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About 2022 – EEVR’s Viewpoint

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The global XR scene in 2022 is often described as “recovering from the hype/boom” of 2021. A lot of resources were invested in the almighty Metaverse but when the novelty faded, so did the enthusiasm. This of course does not mean doom to the XR technology but rather the emergence of a new mindset – quality over quantity. “The noise around the Metaverse may have calmed since its peak in ’21, but this means more serious founders with better validated ideas (FOV Ventures: Annual Review).”

For the Estonian Virtual and Augmented Reality Association (EEVR), 2022 was a year of new starts and community building. In addition to welcoming 4 new members, our team also grew by a Community manager. EEVR organized 4 Meetups throughout the year (read more about the Meetups). Meetups enable members to network and discuss common and uncommon topics in an informal environment. It can’t be stressed enough how important collaboration and knowledge sharing is in a small community like Estonia. That is also the main reason why EEVR as an organization strives every year to participate in relevant partner events. In 2022, we took part in 4 of them: University of Tartu Computer Graphics Projects EXPO 2022, Delta Career Day, AWE Nite: Eyes on Estonia and Latitude 59. And although it is really nice to meet someone physically these days, one can’t underestimate the role of digital channels for effective community building. For smoother communication, we launched the Estonian XR Discord channel and EEVR Monthly Newsletter in 2022. The EEVR website was updated with a brand new Jobs page which enables job seekers to browse all Estonian XR vacancies on one page. Another informative and interesting addition to the EEVR’s website was the annual Estonian XR sector report.

EEVR at sTARTUp Day 2022 side event
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But what is EEVR without its members? Here is a small list of the impressive highlights some of our members managed to pull off in 2022:

As can be seen from this list, fundraising and new product launches stood out the most. Both Alpha AR and Ready Player Me (Wolf 3D) raised money for further developments in building the Metaverse. By now Ready Player Me has partnered with over 5000 companies to integrate with its avatar platform, and we are hoping for the same kind of success for the newly rebranded Alpha 3D, a 2D to 3D product generator tool directed at e-commerce sites.

Avar ONE launched their ultra realistic 3D virtual showroom experience and Mobi Lab revealed Reality Maker to enable anyone to create new Augmented Reality experiences code-free. Besides Ready Player Me, the biggest winner in 2022 was definitely CM Games with their hit survival game “Into the Radius” which after some significant optimizations was launched on Quest 2 in September. With the resulting 2.5X increase in sales compared to the previous year,”Into the Radius“ exceeded all expectations and has certainly inspired CM and hopefully others to pursue more VR titles in the future.

Ready player me brands metaverse avatars
Into the radius vr quest 2 1

In conclusion, we hope that all these new beginnings of 2022, including the ones not mentioned here, will keep evolving into prosperous XR products and services in 2023. EEVR will continue to support the Estonian XR ecosystem by strengthening ties within the community, driving awareness of XR technologies in Estonian society, and inspiring a new generation of XR professionals.


Eva Roosaar, EEVR Community Manager


Jogging with the DK2 in EvilMech Runner

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This past week saw the release of EvilMech Runner,

a small experimental survival game that we have mentioned before by estonian developer Filipp Keks, meant to achieve the feeling of natural movement with minimal hardware. This means in-game movement without the use of a gamepad/keyboard/treadmill, using simply the Oculus hardware and clever software. Since my first encounter with the game fell short due to the long que of people wanting to try the demo and me being able to get stuck in a virtual wall, I was exited to fire the game up at home.

Setup: as the readme file suggests, I put the Oculus IR camera about eye level on a tripod and stood (yes, this game is meant to be played while standing) about 1 meters away. I also had a small carpet on the floor to give me some feedback as to where I was located in reality (pro tip for playing alone). There is a need to press the spacebar key multiple times in the beginning. Make sure you press it until you see “RUN!”, otherwise you false-start and miss half the fun (the EvilMech part).

Experience: Two players tried the game, me and the wife. Neither of us fell over, but having your feet wide apart is definitely a smart choice. Some funky graphical glitches aside (water splashes in the ceiling), the experience was quite impressive workout-wise. Quote from one of us: “How am I out of breath in my living room!?”. The main selling point, step detection, worked very well, but of course one could also cheat by just bobbing the head up and down. There was a huge difference in playing styles however – while I managed to stay on the tiny carpet without problems, my other half took a much broader approach and constantly actually ran off in different directions. So, just in case you don’t want to yank your computer off the table, find a running partner to hold you back:)

I also caught up with Filipp Keks (“hopscotch” in estonian, quite approprietly) for some background info.

Jogging 2

Where did you get the idea for this kind of solution?
The idea came to my head the first day I received my DK2 back in August. After trying first couple of demos I noticed that the motion tracker range is capable of much more then just “peering around corners” as it was announced. In almost any demo you can actually walk a couple of meters from the initial point. At the same time solutions like [Virtuix] Omni and Cyberith seemed a bit too over-engineered. I also tried to mix gameplay with a standard treadmill, but it limits you by speed and direction, so I rejected the idea and stuck with simple jogging in place. According to some fitness and medical sites I found, jogging in place is also quite healthy and beneficial 🙂 The disadvantage of my solution is that you can not turn back as you would block the tracker camera view. I worked around this problem by making the game forward running, so the player never have to turn back. Later it came out that Oculus developers are moving the same direction as they made the new Crescent Bay prototype with IR sensors visible from behind.

How easy was this approach to implement?
It took me one weekend. Most of the time I spent rewriting a part of the Oculus Unity driver. Version 0.4.2 was quite a mess, now 0.4.3 came out and it looks much nicer and logical. Currently I’ve rewritten the code for the latest SDK. I plan to release my code as open source so others could make more demos with the same type of gameplay.

Will this kind of movement control catch on?
Maybe not exactly – DK2 wasn’t designed for it after all 🙂 But this is definitely the direction where VR will be moving in the near future. Oculus newest Crescent Bay prototype has a wider position tracker range and IR sensors on the back which perfectly suits my idea of gameplay.

Lastly, what are your next plans?
I have plans to experiment with full body motion tracking using something like a Kinect. I also have a couple of ideas how to make the gameplay more interesting and unsusual, so stay tuned.
EEVR will keep a close eye on Filipp! If some of the readers are unable or simply lack the stamina to try EvilMech Runner, here’s the official gameplay clip

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