Just in time for the holidays, Merry Snowballs brings out your inner kid again in this Christmas themed VR Snowball fight simulator. I jump in for a video preview of Merry Snowballs and was not disappointed. Currently Merry Snowballs is free on the Oculus store and less then $5 on Steam, also free on Vive with a Viveport subscription.
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. 🙂
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.
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/
Big congrats to Felix & Paul Studios for winning an Emmy at the 69th Emmy Awards this weekend for Outstanding Original Interactive Program. ‘The People’s House’ is a look inside the White House with Barack and Michelle Obama, available on Samsung and Oculus platforms. Dear Angelica and Mission:ISS were also nominated in the same category.
Other notable mentions for VR was in the category ‘Outstanding Creative Achievement In Interactive Media within a Scripted Program‘ that nominated Strangers Things VR Experience, Mr. Robot VR Experience 360 and The Simpsons – Planet of the Couches with Westworld taking home the Emmy.
HTC Vive announced earlier on Twitter that DOOM VFR & Fallout 4 VR will be coming out December exclusively on their platform. Fallout 4 VR is scheduled for a 12/1/2017 release and DOOM VFR is scheduled for 12/12/2017. Of course both titles should be available on Steam as well.
Although HTC Vive says their not competing with Oculus’s recent price drop, Vive is making a big move with their $599 HMD. Not to mention 3 massive VR titles coming out exclusively, sends a pretty strong message that they’re willing to compete with Oculus not only on the hardware front, but also on the exclusive software front as well.
Oculus has had multiple exclusives recently so it’s good to see HTC Vive bouncing back, and of course at the end of the day this is just great for consumer VR with price drops in hardware and AAA VR titles coming out before the end of the year.
For those with the PSVR, not to worry, both titles will be coming to the PSVR as well as Skyrim VR! Current dates are set below with video previews. As of now Skyrim VR is just for PSVR, but hopefully it should make it’s way to Vive and Steam in the future.
Skyrim VR: November 17 for PSVR (PlayStation 4)
DOOM VFR: December 1 for PSVR (PlayStation 4), HTC VIVE (PC)
Fallout 4 VR: December 12 for HTC VIVE (PC)
The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon has a new reoccurring segment where they play virtual reality Pictionary. In this episode Marlon Wayans and Brie Larson duel it out on the HTC Vive using Google Tilt Brush as the platform for the game. This is not only great promotion for HTC Vive and Tilt Brush, but the vr industry as a whole. Late Night with Jimmy Fallon has on average 2.6 million viewers as of June 2017 and continues to rack up views on YouTube and DVR platforms.
Let’s be honest here, North America is behind the curve on tech and virtual reality compared to Asia and parts of Europe, but we should see mainstream adoption as vr hardware becomes wireless and cheaper for consumers in 2018. Oculus has plans for upcoming wireless vr as well as HTC Vive which is already testing it in the Chinese markets.
Upcoming projects like the film Ready Player One with Steven Spielberg at the helm and Disney’s Star Wars VR experience coming later in the year at their theme parks should help push mainstream vr adoption up a notch as well.