Alienware announced the launch of a high-end gaming facility with dedicated VR space in Sydney.
Called Alienware Live AU, it will feature 28 high-end gaming rigs loaded with the latest games. All of the PCs that will be running in the gaming space will be from Alienware’s Area 51, Alpha, Aurora and gaming laptop lines.

Two of the units in Alienware Live AU will be dedicated to the VR experience: one fitted with the Oculus Rift and the other equipped with the HTC Vive. Both will be running on Dell’s 43-inch 4K monitors.

Alienware has partnered with City Hunter to facilitate the creation of the gaming space, which will be located in the internet cafe’s Chatswood location. There is no word yet on how much using Alienware Live AU will cost, but hopefully pricing won’t deviate so far from the current price structure used by City Hunter across its establishments.

“[Alienware Live AU will be] the perfect place for our community to come and experience the latest gaming hardware in a first-class venue, complete with the newest games like Overwatch, DOOM, and high-end VR experiences,” said Jun Zhong, co-founder of City Hunter.

A launch party will be held on Aug. 18, which Alienware Australia will be hosting. Fans can win tickets to the event by participating in the company’s #PushYourLimits competition. Those who want to join simply have to tweet Alienware Australia’s official Twitter account how they push their gaming limits. Entries may be sent in until Aug. 11 and must include the hashtag for the contest.

Aside from tickets and accommodations to the launch party, the first prize winner will get an Alienware 15 and a Red Balloon voucher worth AUD $600 ($456). And while the first prize (valued at AUD $4,000, or $3,044) will go to just one person, the second and third prizes will go to four and five winners, respectively. All winners will be notified via direct messages on Twitter.

The contest is open only to Australian residents who must be at least 18 years old.

Back in June, Alienware launched its Area 51, Alpha and Aurora desktops and the Alienware 13 laptop during the E3 2016 conference. These units were first announced during the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show, with the desktops specifically designed to support VR technology. The Alienware 13, on the other hand, boasts of a screen powered by OLED for high-contrast graphics.
The Area 51, Alpha and Aurora desktops and the Alienware 13 laptop are now available for purchase.

Source: TechTimes.com

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/172201/20160802/alienware-to-launch-high-end-gaming-space-and-vr-lounge-in-sidney.htm

A recent reported hinted at the possibility that HTC would establish an independent subsidiary for its virtual reality division. The move, according to a company executive, would help HTC build alliances with potential strategic partners and solicit equity investments for the business from these partners.

HTC has now made that possibility a reality, as it has formed a wholly owned subsidiary named the HTC Vive Tech Corporation.

According to HTC, the unit will serve as a vehicle for the development of strategic alliances which will help in the growth of the global virtual reality ecosystem, a statement which is not too far from the comments made by the HTC executive in the earlier report.

HTC’s decision to enter the burgeoning virtual reality industry has been an excellent one, as the company’s headset, the HTC Vive, has seen massive success with great reviews. With the formation of a new unit, managers and engineers that will be working under HTCVTC will gain the breathing space that they need to be able to solely focus on entertainment and gaming, which are two sectors that the parent company has not dealt with in the past.

HTC has not been doing particularly well in its main smartphone business, as it continues to lose market share to the likes of Samsung and Apple. Other companies looking to become partners with HTC for the HTC Vive will likely be more inclined to team up with a unit that is only focused on virtual reality as opposed to also having to be involved and affected by HTC’s smartphone division.

In addition to the formation of HTCVTC, HTC also announced its involvement in the creation of the Virtual Reality Venture Capital Alliance, which is a consortium made up of 28 venture capital firms that are ready to invest into the virtual reality industry.

The member companies of the consortium have a total of $10 billion in capital that can be invested, which says a lot about the power that these companies hold. Among the members of the alliance are Sequioa Capital, 500 Startup and Matrix Partners.

With these moves, it can be seen that HTC is indeed placing a larger focus on virtual reality and its initiatives in the space. While the company has been struggling in widening its hold in the smartphone market, its early lead in the virtual reality game provides it with a golden opportunity in the lucrative industry.

Source: TechTimes

http://www.techtimes.com/articles/167741/20160630/htc-establishes-vive-subsidiary-helps-form-10b-investment-group-all-for-the-future-of-virtual-reality.htm

Google is working add fully immersive browsing capability to Chrome, allowing users to browse any part of the web in VR, not just those sites that are specially built for VR.

