Vertigo Games Picks Up Maskmaker VR, But No Quest Announcement Yet

Vertigo Games is adding Innerspace’s Maskmaker to its publishing portfolio.

A tweet from the company’s official account confirmed as much. The post says that Vertigo is “strengthening” its partnership with Innerspace, but doesn’t specifically outline plans for what it will do with the game. The game was originally released on PSVR and PC VR in April of 2021, published by MWM Interactive. Vertigo published Innerspace’s first full VR game, A Fisherman’s Tale, back in 2019.

Vertigo Picks Up Maskmaker VR

Vertigo declined to comment on how this new partnership came about or if it might mean a Quest version of the game is in the works. In a follow-up tweet, Innerspace itself said it hoped the partnership would “bring new opportunities soon”.

Maskmaker was a VR adventure game in which you happen upon an old mask maker’s workshop and discover the ability to jump between worlds using their creations. You use this mechanic to go between environments, creating masks that mirror those you find in different worlds, allowing you to assume control of different characters.

We thought the game was successful in building out fascinating worlds, but a heavy-handed narrative got in the way of the gameplay. “Its best moments achieve an intricate balance between body-swapping puzzling that helps lift the veil on some of the story’s deeper themes, and I would have happily spent hours more making masks in the welcome confines of its workshop,” we said in our review. “But the game often feels like it’s presenting puzzles for the sake of it and could have helped its story breathe by stripping back some of the exposition.”

Shortly after Maskmaker’s release, Vertigo Games confirmed it had signed a publishing deal with Innerspace to produce its next game, which is still unannounced.

Oculus Public Test Channel Fixes (Air) Link Windows 11 Judder

The Public Test Channel of the Oculus PC app fixes Oculus Link juddering on Windows 11.

Oculus Link is a Quest feature which lets the device act as a PC VR headset, either wired via USB or wirelessly via your home Wi-Fi network. While it works as advertised on Windows 10, if you try it on Windows 11 you may see a constant distracting – and even sickening – juddering effect. The issue had existed since the release of Windows 11.

Yesterday we reported on a Tweet from Meta Reality Labs “Consulting CTO” John Carmack apologizing for the issue still existing. “We think we have a handle on it, and an update is in the pipeline, but I can’t say exactly when it will land”, he wrote. After publication we were contacted by readers pointing out this fix actually already shipped in the Public Test Channel.

To enroll in the Public Test Channel navigate to the Beta tab of the Settings of the Oculus PC app, then wait for the update to finish downloading. I tried this today and found it did indeed fix the constant juddering issue.

However, I did still experience an occasional judder I don’t remember happening on Windows 10, and that I don’t experience when using the paid 3rd party alternative to Air Link Virtual Desktop.

If you use Windows 11: does the Public Test Channel fix the juddering for you? Which works better for you: Air Link or Virtual Desktop? Let us know in the comments below.

Quest 2 Experimental Room Setup Adds Walls & Furniture To Mixed Reality

A new experimental room setup feature on Quest 2 allows owners to map out their walls, doors, windows, and furniture for a new class of mixed reality experience.

The new “Room Setup – Experimental” feature sees you mark out surfaces in your home to build out a basic outline of your walls and the objects within. Using the feature I was able to quickly make boxes for a table as well as an island in my kitchen. These two surfaces are on either side of my typical play space, and having them represented in VR made it so I could easily leave my Oculus Touch controllers on either surface without taking the headset off. That’s of course just the beginning as developers figure out creative ways to incorporate furniture and walls into their mixed reality apps.

The feature appeared in the settings of one of our Quest 2 headsets running v40 of the system. The new feature could be activated separate to the existing computer vision-based safety systems on Quest 2, Space Sense and Guardian boundaries, with the experimental feature built around a more robust “Scene Understanding” that was originally previewed last year during Meta’s Connect event.

“Bring the walls, furniture and objects from your room into VR so you can use apps that blend your real and virtual environments,” a dialog for the feature notes.

Late last year, developer Bob Berkebile built and released a free tool that enabled similar functionality, and some developers have been exploring these features in their Quest 2 apps on an individual basis as well. Notably, Berkebile lists on Linkedin he started at Meta in January of this year.

Earlier this month, Meta teased a new experience called The World Beyond coming to App Lab as a showpiece for the functionality. Meta said The World Beyond would launch with v40 of the software development kit for Oculus developers, but as of this writing v39 is still the latest version on the Oculus developer site.

I was able to test the new experimental room setup feature in the video below.

