Check out 15 Minutes of Teasing Moss Gameplay for PlayStation VR

With the release of Moss, the PlayStation VR title staring a young mouse named Quill, just around the corner VRFocus brings you fifteen minutes of gameplay.

Moss screenshot

Announced last year during Sony’s E3 2017 press conference, Moss is a virtual reality (VR) adventure videogame in which players guide Quill through a fantasy landscape on an epic adventure. Players will meet Quill by finding a magical book in an old library that transports them into the fantasy land. Shown as a floating masked face and orb, Quill is aware of the players presence and can communicate with them via sign language, a feature that is a testament to the love and hard work that has gone into creating Moss and conveying Quill’s emotions. This direct connection between Quill and the player will be core of Moss, enabling players able to interact on a physical and emotional level with the title.

The gameplay in Moss will see the player controlling Quill along with manipulating the environments to navigate obstacles, solve puzzles and battle enemies. Running on the Unreal Engine 4, Moss is a visually stunning title that sets to immerse the player into the fantasy land and become fully engrossed with Quill and the adventure at hand. Speaking to Christ Alderson, Polyarc, Inc’s Art Director, VRFocus discussed the origins of Quill, where Alderson said: “I gravitated towards the idea of a relationship with the character. In game you’d play on a television screen you might not make it through a mission, and you’re not that upset by it. In this, you feel bad when Quill takes damage.” You can read the full interview between VRFocus and Alderson here.

VRFocus got to preview Moss last year describing the title as: “…Moss deserves a place on your ‘most wanted’ list. After just one short play, the tease of more taxing puzzles and the forming of a non-verbal relationship with the adorable Quill is very compelling.” You can read the full preview of Moss here.

Moss is releasing on 27th February, 2018 on PlayStation VR and you can see fifteen minutes of direct capture gameplay below.

For more on Moss stay tuned to VRFocus.

Pluto VR Releases Communication Product ‘Pluto’ on Steam

Pluto is a virtual reality (VR) product that aims to bring people together by contecting them together in virtual space, to provide the same feeling as face-to-face conversation.

Pluto Screenshot 1

The problem with none visual communication, as Pluto VR describes it, is the loss of presence and shared understanding that comes from being able to read each other’s reactions and body language in real time. Subtle movements and facial expressions are key to successfully communication with each other and provide key information such as knowing when to speak. The solution to this problem was to be found in VR and from that idea, Pluto VR was formed and the application Pluto began development.

Following a round of investment seeking last year the company – co-founded by John Vechey, one of the foundering members of PopCap – was able to secure an impressive $13.9 million USD of funding. Led by venture capitalist firm Maveron, the injecting of cash has allowed Pluto VR to continue its work on Pluto and fulfil the goal of bringing communication to VR. Now, with the release of Pluto onto Steam Early Access, it has managed to achieve that goal.

Pluto Screenshot 2

Pluto will allow users to connect with friends while in any SteamVR application, be it an individual or multi-person application. Users will be able to call and chat with friends around the world and bring that sense of presence that comes from face-to-face conversation in the virtual space. Bring a friend or two into a multiplayer videogame and explore the world together. Create artwork while connecting with other people and share your work with ease. All of your contacts are easily accessible at anytime as well thanks to the Pluto Dashboard Overlay, meaning there is no need to exit out of applications and remove yourself from the experience.

Now available on Steam in Early Access, Pluto is available for free and is said to work with any SteamVR application. With support for the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality headsets, Pluto aims to create new ways for users to connect, regardless of physical or vertical location and hardware choice.

VRFocus will bring you all the updates on Pluto as it continues to develop over the coming months.

Ready At Dawn Wins Two DICE Awards For VR Titles

Lone Echo and Echo Arena were the developers first virtual reality (VR) titles released and now they have landed the company with award success.

Lone Echo

Both Lone Echo and Echo Arena developed by Ready At Dawn, won the awards for Immersive Reality Technical Achievement and Immersive Reality Game of the Year. These two awards honour the hard work that goes into creating outstanding VR products, celebrating the continued development of the industry and technology.

