Oculus Quest – Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

(Source: Oculus)

#QuestCountdown is a closely followed hashtag amongst the Virtual Reality community just now.  We are only hours away now from hearing potentially crucial information about the much anticipated Oculus Quest release date.  Many of us are hoping that we will be able to purchase them immediately especially as it has been such a long drawn out marketing campaign from the team at Oculus.  Mark Zuckerberg first announced the Oculus Quest (previously Project Santa Cruz) at OC5 on 26th September 2018 and since then we have been drip fed snippets of details along the way.  7 months later I write this blog post and I believe that we are less than 24 hours away from being able to pre-order this latest headset and I am HYPED!

(Source: Oculus)

Announced on 18th March:
BeatSaber
Shadow Point (*Designed specifically for Quest)
Journey of the Gods
Dead and Buried II
Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series
Sports Scramble
Robo Recall
Dance Central

Announced on the 25th March:
SUPERHOT VR
Space Pirate Trainer
Vacation Simulator

(Source: Oculus)

Announced 3rd April (Oculus Blog controversially title copy includes ‘Welcome to week x minus 1′ resulting in some criticism):
OrbusVR Reborn (*imaging designed specifically for Quest)
Moss
Vacation Simulator

Announced 10th April:
Apex Construct
I Expect You To Die
Face Your Fears II
The Exorcist: Legion VR

Announced 17th April:
Google TiltBrush
Thumper
Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs
Bait
Fruit Ninja VR
Rush
Chris Jurney Head of Development Strategy at Oculus said in this week’s blog due to the continued frustration of this long drawn out piece of marketing  – ‘I thought I’d clear everything up on our plans for launch of the device, when you can finally get all these great games in your own hands. We’re still targeting Spring! We’re actively working with all these developers and more who are frantically squeezing beetles, birds, fish, fruit, and air into tight binary packages for you to enjoy on Day 1 of Oculus Quest. I’m looking forward to that specific, tantalizingly close day in the future when everyone can enjoy these great games’.

Announced 24th April: (Comments from the public on the Oculus blog are getting progressively more impatient this week. There is also concern brewing that there may be no news about when everyone can finally get their hands on one during the F8 announcement at this rate!)
Ballista
Rec Room
VR Chat
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
PokerStars VR
VR Karts: Sprint

26th April:
National Geographic Explorer VR

The night before Christmas…?
With only hours left until we hear more from Oculus and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg we can only hope to hear something much more satisfying than the weekly snippets we’ve been used to over these last few very loooong weeks.  Ultimately the only piece of the puzzle missing is when.  When can we buy it, when can we receive it, when can we try it out for ourselves, just when?!

F8 keynote will begin on (tomorrow!!!!!) April 30, 2019 at 10AM PDT/6PM GMT.  You can watch the livestream online or in VR via Oculus Venues (so long as you have an Oculus Go Headset).  Links to register below.  I’m powering up my Go as I type []-)

(Source: F8.com)

More info and how to register for Oculus Venues here

Register here to watch F8 online

Sometimes some of the VR community host livestream events themselves so you can interact/chat whilst cool and interesting things are announced.  If I see anything like that taking place then I will tweet them out for you via @TheHappyLass.

Sleep well (if you can…) and I’ll you in the Metaverse tomorrow my friends!  #QuestCountdown

 

 

 

 

 

How To Cast Mirage Solo Virtual Reality Content To A TV

Hi!  I promised to show you how to cast virtual reality to a TV from your Lenovo Mirage Solo standalone headset.  I’ve made a very short tutorial to show you the steps you need to take to do this.  I also cover the benefits of using this function.

To be able to cast you will require a Google Chromecast.  If this changes in the future then I will update this blog post and the tutorial video so that you are kept up to date.

I’m happy to answer any questions on this subject or any other Virtual Reality related questions you may have – just get in touch 🙂

I have some more interesting videos coming down the line where I review new pieces of VR Hardware as well as a handy Virtual Reality headset 2019 guide to hopefully help you understand all the choices that you have available to you in the market space.  If these sound like something you want to watch then subscribe to this blog or my YouTube channel to be notified of all new publications.

Thanks and speak again soon!

