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  1. khawk

    VIVE SRWorks SDK

    Last week VIVE announced the VIVE SRWorks SDK, allowing developers to access the stereo front facing cameras on the VIVE Pro. Developers will now be able to perform 3D perception and depth sensing with the stereo RGB sensors. From the announcement: The SDK includes plugins for Unity and Unreal. VIVE also included a few videos worth checking out: Learn more at http://developer.vive.com/resources.
  2. The European market for VR, AR, and MR is competing with those in the US and Asia, according to a new report by VR Intelligence and SuperData. With the help of industry experts from Epic, KLM and nDreams, the free report explores the biggest opportunities for driving mass adoption on the content, across consumer and enterprise. The white paper features: Front line insight from senior leaders @ Unreal Engine, KLM and nDreams + brand new data from SuperData Exclusive details on growing and emerging projects in the European market The reasons businesses are (or are not) focusing on the European market Details on which leading companies are driving the European market and why they are ahead The white paper can be downloaded for free from here: http://bit.ly/2nt3rB3. Jasmine Kees, Project Director at VR Intelligence, said, “With this report, we’ve tried to give both a quantitative and qualitative overview of the European VR, AR and MR market. It’s encouraging to see these figures from SuperData, particularly when backed up with such positive words from Epic, KLM and nDreams, gearing us up nicely for VRX Europe in Amsterdam this May”. The white paper can be downloaded for free from here: http://bit.ly/2nt3rB3. For more on VRX Europe 2018 (Amsterdam, May 17-18): http://events.vr-intelligence.com/europe/.
  3. For the past few years in a row, mobile games dominated the app stores regarding revenue, download number and engagement. No other app niche has shown such huge level of activities and soaring numbers as the mobile games. Naturally, mobile games also have been the most happening niche in respect of new technologies and innovations. From Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality games to wearable gaming, new technologies are continuing to shape gaming experience. Mobile game marketing has also come of age and now has become more mature than ever before. The era of so-called ‘freemium’ games, gated features and in-app monetisation tactics look common, and every game marketer is on the lookout for a new way to market and generate revenue. Considering all these evolving attributes, 2018 has really been a happening year for mobile games. Let us introduce here some of the key trends that will shape mobile game development in 2018. 1. VR and AR Gaming When Pokémon GO was released and literally took the world by storm with its never-before gaming experience in 2016, many experts just didn't think twice to mark that year with the rise of VR and AR games. But that was just the beginning of the kind of mobile games which will continue to dominate the gaming scene for the mobile and wearable users in the years to come. The success of Pokemon Go actually became a motivating factor for game developers worldwide, and such reality defining games continued to come making the scene even more competitive. Though 2017 has not seen any new era defining AR or VR games like Pokemon Go, both the technologies have been consolidated and became mainstream as the gaming technologies of the future. 2. Mobile games for the elderly Certainly, we no longer consider mobile games to be the child's plaything. It is equally for the elderly people, grownup youths, matured ladies and people of all ages. For the past several years we have seen hordes of game apps to come up targeted for elderly population or people outside of common game-playing demographics. In 2017, there have been hundreds of games for elderly, working men and women and all other age groups. With many games enjoying the favour of an addicted game playing audience, this trend is going to stay dormant in the time to come. 3. Wearable gaming If we are not terribly wrong, wearable devices can easily be predicted as the next mass mobilising device platform after the smartphones. Naturally, mobile gaming is also supposed to shift its load to the wearable gaming apps. Even if the mobile games are to remain popular because of their large screen gaming experience, the quick to play gaming experience of the smartwatches will continue to remain popular. Moreover, offering an extended gaming experience from the mobile device to the smart wearables, they will help people stay engaged with a game irrespective of the device. 4. Social gaming Social gaming is already a hot trend as most of the mobile games are keen to promote the gaming experience by allowing players to invite their players onboard for a gameplay. From a game of pool to most complex and strategy games, most games these days allow players inviting their friends on social media. Moreover, quick social registration for mobile games is already helping games garner access to more people through the social contacts of the player. By incentivising social gaming in many ways, a game app can further push players to engage their friends on social media. 5. Game consoles getting outdated Game consoles like the PlayStation and Xbox are still there, and it is not a coincidence that they are actually getting better with the rise of mobile gaming. In spite of getting better and richer to compete the mobile games, gaming consoles because of their expensive price tag and difficulty of handling will only attract less and less people like the game playing audience. Mobile gaming with high-end sophisticated experience and extreme ease of use will continue to hold the charm that no other gaming devices really can. With the unprecedented rise of mobile gaming in recent times, game consoles are only becoming less competitive options for the gaming audience. 