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10. October 2016

 

Bullet is a popular open source C++ based 3D physics engine available on Github under the zlib permissive license, a very liberal open source license.  They just released version 2.84.   This release brings a few new features:

  • pybullet -- python bindings
  • VR support for the HTC Vive
  • VR support for the Oculus Rift
  • support for Inverse Kinematics

 

The following video demonstrates the new python bindings in action, using inverse kinematics and running on an HTC Vive.

GameDev News


5. October 2016

 

Back in May Google announced VR support was going to be built into future versions of Android.  It was only a matter of time until Google launched a compatible device, and today that device is here.  The DayDream View is a new VR headset very similar to Samsung’s Galaxy GearVR headset. 

 

The new headset has some interesting features.  Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the DayDream View is that it is made from fabric, causing it to be the lightest of the available headsets.  It’s also shipping with a touchpad motion controller with two buttons.  The headset is compatible with Google’s newly released Pixel phones as well as future VR enabled Android devices.  Perhaps most impressively, the headset and controller are shipping for $79 and will be shipping in November.

 

Below is Google’s DayDream View launch video:

GameDev News


26. September 2016

 

Daydream is Google’s project to bring VR to the Android platform.  Two of the biggest game engines, Unity and Unreal, just announced Daydream support in preview forms.image

 

First Unity’s announcement:

We’re excited to announce that native Daydream support is available as of today! It brings a more streamlined workflow, significant optimizations and reduced latency beyond the Google VR SDK for Unity released at Google I/O. No prefabs, scripts or manual manifest modifications are required to get started – simply enable VR and add Daydream as a targeted platform and begin making your own virtual worlds.

Unity’s native support for Daydream aims to solve the hard problems for you. To get optimal performance and latency from the platform we have done a deep integration with the Daydream SDK to leverage the platform’s asynchronous reprojection and VR performance mode. We have also made it easy to switch in and out of VR mode so that your applications can easily expand to the Google VR audience.

Not targeting just Daydream hardware? You can also have your application target Google Cardboard with native support. Applications which target Cardboard will work on older devices so that your application can reach as many users as possible. At this time, Cardboard support is exclusive to Android with iOS Cardboard support coming soon.

You can find more information and download the Technical Preview here. For questions or feedback head over to the new Daydream forum.

Google has also created a Unity SDK which expands Unity further by providing spatialized audio, Daydream controller support, utilities and samples. Please see the script reference and download pages for more details.

 

And now Unreal Engine:

Back in May during Google I/O, Epic announced its day one support of Daydream, Google’s exciting mobile VR platform for high quality, mobile virtual reality which is coming in Fall 2016 and will provide rich, responsive, and immersive experiences with hardware and software built for VR.

Well, after gathering developer feedback and evolving its resources into a suite of powerful tools, Google has announced that Google VR SDK 1.0 has graduated out of beta and is now available on theDaydream developer site

As pointed out in the official announcement post, the updated SDK simplifies common VR development tasks so developers can focus on building immersive, interactive mobile VR applications for Daydream-ready phones and headsets while supporting integrated scanline racing and interactions using the innovative Daydream controller.

With this release, significant improvements to UE4’s native integration have been implemented that will help developers build better production-quality Daydream apps. The latest version introduces Daydream controller support in the editor, a neck model, new rendering optimizations, and much more - many features of which will be rolled directly into Unreal Engine 4.13.1 with the rest being availablenow through GitHub and rolling into 4.14.

Interested in accessing Google Daydream SDK 1.0? UE4 developers can do so right now by downloading the source here. We can’t wait to see what types of content the Unreal Engine community dreams up!

 

As mentioned in the Unreal Engine announcement, Google also released the 1.0 version of their new GoogleVR SDK.

GameDev News


23. June 2016

 

Razer recently launched HDK2, the open source Head Mounted Display for OSVR, the open source VR standard first released by Valve.  As part of that VR effort, they just announced a $5 million fund for developing OSVR titles.  So does this require exclusivity?  Well no.  In fact their funding approach is pretty novel and one I think others should adopt.

This fund is open to all developers, indie or major, to apply. For every successful applicant, OSVR funding partners will purchase copies of their content in exchange for OSVR integration.

So basically, you add OSVR support to your title, Razer (and other OSVR parties I’m assuming) will then purchase a number of copies of that title, which they in turn can use to include with their headsets.  It’s fairly win/win actually, developers are guaranteed a minimum number of sales, promotion and exposure and headset manufacturers have more titles and promotional options as a result.  Further information from the press release:

SAN FRANCISCO – Organizers of Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR), the largest open source virtual reality consortium in the world, today announced the OSVR Developer Fund—a content accelerator program led by Razer that avails $5 million to the developer community. The fund encourages developers to support the OSVR ecosystem – an open source ecosystem that allows VR content to work across the board with all VR hardware, giving VR fans and developers more choice without worrying about DRM policies or other restrictive measures.


“VR is working toward being a mainstream success thanks to all the developers who have stepped up to the plate to deliver the next-generation in interactive experiences,” says Christopher Mitchell, OSVR lead, Razer. “The OSVR Developer Fund allows us to directly support the efforts of VR pioneers across the breadth of this developing industry, while at the same time ensuring that content is available to everyone in the industry. It is our contention that if everyone who is constructively contributing to the VR ecosystem succeeds, then VR will succeed. Closed doors in the world of development are a death sentence.”


The OSVR Developer Fund will be available to qualified, participating VR content developers – independent or major. If successful, applicants will have their game codes purchased in bulk by Razer or any future contributors to the fund in exchange for support of the platform. This will help compensate developers for the time spent integrating as well as provide OSVR with assets to promote their game’s availability in the unrestricted OSVR powered eco-system for use with all headsets.


“We understand content developers have various development challenges and we’re committed to helping them get ahead of those barriers,” says Justin Cooney, OSVR director of developer relations, Razer. “The OSVR Developer Fund helps to support initial sales while enabling developers to contribute to the VR industry as a whole. Together, OSVR and its content partners enjoy the realization of a shared vision for the future of VR.”
In the egalitarian spirt of OSVR, developers will not beholden to only one particular sales channel, hardware device or development engine. Publishers will likewise retain full creative control over their content.
They will also receive marketing and promotional support including opportunities to be a part of OSVR hardware bundles or showcases at major consumer events.

 

If you are interested in signing up, be sure to head over to the OSVR page.

GameDev News


9. June 2016

 

Today on Steam Valve just released the Destination Workshop a free application for building VR environments.  Designed to work with any OpenVR headset, this toolset is built on top of the Source 2 engine and is available for free.  From the Steam store page:

Destinations Workshop Tools lets you create, share, and explore both real and imaginary places in virtual reality. This is a beta release of a set of content creation tools that users can use to construct worlds and share them on the Destinations Workshop – then explore them with the included Destinations Viewer.

Destinations Workshop Tools includes:

  • The Source 2 tool set used internally at Valve. Once installed, you can find theDestinations Workshop Tools in the Library under Tools.
  • Several example Destinations created with photogrammetry
  • An example map that users can copy and modify which highlights how to use Source 2 tools to add interactivity to a Destination
  • The Destinations Viewer, where users can browse and explore Destinations downloaded from the Steam Workshop. Once installed, you can find the Destinations Viewer in the Library under Software.

 

More information is available on the Destinations Wiki.  Are we entering the age of VRML 2.0?  (Actually technically VRML2 was actually released, but you know what I mean...)

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