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Developer kit for the Oculus Rift - the first truly immersive virtual reality headset for video games.
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Oculus

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Oculus @ GDC 2015

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We're at GDC 2015 in San Francisco this week meeting with developers and showing off brand new content on the Crescent Bay prototype and Gear VR Innovator Edition. This is hands-down one of the biggest weeks for virtual reality in the history of the industry, and we’re excited to be a part of it.
 

Throughout the week, Oculus team members will be giving talks on the latest Oculus tech. John Carmack, CTO, kicked the show off this morning with his keynote, “The Dawn of Mobile VR”. You can watch the full video of John’s keynote on our Oculus Twitch channel.

Tomorrow (Thursday) we have two more engineering talks...

  • Brian Hook, head of audio, and Tom Smurdon, audio engineer, are talking about the new Oculus Audio SDK at 10:00am PT. Located in the West Hall, Room 2024. 
  • Anuj Gosalia, head of SDK, will be presenting on ‘Developing VR Games with Oculus SDK’ at 12:45pm PT. Located in the West Hall, Room 2024. 

We also released two technical posts on VR rendering earlier this week: 

The Oculus Rift “Crescent Bay Experiences”

On top of the Crescent Bay demos and Epic’s Showdown with remixed 360 spatial audio, at the Oculus booth we’re showing a brand new experience created in collaboration between Epic Games, WETA Digital, NVIDIA, and Oculus, called “Thief in the Shadows.”

Thief in the Shadows by Weta Digital ©2014 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC. AND METRO-GOLDWYN-MAYER PICTURES INC.

Running exclusively on Crescent Bay and debuting at GDC, viewers will find themselves face to face with Smaug, the legendary dragon from the Hobbit. Thief in the Shadows is built in Unreal Engine 4 and powered by NVIDIA’s new flagship GPU, TITAN X. The experience also leverages the Oculus Audio SDK for incredible, 3D VR spatialized audio.

You can find Crescent Bay prototypes all over the GDC Expo floor! Visit Crytek’s booth for a brand new “Back to Dinosaur Island” experience in CryEngine, pop by Unity’s booth to see a demonstration of the great new features in Unity 5 for Oculus developers or head over to Epic Games and NVIDIA’s booth to see the latest Showdown and Thief in the Shadows experiences running on NVIDIA’s new TITAN X GPU in UE4.

The Oculus booth is in the South Hall, Lower Level, #1224. You can schedule a demo of Crescent Bay and/or Gear VR Innovator Edition through the Oculus Live App, available for download for Android and iOS.

We’re also hosting private, technical sessions where developers can get help from Oculus engineers on VR performance and design challenges. You can sign up by emailing dev-clinic@oculus.com with your name, company, and contact information. Please include as much detail as possible in your initial email so we can make sure the right folks are available.

Oculus Audio SDK Preview Available Now!

A preview of the Oculus Audio SDK is now available for download on the Oculus Developer Center! This is the same technology that we announced at Oculus Connect and that powered the remixed demos and experiences we debuted at CES.

Great spatialized audio is a powerful amplifier for presence -- By providing 3D audio plugins for Unity3D, AudioKinetic Wwise, Firelight FMOD, and VST compatible digital audio workstations, the Oculus Audio SDK provides content creators the tools to immerse players sonically in a virtual world, surrounded by realistically spatialized sounds. 

Let us know what you think over on the Oculus Developer Center in the new Audio Development forum. We’ll also have Brian Hook and Tom Smurdon’s GDC talk on the Audio SDK available shortly after the show.

Unity and Mobile VR Jam 2015

We recently announced the Mobile VR Jam 2015, which invites developers to compete for $1,000,000 in prizes by creating the innovative, new VR content for Gear VR Innovator Edition.

Yesterday during the Unity 5 keynote, John Riccitiello, Unity CEO, and Palmer announced that Unity will be sponsoring this year’s Mobile VR Jam! Eligible developers participating in the Mobile VR Jam will receive a $50 credit towards the Unity Asset Store for assets they can use in the competition. You can find full details on the official Mobile VR Jam 2015 site. 

Thanks for an incredible kick-off to GDC 2015 -- We’re looking forward to connecting with you this week at the show! 

 -- The Oculus team

Oculus' Mobile Jam 2015

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Oculus' Mobile VR Jam is set to begin on April 13, 2015 with over $1,000,000 in available prizes! 