6. Custom game features We are already aware of the power of customisation for the engaging audience. Custom features make a player feel important, and it is something everyone likes almost invariably. It is no different when it comes to mobile games. Mobile games allowing players to choose features that they find enjoyable for their game playing experience, will obviously give them more reasons to stick to a particular game. The custom game features allowing players shaping their own gaming experience have been very popular with mobile games this year. 7. Multichannel access Average smartphone users have access to several gaming devices simultaneously, and this is why allowing unperturbed game play across multiple devices and platforms became very important. Game developers also find it helpful to build a cross-platform game to boost the chances of getting discovered easily across app stores. While engaging game players continuously irrespective of the device in use is one of the most important considerations for the marketing success of a game, allowing unperturbed streaming of the game across devices is crucial. 8. A renewed interest in retro games There has been a renewed interest in the old style mobile games, at least for their look and feel. Dubbed as retro games the new breed of games are introducing the look and feel of older mobile games. This new approach allowing young players having gaming experience of a different generation became quite popular throughout this year. In summation To conclude, in 2017 we have seen several definitive game trends to unfurl allowing new scopes for marketers and developers. Among these trends, the above-mentioned ones seem to have a far-reaching echo than the rest.
  4. Since the early 1970s, game graphics have been pushing the barriers of photorealism with computer graphics becoming much more sophisticated. But today, there seems to be a total transformation as engineers and researchers alike are seeking out new ways of promoting real-world environments graphically. For the first time in a long time, television screens and computer displays are becoming more or less obsolete, as a result of the extraction of graphics from them. In a bid to enhance what people see, hear, feel, and smell a new technology known as “augmented reality” is already taking over the industry blurring the line between what is real and what is computer-generated. The trend which is already in vogue is designed to remove users from the digital world of graphics to a real-world enhanced with virtual objects. AR works by creating a physical point in your environment that is tracked to a virtual object through a camera enhanced with computer vision. Right within your view of the real world the object you are viewing still maintains its location and scale even as you move your camera further, closer, and/or around it. In a bid to provide an immersive viewing experience, augmented reality app development seeks to combine modern tech with real-world settings. Here are some exciting ways by which this awesome technology is gradually changing the way people view the world. AR is making life really engaging Unlike virtual reality, AR app development seeks to blend technology with the real world. Users are not transported to another world rather they use their own environment to have an immersive and engaging experience in real time. Instead of catering to the masses, augmented reality bends every aspect of the users’ environment to meet their needs. Online interaction and group collaboration projects Aside from asynchronous applications, augmented reality is helping users from around the world interact with each other in a virtual environment. As a matter of fact, users can attend a live corporate event featuring AR environments and activities and remain fully absorbed win their discussions online without having to be distracted. Ultimately, distance no longer becomes a barrier. Regardless of where you are on the globe, you can interact with your peers and even collaborate on a project in a virtual meeting space where ideas and feedback can be efficiently shared. For a more interactive experience, users are free to make use of smart glasses and mobile devices to interact. Practical knowledge application The ability to be immersed in a dynamic virtual environment that allows for practical knowledge application is one of the best attributes of AR app development. Whether you are a learner or a professional, you can either choose to go in all alone to enhance your understanding or collaborate with peers to gain practical knowledge. Just so you’d know, this awesome technology is basically established to provide professionals and learners alike with a rich and tech-centered work experience. 3D work models Ultimately, working in three-dimensional models and demos is one of the most innovative aspects of AR app development. Before now, anyone seeking to go online is only able to make use of their computer screen to view static charts, diagrams, and images and use them to work. But with the advent of augmented reality, users are becoming able to manipulate 3D visualizations that can be viewed from virtually all angles. Interestingly, users can effectively learn more about individual components of their work models by interacting with hot spots. Like highlighting the main features and functions of every part, users can make use of a clickable 3D diagram to view parts of a model. With these principles, users can handle any process regardless of how complicated it may be. They can easily get themselves familiarized with the model and learn how to use them properly on their mobile devices. Easy access to resource links Every AR app development company is already making use of AR click-and-scan technology which is aimed at helping people to learn more about an object or item in question. All you need to do is to trigger the object or simply scan a special augmented reality code. For instance, a researcher can be effectively transported to a virtual lab via a