Virtual reality (or whatever term some picky people would like to apply to it) is the hot new thing. Conventional businesses are trying to incorporate it into their plans, and nothing shouts "conventional business" like a hardware store. To that end, US hardware chain Lowe's is working on some interesting ways to get customers involved in their renovation projects, even before they start putting down plastic sheets. At a few stores in Colorado and Ohio, Lowe's has created special VR stations that will let you recreate an entire room, then swap out 3D appliances, apply different paint colors, and do all kinds of home improvement things while seeing the results in real time with an Oculus Rift headset. Read More
According to my Steam statistics, I've played approximately 162 hours of Just Cause 2, a significant portion of which was spent grappling members of the Panauan armed forces to lit fuel containers to make them zoom away like man-sized Roman candles. Avalanche Studios' open-world magnum opus seems to nail what larger franchises like Grand Theft Auto forgot years ago: the most fun you can get from a sandbox game is in blowing large parts of said sandbox to smithereens.
So it's no wonder that the sequel, Just Cause 3, is making waves months before its release. In addition to the standard shooting/driving setup and the unique parachute/grapple hook mechanic of the previous game, the third entry will give players infinite batches of C4 explosives and a wingsuit for even more ways to traverse the massive game world. Read More
If you haven't been able to grab a free Google Cardboard VR headset from various trade shows, under-supplied OnePlus promotions, Conan O'Brien, or anyone else, there's one more option. FreeVRGoggles.com does what it says on the box, so to speak: if you're a United States resident over the age of 18, just enter an address and an email and they'll send you a free Google Cardboard unit. (You can probably use a fake email address... and you might want to.) Slip your phone inside and you get access to all the compatible apps on the Play Store. Why? That's an interesting question. Read More
Since debuting at last year's I/O, Google's Cardboard effort hasn't slowed down. Google has been making it easier and easier for manufacturers and developers to hop on board with its vision of virtual reality, and the project got some major updates yesterday. On stage, Google showed off a new Cardboard viewer that accommodates bigger phones (including those running iOS), 360 degree videos, and expeditions for classrooms.
Just last month, Google announced its "Works with Cardboard" program, along with new design guidelines and today Google has released an app that will make those guidelines tangible for VR developers and designers - Cardboard Design Lab. Read More
What everyone thought was an innocent little experiment from Google during last year's I/O has turned into a full-on Virtual Reality venture from the company. Cardboard, a piece of actual cardboard that you fold and insert your phone in for a make-shift low-cost VR display, has been getting more focus and momentum over the past year with 500 compatible apps and over 1 million viewers sold or given away. That rise culminated with a few announcements at yesterday's I/O keynote.
First, the Cardboard hardware has been redesigned to be simpler to disassemble and put together, as well as work with bigger devices that have screens up to 6" in size. Read More
With Cardboard, it seems that Google is in the middle of an effort to push VR along as quickly as possible by inviting everyone to participate.
Since launching the viewer with an open-sourced design, Google has gone on to promote Cardboard-compatible apps, provide viewer specifications, and publish SDKs, encouraging more developers and would-be Cardboard manufacturers to join the party. Ostensibly the philosophy is that VR will reach its potential faster if everyone works together.
Today, Google has announced a new "Works with Cardboard" program to equip developers and manufacturers with even more tools.
For manufacturers, Google will release a tool that configures any viewer to work with all apps. Read More
Google Cardboard is a pretty cool concept. But making your own headset for the novelty of a handful of VR apps is a daunting task, if only because it requires some very specific lenses and magnets inside all that cardboard. LG is hoping to alleviate that concern, at least for new buyers of its G3 flagship phone, by giving them a free Cardboard headset. Even better, it's not actually made out of cardboard - it's good old-fashioned plastic, which should stand up to a few more beatings. Of course that messes with the name somewhat - maybe they should call it Google Plastic? Read More
Yesterday, Google Cardboard revealed that Maps has a pretty awesome easter egg hidden in plain sight - users can take a look at streetview through Cardboard with a simple tap.
As the gif below explains, users need only double-tap the "look around" FAB in streetview to trigger a stereoscopic view of the location they've looked up.
Slide your phone into a Cardboard viewer, and you can "see the sights" just like you were there (as long as you've got a fast connection, anyway). Read More
The foldable cardboard VR kits Google gave away at I/O 2014 weren't just a one-off stunt. Today, in its developers blog, Google had some big announcements for the home-brewed virtual reality viewer.
First up, Google has grouped a handful of Cardboard-compatible apps into their own collection on the Play Store. The Cardboard app itself has also received an update, with the ability to discover cardboard apps on the Play Store, and launch them directly from the viewer.
Google has also introduced new Cardboard SDKs for Android and Unity in an effort to make developing for the cardboard box a little bit easier. Read More