Lone Echo is a narrative adventure title that puts players in the shoes of Jack – an advanced artificial intelligence with a state-of-the-art synthetic body- who must work to help Captain Olivia Rhose solve a mystery on board an advanced mining facility within the rings of Saturn. VRFocus reviewed Lone Echo giving the title a solid score with reviewer Peter Graham describing the title as: “…an experience that every Oculus Touch owner needs in their library.”

Echo Arena artwork

Alongside the release of Lone Echo, a multi-player component known as Echo Arena was also released. The team-based sports game makes use of the same locomotion mechanics from Lone Echo, such as being able to grab any surface to move around and using wrist mounted thrusters, to build a competitive full-contact sport. Players must grab a flying disc and throw it through the opposition’s goal in order to score points. The full-contact element is possible thanks to players being able to push and punch each other in virtual space to stun them for a brief moment.

Developer Ready At Dawn, who previously had worked on titles such as The Order: 1886, created the titles with the support of Oculus Studios, seeing both Lone Echo and Echo Arena releasing onto the Oculus Store. Since their release in July last year, the two have gone on to be successful VR titles thanks to their zero gravity gameplay and compelling narrative. For both to win the Immersive Reality Technical Achievement and Immersive Reality Game of the Year awards during the DICE 2018 awards comes as no surprise and is a win worth celebrating.

For more on Ready At Dawn, Lone Echo and Echo Arena keep reading VRFocus.

VR eSports Psychodrama Ctrl Remastered is Here

London based virtual reality (VR) studio Breaking Fourth has brought back the critically acclaimed VR psychodrama Crtl in a new remastered version.

Ctrl Remastered Screenshot 01

Ctrl follows the tale of champion gamer Liam, as viewers take a front row seat to the final rounds of an eSports tournament where not all is quite as it seems. With a troubled domestic life and sneering commentators overheard, Ctrl will take viewers beyond the blurred lines between the virtual world and the real world with devastating effects. As time runs out it becomes clear what Liam is really fighting for in this dark, serious drama that contains scenes some may find upsetting.

Ctrl was originally shown to an exclusive audience at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts with a follow up release on PlayStation VR. Now, Ctrl Remastered brings viewers back once again to the hot seat with updated visuals and aims to deliver an astonishing narrative experience full of emotional and compelling storytelling. This has been achieved thanks to Breaking Fourth’s commitment to embracing the limitless creative possibilities that VR technology has to offer in creating immersive storytelling.

Ctrl Remastered Screenshot 01

Talking about the release of Ctrl Remastered, David Kaskel, Co-founder and CEO of Breaking Fourth said: “We received really positive feedback from Ctrl’s original release and found that it stimulated a lot of discussion, not just because of the medium but because of the more emotional elements of the story. It’s this level of poignancy that we can deliver with such impact in VR, so it made sense to keep the technological aspects as current as possible to ensure that delivery both for our current audience and a new one.”

For the new release Ctrl Remastered has gone multiplatform meaning viewers can experience it on their preferred choice of media. This includes the Samsung VR store, Oculus Video, Breaking Fourth’s own WARP app on the Oculus store and as a YouTube 360 video, available on Breaking Fourth’s YouTube Channel. All of these releases are available for free, meaning anyone can view this deep and meaningful drama.

For more on Ctrl Remastered and the work by Breaking Fourth, keep reading VRFocus.

This Week in VR Sport: The Next Generation

The weekend is here and it’s the last one for the month of February but that won’t stop us from bringing you a number of stories from the week focusing on sports. From football to stock car racing to a new demonstration of a virtual reality (VR) stadium experience, there is plenty to drive into in This Week In VR Sport.

Virtual Stadium Experience Showcased at MediaCityUK

Since the introduction of VR technology into the world of sports, fans have been itching to see how it can help put them closer to the action. Salford University Centre for Sports Business partnered with to demonstration and number of VR and augmented reality (AR) products focusing on the sports sector. One such demonstration, designed by Salford student Elena-Mary Calarasu, made use of 360 camera to record not only a match but also the crowds, before projecting them onto huge screens to create an immersive virtual stadium experience.

