Thursday, May 9, 2019

Dev Update #49 - VRidge 2.4 is LIVE - iOS released!

It's been a long time but we finally were able to finish what many of you have waited for. iOS version of VRidge is now LIVE! VRidge 2.4 is released to everyone - your mobile app and RiftCat desktop client will automatically update.

Deployment status:
Platform Version Status Link
PC 2.4 Deployed Link
iOS App Store 2.4 Deployed Link

iOS version released

Finally VRidge can now be used with iPhones so simply update RiftCat client and download VRidge from iOS App Store to have fun with PC VR!


Spread the news to all your friends that couldnt use VRidge before because of their phone model. Let them also have a try at inexpensive PC VR :)

AMD GPUs fixed

Specific AMD GPUs chipsets like Vega had an issue with certain resolutions which showed up as a pixelated screen with green lines. 


The issue is now fixed so AMD users with Vega cards should now be able to enjoy VRidge without issues :)

New languages deployed

With your tremendous help via CrowdIn we were able to bring in additional languages to VRidge. This time we are releasing 7 additional languages:
  • Estonian
  • Norwegian
  • Portuguese
  • Romanian
  • Slovakian
  • Ukrainian
  • Vietnamese
Thank you for your help. VRidge now supports a total of 22 languages!

Final notes

VRidge now works with basically every major mobile platform. Thanks to your support we were able to reach that point. We are very grateful that you helped us with VRidge improvements over the years. 

Let us know your feedback about VRidge 2.4. As always, reach us at support@riftcat.com - our team will be able to see it.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Dev Update #48 - iOS coming very soon


Hello everyone!

Today we have released a new Beta version. It doesn't contain a lot of changes but they are very important for our next big release. Read further to learn about what's coming :)

To learn how to join the Beta, read this guide.

This Beta update has an update only for Windows RiftCat client. It is already deployed on Beta channel.


iOS groundwork

This RiftCat client is compatible with iOS version of VRidge. We are in the process of iOS App Store approval.

As soon as we'll get approved on the iOS App Store we'll be able to bring this RiftCat client version to the public and we'll finally be able to use VRidge with iPhones :)


Unfortunately, there is no feasible method of sideloading apps for iPhones so we'll have to patiently wait for the approval. In the meantime, please try out the updated RiftCat client to check if we didn't break anything :)

Fix for AMD GPU's

Some AMD GPUs (especially Vega chipsets) had an issue that made VRidge unusable in certain scenarios. Usually it appeared as a pixelated screen with green lines.


We were able to narrow down the issue and fix it so if you have any AMD Vega card - let us know if the Beta version helped you.

Translations

Thanks to your help, we have additional languages ready to be deployed :) For now they are only available in the Beta RiftCat client but with the stable release they will get deployed fully.


You can learn how to join the translation effort by reading this Blog entry.

Final words

Thank you guys for your everlasting support! 

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Dev Update #47 - VRidge Controller and Tracking Update released!


It is time! VRidge 2.3 is released. Thank you for your relentless testing and feedback. Now everyone will be able to have fun with our new tracking options.

This update brings everything that was available on Beta channel to our live version. We also have an additional surprise for you.


Current deployment status:

Platform
Version
Status
PC
2.3.12
Deployed
Google Play
2.3.11
Deployed
Viveport
2.3.11
Awaiting approval
Oculus Home (Go and GearVR)
2.3.11
Deployed
Daydream store
2.3.11
Awaiting approval


VRidge Controller

Earlier last week we have released a trailer video for our new product - VRidge Controller. It’s an Android app that will let you turn your spare phone into a VR controller compatible with VRidge.
You can use two phones to have full 3-DOF VR experience or pair it with Daydream/Oculus Go/HTC Vive Focus controller and use them together.

You can check how well it works on our VRidge Controller trailer video:



The usage of the app is very simple. The straightforward setup process should get you up and running in no time but if you’ll get confused at any moment, our tutorial video might come in handy:


Currently VRidge Controller is distributed through Google Play and is being priced at $5. We hope that this neat add-on will bring you a lot of joy in VR!