 

Later this year Meta is planning to sell a high-end standalone headset, currently known as Project Cambria, for significantly more than $800. It’ll feature a depth sensor and color passthrough views from higher resolution cameras that’ll likely make mixed reality experiences on that headset far more impressive.

iFixit Now Sells Valve Index Replacement Parts

Replacement parts for the Valve Index headset are now officially sold by iFixit.

iFixit is a website which offers free repair guides for a range of consumer electronics and sells repair parts and kit- including for the HTC Vive.

Valve Index launched in mid 2019. You can buy the headset, base stations and controllers separately or the full kit. Valve started selling individual controllers and the cable in mid 2021 – at the price of $149 and $129 respectively. The following parts are now available from iFixit:

Headset

Controllers

Base Stations

The “eye tube assemblies” – the lens and display panel – stand out as very different from the other parts offered. That’s not something we’d expected to be sold. Is it possible hardware hackers & modders could use this to build DIY headsets?

Sold at $999 for the full kit, Index has now been on the market for almost three years. It still has best-in-class tracking and audio quality but its 1600×1440 resolution has been leapfrogged both on the high end by HTC’s Vive Pro 2 (2448×2448) and on the low end by Meta’s $299 Quest 2 (1832×1920). The move to make replacement parts available definitely extends the Index’s lifespan, but there’s demand among VR enthusiasts for a new headset from Valve. Evidence found late last year suggests Valve is working on exactly that, but there’s no indication it will launch any time soon.

Shores Of Loci Is A Sumptuous VR Puzzler For Quest, PC VR

If you like your VR puzzling to be a little more otherworldly than Puzzling Places (or if you literally just want more of that winning formula) then you’ll want to put tomorrow’s release of Shores of Loci on your radar.

Releasing on May 24 in early access for Meta Quest (formerly Oculus Quest) App Lab and Steam, Shores of Loci is sumptuous in its aura, tasking players with piecing together dioramas of fictional landscapes that, upon completion, set down on the horizon in front of you at full scale. Each scene is split into pieces akin to a 3D puzzle, and you simply have to find which piece goes where, at which point the game will automatically stitch parts together.

It sounds very similar to the brilliant simplicity of Puzzling Places and, in truth, it is. But Shores of Loci does vary quite a bit in its approach to puzzles.

Each challenge, for example, provides only a handful of pieces at a time, waiting for you to slot them all into the right place before presenting the next pack. This is a useful bit of staging given that the exquisitely detailed designs — ranging from ancient civilizations to rickety fishing villages — can be tough to make sense of at times. It can often be tough to make head or tail of the parts you’re dealt and, while the game focuses on relaxation, it’s sometimes frustrating not being able to clearly see how things fit together. Nonetheless, there’s an instant hint button that will highlight two attachable areas upon pressing, and the game is judgment-free on using it.

But, if it’s easy to lose yourself in the puzzles, that’s largely down to the game’s irresistible presentation. Visually this is a dreamy world of marvels, from the soothing views you’ll take in from afar to the tiny miracles dotted around the puzzles themselves. The soundscape, meanwhile, is airy and wonderous, proving to be the perfect companion to the pacing.

Naturally, games of this type aren’t for everyone, but I found myself enraptured with Shores of Loci’s soothing blend of puzzling. With five main worlds and multiple puzzles between them, there’s a fair few hours to kill here and we hope to see more added over the course of early access. Even now, though, VR puzzle fans will find themselves swept up in this whimsy treat.

Shores of Loci will cost $15 when it launches tomorrow. We’ll have a keen eye on where it goes from here.

Meta Working On Fix For (Air) Link Windows 11 Juddering

A fix for Oculus Link juddering on Windows 11 is “in the pipeline”, but there’s no estimate for when it will arrive.

Oculus Link is a Quest feature which lets the device act as a PC VR headset, either wired via USB or wirelessly via your home Wi-Fi network. While it works as advertised on Windows 10, if you try it on Windows 11 you may see a constant distracting – and even sickening – juddering effect.

The issue has existed since the release of Windows 11. Seven months later the issue still remains, with the company still recommending Windows 10. Still, around 1 in 5 Steam users have already upgraded.

There is a strange but functional workaround involving the Oculus Debug Tool, but it requires leaving a console window foregrounded and you need to repeat the steps if you close the Oculus software.

Meta Reality Labs “Consulting CTO” John Carmack apologized to a customer on Twitter for the issue remaining unfixed. He explained the cause as “timing details” changing between Windows 10 and 11, likely referring to how the operating system talks to the GPU to schedule the timing of frames. “We think we have a handle on it, and an update is in the pipeline, but I can’t say exactly when it will land”, he wrote.

