The ghost howls

A blog of virtual reality, startup and stuff


htc vive

Vive 3 announced, includes full cat body tracking, preorders from April 31st

I was looking on my laptop for some chinese TV Channel to strengthen my Chinese language competencies, when I stumbled on a HTC press conference. They started talking about VR, so helping myself with Chinese subtitles and with Line dictionary, I tried to do my best to understand. And it has been the most important moment of my blogger life: on this Taiwanese channel, they revealed the Vive 3. I’m sorry if I’m not able to report all the news, but I’ve got the keypoints.

Vive 3 is the new model of HTC Vive. They skipped the 2 version because the new headset will be paired with the upcoming game Half Life 3, which will be a game full focused on VR. So 3 is the magic number for VR now. Continue reading “Vive 3 announced, includes full cat body tracking, preorders from April 31st”

How to use Vive Trackers without Vive headset

Some days ago, I gained lots of karma points on reddit sharing an interesting UploadVR article that talked about the need to have a Vive headset in order to use Vive Trackers. The article (that you can find here) reports that, to a question asking if it was possible to use the Trackers without a headset,

A member of the Vive staff replied: “Not at this time, you do need to have the HMD to use the tracker or the controllers normally.” We’ve reached out to HTC to confirm this is indeed the case.

Lots of people complained about this, while lots of others answered on reddit “it’s obvious. What’s the purpose of having a Vive tracker without a Vive headset?”. The question has sense, because if you want to use Vive Trackers, most probably you want to do something with SteamVR tracking and a Vive headset… so this is a non-issue. But, but… Vive Trackers is a completely open tracking ecosystem, and when you create an open ecosystem, you have to think that people could use it to do lots of unthinkable stuff. Continue reading “How to use Vive Trackers without Vive headset”

Vive reveals Tracker price and other stuff at MWC 2017

Yesterday finally we got to know the price of the Vive Tracker and all other add-ons Vive revealed at CES! If you forgot what I’m talking about, you can have a look at my wonderful previous post about it or you can go on to refresh your memory.

Basically Vive got lot of hype announcing the Vive Tracker, that is a single sensor that is tracked thanks to SteamVR Lighthouse system and through which you can obtain the position of a single point inside your VR environment with great precision. Tracker is wireless and works thanks to a battery. It streams data via USB (there is a USB dongle you have to put inside your PC ports). Thanks to Vive tracker you can track multiple objects inside your room (you just put a tracker attached to each object) or even the human body (you put trackers on the main joints of your body and obtain all the rest through inverse kinematics). Continue reading “Vive reveals Tracker price and other stuff at MWC 2017”

Gabe Newell AMA shows great news for Vive (but no Half Life 3, sorry)

Everyone these days is focused on the trial Oculus vs Zenimax (if you don’t know what I’m talking about… you can start getting an idea looking at good articles like this one). I think that it’s something interesting, but it’s nothing more than VR gossip, something that I like to read while grabbing popcorns. Honestly I don’t think Zenimax will win this trial (just a gut feeling eh, I don’t have any evidence or such) and from a technical standpoint I don’t find this battle interesting.

I think that focusing on that stuff, lot of people lost the focus on the most important virtual reality thing of the day: the AMA of Gabe Newell on reddit. The fat copy of Harry Potter and other Valve employees stood there on /r/The_Gaben to answer all questions. Some were just random curiosity questions like “Have you ever been to Amsterdam?”, others were focused on Steam (someone asked about seeing pornography games on Steam… and no, guys, it won’t happen, sorry), others on games like Half Life 3 (he answered “The number 3 must not be said” ahahhahaha), then, of course, there have been questions about virtual reality. You can read all the AMA here or you can get an extract of most valuable Q&A here on Kotaku. Here I just want to comment two key posts. Continue reading “Gabe Newell AMA shows great news for Vive (but no Half Life 3, sorry)”

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)”

Can Vive Puck be the positional tracker for GearVR?

After Vive announcement of the Tracker (the “Puck”) at current CES, there has been a lot of hype surrounding it. Everyone has started thinking about possible applications, fantasizing about awesome Vive installations with lots of Trackers. I love enthusiasm of VR community.

One thing that people has started thinking about is using Trackers to implement positional tracking for GearVR. So one person could have a positional tracked GearVR with just the simplicity and the little cost of a puck: $50-100. And imagine using this Puck-tracked-GearVR with VRidge and use GearVR as a wireless replacement for the Vive. There are 5 millions Gear VR in this world and even more Cardboard headsets… and having now a simple solution to offer them positional tracking is huge! Continue reading “Can Vive Puck be the positional tracker for GearVR?”

HTC Vive 2 will be announced at CES 2017?

There are really lots of questions about the Vive 2. HTC Vive is a device that completely changed our way of thinking VR, since it introduced for first full room scale (well, actually us of Immotionar introduced it before them using Kinects, but that’s another story :P) and first true VR controllers.

But HTC Vive is still an expensive device and has to face the fierce competition of Oculus: after Oculus Connect 3 and the following release of Oculus Touch, Oculus now has a competitive advantage over them: the ability to use true ergonomic controllers. Vive has already answered in a great way showcasing some new prototype controllers and releasing with TPCast a device to make Vive wireless, but all hype on reddit now is for Oculus Touch. The competition between the two vendors is high and this is giving us lots of fantastic stuff. But now there is also a new competitor: Microsoft, with its announced super-cheap headsets with inside-out positional tracking. Continue reading “HTC Vive 2 will be announced at CES 2017?”

Full body VR game Hit Motion is out now!

At Immotionar, we’ve just made a great announcement that I want to share with you all! We’ve released Hit Motion, a game that we’ve been developing in the last weeks with some local indies: the game designer Massimiliano Ariani and 3D artist Victor Pukhov.

Hit Motion full body virtual reality game
Hit Motion awesome logo

Hit Motion is in pre-alpha, so it is still not a complete game, but it’s already fun because using the ImmotionRoom system, it lets you use the full body to run from one side of your room to the other kicking and puching every thing that comes in your virtual sight! This is Max while playing with it… isn’t he funny?

The game is compatible with every headset (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Razer HDK, Gear VR, Google VR) and with every supported sensor (at the moment Kinect v1 and Kinect v2), so if you have at least a Kinect (but the more you have, the better 😉 ) and a VR headset, download it for free on Immotionar website! Continue reading “Full body VR game Hit Motion is out now!”

How to use Kinect with HTC Vive

When I talk about the full body virtual reality system ImmotionRoom that we’re developing at Immotionar, the first question that people asks me is always “Why Kinect? Kinect is dead”. I’ve already answered to this question, explaining that yes, it is slowly dying, but Kinect is still the best off-the-shelf infrared body-tracking sensor that we can find on the market (due to the mega-training samples fed to its algorithm). So, while we hope that other competitors like Orbbec and VicoVR will reach its quality level, we have still to use it… and this is the same reason why lots of research projects still employ the kinect.

But then there is another important question people make me: “I’m a Vive user… and Vive and Kinect interfere a lot. I like your videos about full body virtual reality, but I will surely not be able to use it…”

Well, let’s be honest: this is true. Continue reading “How to use Kinect with HTC Vive”

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