Immersive News Round-Up August 2019 (part 2)

Welcome to part 2 of August’s Immersive News Round-Up!  If you read part 1 you will know how action packed the month began!  So this time I thought it would be helpful for you if I categorised this blog into sections.  I will call-out that this is subjective to what I would term as items belonging to each category so scan the other areas in case something of interest to you is hiding elsewhere because of my sorting skills!!!

Alrighty then, let’s go []-)

Immersive Market News:

Holographic content company investment success via Tipatat

VR is a turning point for the Spa & Wellness industries via Forbes

Rec Room is now accessible via iPhone and iPad via Shawn Whiting

6D.ai are partnering with Qualcomm to create shared experiences between HMD & Smartphones for the first time (including ability to support android devices now!) via 6D.ai

AltspaceVR comes to Oculus Quest on 12th September via AltspaceVR

SideQuest has more active users reported than that of the Rift.  Developers and players alike are flocking to this store for content via SideQuestVR

Respects:

Nate Mitchell, last remaining co-founder at Oculus leaves via Nate Mitchell

MRTV YouTube Kickstarter campaign is a success 

Jaroslav Beck (Co-Founder of Beatsaber) gives back to the community via Jaroslav Beck

AR Content:

6d.ai 3D model advancements via Matt Miesnieks

Can you tell the difference between a real sandwich and an AR one via Helen Papagiannis, Ph.D

Interesting use of LightSpace AR app to retrace your steps via Bobby Carlton

VR Content:

No Man’s Sky released in VR via Loki Eliot

West World Awakening comes to VR via West World HBO

Community member Phased Dragon manages to get Google Lens to work inside VR via Educators In VR

Immersive Art & Design Content

Rec Room Marker creations via Shawn Whiting

Rec Room 2D art Contest via Shawn Whiting

VR Chat user created space via Lakuza

VR Artists share their processes via Kent Bye

VR Dev:

How to build virtual worlds as a new form of self expression via Ryan Schultz

Google Sign language AI turns hand gestures into speech via Optomize Ltd

VRTK version 4 needs your support via The Stone Fox

Oculus Insight AI Tracking explanation video via Oculus

VR Hardware:

VR treadmill via Evan Kirstel

Feel Real sensory mask breaks their silence with an update via Feel Real

Sad news that the new Samsung Galaxy Note 10 doesn’t support the Samsung Gear VR Headset.  This could see the beginning of the end for the Samsung Gear VR.

In the same article, from UploadVR, the same scenario has happened with the new Google Pixel 3a not supporting Daydream either.

VR Events:

This month I attended & presented in virtual reality Disneyland thanks to Chuck Webster’s Disney Data Analytics & Immersive tech event in Altspace!

Bigscreen releases a Modern Cinema with launch party via Bigscreen VR

Lindsey Stirling performs live as a virtual reality avatar thanks to WaveXR via Andy Fidel 

Opportunities:

HTC Vive The Global Accelerator Program accepting applications until the end of September

Panel opportunity to showcase use cases in enterprise & beyond via Myra B

Unity Student Ambassador Program accepting applications via Unity

Showcase your Start-Up at SXSW Pitch 2020.  Deadline 15th November via Amy Peck

Podcasts & Talks

John Carmack appears on the Joe Rogan Podcast via John Carmack

XR for Business – publishing 3 podcasts a week now so you are spoiled for choice here!

Further reading/resources:

Using Immersive Tools & Spatial Networks (Social VR & Social AR) for Education & Remote Teaching by Andy Fidel

Walmart CEO says that VR Training saved lives in El Paso shooting via Stanford VR

Female Disruptors Site Launched via Navah Berg

Research:

How do we further advance the science of therapeutic VR? via Brennan Spiegel, MD

Bit of personal news as well from me – I’m a published author!

How VR helps with Mental Health via Kier Simmons

Other news:

Women who are long serving, respected, talented and admired in the gaming/tech industry have made serious accusations of sexual harassment & assault dating back several years.  The Gaming industry is experiencing its own ‘Me Too’ movement.  Sadly the virtual reality community is not untouched as Oculus Co-Founder, Michael Antonov, is also accused too.  This is NOT OK.  Although I am pleased to see the reactions of the entire community coming together to comfort and support the brave women who are voicing what happened to them.