Xbox and Mouse+Keyboard controllers

With this update, our new movement model is also going live. New integrations available in RiftCat will let you use Xbox controller or Mouse+Keyboard to move and control your hands in virtual reality.

Learn how to do it by watching our tutorial video:



This feature should let you fully play VR games that do not require very fast and precise hand movements. It is a perfect addition to what VRidge has to offer and it is completely free. You can find this option integrations tab in RiftCat client.


You can even pair these controls method with VRidge Controller app to create very interesting control schemes!

Lenovo Mirage Solo support

Daydream All-in-One headsets like Lenovo Mirage Solo had limited support. The controller was working but the headset positional tracking system was not. This update brings full support to Daydream WorldSense technology so anytime you use VRidge with device utilizing this tracking technology you will be able to freely move in a VR world!

Camera passthrough option

It’s not comfortable to constantly take off your headset whenever you want to look at your keyboard or monitor screen. This patch solves this problem if you have front facing camera!

Double tap your phone screen or capacitive button of your headset. You can also use Gear VR touchpad to do it and if you prefer keyboard shortcut, simply press: CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + S to to check what’s in front of you through your device camera.


Of course to use this option make sure that you have front facing camera on your VR device. If you are using phone inside a VR case, make sure that nothing is obscuring your phone camera view.

AR Core positional tracking

If you have an AR Core support phone, you can try out an experimental feature to track your head position with it. This option is hidden in RiftCat/Config folder. Simply change “ArcoreTrackingEnabled” to “true” in VRidge.cfg file which can be opened in Notepad.

New interface changes

We’ve made some changes to RiftCat GUI to make it more readable. Among various small convenience options like adding IPD / Scale slider values or creating an option to show login window on connection screen we have remade the integrations screen to be more descriptive.


We also have new SteamVR icons for VRidge!

New languages

Thanks to your great effort via our CrowdIn campaign we were able to deploy additional languages and update previous ones! Released languages:
  • Greek
  • Japanese
  • Swedish
As always, there is always something to improve with these translations so don’t hesitate to use CrowdIn to provide your feedback!

We also received the last minute translations to Estonian language which is 100% complete. Unfortunately it missed the deployment window, but we’ll make sure to release it with the next update!

Updated VRidge API

We’re opening up a way for you to also remap your 3DOF DIY controllers in the same way as Gear VR / Go, Daydream or Vive Focus controllers are remapped. We also added additional access layer to simplify API usage. This is combined with a release of Java SDK which can be used by your Java or Android projects.

Additions

  • Added Java API client.
  • Added VridgeRemote class as a fire-and-forget access layer to use API without managing connection state.
  • Added a way to remap 3DOF controllers into 6DOF controllers, attached to head.
  • Added HeadRelation which configures how the pose is affected by recenter calls. Default "Unrelated" should cover most cases.
  • Added discovery UDP broadcast which lets you find active VRidge servers on the local network.
Changes
  • Removed async offset's pitch and roll axes. Old calls will discard pitch and roll data and only use yaw offset. Discussion.
  • When using reprojection-enabled device, rotational head tracking input will be discarded. External rotational data doesn't play well with devices expecting to use late reprojection based on their own sensor data.
  • Controllers will now disappear after 5 seconds without new data.
  • Deprecated OrientationMatrix as pose format. Added separate rotation quaternion and position vector instead. Removes ambiguity of pose matrix format and byte layout. Old format still works.
  • C# API client now multi-targets .NET Standard 2.0 and .NET Framework 4.7.
Go to our GitHub repo and explore changes for yourself!

