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Exclusive: Cloudhead Games Goes In-depth with Knuckles EV2 & Predecessors



It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost two years since the SteamVR Knuckles controllers were first revealed using a demo of our game, Call of the Starseed (2016), at Steam Devs Days 2016. Now, at the reveal of Knuckles EV2 this summer, we’ve got a whole bunch more to talk about.

Guest Article by Denny Unger

Denny is the CEO and Creative Director of Cloudhead Games. As a VR Pioneer he has spearheaded two critically acclaimed and award-winning VR experiences with The Gallery – EP1: Call of the Starseed and EP2: Heart of the Emberstone. Working closely with VR hardware leaders in the space, including Valve, HTC, and Oculus, Cloudhead Games continues to innovate, inform, and entertain.

If you’re just getting into VR, or you haven’t heard of the term ‘Knuckles’ outside of VRChat (2017), the SteamVR Knuckles is the first modern non-glove VR controller to support five-finger tracking. While Oculus Touch is known to have capacitive sensors (capsense) for the thumb and index fingers, Knuckles controllers give users tracking of all five fingers using capsense on the triggers, face buttons, and the bases of controllers. These new inputs create a more natural representation of a user’s hands in VR, and they open the door to new gameplay possibilities.

While finger tracking has many exciting implications on its own, one of the most important innovations with Knuckles is its ‘open-handed hold.’ You can fasten the controller to your hand and then let go of your grip without dropping it—you can ‘hold’ it without actually holding it.

Image courtesy Cloudhead Games

The first Knuckles prototype we received was diminutive in size compared to the EV2 we have today. The strapping mechanism was a crazy velcro wrap that you would slip into like a fingerless glove and then tighten around the palm. The controller itself was about the size of a desktop mouse with a deeply scalloped trackpad. That first prototype was an early kit for evaluation and feedback, and we wouldn’t see changes to Knuckles for nearly nine months.

The second pair of Knuckles we received (called Knuckles 1.3) focused mostly on ergonomics. We saw the velcro strap replaced by a pull-cord brace that tightened against the back of the hand instead of around the the palm; you could now slip the controller on and tighten it within a few seconds. Both the base and the sensor bar were longer for variable hand sizes and improved tracking.

But some of the biggest changes since the controller’s initial reveal came last week with Knuckles EV2.

The first thing to notice on EV2 is a completely redesigned controller face. The scalloped trackpad has gone wayward in favour of a touchstrip. The base of the controller now has grip/pressure sensitivity in addition to capsense. The redesign of the face buttons and introduction of thumbsticks align more closely with the control layout on Touch, which will make it easier to create common control schemes across platforms.

I think part of the rationale for moving from the trackpad to the thumbstick / touchstrip combo is that most trackpad interactions in VR were swiping motions rather than utilization of the full area of the pad. The new touchstrip offers the same functionality as the trackpad (lateral x-axis movement is there in a smaller footprint), plus pressure sensitivity for the thumb.

Image courtesy Cloudhead Games

As well as some major changes to input, there are also some important ergonomic changes going on in EV2. The new strap in particular is really smart; it has a push-pivot point along the top circumference so you can move it forward and back to help get ideal hand placement for the capsense. It also features a rotational pivot to seat the strap comfortably on the back of your hand; and a material change from flat-padding to a nice gripped fabric that’s much more comfortable over long periods of use—and it makes perspiration a lot less noticeable during your Beat Saber (2018) sessions.

Image courtesy Cloudhead Games

One of the more subtle changes to the hardware over time is the way in which the trigger buttons now interface with the handle of the controllers at a very slight curve. With previous iterations that curve was more dramatic, and in VR your brain had a tough time rectifying the gap between your trigger finger and the rest of your fingers. That gap has since been massaged to the point that your perception of finger separation in VR feels normalized.

Knuckles EV2 is a pretty radical shift for users coming from the Vive wands or even Oculus Touch. Vive users will find that teleportation and free locomotion is a much more comfortable experience with thumbsticks than with the old trackpad.

Cloudhead Games – Lessons Learned From Five Years of VR Locomotion Experiments

One question we get a lot is whether we prefer Touch or Knuckles, and the simple answer is that it’s not fair to compare them.

Touch comes from an Xbox origin with a goal to emulate the traditional mapping of a gamepad, while also introducing the concept of basic finger tracking. Knuckles is a next-gen solution with the goal of removing the abstractions of holding a gamepad or thinking about hand poses. These controllers are two different approaches built at two different times, and both companies have the right idea—using fingers and hands in a more intuitive way is the future of VR.

Which leads to another question: is Knuckles truly next-gen VR?

My answer is “absolutely.” I can interact in an open-handed manner with my environment; all of my fingers are unobstructed; and I don’t have to think about any hand poses, my hands just do what comes naturally. And when I need something in my hand, a controller is still there. If I grip an object or a gun, or do any other gross interaction in the environment, there is always something to meet my hand with haptics and pressure and tactility.

Obviously Knuckles is not the final step for VR input. Looking further into the future at the next four to five years, a lot of work is being done to provide exoskeleton inputs and per-finger haptics. But to get there with any success, we need to start here with hardware and software that enables developers to create new interactions with the entire hand considered.