A number of job vacancies this month have started to specify a need for virtual & augmented reality market awareness for their candidate required skills via Suzanne Lee & Cameron Brown

Phew – fantastic to see so much hard work, collaborations and progress happening across the industry!  I’m seriously going to have to figure out how to anchor sections in this blog or perhaps even break these fortnightly blogs down into sub sections eg go back to a category a page again!!!

Thanks for reading!  Take care and see you again in 2 weeks time []-)
Suzanne

Immersive News Round-Up August 2019 (part 1)

The schools might be out but the immersive community are definitely in!  Everyone is working hard to bring us some action packed updates this month!  There’s actually so much going on that I’ve decided to split this monthly round-up into 2 parts – a mid-month update and then another end of month update.

(AR Hardware) NReal AR glasses due to launch early 2020

(VR Market) BigScreen VR to launch on Playstation VR in 2020:

(AR Content) DoodleLens 1.2 is released so now you can animate your drawings in AR too!  Nice work!

(AR Content) A really cool looking AR Book Effect

(Health VR: Research) VR Memory palaces – “We found that virtual memory palaces in HMD condition provide a superior memory recall ability compared to the desktop condition.” I (Suzanne)  quoted this research paper in my Springer Series contribution called Biomedical Visualisation volume 3 which is due for release later this month.  Its such a fascinating area and my VR for dementia work that I do with Pivotal Reality falls into this perfectly.

(Virtual Reality equipment/hardware) VR bungee is now a thing and it looks like fun!

(VR Content Creation) YouTube’s VR Creator Lab is open to applicants!  I looked at this when it came to London last month.  Note that one of the conditions is that you need to 10k subscribers to apply…  On that note… don’t forget to check out & sub my YouTube channel…!  ;-D ty

(Immersive Market) 5 Ways Technology is Transforming the Healthcare Industry [Infographic]

(AR Hardware) Leap Motion’s North Star is the DK1 of AR: hands-on preview and how to buy it!

(AR Filters/content) Body Tracking AR filters

(VR Hardware Market) Zuckerberg to Shareholders: ‘Quest is selling as fast as we can make them’

(AR design/hardware) AR Glasses could offer hands-free communication without saying a word

(VR Software) Couple of months ago a metaverse working group did a field test for traversing disparate virtual worlds to see how they interconnect.  I absolutely love this and think it is an important design mechanic that we should be looking at for connectivity & accessibility purposes!  It’s a fascinating read []-)

(VR Event) OC6 registration is now live!  I can’t go so if you are going to attend then make sure you all tweet content out for me… pretty please!  I’ll look to see if there will be a VR event somewhere to cover the livestream and join in that way for now perhaps…

(VR Event) So Tenacious D went a played a live concert in VR thanks to Oculus Venues and I went along!!!  What a belter, loved it and yes, I will be going to more concerts & events like this in VR.  So should you too!

If you are interested in a re-cap of the Tenacious D concert then I create this YouTube video.  No actual concert footage was allowed but I felt it was important to document this special moment in history in some fashion so that was the rationale behind this video.

(Immersive Resources & Insight & advertising) The Immersive Directory launched the first wave of their blog series!  I am totally honoured to report that I was one of the first contributors alongside so many talented others!

(AR Developer Support) I honestly like the personal touch of this next piece.  The MagicLeapers are lending out a helping hand to the developer community by providing their Open Hours with Developer Relations Programme.  I know of some others who could perhaps benefit from adopting that style of relationship building and support.

(VR Design) Embodying taller avatars can make us feel more confident in real life

(AR content creation) Facebook wants Quill to be a one-stop shop for VR animators

(VR use case) The Future of Virtual Reality in the Workplace – a topic close to my heart!  The ability to connect with people as an embodied presence within a virtual environment is pretty magical.  That’s the reason I am such an advocate of social VR!!  Being able to connect with you wherever you are whilst I am sitting in Scotland is mind-blowingly awesome!!!

(AR Content) AR being used at the Tate Museum to help bring the stories about the pieces of art to life for attendees

(AR Content) Can we bring back famous scientists from history as virtual tutors telling us about how they thought about their discoveries?  Sooooo cool right?!

(Immersive Market Insight) Apple has posted job vacancies for AR & VR positions!  Speculation is for Apple branded AR Glasses to be released in 2020/2021 but we will see… 

(AR Hardware) Startup Human Capable’s ‘Norm Glasses’ AR Smartglasses Are Like Google Glass in a Regular Pair of Shades

(VR Content) A VR comic experience coming soon! I’m interested in seeing this a) because I think the idea of a virtual comic experience is ace and b) because they  mention that they use Quill 2.0 and I only recently found out about Quill from the tweet quoted above in  this blog.  So that’s quite exciting!