textbook to conduct fascinating experiments. In the process, the researcher gets to know more about the processes involved. As a matter of fact, others can learn more from the work done with the help of the incorporated AR resource links. These markers are set to reveal ideas, stats, and facts that may be of interest to other upcoming researchers who are looking to explore them on their own. Some researchers might even decide to build an AR resource list. Due to the bite-sized nature and easy accessibility of these services, this technology can be used for just-in-time support. Engagement and entertainment Gaming apps are one of the most popular ways through which most people are introduced to AR app development. No doubt, AR and games are a perfect pair. The recent release of the famous Pokémon Go is a typical example of users getting engaged and entertained via augmented reality. Users are employing this technology to hunt superimposed fictional creatures in the real world with their app. As a matter of fact, any mobile app development company looking to create immersive and engaging games must definitely use this approach. In the secular world, some business organizations are typically making use of this approach to get their employees interact with clients and instead of working with fictional creatures, they interact with items they find in the workplace. News and storytelling One of the most emotionally compelling tools available at everyone’s disposal is stories. Now people can have a feel of a real event that draws their attention online. It helps to put listeners into the starring role via amplified emotions. As you already know, developers and AR app development companies alike are using this modern technology to get users immersed in fictional environments. However, it may interest you to know that some news and media channels are using this same concept to tell stories and relate events to their online audiences. In a bid to bring online users into the story, this technology is set to make use of digital sensors project images and webcams to get them engaged.
  5. Customers are the key to the success of any business. This is why businesses are keen to embrace an emerging technology that brings them closer to their customers. Exceeding customer satisfaction is of paramount importance which is why Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that can take customer experience to the next level. While it has been around for a while, it has only recently started to take center stage. Businesses have started to see it's importance and it is been projected to soar in the nearest future. What is Augmented Reality? It is an enhanced version of reality where the physical environment is overlaid with a computer-generated image thereby giving the user an enhanced view. It is usually viewed through an application on a smartphone. How Augmented Reality different from Virtual Reality? Rather than overlay the experience with the use of an app, virtual reality completely immerses the user inside an experience with the use of a headset. Whereas AR only uses an app to augment an environment making it enhanced to the user. Customers have become technology savvy and as such, businesses have to look for innovative ways to engage them and exceed their expectations. Once this is achieved, they pay more, bring their friends, the company generates more revenue and in the end, everyone is happy. Here are 7 ways AR can benefit your business 1. Increases user engagement Imagine going for shopping and you see a shop where you can use augmented reality to try out their products. You’ll definitely be enticed to experience this technology. This is what augmented reality does. It triggers the sense of imagination in the customers. Once it’s a positive experience, they will definitely engage more and spread the word. 2. Personalized user experience One of the reasons while email marketing has stood the test of time is because it’s the only type of marketing that gets personal with the customer. This is why augmented reality will also thrive in businesses. It allows users customize what they want to buy. It aids the buying decision right there and then. 3. Cost-effective The cost of using augmented reality in the long run can prove to be cost-effective, reason being that after a successful implementation, it increases brand exposure and generates more revenue. It also eliminates the extra cost of real estate or additional staff because anyone in any part of the world can visit virtual stores and shop. 4. Increased business exposure AR gives businesses the opportunity to increase brand awareness because it can make customers feel like part of the brand. There are several ways to achieve this. AR can give customers a behind the scene footage of how a product was made. Also, anyone who has issues with his products can simply use AR to understand how to install or use the products from the convenience of their home. Awesome isn’t it? 5. Service before payment How will it be nice to try out something before you pay? AR does this to perfection. For example, you go to a store to buy a cloth or pair of shoes and you are able to wear it virtually to see how it fits without physically wearing it. It can also be in a furniture store where you can see how to arrange a virtual furniture in your house to know if the furniture fits what you need. Using technology to achieve this is just pure genius. Need I say more? 6. Customize customer journey Also, AR can help you to get more information about your customers, which makes you give more enticing loyalty promos with personal rewards. You will know what your customer wants based on their buying experience. AR will improve your effort to develop a unique customer journey, thereby putting you steps ahead of your competition in your niche. 