Access Android Games Immediately With Google Play Instant

The age of instant gratification just got even more addictive thanks to Google’s new Google Play Instant, which comprises Android apps and games that do not need to be installed before people can try them out. The tech giant announced the upgrade at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Available games include Supercell’s “Clash Royale,” Zynga’s “Words with Friends 2,” King’s “Bubble Witch 3 Saga” and Hothead’s “Mighty Battles.” These and more are already available on over 1 billion Android devices.

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Google Maps Helps Develop Real-World Gaming Experiences

Google is enabling game developers to create “Pokémon Go”-like experiences in which game elements are embedded into real-world maps using the new Google Maps API and the Unity game engine. Over 200 games are already in development. Next Games is developing a game based on the popular TV series “The Walking Dead,” and NBCUniversal and Ludia will release a “Jurassic World Alive” location-based game for mobile. Because Google Maps updates in real time, developers can create gaming experiences with a sharp eye on reality.

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AR Developers Make Their Cases for First Uses of Technology

Turning the car’s windshield into an AR screen for navigation, a mobile AR device that helps the blind navigate the real world, and a mobile app to envision that couch from the furniture store in your living room. These are all real-world AR applications that their creators are touting as a good first step into nascent consumer products. GlobalData research director Avi Greengart, who moderated the CES 2018 panel on augmented reality, noted that AR developers have had to find a way to create customized solutions using limited existing hardware and software.
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Google Unveils Poly API for Adding Free 3D Objects to AR/VR

Google just introduced Poly API, a spin-off of its recently introduced Poly, which is a large collection of royalty-free 3D objects and scenes that developers can integrate into their VR or AR apps and games. Poly API is aimed to allow developers to discover and work with assets in virtual reality. By providing such easy-to-use, high quality assets (which can be modified), Google hopes to help developers speed-up completion of AR and VR apps, thus providing more content for its Daydream platform. Continue reading Google Unveils Poly API for Adding Free 3D Objects to AR/VR

Unity, Filmmaker Neill Blomkamp Partner on Creative Project

Game engine Unity and filmmaker Neill Blomkamp (“Elysium,” “District 9”) have partnered to create a more fleshed out version of “Adam,” a short proof-of-concept film that Unity released to show off its Cinemachine movie creation tools. At the same time, Unity debuted a new version of Cinemachine, software that allows users to direct their own CG films. Blomkamp is an ideal partner, having just launched his own studio, Oats, and released three videos (“Rakka,” “Firebase,” “Zygote”) and other shorter projects. Continue reading Unity, Filmmaker Neill Blomkamp Partner on Creative Project

Google Debuts Spatial Audio SDK for Immersive Experiences

Google has launched Resonance Audio, a spatial audio software development kit based on technology from the company’s current VR Audio SDK. The latter was introduced with the Cardboard SDK in January 2016 and then integrated into the main Google VR SDK in May of the same year. The goal with Resonance Audio is to make it easier to develop for mobile and desktop platforms. The VR SDK audio engine already supports multiple platforms, but Google recognized that it could be “confusing and time-consuming” to work with various audio tools. Continue reading Google Debuts Spatial Audio SDK for Immersive Experiences

OTOY Uses Blockchain Tech for Distributed Cloud Rendering

The technology underlying Bitcoin is now under development to render 3D visual effects. Los Angeles-based OTOY, which provides a GPU-based software system to create a cloud-based pipeline for 3D content, is hoping to raise as much as $134 million to develop Rndr, distributed cloud rendering for VR and other content, via blockchain technology. HBO and Discovery have invested in OTOY, which has also partnered with Facebook and Mattel. Relying on cloud-based GPUs for rendering is a much less expensive solution than supercomputers. Continue reading OTOY Uses Blockchain Tech for Distributed Cloud Rendering

Google Debuts Software Tools for AR App, Web Developers

Google just released ARCore, software to enable developers to more easily create augmented reality apps. The company took its first step into augmented reality in 2014, when it introduced Tango, its 3D mapping system. But it had a hard time getting Android phone makers to make the necessary hardware upgrades to foster widespread AR adoption. Google now hopes that, rather than expensive hardware upgrades, developers will be more enticed by its software solution for allowing apps and sites to track physical objects and overlay them with virtual images. Continue reading Google Debuts Software Tools for AR App, Web Developers