A lot of minor fixes and features

There is also a lot of minor features and fixes. For example, we now natively support Finch Shift controllers so if you have them, you can enjoy using them with VRidge. Other changes are:
  • Changed how recenter hotkey works internally so it doesn’t conflict with API trackers and reprojection.
  • Changed the way we calculate velocity of controller (throwing should work more reliable now). Controllers should be less jittery in most games.
  • Updated Oculus SDK to 1.16.
  • Updated PC app .NET to 4.7.1. You will be automatically prompted to update your .NET runtime if you disabled Windows Update.
  • Whitelisted RTX cards for NVENC (GUI problem only).
  • Blacklisted GTX 1030 from NVENC. It doesn’t have hardware encoder.
  • SteamVR should now be closed in a nicer way by VRidge (trello card).
  • Legacy oculus sdk games should now work properly on devices with reprojection.
  • Added option to autostart SteamVR when mobile device connects to Vridge.
  • Improved connection streaming stability, especially with high bitrates.
  • General Android side optimizations.
  • Fixed crash logging in vridge.log
  • Fixed Android’s VRidge lobby overlay becoming stuck in some cases.
  • Fixed Daydream app not resuming properly on some devices.
  • Fixed a crash related to missing DirectX components on Windows 7. It will now ask user to download missing DirectX update.
  • Fixed rare Android networking native crash caused by race condition.
  • Fixed gamepad recenter binding not being detected properly in Riftcat Config.
  • Fixed Riftcat crash when Config subfolder was deleted by user if Riftcat was installed to Program Files.

New Android permissions

This update will ask for additional permissions on your Android device. It will ask for camera and bluetooth - we use these permissions to be able to work with AR Core and Finch controllers SDK. We do not use any of these permissions for anything else so you do not have to worry.



What’s next?

We are now focusing on iOS development. It’s in advanced development stage so hopefully we’ll release it very soon!

Also, there is Oculus Quest release coming up. We will make sure to be able to fully support it as soon as possible.




Final words

This update is a great step for RiftCat but giant leap for VR… or something among these lines. It’s definitely important milestone for us that will vastly increase VRidge possibilities. We hope that this update will bring you a lot of joy and fun in virtual reality.

Don’t hesitate to share the news about the update on our social media and among your friends. The more people know about VRidge, the more VR players we’ll have to hang out with in virtual worlds.



Monday, January 21, 2019

Dev Update #46 - Tracking Update Beta Release Candidate



We have just released an update to our Beta channel. This version is a release candidate that will get pushed to stable update channel quite soon. Expect some good news to come!

This patch changes:
  • Added Greek, Swedish & Japanese language
  • Added a "missing windows component" popup with a download link to fix one Win 7 crash.
  • Added a way for emulated controllers to work in single-hand only mode (to be paired with 3DOF controller or other options).
  • Added configurable System-press event delay for controller emulation.
  • PC app will now ask for admin rights to fix itself if user deletes Config folder in Program Files.
  • Fixed a crash happening on Mirage Solo during app pause & restart.
  • Fixed Xbox-controller player's movement speed.
  • Fixed API networking crash in PC app.
  • Fixed native Enet networking crash in Android app.
  • Fixed ARCore not starting when camera see-through was enabled.
  • Improved error reporting in NVENC.
  • Improved VRidge-API (more details @ our GitHub soon)
Enjoy trying it out :) Let us know as soon as you will find any errors. Every piece of feedback is highly valuable!

To learn how to try out the Beta version, simply follow this guide.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Dev Update #45 - Tracking Update Beta

Hello everyone. We finally have a new Beta version of VRidge! This is our promised update to which we refer as the “Tracking Update”. It brings some highly useful features that we believe will help you play and use many more VR experience.

Remember that this is the Beta phase of this update. It can still contain bugs or errors which we will try to fix as soon as we can. We will deploy it to stable channel for everyone when we will fix all the issues.

To learn how to join the Beta, read this guide.

Deployment status:

Platform
Version
Status
PC
2.3-Beta
Deployed
Viveport
2.3-Beta
Awaiting approval
Oculus Home (Go and Gear VR)
2.3-Beta
Deployed
Google Play
2.3-Beta
Deployed
Daydream Store
2.3-Beta
Awaiting approval


New tracking methods

As you’ve seen in our previous announcement, we were preparing a special control model that will let us use a common hardware that is available for everyone to control our bodies in virtual reality. We believe it will be very useful for you in VR games that require SteamVR input.

We have a video guide which will teach you how to use our new control methods in no time!


With this movement model you will be able to use:
  1. Xbox controller
  2. Mouse + Keyboard
To control your body in virtual reality. This option is perfect for shooters, slow paced VR games, exploration games and so on.

