The ghost howls

A blog of virtual reality, startup and stuff



Social VR: meeting your friends in Virtual Reality with Bigscreen VR and VRChat

2 weeks ago I reserved some time to encounter virtually my friend Sasha. I got to know him some times ago on Twitter because he was interested in my work in full body virtual reality and soon he proved to be very friendly and supportive. Unluckily he lives in Canada, while I’m in Italy so it’s very hard for us to meet.

But but but… we’re two VR passionates and he’s a super-fun of virtual worlds… so he said to me “why don’t we meet in VR?“. I immediately liked the idea and so in the end on February the 1st at 17.30 Italian time we managed to finally meet in VR. This is a little resumée of my experience.

Being naive about virtual worlds (I’ve only tried AltspaceVR some times ago) I let Sasha pick the right application. He proposed BigScreen VR.

Bigscreen logo (Image by Bigscreen)
Bigscreen logo (Image by Bigscreen)

Continue reading “Social VR: meeting your friends in Virtual Reality with Bigscreen VR and VRChat”

PPT-VR review

I’ve been contacted by Hardik, an Indian guy that is working on a software to do presentations in VR, that asked me to review his project. He added that we’re buddy AR/VR-preneurs, so he convinced me to write this article :). At Immotionar, getting little visibility for our Hit Motion game was very hard, so I know the pain he’s living…

Hardik works in a company called SMIS and they’re making a product called PPT-VR. The name makes immediately clear what they want to do: presentations in VR. With “presentation” I don’t mean a presentation in a Powerpoint sense, but more in a 360-VR sense. In these last months lots of startups are popping out, promising the ability to create easily VR virtual tours where the user navigates from one 360-photos to the other, with the ability to see some info about some points of interests. Continue reading “PPT-VR review”

HoloLens problems show us that AR is still not ready for the mass market

HoloLens is maybe the best AR glass on the market nowadays and I had the pleasure to try it some months ago and to write an enthusiastic review about it. I was delighted by its capabilities, potentials and the incredible spatial positioning of its “holograms” (hate this term, since they’re not holograms, just virtual objects you see through a lens, but… whatever).

In the last month I had the pleasure to work in a HoloLens project, so I spent some days developing for it using Unity. It’s great, but as within a long term relationships living with your partner you discover a lot of hidden problems… working with HoloLens I started discovering lots of defects it has. Continue reading “HoloLens problems show us that AR is still not ready for the mass market”

Google Daydream, a little review

Thursday evening I was able to try for some minutes a Google Daydream headset, thanks to guys of GDG Torino that invited us of Immotionar at their Sognando La Realtà event. This is my very little review about it.

If you have ever tried a Samsung GearVR headset… well, the experience is quite identical. Only differences with it are that it is more comfortable and that you can interact using a little remote. And that’s it with this review. I’ve told you that it was little… 😀

Just kidding, but in fact these are the most important things that I have to say. Google Daydream is a nice mobile headset, where you can insert your mobile phone and live virtual reality.

Google Daydream vr headset
Take a Google Pixel, put it in there and thanks to NFC magic, your Daydream home menu will appear!

Only supported phone is Google Pixel at the moment, but more are about to come (for example one Motorola and one Lenovo). The advantage of Daydream platform over GearVR one is that it will compatible with lots of phones from different vendors, so it will be an open platform (and this is the reason why it will outperform its competitor in the end, I guess). Google Daydream is all covered in fabric… this has been a choice of Google, so that the headset resembles a piece of cloting and seems more a natural thing to wear (a very hippy marketing thing in my opinion :D).

Continue reading “Google Daydream, a little review”

Unity VR Editor review

There’s been a lot of hype about game engines with VR editors in the last months. The first one has been Unreal Engine, showcasing a solution for HTC Vive (because at that time it was the only headset with proper VR controllers) and then of course Unity decided to do something similar, announcing a VR editor with Vive and then Oculus support. With “VR editor” I mean the editor of the game engine that instead of running on your flat screen with you interacting with mouse and keyboard, runs on your VR headset in 3D, with you interacting with objects with your VR controllers.

