virtual reality

E3 2017: CCP’s VR sports game Sparc debuts new trailer, summer PSVR launch

First announced back in February, CCP’s multiplayer VR sports sim Sparc is getting the E3 treatment this week, being available for play (and spectating) at the show. Expect it for PSVR later this summer, though it’ll eventually filter to the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive too.

“Sparc is a skill-based, fast-paced, and physical sport only possible in virtual reality,” says the Icelandic studio known best for MMO EVE Online. “In Sparc, players utilize their two PlayStation Move motion controllers to aim and throw projectiles at each other inside a sleek virtual arena, while defending themselves by dodging, blocking, or deflecting incoming attacks from a live opponent. Players can compete against their friends or find challengers via online matchmaking.”

Our own Brendan Drain got a hands-on with the game at this past spring’s EVE Fanfest, arguing that “CCP has hit the nail on the head with the feel of Sparc.”

Sparc legitimately has the potential to become the Wii Sports of VR, a collection of competitive activities transmitted via the internet and experienced in VR but played in real space with real athletic competition,” he wrote in April. “I’ve often complained that VR has no killer app, no must-have game that absolutely needs VR to work, but I think Sparc might be it.”

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The MOP Up: EVE Valkyrie lowers its price point (June 11, 2017)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

This week we have stories and videos from MechWarrior OnlineGuild Wars 2EverQuest IICabal OnlineEVE ValkyrieParagonSecond LifeLuna OnlineAtelier OnlineFinal Fantasy XILegend of Ancient Sword OnlineNo Man’s SkyHeroes of the StormArt of ConquestDreadnoughtOverwatchSINoALICEBlade and SoulPokemon Go, and Eternal Crusade, all waiting for you after the break!

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Indie multiplayer VR ARPG Prevent the Fall lands on Steam early access

So here’s a new one to our games list today: Indie developer D.W.S’s “all the things” ARPG Prevent the Fall. It’s one of those dungeon crawlers that supports everything from singleplayer offline to fully online multiplayer mode, and it boasts VR support too.

“The major features are all in place, and you can rise to level 20. The game features optional virtual reality support, but it is not required. It can be played with gamepad, vive motion controllers, or keyboard and mouse. Oculus Touch will be officially supported in the future, but Oculus users can currently participate using gamepads. The Action RPG gameplay revolves around generated quests with a mixture of generated and static dungeon elements. You can play entirely in single player, or can host or join multiplayer co-op sessions. Co-op sessions can mix and match VR and non-VR players.”

D.W.S cautions would-be players that the game is “very much a work in progress” with the usual assortment of early access bugs. The game is expected to move out of early access by the end of 2017. As of press time, the EA version of the game is just under $13.

Check out the pics and the early access video – oddly hazy, right?

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Survival sandbox Steam Hammer has already seen a major world balancing pass

We’d never heard of Big Way Games’ Steam Hammer before last week’s debut on Steam’s early access platform: It’s a multiplayer sandbox survival game (64 players to a shard) built around making steampunks fight dieselpunks. Reviewers thus far have likened it to Wurm Online and Life is Feudal, and several have complained about the lack of female characters, but surely that’s just a matter of time and patches. The most recent patches, in fact, have made some big balance and QOL changes already, including doubling gathering speed and increasing both spawns and gathering materials.

The game raised over $50,000 from crowdfunders last year, though it was in development a year or two before that. Possibly the most shocking thing about it is that it’s actually delivering on schedule — its Kickstarter promised a May 2017 alpha, and here we are.

The game is not to be confused with SteamHammerVR, a virtual reality game also in access on Steam. The full launch is expected at the end of 2017; early access will set you back $26.99 as of press time. Want to see it in action? We got an early look over the weekend!

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The Game Archaeologist: When Hellgate London got Flagshipped

It seems that it really wasn’t too long ago that I was filling in the time between night classes by boning up on video game news. I was drinking up all of the hot up-and-comers, such as Age of Conan and Warhammer Online, when I caught word that the maker of Diablo was trying to do the same thing again, only more online, in 3-D, and with a cool modern-day/futuristic/horror vibe.

There’s no better way to put it than to say that from the start, Hellgate: London looked all kinds of cool. Oh sure, you can scoff now with your perfect 20/20 hindsight, but I’m betting that more than a few of you thought the same with me around that time. Diablo but with guns and an online persistence — how could we not be intrigued? One of my most vivid memories was being torn between the idea of buying a lifetime subscription deal for $150 or not (again, this was before the free-to-play era, but also before the era of us spending the same money on alpha access. I’m just saying that you can’t judge me.).

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Microsoft is working on a secret VR MMO

Microsoft and MMORPGs haven’t had the best of relationship in history, with the company approving and then canceling several promising games over the past couple of decades. But the software giant is giving them another go, albeit in a different format, as it has been revealed that Microsoft is working on a “mixed-reality” MMO in its labs.

The news comes from a job listing for a senior design manager that hints at the unnamed title and links both MMOs and virtual reality together in the same sentence. The game in question is being developed for both PC and Xbox and is described as a “massively social gaming and entertainment experience.”

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The MOP Up: SMITE’s console mea culpa (May 7, 2017)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

This week we have stories and videos from Skyforge, EVE Online, IngressWar ThunderWorld of TanksWakfuLeague of LegendsSMITEGTA OnlineElsword OnlineWurm OnlineDarkfall: Rise of AgonWorlds AdriftCounter-Strike, SEAL Online, and Warspear Online, all waiting for you after the break!