 

The Oculus Rift S

(source: picture from Oculus.com)

The Oculus Rift S was announced at the Games Developers Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday 20th March 2019.  It was a surprising announcement for the virtual reality community to hear as most were expecting details of the anticipated new Oculus Quest standalone VR headset instead.  The hype had been building for wanting to know the details of this new Quest headset as well as the release date which wasn’t helped by Oculus creating the hashtag #QuestCountown.  So for many, this announcement was an instant disappointment.  In hindsight that marketing strategy was a poor decision because I don’t think that most of us gave the Oculus Rift S a fair chance to blow us away as a result of the Quest hype that surrounded us.

Whilst on the subject of a poor marketing strategy, Oculus decided not to host a livestream of the announcement for a more global audience.  The previous day at GDC gamers were blown away by Google’s Stadia announcement that was livestreamed for all to enjoy.  (For those unsure: Stadia is a platform for game streaming using Google’s infrastructure meaning you can stream from browsers or even join live games by clicking a link to join via YouTube streams).

Google Stadia livestream image
(source: screenshot taken during the live announcement on Google’s YouTube channel)

However, VR YouTuber Nathie came to the rescue and decided to host a gathering of hyped up fans who were fit to burst for more Quest news.  Nathie hosted a live chat, social media scavenge and revealed the latest news from the Oculus Blog via his YouTube channel.  It was actually amazing being together at a virtual gathering and having the ability to chat with one another pre, during and post announcement.  My insight of mixed reactions absolutely came from this experience.  Brands who care about product launches and seek genuine ‘in the moment’ feedback would be wise to consider this communication style for themselves in the future.  Anyway, Nathie deserves a pat on the back for picking up the mantle and for doing a pretty impressive job of it!

Introducing the Oculus Rift S
First of all, the immediate headline here is that the Oculus Rift S is brought to us through an Oculus and Lenovo partnership.  I for one am extremely impressed by this collaboration!  For those of you who don’t know, I am a Lenovo ‘Super Champion’ meaning that I am an ambassador for their products.  I have the upmost respect for Lenovo in the immersive product space as they are the only company in the world to have brought a mixture of hardware products to us across the spectrum of Augmented Reality (Jedi Challenges), Virtual Reality (Mirage Solo and now the Oculus Rift S) and Mixed Reality (Lenovo Explorer) not to mention their high end gaming Lenovo Legion products.  I am also a fan of Oculus and part of their Oculus Start programme for the work I am doing in the VR for dementia space with Pivotal Reality.  The Oculus and Lenovo partnership in itself is immensely respectable as I think it sends a strong message to others that we must all work together in order to help bring VR to the masses.

Let’s take a look at the Oculus Rift S video and then discuss 1st impressions:


(‘Introducing the Oculus Rift S’ video from Oculus YouTube Channel)

Will the Oculus Rift S help VR go mainstream?
Don’t get me wrong I completely understand some of the feelings around this headset not giving us more experienced VR users the mind blowing wow factor that we were expecting.  BUT, let’s not forget there’s more to come from Oculus on that front!  So in the meantime let’s look at the Oculus Rift S for what it is.  It’s an evolutionary version of the Oculus Rift CV1 that was released just under 3 years ago.  It is a single tethered headset (meaning you have to connect it to a compatible computer) that has improvements for a more enjoyable gaming experience.  The improved optics, lenses and pixel density sound more pleasing to the eyes and the field of view has been said to be marginally larger than the tradition Rift experience.  Initial reactions from the VR community is divided in those last areas but everyone who has tried it out haven’t complained about the realism of the graphics or said that it is a bad immersive experience so I am optimistic about them.  The built in sensors coupled with the Passthrough+ technology is exciting because this takes away the hassle of setting up external sensors or risk of bumping into something in the real world environment.  In other words, it removes a barrier for accessibility allowing first time users to have confidence with an easier plug and play approach to VR whilst still enabling a safe roomscale experience.  Which I think it awesome!  To think that many of us had our first VR experiences on the DK1, Google cardboard or a Samsung Gear then this headset absolutely betters those experiences for first timers.  Another good thing in my book.