In 2013, hundreds of teams came together over three weeks to compete in the first ever VR Jam. Diving headfirst into unknown territory, these developers pioneered hundreds of new VR experiences, including DarkNet, Dumpy, SightLine, and DreadHalls.

This year, participants are challenged to build groundbreaking new content with the Gear VR Innovator Edition. This is an opportunity to collaborate with fellow developers, with over $1,000,000 cash in awards and prizes for the best new VR games, apps, and experiences.

You can visit the our official Mobile VR Jam 2015 page on ChallengePost to sign up, find a team, discuss your ideas, and get started. For each weekly milestone, each entry - including yours - will have its progress available for view, so you’ll also be able to give and receive valuable feedback.


If you’re attending GDC this year, we’d like to invite you to our Mobile VR Jam 2015 kick-off event, where you can meet other participants. Full details here.

We’ll have more news on the Mobile VR Jam in the weeks ahead, so stay tuned. We’re looking forward to seeing what you create!

Let's Jam!  

--The Oculus Team

Oculus Story Studio, Oculus + Unity Free, and GDC 2015

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Over the last two years, we’ve seen virtual reality expand well beyond games into more unexpected areas like cinema and storytelling. This week as part of the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, we’re excited to announce a new experimental virtual reality cinema project: Oculus Story Studio.

Oculus Story Studio is made up of a small, all-star team of film and game developers dedicated to exploring ‘immersive cinema’ -- realtime story-driven VR experiences that let the viewer step inside and become part of the story. The goal was to learn more about cinema and storytelling in VR and to share that knowledge with the community.

Story Studio is debuting its first, short (4-minute) experience this week at Sundance called ‘Lost’. Lost takes the viewer on a journey to a moonlit forest inhabited by an unexpected creature. The piece is directed by Story Studio’s creative director Saschka Unseld, who was also the director of Pixar’s short film ‘The Blue Umbrella’.

Screenshot from Lost, a short immersive cinema experience from Oculus Story Studio

Lost was built in Unreal Engine 4 for Crescent Bay, and mixes hand animation with procedural animation to better transport the viewer. The team has been working to expand Unreal 4’s cinematic and storytelling toolset -- Lost uses custom gaze controls to tailor the experience to the individual viewer, allowing for a unique pace to the story each time.

In addition to its own creative team, Story Studio is also building experiences with guest directors including Rob Stromberg (Maleficent), Robin Hunicke (Journey), and Jillian Tamaki to create entirely new immersive stories as well.


So far, we’ve discovered that mixing great storytelling and art with the magic of VR presence allows for something really special. Lost is just the beginning for Story Studio, and we’re looking forward to sharing it, along with the team’s other upcoming films, in the months ahead.

We’ll have more news from the Oculus Story Studio soon, but you can learn more about the team and follow their work at oculus.com/storystudio.

Oculus Now Supported in Unity Free (PC & Mobile) 

In case you missed the announcement over the holiday, Oculus is now supported in Unity 4.6 Free. If you haven’t already, you can download the integration from the Oculus Developer Center.


Unity continues to be one of the easiest ways to build high-quality VR experiences for the Rift and Gear VR. This latest release of the Oculus-Unity integration supports Windows, Mac, Linux, and Android (Gear VR). The desktop version also includes full access to LibOVR through a pure C# wrapper.

Some of the features of the latest release:  

  • Lens correction, TimeWarp, and dynamic prediction from LibOVR/VRLib 
  • Preview within the Unity editor 
  • Layered camera support for cockpits, UI, etc. 
  • Cross-platform support for XInput controllers 
  • Consistent IPD and head model for comfort at all world scales 
  • Utilities for locomotion, head-tracking, and Rift status 
  • On Windows, direct-to-Rift rendering with or without display driver

A few of the other updates, though not included in the release today, are simpler direct-to-Rift rendering (without DirectToRift.exe) and targeting PC or Mobile from within a single project.

HeroBound for the Gear VR Innovator Edition

We’re also collaborating with Unity on a number of VR specific features for a deeper Oculus integration including a seamless, robust integration for Unity 4.6, improved Unity Editor workflow when using the Rift, and rendering optimizations specifically for VR in Unity 5.

Unity also just made a major update in audio latency on Gear VR, improving it from over 130ms to roughly 30ms. A huge thank you to Unity team for their help addressing this. 

 If you have suggestions on additional features you’d like to see, let us know on the Oculus Developer Forums. We’re looking forward to seeing what you create!