7. Future possibilities In the world of technology, the possibilities are endless. This is why augmented reality is something that must be ventured into because it’s difficult to imagine what the future will be like. Soon, technology will become cheaper and smaller businesses can also venture into AR which will also lead to a great customer experience in greater return on investment (ROI). How AR can change the face of businesses Real Estate: With AI, customers can experience a whole new level of awesomeness when they want to buy and rent a house. You can easily hold your phone and walk around the property and get real-time updates on the price, building information, contact information etc. Tourism: AR will surely increase the attraction tourism already generates. For example, visiting a museum and getting real-time updates on historical stuff simply by placing your phone over it is really cool. It increases the user experience. Education: AR is just what education needs at the moment. Ranging from medical to engineering students, they can get to perform practical simulations without the fear of injuring themselves, patients or damaging any properties. The possibilities are endless. Retail business: Augmented Reality has given both online and offline shoppers a new experience. A customer can try out different sizes of shoes or clothes and choose the one that fits best. Customers can also choose furniture types or even check interiors of cars from anywhere in the world. What AR does is to further bridge the geographical gap that still exists in shopping. Anyone can shop anywhere without the fear of getting something different from what was ordered for. Bring Augmented Reality app developed by app developers to life is by no means an easy feat. You need experienced hands in the business to make it a reality. The potential in augmented reality is unimaginable at this point and it will only get better as more studies are being carried out. It is easier to fit into our daily life routine and it will greatly help businesses achieve their overall goal which is making more sales.
  6. Augmented reality is a technology in which the real world is overlaid, or augmented, with computer-generated image, graphics, sound and even smell. A users view of the real world is enhanced by digital information. It is a blend of digital information with user's environment in real time. Augmented reality is similar to a concept called Computer-mediated reality, where there is a modification or diminishing of the view of reality, rather than an augmentation. Augmented reality may sometimes be confused with virtual reality, but the two concepts are very much different. While augmented reality enhances what a user is seeing in his current environment, virtual reality completely replaces the real world with a computer generated one. So while Virtual reality can be described as completely immersive, augmented reality can be described as partially immersive. Both, however, provide their users with amazing experience via 3D high-definition audio and video. When compared to virtual reality, augmented reality is much closer to the real world. The use of sensors and markers in augmented reality algorithm helps to pinpoint the positions of physical objects and places a location for the computer-generated ones. Currently, augmented reality technology is used in many industries, including marketing, tourism, oil and gas, healthcare, etc., and everyone can benefit from this latest advancement in technology. Let's quickly take a look at the benefits of augmented reality in the field of business; Commerce: This is one aspect where AR app development has about the most impact. With these android or iOS AR apps, there will be lesser cases of chargebacks occasioned by wrongful purchases and return. Now, customers can try out different new clothes to see which fits better without actually wearing them. You can check to see if a set of furniture actually suits your home without having to buy it. You can browse through several colors for a car before actually settling on the one that suits you most. Manufacturing: Augmented reality app development can be very useful in the area of manufacturing, as it can be used for digital maps and plants. This would save a ton of money and time. The feasibility of a plant location can be ascertained via an augmented reality app. It can also be used by project managers to monitor work progress using augmented reality markers on equipment. Education and Training: This is another field where augmented reality plays a very crucial role. It is often believed that what is seen or, better still experienced, in the course of learning never leaves the mind. With augmented reality apps, lecturers and teachers can simulate educationally relevant environment which will be most invaluable in teaching their students. The students will be able to experience this educationally relevant environment or scenarios right from the comfort of their classrooms, thus creating a better learning experience. Through the development of augmented reality apps, students can take a trip to the zoo and experience different aspects of nature. Augmented reality is also a great tool for educational training. With these apps, medical students can try out their first surgeries without harming anyone in the process. Astronauts can also use these tools for space exploration test without the attendant risk and money required in real life. Travel and Tourism: Travelers and tourists will never get lost again with augmented reality installed unto their GPS mobile apps. With this tool, they would be able to find places of interest with much ease, as this destination will be superimposed and pinpointed on their view of the real world. This tool will also give information about different sightseeing location, help to translate street signs etc. Even in museums, the addition of a new layer of cultural information adds to the overall experience. The future of augmented reality display with regards to travel is to be nothing more than just a pair of glasses. This glasses will show informative graphics in the field of view of its user with corresponding audio, enlightening