Virtual Desktop, the paid 3rd party alternative to Air Link, doesn’t have this juddering issue. Developer Guy Godin frequently updates the application to support the widest possible range of PC hardware and software configurations. On Windows 11 with a Wi-Fi 6 access point Virtual Desktop performs perfectly for me, with no workaround needed.

Joy Way Cancels VR Roguelite Outlier 2 Months Into Early Access

Just two months on from its launch on early access, developer Joy Way has canceled work on VR roguelite, Outlier.

The studio shared the news on its Discord channel last week, stating that it had “overestimated the demand for this game” and “underestimated the complexity of the roguelike genre.” The game will soon be removed from Steam.

Outlier Canceled

he studio reasoned that continuing to work on the project would take another eight to 12 months with “a low probability that the project will ever achieve at least financial self-sufficiency.” Outlier was Joy Way’s fifth announced game in two years and the second project to be fully abandoned, the other being a puzzle game called Brains vs Zombies. Its other three projects, Stride, Against and Time Hacker, are all also in early access, though the latter title seemingly hasn’t received an update in over a year.

Joy Way said customers should “feel free” to refund the game and reach out to Steam support if they need help.

Outlier offered roguelite action similar to flatscreen games like Hades and Returnal as well as VR games like Sweet Surrender and Until You Fall. You fought through areas of an alien planet using firearms and superpowers to defend yourself. We quite liked the game at early access launch, but noted the developer’s tendency to release new prototype projects rather than finish old ones was becoming a problem.

“More cautious optimism, then, but with this marking the fourth major early access release for Joy Way with a full game yet to launch, it’s high past time the developer started consolidating on some of this potential,” we said.

Joy Way does continue to work on Stride and Against, however. The latter just got an update improving the flow of the game. Stride, meanwhile, recently disappeared off of the Quest store for over a month as Meta delisted apps from developers with “financial entities” based in Russia. Joy Way told UploadVR that it has “very few employees” left in Russia and Stride has since returned to the store, with its long-promised multiplayer mode still in the works.

What do you make of Outlier’s cancellation? Let us know in the comments below!

The Atlas Mystery Review: A Trip To The Pictures

VR escape rooms are a dime a dozen; can The Atlas Mystery separate itself from the pack? Read on for our The Atlas Mystery review.

The concept of the real-life escape room has exploded in popularity in recent years, with numerous places in many cities across the world offering various experiences ranging in theme from spy drama to high fantasy. VR developers were quick to pick up on the idea, realizing that an interactive mystery works extremely well in the new medium. Developer Top Right Corner has opted for some 1940s flavor in a spooky theatre in The Atlas Mystery in a way that skirts the edges of the horror genre by combining it with a murder mystery and ghost story. 

As the game opens, the player takes the role of a cinema manager who has been tasked with preparing the legendary Atlas Theatre for re-opening. The game is ostensibly set in 1951, but since the cinema has been closed and abandoned since the 1940s, and it uses the classic Art Deco aesthetic of that decade to good effect. 

The Atlas Mystery doesn’t veer far from the typical escape room structure; the player moves from room to room in order to solve various puzzles and gather the story threads, which are usually presented in the form of letters and newspaper clippings which tell the story of former Atlas Theatre owner, a Hollywood legend named Oliver Westin. His death led to the initial closing of the theatre. The story is interesting, but poorly integrated with the rest of the game, and sadly proves to be ultimately somewhat unsatisfactory at the ending, even if the player has managed to put together all the scattered story fragments.

The Atlas Mystery Review The Facts

Platforms: PC VR, Quest 2
Release Date: Out Now
Developer: Top Right Corner
Price: $14.99

The puzzles themselves require careful examination of the environment in order to decipher what to do, but the puzzles themselves vary wildly in challenge, and sometimes need some unlikely leaps of logic to solve. There is no consistent difficulty curve; puzzle types range from turning keys or dials to memorizing and inputting a proper sequence of words or numbers. The most effective puzzles are those which draw strongly on the setting, or delve into the early history of cinema. One of the most pleasing examples involves having to cut together a short length of film and project it on a wall, which is very satisfying and suits the game perfectly. 

Only objects that are useful for puzzles or advancing the story are available for interaction, which spoils the immersion somewhat. The interaction itself is somewhat unpolished; sometimes interactive objects will fail to respond properly, and objects often don’t have the proper weight or physics reactions attached to them, which is another immersion-breaking factor. Even something as simple as picking up a letter to read can involve you holding your hand at an awkward angle in order to read it.

Several puzzles involve carrying items between rooms, for which a convenient backpack is provided, though it’s easy to get into the adventure game mindset and carry things with you that you never need to use again. Movement comes in smooth locomotion or teleport, but the smooth locomotion speed is extremely slow, and can prove frustrating for those who don’t deal well with simulation sickness. 

