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Vancouver VR Community Monthly Recap – August 2017 Edition

I got that summertime, summertime sadness… Isn’t that how the song goes? In either case, whether we’re talking about outdated pop songs, or the recent flu going around town – we’ve reached the end of summer already! And it’s not that we’re all kicking back outdoors, local creators and enthusiasts have been BUSY. We mean BUSY.

Our team doubled down on the events this month. We hosted our very first multiplayer night at Breakout VR in Richmond and while we weren’t expecting high attendance – we accidentally overbooked the venue! In either case, the staff were welcoming and accommodated us with the utmost care they could, and even sponsored some giveaway prizes from The Conjuring Universe’s Annabelle: Creation (available in theatres now). Don’t believe us? Read all about it here and join us for our next multiplayer night in November! Big thanks to Breakout VR for collaborating with us to make this all possible.

Our fourth monthly event happened last week at Mobify HQ, and we were so thrilled with the crowd. Most folks stayed all the way until curfew, helping us setup and teardown. (We truly build this community together, including making these events happen!) We were lucky to have Polygon Dust Games, creators of Batter Up! VR be our guests, discussing how they met, how they collaborated and created the title, all the way to releasing on Steam! As always, we threw the mic to the crowd, and we had Google Developers Group, Cloud Vancouver, CRAFTGRAPH, Lit Tech Studios, VRTOGO, Noah Van Buhren, and Arlen share their stories. Weren’t able to attend? We’ve got you covered.

Our team is currently putting the finishing touches on our next monthly event happening on September 12th. Save the date! We’ll be posting the official event pages up soon but what we can reveal is that we are building the event around:

  • Education
  • Training
  • Intro to VR creation

We are aiming to reveal how VR powers both education and training industries, and we also want to help empower our members who want to begin creating for VR. We’re excited for this one, and we hope you are too.

For anyone interested in purchasing mugs, shirts, or jumpers to support us (we receive a small royalty), there’s now a 15% off and free shipping sitewide sale on Design by Humans. Visit our shop and enter the code ABSTRACT to get your discount!

We are currently looking for sponsors who can help us keep our events going, so if you are interested or know a company that may be, please get in touch! If you’re not able to provide financial support (which is all good!), please consider supporting us by:

Now let’s have a look at the happenings this month! (There’s seriously a ton.)

August 2017 Highlights

Blueprint Reality releases MixCast™ 1.4!

It’s amazing seeing the team make mixed reality content so accessible for creators and this month they released 1.4 which includes some stunning improvements such as subject lighting from virtual sources, automatic bounds cropping, Oculus Rift compatibility (!!!), and improvements with quick setup for both the Oculus and the HTC Vive. There’s a whole lot more so be sure to check out the full announcement on MixCast’s Steam announcements page. Way to go! We’re looking forward to what local creators do with this Vancouver-made tool!

VRARA Vancouver News

VRARA’s Vancouver Chapter has been busy this summer working with digital and marketing agencies and they’ve shared some of their Q&A sessions with some local folks on their August newsletter. Just this week, VRARA Vancouver also shared a member spotlight with CognitiveVR, who has recently been accepted into the Vive X Accelerator as well as the Verizon Media Tech Venture Studio programs. Congrats to the team, and read all about CognitiveVR’s CEO Tony Bevilacqua.

Cooking with Geoffmobile

Vancouver 360/VR blogger Geoffmobile shared something unique this month in our Discord. Ever wanted a one-on-one session with a cook? Geoff filmed a recipe for “Greek Style Chicken in Instant Pot with Potatoes, Peas, Cucumber, and Peppers”. Check it out!

Cloudhead Games

Our team was thrilled to visit Cloudhead Games’ studio, and take a look for ourselves on where all the magic happens. If you don’t already follow Cloudhead Games on YouTube, you really should. (You can clearly see why we wanted to hang out with the Cloudhead folks so much!) In either case, they’ve been busy prepping the release for the next chapter for The Gallery – Heart of Emberstone. Be on the look out for it next month!

Lit Tech Studios announces Strikeout VR

Newly minted Lit Tech Studios’s diverse team announced at our event that they are working on something that will revolutionize esports – they are working on a baseball title called Strikeout VR, not just your regular single motion/action sport game but something more. Read all about it on their blog and be sure to follow them on social media for upcoming news!

UNIVRS Gaming’s Summer Camp was a hit!

In July, UNIVRS announced something really special: a summer camp for kids every Friday afternoon for VR. While some folks were a little hesitant to jump on board, there were some parents and kids that took the plunge, and it was well-received and positive. Thanks to Charlie and his team for taking on this initiative!

