft for a similar sum, he said he was "officially over being upset about Facebook buying Oculus."

Submission + - YouTube Adds 'Global VR Evangelist' to Roster as VR Race Heats Up (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: With 2016 being buzzed as "the year of VR" within the tech world, Google's efforts in the virtual reality arena continue to ramp up. YouTube has now brought onboard a 'Global VR Evangelist', a role filled by former Jaunt VP Scott Broock. Jaunt is one of the virtual reality industry's most well funded startups, having raised just over $100 million since 2014 from heavyweight investors like Disney and Google Ventures. YouTube has made a series of moves toward VR on their platform, adding the ability to host and play VR video (360 degree 3D) in 2015. It was also recently learned that Google is likely developing their own consumer VR hardware (http://bit.ly/1Sf8K0K).

Submission + - The Oculus Rift is Now 4 Months Backordered (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Despite outwardly negative reactions to the Rift initial $600 price point, the company is having trouble keeping up with demand for the VR headset. After opening for pre-orders on January 6th, the company said the first units would ship on March 28th. Now, just 10 days later, new pre-orderees are advised that their headsets aren't likely to ship until July. Last week Oculus founder Palmer Luckey said that (http://bit.ly/1Zne9si) "pre-orders are going much better than I ever could have possibly expected."

Submission + - HTC Wants to Bring Vive VR Headset to 100M+ Chinese Internet Café Users (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: While the Western vision of an internet café includes a shoddy WiFi hotspot and a few old desktops running Windows XP, the Chinese counterpart is more closely related to LAN gaming centers, offering up not only high speed internet access but also high performance gaming systems. In an effort to expose this quite massive population of gamers to virtual reality, HTC announced a partnership with ShunWang Technology, the software provider behind some 70% of China's internet café market. ShunWang plans to roll out arcade-like Vive VR systems to partner internet café's across China.

Submission + - Consumer Oculus Rift Headset is Shipping to Developers This Week Ahead of Launch (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Although Oculus isn't launching the Rift VR headset until sometime in Q1 2016, the company said in an update today that “early builds of final Rift hardware” are shipping to select developers this week. Alongside the headset, the company is also sending out the newly minted Oculus SDK 1.0 which developers can use to prepare their VR experiences for the consumer launch of the Rift. Although the company hasn't revealed the price of the Rift, they have confirmed that it will cost more than $350 (http://bit.ly/1KXbEk2).

Submission + - New Images of Vive VR Headset Leak from HTC Website

An anonymous reader writes: In the same announcement earlier this month from HTC the consumer version of the Vive VR headset for Valve's SteamVR would be delayed until April 2016, the company also mentioned that a second generation Vive development kit would be launched at CES next month. Ahead of that reveal, new renders showing what is believed to be the new dev kit picture a refined headset and substantial redesign of the device's motion input controllers. The images were found in the source code of HTC's official VR website (http://htcvr.com/), but have since been removed.

Submission + - Oculus Founder Says Rift Can Match Valve's 'Room-scale' VR (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Valve and HTC have touted 'room-scale' VR—a large tracking volume for virtual reality experiences—as a major advantage of SteamVR and the Vive headset. But Oculus says that their choice to focus on seated and standing VR experiences in smaller spaces is one of practicality, not technological limitations. To hush the haters, Oculus founder Palmer Luckey says he arranged the Rift tracking sensors in the same orientation of Valve's 'Lighthouse' trackers and concluded that tracking in a ~15x11 space "works fine."

Submission + - Valve's SteamVR Adds Support for Latest Oculus Rift SDK (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: While VR headset maker Oculus and Valve were previously quite close in the early development of the Rift headset, the two companies parted ways some time around Facebook's acquisition of Oculus. Valve would later go on to announce a partnership with HTC to develop the first 'room-scale' VR headset—the forthcoming HTC Vive—which would work on their SteamVR platform. But that left the question as to whether or not the Rift would continue to be welcome on SteamVR. In a recent update to SteamVR, Valve has added support for the latest Rift SDK, apparently signaling their commitment to support the Rift and other VR headsets.

Submission + - EA's DICE Is Hiring to Spin up a "Small & collaborative VR team" (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Good news for anyone who has silently mused to themselves "Damn this would look good in VR," while playing a round of Battlefront. EA-owned DICE, the studio behind Battlefield and Star Wars Battlefront (among others), is spinning up a "small & collaborative VR team" as part of their Frostbite division, the game engine behind the studio's titles. Frostbite Technical Director, Johan Andersson, confirmed as much in a recent tweet, linking to the studio's hiring page showing 5 open positions specifically for VR talent.

Submission + - Nokia's $60,000 Virtual Reality Camera Goes on a Drone Test Flight (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: After selling off its phone business to Microsoft in 2013, Nokia began an internal reboot which would see the company focusing on the upcoming virtual reality market. The company announced its new direction in July with the debut of 'OZO', a virtual reality camera made for professional filmmakers. Now set to launch in Q1 2016, the compact 9.3 pound camera can operate untethered thanks to internal power and capture storage, making it drone-capable. To demonstrate, Nokia took OZO on a closed test-flight just a few days ago using an 'Aerigon' cinema drone.

Submission + - Dungeons & Dragons tabletop comes to VR through partnership with AltspaceVR (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: Wizards of the Coast (http://bit.ly/1ObQQcd) today announced an official partnership with virtual reality firm AltspaceVR (http://bit.ly/1C9gs5C) to bring the Dungeons & Dragons tabletop roleplaying game to virtual reality. AlspaceVR is a social virtual reality platform which allows groups of users to share a virtual space. "AltspaceVR bridges the gap between Dungeons & Dragons video games and physically sitting around a table with friends,” said Nathan Stewart, brand director for Dungeons & Dragons. “You get the same sense of excitement and drama in the AltspaceVR tavern, from laughing at your buddy’s funny goblin voice to watching the d20 bounce and finally land on the natural 20 you needed to hit the beholder terrorizing your party." Starting today, AltspaceVR users have access to a virtual tavern space and officially licensed character sheets, figurines, and terrain tiles.

Submission + - Studio Behind 'Little Big Planet' Confirms Next Title Coming to PlayStation VR (roadtovr.com)

An anonymous reader writes: As the company's first title, 'Little Big Planet' was a breakout hit for the studio Media Molecule. The franchise saw three major games across the PS3 and PS4, two mobile versions (for PSP and PS Vita), and a number of spinoffs. But now Media Molecule hopes to make lightning strike twice with the forthcoming genre-eluding title, 'Dreams', which enables players to create and animate inside of the game world using the PlayStation Move. After several months of question dodging following the game's initial announcement, the studio has finally confirmed at Paris Games Week that Dreams will support PlayStation VR.

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