Inside XR - August 4th, 2016

Inside XR (Aug 4th, 2016)

Capcom is the first video-game publisher to devote a key franchise to VR with its newest iteration of Resident Evil. The company is quickly discovering that too much exposure to the game (the first major first-person shooter adapted for VR) can make players pretty sick and even horrified, though this seems to be seen as a perk: “A player screaming out in terror is the sweetest music to our ears,” says a Capcom exec. When the game was showed off in LA this past just, reviews were wildly divergent: Kotaku called it “a nauseating mess,” while Engadget praised it as a “puke-inducing masterpiece.”  So it sounds like mileage will certainly vary. – BLOOMBERG

In a since-deleted tweet, a senior prototyping engineer at Intel revealed a photo of a new VR sensor prototype. The tech will be featured at the company’s developer conference next month. The prototype was described as a depth-sensing attachment for the HTC Vive. – UPLOADVR

Early-bird registration passes for Oculus’ 3rc ‘Connect’ conference in San Jose are now available, from $199 a pop. The conference is a big deal for VR developers around the world, and this year’s will focus on gathering the world's VR designers to share the latest tech – along with the now-expected big announcements from Oculus regarding upcoming content. The event offers five “tracks”: Design, development, business, experiences, and social. – ROAD TO VR

Startup company Envelop will introduce their self-titled VR shell to the public on Friday.  The software converts the Microsoft Windows operating system into a VR display compatible with the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. The stated goal is to make VR more office friendly, and less associated with zombies and Formula One racing simulators. – FORTUNE

A couple who recently got married in Guatemala City hired Florida-based startup YouVisit to capture 360-degree footage for a VR wedding video. The groom (the couple chose to remain anonymous) says “My wife, who has watched the video many times already, cries ever time. No matter how much we see it, there’s always something we hadn’t noticed before.” – CNN

D.C.-based software developer Notion Theory has opened the first virtual reality arcade on the East Coast. The company turned some Dupont Circle office space into the notionVR, rentable by the hour and chock-full of HTV Vive set-ups and content.  Considering the HTC headset runs about $800, the company figured that giving people an alternate way to sample virtual reality gaming was a good bet that may help get the word out. – WTOP

Architect Greg Lynn, who uses the Microsoft HoloLens for his work, believes augmented reality is set to change fundamentally the way the construction industry works. Rolls of drawings, for instance, will be a thing of the past for architects. And planning physical space alteration using AR projections is a whole new world: “It is just too powerful a tool not to be used,” Lynn says. – DEZEEN

Neil Harrison and Keith Lawler, two ex-musicians from Dublin, have developed Firstage, an augmented reality music stage that allows bands to showcase live perfomances just about anywhere. The bands are shot against green screen, and the performances can then be watched using an AR-based smartphone app on a business-card sized “mini-stage” printable via the Firstage website.  – IRISH TIMES


Voices of VR podcast #411 asks what VR can learn from immersive theater in an interview with Charlie Melcher of Melcher Media. Melcher sees VR as a return to the kind of "living stories" humans traded in during the era before widespread printing of materials was available, and believes something was lost when the transition was made to print: namely, collaborative stories that benefited from shared human experience. 

At the Virtual Reality and the Metaverse subreddit, Yianni1121 asks for a recommendation re: a VR setup for movies, hoping for a 1080p or 4k device. Thornfoot says "Not yet. Next gen or 3rd gen VR should do that for you, so just hold out for about two more years." Edmg says "Personally, I find the Rift's resolution OK so long as the movies are 1080p or above... SD is a bit of a grim experience, particularly if heavily compressed." And someone with too raunchy a screen name to mention here asks, of course, if Yianni1121 is looking for porn. Yianni1121 replies, "No, I mean the olulus cinema for movies."

At the straight-up VR subreddit, users are a bit confused as to the hype surrounding Xiaomi's new Mi VR headset, debuting now for Beta testing in China. Openglfan writes, "If this is just a smartphone case, how is it any different from the scads of them already for sale? I've got a pair of generic ones, and they do pretty well." Frank45911 thinks they may be compatible with Google's Daydream VR, but he isn't sure. User naturr gets right to it, writing "
Wow that article was such a puff piece" and speculating that the website in question was paid to run it. We offer no comment. 

Last time we asked whether our readers thought there was any substance to the idea of a "VR vs AR" format war.  Here's what you told us. 

Adrian writes, "Not as much of a format war as confusion. People don't understand these mediums and what works well in them. This comes from lack of experience. Spend enough time making 360 stereo animation and you will notice that after 2 minutes people get tired of looking around and it essentially becomes 180 which is essentially traditional 3d cinema with a dome instead of a rectangle. It's actually a better passive experience when you have a direction."

James submits, "In my view, saying there's a "format war" between VR and AR is like saying there's a format war between talking and texting - same spectrum, overlapping, complementary."

Fletcher says, "VR is just AR with a pitch black world. VR is paving the way for AR tech."

And Walter says, "Since VR is the acronym for Virtual Reality which, by definition, is not physically real, I would say it is a "world of it's own". AR being Augmented Reality, is a world that is here and now, hence Real, and you are being assisted in seeing the Real World. Now we have to determine what is Real and what is NOT Real, and what Real means to the individual. Where is Aristotle, or Rene Descartes when you need them." (Indeed, Walter!)

Thanks for the responses! We love hearing from passionate fans of this tech. 
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