The new ‘Ergonomic halo headband’ with adjustable fit wheel for greater comfort is a smart choice of design.  I suspect that with the popularity of games such as Beatsaber where gamers are likely to spend a longer duration wearing headsets than ever before has been taken into consideration here.  HMD (Head Mounted Displays) in general have to become versatile to suit a wide range of user needs.  We need headsets that we can trust, are not heavy, will not slip, will not cause discomfort and can handle sharp/sudden movements.  I have yet to see or hear any feedback on this subject so I am led to believe that the Oculus Rift S must feel natural and live up to expectations here.  The weight balance has also been focused on by the Lenovo design team so I am assuming this was another contributing factor for this product design partnership.  The adjustable fit wheel is something that we currently use on the Lenovo Mirage Solo for example, as well as the PSVR headset of course.  Light blocking improvements have been made to the Rift S too.

Another positive for accessibility is the cross platform compatibility for the Oculus Store.  Meaning that owners of the original Oculus Rift can still enjoy their purchased VR experiences using the new Oculus Rift S and vice versa.  As a side note and speaking of cross platforms, it is an interesting fact that Lenovo have now worked with Google and their Daydream platform and now Oculus and their Oculus Store platform too.

The Rift S has 5 cameras to provide the insight tracking and many are reporting that the new touch controllers work great with this feature.  Ultimately your hands are tracked throughout your experience even when positioned behind you meaning that even if simulating a bow and arrow gesture it would be picked up in-game.  Very cool!  The cameras on the front of the headset looks distinctly like a Lenovo design and resonates that of the Mirage Solo’s design too.

Let’s talk specs:
I haven’t saw anything official from Oculus that clarified this for certainty but there are details being reported elsewhere for this information.  I’m not confident or in the know so therefore I encourage you to look elsewhere for this information.  From my research I can see that the Rift S appears to have the following:

Resolution: 2560 x 1440 (compared to Rift 2160 x 1200)
Pixel Density: approx 600ppi (compared to Rift 456ppi)
Refresh rate: 80Hz (compared to Rift 90Hz)
(Source: Road to VR)

Not sure if your computer or laptop supports the new Rift S?  Here’s a handy table with the specifications required to operate the Rift and Rift S:

Specifications required for Oculus Rift and Oculus Rift S (Source: Oculus Support)
Component Recommended Spec Minimum Spec
Processor Intel i5-4590/AMD Ryzen 5 1500X or greater Intel i3-6100/AMD Ryzen 3 1200, FX4350 or greater
Graphics Card NVIDIA GTX 1060/AMD Radeon RX 480 or greater NVIDIA GTX 1050 Ti/AMD Radeon RX 470 or greater
Alternative Graphics Card NVIDIA GTX 970/AMD Radeon R9 290 or greater NVIDIA GTX 960 4 GB/AMD Radeon R9 290 or greater
Memory 8 GB+ RAM 8 GB+ RAM
Operating System Windows 10 or newer Windows 10 or newer
USB Ports Rift 3x USB 3.0 ports, plus 1x USB 2.0 port 1x USB 3.0 port, plus 2x USB 2.0 ports
USB Ports Rift S 1x USB 3.0 port 1x USB 3.0 port
Video Output Rift Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output Compatible HDMI 1.3 video output
Video Output Rift S Compatible DisplayPort video output Compatible miniDisplayPort video output

If interested, the Oculus Rift S will be released in Spring 2019 and will cost $399 for the headset including the controllers.

The only thing left to do now is to excitedly wait for further details of the Oculus Quest and see how it compares to its tethered brother!

Virtual Reality Day 2018 #VRDay

VR Day

It was Virtual Reality Day on Saturday 17th November 2018.  People from all across the globe organised, facilitated or participated in events both in the real and virtual worlds.  The purpose is to promote VR, allow people to try it for the 1st time for free, share specialist knowledge or topics or perhaps even sell your VR products for half price – all to help raise awareness and adoption in the industry.  Activities and events took place across 74 cities – check out VR Voice for the details!  I didn’t plan anything in Scotland and sadly neither did any of my other country-people (that I knew about anyway).  However, all was not lost as an amazing gentleman of the name Bob Fine organised a Social VR agenda for everyone to take part in the metaverse!  Collaboration between AltSpaceVR and High Fidelity platforms meant that there was an action packed agenda for everyone that lasted 24 hours in some cases!