These options are also highly configurable!

Let us know what do you think about it. Your feedback is always welcome! This is also the best moment to report bugs that you can find. It would be great if we could make this feature flawless before it goes live for everyone.

Daydream WorldSense

If you have Lenovo Mirage Solo or any other Daydream WorldSense device, you can now freely move around in space with VRidge fully reflecting your positional movement in SteamVR worlds.

We are also actively trying to get our hands on Daydream 6DOF controllers dev kit so we can be ready on day 1 of consumer availability.

AR Core positional tracking

This is a feature that was requested many times. It was developed months ago but due to issues related to AR Core SDK it was postponed for a long time.

We are releasing AR Core positional tracking now but we are marking it as “experimental”. Unfortunately, we don’t think that this is viable solution for positional tracking but if you want to give it a shot anyway - you can now easily do so!

As this is an experimental feature - it is not configurable within RiftCat launcher. It is hidden in VRidge.cfg. To enable it, simply go to RiftCat/Config folder and edit your VRidge.cfg file. Find “ArcoreTrackingEnabled” and change its value to “true”.

Remember to use a device that can support AR Core with Google AR Core software installed.

Passthrough camera option

We have LIVE settings that you can change on the fly, but it’s inconvenient to constantly take off your VR headset. That’s why we have added an option to enable camera passthrough so you could see what’s in front of you.
Switching between camera view and normal VRidge view is very simple. Just double tap your phone screen or capacitive button of your headset. You can also use Gear VR touchpad to do it and if you prefer keyboard shortcut, simply press: CTRL + ALT + SHIFT + S to switch.

Before using this option, make sure that you have front facing camera on your VR device and if you are using a phone, that your cardboard is not obscuring the camera view.

Rework of integrations list

With new tracking options, we wanted to expand on the idea of integrations. We made Integrations tab a little bit more informative so it’s easier for you to navigate. It contains all settings for above mentioned Xbox and Mouse + Keyboard integrations. You can also turn on/off a 3-DOF controller available with Daydream View, Lenovo Mirage Solo, Oculus Go or HTC Vive Focus.

New SteamVR icons

SteamVR allows for custom icons. So we took the liberty to create our own! Now you will be able to easily recognize whether it’s VRidge connected to SteamVR or something else.

Native Finch Shift support

You might have heard about Finch Shift controllers. We cooperated with them and created a native support for their controllers in VRidge. Their solution will soon be available with various VR hardware vendors so if you’ll get a hold of them, don’t hesitate to try them with VRidge!

Update: Known issues.

Login option on connection screen

We have added an option to show a login button on the connection screen (so you could log in without connecting devices). It’s turned off by default to not clutter the connection screen for new users but if you need something like that for convenience you can easily turn this option in VRidge general settings.

Added IPD / Scale sliders values

Once upon a time. We have added an option to adjust IPD and Scale value for your VR view. It was added in a rush so it was pretty clunky to use.

We took a look at this feature and adjusted it. The minimum and maximum values were not useful at all so we have trimmed the range in which you can move the slider so it’s much easier to control. We have also provided a numerical value so it’s easier to share your setting with others.

Increased timeout for SteamVR

“Could not start SteamVR” - sounds familiar? It could have happened a lot to you while VRidge still launched and started streaming. You just had to wait for SteamVR to open.

This issue should be fixed now. We have increased the time that VRidge waits for SteamVR to open so this timeout should happen less frequently.

This is what happens when your whole dev team works on SSDs. Oops!

Updated VRidge API

New possibilities are coming to vridge-api. This includes fixing several problems with API async offset and introducing a way to remap your 3DOF controllers to 6DOF using the same virtual arm model that we use with Gear VR/Go/Focus/Daydream controllers.

VRidge tracking changed a lot internally but our goal was to keep it backwards compatible. API server is updated in beta version but GitHub repo is not yet up to date. We will update docs and sample in following weeks, during 2.3 beta. You can join the discussion here.