Salford University Virtual Stadium Demonstration

Calarasu, a student of Business and IT at the University of Salford Business School explained: “We wanted to get rid of the headsets but still get the same experience. It’s a very social thing. The idea is to bring fans closer to the action. It will allow fans who don’t live near their team to be involved in the action. For example Man City fans who live in China could get a much better experience if this technology is used.”

On top of the massive projection onto the two massive screens the experience can also been enjoyed with a VR headset such as the Oculus Rift. The demonstration shows that with or without a headset, that immersive sports content is very much possible and can be used in a number of different applications.

NASCAR Looking to Virtual Reality to Fuel Future Stars

From football to stock car racing, VR and immersive technology is helping to grow the next generation of racers.

Speaking in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, 20 year old stock car racer William Byron spoke about how the use of the popular iRacing simulator as a teenager helped to home his skills for the real thing. Having won over 100 races and placing in the top five over 290 times. Talking about his early days of racing Byron explained: “For me, I had not been in a racing family and did not have any connection with this, so iRacing was my chance to really see if I had any ability to drive a car, I think from that standpoint it’s a great starter for understanding if you do have some ability and seeing if that can translate.”

iRacing screenshot 01

The accessibility of iRacing and the included support for VR headsets allows a user to become complete immersed in a race, learning invariable skills for the real thing. Jimmie Johnson, 42-year-old seven-time season champion added: “In today’s world you can get experience in a variety lot of different ways and have the hours needed to jump in a car, unlike my generation, William is a perfect example.”

He continued by adding: “I had to wait 20 times a year to go drive a vehicle for one day. You add up those hours. William can sit in his house and drive for six hours day after day after day. It’s not the real thing but in today’s era it’s pretty damn close.”

The Next eSport Might Be VR Deathmatch

Speaking of future stars, the next generations of eSports champions may find their future success in VR.

During a recent test event at the Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco, Texas, the first two-person VR arena demonstration was create. The aim was to have two players facing off in a head-to-head live-action deathmatch in the title Raw Data. Complete with viewing screens and side-by-side pods, a stage was created to make any eSports fan happy. The event, though only small, was a successful test of the idea, setup and hardware along with a live stream resulting in an exciting event that has a lot of promise.

VR Deathmatch Arena

The possible application to take this large scale could be a key step in how the eSports industry further embraces VR technology and creates new competitions. You can see the test event in action here.

For more on immersive sport news keep reading VRFocus.

Meet Meep, Mindshow’s Latest Character

Mindshow lets users make animated movies in virtual reality (VR) by using their voice, body and some creative thinking. The latest addition to the show is Meep, an alien who even brought along their flying saucer.

Mindshow Meet Meep

Thanks to the technology available from VR programs like Mindshow are able to transform motion and tracking data to give users a complete animation suite right in their home. What would normally require countless hours of hard work and high costs is now streamlined into an accessible concept. With the addition of Meep, Mindshow continues to grow it’s cast of available cartoon characters and assets for user to bring any story or joke to life.

Alongside Meep joining the cast of Mindshow, a new feature is being added as well to give users the chance to use vertical video. Currently a prototype, the camera orientation can be adjusted by squeezing the grip buttons once to freeze the camera in its place, then doing so again over the left side of the camera frame. This will allow for more creation possibilities when designing animations and even for exporting work. As users can link to their YouTube accounts to share finished work or work-in-progress animations, the new vertical video feature will offer a chance for users to focus on mobile devices as their target viewing platform.

Mindshow Improvatar 3

With the inclusion of Meep, Mindshow will be hosting their third Improvatar competition later on today, Friday 23rd. Every episode of the Improvatar competition challenges viewers to remix three shows for a chance to win a $25 USD Steam gift card. For this third round of Improvatar users have until the night of Sunday 25th to complete their entries. The winners will then be complied together and shown off on Mindshow’s YouTube channel. Mindshow has been able to build up a loyal community and the Improvatar competition looks to be set to continue for sometime.

Mindshow is available as a free download on Steam and is currently in early access. Though only supporting the HTC Vive at the moment, compatibility with the Oculus Rift is expect to be added to the game in a future update.