VR Day Schedule Alt

It was a day of 1st’s.  We had the first single dropped into VR (Miro Shot), the first live performance Futvre Lands thanks to Thomas Dolby via High Fidelity, it was the 1st time I personally entered High Fidelity (despite registering for the most number of people in VR events previously), the 1st time I observed collaboration between Social VR platforms and not only that – my personal favourite – the 1st time that I witnessed jumping into a portal between VR Worlds thanks to an amazing space that I will cover later.  It may have been the 1st time for some to be ‘in’ Virtual Reality too.  It may have been the 1st VR Day celebrations for some too.  It may have been the 1st time for some to meet their VR role models or members of the community.  One thing we know for sure is that it will not be the last!  The only way is up from here.  We will see more becoming involved, more collaboration, more advancements and more of a people movement!

AltSpaceVR had an agenda of talks from pioneers in the industry covering a range of topics.  People like Alan Smithson, Cathy Hackl, Steve Bambury and Chris Madsen who are a few of my personal faves who were there alongside a heap of others!  I can’t share anything specific here as I had log on and charging issues with my headset and missed a lot of the talks 😦  I did encounter a few technical issues when using the Oculus Go in AltSpaceVR and found myself kicked out of the platform a number of times throughout the day.  I wanted to try to use my Mirage Solo headset whilst waiting for my Go to charge but had password issues and still waiting on my password prompt email to arrive.  But once I was charged up I was able to enjoy Miro Shot’s single, Futvre Lands with Thomas Dolby and The Hive After Party with Vivian.

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After taking the pictures above of Philip Rosedale (Founder of High Fidelity and Second Life) and hearing Thomas Dolby playing I decided to take the leap into High Fidelity via desktop for a while to try it out and join the party!  It was a good excuse to come out of the headset and rest my eyes for a little bit too…  I was a complete newb and couldn’t see where I had to go and felt a little lost.  Turns out there were a few issues with some folks seeing white orbs instead of avatars.  My experience on the desktop was that I didn’t see anybody at all until I was literally walking into them.  I felt a little embarrassed that I wasn’t adhering to personal space rules and tried to come away only to bump into someone else as the place was mobbed lol!  So massive apologies if I accidentally walked in, through or over you!!!  I feel that using an HMD (headset) would be an amazing experience for High Fidelity and I would like to try that next time I visit.  I’m just a graphics card away from that being possible so hopefully that will be remedied over the next couple of months 🙂  Below is how things should have looked and did look for other attendees:

Next I jumped back into the Oculus Go (now that it had another charge) and straight in to AltSpaceVR for The Hive After Party with Vivian Chazen.  VR Apps that were showcased and demonstrated were Anyland, Big Breezy Boat, OrbusVR, Onward, Somnium Space, and VR Chat.  The app that I mentioned earlier that had the portal to the various Social VR spaces was Somnium.  I had never heard of it before and it looked amazing!  Vivian was able to jump from there to AltSpaceVR and VR Chat I believe.  Sadly I was kicked out again and decided enough was enough for one night given it was the early hours of the morning.  However, you can join me and watch the replay to get caught back up again.

#VRDay 2018 was a blast!  It would be amazing to hear about your experiences, what did you do this year? Has it inspired you to take on a new VR goal of any kind?  Let us know!  My VR Day 2018 takeaway is to organise an event in Scotland for next year.  Don’t worry, I’ll still be virtual world space hopping but it is important to be inclusive and accessible so that everyone has the equal opportunity to find out what all the fuss is about 😀

Virtual Reality Day 2018

Special shout out and well done to Bob Fine, VR Voice, AltSpaceVR, High Fidelity, Miro Shot and Thomas Dolby (and the many others who contributed behind the scenes to make VR Day 2018 a success).

Special shout out and well done to Mike McCready (Lethbridge College) and Kathy Bisbee (publicVR Lab and Northampton Film Festival) for their real world efforts and everyone else who made the effort for real world activities across our planet.

Special shout out to VR livestreamers: Official VR Girl, Nathie, UK Rifter, VoodooDE VR, JadeKVR and everyone else in this space and thanks for all of your efforts every. single. day.

And finally to everyone else who either did something on VR Day or continues to all year round, well done and keep going!  You are amazing and we need you!

What an amazing team of pioneers you all are!