Oculus @ GDC 2015

We’ll be at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco March 2-6, showing the latest prototypes of the Rift and Gear VR. We’ll also be giving a series of talks on VR rendering, 3D spatialized audio, and the future of virtual reality.


As part of GDC, we’re co-hosting an event with Women in Games International (WIGI). You can join us Tuesday, March 3, at The Village (969 Market St, 3rd Floor) to meet members of the Oculus team, chat with experts and enthusiasts about VR, and try out the latest Oculus demos. Registration for the event will open soon -- Stay tuned to the official event page for more details. 

We're looking forward to seeing you there! 

Best, 

-- The Oculus Team

Oculus @ CES 2015

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We’re at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this week, showing the Oculus Rift Crescent Bay prototype for the first time publicly, along with Gear VR Innovator Edition and great mobile VR content. We’re also demonstrating high-fidelity VR audio for the very first time on PC and mobile.  

Great audio is a key element of immersion and an amplifier for presence that has been largely untapped until now. The upcoming Oculus Audio SDK uses Head-Related Transfer Function (HRTF) technology in conjunction with the Rift’s head tracking to achieve a sense of true 3D audio spatialization. This allows content creators to immerse you sonically in a virtual world, surrounded by realistic sounds in all directions.

HRTFs simulate the changes to a sound when it reaches your head from a point in space. It does this by referencing data that represents changes that would happen to a sound coming from that direction. There is data for hundreds of points around your head, and the software smooths the audio between those points for a natural sound, regardless of head or sound source position.

Although HRTF technologies have been around for decades, the addition of precise head tracking makes it much more effective. We’ve gone back and revised all of our Crescent Bay demos with awesome 3D spatialized audio, along with a few surprises. 

We also have Gear VR Innovator Edition showing off several of the best mobile VR games and experiences currently available in the Oculus VR Store. For those of you waiting to buy Gear VR outside the United States, we're hard at work with Samsung supporting other regions early this year. 

The Oculus booth is in the South Hall, #26002. We also have an Oculus @ CES mobile app, which you can use to schedule a Crescent Bay demo ahead of time. You can download it for iOS or Android. We’re also taking walkups for Crescent Bay and Gear VR on the show floor. 

This is hands-down the biggest year ever for VR at CES. A huge thank you to all the developers, enthusiasts, and backers who made it possible. We’re looking forward to seeing many of you at the show this week!

-- The Oculus Team

Nimble VR, 13th Lab, and Chris Bregler join Oculus

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Computer vision is at the heart of delivering comfortable and incredible virtual reality. Over the last two years, we’ve focused on bringing together the best and brightest in the space to solve some of the hardest vision challenges facing VR.

Today, we’re pleased to announce three key computer vision acquisitions joining the Oculus team.

Nimble VR (formerly 3Gear Systems)

Nimble VR was founded in 2012 by Rob Wang, Chris Twigg, and Kenrick Kin. Since then, they’ve been developing machine learning and computer vision capabilities to enable high-quality, low-latency skeletal hand tracking, which has the potential to be part of a great VR user experience.

 

13th Lab

The 13th Lab team has been focused on developing an efficient and accurate real-time 3D reconstruction framework. The ability to acquire accurate 3D models of the real-world can enable all sorts of new applications and experiences, like visiting a one-to-one 3D model of the pyramids in Egypt or the Roman Colosseum in VR.
 

Chris Bregler

Chris is an expert in the motion capture space. His recent projects include visual tracking for The Lone Ranger and Star Trek Into Darkness movies, both of which were nominated for the 2014 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.

Chris has spent the last 11 years as a professor of Computer Science at New York University. Prior to NYU he was on the faculty at Stanford University and worked for several companies including Hewlett Packard, Interval, Disney Feature Animation, and LucasFilm's Industrial Light and Magic. Chris will be directing a vision research team for Oculus Research.

Nimble VR, 13th Lab, and Chris will all be winding down their existing projects to focus on VR full-time at Oculus as part of both product engineering and Oculus Research. Please join us in welcoming them to the team!

We’re always on the lookout for more phenomenal engineers and researchers interested in tackling the unsolved CV problems that move us closer to consumer VR. You can check out job listings for Oculus and Oculus Research on the oculus.com Careers page: https://www.oculus.com/careers/.

If you’re interested in learning more about the computer vision work we’re doing at Oculus, we recommend this presentation by Oculus’ Michael Abrash, Chief Scientist and Head of Oculus Research, and Dov Katz, Head of Oculus CV, from earlier this year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dxbh-TM5yNc

-- The Oculus Team