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25. May 2016

 

Valve have just released version 1.0.0 of the OpenVR SDK on Github.  The OpenVR SDK is the primary API for developing VR applications that adhere to the OpenVR standard, most notably the HTC Vive. Changes in this release taken from the release notes:

IVRApplications:

  • Added VREvent_ApplicationListUpdated event. This is sent whenever an application manifest is added, removed, or updated.

IVRRenderModels:

  • Added VREvent_ModelSkinSettingsHaveChanged event. This is sent when the user has selected a new controller or base station/camera replacement model. If your application uses the IVRRenderModel interface to load the user's actual controllers it should reload them after receiving this event.
  • Added GetRenderModelOriginalPath function. This returns the non-overridden full path to the render model so controller/base station/camera skinning can be avoided if the application requires it.
  • Added GetRenderModelThumbnailURL function. This returns a URL (usually to a file) for a 4x3 aspect ratio thumbnail image that can be used to preview the render model.
  • Added GetRenderModelErrorNameFromEnum so applications don't need to provide their own lookup table to interpret these errors.

IVRCompositor:

  • Added cumulative stats tracked per-application and associated accessor.
  • Added interface to access the mirror textures (per-eye). This is the undistorted view with chaperone and overlays (e.g. dashboard) drawn on top.
  • Added preliminary support for screenshots. This interface is not stable yet and should be ignored for now.

IVRTrackedCamera:

  • Exposed the initial version. Provides developers access to poll streaming frames from the HMD front facing camera with the associated tracked HMD pose. The image is available as either a pre-corrected distorted view or corrected undistorted view.
  • Added a thin Qt example for getting and showing the camera image/pose.

IVROverlay:

  • Added interface to get size of a texture used by an overlay. This is useful when setting the overlay texture by filename.
  • Added ability to render side-by-side stereo content and panoramas.

Driver Interface:

  • IVRCameraComponent is still in a development phase.
  • Added provider method GetInterfaceVersions. This contains all the version numbers of the other interfaces in the driver. Drivers should return vr::k_InterfaceVersions from the version of openvr_driver.h that they were compiled against.
  • GetTrackedDeviceDriver and FindTrackedDeviceDriver no longer take an interface version. The caller will expect the version of the interface returned in GetInterfaceVesions()

HelloVR sample:

  • Fixed compile error around glDebugMessageCallback that could happen with certain versions of the OpenGL headers.
  • Fixed compile error from LoadRenderModel->LoadRenderModel_Async name change.
  • Fixed compile error from LoadTexture->LoadTexture_Async name change.

GameDev News


23. May 2016

 

Two Big Ears, a VR and AR oriented company have just been acquired by Facebook, and their product suite is now available for free.  Of most relevance to GameFromScratch readers is theimage release of 3DCeption For Games, a suite of real-time binaural audio and environmental plugins for game middleware such as Unity, wwise and FMOD is one of the products they create.  This is going to be rolled into the Oculus Rift developer kit going forward.

 

From the press release (sorry, no permalink available, so complete reprint follows):

At Two Big Ears, we’ve been hard at work creating technology and tools that have defined how immersive audio is crafted and experienced in VR and AR both now and in the future. We’re proud to see the impact our work has had on so many great projects.

Now, we’re ready to take the next step on our journey and scale our work from within Facebook. There is so much still to explore. By joining with a company that shares our values and our vision, we will be able to scale our technology even quicker as we continue powering immersive audio experiences.

Starting today, our pipeline for cinematic VR and 360 video, including the authoring tools, encoder and rendering engine are available for free . We’re excited to be able to continue developing great tools for a larger number of people across the world.

3Dception for Games will no longer be a separate product but we will be working with the Oculus team to combine our expertise and create best in class VR audio. Existing Pro customers will continue to receive support in accordance with your current agreement with Two Big Ears for the next 12 months.

Thank you to our customers, partners and investors, including board members George Elliott and Neil Heywood, the University of Edinburgh, Scottish Enterprise and everybody who has been with us on this amazing journey.

GameDev News


19. May 2016

 

Google.io is currently going on, Google’s annual developer conference.  In a world currently dominated with VR announcements, did you really expect no VR announced from Google?  Yeah, me neither.

