The unique complications of playing VR games as a trans person

I've heard VR users often say that inhabiting other bodies and other spaces is uniquely liberating, but my colleague Laura Kate Dale sheds light on the fact that embodiment may be complicated for some.

Game publisher's lawsuit against VR headset maker Oculus proceeds


A judge has refused to dismiss ZeniMax Media's claim that Oculus VR stole code and expertise from it when it hired famous coder John Carmack from its iD Software subsidiary.

Nick Wingfield, writing in The New York Times:

The lawsuit centers on help that John Carmack, then a ZeniMax employee and the designer behind iconic games like Doom and Quake, provided to Mr. Luckey as he was starting Oculus. Mr. Carmack later joined Oculus as its chief technology officer and ZeniMax contends that the assistance that Mr. Carmack gave to Mr. Luckey was illegal.

These things often look rather like well-timed retaliation; VentureBeat's Jeff Grubb wrote about the details of this case last year. Read the rest

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Watch Minecraft become holographic in Microsoft Hololens E3 demo


Amazing gameplay footage: Minecraft through the Hololens. The VR demo from Microsoft executive Sax Persson today at the annual E3 games convention completely transforms the experience of Minecraft.

Microsoft acquired Minecraft Maker Mojang for $2.5 billion last year.

From PopSci:

“This is a live demo, with real working code,” Persson said, before donning the HoloLens and projecting a Minecraft map onto a wall, and then a table onstage. Microsoft announced Minecraft would be a main attraction of the HoloLens earlier in the year, but this is the first working demo the company has shown to the public.

Viewers were able to see Persson’s augmented reality through a “special camera” outfitted to show the HoloLens display in real time, as he played the game on the wall with an Xbox controller.

Persson then walked over to the table, said, “create world,” and watched as the Minecraft world poured onto the table. This was met with perhaps the loudest applause of Microsoft’s presentation, as he continued to use voice commands and gestures to manipulate the world. The virtual projection constrained itself to the edges of the table well, and the camera was able to look inside of structures by moving through the virtual walls.

No HoloLens release date yet.

More at Boing Boing's OFFWORLD: “The only things you really need to know about Microsoft's E3 press event

[Kotaku on YouTube]

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The whispery world of ASMR enters virtual reality

For the first time, ASMR experiences are pioneering beyond simple soft talk.

Get Oculus Rift VR feature 'Banshee Chapter' free today

Oculus Rift fans can download 'Banshee Chapter' free today from Jamwix. Released in 2013, the 3D horror film based on H.P. Lovecraft’s From Beyond has been repurposed as a virtual reality feature. Read the rest

The Headset Revolution will be a blizzard of conflicting realities—if it happens, that is

Artists and journalists will use virtual reality to transform perception—and virtual reality will transform everything. Jason Louv stares into the Rift between promise and product.

Elegant, cheap, simple folded cardboard mount turns your phone into an Oculus Rift

Revealed at the Google IO conference, Cardboard is a scored, flat-pack box that you fold into set of cardboard goggles that hold your phone; an accompanying software package uses your phone's screen and accelerometer to create stereo-optical VR images in the manner of the Oculus Rift. It's a delightfully simple and elegant concept, and Google has published plans for making your own. You need cardboard, a set of cheap lenses, a magnet, velcro and a rubber band. Read the rest

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Art inspired by "Wired Love"

Silvia Ruzanka saw yesterday's post about the 1880 novel "Wired Love," about a romance carried on by telegraph; she writes:

I've been fascinated by this book for years, and have been using it as an entryway into art and research about the telegraph as the first cyberspace.

"Dots and Dashes" is a VR art piece inspired by the novel. It was made for the CAVE, and we've also exhibited it using a head-mount display setup, and is an attempt to imagine the sense of space created by the telegraph overlaid on the space of VR.

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Oculus Rift VR headset convincing enough for one 90-year-old

"Oh, man! It's so real!"

Creators remember Knightmare, the pioneering VR adventure show

Knightmare was a fantastic childrens' adventure show that ran on British TV in the 1980s. A youngster, wearing a vision-blinding helmet, would be guided around a giant virtual reality castle by a team of his or her peers, which issued instructions from dungeon master Treguard's chambers. Though defined by its technical limitations, Knightmare built a cult following thanks to its pioneering blue-screen setup—hence the blindfolding—and merciless treatment of contestants. The Guardian's Ben Child interviewed creator Tim Child and star Hugo Myatt and found that the production was itself something of a bad dream. Embedded above is the show's intro and a short documentary about it. Then you may enjoy a a selection of deaths. Read the rest

Mote and Beam

Joel Johnson, formerly the gadgets man at this august institution, has himself a new blog: Mote and Beam. This one, unlike the others, is about whatever the hell he likes! Right now, this is Virtual Reality. Early highlights:

Six possibly useful observations about the successful Oculus Rift KickstarterGrove iPhone 5 case: When a better product makes one nostalgic for an older product more given to decayWhy I think the most compelling piece of VR software might be Writeroom.

Gamers are going to push VR forward in the near term. (And projects like the Oculus Rift are certainly game-centric, by dint of the first software available alone.) But one of the most compelling things about VR for me–the thing I think will take VR from a niche within video gaming and into a, well, larger niche within computing at large–is the notion of using VR headsets for productivity.

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T(ether) turns iPad into VR interface

T(ether) from Matthew Blackshaw on Vimeo.

T(ether) is a display that sees you. With motion capture cameras embedded in a special glove and headset, it tracks the user's movements and allows them to manipulate objects on-screen using gestures and movements. From Creative Applications:

The motion capture system consists of 19 cameras mounted on a frame, covering a tracked space of 14 by 12 by 9 feet, where the tracking of retro-reflective tags occurs. The cameras are connected to a server, which processes the marker data from each camera reconstructing spatial position and orientation. Apple’s iPad 2 tablets are used as a window to the virtual world.

Mr. Halliday better hurry up if he wants his haptic gear to be competitive.

Tether Cinder [Creative Applications] Read the rest

Sony's HMZ-T1: Home theater in a headset

Sony's HMZ-T1 is a head-mounted 3D headset, to be released later this year in Japan. Two 1280x720 OLED displays, each just 7/10 of an inch across, create a virtual 750" screen. Perceived 20m from the viewer, it "corresponds to the sense of cinema as seen from a large central seat." It'll be 60,000 Yen ($785) from mid-november.

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