(VR Health: Research) How VR is helping a girl with chronic pain in having a better life

(VR Content) Man oh man, I love this next one.  Differently Fast is a competitive game that you need to check out.  It is indeed different but absolutely beautifully different in that you are competing to be the fasted at wheelchair racing.  I love this so much and don’t even get me started on the inclusive side of things ❤

(Immersive use cases) How AR VR will disrupt the travel & photography industry via Tech for Travel’s How Smart Tech is Improving Your Travel Blog

(VR Health: Research) Surgical Training Validation Study at UCLA

(VR Market) Sad to hear that Vreal has shut up shop.  Wishing everybody involved all the best with their next steps.

(VR Creation, Design & Developer Resource) VR Production considerations, questions to consider, UX, costs

(VR Showcase/Use Case) Acadicus is a virtual learning platform that allows anyone to teach and learn in VR by providing everything needed to access, create and share content created by instructors.

(VR Health: Research) Future of Neuroscience & VR report that was compiled by the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research

(VR Hardware/Controllers) The etee VR controllers from a company called TG0 can detect where a user’s fingers are and how much pressure is being applied

(AR Market / Use case) Google AR Maps has started rolling out on Android and iOS

(VR Metaverse / Software / Design) Kim Nevelsteen wants to create the Metaverse by offering the glue to connect already existing online virtual worlds

(VR Research / publication opportunity) Submit your research to a forthcoming special section of the British Journal of Educational Technology

(AR Market / Insight) Snap to raise $1 billion to invest in AR, possible acquisitions

(AR Hardware) Moving beyond traditional fitness trackers that you wear on your wrists, the FORM Swim Goggles actually bring AR to you during your swim

(AR Content / Creation) Create a VR tour of your classroom using a regular phone + Google Street View App + Google Tour Creator

I told you this month has already been action packed!  Is there anything here that particularly caught your eye?  I purposely embedded the tweets to share my sources with you so that you can pursue more out for yourself.  If, however, you ever want to get in touch so that readers can hear about your immersive product, service, tools, tricks, resources, publications then by all means please do get in touch!  I am here to showcase the immersive industry after-all, well VR is my passion but I do love it’s cousins too and to be honest, I don’t see too many other places helping to shine a light on immersive tech so why not me, right?!

Thanks for tuning in, take care & see you all again in 2 weeks time.
Suzanne

Immersive News Round-Up July 2019

The Immersive Industry, like the weather, is heating up!  It’s been a while since I created and published a News Round-Up blog post but this month, or last week really I have noticed a spike of activity that I feel is worth sharing with you all.

(Accelerator) WXR Accelerator closes at the end of this month
If your XR/Spatical Computing or AI company has a female founder or gender diverse leadership team then you should check out this 12 week accelerator opportunity out!

I’ve followed this initiative from the beginning, my 1st blog with Suzanne Showcasing VR was about attending the live pitching session for the 1st Cohort in AltSpaceVR! I applied for the 2nd Cohort myself and would recommend submitting an application because even if you are rejected you receive valuable feedback that helps you to improve.

(VR Content) Amazon launches Prime Video VR for Oculus Go, Quest & Gear

(VR Content) Rejected Oculus Quest game, Jigsaw360, becomes the 1st paid side-loaded Quest game.

(Social VR) Bigscreen VR releases 50+ new free VR channels plus has 6000 users registered for the live streaming of the SpaceX Dragon launch

(Social VR) Oculus Venues comes to Oculus Quest with new events such as Tenacious D live in concert

(VR Gaming) World Cyber Games VR Championship – 18th-21st July 2019

(Dev) Launch of Nreal’s platform in beta for developing mixed reality experiences

More information can be found using this link

(Accelerator) Oculus Launch Pad applications are open
For more information and to apply check out this link

(Book) Creating Augmented & Virtual Realities book released

(Events/SocialVR) I co-hosted Sharing Memories in Virtual Reality with Andy Fidel in AltSpaceVR

(Art) Rosie Summers publishes her amazing Tiltbrush ‘My Reality’ masterpiece

(Funding) Knight Foundation offers $750k in Grants for Immersive Tech in the Arts

More information and to apply please see this link

(Tools/Dev) Gravity Sketch now available on Oculus Quest

(Podcast) XR Business with Alan Smithson and Tony ‘SkarredGhost’ Vitillo

Listen to this inspiring podcast to hear more about the XR/Spatial Computing market and the wonders of haptics using this link

(Soon to Launch) VR for Education’s Engage platform to coming to the Oculus Quest

I had the honour of trying it out prior to the public Quest release and made a virtual tour for you!