him about whatever he is looking at. Other walks of life where augmented reality app development finds immense relevance includes; Medicine: With augmented reality, surgeons will find it much easier to conduct certain surgical procedures which were initially considered too risky. One of such surgeries is that of the brain. The brain is a mass of nerve, billions of them, bundled together. Each layer or section is responsible for certain behavior or functionality. Meddling with any of these nerves without a proper guide is highly risky. The brain is still not well understood by medicine. But with augmented reality, medicine has taken a huge leap forward in the overall understanding of the brain. Procedures can be carried out on the brain with a greater degree of certainty, as computer-generated relevant images can be superimposed on the brain, informing the surgeon on which areas he should touch and that which to stay away from. Military: Augmented reality apps also hold important relevance for the military, as it can be used majorly for training. With superimposed images in the real world, soldiers can train for battle in whatever terrain they wish to. This helps to cut down on training cost while giving a unique experience. Training can be as close to reality as possible, creating better and more versatile soldiers. Architecture: Augmented reality can be employed by architects as they can superimpose planned structures in proposed location and visualize its feasibility in that location. Trimble Navigation is an example of such application. It can also be applied to an architect workspace, bringing into visualization the 3D animation of the architect 2D plans. This helps the architect to have a better view of his plan, and make the necessary adjustments if needed. Even in during sightseeing, augmented reality can assist users to view not just the exterior but even the interior objects and layout. Practically, it was applied in the Christchurch earthquake by the University of Canterbury, to guide planners and engineers to understand the previous landscape. Gaming: The gaming industry is one of the biggest and earliest users of augmented reality applications. The technology can be used to develop games created for indoor environment, some of such games include, Titans of space and AR air hockey. The augmented reality app development company, Niantic, is one of the industry leaders in the creation of augmented reality games such as Ingress and Pokemon go. Industrial Design: Augmented reality apps can be used in industrial design to visualize the design of an equipment and its operation before its completion. It was used by Volkswagen in its crash test exercise. It can also be used in the development of cars, adjusting its structure, color, and engine layout according to the taste of the manufacturer.
  7. Augmented reality now is so intricately woven into everyday living and entertainment. Games, movies and even tattoo parlors make use of augmented reality apps. You most likely would have heard of the world-famous game Pokémon Go, and the massive reception it received worldwide. Do you want to know why it was such a massive success? Gamers will tell you that the more real a game is the better its reception. In other words, the closer to real life the game characters are, the more interesting the game becomes. Pokémon Go achieved that, it gave us fantasy characters that we could chase and capture like real life characters, and augmented reality was the backbone of its success. With the success of Pokémon Go and other augmented reality apps and games, you may start to wonder how the mobile app development company came up with the awesome idea that so many people come to enjoy. Well, a lot of things come to play in bringing augmented reality to life and not just any life, a successful one, and every mobile app development company realizes that all of the features of their app will have to be more than satisfactory to be successful. To begin we will consider some features that augmented reality apps should possess to garner some measure of success in the market. GPS Functionality Most devices come with the option of turning on location, an augmented reality app should be able to work with this already pre-installed GPS and work seamlessly with it. It will be cumbersome and redundant to build an app that will have its own GPS locator. Building an app with its own GPS locator will not be necessary if the app can make use of that on the device. Pokémon Go would not have been such a success if it was not able to work in real time with the device’s GPS. Real-Time Rendering This is a must for all augmented reality apps and every ar app development company knows that for its app to be widely accepted there should be no time lag between processing information(could be space, picture or location) and rendering. Take, for example, google translate; just taking a picture of the phrase, word or sentence you want to translate and feeding it into the app gives you the translation into the required language in real time. It can even go ahead and pronounce the translation for you. Imagine how tiring it will be if Google had to search for about 5 minutes to come up with that translation. This point cannot be overemphasized. Good Spatial Recognition Some apps are used for trying to fit wares, furniture or items into space. For example Augment, an app used to show customers real-life representation of their purchases. This app can also place the purchased item in different locations in the house so that the customer will be able to see just how the purchased item will fit into his home or office setting. Imagine trying to place a vase you bought online on your reading table, and because of poor spatial recognition, the vase keeps overlapping with your side table instead of sitting on it, that will be utterly ridiculous. So for augmented reality apps to be of any use whatsoever, these apps should have good spatial recognition. Ease of Use The more complex running