The READY PLAYER ONE Official Trailer is released and well, there’s really nothing more to say, WATCH IT!
Disney animation legend Glen Keane was invited to the Late Late Show with James Corden for a live drawing session in Tilt Brush. Having animated Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Little Mermaid, Tarzan and other blockbuster Disney features, its exciting to see Glen utilize VR in this way, which has the potential to serve as a new medium for film and animated series.
Watching Ariel being drawn in real-time coming from the hands of Glen just puts into perspective the potential for VR in this space, even though it’s still early on. But it seems like he’s used Tilt Brush once or twice after watching him glide through the process like a pro, granted he is a pro. 🙂
For those interested in “out of this world” experiences, NASA has released footage of their 360 degree camera from the Mars Curiosity rover. The best way to experience this in AR/MR/VR right now is through the website accessmars.withgoogle.com which shows the surface of Mars that has been recorded so far with the Curiosity.
Giving access to this footage for public consumption is 1 step for man, and 2 steps for anyone with an AR/MR/VR headset. A wonderful experience that is the closest we can get to another world right now.
So, get on those goggles and visit https://accessmars.withgoogle.com/
Today I had the pleasure of venturing into the heart of Venice California and into the studios of MAP Design Labs. At the helm is Melissa Painter, Creative Director and Innovation Strategist for the company who was kind enough to give me a hands on demo of MOVE Studio. This was my first foray into Mixed Reality and I was pleasantly surprised by the lightweight Acer headset and how much more immersive it was then expected.
The journey into MOVE Studio started with a colorful world of motion capped dancers around me, both my controllers were waves of paint and as I moved my arms and legs, dancers would ride the paint trails tailored to my movement. As I bent my knees, objects and dancers would appear larger and smaller which was really fascinating. To add to the visual experience, the audio was dynamically programmed so as I moved, it changed and adapted around me. Essentially everyone has a unique experience because of this, the audio and visuals will be different each time depending on where you move and what you do.
MOVE Studio really captures something unique that I haven’t seen yet in this space, it’s not a game and it’s not a sit-down experience. It’s a visually stimulating experience that merges art, dance, and choreography together. The project itself encourages you to move around and dance, and the more you do, the more it resonates around you.
There are multiple modes that take you to different environments and there’s also a sandbox mode which gives you the ability to make your own experience by placing dancers of all sizes around the environment. MOVE Studio is an experimental and magical experience, and for anyone with a mixed reality headset, this one is fun for all ages.
MOVE Studio is free on the Microsoft store if you have a mixed reality headset:
Visit MOVE Studio’s official site:
Space Pirate Trainer is a simple arcade style VR shooter for the HTC Vive/Oculus Rift released on October 12th, 2017. With the majority of games these days, trailers always make you think the game is 1000x better then it usually is, so personally I wasn’t expecting too much from this, and boy was I wrong.
The game itself is really everything I wanted, simple to learn with one main menu to choose options from and within seconds you’re in the game and playing. Also when you start the game, your controllers are instantly guns which is another bonus, easy to shoot at the menu system and quickly jump into gameplay.
Another thing that’s nice for beginners to VR is the stationary movement. Some games require you to move around in the game with a controller which takes a bit of getting used to and still makes some people dizzy at times, with Space Pirate Trainer, you don’t have to worry about movement besides dodging, for the most part you’re in one position and just trying not to get killed as you battle evil space bots from the top of the Space Pirate Trainer platform. As simple as the game is, it’s easy to learn but hard to master, which makes it fun and addictive and honestly hard to put down, not to mention global online leaderboards for the super competitive nerd rangers out there.
For the game modes you have a variety of options to choose from.
First you have Arcade which gives you 3 lives total, with waves getting harder each round.
There’s also Explorer Mode which gives you health regen but only 50% points.
Hardcore Mode is also fun but doesn’t include bullet time, making it harder to dodge projectiles.
Last is Oldschool which is my personal favorite, the waves start out easy and get more difficult as you progress.
As for weapons, you have a bunch of options and can change weapons on the fly with your touch controller. Weapons range from the Quarkcannon, Pulse Laser, Shotworks, Railgun, Raygun, Ion Grenade and Brawler.
For $14.99 on Steam, Space Pirate Trainer is a solid addition to any VR collection and well worth the price tag.
Today was a big day on the VR front as Mark Zuckerberg spoke at the Oculus Connect 4 Conference earlier in San Jose, which was also live-streamed on Facebook. For news, the Oculus Rift price will be permanently dropping down to $399, which effectively improves on the Oculus Summer Sale for anyone who missed it.