 

The following is from the Android developer blog:

Android was built for today’s multi-screen world; in fact, Android powers your phone, your tablet, the watch on your wrist, it even works in your car and in your living room, all the while helping you move seamlessly between each device. As we look to what’s next, we believe your phone can be a really powerful new way to see the world and experience new content virtually, in a more immersive way; but, until this point, high quality mobile VR wasn’t possible across the Android ecosystem. That’s why we’ve worked at all levels of the Android stack in N–from how the operating system reads sensor data to how it sends pixels to the display–to make it especially built to provide high quality mobile VR experiences, with VR Mode in Android. There are a number of performance enhancements designed for developers, including single buffer rendering and access to an exclusive CPU core for VR apps. Within your apps, you can take advantage of smooth head-tracking and stereo notifications that work for VR. Most importantly, Android N provides for very low latency graphics; in fact, motion-to-photon latency on Nexus 6P running Developer Preview 3 is <20 ms, the speed necessary to establish immersion for the user to feel like they are actually in another place. We’ll be covering all of the new VR updates tomorrow at 9AM PT in the VR at Google session, livestreamed from Google I/O.

 

So basically they are baking much of the functionality required to support VR directly into Android N.  On top, they also released a reference device for developers and manufacturers to build their own Android N powered VR device, including this controller:

image

It has built-in sensors for helping to determine position along with a a trackpad for fine tuned control.

 

It appears that Google intends to leave device development up to others.   In an already saturated market, it will be interesting to see if this approach works.  Frankly the only real selling point I see for Android powered VR is the price point ( since the phone provides the CPU, GPU, Screen, etc ), but the GearVR is already in place and is the best selling VR Headset available.

GameDev News


15. March 2016

 

We’ve been waiting to hear what each VR solution is going to cost.  The first announcement was Oculus Rift at $599 and the world gulped, as the price was about twice as much as initially expect.  Then the HTC Vive price was announced, a whopping $799!  There were rumours that PlayStation VR was going to be even more expensive!  Today at GDC 2016 however, we finally learned the price and launch date of the PlayStation VR.  I suppose the title ruined the surprise a bit... $399 and October respectively.  Suddenly I am a whole lot more excited for the PlayStation VR’s prospects!

From the PlayStation Blog:

With the annual Game Developers Conference in full swing, I’m pleased to give you an exciting update on PlayStation VR. Today, we are announcing that the PlayStation VR headset will launch in October of this year for a suggested retail price of USD $399 / CAD $549.

PlayStation VR

That is a bit later than the timeframe we previously stated, and I want to thank everyone for their patience and continued support. PlayStation VR represents a transformative experience in gaming, and we wanted to take the time needed to launch with a broad variety of content and a sufficient supply of hardware. We are beyond excited to deliver to consumers the amazing experience that PS VR offers.

I’m also pleased to reveal the final consumer version of PS VR, including all of the contents that will come in the package.

PlayStation VR

Today more than 230 developers are building content for PlayStation VR, from smaller independent teams to larger studios at the industry’s top publishers. We expect to have more than 50 games available from launch in October 2016 until the end of the year. Of course, the full promise of PlayStation VR will continue to grow over time as talented developers create new experiences and new genres that wouldn’t be possible outside of VR. The future looks bright indeed.

GameDev News


15. March 2016

 

VR is hot right now but also insanely expensive.  Right now we can choose between the Oculus Rift, GearVR, HTC Vive, Google Cardboard and PlayStation VR is coming soon.  Except the GearVR every single one of those headsets have the same problems... they are expensive and have to be tethered to a device to work.  The AMD Sulon Q looks to change that by including all of the processing power in the unit.  We need to wait and see what happens with the price tag.

More details from wired.co.uk:

Sulon Q looks to be a powerful bit of kit, too. The device is based around an AMD FX-8800P processor, a system-on-chip boasting quad-core CPU and octo-core GPU abilities. The 12 total cores share memory to boost performce, AMDclaims. It supports "the latest graphics APIs including DirectX 12 and Vulkan", and promises console-quality visuals on a 2560x1440 OLED display.

When it comes to AR, it offers a 110° field-of-view, and operates similarly to Hololens. You'll be able to 'hang' application windows in your real-world environment, control opacity, and control them with gestures. The Sulon Q will also come with a wireless keyboard and mouse for more conventional office input.

In many ways, the Sulon Q is shaping up like a powerful laptop for your face. It will ship with Windows 10 pre-installed, have built-in WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0, two USB 3.0 Type A ports, and a Micro HDMI out port. Although it has to combat the years of build-up and excitement surrounding Oculus Rift and even Sony's PlayStation VR, it potentially has advantages in portability and power, while removing the question mark over whether your PC is powerful enough to actually run VR content.

 

Right now I still hold that the first one that comes to market at a good price point wins, like VHS vs Beta all over again.   That said building a powerful computer into the device could also be a winning combination.  Name sucks though.

GameDev News


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