Bigscreen VR Brings 50 Free Channels To Enjoy Inside The Metaverse!

Exciting news this week from our friends at Bigscreen who have announced an amazing 50+ channels to enjoy in their virtual reality app either by yourself or with friends.  For those who don’t know, Bigscreen was founded in 2014 and publicly launched in March 2016.  I first tried it out using my Oculus Gear headset but the platform has grown in every single way since then!

So, what exactly is Bigscreen VR?
It is a virtual reality experience that allows you to watch TV shows, films, play games or ability to share your desktop for streaming purposes to view on their massive IMAX style cinema screens.  Meaning that you are able to enjoy shows and movies with your friends and family from anywhere in the world.  You can also play games together, work together or just hang out together.  Making it a very cool social VR experience!

If you have never tried any social VR platforms then experiencing things like this can be a little daunting at first.  However, when you first log in to Bigscreen (after registering etc) you are brought into your very own private living room.  It’s big luxurious space that is welcoming with noticeable signs of bling such as your robotic hoover doing the rounds but the massive flatscreen TV on your wall is the main focal point.  Obviously!  In other words, as a first time user you will not be thrown in at the deep end with anybody else.  It’s relaxing and quite exciting to see your new space!  Once you are accustomed and ready to explore outside your living room you bring up your menu to search the options available to you.

From here you are able to browse through the various shows/movies, how many people are in each room already or you can jump through the different locations available to get even more accustomed by yourself if you wish.  The choice is yours.  For those who are a dab hand, perhaps scheduling your own VR screening event is something that interests you, well of course you can do that using this menu option too!

Sounds amazing but how do I do it?
Bigscreen VR can be accessed by all major virtual reality HMDs (Head Mounted Displays/Headsets) – eg Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift S, Oculus Go, Samsung Gear, Valve Index, HP Reverb, all SteamVR & Windows Mixed Reality headsets are supported.

How much does it cost?
It’s all free!!!  There’s no subscription costs, no ticket prices, no upfront lump sum, nothing!  Plus you are guaranteed the best seat in the house every single time!  Don’t want to sit in a house?  Fine, then choose the movie theatre, the campfire or even the nebula if you so wish!  No, I am not kidding… you can head into outer space, in fact, multiple locations are available so chilling on Mars with a movie can be done in 2019.

Bigscreen_moon
Ta Da!  Mars in Bigscreen

What can I actually watch there though?
Great question!  Streaming apps like Netflix & Twitch from your desktop is popular within Bigscreen.  When I jumped in I could see the following channels available (subject to change due to user geographical location):

Featured – Lobby, 3D Trailers, Pluto Movies, Pluto Spotlight, Twitch, Overwatch League, CBS Sports, CNN, Rifftrax Commentry, Bloomberg, Shout TV and Anime.

Movies & TV – Pluto Spotlight, Pluto Movies, Pluto Movies 2, Pluto Action Movies, Classic Movies, Comet, Rifftrax Commentry, Shout TV, Pokemon, Anime All Day and Anime All Ages

Games & Sports – Bull TV, Fox Sports, CBS Sports, RIU 41, Trivia Flash, Nerdist, Twitch and Overwatch League.

News & Finance – CNN, Bloomberg, NBC, Sky News, Newsy, C/Net, Cheddar News, CBS News, Crypto TV, RT America and Weather Nation.

Random – NASA, Monstercat, Chillhop, Fail Army, Hungry, Cats, 3D Trailers, Comedy Central, Stand Up and Bigscreen 2019 Update.

