With GDC this week, the eyes of the gaming world were really on Sony. More importantly the PlayStation VR. Their press conference concluded today after 17 minutes, but wow, there was a ton of information.
To start, fans can expect the device to launch in October 2016, at $399 USD ($549.99 CAD). That makes this the least expensive VR unit available at half the cost of HTC Vive. The device itself is rather powerful as well with a 5.7 inch screen with a 1920x1080p resolution (that’s 960x1080p per eye). There is 360 degree tracking, with a field of view of around 100 degrees. The latency is less than 18 second. It’s also capable with both the DUALSHOCK 4 and PS Move. And it works off the PS4 console.
Along with those specs, there is a “Cinematic Mode” that allows users to stream movies or play non VR titles. There are over 230 developers working on titles for the device, with 50 games planned this year. Harmonix Music VR caught our eyes along with an exclusive Battlefront experience. Along with that, Sony announced a collection of social games called Playroom VR.
While the event was super short, it was almost information overload. Yet, Sony has been really good at dropping bombshells. Everyone else is going to have to step their game up to compete with the PSVR, because as it stands, it’s the least expensive option with a ton of support.
Crytek has just announced that its latest game engine, CryENGINE V will not only go forth on a pay-what-you-want model, but also natively support VR.
Crytek has put out all of its developing tools to the public without the usual subscription costs or the royalty fees and is hoping that users will contribute back to the company. Like Unity, Crytek will also start a marketplace to help users by providing them with pre-made assets.
Frank Vitz, the creative director showed off the new engine and its features at GDC, giving a run down on the new features and their new VR title called, The Climb.
Crytek is committed to advancing and working within the new VR faucet of the industry and is aiming to make it more accessible to developers.
Look forward for more updates as the engine goes live in the near future.
The Open Source Virtual Reality platform sees some improvements for both the software and the hardware.
Crytek has recently begun to work to help expand on OSVR. Their CryENGINE now natively supports the platform.
“The open standard encouraged by OSVR corresponds with our own desire to give CryENGINE users total freedom of choice in VR development.” Said Frank Vitz, Crytek’s creative director for CryENGINE. “We’re excited to be supporting a platform that is designed to accelerate progress and expand the audience for VR, and we look forward to seeing how OSVR developers harness CryENGINE to create innovative experiences.”
A new diffusion film tech has just been added in for OSVR HDK 1.4 to help better the look of the technology while still trying to keep the system requirements low. An upgrade for version 1.3 will be available soon.
“The Hacker Development Kit has always been about maximizing quality while minimizing system requirements, allowing us to make VR more accessible to enthusiasts, aspiring developers and gamers,” says Christopher Mitchell, OSVR lead. “The inclusion of the diffusion screen makes it possible for us to deliver an improved visual experience without compromising this great accessibility.”
You can purchase the OSVR over at the Razer store now with its new improvements such as rubber inserts for the nose bridge and extra padding for cheekbones for added comfort. The OSVR is currently $299.99 and is available now.
With the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive on the horizon Sulon Industries has announced its new “all-in-one” VR headset.
Named the Sulon Q, it will combine not only virtual reality but augmented reality too. This “tether-free” design allows users to pick it up and go wherever and whenever they need to. It’s all on the headset.
Powered by the AMD FX-8800P processor at up to 35W with Radeon R7 Graphics leveraging AMD’s Graphics Core Next architecture. This device promises to recognize the space you’re in and allow you to pop in application windows for you to interact with. You’ll be able to place transparent or opaque windows where you please with gestures or with a mouse and keyboard. It will be able to use spatial redirection to trick you into thinking you’re walking down the path in a straight line while you’re actually avoiding objects and walls.
With built-in noise cancelling headphones and top of the line sound design, this headset promises that it can accurately generate all the sounds in the virtual environments it creates.
The Sulon Q is aiming high, having only just been unveiled at GDC March 14, there’s still many more details to come, in the meantime they’ve released a little look at the device.
Her Story was a game that blew people away last year. It not only used FMV video, it did it in a way that was strangely compelling. The writer behind that game, Sam Barlow is moving on and will now be working at Interlude as the Executive Creative Director.