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Age of Heroes gives a glimpse into what a full-fledged VR MMO might be like

Plenty of studios are fiddling about with virtual reality these days and making big noise on the subject, but for MMORPG fans, the burning question still remains unanswered: When might we see a full-fledged MMO built for virtual reality specifically?

We’re not here to answer that question today but to show a glimpse of what it could look like, thanks to upcoming VR game Age of Heroes. This “multiplayer co-op” RPG features four classes fighting, exploring, and casting spells in a fantasy environment. Dungeon crawls look to be the main source of content, with four “scenes” created for teams to encounter.

It’s really interesting to watch the video below and imagine how fighting and manipulating the environment might function in an MMO as well. Age of Heroes is being created for all three main VR platforms by Chinese developer Omnigames. It’s already been greenlit on Steam and may be coming some time this year.

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VR MMO MetaWorld plans summer early access launch, seeks financial support

Hoping to see a full-fledged MMORPG with virtual reality take off in your lifetime? We may be witnessing the start of one with MetaWorld, even if it does look a little like Nintendo Wii avatars got guns and went fishing in cyberspace.

MetaWorld uses SpatialOS for its engine and is aiming for an August early access launch on Steam. Currently, the team is drumming up financial support for the project through Indiegogo. A soft target goal of $50,000 is posted, although because this is Indiegogo, whatever the team raises, the team keeps.

According to the description, MetaWorld “invites you explore a persistent 10,000 square mile, massively scaled open world together. Discover endless activities and adventure, inside a real-time physics simulation allowing thousands of visitors to participate simultaneously online.”

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What virtual reality immersion researchers are up to will ‘shock’ you – literally

OK, virtual reality fans and frenemies, here’s a fun thought process: How do you simulate haptic feedback when your arms are waving around in the air? When you pretend to grab a mug of coffee, pick up a ball, or clock someone in the jaw, how does the game world sell immersion to you?

One answer might be electric muscle stimulation — yep, they’re gonna shock you. Researchers at the Hasso-Plattner Institute in Germany are apparently trying to mimic the muscle response and feel of touching, pushing, or lifting items in virtual reality with micro-shocks in actual reality.

It’s not really as “shocking” as it sounds, as anyone’s who’s ever experienced this sort of thing in its existing form as muscle therapy can attest (I can, and it actually worked, I’m still surprised to say). At its worst, it sort of feels like weird tingling or zingy pressure, not pain. It’s a cheap process, but it’s also goofy as heck, and if you were annoyed at having to plop on a giant headset for virtual reality, just wait until you have to tape a bunch of electrical nodes up and down your arms.

Source: Plopes via Motherboard via Slashdot. Thanks, Sally! No regrets on the headline.

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EVE Evolved: Video highlights from EVE Fanfest 2017

For a few days each year, hundreds of EVE Online players from across the world flock to a frozen volcanic rock at the top of the world for the annual EVE Fanfest. I was on the ground at EVE Fanfest 2017 last week in sunny Reykjavik to get the latest on what’s ahead for EVE and CCP’s other titles, and it was a thoroughly enlightening experience. We learned all about CCP’s amazing plans to roll out adaptive AI-driven PvE across the game world, talked to players and developers, and heard about the next stage of Project Discovery that will let players search for real exoplanets in space.

We also got hands-on with CCP’s immersive VR sport game Sparc, looked at Valkyrie‘s new Groundrush game mode that has players fighting inside huge structures on a planet’s surface, and confirmed that DUST 514 successor Project Nova is still in development. There were talks at Fanfest that we just didn’t get a chance to go to, and others that really have to be seen first-hand. Thankfully, CCP has recorded most of the event and has begun uploading talks to the EVE Online YouTube channel.

In this edition of EVE Evolved, I’ll be running down some of the highlights of the official videos from EVE Fanfest 2017 for those who missed the event.

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Newzoo analysts weigh in on virtual reality adoption

Remember last week when SuperData published a report on virtual reality, predicting a “steep rise” in VR adoption as we roll toward 2020? Competing analysis firm Newzoo is a bit more reserved and focuses more on the existing market rather than the future one. In its recent blog piece, it points to mobile VR being the current arena of growth opportunity, echoing SuperData’s point that the Samsung Gear has outsold everything else and dangling the idea that an Apple VR system might disrupt the market and bring in wider adoption.

“There are several factors that will contribute to the mass adoption of mobile VR, including improvement in the quality of the VR experience offered by relatively affordable mobile VR devices such as Google Cardboard, overcoming compatibility issues, and a boost in content that caters to people’s great variety of interests,” Newzoo says. “Additionally, the business model needs to be a good match. An example of this, coming from sports, that could potentially spark the mass market breakthrough for VR: the NBA wraps up its live VR experience in their subscription model. Not offering a single purchase option is a missed opportunity and limits uptake. Another factor at play is the fact that many people have their first VR experience with someone else’s device. The need to own a personal headset is not yet big enough to justify the purchase. ”

Source: Newzoo via [a]listdaily

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Experts caution against VR dangers

With virtual reality headsets becoming widespread and the gaming industry jumping on board the movement, could there be a dark side to this rapid adaptation? That’s the concern of some of University of Southern California’s researchers, who spoke at a lecture to present some of the unintended consequences of widespread VR penetration.

The researchers are calling for government scrutiny of VR to prevent abuse and gaslighting: “We haven’t mastered the idea of how we maintain boundaries within virtual and digital and now we’re going to start connecting all of these other systems. So maybe it’s time to start thinking a little bit more deeply.”

With that said, there actually is a VR MMORPG in development. Yoshinori Yamagishi, who formerly produced Star Ocean and Valkyrie Profile, is working on a new title called Monobit VR. You can take a glimpse of this title after the break.

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