‘Dragon Front’ Goes Mobile: Gear VR Hands On And Rift Crossplay Impressions

‘Dragon Front’ Goes Mobile: Gear VR Hands On And Rift Crossplay Impressions

Dragon Front is a collectible card battling game that is played entirely in virtual reality. It carries similar DNA to other online trading card games such as Hearthstone, and it is currently in an open beta for the Oculus Rift and Gear VR. We’ve previously covered the general rules of the game and provided a detailed hands on with the PC version. But at Oculus Connect 3 we had the chance to try out the mobile Gear VR version to see how it compares and how multi-platform crossplay functions between the two headsets.

Upon booting up Dragon Front on your Samsung Gear VR the first thing you’ll notice is that it looks remarkably similar to the full Rift release. No significant assets were stripped out or lost in the translation process and this applies to the card battles themselves as well.

Battles in Dragon Front were designed from the beginning to be playable on both systems easily, according to representatives from creator High Voltage Studios.

Anyone who has tried the game on PC will know that it can be played fully with just the Oculus remote and its limited number of buttons. This streamlined gameplay design means that the Gear VR’s built in headset touchpad is more than sufficient to control a game that on the surface may seem mechanically complex.

The only real inputs you will need on Dragon Front for Gear VR are gaze aiming, tap selection, and a simple up-swipe on the pad if you wish to bring up a specific cards stats and abilities. Almost every action in this very strategic system can be accomplished using just those basic inputs. This makes Gear VR feel like Dragon Front‘s true home. The short games and pick up and play mentality fit naturally on a mobile platform and even the online matchmaking doesn’t skip a beat.

While on the show floor, two of our writers were able to play a complete match of Dragon Front online with one on the Rift and the other on a Gear VR. The experience flowed beautifully with no loss in performance, frame drops, or other forms of lag on either end. The game’s ancillary functions, such as the head avatars that reflect each player’s movements, also remained intact.

There are some notable losses in graphical fidelity on Dragon Front for Gear VR. The most notable of these is the absence of parallax for the card art. On Gear VR the card illustrations are flat whereas on the Rift they are given a pleasing sense of depth.

According to High Voltage, “parallax was the first thing to go but the entire process was a constant battle for performance. We’ve done everything we can and explored every possible creative solution to get Dragon Front running on Gear VR with as little drop off from the Rift as possible.”

The inclusion of this additional platform should mean for quicker matchmaking and more varied play styles, which is important for a title that depends so heavily on multiplayer.

Bot the Gear VR and the Oculus Rift versions of Dragon Front are currently in an open beta that you can sign up for today.

Are you in the beta? Let us know what you think of Dragon Front so far in the comments below.

Oculus Finally Reveals Minimum Specification For Oculus Rift, New $499 Oculus Ready PC

Oculus Finally Reveals Minimum Specification For Oculus Rift, New $499 Oculus Ready PC

We’ve never actually seen the minimum specifications for the Oculus Rift. Oculus has only revealed a recommended spec in the past. That changed today.

During the 2016 Oculus Connect keynote speech, company CEO Brendan Iribe pulled back the curtain on a minimum spec for VR capable machines. The list includes an Nvidia 960 graphics card, Intel i3-6100/AMD FX4350 processor, 8GB+ RAM, and the usual HDMI and USB requirements along with Windows 8 OS. True, that’s lower than the previously provided set of specs, which included an Nvidia 970 or AMD 290 card and Intel i5-4590 processor, but those are the recommended specs, not minimum.

The wording is different but the bottom line is the same: less expensive PCs can now support the Oculus Rift. To that end, Iribe announced some new additions to the VR ready PC line. Cyber Power revealed a new machine that meets the minimum spec on AMD-based hardware for $499. That means you can now get everything needed to play an Oculus Rift for around $1,100. When it comes to Oculus’ own line of Oculus Ready PCs, the company is adding laptops from Asus, Alienware, Lenovo and Aorus.

So how is this possible? According to Iribe, it’s thanks to the introduction of several predictive techniques that can help lower powered hardware mainstain solid framerates. He spoke of asynchroncus timewarp, a technique that many developers will already be used to. It’s essentially a method of predicting where the user is going to look next to assist with renedering and other intensive processes.

Timewarp only adresses the direction you’re looking in, however, and not the actual position of your head. To address this factor, Iribe introduced what Oculus calls asynchronus spacewarp, something he claimed no one had ever done before which aims to fix positional juddering and ghosting. This process takes the two previous frames in an app the user is inside, analyses the difference between them, and then predicts and generates a new synthetic frame.

In other words, it calculates where your head was in previous frames to project a synthetic image every other frame. This allows an app to run at 45 real frames per second, with synethic frames being used to then bring it back to the Oculus minimum standard of 90fps. It reminds us in a way of 120fps reprojection on PlayStation VR, but only so far as Oculus is artificially manipulating a framerate to free up a machine’s bandwidth.

Techniques like this are constantly helping to lessen the demand that VR puts on PCs. This time next year the barrier to entry for VR could be lower than ever.