The Atlas Mystery Review 1

Where the game really excels is in its atmosphere. The design of the cinema itself combined with the lighting choices lends itself to a feeling of isolation, and you might find yourself feeling that something is lurking in those deep shadows. The music also strongly contributes, using a 40s/50s sound palette, mostly using a melancholy piano that only adds to the spooky feeling throughout the game. 

Despite leaning on the horror atmosphere, there are no jump-scares or scenes of bloody carnage, just a feeling of something watching, which is arguably even more unsettling. That said, even the horror-averse should be fine playing this game, as it never gets more intense than a ‘slightly spooky feeling’ 

The Atlas Mystery is somewhat short, and can be completed within only 3-4 hours of play, even if you are taking things at a leisurely pace. There is little reason to replay the adventure, unless you have missed some of the story clues. The lack of replayability is somewhat disappointing, as the aesthetic and atmosphere of the cinema could offer a greater scope for exploration and backtracking. 

The Atlas Mystery Review – Final Impressions

Ultimately, The Atlas Mystery is a good escape room mystery game but could be greatly improved by adding more interactivity and placing greater emphasis on the story. The setting and particularly the excellent soundtrack is worthy of a greater scope, perhaps with added voice acting and more room to explore. The game is a decent way to spend a couple of hours, but only real escape room buffs will get a higher level of appreciation out of it. 

UploadVR recently changed its review guidelines, and this is one of our new unlabelled review categories. You can read more about our review guidelines here

This review was conducted on PC VR. What did you make of our The Atlas Mystery review? Let us know in the comments below!

Between Realities VR Podcast: Season 5 Episode 15 Ft. Ben Lang of Road To VR

In this week’s episode of the Between Realities VR Podcast, Alex and Skeeva host Ben Lang, co-founder and Executive Editor of Road to VR.

Ben reflects on his 10+ years in the industry and explains how he founded his news publication. Other topics include Meta’s role in the grande scheme of VR, the ultimate potential of VR technology, and the different ways in which we perceive reality.

— Between Realities Links —
Merch Store: https://teespring.com/stores/between-…
Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/BetweenRealities
YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/BetweenRealities
Twitter – https://twitter.com/BtweenRealities
Discord – https://discord.gg/EvNnj2w
Facebook – https://fb.me/BetweenRealities
Alex VR – https://www.youtube.com/Alex_VR
Alex VR’s Twitter – https://www.twitter.com/Alex__VR
Skeeva – https://www.youtube.com/Skeeva007
Skeeva’s Twitter – https://www.twitter.com/Skeeva

Requisition VR Getting PvP, F1 22 Course Updates – VR Games On Our Radar This Week

Requisition VR’s new PvP mode and course updates for F1 22 are just some of the new VR games on our radar this week!

Every week we get a lot of updates on new VR games at Upload – so much so that we don’t have time to cover them all. This week we talked about news from Beat Saber, new Coatsink projects, Stride and more, but here are some other titles we didn’t get to take a look at.

Requisition VR

The latest update for Arcadia VR’s co-op zombie survival game reveals a PvP multiplayer mode. The core Requisition game focuses on players assembling weapons out of household items and that’s the case here too. Alongside traditional firearms you can see toasters being used as melee weapons, bats being taped together with bug lights and even darts being used as projectile attacks. It’s safe to say this mode has a lot of potential, then. Requisition itself is set for release in early access later this year.

F1 22

Here’s more gameplay from the upcoming racing game, which is going to feature full support for VR headsets on PC. This is a hot lap for a Spanish track, which gets a new layout in this edition. Tracks in Australia and Abu Dhabi have also been updated to reflect the real world courses better.

Demeo

Demeo Sorcerer Buff

We’ve already heard about the new update heading to Demeo on June 16 that’ll add a new campaign and more features to the Heroes’ Hangout. More recently, though, Resolution Games confirmed that the Sorcerer class, Zedokar, will be getting a buff in this update too. He’ll get a new card that allows you to apply ‘Overcharged’ to enemies, which enables a more powerful Lightning Bolt attack. This deals more damage than the standard Zap attack and bounces to different enemies. Resolution is also holding a competition to design dice for the game, which is underway now. More info here.

Dragon Fist: VR Kung Fu

Indie developer Ben Olding is working on this VR combat game, which is out on Steam and will be making its way to Quest 2 via App Lab soon. Check out a video using full body tracking above, which employs three Vive Trackers to let you kick as well as punch (which is coming to the PC VR build soon).