PlayStation VR

Creative’s Sonic Carrier megasoundbar was the most impressive tech at E3

Above: This is so much more than a soundbar. Image Credit: Creative

Gaming is reaching a point where its most bleeding edge technologies are challenging to demonstrate to a remote audience. At last week’s E3 (the Electronic Entertainment Expo gaming trade event) in Los Angeles, PlayStation VR and the Xbox One X’s 4K HDR gaming struggled to translate to gamers watching livestreams at homes. But that’s the kind of problem that has frustrated audio companies for years.

That’s why I was glad that I checked in on Creative (the Sound BlasterX gaming-audio company) at E3, because its new X-Fi Sonic Carrier audio system was by far the most impressive new technology I experienced at the show. And it’s something I wouldn’t have understood without seeing it live. This new device is an all-in-one entertainment system with mind-blowing audio and a built-in Android media browser. It looks like a soundbar that is hooked on growth hormones, but it is so much more than anything else in that category. And it should be because Creative is selling it for $5,800.

So what kind of audio system is worth the price of a used Toyota Corolla? Well, the whole system is the primary box and then a single wireless subwoofer. In the main unit, you get multiple inputs and outputs along with an Android TV processor for streaming media like Netflix or for hosting your own content. It even…

AR/VR Weekly: Virtual reality takes a bigger stage at E3

You can get a good sense of the role virtual reality plays in the video game industry by comparing two of the biggest industry events in North America: the Game Developers Conference and the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

VR plays a crucial role at GDC, and this year’s event made a case that it’s not going anywhere. And while last year’s E3 showed off VR from Ubisoft and Sony, the platform didn’t feel like it was a big deal.

But that’s changing. Leading up to E3, we saw the momentum continue. Ubisoft released Star Trek: Bridge Crew a couple of weeks before the show, and the startup Experiment 9 added Dungeon Chess, the Dungeons & Dragons chess app for Oculus Rift, to Gear VR as it prepares to add more to its VR tabletop platform.

And then the big boys weighed in. Bethesda’s bringing Doom and Fallout 4 to VR, and Sony made announcements as well for the PlayStation VR platform. This includes a Final Fantasy XV experience and our Unreal Engine VR game of the show, Polyarc’s Moss.

E3 is becoming a bigger stage for VR. And it’s developing the same relationship with GDC that traditional gaming has: One show teaches you how to make cool games, and the other gives you one of the world’s biggest platforms to show them off.

Now, if only more of those 15,000 fans who came to E3 this year wiped their faces before donning a VR headset, not after, while enjoying the show.

For AR/VR coverage, send news tips to Dean Takahashi and Jeff Grubb (for those that cross over into PC gaming). Please send guest post submissions to Rowan Kaiser. Please be sure to visit our AR/VR Channel.

P.S. This Ubisoft game lets you “fly like an eagle.”

From GamesBeat

Those who are waiting for the upcoming The Bard’s Tale IV will have something to tide them over in the meantime: InXile Entertainment just released The Mage’s Tale, a virtual reality role-playing game that takes place between The Bard’s Tale III: Thief of Fate (1988) and The Bard’s Tale IV. The Mage’s Tale is available […]

Augmented Pixels has created a new way to navigate using computer vision, and LG Electronics is announcing today it has built a 3D camera module that uses that technology to assist autonomous robots. Palo Alto, California-based Augmented Pixels, a computer vision research and development company, calls the technology SLAM, or simultaneous location and mapping. It is […]

AR/VR Weekly: Virtual reality takes a bigger stage at E3

You can get a good sense of the role virtual reality plays in the video game industry by comparing two of the biggest industry events in North America: the Game Developers Conference and the Electronic Entertainment Expo.

VR plays a crucial role at GDC, and this year’s event made a case that it’s not going anywhere. And while last year’s E3 showed off VR from Ubisoft and Sony, the platform didn’t feel like it was a big deal.

But that’s changing. Leading up to E3, we saw the momentum continue. Ubisoft released Star Trek: Bridge Crew a couple of weeks before the show, and the startup Experiment 9 added Dungeon Chess, the Dungeons & Dragons chess app for Oculus Rift, to Gear VR as it prepares to add more to its VR tabletop platform.

And then the big boys weighed in. Bethesda’s bringing Doom and Fallout 4 to VR, and Sony made announcements as well for the PlayStation VR platform. This includes a Final Fantasy XV experience and our Unreal Engine VR game of the show, Polyarc’s Moss.

E3 is becoming a bigger stage for VR. And it’s developing the same relationship with GDC that traditional gaming has: One show teaches you how to make cool games, and the other gives you one of the world’s biggest platforms to show them off.

Now, if only more of those 15,000 fans who came to E3 this year wiped their faces before donning a VR headset, not after, while enjoying the show.

For AR/VR coverage, send news tips to Dean Takahashi and Jeff Grubb (for those that cross over into PC gaming). Please send guest post submissions to Rowan Kaiser. Please be sure to visit our AR/VR Channel.

P.S. This Ubisoft game lets you “fly like an eagle.”

From GamesBeat

Those who are waiting for the upcoming The Bard’s Tale IV will have something to tide them over in the meantime: InXile Entertainment just released The Mage’s Tale, a virtual reality role-playing game that takes place between The Bard’s Tale III: Thief of Fate (1988) and The Bard’s Tale IV. The Mage’s Tale is available […]

Augmented Pixels has created a new way to navigate using computer vision, and LG Electronics is announcing today it has built a 3D camera module that uses that technology to assist autonomous robots. Palo Alto, California-based Augmented Pixels, a computer vision research and development company, calls the technology SLAM, or simultaneous location and mapping. It is […]

Survios expands Raw Data with player-versus-player and PlayStation VR integration

Survios keeps improving its flagship virtual reality shooter game Raw Data. Today, the Los Angeles company is announcing that it will add player-versus-player (PvP) combat to the game soon, allowing players to shoot each other all they want in multiplayer online combat.

