Subscribe to GameFromScratch on YouTube Support GameFromScratch on Patreon
29. February 2016

 

So today marks the first day you can place an order for the HTC Vive, the VR headset that came via a collaboration between HTC and Valve.  If you though the Oculus Rift was expensive take a deep breath... the HTC Vive is $800USD, plus shipping, as seen from their online store:

image

 

This is a $200 increase over the Oculus Rift’s cost, however this bundle also includes two wireless controllers while the Rift only included the bundled (and mostly unwanted) Xbox controller.  The Vive pre-order also comes with the games Job Simulator, Fantastic Contraption and Tilt Brush.

 

Anyways, back to the HTC Vive.  Pre-orders will start shipping in April 2016.  I have to assume orders will be fulfilled in a first come, first served basis.

Personally I was extremely pumped for VR.  Then over the holidays I got a $100 Samsung GearVR and truly the future had arrived.  That said, with these initial price tags ( other than the GearVR that is ), VR is going to be niche only for quite a while unfortunately.  One more chance at a reasonable price with the PlayStation VR... but this is Sony we are talking here.

GameDev News


11. February 2016

 

In a move that will surprise absolutely nobody, today at the Vision VR/AR Summit, Valve announced they will be bringing SteamVR support to Unity, as well as a new VR rendering plugin for extended functionality.

From the announcement:

Today, during the opening keynote of the inaugural Vision VR / AR Summit, Valve and Unity Technologies announced a new collaboration to offer native support forimage SteamVR in the Unity Platform, giving developers new reach at no extra cost. Additionally, we will be adding a new VR rendering plugin to further enhance functionality.

The collaboration means that all of Unity’s developers will have access to native support for Valve’s upcoming SteamVR platform. Beyond SteamVR support, Valve has developed an advanced rendering plugin for Unity to further enhance fidelity and performance, bringing consumers more realistic experiences.

Valve co-founder Gabe Newell announced the news during a special video address at the Vision Summit, adding:“We made many of our Vive demos using Unity, and continue to use it today in VR development. Through that process, and in working with VR developers, we found some opportunities to make Unity even more robust and powerful for us and really want to share those benefits with all VR content creators.”

Unity CEO John Riccitiello went on to discuss the news during the Vision Summit opening keynote: “Valve and Unity are both dedicated to creating the highest quality VR experiences possible. That means giving developers every possible chance to succeed, and our collaboration with Valve is designed to do just that.”

Valve will also be providing a talk at Vision, and to celebrate the launch, they are surprising every developer at the conference with a free HTC Vive Pre, the latest SteamVR development system. For more information, please visit http://visionsummit2016.com/

GameDev News


5. February 2016

 

I have to say this one is pretty cool and possibly not what you think.  The Unreal Engine is getting VR support.  That’s not as in support for VR platforms, it already has that.  No, Unreal Editor is soon going to have support for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift enabling you to edit and create your game in VR, taking full use of both platforms motion controllers.  This is a while out however as they aren’t even announcing a release date until March 16th at the GDC.

From the Unreal blog:

The Unreal Editor is up and running in VR, so you can build VR content in VR. Using the Oculus Touch and HTC Vive motion controllers, your movement in the real world is mapped one-to-one in VR; you can reach out, grab, and manipulate objects just as you would in real life. You already know how to use this tool, because it works like the world works.

These are the early days of the revolution in immersive VR content creation, but we’re so excited about what’s up and running that we couldn’t keep it a secret anymore!  VR movement and editing controls are functional, along with key parts of the Unreal Editor UI, including the Details Panel and the Content Browser.  We’ll be showing more and announcing the release date at GDC on Wednesday March 16, 2016.  And when it’s released, it will be a built-in feature of the freely-downloadable Unreal Engine, with full source on GitHub

Best of all, this isn’t a limited mode for VR preview and tweaking.  It is the Unreal Editor, now running in VR. The same Unreal Editor that’s used by everyone ranging from indies and mod makers to triple-A development teams with $100,000,000 budgets. And it runs in VR!

A BOX OF TOYS

You start out in the VR editor at a human scale, and can directly manipulate objects by moving around in a room-scale VR setting.  But you can also use a smartphone-like pinching motion to zoom in and out. With one pinch, the world is shrunk to the size of a Barbie Doll house on your table. You can manipulate it granularly and ergonomically, and then zoom back to human scale.

Besides directly manipulating objects, you also have a laser pointer. Point at a far-away object and you can move it around, or “reel it in” like a fishing rod. Or teleport to the laser pointer’s target location with a single button click, inspired by Bullet Train’s locomotion.

THE VR USER INTERFACE: IPAD MEETS MINORITY REPORT

As a pro tool, the Unreal Editor features a rich 2D user interface, and it’s being rolled out naturally in VR: One button-press places an iPad-like tablet in your hand, and you use the other hand to interact with the tablet.  Scroll, press buttons, tweak Object Details, interact with menus, drag objects out of the Content Browser and drop them directly in the world.