Dextra’s Global VR Summit

Dextra

The World’s 1st Global VR Summit took place during  27th – 30th October 2018 thanks to Dextra.  It was an online & virtual reality conference with the purpose of hearing from VR pioneers and professionals.  The ability to access via desktop, tablet, mobile or VR headset so there was no need to travel.  The virtual reality platform used was AltSpaceVR (I first introduced you to AltSpaceVR at the beginning of this year in my 1st ever blog post re WXR’s Pitching event in VR).  As a result of using this social VR platform, you could network, chat and mingle with both presenters and attendees.  You had the immersive experience of being at a traditional conference but with additional benefits such as your convenience and for a mere fraction of the costs normally associated with attending prestige events.

The speakers were the perfect balance between industry, software, hardware and specialists.  We heard amazing insights from thought leaders and futurists.  Listened to pioneers stories of hard work and determination to play their part in growing the XR (includes Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Realities) landscape.  Professionals from industry and cross industries making the atmosphere all the more heightened for collaborative innovative brilliance.  I cannot stress the sparks that are flowing in this space thanks to the energetic, thoughtful and determined community.  Any event that brings these pockets of amazing individuals together like this is sure to explode into something spectacular!  Especially when you focus on having an inclusive environment that allows folks to attend regardless of geographical location or financial circumstances.

The list of speakers are as follows:
Vinay Narayan / VP, Product and Strategy / HTC Vive
Jonathan Nafarrete /
Co-Founder & Editor-in-Chief / VRScout
Colleen Flanigan / VR Artist in Residence / Google
Ted Schilowitz / Futurist / Paramount Pictures
Dominic Eskofier / Head of VR, EMEAI / NVIDIA
Collin Bradford Bishop / Senior Product Manager / Crytek
John Bucher / Writer/Producer, Cultural Mythologist / Sideshow Media Group
Jim Malcolm / General Manager / HumanEyes
Marisa Erven / Art Director / Hyperspace XR
Gregg Katano / Partner & VP of US Operations / Hologate
Mike McCready / Instructor / Lethbridge College
Jeremy Casper / Co-Director / Los Angeles Film Studies Center
Dr. Sana Farid / Co-Founder / Munfarid
Devora Mason / Program Director / The Hive Accelerator
Daniel Sproll / CXO & Co-founder / realities.io
Saswat Panda / Co-Founder & CTO / LiveLike
Jérémie Lasnier / Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer / LiveLike
Ryan Atkins / Producer / Shake-N-Bake Productions
Paul Chambers / Artist Evangelist / Sketchfab
Alice Bonasio / Editor-in-Chief / Tech Trends
Ulla Engeström / Founder & CEO / ThingLink
Valeriy Kondruk / CEO / Ascape VR
Suzanne Lee / Founder / Pivotal Reality
David Jagneaux / Games Editor / UploadVR
James McCrae / Founder & CEO / JanusVR
Dr. Gijs JD van Acker / Co-Founder / MDLinking.com
Clément Merville / President / Manzalab
Luis Paolino / Art Director / Gree VR Studio
Matouš Tlapák / Chief Operating Officer / Lifeliqe
Dr. Marsha Maxwell / Educator & Researcher / Atlanta International School
Steve Bowler / President / Cloudgate Studio
Sami Ramly / Entrepreneur-In-Residence / Outpost Capital
Sandy Hammer / Co-Founder / AllSeated
Cathy Hackl / Futurist / You Are Here
John Kuruvilla / Co-Founder & CRO / Kalpnik
Scott Bennett / VR Artist / Scobot

The Global VR Summit Highlights:
6 live panel discussions
Q&A sessions
5 hours of interactive on demand content
40 VR speakers
24 VR companies
15 countries (I’m delighted to have represented Scotland!)

Still not too sure what a VR conference looks like?  Then check out Dextra’s post event highlights video below:

This may be the 1st Global VR Summit but I am pretty confident that Dextra will continue to bring this to us annually so hopefully see you there next year!!

Amazon’s #VR Headsets #Prime Deals

I thought I would save you scouting around – you’re welcome 🙂

Oculus Rift and Touch Controllers Bundle (£50 off) – £349.00

Sony Playstation VR Starter Pack – (50% off Playstation Plus) – £248

Samsung Gear Gen 2 – £27.75

Not in Prime but still worth mentioning:

HTC Vive Focus (blue) – £699.00

(Amazon’s Choice) Oculus Go (32GB) – £199.00

Lenovo Google Mirage Solo – out of stock on Amazon – but £350 elsewhere

The World’s 1st Full Day VR/AR Conference held in VR – Merging Realities

 

Conference Flyer

What was Merging Realities?
Merging Realities was the world’s first full-day conference that you could attend in virtual reality and took place on April 26th 2018.  It was hosted by Mike McCready and students from Lethbridge College based in Canada and made possible by Doghead Simulations‘ Rumii platform based in Seattle, Washington.  I had booked my ticket well in advance as this was a big deal and I didn’t want to miss it!  I’m based in Scotland and can only usually stalk event hashtags to learn about event outputs that are impossible for me to attend geographically speaking.  The topic of this event just so happened to be all things virtual, augmented and mixed reality too.  Winner!  You also didn’t need to be the owner of a VR headset to attend as there was a WebVR version you could enter using desktop.  Or there was the Twitch channel you could enter and simply ‘observe’ the event as it was being streamed live across the world.  I used a combination of desktop for the VR event and mobile to watch the livestream.   First thing’s first, had to register for Rumii and create my Avatar:

Why a conference in VR?
The event itself started late in the afternoon (UK time) so it meant I could attend at my leisure after work.  In fact it was ideal!  I was able to be there, explore, listen, learn and network.  I saw some pretty cool role models ‘in the flesh’ instead of being static pictures on social media platforms.  Then I was able to log out, pick up my kids, make dinner and complete some chores then log back in to the conference again.  It was flexible enough to allow you to come and go as required meaning I didn’t disrupt any sessions.  It complimented my life and time commitments without the need of booking travel, accommodation or hassle arranging childcare.  I wasn’t tired from travelling, didn’t need to adjust to the different timezone or stress about pre-planning my route to get to the venue on time.  I just logged in and I was in the venue and simply logged out when I had to leave again.  Simple as that.  #welcometothefuture

 

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The Venue
There was plenty of room for us all in the main conference areas – we had a choice of Lecture Hall A or Lecture Hall B (2 talks were happening at any one time).  We weren’t able to see who was talking or the theme of the talk using the menu though.  It didn’t cause any issues as you simply selected your choice of room and instantly teleported there.  If you changed your mind you could teleport to the other just as easy by using the main menu.  There was a sound alert when people entered/left a room though so I did feel a little embarrassed in case I put any presenters off by causing that distraction.  But to be honest, as a participant, you barely noticed it at all.  In fact it was quite an upbeat catchy jingle.  I actually grew fond of hearing it!  In addition to the 2 main conference halls you had 3 separate meeting rooms each for a specific theme (Health, Education and Business) and a Lobby.  As a fan of Social VR I felt the scale to be impressive, the atmosphere to be relaxing and the graphical detail to be realistic enough for me to settle into my new environment quite quickly.

What did we hear about?
The first session was Immersive Computing at Google presented by Alex Katzen.  It was interesting to hear Google’s take on the changing digital landscape.  I was very impressed and inspired the more I listened during the session.  Previously I knew Google were involved with Daydream but didn’t really appreciate just how involved they were elsewhere.  Alex unveiled the Google & Lenovo Solo Mirage VR Headset too.  We heard about their partner’s, their involvement, their propositions and Google’s vision for the future.  Overall it was an excellent presentation, full of insight that I would have not been able to get had I not been at this specific conference.  I was already loving conferences in VR – I knew I would but this was over and above my expectations.  Not bad for only the first session… We had a full day of knowledge sharing left to soak up!

 

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Meeting role models
Next up was Alan Smithson from MetaVRse who is an absolute role model of mine.  If you are interested in VR and AR then I recommend you follow his LinkedIn posts.  This would be my first time seeing Alan deliver a conference talk and I was mega excited about hearing what he had to say.  His company MetaVRse is working in all sorts of interesting avenues meaning he has plenty of interesting stories to share with us.  Alan’s talk did not disappoint.  He not only brought amazing insight, inspiration and encouragement to the audience but he also brought with him humor.  He expressed his love for the ability to throw confetti in the air using the Rumii platform and got clarification on how people could do it.  (Only desktop users were able to by pressing the spacebar).  Then we all had a lark about throwing confetti lol!  It was so refreshing to see someone delivering a session and having fun with the technology as he did.  This is what it is all about!  He gets it.  He wasn’t a white collared business man selling us a pitch.  Alan was messing around with the functions that Rumii offered, he popped a spaceman into the audience to demonstrate 3D models.  It was floating around us, a giant spaceman!  The famous MetaVRse watch also made a 3D model appearance.  He shared market trends, important numbers and even shared how he personally continually learns about this technology sector and from which resources too.  For the finale of Alan’s talk he played us some Virtual Insanity music that we all throw confetti to.  It was marvelous.  The energy was through the roof.  I ask you – have you ever thrown confetti at the end of hearing a world class presentation during a conference in the real world?  

(Video provided my Neil Singh – thanks again for the permission to publish it in this blog)

Break
Sadly this was when I hit my break from the conference so I could turn back to my family and home duties for a while.  My avatar was able to stay in the conference but I had changed my status to ‘away’ meaning I wasn’t visible to anybody there.  Thanks to twitch, I was secretly watching whilst washing my dishes though ;o)  I sadly missed  Steve Bambury’s session, which was another I was looking forward to attending in advance.  (I have since been informed that Twitch have kept videos of the conference that you can still watch.  I will post the link in the comments of this blog for you).

Merging Realities desktop and mobile

Mesmerised by Immersion
The following sessions covered a mixture of design, technical detail and engagement.  We listened to insights and saw more 3D models that are being used commercially.  Listening to the various AR and VR examples proved to me that there are people out there making this technology work for them using profitably business models.  I would have liked to have heard more about that subject.  How are creatives making money in this industry not as one offs but by producing consistent revenue?  It is a common question in the field and one that nobody seems to want to share their detailed answers to.  (This is not aimed specifically at any of the presenters who showcased their work during their Merging Realities talks, just a general observation and a personal frustration).

The presenters I listened to were:
Immersion/Engagement presented by Connor Gottfried
Challenges & Opportunities of a VR game startup presented by Lloyd Summers
Inclusion presented by Rosalina Hernandez

 

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Looking to the Future
Next up was the magnificent futurist Cathy Hackl to share some forward thinking thoughts.  She shared some amazing video clips, as well as some current use case studies along with stories of the future world.  Having heard many a person claim to be a futurist cover old ground on what has been previously said I wasn’t sure that I was going to hear anything that I hadn’t heard already on this topic.  But I was wrong.  Cathy blew my mind.  She didn’t just blow my mind with a one off little golden nugget of intel.  She had me hanging on every single word.  I’ve taken notes to revisit pretty much all of the examples she shared to gain better understanding for myself.  I want to be able to digest and reflect on the use cases and explanations of spatial computing that she shared with us.  So if like me, you don’t want to miss any fascinating industry use case then follow Cathy on social media. (As well as subscribe to this blog obviously… shining the light on user case studies is the purpose of the Suzanne Showcasing VR blog afterall!).  Cathy was asked plenty of questions and did a tremendous job to close the amazing full day VRAR conference in VR.  What a blast!!!

merging realities stats

Conclusion
In summary we heard from highly respectable individuals from the VR AR industry.  We heard about content creation, designing, coding, modelling, engagement, platforms, headsets, partnerships, user experience, user engagement, market trends, self development & learning, challenges & opportunities, inclusion and preparing ourselves for the future.  We met with like-minded people from all across our wonderful planet and I am proud to have represented Scotland.  I love the map above that shows where everyone was attending from.  A real mixture of people, all with the same common interests.  It was absolutely superb!  Let’s do it all again next year!  Hopefully see you there next time 🙂

Thank you for taking the time to read through this article and share the experience of the World’s first full-day conference in VR.  In the words of Alan Smithson, ‘Awesome guys, thank you so much.  Have a good one.  Bye guys.  Thank you’.

 

(For those of you interested, I will post Neil Singh’s blog that covers the full account of the conference to help fill in the gaps that I didn’t manage to cover with my own experience.  I’ll also post a link to the Twitch account for Merging Realities so you can see if for yourself too).

Until next time my friends!
Suzanne Showcasing VR