Continue reading “Unity VR Editor review”

Brush Up VR review

I was contacted by Games That Work to review their upcoming game Brush Up VR. The game will be released on February the 1st, just in time for National Children Dental Health Month, on SteamVR. Its price will be $0.99.

Why should we care about “National Children Dental Health Month”? Because the game is about washing our teeth. It is made to make us think about how good and how much we wash our teeth each day. It has been designed with children in mind, but thinking about adults, too. As the author of the game says:

“Kids only brush what they see in the mirror, and many adults aren’t much better” says Dr. Bob Jacobson, the family dentist behind Brush Up. “They spend two minutes polishing the front teeth and scrubbing the easy side. That won’t work in Brush Up VR. You must clean the inner, outer and biting surface of every tooth.”

Continue reading “Brush Up VR review”

NVIDIA VR Funhouse review

Some days ago I finally tried a game that every Vive owner has tried decades ago: Nvidia® VR Funshouse (The ® is super-fundamental, like the ™ in Monkey Island saga…). This is one of the most used games in VR showcases (along The Lab, Job Simulator and few other ones).

VR Funhouse has been made by NVIDIA® for the following reasons:

  • To show us that they’re cool (but we already knew that after trying their GEFORCE GTX1080);
  • To show their commitment towards VR;
  • To show cool stuff that you can do with a NVIDIA® graphics cards (during the game there are lots of fancy things that stress the card… the Maximum graphical level of the game requires 2 GTX1080!!! W000t, so luxurious! (Honestly, I’ve only one but the game worked flawlessly));
  • To show their PhysX physics engine capabilities: in VR, realistic physics becomes even more important and they wanted to show us that they’re ready for this challenge.

Continue reading “NVIDIA VR Funhouse review”

Google Earth VR review (and how to make it work with Oculus)

Do you remember my article about Google Earth VR? It was about Google project of porting Google Earth to VR: an application you can already play for free on Steam and that has generated a lot of hype. At last, today I’ve managed to give it a try and so I can write you a little review.

First of all we all thought that Google made Google Earth only for Vive because at that time Oculus had not ergonomic controllers. But now Oculus has awesome controllers, the Touch, so finally Google Earth VR can work with Ocu…no, forget it: it continues working with Vive only. So, how is it possible that I tried it with my Rift and Touch? Well, there is a hack that I found thanks to RoadToVR and the name of this hack is FakeVive. FakeVive is basically a DLL that tricks the programs saying to it that the current headset is a Vive: it may actually be a Oculus Rift, Razer HDK or a potato, the program will think that it is a HTC Vive. The repository of FakeVive already has all instructions to use it to play with Google Earth VR, so all you have to do is go there and follow each step. Basically you get this DLL and put it on Google Earth executable directory and that’s it! You can finally play Google Earth with Oculus and Touch!

Continue reading “Google Earth VR review (and how to make it work with Oculus)”

Mirror GearVR with ScreenBeam Mini 2

One of my Christmas Gift has been a ScreenBeam Mini 2. What is that? Well, it is a little device that lets you stream movies from laptops or smartphones to and HDMI screen through Wi-fi. If you’re thinking “Woah, it is like a Chromecast!” well, yes, it definitely is. And if you’re thinking “Woah, so I can use it to mirror GearVR content to an external monitor!“… well, yes, you’re right!

This is another piece of hardware that you can use to stream GearVR / Cardboard content to an external monitor so that people can see what the user is seeing in virtual reality. If you missed my article about other possible methods… what are you waiting for? Follow this link and read it!

ScreenBeam Mini2 is a little device by ActionTec that lets you stream content from any device to an external HDMI screen. Main advantage over Chromecast is that it is not an Android-dedicated piece of hardware. It works also with Windows ecosystem (even Windows Phone!). Continue reading “Mirror GearVR with ScreenBeam Mini 2”

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