At Lenovo’s Tech World conference in Beijing, the Chinese tech giant unveiled a new AR headset prototype that aims to appeal to business travelers on-the-go.
Officially called the Lenovo AR Concept Glasses, the headset features a relatively small and sleek profile, no doubt in part because the headset connects to a PC via cable, meaning it likely doesn’t hold an on-board SoC like Microsoft’s HoloLens. The news was first reported by German publication MIXED.
The concept AR glasses are said to let users simulate multiple monitors, with the added benefit of user privacy so that you can work in a public space, like on a train, without having to worry about someone looking over your shoulder.
Although it’s uncertain if Lenovo intend to actually produce the AR glasses, the company did say the virtual monitor use case is “just one of the many features coming soon on the new Lenovo AR glasses,” which could imply the company is looking to flesh out its capabilities in effort to launch the device to business-savvy travelers.
As it is now, the glasses appear to feature three sensors and what could be ‘bird bath’ style optics, much like the Nreal headset shown off at CES 2019 in January. This is however conjecture at this point, as the company hasn’t publicly specified any of the headset’s specs.
Most recently, Lenovo launched its ThinkReality A6 HMD back in May, an AR headset, that like HoloLens, is targeting business applications.
A few months late, the company announced a refresh of Lenovo Mirage AR, its consumer-focused AR headset. Originally launched in 2018 alongside its sole title, Star Wars: Jedi Challenges (2018), the headset is now said to arrive with 6DOF controllers and a new AR game, MARVEL Dimension of Heroes.
Halo Reach (2010), the final Halo game from the series’ original developer, Bungie, is coming to PC in December, and could wind up with a VR support through an unofficial mod. Zack “Nibre” Fannon, the creator of the Alien: Isolation VR mod, is experimenting with VR support for Halo Reach.
As a massively popular franchise, calls for a Halo VR game have been heard plenty over the years, but with the latest incarnation of the games stuck on Xbox, Halo has still not gotten the VR treatment (unless you count that tease which Microsoft never followed up on).
Zack “Nibre” Fannon, creator of the Alien: Isolation VR mod and self-described “Halo addict,” today posted clips on Twitter showing they were experimenting with adding some VR functionality to Halo Reach.
Apparently working with a version of the game from public beta tests earlier this year, the clips show they have managed to bring rotational and positional tracking from the Rift into Halo Reach. This is a minor (but essential) achievement compared with the complexity of getting the game to render with proper distortion and stereoscopy. If it were anyone else we might just say “neat,” and move along with our day, but Nibre’s work with Alien: Isolation shows they may have the skills to deliver a fully functional Halo Reach VR mod.
Prior to its 2014 launch, Alien: Isolation was briefly demoed with a VR mode running on the second Rift development kit (DK2). It proved to be a terrifying experience, though with only tens of thousands of Rift DK2s out in the wild, the developers of the game didn’t bother to implement the VR mode for the launch of the game. It turns out though that the game’s files shipped with the VR mode hidden, and some intrepid folks figured out how to activate it so they could play the game on the DK2.
But between the DK2 and the launch of the consumer Rift in 2016, the Oculus SDK (which interfaces with the game to make it work inside the headset) changed drastically, meaning that the hidden Alien: Isolation VR mode wasn’t compatible with the consumer Rift.
But that didn’t stop people from clamoring to play the game in VR. Their desire spawned multiple petitions to try to get publisher Sega to update the game with modern VR support. Despite one petition with more than 2,500 signatures, the game’s VR mode remained outdated and unplayable with the consumer Rift headset.
That’s when Nibre decided to take action into their own hands and released the so-called ‘MotherVR’ mod which not only enabled VR support but also improved upon the original implementation, bringing it in line with a more modern application of VR comfort design and even adding support for VR controllers.
As for Halo Reach in VR, Nibre hasn’t committed to creating a full blown mod just yet, but they are clearly experimenting. “Now that [Halo Reach] is finally coming to PC, it opens a lot of doors…,” they teased on Twitter.
Golem, a long-delayed PSVR exclusive, finally emerged from the shadows this week. First announced in 2015, the debut title from Highwire Games has made a habit of disappearing for months on end following last-minute push backs. This week, all that ends. But there’s still one more Golem-related delay we have for you, and that’s for our full review.
See, there’s a lot to talk about with Golem. From its troublesome movement system that upsets an otherwise lavishly-produced game, to the puzzling roguelike elements and the considered pacing of its combat. But it’s that last point that’s led me to an unfortunate stalemate with a game I so desperately want to love but keep being rejected by.
Golem’s melee-based combat works a lot like Star Wars: Vader Immortal. You must first hold your weapon of choice up to block an incoming attack, telegraphed by the movement of your gigantic opponents. Block a succession of attacks and you’ll momentarily expose a weak point. You need to really seize that opportunity; hesitate for even a second and you’ll miss your window.
When the game works, this makes for a thrilling war of attrition. When it doesn’t, it amounts to one of if not the most infuriating experience I’ve had in VR, one I can’t justify continuing on with right now.
Sometimes, Golem’s blocking doesn’t really seem to register. I hold my weapon out, confident I’m about to block an attack and it just… doesn’t work. With most encounters, this is frustrating, but it won’t cost you the battle so long as you quickly regain your focus. Not only that but sometimes an enemy exposes their weak point just out of reach from you and, with the game’s sluggish movement, you can’t react and close the gap in time. Worse yet, sometimes they expose their weak point just before a heavy attack that can’t be blocked. If you’re out of reach you’ll miss your shot, but they probably won’t miss theirs.
A short time into the game, though, you encounter an enemy that, with the right amount of force, can kill you with one hit. One mistake, either on your part or (what I perceive to be) the game’s and you’re gone.
But you’re not just gone. You’re back to a checkpoint ten minutes away, forced to slog through the environment again and do another two or three other battles again before you reach that moment. Plus you’ll lose the gear you had in that battle, so there’s a chance you’re heading into the fight in worse shape than last time. So losing isn’t just a little annoying, it’s deeply costly.
So, I present to you Exhibit A. This is the culprit. In this video I make two blocks; one around five seconds in, another around 30 seconds in. Watch along.
Now I’ll give you that the first block might not seem legit; I hold the weapon upside down to give myself more room, though this usually works. Plus you can hear the sound of the block. The second hit, however, I find pretty indefensible. In my mind, I’ve clearly made that block; my weapon is there in time. Not that I’m obsessing too much about this (can you tell?) But here’s the exact millisecond before I die.
I mean, that looks like it’s on course for a block, does it not? It doesn’t seem like the game cares either way. Even if I get lucky on the blocking, chances are he’ll execute a heavy attack, I’ll take a swipe to try and stop him, realize I’m not standing close enough and, by then, it’s already too late.
Now, I’ve agonized over this today. I know that some people have got past this section. I know some people will tell me to just ‘git gud’. I’m frankly a little terrified that there’s something I’m missing or I’m just not playing the game right. But then I started to think back to all of the other sword-slinging VR games I’ve conquered. Vanishing Realms, for example. Heck, I think I was one of the first people to surpass Wave 40 in Vader Immortal’s Lightsaber Dojo.
To put it simply, I have had enough experiences with great VR melee combat to know when something doesn’t feel right.
So I’m not going to stick a review score on Golem, at least not right now, as much as I’d like to. I frankly haven’t seen enough of the game and refuse to subject myself to much more of this random torture. I’ll be fascinated to see if players have a similar experience to me as they start getting their hands on the game tomorrow. If there is a deeper problem, I’m hopeful Highwire is able to address it through patches. Right now, however, Golem feels stuck in the stone age, and I have no desire to spend much more time there.