Featured: 3D movies

For me the showstopper and something that was completely new to me was experiencing a Star Wars Movie Trailer in 3D whilst in virtual reality!  I was sceptical because, well, I wasn’t wearing any 3D glasses (lol!) but by golly that was fun!  I watched and initially thought ‘yeah, that’s ok, it’s pretty good given we are in VR’ then my eyes completely adjusted and I was like WOW, that’s the real deal!  It really was in 3D whilst I’m sitting in a virtual reality IMAX theatre with other virtual avatars sitting a few rows in front of me.  It was so bizarre but also so magical!!  I’m not sure if it takes a few moments for eyes to adjust like mine or because I am a glasses wearer who doesn’t use the glasses spacer for Oculus Quest or whether that is something unique to me.  It’s not a common thing for my eyes to take time to adjust like that, however, I watched a Star Wars movie on Netflix last year and my eyes did take time to adjust then too.  So perhaps it is unique to viewing real world motion footage inside VR that my eyes can’t instantly compute.  Actually, thinking about it, I can take a few moments when in a real IMAX theatre watching a 3D movie. I remember Tron taking my eyes a few minutes before they could properly focus on the large screen and the 3D effects before I became naturally immersed into that too.  So, if you are short-sighted like me, you may also experience a few moments of eye adjustment… or may not….

Anyway, I was blown away by how realistic this experience was in Bigscreen.  I was actually disappointed that the movie wasn’t about to start immediately afterwards!  I’ve yet to watch a full feature film in Bigscreen or a full episode for that matter.  Both of which are now on my ‘To Do’ list.

Social VR surprise
I was pleasantly surprised by seeing folks interacting with drawings during a show, demonstrating a level of social interaction that I didn’t expect to see at all.  It looked quite heartwarming from where I was sitting that folks would play around with art/pens whilst at the movies – not something you see in a regular IMAX movie theatre anyways!  I loved it.

Bigscreen_drawing

As a fan of Social VR experiences I will be personally re-visiting Bigscreen to join more viewings.  I want to observe more avatar interactions during different situations to learn more about the impact that Bigscreen VR is having on social VR too.

Hopefully I will see you there next time []-)

Popcorn and movies

Virtual Reality AWE conference – #AWECORE 2019

As a follower of this blog you will already know that I enjoy attending social VR events.  This time I was asked to participate in one!

AWE is an annual event held in San Francisco that is attended by industry pioneers with their latest hardware and software solutions.  It is THE event to attend for anybody who is interested in the immersive technology industry.  In fact Forbes describe the event as ‘The most essential AR/VR Conference and Expo’.  This year is was AWE’s 10th anniversary and thanks to a VR Community initiative it was the first year that it was brought all over the globe thanks to the power of virtual reality – summary below take from MATRIXCORE’s website:

The #AWECORE Mobile Matrix Experience + Global Immersive Events:

AWE is going virtual with a jam-packed calendar of social XR events conceived of and organized by MATRIXCORE. The experience is highly accessible, supporting mobile, desktop and VR platforms. Connect with the global VR/AR community. Learn more and view the schedule of panels, masterclasses, live AWE keynotes, exclusive Q&As and networking events at https://www.matrixcore.co/ 

AWECORE Social VR HQ
The amazing Andy Fidel running the show at AWE’s Social VR AWECORE HQ

Accessible with cross-platform collaborations

Not only could attendees join using virtual reality headsets, desktops or mobile devices but there was also a mixture of virtual reality platform hosts helping out too.  This is the first time that I have attended an event in VR that spread itself out across the industry.  In other words, you could attend x session in platform 1 then attend another session in platform 2.  The Social VR platforms that were included in this 3 day virtual reality #AWECORE conference were: AltSpaceVR, Rumii, Facebook Spaces, Mozilla Hubs, High Fidelity, Rec Room, VRChat, The Expanse VR and NeosVR.  Major kudos to each of them for coming together and making this epic inaugural conference possible.

What’s the point?

Having a virtual reality conference in parallel with your real world conference is such a beneficial use of time.  Not only does it open the doors to new attendees but it also allows for vast brand marketing.  A win win in my book.  As an attendee you are able to be in the same virtual room with extremely inspirational pioneers in the field.  You are able to learn.  You are able to put up your hand and ask a question using your own voice.  You can connect with the speakers.  You can network and meet other audience members as you would in a real world event.   You can come and go and not distract other attendees or speakers.  As a speaker, it allows you to share your story with people who have previously not heard of you before.  Again brand awareness and association is a pretty huge benefit too.  It has just the same benefits as a real world speaking opportunity – great for your reputation & ability to speak in front of an interested audience.

For both attendees and speakers – you can be there regardless of your geographical location.  You save money on travel (flight) costs, accommodation costs, tickets costs, childcare costs, insurance costs and save yourself the stress & time that is involved in all of those steps too.  You arrive on time, focused and ready to start.

