Category Archives: Features

A collected archive of VRFocus’ feature articles.

Make it a (Virtual) Reality: Screamride

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Here’s an experience that lives up to its name. You’re sitting on a rollercoaster feeling a very real bout of nerves as you wait for it to start up. Suddenly, you’re literally shot forward, following a path that jolts you from left to right before throwing you upside down. “It’s alright,” you think as your hands grip your chair, “rollercoasters are entirely safe.” Seconds later your cart derails and zooms off into the air, giving a momentary sense of freedom before gravity kicks in. You dare to open one eye as you plummet towards the ground, only to note the collision course with a huge building. You smash into it and the architecture comes toppling down around you. READ MORE

Hands-On with HTC & Valve’s Vive

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After nearly twenty years of obscurity, one man managed to turn virtual reality (VR) on its head. Palmer Luckey’s Oculus Rift kickstarted a movement that would eventually see big players such as Sony Computer Entertainment, Google, Samsung and Razer take a stand. Of course, Luckey now has a small army behind him at Oculus VR, but now a new challenger has entered the arena: Valve. READ MORE

Oculus Story Studios’ Lost: The Start of Something Big

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The announcement of Oculus Story Studio at the Sundance festival, Utah, back in January of this year took many by surprise. It’s common knowledge that Oculus VR is working on their own applications and videogames for use exclusively in virtual reality (VR), but a motion-picture studio also? That was a left-field reveal, but their first project, Lost, is all the convincing anyone could need. READ MORE

Opinion: Is HTC Vive Really Valve’s VR HMD?

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Earlier today VRFocus reported on a rumour that Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC was soon set to reveal its very own virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD). The report was hardly surprising given that many companies have offered low-cost, smartphone-based HMDs in the past year and that HTC was set to host a pre-Mobile World Congress (MWC) press conference in Barcelona, Spain later on in the day. As that conference drew to a close, it began to look like such an announcement might not happen. Then came the twist; not only was HTC working on a HMD but it was doing so in partnership with Valve, the company behind Steam and the developer of Half-Life. READ MORE

Make it a (Virtual) Reality: Dying Light

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You could be on vacation. From the rooftops this picturesque city looks like the ideal holiday-making destination with sun-licked trees and rustic buildings. Then you look down and notice the thousands of thousands of zombies, tripping over each other in a desperate, hopeless scramble to get a taste of your flesh. Perhaps not the best place to take a week off, then. You tiptoe around the edge of the roof, the wind clearly tempted to push just a little too hard. A zombie suddenly appears from around the corner, its flailing arms made all the more threatening by your uneasy footing. One slip and it’s a very fast and real trip to the ground floor. READ MORE

VR vs. GDC 2015

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If you take a look back at any of VRFocus’ pre-event ‘VR vs.’ articles from the past year, you’ll likely note a sense of tempering expectations. It would be all too easy to get carried away every time an E3 or Gamescom rolls around and speculate on the reveal of highly anticipated information such as details on the consumer version of the Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD) or an update on Sony Computer Entertainment’s (SCE) Project Morpheus HMD. But such information was realistically – and evidently – out of reach in 2014. Now in 2015 solid news on the arrival of true consumer virtual reality (VR) seems closer than ever, and it might be time to pick those expectations up. That starts with the 2015 Game Developers Conference (GDC). READ MORE

Make it a (Virtual) Reality: The Order: 1886

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Now this is cinematic virtual reality (VR). You’re standing on top of a blimp, a powerful wind trying to carry you away. Rooftops can be seen miles beneath you while your Captain fails to make his voice heard over the roar of the engines. You strap yourself in and rappel down the side of the craft, starting to suffer from a very real case of vertigo as you descend. Inside, there’s an intense series of fist fights and close-quarters shootouts to be had, with bullets screeching past your head and enemies racing towards you. READ MORE

VR vs. Gear VR for Galaxy S6

The technology industry can be hard to keep up with. Anyone that’s followed the likes of Samsung, Google and more can attest to that. Take Gear VR, for example. In many countries Samsung’s smartphone-based virtual reality (VR) head-mounted display (HMD) is less than a month old. While the device debuted in the US in December 2014 it only started to roll out in other territories in late January 2015. Despite this, there’s already talk of a new version of the device that could be revealed in just a few weeks’ time. But should reports of this new device turn out to be true, then early adopters need not feel betrayed. READ MORE

VRFocus One Year On: A Letter from the Editor

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Today marks the first anniversary of VRFocus, an enterprise which has reached far beyond any initial planning that anyone could have afforded. In that short space of time the website has seen many changes; not in and of itself per se, but rather in the industry around it. The virtual reality (VR) landscape has grown and begun to take form. The previously unaware public are becoming informed of the potential of the new medium. And many of the people involved have had their lives changed irrevocably. Mostly for the better, I would say. READ MORE

Make it a (Virtual) Reality: Evolve

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You’ve lost sight of the target. Wading through bushes that stretch out into the dense forest, it’s becoming impossible to gather your bearings. Your teammates are all lost, trying to lick their wounds from the disastrous last battle. The light drizzle of rain creates a consistent din as it hits broad leafs and flickers of lightning provided momentary illumination. You hear a muffled grunt from above and your eyes begin to climb the nearest tree trunk. For a split second you catch sight of the Wraith hovering above you. A moment later and it’s all over. READ MORE