Survios is also adding PlayStation VR integration, and it will formally launch the game out of Steam Early Access in September 2017. The new PvP experience allows players to battle each other in “Eden vs. SyndiK8” competitive matches using their favorite heroes, weapons, and special abilities. The updated game has new maps, revamped abilities, and locomotion move sets.

“Our players have been clamoring for PvP ever since ​Raw Data’s earliest demos,” said Mike McTyre, Survios game design director, in a statement. “​Raw Data was always meant to be played with your friends beyond traditional co-op. Now, whether it’s an intense one-on-one duel or a chaotic 10-person battle, players can actually feel the adrenaline-charged intensity of fighting for their lives — only now against each other.”

Above: A new environment in Raw Data.

Image Credit: Survios

Raw Data is the first VR-exclusive game to top Steam’s Global Bestseller list and break the $1 million sales mark in one month, the company said. The game will also gain an all-new playable SyndiK8 hero, Elder…

IBM Watson enables voice commands in Ubisoft’s Star Trek: Bridge Crew virtual reality game

IBM Watson‘s artificial intelligence platform will enable voice commands in Ubisoft‘s Star Trek: Bridge Crew virtual reality game.

IBM and French video game developer Ubisoft have partnered to include Watson’s interactive speech and cognitive capabilities in a VR game for the first time when Star Trek: Bridge Crew launches on May 30 on the Oculus Rift with Touch, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR (PSVR).

It’s another one of those wonderful confluences of technology and games that we highlighted at our GamesBeat Summit event.

With IBM Watson, Star Trek: Bridge Crew will provide players the opportunity to use their voice and natural-language commands to interact with their virtual Starfleet crew members. This feature is part of a strategic partnership with Ubisoft. I recently tried out the game and found it to be a lot of fun to play with human strangers. I’m curious if Watson will answer in various actors’ voices, like Mr. Spock.

“We have been eager to find the right way to use interactive speech further the immersive and interactive experiences that virtual reality offers,” said David Votypka, senior creative director at Red Storm Entertainment, a Ubisoft Studio,…

Star Trek: Bridge Crew makes zapping Klingons in VR a hoot

Some say that virtual reality is going to be the most social medium ever, and that’s the feeling I got from playing a demo of Star Trek: Bridge Crew, the new virtual reality game coming from Ubisoft and its Red Storm studio.

In a four-player preview of a couple of missions, I had a hoot playing with my fellow game journalists during a preview event at Ubisoft in San Francisco. This game is built in a way that makes it easy for you to immerse yourself in the role of being a Star Trek bridge crew member. You’ll have no problem as captain shouting orders at engineering, even if the person is a total stranger.

I played a couple of four-player missions on the bridge of the new starship USS Aegis, which is from the Kelvin timeline in the JJ Abrams films. You can also play on the bridge of the original USS Enterprise (no bloody A, B, C, or D), and the game accommodates anywhere from one to four players. It comes out on May 30 for Oculus Rift with Touch, HTC Vive, and PlayStation VR (PSVR). It will have full cross-platform multiplayer.

Above: Star Trek: Bridge Crew

Image Credit: Ubisoft

You can play the role of any of four crew members: Captain, Engineering, Helm (moving the ship around), and Tactical (scanning and weapons). Inside VR, you can see the other players at their stations on the bridge, and you can see them as they move around and try to get your attention. You sit throughout the game, and most of the time you spend looking down at your console.

Players can communicate with others through an in-game voice client. That voice communication is also key to the simulation’s immersion.

David Votypka, creative director at Ubisoft Red Storm, worked on Star Trek: Bridge Crew as well as Werewolves Within, a VR version of the Werewolves tabletop game, where players try to figure out who among the villagers among them is a werewolf. Players in that game stayed in VR for hours at a time, and it gave Red Storm the confidence that people would play longer sessions in VR, he said.

“We saw the community in Werewolves Within was the super-positive and that strangers have a great time playing together, which was a big question mark,” Votypka said. “You can have fun pick-up matches with strangers you meet online.”

In designing the bridge, Votypka’s team found that there was no standard function assigned to various buttons for the crew members, based on the variations that occurred in the TV shows. One fan had created blueprints for the bridge, and Ubisoft made use of them. The Ubisoft team also visited the Star Trek Set Tour, a physical re-creation of the original Star Trek sets created by super-fan James Cawley.

Above: Star Trek: Bridge Crew

Image Credit: Ubisoft

We played on the Oculus Rift with the Touch controls. At first, you can go through short tutorials in the Starfleet Academy training. I went through Tactical training, and took a short look at the tutorials for the helm, engineering, and the captain. In each role, a console appears in front of you, and you have to reach out with the Touch in your hand and press a button or slider. It’s a physical action that can both speed you up or slow you down, given how familiar you are with the idea of using your hands in a game.

It’s amazing how quickly you slip into the role. The Engineer stays busy shifting power to shields or prepping the engine for warp speed or repairing the ship. The Tactical Officer scans objects that appear on a radar. If the objects are out of range, the Captain can ask the helm officer to move toward the target. As Tactical Officer, I also had to raise or lower the shields, which can take some precious seconds. If the shields are up, you can’t use your transporter.