How Owlchemy Labs designed VR’s funny hit Job Simulator

Job Simulator was one of the big surprises in virtual reality in the past year. The VR title from Owlchemy Labs generated more than $3 million in revenue as a launch title on the HTC Vive. The game was a hilarious cartoon-style experience where you perform various routine jobs like being a short order cook or an office worker in VR. Its success enabled Owlchemy to be one of the few early examples of how to succeed in VR game development. I talked with Alex Schwartz, CEO of Owlchemy Labs, the creator of Job Simulator for the HTC Vive and other VR platforms. We spoke at the DICE Summit, the elite game industry event in Las Vegas. Job Simulator was nominated for an award at the DICE Awards, the Oscars of gaming. Here’s an edited transcript of our interview. GB: What have you guys said about how well Job Simulator has done? What kind of impact has it had? Above: Alex Schwartz, CEO of Owlchemy Labs, maker of Job Simulator. Image Credit: Dean Takahashi Alex Schwartz: It’s been surprising, a lot of the superlatives for Job Simulator. We announced our revenue, that we’ve surpassed $3 million in sales for Job Simulator…

Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, the sequel to Shadow of Mordor, leaks via early Target listing

Our first look of the long-awaited sequel to 2014’s Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor appears to have leaked early thanks to a Target listing today.
The follow-up, titled Middle-Earth: Shadow of War, appears to continue the story of Talion (and the wraith Celebrimbor that possesses him), as the duo continue to seek vengeance against the Dark Lord Sauron. The first game saw Talion battle his way through the Orcish hordes of Mordor in an effort to avenge the death of his family at the hands of Sauron’s captains, pairing sword and stealth combat with Celebrimbor’s more magical abilities to destroy and dominate.

Per the game’s official description:

Go behind enemy lines to forge your army, conquer Fortresses and dominate…

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How to Survive 2 Review

A Reanimated Review to Die For NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! Intro: With the ever increasing fascination of our rotten kin, it is hard not to see the impact zombies have had on our culture. Shows like The Walking Dead and movies such as A Scouts Guide to the Apocalypse are great examples of just how much we fear and love the idea of reanimated corpses causing havoc. So it wouldn’t surprise me if many people today are prepared for such an event, but for the minds at 505 Games the training is never over. How to Survive 2 is a zombie fanatic’s wacky guide to survival during a zombie outbreak that laces fun in the sun with others… but it wont be easy. https://medium.com/media/fcd05289e7d71c31f512edb411b66d85/href Gameplay: https://medium.com/media/d452a35ea97c9ed8a3521b9ef6caf903/href How to Survive 2’s at its very core is a top-down hack and slash rpg similar in style to games like Gauntlet or the Diablo franchise, but with far less rpg elements and a stamina bar. Don’t get me wrong, it is fun to explore zombie infested maps cracking skulls with a giant makeshift debris-sledge hammer, but there is an overall lack of attack variation to the carnage that no amount of cool finishing moves can fix. I can…

‘Minority Report’ science advisor John Underkoffler to speak at GamesBeat Summit 2017

Our next speaker for our upcoming GamesBeat event is John Underkoffler, the CEO of Oblong Industries and science advisor for the landmark sci-fi film Minority Report. Underkoffler will talk about science fiction as a prototyping medium for real-world tech, games as the vanguard of user interface, the value of working at visual scale, and advanced user interfaces as “empathy machines.” He is one of a number of speakers at our GamesBeat Summit 2017: How games, sci-fi, and tech create real-world magic. In 2006, Underkoffler started Oblong Industries to take the ideas from Minority Report and build the next generation of computing interfaces. In 2012, the company began selling commercial versions of that interface, the Mezzanine platform for immersive visual collaboration. Much of the work was based on a foundation of research at the MIT Media Lab, where Underkoffler worked for many years. Besides Minority Report, he was also the science advisor on films including The Hulk and Iron Man. Above: John Underkoffler, CEO of Oblong, envisioned the gesture controls in Minority Report. Image Credit: Dean Takahashi GamesBeat Summit 2017 will take place on May 1 and May 2, 2017, at the historic Claremont resort hotel in Berkeley, Calif., just a short distance from San…

Samsung’s Gear VR headset now includes a controller

Samsung has introduced an update to its Gear VR headset, giving it not only a more ergonomic and curved design, but now includes a controller, powered by Oculus “At Samsung, we are focused on setting and exceeding the standard for VR experiences, making them even more accessible and delivering the highest in quality,” remarked Younghee Lee, Samsung’s executive vice president for its mobile communications business. “The Gear VR with Controller expands our VR ecosystem to help consumers get more engaged and immersed in VR content – whether it’s games or videos.” The headset weighs nearly 12.2 ounces (345 grams), heavier than the previous two versions and also wider in dimensions (207.8 X 112.5 X 98.6 mm) than its predecessors. The field of view remains 101 degrees, the same as the 2016 version. Including a controller had been rumored for days, first spotted in filings with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Samsung didn’t really have a controller you could use natively, although likely you may have been able to use a third-party. However, now to get more out of your virtual reality experience, the company seeks to empower you and offer developers more flexibility to be immersed in this new medium. The controller…

Bill Rosemann describes how Marvel designs characters we care about

Bill Rosemann believes that comic book characters have an impact in the real world because they make us want to live up to the values of superheroes. He gave a talk at the DICE Summit, the elite game industry event in Las Vegas, about the Marvel way of making believable superheroes and villains. He told how one mother told him that her son was in the Boston Marathon and heard an explosion. Instead of running away from it, he ran to it. She wondered if it was because he was a Captain America fan and asked himself, “What would Captain America do?” Rosemann has been at Marvel for more than two decades. He started as a freelance writer for Marvel Age magazine, then moved on to various comic book roles. In 2008, he collaborated with a team of writers and artists to reimagine and relaunch the Guardians of the Galaxy comic book line. That inspired the Marvel Studios blockbuster movie and helped it become a hit in games, print, animation, and consumer products. Now he is creative director for Marvel Games, where he uses his expertise and passion to collaborate with developers on console, PC, and mobile games. I caught…