Plantronics RIG 4VR: PlayStation VR Gets A Big Aural Plus

RIG Surround Package

One key element to a great Virtual Reality experience is immersive sound quality and out of the box, Sony’s PlayStation VR is somewhat lacking thanks to the budget-minded earbuds packed in with the unit. While far from terrible, it’s hard to feel fully dialed in with those teeny buds tickling your eardrums. Fortunately, the fine folks at Plantronics got on the case and have come up with a great solution with their great RIG 4VR headset (MSRP $69.99). Officially licensed, they match the PS VR perfectly, fit over the big headset with an adjustable headband, connect to your PS4 in one of a few ways and yes, sound absolutely great for the price point. Continue reading

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Home Sweet Home Will Scare The Leftover Turkey Right Out of You

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Eeek. I made it about ten minutes into the demo for Thailand-based developer YGGGAME’s upcoming horror game Home Sweet Home before tapping out for the first time, too scared out of my skull to move another inch. Of course, I wisely (or not so wisely) went back and restarted, determined to push on through my nearly squeezing my poor mouse to death. Let’s just say you’re all very fortunate I’m not some YouTube streamer with a loyal or any following, as the assorted sounds I was making were often creepier than the demo, which is absolutely nightmarish and so far, very well done.

I’ll let the official site’s version of the story lull you into its spell here:

Tim’s life has drastically changed since his wife disappeared mysteriously. One night, after suffering from sorrow for a long time, he woke up in an unknown place instead of his house. While trying to escape from this place, he was hunted by a rancorous female spirit. Can he survive? Is this place actually his house? Does it relate to the disappearance of his wife? Some dark sinister secret is hidden inside this house, and it won’t be a place of happiness as it used to be any longer.

What actually happens in the demo is you wake up with a hangover in a messy, unfamiliar bedroom you don’t recall (was that your wife’s voice telling you to get up?) and when you open the door, the stack of furniture in front of it is the first fright because it’s unexpected and wait? Was someone trying to keep you IN that room? Fortunately, there’s a flashlight under the table you’re crawling under that comes in very handy. A walk through a few filthy hallways and rooms leads to a simple puzzle where you need to find a key to get out of a suddenly locked room… but after that, it’s a descent into almost peeing yourself.

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Today’s Freak-Out, Courtesy of DreadOut

Seriously twisted and interactive to boot, this icky video from talented Indonesian developer Digital Happiness wants to mess with your day in a big way. This VR-enabled teaser for DreadEye almost makes me want to try a VR horror game, but I don’t want to be found dead on the couch with those damn goggles strapped to my head. That would be somewhat expensive and embarrassing, right? Right.

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Oh, by the way… DreadOut is on sale until November 1 for a mere $2.99. Get it, I say.

HoloGrid: A Few Days Left to Get This AR Card Game Funded

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Up until recently, I didn’t think I’d be a big supporter of Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality, but a bunch of hands-on sessions have me convinced that these are great ways to keep entertained and both are worthy of attention depending on what you’re looking for. AR is a far more affordable and less setup-based solution that’s also (in my opinion) more immersive as a real world thing because you play without your head enclosed in a pair of pricey goggles that require some major horsepower to run out of the box. You can also take an AR experience with you and share it with anyone without lugging around a ton of equipment. One excellent example would be HoloGrid: Monster Battle, from Phil Tippett and developer Happy Giant, now in its final days on Kickstarter. I took the plunge after a demo and if you’re into collectible cards, monsters, stop motion and an all-in-one game package that DOESN’T rely on microtransactons, you probably need this game. I’ll shut up here and let you do some required reading and clicking…

Star Wars VFX Legend Discusses Future of AR for Gaming & Film
Phil Tippett & HoloGrid Designer discuss next gen AR & HoloGrid as a Platform

 

steadfastWith only THREE days left, the HoloGrid: Monster Battle Kickstarter Campaign is going strong and has nearly reached it’s funding goal. In a recent conversation with Phil Tippett and HappyGiant President and Lead Designer Mike Levine, the two discussed ambitions for the new game, and the future of AR gaming and film.