One of the reasons for the continued price drop was the mention of a new wireless standalone headset called “Oculus Go”, which will be coming in at around $199 in early 2018. Granted the Oculus Go won’t compare to the Oculus Rift just yet, but should be compared more to Gear VR and a step in the right direction for wireless VR in general.
Having lower end wireless VR will increase mainstream adoption at a much quicker rate which is why we’re seeing price drops across the board from the higher end HMD’s like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. If all goes well, higher end wireless VR should become a reality towards the end of 2018 but for now cheaper hardware is needed and is a good thing for the VR landscape to grow. This is a big step for Facebook and if sales take off for the Oculus Go, it could be a game changer for the company.
Steven Spielberg’s VR startup Dreamscape Immersive has just raised 20 Million in Series B funding thanks to the AMC movie theater chain. Dreamscape Immersive also has the backing of Warner Bros, IMAX, 20th Century Fox, MGM and of course Steven Spielberg to name a few.
This is a big move for the future of entertainment as a whole and with many people opting out of movie theaters more so these days, VR and location based experiences could bring consumers back for something they just can’t get at home.
AMC and Dreamscape’s partnership will support up to 6 players in an interactive experience. This means you and your friends can be together through the thick and thin of it depending on the experience provided. As of now the agreement says up to six locations will be rolled out in the US and the UK over the next 18 months, with potentially more coming to the table depending on how things go.
This is really exciting overall as the beginning of mainstream location based VR is upon us. Sure, it’s out there already per say, but integrating VR and location based experiences into the mainstream through movie theaters will only feed adoption, create new experiences and increase VR sales for the home based markets. If anyone is up to the task, Spielberg and Dreamscape Immersive seem like a great starting point.
For any Star Wars nerds out there, you’re being summoned! A light-saber bundle with AR capabilities plus headset and tracker is included. Thanks to Lenovo we’ll be seeing this sooner than later. The $199 price tag will get you a whole package: a Lenovo Mirage AR headset, tracking beacon, and of course, the best thing any up-and-coming Jedi Master needs, a Lightsaber controller!
Star Wars™: Jedi Challenges is powered by your smart phone and works with Android and iPhone. Here’s a list of current compatible phones… iPhone 7 Plus, iPhone 7, iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6s, Samsung Galaxy S8, Samsung Galaxy S7 edge, Samsung Galaxy S7, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel, Moto Z.
For now there’s a few different games for the Jedi Challenges setup. Lightsaber Battles being the main attraction, but there’s also Holochess which is a a strategic board game and an RTS type game Strategic Combat.
For anyone wanting to workout, Lightsaber Battles could aid in some fun and active gameplay, while Holochess and Strategic Combat are slightly less active, yet still challenging and thoughtful.
Overall Lenovo and Disney have a cool new product on their hands and it has a good chance at bringing some smiles, sweat and laughs to a new Augmented frontier.
To pre-order, visit their official site here: http://www3.lenovo.com/us/en/jedichallenges/
If there’s one thing that gets me excited, it’s seeing Virtual Reality in the hands of filmmakers and creatives, especially for the first time. This coming October 13th and 14th, VR Society will be hosting “On the Lot” which will bring AR and VR to the iconic Hollywood Studio, the Lot. Last year “On the Lot” brought in over 1700 entertainment and production professionals from across the globe to Paramount Studios where many of the emerging technologies were presented. This year, VR Society is adding Augmented Reality to the conference and is already expanding their physical location due to the huge response from the Hollywood and Silicon Valley communities.
This years “On the Lot” will have a long list of talent including keynote speakers Roy Taylor (Vice President of Media/Entertainment AMD) Tony Parisi (Global Head of VR/AR at Unity) Gary Radburn (Director of Workstation Virtualization and Commercial VR/AR at Dell) and Oscar nominated producers Lauren Selig and Peter Martin to give a creative keynote “Seeing Your Creative Become Reality.” Also adding to the mix will be John Moon of Honda to talk about “Driving AR Forward” and what Honda has planned for AR. Additional Speakers set for this years conference include Aaron Luber (Google), Rick Champagne (NVIDIA), Ravi Velhal (Intel), Marcie Jastrow (Technicolor), Wim Buyens (Barco), Bruce Vaughn (Dreamscape), Ted Schilowitz (Paramount Pictures), John Canning (PGA/NBC) and Mia Tramz (LIFE VR).