an app is, the more useless the app becomes to the customer or users. On the other hand, the more ease in using an app, the more effective it becomes to the user. If users have to provide complex or numerous parameters before the app works, then it serves no purpose but to annoy the users. Augmented reality apps should be as close to plug and play as possible. Consider the augmented tattoo app Ink Hunter, for example, it does not require you to draw up complex designs of your own or provide some other complex information before giving you beautiful tattoo renderings. The app is able to work without the need for such data. It simply renders the image on the skin of the customer allowing the customer to see what the actual tattoo will look like eventually. Be Social The more social an augmented reality app is, the more it has to offer to the user. Pokémon Go had this feature and it proved to be a major selling point for the augmented reality game. The game offered the chance of joining teams once a certain level had been reached. A sense of camaraderie can be helpful for the user. And surprisingly most users looked forward to these social interactions. Some apps offer the users the opportunity of dropping messages at different locations, these messages can be read by other users of the app if it marked public or by specific users if the message is marked private. Entertaining No one wants a boring app, least of all, a boring augmented reality app. If the app is not entertaining to use, there is really no need for even creating such an app. It must be noted that this feature does not apply to augmented reality game apps alone. Regardless of the purpose for which the app was created, its users should get excited whenever they use the app. This is a must for every app. Every experience the user has with the app should be an exciting one. For example, there is an all that helps in arranging furniture in an apartment. It will be entertaining to keep placing and then moving furniture till you get the best location. Entertaining will also mean that the users should feel like they’re a part of the experience. They should also be able to relate to certain aspects of the app. Pokémon was a part of most gamers childhood, so it was quite easy for them to relate to the augmented reality version. This seems quite basic, but it can greatly affect the reception that your app will receive. Universal If possible, the ar app development company should try to build an app that will be available for both iOS and Android users. It makes no sense to restrict your apps usage to users of a particular operating system. When the app works across both operating systems, the company will have won users on both sides. On the other hand, if the app discriminates against some users of a particular operating system, it shuts those users off and the potential market too. It will be more useful if it is possible to release most apps across both operating systems.
  8. The Austin Game Conference (AGC) today announced that John Hanke, CEO and Founder, Niantic, Inc., creator of the popular augmented reality mobile game, Pokémon GO, will deliver the show’s opening keynote. In his keynote, What is AR and Does it Matter for Games?, Hanke will discuss the challenges and opportunities of building augmented reality games. He will provide learnings from developing AR games and running them as live services and discuss what shape augmented reality will take on in the next few years. AGC returns to the Austin Convention Center Sept. 21-22, 2017, with the support of game development community and presenting sponsor Intel. More than 80 speakers will share critical online game development insight across 7 conference tracks: Design, Technical,Production, Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality, Audience Development, Audio and Business. As CEO, John leads Niantic, an innovative company dedicated to building “Real World” mobile gaming experiences that foster exploration, exercise and social interaction. Niantic has developed and released two games, Ingress and global phenomenon Pokémon GO. The company was originally founded as a start up within Google to explore the creation of new kinds of entertainment at the intersection of location, social, and emerging mobile devices. Niantic was spun out as an independent company in 2015 with backing from investors such as Google, Nintendo and The Pokémon Company. In the past year since the launch of Pokémon GO, Facebook, Google, Apple, and Snapchat have all started talking about Augmented Realty. And yet many people are still not sure what ‘AR’ is and there is debate about whether it is relevant to gamers in the near term. Hanke will discuss the challenges and opportunities of building augmented reality games. He will provide learnings from developing AR games and running them as live services and discuss what shape augmented reality will take on in the next few years. “With the debut of Pokémon GO, last year, Niantic brought augmented reality and managed live game services to the forefront of both game development and the general public, creating a tidal wave of interest,” says Christopher Sherman, Austin Game Conference Executive Director. “We’re excited for John to kickoff AGC and share his insight into what they’ve learned developing the game, the Niantic platform, the live service, and how developers can work to develop the next generation on real world games.” John is joined by more than 80 expert speakers from across the game industry, including individuals from Electronic Arts, Battlecry Studios, Owlchemy Labs, SVRVIVE Studios, Art & Craft Entertainment, Inc., Bungie Studios, ChickenWaffle, Epic Games, Daybreak Game Company, Cloud Imperium Games, Trion Worlds, Riot Games, Twitter, Wicked Fun, Sphero, Sony Interactive Entertainment, HTC Vive, TheWaveVR, Kongregate, Audiokinetic and more. View the full speaker list at http://austingamecon.com/speakers/. Super Early registration for AGC ends July 22nd for the rate of $249.
