Right now is an exciting time for VR, and this year’s Sundance Film Festival is full proof of that. Over the past few days, we’ve experienced new virtual reality horizons and got to know some of the visionaries who have jump-started the technology. VR, arguably in its second life, has opened up a novel medium for storytelling and a way to create deeply immersive experiences for most any audience — be it with films, video games or, why not, a full-body flight simulator. Here’s the best part: This is only the beginning.
Humble Mobile Bundle 10 launched last week with three games (Buddy & Me, Lyne, and Doodle Kingdom) and three bonus games (Sorcery! 2, King of Dragon Pass, and OTTTD). As per past practice, they have added more games into the mix. Today’s additions include iPollute, Sorcery and the Tiny Bang Story.
If you already bought in above the average asking price ($3.94 at the time of this post), then you will receive these three new bonus games automatically. If you haven’t gotten in on this bundle yet, just pay over the average and grab all 9 games.
Don’t forget that your money will go to your choice (or combination) of Humble Bundle, the developers, the Extra Life / Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, or the World Land Trust.
source: Humble Mobile Bundle 10
Come comment on this article: Three more bonus games added to Humble Mobile Bundle 10
Look out, Hollywood, because Oculus VR is coming for you. Earlier today, the Facebook-owned company introduced its new film division Story Studio, as it looks to broaden its horizons and experiment with narrative through virtual reality. The first short film to come out of Oculus VR’s in-house movie lab is Lost, which is making its debut at Sundance. In addition to that, Story Studio has revealed that it’s already working on more shorts with a VR twist to them, all expected to appeal to different audiences. Along with Lost, there’s also going to be Dear Angelica, Bullfighter and Henry, plus two other films that haven’t been announced yet.
Unfortunately, aside from displaying posters for the films and saying that they are “coming soon,” Oculus Story Studio didn’t share any further details. It’s worth keeping in mind, however, that the newly minted production house is partially made up of former Pixar and Industrial Light and Magic staffers. For now, the only thing we can do is look at the posters and use our imagination to dream of what these virtual reality short films will be about. For its part, Lost was being screened on a Crescent Bay headset and, to say the least, it was beautiful — stay tuned; more on that to come.
After several years years of hiatus, an official announcement, and the shockingly rapid decline of the music game market, Rock Band suddenly leapt back to life this month. Harmonix Music Systems — the studio responsible for the music game craze, and the studio that created Guitar Hero, Rock Band and Dance Central — announced new tracks heading to the Rock Band online store, which works with both Rock Band 3 and Rock Band Blitz. Why in the world is Harmonix releasing new tracks as paid, downloadable content for games that only exist on previous generation consoles? The official word is full of public relations obfuscation:
“We had an exciting opportunity to add new content to the already-massive Rock Band library with a song from Arctic Monkeys – a band that’s never been in a Rock Band title before! – as well as new music from fan favorites Avenged Sevenfold and Foo Fighters. We couldn’t pass it up. Also, we wanted to see if we could still do it. Turns out we can. It’s sort of like riding a bike.”
Great. That out of the way, what’s really happening? Companies don’t just casually release new content for years old games. That’s not a thing that happens. I’d call it “testing the waters.”
First and foremost, here’s an interesting, not exactly surprising fact: “hundreds of thousands” of people are still playing Rock Band every month. That’s what a Harmonix rep told me, and it refers to folks playing online on “all platforms where DLC is available” (there’s no way of measuring how many folks are playing offline, but let’s wager that it’s not a lot).
For those of you wondering who’s still holding onto all those plastic instruments, the answer is “a surprisingly large group of people.”
As for the rest of us, well, my house is purged of all the fake guitars, wireless microphones, and plastic drum kits that accumulated across the Guitar Hero / Rock Band years. The same goes for most of my friends, and I doubt you’re much different. Beyond the burnout that comes with releasing several junky, obvious cash-in games — Activision flooded the market with constant variations on the Guitar Hero franchise — many of us didn’t want to fill closets/basements/dorm rooms/etc. with clunky gaming peripherals.
Harmonix is actually trying to determine how you feel about those peripherals in a survey sent out via Twitter. More importantly, not only is Harmonix trying to determine if you still own old peripherals — the company is asking very specific questions about which aspects of a Rock Band game (local multiplayer? a robust on-disc song library? etc.) are most important to you. It’s also asking which current-gen game consoles you own.