Mira’s $99 Prism Turns Apple’s iPhone Into an AR Headset

For Apple iPhone users looking forward to augmented reality, there will soon be another option to looking at images on the phone’s screen. Due to launch later this year, the Mira Prism, which looks like a sun visor or welder’s mask that fits over the user’s head, will reflect AR’s 3D images in front of the user’s face — and only costs $99. The visor comes from Los Angeles-based company Mira, founded by students from the inaugural class of USC’s Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and the Business of Innovation. Continue reading Mira’s $99 Prism Turns Apple’s iPhone Into an AR Headset

Unity’s Cinemachine Designed for Animation, Games, Movies

At the Unite Europe conference in Amsterdam, more than 1,400 game developers examined tools and innovations from game engine company Unity. Among those was the virtual camera system Cinemachine, which makes it easier for even neophyte content creators to get creative with animation, games, eSports, cinematics and movie pre-visualization. Unity’s Asset Store offers free 3D models and environments, including the Adam character from last year’s impressive tech demo. The engine also offers generic animations that can be applied to characters. Continue reading Unity’s Cinemachine Designed for Animation, Games, Movies

Unity CEO Reframes XR Discussion, Re-Energizes the Flock

Unity Technologies CEO John Riccitiello drew a fresh picture of the XR industry in his keynote address at the Vision VR/AR Summit 2017 in Hollywood this week (extended reality — or XR — is an umbrella term that includes VR, AR and MR). Riccitiello admonished analysts for their overly exuberant prognostications and reactionary pessimism about the VR market. He projected that XR adoption and value calculations will exceed expectations in 2023 if three conditions are met: a price point below $1,000 for all the necessary hardware; truly mobile technology; and content that can be monetized across 100,000,000 devices, at minimum. Continue reading Unity CEO Reframes XR Discussion, Re-Energizes the Flock

NAB 2017: A Look at the Evolving Trends in VR and AR Audio

At the ETC conference on VR/AR, Source Sound VR’s Linda Gedemer moderated a panel of audio experts to talk about today’s VR audio tools, the trends animating VR audio, and their wish list for future technology. Everyone agreed that the audio toolsets for VR/AR seem to change nearly every day, although a handful of tools — such as Dolby Atmos and game tool Wwise — stand out as being widely accepted in this industry sector. Panelists from OSSIC, Nokia, and Source Sound VR described the toolsets they use. Continue reading NAB 2017: A Look at the Evolving Trends in VR and AR Audio

Microsoft Camera Rig Gives HoloLens Developers Video Hack

Microsoft has come up with a new camera rig that allows HoloLens mixed reality app makers to capture video from a HoloLens and make it easier to show a person interacting with that app, something Microsoft dubs “spectator view.” The details of the hardware-software combo were published as open source on the HoloLens’ GitHub page. The HoloLens headset is wireless, which lets the user move around the room freely, and is based on four cameras, lightly tinted lenses and a holographic processing unit. Continue reading Microsoft Camera Rig Gives HoloLens Developers Video Hack

Facebook Opens Gameroom to Unity Developers, PC Gamers

Facebook just announced that its PC gaming platform, Gameroom (formerly dubbed Facebook Games Arcade), is now open for all developers. The app is also available to users, for Windows 7 and up. Developers using the upcoming Unity 5.6 game engine will be able to export their games directly to the Gameroom platform. The new platform most closely resembles Valve’s Steam, which boasts 125 million active users. But Facebook is counting on its 1.71 billion monthly active users to intrigue developers and gamers alike. Continue reading Facebook Opens Gameroom to Unity Developers, PC Gamers

Industry Visionaries Discuss VR Production at Oculus Connect

Best practices for remaining on budget, the importance of planning and testing, whether to capture in mono or stereoscopic 3D, techniques for directing talent, and how to treat (or not to treat) VR environments were among the many topics discussed during a compelling panel about creating 360-degree video at the Oculus Connect 3 conference in San Jose last week. Four accomplished virtual reality production executives and technologists shared their practical knowledge and recommendations for navigating the uncharted waters of budgeting and producing VR content. Continue reading Industry Visionaries Discuss VR Production at Oculus Connect

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