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Vancouver VR Community Monthly Recap – October 2017 Edition

Flu season is officially in, Stranger Things 2 is out on Netflix, and of course, the candy is already discounted (how much is invading your office?) Whoever knew that it’s the month of October that’s a sleeper hit, packed with the most VR news we’ve had in the city?

Before we hop into things, we’d like to provide a little information about the Vancouver VR Community and where we are headed. We are looking to apply for official non-profit status this December. This is something that has been a long time coming, and it hasn’t been simple. We plan to be transparent with where our money has been allocated, and as of now, our leaders have made no income through their work with the community. It’s hard, we know this is a project of passion – however, we know that this is not sustainable.

A typical event involves approximately 80 hours of planning, 4 hours of setup and teardown, and costs about $750 (venue, food, parking) to run. This month we ran two events.

The first was planned as the best tech Halloween party in the city, lovingly named “MonstVR Mash!” It was sold out days before the event took place, and we had a special world exclusive premiere of not just Cloudhead GamesHeart of the Emberstone but Emberstone IN mixed reality with the help of MixCast VR Studio, thanks to the team over at Blueprint Reality. We had lightning talks from the Archiact VR Games Hidden Fortune team as they told all of us some of the lessons they learned developing a title for the Samsung Gear VR, and we also had the filmmakers of Bad Cookie Pictures talk about going from traditional filmmaking to VR filmmaking. We had Steampunk Digital bringing a surprise Monocle appearance, and we selfie’d all night with our October skeleton mascot. Needless to say, it was a fun time and it’s some of the silly things that are so memorable. Read the full recap here.

Our second event was the biggest party we’ve ever thrown. Thanks to the sponsorship of SFU Innovates, Centre for Digital Media, University of Victoria, and University of British Columbia The Institute for Computing, Information and Cognitive Systems (ICICS), we were able to host 200+ attendees, complete with bar, snacks, and the most demos we’ve had at any event. Tommy Lewis, Technical Evangelist Manager at Microsoft delivered an inspiring keynote for our guests to always build up one another, and continuing the community. We had a wide spectrum of industries including performing arts, education in history, video gaming, and mobile. Massive thank you to CARIS Lab, UBC, Industrial Robot Programming in AR, Centre for Digital Media and University of Victoria, Emily Carr University Basically Good Media Lab, Eyexpo, LlamaZOO, Mythical City Games, Radical.io, SFU iSpace Lab, SFU iVizLab, Steam Punk Digital, and Virtro Entertainment.

So, we need to have a bit of real talk here. On our Facebook Group, we asked: how would you feel about going all out for the FINAL event of 2017? A bar, catered food – something we haven’t had before. Would you be OK with us charging $15 for it? Feel free to weigh in on the poll, or if you prefer to be anonymous, use our quick Google Form survey.

We will not be holding an in-person event in December, and possibly January, so November will be the last!

Now onto the month of Halloween VR highlights!!!

October Highlights

Congrats to the Osso VR team!

It was announced that our friends at Osso VR (we’ve had Matt Newport made appearances at two of our events this year) that they are the official EdSim Challenge winner! This is no foolin’, the Osso VR team will receive $430,000 worth of cash and in-kind prizes. Well-deserved win for an app that is breaking waves in medical training.

Metanaut shares a guide on preparing photogrammetry For Unity

Sharing is caring and especially because VR is so new, we always benefit by sharing our progress. This month, Metanaut releases a comprehensive guide on how to preparing photogrammetry for Unity. While I think I could take a shot at summarizing this in-depth 98-page manual, I’m instead going to say to check it out for yourself! Excellent work, team!

FORM is a part of Windows Mixed Reality launch!

One of the more gorgeous VR games of 2017 gets another platform outside of the HTC Vive, and the Oculus Rift – now available on the new Windows Mixed Reality platform! Are you one of the early adopters? Grab a copy for your MR headset today.

Heart of the Emberstone by Cloudhead Games is OUT

The long awaited next chapter in The Gallery is now out. With high praise from Road to VR, and Upload VR, it’ll be a must-have for local content. Grab it today.

Archiact VR Games announces Evasion

The team at Archiact VR Games announces their biggest title yet – EVASION: a class-based co-op multiplayer bullet hell shooter. While we don’t know much right now, we do know that the title will have a campaign mode, multiple mission maps with objectives and encounters. Sign up for the exclusive Beta early 2018 on the official website, and wishlist Evasion on Steam for the latest and greatest.

Lit Studios hosts their first VR club ice breaker

Lit Studios started a VR club at SFU! If you’re a student attending SFU, Lit Studios plans on having more events for their club. Be sure to follow Lit Studios on Facebook for the latest news on their upcoming title as well.