Google has played an active role in helping to define and deploy ‘WebVR‘, a set of standard capabilities that allow for the creation of VR websites which can serve their content directly to VR headsets. But what about accessing the billions of websites already on the web? Today you’d have to take your headset on and off as you go from a WebVR site to a non-WebVR site. Google’s ultimate vision however is to let people stay in VR for all of their web browsing.

The latest builds of Google Chrome Beta and Google Chrome Dev on Android bring two important new features for making this a reality. Chrome Beta now contains a WebVR setting which enables enhanced VR device compatibility with VR websites built against WebVR standards. Chrome Dev (one extra step back in development from Beta) now contains a ‘VR Shell’ setting which Google’s Chromium Evangelist François Beaufort says “enable[s] a browser shell for VR” which “allows users to browse the web while using Cardboard or Daydream-ready viewers.” Both options are available in the browser’s Flags page, accessed by entering chrome://flags in the URL bar.

google-chrome-webvr-vr-shell

The VR Shell doesn’t seem to be fully functional yet, but both options are working their way through Chrome’s various development channels with the goal of eventually landing in the stable release that goes wide to all users.

“Today I can view a WebVR scene on an iOS [device], even if Mobile Safari doesn’t support WebVR API, thanks to a polyfill + device accelerometers. Which is awesome. The web’s got reach,” he explained. “What the WebVR API gives us on top of that is much richer ecosystem support, things like link traversal between WebVR experiences without dropping out of VR mode, and more.”

Samsung introduced a VR browser for their Gear VR headset last year which achieves similar functionality, but is not available to the wider Android ecosystem. As the stable version of Chrome on Android has been downloaded between 1 – 5 billion times, it stands to bring VR web browsing to a much larger group. Google is also in development of Chrome support for headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive on desktop.

Source: Road To VR

http://www.roadtovr.com/google-is-adding-a-vr-shell-to-chrome-to-let-you-browse-the-entire-web-in-vr/

We are pleased to say that we have been making great progress with the development of the new Jahshaka VR platform which is being rebuilt from the ground up with virtual reality as its core offering. Any one will be able to use it to easily craft beautiful worlds and share them across multiple platforms; from linux, windows and mac to mobile devices and the web.

Jahshaka is being built as a platform for digital artists, not engineers, and our team is working very hard to make the new Jahshaka VR as easy to use and intuitive as possible. While the app is currently a bit technical, once we move the interface into the virtual world we expect that to go away.

jahshakaVR

We are using the new Qt3D library as our core engine, which has made development easier and faster since it promises cutting edge open source technology and eliminates the need for writing a rendering engine from scratch. Qt3D is still very early in its development and does lack a bit of features, but that’s to be expected of any new framework and we see great things coming down the line.

Jahshaka VR will be released in a few weeks along with full open source source code under the GPL, we haven’t opened it up yet since its really in pre-production but we are only a few weeks away. We expecting a lot of good things from it in the following months.

Jahshaka was built on the philosophy that making beautiful and professional designs should be easy. With that said, some of the features on our development backlog include:

Procedural Sky Generation
Color Grading
3D Fonts
Particle Systems
Tweening Animations
A Post-Processing framework
Physically Based Rendering
Individual timelines on a per object basis
Physical integration between objects in the virtual world
Publishing of virtual worlds to WebVR

Please stay tuned!

The Jahshaka Team

This is a quick demonstration video released by ILMxLab and Magic Leap to mark the announcement of the two company’s newly announced collaboration. They’ve set up a “collaboration lab” in order to work on immersive experiences using Lucasfilm IP and driven by Magic Leap’s augmented reality technology.

It shows Star Wars favourites R2D2 and C3PO as digitally rendered characters, overlaid into reality as filmed through Magic Leap’s visor. Note how the objects in real life occlude the digital creations, a tricky effect to pull off when you’re reliying on computer vision techniques to map to reality.

Source: RoadToVR.com
http://www.roadtovr.com/this-is-what-star-wars-looks-like-running-on-magic-leap/

I first tried the Oculus virtual reality headset back in 2013, just one year after the company completed its Kickstarter. It wowed me at the time, but one thing I noticed when I took it off was the not inconsiderable amount of sweat I’d managed to produce in such a short time.

Fast forward three years and Oculus isn’t the only player in the game. The headsets are definitely lighter, but from the Gear VR to the Oculus, from the HTC Vive to the PlayStation VR it has to be said: They’re still not comfortable enough for long-term use.

At E3 2016 I didn’t play any VR games for longer than 15 minutes, but even that was long enough for things starting to get uncomfortable. It’s true that my glasses aren’t covered in condensation any more, but I’m not excited about settling in for a marathon gaming session while strapped into a headset.