Multiple other minor fixes

There is plenty of other minor fixes that we did in the meantime. It’s hard to list and describe them all:
  • Changed how recenter hotkey works internally so it doesn’t conflict with API trackers and reprojection.
  • Changed the way we calculate velocity of controller (throwing should work more reliable now). Controllers should be less jittery in most games.
  • Updated Oculus SDK to 1.16.
  • Updated PC app .NET to 4.7.1. You will be automatically prompted to update your .NET runtime if you disabled Windows Update.
  • Whitelisted RTX cards for NVENC (GUI problem only).
  • Blacklisted GTX 1030 from NVENC. It doesn’t have hardware encoder.
  • SteamVR should now be closed in a nicer way by VRidge (trello card).
  • Legacy oculus sdk games should now work properly on devices with reprojection.
  • Added option to autostart SteamVR when mobile device connects to Vridge.
  • Improved streaming stability, especially with high bitrates.
  • General Android side optimizations.
  • Fixed crash logging in vridge.log
  • Fixed Android’s VRidge lobby overlay becoming stuck in some cases.



New Android permissions
Due to new features and SDKs, our VRidge Android app will ask for several new permissions.

You might be asked to grant more permission (Camera and Bluetooth). This is required by ARCore and Finch SDKs. Don't worry, we're not tracking your location or sending camera feed anywhere.

Feedback
Remember to provide us feedback to this Beta update. Every single voice counts as it contributes to the final quality of the update! Send us your error reports and suggestions to support@riftcat.com

Translations
With this update, there is also a bit of new text that was created for our software. As you might be already aware, RiftCat is available in many languages thanks to our great community that helped us translate RiftCat via CrowdIn platform.

Help us bring this new update in multiple languages so everyone will be able to join PC VR gaming. We are giving away VRidge full version key for active contributors so it’s definitely worth it.

You can learn how to join the translation effort by reading this Blog entry.

Final words
This Beta update was possible thanks to our great community that supports us throughout all of the years. We are sure that with your help we’ll be able to quickly bring this update to everyone and change the way we use VR with VRidge thanks to our new tracking methods.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Dev Update #44 - Beta fix package


We have just released a smaller Beta update for VRidge. It's a package of several fixes that we wanted to release as soon as possible.

Our big "Tracking Update" is still coming up and it's very close by so stay tuned for good news!

With this 2.2.8 Beta patch we have new advanced configuration options that some of you requested:
Minor improvements:
  • Fixed freeze in SteamVR driver if VRidge was stopped at unfortunate moment.
  • Updated NVENC compatibility detection to properly detect GeForce 2000 series cards.
  • Crashes will now log more data to vridge.log file.
This patch updates only RiftCat desktop client. If you'd like to try it out, simply switch to Beta channel in RiftCat client options. You can also learn how to join Beta channel here.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Dev Update #43 - VRidge 2.2 is now LIVE!

We’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time. Finally we have released version 2.2 of VRidge to everyone. Your RiftCat desktop client and VRidge mobile app should automatically update.

We couldn’t have made it without your intensive Beta tests! Thank you for helping us bringing this update to everyone.

Deployment status:
Platform Version Status Link
PC 2.2 Deployed Link
Viveport 2.2 Deployed Link
Oculus Home (Go and Gear VR) 2.2 Deployed Link
Google Play 2.2 Deployed Link
Daydream Store 2.2 Deployed Link


HTC Vive Focus, Oculus Go, Gear VR, Daydream View official support

With this update we were able to utilize all major SDKs to bring you the support of these extraordinary all-in-one headsets. If you own any of these, your experience with VRidge will now go to the next level.



We also want VRidge to be distributed via their official stores for easier installation. HTC Vive Focus version is already available on the Viveport mobile store. Oculus Home and Daydream version is in the approval process.

3-DOF controllers support

You can now use HTC Vive Focus, Gear VR, Oculus Go or Daydream controller in SteamVR! We have came up with an idea how to map the missing HTC Vive buttons to the controllers by using a little bit of space from the touchpad.


To read how to operate these controllers, simply take a look at our Help Center article to learn how to use them.