The Days of Wine and Roses – Steinway jazz quintet in 360

Local mobile VR blogger Geoff shows off a 360 video as well as his hidden talent – playing piano(!) in this live jazz music jam with a few of his friends. Be sure to check out the video description on YouTube as Geoff clearly outlines all the technical notes about his recording. Thanks for sharing Geoff!

The BC Tech Cube is officially open

Blueprint Reality helped make a ribbon cutting ceremony experience for the BC Tech Cube and who was there to celebrate? None other than Mayor Gregor Roberston. Check out the official press release. In related news, BC is currently shortlisted in a supercluster bid for government funding. Check that out here.

Meet Multiball Studios!

So maybe this isn’t a VR title, but be sure to support Multiball Studios as they were forged through the Vancouver VR Community events. Scott Banducci, Adam Thompson and Dimanology are teaming up to make a strategy game – they’re updating their Facebook Page a lot so be sure to follow along, or catch up!

What’s coming up in November?

First thing is first: Vancouver Street Battle is throwing a VR tournament on Halloween!

You read that here first (well, maybe you didn’t), but have you heard of Vancouver Street Battle? Led by pro-Street Fighter player AirRyu, his crew has moved into Breakout VR and they are expanding from their roots of Street Fighter, Marvel, and Smash into VR!!! First up? An Arizona Sunshine tournament. Learn more on the Facebook Event.

Mythical City Games launches Skytropolis on November 2nd!

Be sure to check out Mythical City Games’ latest title Skytropolis is out on November 2nd! Are you free this Friday? Join Mythical City Games for their official launch party at Breakout VR in Richmond. More details on Picatic.

Welcome to Skytropolis, a virtual reality city building game where your imagination and ability to balance resources are the only limitations to the structures you create. Starting with a small plot of land you will be challenged with building a sustainable and profitable community. Channel your inner architect as you craft your greatest creation, your own Vertical Mega City.

Created as an immersive virtual reality experience you can scale from a bird’s-eye view to a personal perspective as you look around at your creation. Build the futuristic tower you want to live in!

Virtro Entertainment will be launching Run Dorothy Run

Virtro Entertainment is holding a VIP Media Playtest event on both Nov 2nd and Nov 9th! It’s a sneak peek at the studio’s first game.  Run Dorothy Run is an immersive Endless Runner and Rhythm Virtual Reality (VR) game, with a cheeky take on the literary classic The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Coming out on Sony PlayStation VR in Fall 2017, the electro-swing soundtrack, fantastical lands, and crazy plot twists of Run Dorothy Run ensure it will be a family favorite on Christmas morning and beyond. Media and bloggers are invited to visit the eventbrite page or drop Virtro an email to let them know which date and time slot works for your schedule.

Denise Quesnel will be speaking at TEDxSFU on November 12th

Our team adores Denise for all the hard work she’s done with SIGGRAPH VR Village, and we were able to get to know her a little bit more at our joint event with SFU Innovates. If you’re attending TEDxSFU, Denise’s talk is not to be missed!

Denise has dedicated her career to the exploration of profound emotional shifts that can occurs through interaction with immersive, multisensory artistic artefacts and technological experiences. She is a researcher of the immersive realities, specifically creation and design of virtual/augmented reality (VR/AR) content and interfaces for profound emotional shifts, like awe and wonder.

After spending over a decade in the film and VFX industry, she founded an immersive R&D studio worked in University research departments, and is now a graduate student at the iSpace Lab at SFU’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology. A great deal of her experience as a woman in technology, and as an individual with inflammatory arthritis since childhood feeds into her motivation around understanding how emotional shifts combined with technology can help facilitate compassion, understanding, interconnectivity for ourselves, one another, and our planet.

Denise is an active volunteer with service to the global community. After many years of forming local communities, she launched a new VR & AR program called VR Village at the annual non-profit SIGGRAPH conference in 2015. SIGGRAPH is the world’s largest computer graphics (CG) and interactive techniques event, and Denise has now guided VR Village into its third year as one of the most popular immersive programs in the world while also mentoring dozens of students, artists, and practitioners. She is also heavily involved in volunteer service in non-profit organizations responsible for advocacy and policy-making in the health care and technological fields on a national and international level.

Microsoft’s Dream.Build.Play challenge is about to be wrapped up!

For those who are wrapping up on the October madness, how about starting a last minute project to submit to Microsoft’s Dream.Build.Play challenge? Learn more here.

That’s a wrap for the month of Halloween, Vancouver VR fam!

Save the date for Tuesday, November 21st because it’ll be the last VR party of the year!

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

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