And that’s a problem for game developers and hardware makers alike. It’s why we spent a lot of E3 seeing “VR experiences”, even if they were based on big titles like Fallout and the popular Arkham series of Batman games.

(Resident Evil VII is one of the first games that promises to be fully playable on the PSVR, but it’s got its own issues when it comes to long-term gaming.)

It’s one of the reasons that I was most excited by Star Trek: Bridge Crew. By offering short scenarios as a gaming session, it gives you satisfying gameplay that you can finish before things get too uncomfortable.

I’m still excited by the promise of VR gaming. But as a gamer who likes to travel the Commonwealth in Fallout 4 for hours at a time, I’m still not quite ready to pack a sweat towel to do it.

Source: News.com
http://www.cnet.com/news/virtual-reality-gaming-still-has-us-breaking-a-sweat/

Rumors that Google would announce a VR platform based on Android that have been swirling for weeks now have finally come to a head with the announcement of Daydream, Google’s Android-based VR platform.

Daydream is a platform comprised of many parts that come together to provide a complete higher-end VR experience across devices. Based on Android N, the Daydream software experience is totally optimized for VR and includes a VR ready launcher, Google Play VR, enhanced VR notifications and more. Devices that meet strict guidelines will be Daydream ready, with manufacturers like HTC, Samsung, Alcatel, Huawei and more readying Daydream compatible devices for release later this year.

Along with Daydream software, Google is also releasing reference devices including a headset and a controller. Developers are being encouraged to develop content for Daydream now, with support already building. Content supported out of the gate for Daydream includes Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, MLB, NBA and even official Imax support among others.

As expected, Daydream falls somewhere between Cardboard and devoted headset systems like Vive and Oculus. With wider availability and a presumably much more affordable price tag, Daydream should be highly competitive with all tiers of VR.

Look for more information on Daydream as we get closer to a fall release.

Source: androidandme.com

http://androidandme.com/2016/05/news/daydream-is-officially-googles-virtual-reality-platform/

Tonight at an event in Austin, Texas, NVIDIA unveiled its highly anticipated next-generation, Pascal-based GeForce graphics cards, known as the GeForce GTX 1080 and GeForce GTX 1070. NVIDIA’s Pascal architecture is based on 16nm FinFET technology, similar to that of NVIDIA’s high end data center Tesla P100 processing engine, but the GeForce cards are targeted at the consumer gaming market. NVIDIA’s GP104 GPU at the heart of the new GeForce cards is comprised of some 8 billion transistors and features a 256-bit memory interface and 8GB of Micron GDDR5X graphics memory — commonly referred to as G5X — or 8GB of standard GDDR5 in the case of the GTX 1070.

At the event, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang proclaimed the new cards were the result of “several billions of dollars of R&D” expenditure and that they took over two years of development effort by thousands of engineers.

big_marvels-of-nvidia-pascal.jpg

Along with the new graphics cards, NVIDIA unveiled multiple new technologies as well, including what the company refers to as the world’s first “in-game 3D VR camera system,” called Ansel, in addition to new VR audio technology called VRWorks Audio that leverages technology from NVIDIA’s iRay physically based rendering tech (part of NVIDIA’s VRWorks suite) and something called Simultaneous Multi-projection technology that presents aspect-correct and distortion-free multi-monitor rendering and VR imaging delivered through multiple viewports, that can be rendered in a single-pass with no performance penalty.

NVIDIA’s tech demo’s are always impressive. The Simultaneous Multi-Projection technology in particular was a dramatic demonstration as 360-degree views were rendered in real-time without warping of the peripheral images as the user panned their head and altered the camera view. And enabling the single-pass rendering dramatically improved performance from roughly 65-68 frames per second, to 96 FPS. However, the big splash of course was the unveiling of the GeForce GTX 1080 which was claimed to be faster than a pair of GeForce GTX 980 cards in SLI and offer 9 TFLOPS of throughput, all without the usual sticker shock associated with a very high-end GPU at a $599 MSRP, or $699 for a Founders Edition which will reportedly be highly overclockable.

big_geforce-gtx-1080-specs-price.jpg

Huang also demonstrated the new GeForce GTX 1080 in action with his frequent game developer partner, Epic’s Tim Sweeney. The GeForce GTX 1080 powered a demo that featured highly-realistic, complex characters, with impressive lighting and material effects that were rendered in real-time. During the demo, the GTX 1080’s GPU clock hit a blistering 2.1GHz with a 5.5GHz G5X memory clock. The new GeForce was also humming along at a tepid 67ºC.

big_geforce-1080-clocks.jpg

Huang went on to quickly announce a lower cost and equally as impressive Pascal-based GeForce called the GeForce GTX 1070, which will offer about 70+ percent of the performance of the GeForce GTX 1080 or about 6.5 TFLOPS of compute throughput, for a very attractive mid-range price point of $379.

NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 announcement this evening were a very quick, opportune “mic drop” of sorts, strategically positioned to coincide with the Austin DreamHack LAN gaming event, where thousand of gamers have converged on the city for a BYOC (Bring Your Own Computer) gaming fest of epic proportions.

The new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 will start shipping in market at the end of the month on May 27th, while the GeForce GTX 1070 is due to arrive on June 10. You can expect the usual AIB partners like EVGA, ASUS, Gigabyte, MSI and PNY to deliver various offerings, both based on the stock reference designs and with their own custom cooling solutions as well, in the months ahead.

Source: hothardware.com

http://hothardware.com/news/nvidia-unveils-geforce-gtx-1080-and-geforce-gtx-1070

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to create a 3D painting from the inside, you might want to give this new virtual reality app from Google a go. Tilt Brush for HTC Vive lets you select your colours and brushes and create multi-dimensional art with a just a few waves of your hand.

In a video created to accompany the launch of the app, a woman is shown donning a virtual reality headset and picking up a pair of gaming controllers. Immersed in darkness, she uses her controllers to surround herself with a dazzling garden.

Meanwhile, fellow artists build their own worlds – a fashion designer “paints” clothes onto a mannequin while another creator imagines whimsical otherworldly creatures.

The Tilt Brush app comes bundled with the HTC Vive headset, which launched earlier this year , and has been hailed by critics as “VR’s killer app” and the “the first great VR app”.

tiltbrush-header-web

It is seen as an easy and fun way for non-hardcore gamers to jump into virtual reality experiences and familiarise themselves with the gaming controls.


google
“Your room is a blank slate. You can step around, in and through your drawings as you go. And, because it’s in virtual reality, you can even choose to use otherwise-impossible materials like fire, stars or snowflakes,” said Google in a blog post .

“We’ve already seen some incredible pieces from professional animators, painters, and street artists, but even casual doodlers can start painting in seconds.”

Find out more at http://www.tiltbrush.com

Source: mirror.co.uk

http://www.mirror.co.uk/tech/googles-mesmerising-virtual-reality-art-7913824

The tech world is obsessed with two things right now: virtual reality and live video. So why not combine them? That’s what YouTube is doing. The Google-owned video behemoth said Monday that it’s launching live streaming for so-called 360 videos, which let you look up, down and all round a scene.

To kick things off, the site will live-stream a few performances from the Coachella music festival in Indio, California, this weekend. You can imagine the other possibilities: basketball games, conferences and maybe even a human birth?

You’ll be able to watch the videos on a tablet, desktop computer or phone — either Apple’s iPhones or phones powered by Google’s Android mobile software. To get the full-on VR effect though, you’ll need to watch through a virtual-reality headset, like Google’s dirt-cheap Cardboard goggles. Cardboard is made of, you guessed it, cardboard, which users fold into a headset to hold a phone running the video.

Virtual reality has been huge for Silicon Valley. Everyone from Google to Facebook to Samsung has invested heavily in the technology. Facebook released its Oculus Rift in March, after buying the VR company two years ago for $2 billion. Google has made every single YouTube video compatible with Cardboard. (The company says videos that weren’t shot with VR in mind will look like you’re watching them in a personal Imax theater.)

At the same time, tech companies have gone all-in on live streaming. Earlier this month, Facebook released new features, including Instagram-like filters, for its Facebook Live service, which lets people broadcast a live video on the social network from a phone. Twitter has a rival service called Periscope. YouTube is rumored to be prepping its own service, called YouTube Connect.

To let people live-stream 360 videos, YouTube has partnered with VR camera makers including IC Real Tech, which makes the $500 ALLie Home camera, and VR software firms like Vahana VR, which makes a program designed to help stitch together a virtual-reality scene. Content is expected to come from companies and others looking to publicize their activities or broaden their audience.

Separately, YouTube said it’s making the audio for nonlive videos on the YouTube Android app more realistic. When you’re wearing headphones, if, say, a video features an explosion far off in the distance, a filmmaker can make it sound fainter than if something is blowing up right in front of you.

Source: CNet

http://www.cnet.com/news/google-youtube-to-rock-coachella-music-arts-festival-with-live-streamed-virtual-reality-videos/