“This is just the beginning for HoloGrid, and AR Gaming” said Levine. “We’d love to not only bring other IP into it, like Yu-Gi-Oh, Star Wars, Starship Troopers, and others, but our goal is to have it be one of the first next gen AR games available, as new systems roll out.”

 

“It’s the Wild West”, Tippett added, “Tippett Studio is excited about the endless possibilities working with augmented reality. We love to play, and this gives us new, fertile ground to play in with HappyGiant.”

 

“We envision using all the capabilities coming with next gen AR systems”, said Levine. “From 3D motion tracking and depth sensing, hand and eye tracking, and more – the creatures don’t have to just be holograms on a board game-like experience on your table, they can be all across your living room, on bookshelves and counter tops … underneath your desk!”

 

As new AR tech comes to market (Cast AR, HoloLens and more) HappyGiant hopes to bring the game to new platforms. It was built from the ground up to play today on mobile devices, and to be portable to next-gen AR systems as they emerge.

Below the jump are 5 more things you should know about this game!

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HoloGrid: Monster Battle – Tippet-ting the Scales With A Cool VR/AR Game

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HoloGrid Monster Battle is coming soon from developer HappyGiant and Tippett Studio. Yep, that Phil Tippett. Here’s a teaser trailer to ogle and wonder about making some table space for. Your family game night just got a bit more interesting:

A “Hybrid” Board Game, Collectible Card Game (CCG), and Digital Game in one, it delivers to players a new type of gaming experience.

While this sort of thing has been attempted previously (most notably in Sony’s fun but somewhat unwieldy to set up Eye of Judgment for the PS3 back in 2007), the VR/AR aspects of this may make HoloGrid more acceptable as it can be played across a wider range of already available phones and tablets. Additionally, playing on a mobile device means the game may find an larger audience among casual to core gamers if it’s as cool as it looks (and that nostalgia factor kicks in for us older farts who love stop-motion animation). More info is on the way on this one, but it looks promising enough to be a “next big thing” even without the popular license. Of course, if Disney wants to throw a chunk of money at Tippett and HappyGiant, I’d think they wouldn’t turn it down flat. As usual, we shall see.

Gallery: Niten


 

“Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world”
– Miyamoto Musashi

That quote from Musashi’s classic The Book of Five Rings is seemingly what Edinburgh, Scotland-based indie developer Donald Macdonald is aiming to convey with Niten, an upcoming first-person exploration game currently available for backing on Kickstarter that blazed through the Steam Greenlight approval process in a mere ten days. Created with Unreal Engine 4 and Speedtree assets, MacDonald’s interactive adventure looks absolutely glorious with an open world beckoning to be fully explored as the story plays out:

In search of the past and the present find yourself lost on a remote island off the coast of Japan. Uncover the mystery where ancient Japanese culture meets breathtaking scenery, blossoming cherry trees and a sky that tells a story in its self. Watch the weather turn and see the sun go down, feel the chill of the morning mist and let the glowing fireflies guide you as you search to uncover the truth of the island.

 

As for that island, let’s take a look at some gorgeous screenshots below the jump. Passports ready? Good. We’re off: Continue reading

PC Review: ADR1FT

ADR1FT Screenshot 01Platform: PC

Developer: three one zero LLC

Publisher: 505 Games

# of Players: 1

MSRP: $19.99

ESRB Rating: T (Teen)

Official Site

Score: A (90%)
If you’re one who normally plays games on a smaller screen laptop or monitor, ADR1FT is most likely going to make you want a bigger screen as soon as possible. Of course, I’m saying this as someone whose first introduction to the experience was back when it was running on another engine and 505 Games premiered an early console and PC VR demo in a movie theater where on the big screen the scope was quite impressive indeed. That scale is far more thrilling with the complete overhaul/upgrade to the Unreal 4 Engine, but it works best on the biggest display you can get even if it means popping over to a friend’s place to show off the finished product.

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Forget the “walking simulator” labels the game is getting from the limited vocabulary crowd, throw out your science degrees or overly critical eye for complete accuracy (it’s a videogame, NOT a NASA sim), strap yourself in and prepare for a quietly wild ride. ADR1FT is less of a straight adventure game and more of a deliberately paced and tension filled trip into space where survival is key if only to discover how it all ends. The game works as both a visual treat for the eyes as well as a great example of the promise of virtual reality as a viable entertainment option (provided you currently own or plan to buy one of the VR headsets being hard marketed this year).