Razer has made a name for high-quality gaming hardware. From their mice to keyboards, they are devises gamers worldwide rely on for quality and design. This is never more true than the Razer Blade series of Laptop computers. Not only are they small, light and solidly build, but they have a level of power that is unbelievable for a computer it’s size. Today Razer Announces the new Blade, and it is even more impressive than past iterations.
Hitman: Blood Money is my favourite videogame of all time. I aced every mission on Silent Assassin multiple times. When Absolution was announced, the thought of a next-gen sequel to my beloved Blood Money with modern graphics and dynamic AI had me salivating. Once the game launched, however, I realized that this absolute mess of a game completely missed what made Blood Money so special and was not, after all, the sequel I had yearned for. When a friend of mine, who had never played a Hitman before, gushed about how awesome it was because Agent 47 was supposed to be “a bad*** ninja with guns”, I knew the game had missed the mark.
It was with great anticipation then, that I looked forward to the next iteration of the franchise that IO promised would harken back to the core concepts that made the franchise so popular in the first place. Methodically planning missions, multiple avenues to take when assassinating a target, and most importantly, the option to turn off all the annoying, handholding settings that made Absolution such a bore.
Something I had missed during all the previews, however, was this ultra-modern, anti-piracy online-only restriction. To properly enjoy Hitman, to experience and tick off the multiple challenges, feats and mission goals, you need to be connected to the Hitman servers. As irritating as this is in concept (it’s a single-player game you d***s), it turns out it’s even more irritating in execution. Not only am I required to be online to access anything outside of the bare bones mission…not only am I required to be online to unlock items and tweaks that I earned while playing…not only am I required to be online to access my saves (really IO?)… But if, for some reason, your connection hiccups, you are kicked right back to the menu. During some periods playing the game I get kicked out almost every five minutes. Play briefly, get booted. Wait for the atrocious load times to get back to the menu, re-connect, and re-load the game…get booted again. While there are certainly concessions to be made about how well a game runs during its opening weekend, this is a colossal mess up and makes playing the game a chore, to say the least.
I hate the idea of online-only, especially for a single-player experience like Hitman. I hate the idea that I need to “check in” with a server hundreds of miles away for a game that costs $60 that I play by myself. What I really hate though, what bothers me the most, is that outside of this incredibly huge flaw the game is everything I’ve wanted in a Hitman since Blood Money. I love this game so far. It’s gorgeous, there’s a ton of replayability with multiple and varying methods of executing a contract and endless options for fun with the Escalations and Contracts mode.
I’m now left with a huge contradiction. This game simultaneously represents everything I loathe about the modern gaming industry and everything I’ve yearned for in a sequel to my favourite game of all time. How do I reconcile these feelings? Sure the servers will get patched in the future, and the buggy mess of first-week playtime will surely be smoothed out (IO is getting hammered on social media right now)…but the game is now fundamentally flawed at its core because of this decision. This was something that I can almost guarantee was a design choice handed down to the devs from the suit-and-tie in the boardroom to ensure plenty of data-mining and getting a few more people to sign up for SEM (I’m not doing it guys, p**s off). Outside of leaderboards, which could be updated briefly at the beginning of each play session, there is no logical reason to be constantly connected to a server that is apparently powered by hamster wheels. The contracts mode etc. could all require an optional connection to be accessed at your leisure before or after a mission. Forcing me out of my own game while playing by myself in a single-player oriented gameplay experience because of a horrible connection is unforgivable. Locking everything, from weapons to skins to contracts, behind a totally unnecessary and poorly (to say the least) implemented online connection is simply offensive.
You’ve wounded me deep here guys. And you did it in a slimy and ill-conceived way. I want to praise your game, because truly, when everything works it’s fantastic; but I can’t. I can’t praise you for such a backwards, asinine and anti-user design choice. I can’t praise you for launching a game with such unbelievably bad servers. Fix what you can, and fix it quickly, because the backlash from this is only just beginning and you absolutely deserve all the vitriol directed your way.