  9. Epic has made the first Preview build of Unreal Engine 4.18 available through the Epic Games launcher. Developers can now experiment with volumetric lightmaps, enhanced static skylight directionality, major clothing tool upgrades, the revamped Physics Asset Editor and Media Framework 3.0. Improvements have also been made to support for both Google's ARCore and Apple's ARKit. The desktop forward renderer on iOS, used in the Wingnut AR demo at WWDC 2017, is now available as well. A full list is available on the UE forums.
  10. Augmented reality (AR) is finding its niche as a gaming technology, especially since it first burst on the scene with Pokemon Go. Though that smartphone-enabled game was a very basic example of the complexities of AR game development, it served to bring augmented reality to the masses in an entertaining and engaging way. With the raging success of this game and the popularity of others, AR games are beginning to transform how players’ worlds intersect with reality. For most players, they will insist that immersion is the key to enjoyment. AR games provide precisely this, on all levels. Below are a few ways in which augmented reality games provide the full video game experience. Heightened Realism The technology that goes into an AR game means the player feels completely immersed in a realistic environment. Considering it is unlike virtual reality, which puts the player into a completely new and unfamiliar environment, AR feels more real in that it overlays artificial designs onto the user’s current setting. By incorporating elements of the player’s existing surroundings, they can feel more fully immersed in the game. Better Effects Another element that heightens the full gaming experience is the 3-D rendering of objects in AR games. Once graphics processing units (GPUs) were developed, players were able to picture the world around them more realistically in 3-D by combining their own perceptions with those elements presented by the game. In doing so, video gaming takes on an experiential attribute, rather than just serving an entertainment or utility function. Avatars Encourage Greater Immersion Even in traditional video games, avatars function as ways to enhance the emotionality and social features of gaming. Considering that augmented reality heightens the realism of gaming, these psychological features become exacerbated, too. Though the avatar doesn’t necessarily have to be true-life of the player, the fact that in AR games it would appear as a more realistic rendering would allow players to connect more easily with it. Doing so also enhances the overall entertainment and satisfaction derived from the AR game. More Challenges The beauty of an AR game incorporating elements of the person’s natural surroundings is that fewer prompts and guidance are necessary to appear on-screen. The greater challenge this presents to players encourages greater engagement and problem-solving. Players already spend inordinate amounts of time trying to solve challenges in traditional video games. Imagine their perseverance, then, with the situations presented in AR games. Skill Building Cognitive skill building is one of the advantages built into augmented reality video games. In the realm of first-person shooters, for example, AR players experience improvements around hand-eye coordination, reflex speed, and spatial awareness. These games also serve a stress-relieving function. Not only do video games boost player’s moods and increase positive thinking, but also they’ve been successfully used to treat traumatic brain injuries and stress disorders. With AR games’ heightened realism, these benefits are only magnified. The immersive gameplay offered through AR games is starting to transform the entire practice. Through more realistic features, greater interactivity, and overall better technical features, AR video games are steadily proving themselves to be the future of gaming. Scully Creative Labs offers strategic consulting, rapid prototyping and full project lifecycle management services to companies looking to incorporate augmented reality development and marketing to improve their core business functions.