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ADR1FT Floats Onto Steam – VR, Consoles to Follow

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“Here am I floating round my tin can. Far above the Moon. Planet Earth is blue. And there’s nothing I can do…”

 

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While PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and VR-enabled PC and PS4 versions of threeonezero’s ADR1FT are still in the works, PC gamers with Steam accounts and rigs with decent specs can now purchase the game for $19.99. Even without the added virtual reality functionality 505 Games has a hit here that should go along way in convincing even the most ardent skeptic about the viability of VR for certain gaming and entertainment purposes.

Of course, getting past the new breed of hard-core internet skeptics who dub these sort of first-person experiences “walking simulators” (Bleh. There’s no “walking” here, as you play an astronaut stranded on a partially destroyed space station who needs to figure out what happened) will be the game’s biggest hurdle with the second issue for some being the estimated 4-6 hours it takes to complete the game. Length really isn’t something to whine about here as the game has enough elements to make it replayable as well as a conversation piece to show off for the outstanding Unreal 4-powered visuals.

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And if you really want to show off something even more physical, you can boogie on over to iam8bit.com to check out their cool online shop and snag one of those cool ADR1FT Collector’s Edition boxes for $54.95. That price nets you two digital codes for the game (PC and Oculus Rift VR versions), one of two different 756 piece jigsaw puzzles, a nice embroidered HAN-1V patch and a pack of “tasty” astronaut ice cream, all in a big box for safekeeping (but probably not guaranteed to survive being sent into actual space).

There’s A(nother) Rift Coming To The Gaming Scene…

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The “big” news to some in gaming this past week was the announcement of the final price and launch date for the consumer model of the Oculus Rift, one of a few virtual reality devices that look to be the next big thing in entertainment. $599 (not including shipping, sales tax or customs fees where those are charged) gets you the headset with built-in headphones and mic, sensor, an Xbox One controller and one Oculus Remote plus two games, Lucky’s Tale and access to the online multiplayer space combat game EVE: Valkyrie. Oculus plans another 100 games by the end of 2016 including at least 20 games exclusive to the Rift, but as with any new platform promising the moon too regularly to its rabid early adopters, those numbers are subject to change.

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As far as the news goes, that’s all good and well, but if you go into this Rift deal with big eyes as an under-informed sort of modern gamer thinking all you’ll be spending is that $600 (not including shipping, sales tax or customs fees where those are charged), you’ve got another think coming… Continue reading

Battlezone Trailer: Rebellion’s Newest Makes Me Feel Very Old

As someone who spent plenty of time in the arcades and at home playing the original Battlezone and its Atari 2600 port respectively and later the pretty awesome PC game and the not so awesome looking but still enjoyable N64 version, this newest take on the classic makes my bones ache. It sure looks spectacular and fast as can be, but the more Tron-like vibe and gaudy color scheme is very mildly rubbing me the wrong way. But that’s solely because I haven’t played the game yet. Sometimes it takes getting used to a visual style choice to fully enjoy a reboot, but I’m not going to be one of those internet whiners ranting about cosmetics. I trust veteran developer Rebellion enough that I feel comfortable that once I have my paws wrapped around a controller (and VR or no VR), I’ll be grinning nostalgically and having to have someone drag me away from the game at some point.

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Word has it that Rebellion may also be redoing the late 90’s PC game as well, which would be excellent if they went with a more “realistic” look to that one while adding elements from their popular Sniper Elite series. Hopefully, we’ll also see this on the Vita either as a Cross Play/Cross Buy or standalone solo and multiplayer game just because the handheld needs a bonafide smash hit. Tanks are ALWAYS awesome and there aren’t any decent portable games with them these days. Eh, we’ll see as usual. Oh, if someone at Atari isn’t looking at either Star Raiders or Space Lords as possible future reboots, they need to start doing just that. Technology has finally made making even more definitive versions of both classics possible and on multiple platforms as that. Get on it, people – call me if you need some ideas. I work cheap (but not free!).