Vancouver Street Battles is moving into Breakout VR!

For those who are familiar with the local Vancouver esports/FGC scene, you’ll know that this is INSANELY HUGE NEWS. Retired Street Fighter player Air (エア) is the organizer of Vancouver Street Battles, an organization that has been connecting Smash, Tekken, SF players all around the lower mainland and providing their members a place to safely meet and practise their skills. Two major announcements:

  • Breakout VR will be making way for Vancouver Street Battles at their venue, which means the place will offer not just VR games and experiences, but a place for arcade players. Or why not both!
  • Vancouver Street Battles has also announced extending their content into mobile games, shooters, and possibly some VR as well!

Fantastic news for everyone and we are looking forward to collaborations between our communities.

CRAFTGRAPH

The first CRAFTGRAPH event took place on Aug 30th at Fortune Sound Club with a discussion panel exploring the theme of “How is Technology Affecting the CRAFT (Computing, Recording, Arts & Film Technologies) sectors?”

The result was an intense and spirited dialogue between the panelists Todd Hancock (Toddcast Podcast), John Gray (Mentionmapp Analytics), Aren Altman (Altman & Co), Chris Bedyk (Perspective Films), and Tyler McCulloch (Freelance VR Developer), moderated by Randy Sangha.

Feedback from attendees was absolutely encouraging and we’re looking forward to hosting the next CRAFTGRAPH event in October.

Scott from VRTOGO and Adam Thompson are teaming up

Community member Scott has been coming to our monthly events since day one and seeing his progress has been so exciting. This time around, he’s announced that he’s teamed up with another Vancouver VR Community member to begin development on a game prototype. You can check out how their 5 ideas became 3 ideas. Be sure to join our Facebook Group so you can be notified of fun statistics and data like this! Thanks Scott for catering to our team’s guilty pleasure of graphical data!

BrainStation Vancouver’s first VR/AR panel


BrainStation Vancouver hosted their first ever VR/AR Panel in their new flagship campus and it was a packed house! Speakers from Microsoft Van, LNG Studios, Archiact and the Vancouver Economic Commission shared their insights on going mainstream – incorporating VR into everyday work and life. Stay tuned for more VR/AR events coming up at BrainStation!

UBC’s Emerging Media Lab article on Trek Magazine

UBC professor Dr. Ray Hsu speaks about immersive technology becoming a key component of the classroom, and we couldn’t agree more. Read all about it here.

TONIGHT! VANVR is back

It’s been a while for VANVR and they are back in their new venue and office at the Cube. Get your tickets for tonight for $15 in advance, and $20 at the door.

Diversity in the city

During Vancouver Pride weekend, we were hoping to highlight some of the local tech companies pushing for a visible diversity and inclusivity mandate.

While the Microsoft Store proudly wore their heart (and rainbows) and their sleeve, no other tech companies reached out. It’s important to practise what you preach, and if you know any tech companies in Vancouver who are proudly pushing for diversity initiatives, let us know.

In non-tech news, our friends over at the Identity-Lens Project have released their Patreon page.

About Identity-Lens Project:

The Identity-Lens Project aims to create short Educational Documentaries to help promote Awareness, Education, Communication and Empathy about the different forms of Discrimination people experience in their daily lives.

We plan to create an open platform for people of all backgrounds to help facilitate dialogue and personal expression about the importance of Diversity. We want to help shape the global discussion and to creative a positive, lasting impact on the world.

Things to look out for in September

Academy of VR is hosting several Introductory VR Workshops

Academy of VR is hosting several Introductory VR Workshop online webinars in September for FREE on the 5th, 7th, and 11th. Check out the Academy of VR Facebook Event Page for more information! Meet instructor Jason Campbell on Academy of VR’s latest YouTube video:

Bad Cookie Pictures’Ariel Hansen

Bad Cookie Pictures‘ very own Ariel Hansen will be directing her very first VR experience! Shooting starts in September, and we’re really excited to see what this talented team will be creating!

INVRS3D was at Shambhala! Content coming soon

The INVRS3D team shot Shambhala this year, and they will be releasing their teaser promotions starting early September! Look out for news on the INVRS3D Twitter.

Want to share a September highlight or something to look forward to in October? Send us your tips for our next monthly recap in September!

If you made it this far, give yourself a high five. We weren’t kidding when we said the City of Vancouver was making fires in the VR scene!… Fires like “lit”. Like, “busy”. Like, “on fire”, but not in a bad way like putting out fires because something is broken or forest fires. Ah, never mind! Carry on, and enjoy your long Labour Day weekend, Vancouver VR Community!

We’ll see you on September 12th! Fall Is Coming

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