VRFocus will bring you further news on Mindshow as it becomes available.

Third Generation Legendary Pokémon are Returning to Pokémon Go

The Pokémon Company and developer Niantic Labs have announced a Legendary Week for Pokémon Go.

The Legendary Week will see the return of third generation Pokémon Groudon and Kyogre alongside the Rayquaza for the period of one week. All three of these Pokémon will be appearing in Raid Battles around the world, creating an excellent chance to catch all three of this legendary Pokémon that were introduced in the Pokémon Ruby and Pokémon Sapphire videogames.

As each of these Pokémon have their own strengths and weaknesses players will want to take sometime to prepare for a hard fight. Level up the strongest Pokémon you may have available, team up with other trains, stock up on Poké Balls and then find the nearest Gym to start hunting these three legendary Pokémon. The Legendary Week for Pokémon Go will be live from today, February 23rd until March 5th offering plenty of time prepare and catch Groudon, Kyogre and Rayquaza.

Pokémon Go Community Day Dratini

On top of all this, the second Pokémon Go Community Day will be taking place on 24th February giving players a three hour window to catch some rare Pokémon. This time around the increased spawn rate will affect the Dragon Pokémon Dratini. Players who evolve a Dragonair, which is Dratini’s evolved form, into the final form, Dragonite will find it has a powerful move available to use, Draco Meteor. The Pokémon Go Community Day will be running from 10am till 1pm GMT (or your region equivalent) on 24th February.

In other Pokémon Go news, it was only last month that developer Niantic Labs announced it would discontinue support of Pokémon Go for a number of Apple devices. The affected devices, as confirmed by Niantic Labs themselves, included the follow Apple devices:

  • iPhone 5c: Models A1456, A1507, A1516, A1529 and A1532
  • iPhone 5: Models A1428, A1429 and A1442
  • iPad (4th Gen): Models A1458, A1459 and A1460
  • iPad (3rd Gen): Models A1416, A1430 and A1403
  • iPad mini (1st Gen): Models A1432, A1454, A1455
  • iPad 2: Models: A1395, A1396 and A1397

For all the latest on Pokémon Go including Community Day’s and other legendary events, keep reading VRFocus for updates as they arrive.

Oculus Head Hugo Barra Teases “Awesome things” For F8 Conference

The annual Facebook developer conference known as F8 is still a few months away but that has not stopped Hugo Barra, head of Oculus taking to social media to tease some news.

Mi VR and Oculus Go

In a post on his Twitter account Hugo Barra said that: “We can’t wait to show you all the awesome things we’ve been working on, especially AR/VR,” along with a link to the F8 Conference registration. With Oculus continuing to develop their technology and virtual reality (VR) as an industry forward, the tease of new announcement is exciting. Hugo Barra has not given any further details at this time but expect more teases closer to the event which will take place on 1st and 2nd May in San Jose, California.

Hugo Barra joined Oculus back in early 2017 after the then CEO Brendan Iribe stepped down to lead the company’s PC VR division. As the former VP at both Android and Xiaomi, Hugo Barra has a strong background full of experiences that has allowed him to shine while leading Oculus and build relationships with companies such as Xiaomi. This includes the standalone head-mounted display (HMD) for the Chinese market based on the Oculus Go.

At the 2017 F8 Conference, Facebook revealed a number of products including Facebook Spaces, the Surround 360 camera and the 360 Capture SDK to allow for the capture of VR videogames to be shared onto Facebook as 360 degree photos and videos.

In other event news VRFocus recently announced VRinFocus, a brand new immersive entertainment exhibition designed to bring VR and augmented reality (AR) developers face-to-face with the technology investment community. Featuring a large line up of AR, VR and mixed reality (MR) startups from across Europe, along with a comprehensive line-up of speakers, exhibitors and deal making opportunities, VRinFocus is going to be a great opportunity to bring both sides together for a great event.