  11. Jesse "Chime" Collins

    The V-aRms Race Has Begun: VIVE Drops Price $200

    This is only the beginning, VRm I right? Not unlike an arms race, the VR price war has only begun. Who has the best Equipment? Early this Summer, Oculus had a massive sale on their device, the Oculus Rift, ending in a permanent price drop. HTC is now following suit, cutting out the sale, dropping the price altogether on their Vive Head-Mounted Display. Yesterday, The HTC Vive took a hefty slash in price, dropping from their $799 price tag, down to $599. This comes as no surprise after the Oculus Rift dropped down to $399 earlier this Summer on sale. At the end of the sale, the price raised back up to $499 as the final price, $100 less than previous to the sale. The HTC Vive comes with plenty of their worth for the price, too. Along with the head-mounted display, accessories include two wireless controllers, two bases stations, comfort-related materials, and everything purchasers need to get going (cords, etc.). Additionally, the system comes with Google Tilt Brush, Everest VR, and Richie’s Plank Experience as promotional content, as well as one-month subscription to Viveport. Vive's Giving Away Some Free Content For New Owners As a breakdown of the free content, purchasers of the Vive get $53 of extra content from the promotional pack. Google Tilt Brush ($19.99 retail value) gives artists a full 360-degree canvas to paint massive murals and masterpieces. Everest VR ($14.99 retail value) allows people to climb Mount Everest in first-person, without the fear of dying from hypothermia. Richie’s Plank Experience is a starter “game” for new VR players, teaching balance using VR, as well as giving a couple extra modes like a sky-writing experience. But, that’s not all! Purchasers of the $600 system also get a free 1-month subscription to Viveport, HTC’s subscription service, valued at the incredibly pricey $6.99. Subscribers can choose five games/experiences to try out during their subscription period, with five more for each additional subscribed month. The list to choose from includes some amazing titles like ROM: Extraction, which has players shooting robots in a space station. But, people should research their potential options to maximise their potential. For instance, players can also choose the (somehow) award winning title, BUTTS: The VR Experience, which may or may not push virtual reality to its foremost limits (spoiler: it doesn’t). But, What About Me And You? The question to ask is “What does this mean for potential VR buyers?” Well, the war is in motion here, showing both of these price drops. Virtual Reality enthusiasts and companies are pushing that VR is the future. With this price drop, the Vive finally becomes more affordable to the masses, as well as the even more affordable Oculus Rift. But, alas, other companies are starting to get in on the game, as well. Some people just want entertainment instead of gaming. Artists want whitespace to create. Experiences can be strapped to a face for cheap. Google, the folks that bring the Daydream to the VR market, is pushing their own boundaries by teaming up with HTC and Lenovo for cost-effective standalone experiences. Microsoft’s HoloLens will take users into augmented reality, albeit from a much higher price. VRotica, an erotica-enabled standalone HMD device already on the market, costs a fraction of the price of other HMDs. Essentially, VR is getting cheaper. For those that have a device already, awesome. The experiences are unlike anything ever before. For potential buyers, as with all technology in history, VR is getting cheaper all the time. Thousands of games and experiences inhabit the SteamVR storefront and respective virtual shops. “VR Ready” Computers are coming down in price as well, eventually making the idea a non-issue. But, the average joe still has to fork out some cash for a game-capable machine, because cheap computers still can’t handle it. VR, at the moment, is for the elite, but it won’t be for too much longer. Is it the perfect time to grab a now $599 Vive, a recently dropped $499 Rift, or should buyers wait it out for even better prices and devices later?
  12. Google has announced ARCore, which brings augmented reality (AR) to the Android ecosystem, and Epic Games has announced that Unreal Engine 4 support for ARCore is now available through Google's developer preview. Epic will ship ARCore support in Unreal Engine 4.18 which will launch in mid-October. From the Epic blog post:
  13. UBM's VRDC surveyed over 600 professionals in the VR/AR/MR space to get developers' perspectives on the industry and the road ahead. The report findings include: VR will be a profitable, sustainable industry in the mid- to long-term Rise in popularity of HTC Vive and Oculus Rift among developers Platform exclusives are becoming a bit more common Also of interest is the drop in external funding from angel investors and VC's, and the belief that AR will be more popular than VR in the long-term. Learn more at http://reg.vrdconf.com/VRDC-2017-Innovation-Report.
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