AWECORE Topics and Talks 

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The Hosts and Speakers

Speakers1Speakers2Speakers3

The VR Health panel & Experience

I was honoured to participate in a panel discussion alongside Sarah Hill from Healium by StoryUp XR and Veena Somareddy from Neuro Rehab VR and hosted by Chuck Webster from Health Systems Chat in AltSpaceVR.  I attend a lot of social VR events, meetings and occasional conferences so to be able to be part of the panel in Virtual Reality was a personal milestone for me.  Chuck had created a VR space that was a replicate of the AWE location to help us feel like it was the real deal.  I of course took the obligatory selfie as a keepsake!

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AWECORE Buzz

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AWECORE and Social VR (meetings, events & conference) Benefits

The most obvious is that you are opening the global accessibility doors by hosting panels and events in virtual reality!  I, for example, could not have made it to Santa Clara at short notice.  Attendees can save time, money and stress of attending an event if it is hosted in VR.  Locations can be fully customised, branded and created entirely as you wish!  You are able to learn and rub avatar shoulders with the experts in the industry.  Some of which you may never have the opportunity to meet otherwise.  You can ask your questions directly because you are there, you are present.  It doesn’t matter what you are wearing in real life!  It doesn’t matter where you are in the real world!  You can be yourself and not need to worry about, well, anything*.  You can access events by fully immersive channels with a VR headset or in pancake mode via a desktop, tablet or even mobile phone.

Stats and impact – coming soon…

Thank You to the AWECORE organisers, contributers, participants and attendees!

SocialMedia3

The amazing Andy Fidel was the Social VR event lead on this with a small team – Donna McTaggart, Jay W, The Outsider from Neos VR helped organise alongside Andy and I played a tiny part in that too.

Thank you to all the Social VR Platforms for providing Metaverse Spaces for us all to connect and enjoy these events.

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Roundup

I believe this medium is the future of events and conferences.  I say it time and again but it truly is magical.  Being able to pull a headset on and be part of engaging educational sessions with other people from all over the world is best experience aside from being there in real life of course.  Next best is being in attendance using a pc, laptop, tablet or mobile device.  History has been made with this event.  We have seen VR events in varying duration (Merging Realities being the longest of my knowledge being a full day event & also last year’s VR Day celebrations which was also cross platform) but #AWECORE has been 3 days of interactive events that was mindful of accessibility, gender equality and meaningful content.  Well done again to all those involved or who participated or attended!

Hope to see you in the Metaverse again real soon []-)

 

* Should caveat that you should be aware of your real life surroundings whenever wearing a VR headset for health & safety reasons.

Where can I learn more about immersive technologies and content creation?

As a virtual and augmented reality enthusiast I appreciate the importance of learning about creating immersive content.  If I were new to the field, I imagine it would be difficult to know where to even start searching for courses or where to go to start learning from the community.  Your location can be a pivotal factor when it comes to choosing what and where you can learn the skills required for creating VR and AR content.

I’ve tried to break things down by geographical location to help signpost some recommended courses in those areas.

Scotland:

I’m from Scotland and we have a few choices:
Glasgow School of ArtGames and Virtual Reality degree and Serious Games and Virtual Reality degree.  Taught by Dr Paul Chapman and Dr Matthieu Poyade who are pioneers in the field and I have huge admiration for them both.

WebXR Workshops Scotland – I have to confess that I co-host these events with the amazingly talented teacher Danilo Pasquariello.  I’m a student here too and the information that we are taught is fantastic and also welcoming to beginners with no coding experience!

Check out the link for further information on these meetups and get booked in for the next event!

Or if the location is a barrier for you then you may wish to check out Danilo’s Online Udemy course.

Canada:

I was excited to recently find out that Canada is launching it’s first Virtual and Augmented Reality Certificate courtesy of Lethbridge College.  I am a huge fan of Lethbridge College and Mike McCready in particular.  I first met Mike via Twitter as organiser of the Merging Realities – World’s First Full Day Conference in VR.  I attended that last year and you can read my blog about it here.  Ever since then I have watched Mike’s growth in the immersive space from communicating with the community online, learning and sharing his progress through his own VR Degree learning journey, joining the ARVRA Association as the President of the Alberta Chapter, continuing the Merging Realities in 2019 (making it an annual event) and the most recent Lethbridge College Virtual Reality Global Forum event alongside Inventures Canada which is taking place on 6th June 2019 in VR.