Kevin Joyce, CEO and Editor of VRFocus, said: “I’m hugely excited about the opportunity to connect AR, VR and MR startups from the UK with investors from around the globe. VRinFocus will be a unique melting pot of ideas, finance and technology, and will help catalyse the next-generation of the immersive mediums.”

VRinFocus will be held on the 25th April, 2018 in De Vere Grand Connaught, , 61-65 Great Queen St, London.

For more on the F8 Conference and VRinFocus, keep reading VRFocus.

Oculus To Attend GDC, Jason Rubin Discusses The Future For The Company

The Game Development Conference (GDC), is set to take place in San Francisco next month and attending the show will be Oculus who will bring with them plenty of exciting projects.

Oculus Touch - Chris

Talking to the GDC website in a preshow interview, Jason Rubin, Oculus’s Vice President of Content, spoke about what attendees can expect from the company at this years show: “Oculus is coming off a monumental year: Rift continued dominating the PC VR market as prices dropped, Touch launched and became the defacto input device, our content library grew to over 2,000 titles with numerous accolades, we unveiled the first standalone VR headset with Oculus Go, and we continue work on the Santa Cruz prototype.”

The Santa Cruz prototype was revealed back at Oculus Connect 3 as a virtual reality (VR) headset without the need for a computer or mobile device. In a hands on session VRFocus Senior Staff Writer Peter Graham described it as “..lightweight, soft to the touch and of a much better build quality. It’s also surprisingly small.”

Oculus Go headset

Talking to GDC, Jason Rubin described the Oculus Go as: “a winning combination of accessibility and freedom, and it will be the easiest way for people for all ages to get into VR when it launches. It’s binary compatible with Gear VR and uses the Oculus Mobile SDK, so developers will have a streamlined path to publishing. We’re really excited about what that means for consumers and developers alike.”

Oculus will be focusing on the future of VR at this years GDC and as Jason Rubin says the company is: “investing aggressively on all fronts: hardware, software, content. We’re hard at work in Oculus Research pioneering what VR (and AR) will look like 5 or 10 years down the line. We’re in deep with developers and we’re not slowing down. We’ll keep working to provide the best tooling for developers. You’ll see us building on early work with things like OpenVR to create more cross-platform systems and services. 2017 saw the launch of numerous social apps and games, like Echo Arena, that redefined shared presence. Once you’ve played a co-op game in VR, there’s no going back—imagine a made-for-VR MMO—and the potential is astounding. We are helping more developers envision and enable these types of meaningful interactions.”

GDC 2018 will be taking place 19th March to 23rd March at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Further news about about Oculus, their developments and GDC 2018 will be here on VRFocus.

Audi Quattro Coaster Brings the Showroom to Your Home

Car manufacturer Audi have released a new augmented reality (AR) app that allows a user to bring one of four models of the Audi Quattro into their own home.

Audi Quattro Coaster screenshot 1

By using a device to scan a room a user will be able to view a detailed model of the Audi Quattro right in the comfort of their own home. The digital recreation of the car can be viewed in full-size to see how it fits in your driveway or placed on a table to allow for more compact exploration. All the details are faithfully captured even down to the interior of the car resulting in the same experience as attending a showroom.

On top of viewing the Audi Quattro the Audi Quattro Coaster app also allows users to create their own track and take it for a test drive. By holding down the red button in the app and then moving forward you can create a test track that is only limited by your available space and imagination. Take the course around chairs, under and over a table and up to the ceiling and back. Once finished the track remains in virtual space allowing a user to move around freely and study both the road and the cars in different angles. To showcase the four-wheel drive power that the Audi Quattro has the track will experience all four seasons and the cars will react accordingly, giving you a detailed test drive up close.

Audi Quattro Coaster screenshot 2

The Audi Quattro Coaster app will also let users see an extended version of the TV commercial by holding a device with the app open to your TV. When viewed this way, the camera will scan a point in the commercial which will then lead to the car continuing to move through the device screen, extending the content shown in the commercial.

The Audi Quattro Coaster app is currently only available on Apple iPhone and iPad devices running iOS 11 via the App Store but Audi is hoping to bring the app to Android in the future. As and when further details are released about the Android release and any updates VRFocus will keep you updated.