Smells an awful lot like Harmonix is pretty seriously considering a re-birth of its biggest ever franchise — the franchise that both helped popularize music games and managed to get more than one Beatle on stage during a video game press conference.
It certainly doesn’t hurt that the company is being asked about Rock Band all the time. When Forbes‘ Jason Evangelho asked about “Rock Band 4″ back in October 2014 (a theoretical sequel to Rock Band 3), here’s what Harmonix publicist Nick Chester said:
“We love Rock Band, it’s in the company’s DNA. We own the IP. And when the time’s right we will absolutely come back to it. There’s a whole bunch of factors to take into consideration before jumping in that pool again, but there’s a desire for it, absolutely.”
So, given that, and Harmonix CEO Alex Rigopulos outright stating that Rock Band would return at some point this console generation, the question of Rock Band’s triumphant return isn’t a question of if, but of when.
If you’re a long-time PC gamer, you probably have a soft spot for the Homeworld series. Relic’s epic saga was both eye-catching and proof that real-time strategy could work in the void of space. However, time hasn’t been kind to the games — the first came out when 3D graphics cards were relatively new, and THQ’s acquisition of Relic (plus its eventual bankruptcy) made follow-ups difficult. At last, though, you’ll have a way to relive the Mothership’s journey while doing justice to your modern gaming rig. Gearbox, which bought the rights to the series, has revealed that its previously teased Homeworld Remastered Collection will reach the PC on February 25th. The remake spruces up just about every aspect of the two Homeworld games, ranging from much better-looking ship models and effects to reworked cutscenes. You also get a beta multiplayer experience that merges the online modes of both titles.
And what about a truly new game? That’s coming, too. Blackbird Interactive (a studio founded by Homeworld vets) is teaming up with Gearbox to make a prequel, Homeworld Shipbreakers. Nearly everything about the new entry is a mystery since it’s still early in development, but the announcement hints that there will be plenty more to do once you’re done replaying the originals.
Been waiting for Sony to start dishing out the $15 million in restitution for the 2011 breach that took its PlayStation Network and Qriocity services down back in 2011? Well, thanks to the outfit putting a claim form online, now you can start the payment redemption process. It’s limited to those who had either a PSN, Qriocity or Sony Online Entertainment account prior to the intrusion (May 15, 2011), and the payouts aren’t all that different from what the firm gave out as part of its “Welcome Back” program at the time. Of course, back then PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable games and themes were a bit more desirable, but three months of PlayStation Plus is actually a bit more valuable now than it once was. Sony doling out the goods could still take a bit longer, though.
You see, there’s still a chance that the class-action suit will see an appeal come its May 1st Fairness Hearing, and payments won’t be made until the court grants final approval and any appeals are resolved. Until then, there’s always the PlayStation 4 for gaming — we’ve heard it’s pretty popular.
Most Blu-rays and DVDs these days come with filmmaker commentary tracks, but it isn’t too often you get to hear a game developer give play-by-play while running through something they created. That’s the thrust behind the latest episodes of Double Fine Productions‘ “Devs Play” YouTube series, spotted by Polygon. Here we have one of Doom‘s co-creators John Romero playing a handful of maps from the legendary first-person shooter that runs on basically any platform. He breaks down everything from the work that went into differentiating it from id’s other FPS Wolfenstein 3D, how the team used texture irregularities to denote secret rooms and even how he’s watched speed runs that not even he can replicate. Oh, and he designed the first level last, incorporating everything he’d learned throughout the other missions to make the initial one the most interesting.
Perhaps best of all? Seeing just how enthusiastic Romero remains about the game some 22 years later. Well, that and his luxurious mane of course. There are 10 episodes total running between 10 and 20 minutes each, and we’ve embedded the first clip below. Each is presented in 1080p60 and makes for excellent Chromecast material, if you ask us.
Finally, we can stop asking Microsoft’s Xbox lead Phil Spencer about virtual reality headsets. “For us I think this is the area,” Spencer told a group of interviewers at yesterday’s Windows 10 event. He was responding to whether or not there’s also a virtual reality headset in the works at Microsoft, just an hour after the company unveiled HoloLens: a “mixed reality” headset that enables the wearer to see holograms in real life.
