Category Archives: Features

A collected archive of VRFocus’ feature articles.

VR vs. Alien: Isolation

AlienIsoltation_Header

E3 2014 provided a glimpse of something that many virtual reality (VR) fans have been clamouring for since Oculus VR first launched its Kickstarter campaign for the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD) in 2012. While the indie community has done an admirable job showcasing VR so far, enthusiasts have been pining to see what a big budget development studio could do with the technology. And that’s exactly what they got at the videogame industry’s biggest show in June as The Creative Assembly revealed a playable VR prototype of its upcoming sci-fi horror experience, Alien: Isolation. READ MORE

Make it a (Virtual) Reality: The Lord of the Rings

LordofTheRings_Header

You are drenched, exhausted and, above all, terrified. Following the long journey to Helm’s Deep, you now find yourself standing on top of its walls, being beaten by the rain as an impossibly large army of Uruk Hai begins to mindlessly cry for blood. The sea of degenerates stretches out further than the eye can see, and you know that the battle won’t be over until every last one of them has been dealt with. Your hands grip the hilt of your sword a little tighter as the enemy’s pounding feet take charge. It’s time to go to war. READ MORE

VR vs. Crescent Bay

CrescentBay_Header

For a company that proudly presents itself as an open organisation, Oculus VR is very good at keeping its cards close to its chest. In an industry where press leaks occur in the build up to seemingly every major event, here’s a company that shares its progress at regular intervals, makes its hardware readily available, and yet keeps everyone guessing with what it will do next. Practically no one knew what to expect from CEO Brendan Iribe’s keynote that kicked off the second day of the Oculus Connect developer conference in Hollywood, California on 20th September 2014. Would we finally see the consumer Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD)? Was the rumoured internally-developed controller finally to be announced? As it turns out, it wasn’t either of those two. READ MORE

Oculus Connect 2014: VR Figureheads Slip Comfortably into New Roles as Company Delivers the Next Best Thing to the Consumer Rift

OculusConnect_Header

Precious few companies will ever get to experience the kind of whirlwind year that Oculus VR has enjoyed in 2014. Just nine months ago the team debuted a new prototype for its Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) and now, barely two months after that prototype’s relevant development kit shipped, we have another. And that’s without mentioning the acquisitions, hires and other announcements which have kept the company in the headlines throughout the year, all of which was capped off with yesterday’s Oculus Connect developer conference in Hollywood, California. READ MORE

Hands-on: Oculus Rift Crescent Bay Prototype

CrescentBay_Header

Oculus VR’s big announcement at Oculus Connect was the revelation of a new prototype: Crescent Bay. Aligned with Crystal Cove in that it’s not a consumer version nor a development kit, Crescent Bay is a prototype design that will inevitably form the basis of the next iteration of the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD) that will be made available to developers. However, this time it’s more than just a visual product; Crescent Bay also includes built-in audio. READ MORE

VR vs. Oculus Connect

OculusConnect_Header

Oculus VR has been on quite a journey in 2014. Cast your mind back to January of this year when the company behind the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) was a much smaller outfit with one of Kickstarter’s biggest success stories on its side. Just nine months on and we’ve been treated to new development kits, high-profile hires, collaborations with Samsung and, of course, an acquisition that totalled some $2 billion USD. You’d be forgiven for thinking that, following the shipment of the second development kit (DK2), Oculus VR would be lying low for the rest of 2014, but in fact one of the company’s biggest events is still to come. READ MORE

Hands-On with Kite & Lightning’s The Voice 360: Be the Coach

TheVoice_Header

Kite & Lightning are a widely respected independent development studio that has established huge credibility within the virtual reality (VR) community. Their original creations such as The Station and the highly praised Senza Peso have been regularly touted as the current pinnacle of passive VR experiences. As the studio matures it was inevitable that such a reputation would lead to commercial products and high-profile licenses, but their first release, The Voice 360: Be the Coach, no one could have guessed. READ MORE

Make it a (Virtual) Reality: Destiny

Destiny_HEader

While it’s easy to get tired of the sheer amount of first-person shooters (FPS) in today’s videogame climate, it’s hard to deny their simply joys. Their accessibility and instant payoff make them the ideal test bed for new consoles, controllers and technologies. That said, traditional FPS videogames undoubtedly prove something of a conundrum for virtual reality (VR) technology at this stage. Without a gun to hold in player’s own hands as they take cover and return fire, immersion can be broken instantly. There’s also the issue of keeping pace with some of the more fast-paced entries in the genre such as Call of Duty, which even the Oculus Rift’s second development kit (DK2) may struggle to meet demands of without players getting simulator sickness. READ MORE

VR vs. Gear VR

GearVR_Header2

If you’d asked any virtual reality (VR) enthusiast about mobile VR this time last week, they’d have told you that, while certainly possible, it’s seen as a low-end quick fix while we continue to wait for the consumer version of the Oculus Rift VR head-mounted display (HMD). In the past seven days that assumption has been turned upside down, making mobile VR a much more exciting prospect that it was before. READ MORE

Make it a (Virtual) Reality: Best of Mobile

PlantsvsZombies_Header

Earlier this week the floodgates to mobile virtual reality (VR) opened as Samsung revealed its Gear VR head-mounted display (HMD), compatible with its new Galaxy Note 4 smartphone. A raft of developers have since come forward to confirm support for the device, including many that were already working with Oculus VR’s Oculus Rift HMD to some degree. Some are even porting beloved mobile classics to the new platform. This begs the question; what other mobile titles could come to VR? READ MORE