There will be panels as well for other VR industries such as Education, Healthcare, Retail, location based and Monetization. Also to throw in more names, Academy Award Winning Filmmaker and Founder of the Virtual Reality Company Robert Stromberg will be participating and Unreal Engine will be premiering “The Giant: Michelangelo’s David” in VR to the public.
On Saturday afternoon October 14th, “On the Lot” is doing something really cool called “Meet The Investors”, basically devoting a block of time for guests with companies in their first year of business to prearrange one-on-one meetings with Venture Capitalists and high-level execs. This could be a huge opportunity to pitch your business or even get funding for your project. Right now this industry is young and growing at an incredible pace, so interest is high and investment demand is ever increasing.
Exhibitors for this years conference will include, AMD Studios, Barco, Create VR, Dell, Google, HP, Nvidia, Intel, Koncept VR, Legend, LOOT Interactive, Lytro, Position, Sony Music, Technicolor, TIME Inc, LIFE VR, Unity, Unreal Engine, VRC and DTS. To say the least, “On the Lot” is packed full of industry leaders and professionals all focusing on the new technologies of AR/VR. As we all know, AR/VR is in it’s early stages, so big props to VR Society for putting this conference together and moving our industry forward.
For tickets and more info visit VROnTheLot.com – Discounted ticket prices will be available for Oculus Connect attendees, all entertainment guild members (PGA, DGA, WGA etc) Students with student ID’s and Seniors 62 years+.
Ever since adolescence, I’ve been an avid Star Trek geek. Star Trek the Next Generation to be exact…Ahh, the good ole days of dial-up modems, VGA graphics, using cassette tapes to record your favorite top 10’s on the radio, and of course Grandma taking advantage of the latest Solitaire build on the new Windows 3.1. PC Desktop Computer.
So going back to Star Trek, I still remember vividly some of the places and things that happened on the show more so than others for some reason, and the holodeck in particular was always exciting, because when you walked into the holodeck itself, you could literally say anything you wanted and it would magically appear and happen. In the days of dial-up modems and 32 bit graphics, this was just a dream, something that would eventually happen in the future, but don’t get your hopes up kid.
If Capt. Picard had a stressful day, he merely strolled into the Holodeck, said a few words and bam…He’s on a horse giving Data a life lesson, or sitting at a cafe in Paris drinking a fresh cup of coffee, forgetting for a minute (in TV land) it’s just a Holodeck experience.
Who would’ve thought in 2017 sitting in my office scanning the edges of my room with the Vive or Oculus controllers, which when completed, literally makes you a mini-holodeck inside the safe areas of your room…As you approach the edges, a visual image comes up on your HMD of a very reminiscent virtual wall letting you know you’re at the edge of your playarea. Sure it’s not a perfect square Holodeck but MY OH MY how far we’ve come, and in such a short period of time.
Right now VR headsets are hard-wired for the most part, the higher end units like Oculus and Vive need multiple ports and plugs for function, so they’re clunky, riddled with cords and not to mention buggy at times depending on the software being run…This is where I insert a picture of the first cell phone ever made as reference to how early we are in VR.
Take a good long look at that phone, especially if you weren’t born yet, sorry Siri wasn’t available you beautiful Millennials.
VR is young people…We’re not even in the Wild Wild West yet, we’re in Prehistoric times, okay maybe Medieval Times…But what we have already is one of the most amazing and immersive technologies right in front of our eyes, literally plugging you into the matrix or an actual room scale holodeck, it’s real folks and it’s really exciting.
VR will become lighter, slimmer, higher-res, and of course wireless, it’s just a matter of time and as VR becomes cheaper and more cost effective, we’ll see mainstream adoption with not just an emphasis on games and entertainment but healthcare, education, business and social experiences.
Virtual reality is already being used to treat PTSD, help with anxiety, depression, phobias, and the list goes on. What if a teacher decided instead of having the class turn to page 84 to read on Ancient Egypt, they could visit the pyramids or at least experience a virtual representation of them, while discussing the subject at hand.
Often with immersive and engaging experiences comes higher retention and who doesn’t like a field trip, even though it’s still in the classroom. For me, being an ADHD left-handed monster child, a visual experience like that would of absolutely helped with retention and focus.
It’s exciting when a technology can reach people on so many different levels and in so many different industries.. It’s because of this that virtual reality is worth taking a deeper look at. VR isn’t a fad, it’s just another way to explore humanity and hopefully help further it. Holodecks are coming people, see you in France…Kind of… 🙂
For the nerd out there, here’s the Star Trek holodeck introduction video: