Oculus Rift has had all the headlines recently. Originating as a hugely successful Kickstarter project, then quickly being taken over by the Facebook behemoth (for US$2 billion), its been the "buzz".
After using Oculus Rift virtual reality on VBS military tactical simulation software, I'm sold. Simply, it is hard to describe being "in" the world versus seeing into it. The one thing I am confident VR is, that the emerging tech is a game changer. Thats not to say it's perfect now. There are a few problems based around resolution and motion sickness.
Back to the main steam contenders; the Oculus / Samsung partnership and Sony - Project Morpheus and a wild card.
In my ongoing research I came across a small company called VRvana from Canada. VRvana have a spec sheet which trumps both for cross platform operability supporting PC, OSX, Linux, Consoles and mobile operating systems. In fact any HDMI output, based on the render processing is in the headset. There VRvana published feature list is below. More on VRvana in an upcoming post.
The point is where 3D could not convert into a killer app my money is on VR to succeed. The development interest of dedicated content is proving to build the "buzz". As the video suggests a main street everyday application is required in order to scale the uptake. Enter Facebook.
Take a look at the video which gives the history and case for Oculus and Sony Project Morpheus.
Our friend Jordan from GTplanet (and VisionRacer VR3 owner) had the pleasure of being present at the GT6 announcement. Let's see what his first impressions were.
By participating in the big Gran Turismo 6 reveal at Silverstone, I had the opportunity to be one of the first people in the world outside of Polyphony Digital to get some hands-on time with the game. It was, sadly, all too brief, but it was enough to give me a good idea of what the game’s new physics engine feels like, and to capture some of the first gameplay video footage.
Above, you’ll see a few (admittedly quite slow) laps around Silverstone’s International Circuit in one of GT6‘s new cars, the KTM X-Bow R, along with a brief replay.
So, what does Polyphony Digital’s all-new physics engine feel like? It’s hard to describe, but let’s just say I think it will be hard to go back to Gran Turismo 5 after having experiencing GT6.
With traction control disabled and ABS set to 1 (I didn’t notice SRF was “on”…ugh, sorry!), it felt difficult to be “quick” around the track. However, the car was also easier to control, as if I had a better sense of the level of grip available at each wheel and exactly what the car was doing. It felt good.
When I play an older Gran Turismo game, I notice a kind of “numbness” or “dullness” in the handling characteristics of the cars, after having become accustomed to GT5. Now, I think I will feel the same way about GT5 the next time I play it.
The audio which you hear in the video was recorded via the television’s line-out headphone jack. It’s mono (single channel) sound, and doesn’t quite represent the sound that I could hear through the TV’s speakers. Although it’s not a radical change, I did notice a rougher, more visceral texture in the engine note that was more satisfying than what’s provided in GT5.
Regardless, Polyphony Digital’s work with Yokohama and suspension company KW Automotive has no doubt paid off, and the changes were immediately apparent to me after having spent only a very short time with the new game.
Polyphony Digital held an announcement day yesterday to release information on the next release of Gran Turismo. The event was held at Silverstone track in the UK. Check out the 25 minute video of the details.
Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. today announced Gran Turismo®6 (GT6™), the latest version of PlayStation®’s best-selling franchise, will be released in Holiday, 2013. The news was revealed today by legendary Gran Turismo creator Kazunori Yamauchi at an event held to celebrate 15 years of the 70-million-selling series.
GT6 for PlayStation®3 will bring new levels of authenticity to ‘the Real Driving Simulator’ as well as introducing stunning new tracks and cars and a revised user interface. A new compact game engine will improve operation and increase the flexibility to expand it with downloadable content. Meanwhile, the game is also set for expanded connectivity with other devices such as smart phones and tablets and increased social and community functions.
All of the cars and tracks from Gran Turismo®5, which has sold over 10 million copies since launching in 2010, will be retained in GT6. But notable new additions to the already impressive line-up of historic cars, road cars and the latest race cars, brings the total car list to 1,200 at launch, with new cars set to be continually added online. Several thousand aerodynamic parts and custom wheels will be available for almost all cars, and players can personalize their own custom cars in game to the greatest ever level possible.
The UK’s famous Silverstone Circuit will be just one of seven new locations in Gran Turismo 6, taking the total to 33, with 71 different layouts available, 19 of them brand new. There will also be regular additions of new tracks set to be made available online. The improved course maker function will provide gorgeous scenery spanning several tens of square kilometers including the magnificent backdrop of Andalucía.
The theme of Gran Turismo’s innovative collaborations with partner companies will increase with the inception of GT6. A number of exciting new projects that blur the line between the virtual and real will be announced in the run up to the game’s launch. Not least of these is GT Academy, a collaboration with Nissan to unearth real racing driver talent that first ran in 2008. It was announced during the event that the competition returns for its biggest ever year in 2013, with the entry mechanic set to take place on an exclusive GT6 demo in July.
Other notable partnerships in the development of GT6 have been with tire manufacturer Yokohama Rubber and suspension company KW Automotive. Both companies are active in the commercial car industry and in racing, and they have acted as technical development partners for the game’s new physics engine, for its tire and suspension kinematic modeling, creating an even more realistic experience for GT fans.
“It is amazing to think that it is 15 years since we first released Gran Turismo,” explained Kazunori Yamauchi, during the announcement at Silverstone Circuit. “Things have changed a lot since then and now Gran Turismo 6 is a further evolution of my dream. We’re pleased to deliver GT6 to PlayStation 3 as we have a very loyal community on that platform. However, we have refactored the game to make it very flexible and expandable, with a view to making many future developments. I am very pleased with everything about the new game and the new additions, but the launch will be only the beginning for GT6. The game will continue to develop throughout its life. I already have many ideas for things I want to achieve in the next 15 years of Gran Turismo!”
The celebration of 15 years of Gran Turismo event at Silverstone included a demo of GT6 featuring the famous circuit. Guests were able to play the game in the familiar circular Gran Turismo race pods before having a chance to take to the real track in cars provided by Audi, Ford, Jaguar, KTM, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan and Toyota.
Further news about Gran Turismo 6 will be revealed at the forthcoming E3 and Gamescom events.
Cars featured on the GT6 Silverstone demo (* denotes new to Gran Turismo):
Acura NSX ’91, *Alfa Romeo TZ3 Stradale ’11, *Alpine A110 1600S ’68, *Audi Sport quattro S1 Rally Car ’86, Ferrari 458 Italia ’09, *Ferrari Dino 246 GT ’71, Ford GT ’06, *KTM X-BOW R ’12, Lamborghini Countach LP400 ’74, *Light Car Company Rocket ’07, McLaren MP4-12C ’10, *Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 ’11, Nissan 370Z (Z34) (GT Academy Version) ’08, Nissan 370Z Tuned Car (GT Academy , Version) ’08, Nissan GT-R Black edition (GT Academy Version) ’12, *Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 N24 Schulze Motorsport, Nissan Leaf G (GT Academy Version), *Tesla Motors Model S Signature Performance ’12, Toyota 86 GT ‘12
Summary of new Gran Turismo 6 features announced by Kazunori Yamauchi:
New Game Engine
Compact, nimble operation
A new rendering engine that pushes the limits of the PS3
New Physics Engine
New suspension and kinematics model
New tyre model
New aerodynamics model
Technical partnership with Yokohama Rubber and KW Automotive
1,200 Cars, abundant custom parts, and on-going DLC
From historic cars to the latest racing cars, the game contains a total of 1200 cars.
Multiple aerodynamic parts and custom wheels will be available for almost all cars.
Players can create their own personalised custom car in the game.
Cars will be continually added online
33 locations, 71 layouts
33 Locations and 71 layouts will be provided from day1 (7 more locations and 19 more layouts than GT5).
More new tracks will continue to be provided online
New Course Maker
Massive scenery spanning several tens of square kilometers
A new course generation algorithm
Players can form their own communities
Various community levels from local and domestic to global
Players themselves can create and manage their own online events
New User Interface
Balancing directional key operation and touch operation
Shortening of loading times
Multi Device Compatibility
At the same time as the PS3 version of GT6 the “Real Driving Simulator” launches, a mobile version and web application version of GT6, will be created to enjoy Gran Turismo’s massive community space.
Real/Virtual “Edge Effect” Activity
A variety of “Edge Effects”, the chemical reactions between the real world and the virtual world for which the Gran Turismo series is famous, are also planned for GT6. Exciting collaborations between various automotive manufacturers and collaborations with brands crossing different industries will be revealed gradually across the next six months.