Reprojection for VR ready devices

If your phone or AIO headset is HTC Vive Focus, Daydream, Gear VR or Oculus Go compatible it will now use reprojection. Thanks to it, the experience is much better, basically getting rid of the jitter. If you have an optimal setup - your experience should be flawless now.

We will investigate if we could deliver different custom reprojection method for phones that are not VR ready. This might happen with the next update.

You might want to select Prevent frame loss as "Connection mode" if you're using stable connection (5 GHz / tethering) to prevent artifacting. This usually could introduce some extra latency, but it should be smoothed out by reprojection.

Reworked connection screen to include various devices

With multiple supported devices we had to upgrade our user experience to make it easier to pick the appropriate version.


We hope that with this change it’s going to be easier to install the appropriate VRidge version for your device.

CPU performance boost

We have made several iterations of optimizations for VRidge which allowed us to significantly reduce CPU usage:

Reduced CPU usage when using NVENC
Reduced VRidge's CPU load by 30-40% when using NVENC.

Many Android optimizations - CPU usage should be lower across all Android devices.
On average, you should see 15-20% system CPU load instead of 50-60%. This also means that heat generation should be significantly lower resulting in less "device too hot to run VR" errors.

The image shows the CPU usage when optimizations are turned OFF and ON.


In extremely rare cases this may lower VRidge performance. See this explanation to disable those optimizations.

We have also disabled MSAA on Daydream to save some GPU cycles and we have updated Google VR SDK to 1.80.

Automatic FPS selection

VRidge will now automatically select FPS based on the device refresh rate. For example, if you’ll connect to VRidge with 75Hz HTC Vive Focus headset - 75 FPS will be selected.


You may override device provided values by modifying vridge.cfg. Simply change the variables to:

"Video.FPS.Mode": "Custom",
"Video.FPS.Value": <your value>,

New languages supported

We were able to deploy six new languages: Bulgarian, Lithuanian, Indonesian, Korean, Italian and Hungarian. Old languages got updated as well.


Thank you for everyone’s contribution at our CrowdIn campaign. You did a tremendous job! All active translators will be rewarded with free VRidge key!

Unfortunately we weren’t able to include some translations in this patch as they missed the submission deadline. They will be deployed with patch 2.3 so they will have to wait for the next release.

Improved picture clarity on some Daydream devices

This should be quite noticeable at 1440p resolution as unintentional downscaling and filtering was in effect until now.

Automatic Field of View adjustment

FoV will now be selected automatically to improve the image quality. It will be especially effective on headsets with asymmetric FoV.

Other changes

  • Changed the way "End of Trial session" message is being displayed to user. Instead of displaying message (in one eye only due to very old bug) it will go back to lobby with localized notification message.
  • Added Project Cars tutorial to Discover view.
  • You will no longer be able to switch encoder when HEVC is enabled. This doesn't hot-switch on mobile side and it was freezing VRidge.
  • Lobby text ("Connected, waiting for SteamVR" should no longer become stuck and displayed on top of streaming window.
  • Fixed a crash on startup that could happen when FreeTrack was enabled.
  • Mobile app should no longer crash on reconnect sometimes.
  • VRidge settings should no longer incorrectly stay on top of all windows in certain cases.
  • Tethering tooltip no longer clips in certain localizations.
  • Removed artificial +170cm HMD height that could sometimes cause incorrect API controller calculation when paired with headset that didn't send positional data.
  • steamvr.vrsettings read-only flag will now be automatically switched off. If the file still remains locked, error message will be displayed instead of crashing. Generally other software should never lock this file but certain drivers aren't always interop-friendly.
  • VRidge and SteamVR should now automatically start on dedicated GPU, if available. This should fix a crash on Nvidia Optimus laptops.
  • VRidge.log will now contain information which GPU drives VRidge.
  • Fixed driver crash on Windows 7

Final notes

We hope that the new update will bring your VRidge experience to the next level. We will now decide on our next development cycle so expect more news coming soon!

If there is any feedback you would like to give us, send it to support@riftcat.com - the team will see it :)

Thanks to all Beta testers and translators who helped us bring this version to everyone. We have the best community in the world.