It’s an intuitive way to place a 2D user interface in a VR world that builds on everyone’s Unreal Editor experience, and the underlying Slate user-interface framework provides a great foundation we’ll build on as we work to roll out the entire Unreal Editor UI in VR.

Content Browser

PRODUCTIVITY

As game developers, we at Epic pride ourselves in creating high-productivity tools optimized for shipping products, and VR editing provides a great path forward.

With a mouse, several operations are often required to transform an object along multiple axes in 3D.  In VR, you can frequently accomplish the same result with a single, intuitive motion.  This should come as no surprise, as a mouse only tracks two degrees of movement (X and Y), but in VR your head and two hands track six degrees of freedom each: X, Y, Z, and three rotational axes. That’s 9 times the high-fidelity input bandwidth!

 

More details are available here.  It’s interesting to see if this is useful or just a gimmick.  Obviously working on a VR game in full VR certainly has it’s advantages.  At the end of the day though, few control schemes actually usurp the mighty mouse and keyboard.  Add to that fact, at least with my Gear VR, its tiring both physically and on the eyes after a couple hours.  I cant imagine doing the 9-5 routine with one of these devices strapped to your head.  Time will tell I suppose.

GameDev News


11. January 2016

 

… however the ultimate question of price remains unanswered.  In an interview on the Guardian, HTC CEO Cher Wang announced the February 29th pre-order date, with wider commercials sales beginning in April.  Perhaps of more interest from the interview is just how much HTC is betting the company on Virtual Reality.  Suddenly HTCs involvement with VR seems a great deal more…  significant.

 

From the Telegraph article:

HTC will start taking pre-orders for Vive, its virtual reality headset, from February 29, its chief executive has confirmed.

Cher Wang told the Telegraph the company had chosen to refocus on virtual reality (VR) and away from smartphones, saying the company was now "more realistic".

Vive has been developed with game maker Valve, designed to fully immerse its wearer in their virtual environment while playing games. It will go on wider commercial sale in April, and will compete with Facebook-owned Oculus Rift and Sony's PlayStation VR as the technology finally enters the mainstream. Its price remains unknown.

 

From the linked interview:

When asked what went wrong, Wang doesn’t dodge the question. “Our flagship is in direct competition with several others, we have had some problems with it for two years,” she admits.

“I think the problem was competition – Apple, Xiaomi, these companies spend tons of money on communications and marketing, they pump a huge amount of investment into the market. There are a lot of Chinese competitors.”

--snip--

So will HTC finally fold up its smartphone business this year?

Wang doesn’t deny this as vehemently as expected. “Now we are more realistic. We feel that we should apply our best design to different type of sectors,” she says. “Yes, smartphones are important, but to create a natural extension to other connected devices like wearables and virtual reality is more important.”

 

I have been an HTC fan for several years, starting back with the HTC TYTN right up until the HTC One, which I recently gave up on and replaced with a Galaxy S6.  They are capable of making a high quality and innovation devices when they set their mind to it.  As I mentioned just a few days ago HTC has the opportunity to win the VR war before it begins.  Seeing now that they are basically betting the company on it, I can’t help but cheer for them.

GameDev News


9. January 2016

 

If I am completely honest up front, right from the very beginning the HTC Vive was an also ran to me.  The Samsung GearVR was first to market, while the Oculus Rift certainly had the brand recognition and the majority of the press.  Suddenly however with the pre-orders of the Oculus Rift, most of that press is suddenly quite negative.  First because the VR controllers were  delayed, although frankly this talking point is a pretty minor one.  No, the big reason for the negative press is the sticker shock.  Earlier comments from Luckey Palmer (Oculus founder) had people expecting the rift to be around $300 so a $600 price tag was certainly a suprise.  Couple that with the incredibly high system requirements and incompatibility with the majority of high end laptops, suddenly the Rift lost a heck of a lot of momentum.

 

Of course the Rift isn’t the only horse in this race.  Ignoring Google Cardboard and GearVR, the two major players in the space are Sony with the PlayStation VR and HTC/Steam with the Vive.  With the sticker shock, the PlayStation VR had a huge opportunity here as the PS4 requirement is many times cheaper than the PC required to power the Oculus Rift (and assumedly the Vive).  They could have won on the price point alone… then this happened.  If you thought $600 was a painful price point, an Amazon.ca leak had the PSVR priced at $1,125 CDN!  (@800USD).  Of course this is only a leak at this point and I have trouble believing that Sony would actually price it at the same price point as 3x PlayStation 4s but crazier things have happened.

 

This entire process has given HTC a gigantic opportunity.  Does everyone remember the classic Sony “mic drop” price announcement for the original PlayStation?

 

And with the single comment of "$299" at E3 in 1995 the PlayStation won and the Sega Saturn died.

 

Right now, HTC has that exact same opportunity.

Totally Off Topic


GFS On YouTube

See More Tutorials on DevGa.me!

Month List