Suffice to say that you are in safe hands learning from Mike and the Lethbridge College team!!!  The beauty and appeal of this course is that it is only a 1 year duration which will be spent focusing on 4 areas:  fundamentals, experiential, spatial and application.  Perfect!  I really wish I was closer to the location as this is a course I would seriously consider taking myself!

Here’s the link for those of you wishing to view more details of this incredible course

Online:

If you are unable to attend these then you are in luck as I have some online courses that I can recommend for you too.

Udemy

I completed VR and 360 Video Production which was great for providing you with rules to follow for shooting 360 videos.  It was common sense stuff thrown in with a few hidden gems of knowledge nuggets that I personally hadn’t considered so that was time well spent for me.

They also have another Google AR&VR course on there called Introduction to Augmented Reality and ARCore.  I haven’t studied that but perhaps it’s worth a look.

Getting Started with Augmented Reality from the Insitut Mines-Telecom was my first encounter with creating AR.  Although I found it hard to follow in the beginning as a complete newbie, my projects did come together towards the end.  There’s nothing more exciting than seeing something you learned about online becoming a physical application in front of your very own eyes!

Udacity

Introduction to Virtual Reality by Google VR.  I completed this course myself and found it quite informative, even if you already know the basics.  Udacity also offer Nanodegrees in VR too.  I haven’t enrolled in that yet but I have heard nothing but praise for them so be sure to check that out too.

Unity

Of course, there are tutorials on Unity directly that you can learn from.  These were useful but incredibly dry to follow, however, for introducing you to the basic UI, components and physics then this is a great starting point.  Considering you have decided to use Unity that is.

If Unity is your game engine of choice then I want to give a shout-out to Awesome Tuts as I have completed an online Udemy course that they taught as well as follow them on YouTube and Facebook for their lessons alongside extremely helpful developer community.

Not forgetting the VRToolkit by TheStoneFox which is full of useful tutorials!

Unreal

As well as learning with Unreal directly through their tutorials (I haven’t tried learning this game engine yet).

Lynda.com

There’s a few on Lynda.com that I completed too nothing that springs to mind other than anything that includes Craig Barr.  I would recommend his courses and weekly news.

Circuit Stream

Circuit Stream offer taster classes and I found their lecturers to be easy to follow and friendly.  They offer full programmes as well but I haven’t completed any of those yet.

That’s all the courses that I know something about or have completed myself.

Newsletters

I would also recommend signing up to the VRARA Association newsletter so you are given information on when their free webinars are held alongside any updates.

Tony Skarredghost is such a talent and enjoys experiential immersive work.  You should sign up for his newsletter to receive weekly news round-ups.

Podcasts

FReality – a weekly podcast that is also streamed to YouTube that talks about hardware and game experiences across the vr spectrum.  Hosted by popular VR YouTubers/Twitch Streamers: Nathie, Mike (Virtual Reality Oasis), Rowdy Guy and Zimtok5.

The Virtual Reality Podcast – Hosted by Steven Sato, Alex Chaucer, James McCrary and Amanda Fox.

Voices of VR – presented by host Kent Bye where he interviews a wide selection of immersive technology community members.

Finally I learn a lot of information via AltSpaceVR through their many Social VR events.

I hope this is a helpful guide to get you started.  It would be great to hear your thoughts or connect with you on Twitter to share our learning journeys together []-)

Until next time!
Suzanne AKA TheHappyLass

What’s it Like, Attending a Memorial in Virtual Reality?

A beautiful write-up of such an emotional virtual reality memorial event for our amazing friend Chris Long.

Film/Gaming bits and bobs

My good friend Christian Long passed away a week ago. I had sent Chris a message a few days before, because I realise that I haven’t been able to say goodbye to him. I wanted to send a personal thank you, and goodbye. I knew nobody would read it, and he was long gone. It seemed like saying goodbye digitally seemed fitting in our tech-heavy digital world. However what better way to say goodbye to somebody who was dedicated to virtual reality (VR) than holding a memorial in VR?

I’d like to add some personal experience to this story for context first. I used to be a pretty hardcore PC gamer. I would game long into the night, and would be part of clans and chat groups. It’s led me to attend ‘virtual’ Christmas parties on chat groups organised by members of the group. It was a strange opportunity to chat…

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