For Spencer, HoloLens is both Microsoft’s alternate answer to the recent virtual reality explosion and a potential answer to Sony’s Project Morpheus headset — a VR peripheral that works with the PlayStation 4, where HoloLens could work with the Xbox One. “It’s very cool. To me there’s not a successful consumer electronics device on the planet where gaming is not a primary form of app category on the thing,” Spencer said. There’s even a “Minecraft-inspired” demo — which answers that question — for HoloLens that shows the implications of gaming with holograms. But no demo showed the headset working with the Xbox One in any capacity. Spencer instead talked around that possibility:
“I think gaming will be important. Specific scenarios with the Xbox, we’re thinking hard about. People could ask about streaming solutions. Could I use it as a display for my Xbox? We don’t have answers to any of those things, but know it’s all part of the same organization.”
And that’s why I say HoloLens both is and isn’t an answer to Sony’s Project Morpheus, or the Oculus Rift, or even Samsung’s Gear VR. It’s similarly impressive, and head-mounted, and even delivers some similar experiences, but it’s not virtual reality and it’s not a head-mounted display. It’s…something else.
The fact that HoloLens runs as a standalone device, untethered, is the first major differentiator.
Gaming with HoloLens and Xbox One wouldn’t involve a wire the same way the PlayStation 4 does with Morpheus. Regardless of the fact that it runs standalone, HoloLens could aim to offer a companion experience — a living “second-screen experience,” if you will. Sounds a lot better than connecting our tablets and smartphones!
Or imagine a horror game where HoloLens introduced more and more visual chaos into your life as you lost your mind in-game? That sounds goddamn terrifying!
The other major differentiator right now is that HoloLens has its own processing power on board, capable of running Windows 10. Well, since it runs Windows 10, then you can stream your Xbox One games to it, right? Maybe instead of playing Xbox One games on my TV, I play them on my ceiling while lying on my back, with the game projected directly into my vision so only I can see it. Sounds like a pretty solid solution for playing violent (“adult”) games with kids in the house.
As for whether HoloLens will take advantage of the Xbox One’s horsepower through tethering, that’s “clearly on the roadmap” according to Spencer. But I don’t know, the possible use cases without even heading into tethering are incredibly broad and, bizarrely, maybe even more fascinating.
It’s very early days for HoloLens — so much so that its potential far outclasses its delivery at the moment. What is there is full of promise, and it’s exciting to see a juggernaut like Microsoft pushing innovation in a completely different direction from the competition. What it will become is another question, but so far Microsoft’s made a truly original push into an arena crowded by folks all trying to deliver the same device.
As Spencer put it: “I’ve always applauded Oculus for what they’ve created. I think this is something different.” That, Mr. Spencer, it is.
If you have Google Cardboard, you might want to check out a new game called Attack of the Teapotcopters VR. Hell, even if you don’t have cardboard, it might be worth a shot since it will still be playable.
Teapotcopters features stunning 3D graphics and is a helicopter flight simulator that was developed by XDA member agnu17. In fact, it’s his first game ever. The goal is to defend the base from enemy teapotcopters. There are 4 levels of play: Earth, Moon, Mars, and Ocean, and 3 helicopters to choose from. You can also collect CopterCoins for upgrades.
The game not only supports Google Cardboard, but also other VR headsets including Durovis Dive, Refugio3D, VReye GO, and Fov2Go.
Attack of the Teapotcopters VR is Free in the Play Store now so give it a shot and let us know what you think about it.
Come comment on this article: [New Google Cardboard Game] Attack of the Teapotcopters VR is a 3D base-defense game
343 Industries is beta testing its latest patch for the horribly crippled Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Yes, you read that right: Redmond’s internal Halo studio is asking a portion of MCC‘s players to be canaries in the Covenant coal-mine ahead of the latest (hopefully last?) update that’ll address the myriad issues still surrounding the game’s multiplayer. The test is available to North Americans in the Xbox One Preview Program, and furthermore, if you opt in it’ll limit who you’re playing with to those also in the beta. The test surrounds changes to the game’s matchmaking and party systems according to 343i, with further details coming once the update gets closer to a final release. Sign-ups start this Friday, and only those with the “highest levels of engagement” with the game are going to be selected. Everyone else? You’re just going to have to dream of what a revamped “Relic” will look like.
Source: Halo Waypoint