Knuckles EV2 is a next-generation step toward whatever that future may be, and we’re so excited to be building our next VR experience toward that future too.

The post Exclusive: Cloudhead Games Goes In-depth with Knuckles EV2 & Predecessors appeared first on Road to VR.



Michael Saylor Reveals Massive Personal Bitcoin Portfolio – Here’s How Much BTC He Owns




Michael Saylor, the chief executive officer of business analytics firm MicroStrategy, is revealing just how hefty his personal Bitcoin (BTC) bag is and why he is so bullish on the king coin’s future.

In the wake of MicroStrategy’s $425 million BTC purchase, Saylor says that he has personally invested roughly $175 million of his own cash into Bitcoin.

“Some have asked how much BTC I own. I personally hodl 17,732 BTC which I bought at $9,882 each on average. I informed MicroStrategy of these holdings before the company decided to buy Bitcoin for itself.”

In a new interview with tcnTV, Saylor explains why he’s all in on Bitcoin and the developing macroeconomic factors that could make it one of the world’s most valuable assets.

“I don’t know exactly in the near term where [Bitcoin’s] price will move, but what I’m sure of is that central bankers will print more currency in every country on earth and as they print more currency it’s going to have to find its way into an asset and it’s not going to go to bonds because they’re yielding 0% so it’s going to have to go to either to equity or to gold or to Bitcoin.”

Saylor goes on to liken Bitcoin’s utility to that of Apple, Facebook and Google, suggesting that getting into Bitcoin now would be like investing in the tech giants a decade ago.

“Apple dematerialized everything you could hold in your hand… Facebook dematerialized social energy, Google dematerialized libraries, information and video, these are all trillion dollar ideas. If you invested in them a decade ago it was a good idea…

Bitcoin is a dematerialized monetary network and it’s still early on in its life cycle… The best time to invest in anything is when it’s big enough to be sure it’s going to work and that means more than $100 billion dollars (market cap) and dominant in its industry and when it’s small enough that everybody else doesn’t understand it and the majority of the people aren’t quite sure what [Bitcoin] is.”

As of writing, Saylor’s own BTC supply is worth roughly $235 million, which means the CEO has seen about a $60 million return on his investment thus far. MicroStrategy has earned more from its Bitcoin investment than what the company netted in the past 3.5 years, according to crypto researcher Kevin Rooke.

Despite the huge gains, Saylor has no plans to sell the company’s bag any time soon, saying that he may sell some when it goes up by a factor of 100. However, the CEO wonders what he will want to buy at that point in time that’s better than Bitcoin.


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Disclaimer: Opinions expressed at The Daily Hodl are not investment advice. Investors should do their due diligence before making any high-risk investments in Bitcoin, cryptocurrency or digital assets. Please be advised that your transfers and trades are at your own risk, and any loses you may incur are your responsibility. The Daily Hodl does not recommend the buying or selling of any cryptocurrencies or digital assets, nor is The Daily Hodl an investment advisor. Please note that The Daily Hodl participates in affiliate marketing.

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OKEx, Still Paralyzed by Founder’s Arrest, Details Plans for Bitcoin Cash Hard Fork



Cryptocurrency deposit withdrawals are still suspended at the OKEx exchange following a founder’s recent arrest, but officials with the Malta-based company are moving ahead with other matters, including planning around an upcoming hard fork on the Bitcoin Cash blockchain.


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Crypto Platform Harvest Finance Loses More Than $20 Million



It’s happened again, folks. Bad actors have made their presence known in the cryptocurrency space and another exchange has been targeted in what appears to be a rather expensive hack. Harvest Finance, a web portal that allows consumers to trade and invest digital currencies and then garner interest on their holdings, has been targeted, and reports losing as much as $24 million in a recent attack.

Harvest Finance Is the Latest Hacking Victim

This is nothing new, and at this stage, it’s likely that many crypto traders and enthusiasts everywhere are numb to this kind of story, especially considering that while $24 million may sound big at first, it’s nothing compared to the other massive hacking incidents that have taken place in the past.

Arguably the two largest crypto hacks occurred in Japan on the exchanges Mt. Gox and Coincheck. The former occurred in February of 2014, while the latter happened roughly four years later in January of 2018. The first hack saw more than $400 million in BTC funds disappear overnight. While this may sound huge, it’s small beans compared to the half-a-million+ that was lost through Coincheck, a company that specifically saw its hot wallet accounts by malicious individuals.

From there, other trading platforms, such as Binance, have seen their holding dissipate at the hands of those looking to gain access to funds that aren’t theirs.

The hack on Harvest Finance occurred earlier in the week and was confirmed on Twitter by executives, who appear to take full responsibility for the event. The messages on Twitter explain that a hacker invested quite a bit of money on the platform and then exploited a loophole in Harvest Finance’s algorithms to manipulate funds for his or her own benefit. The hacker ultimately targeted stable currencies, making off with roughly $13 million worth of USD Coin (USDC) and $11 million in Tether.

In a bizarre twist, executives claim that shortly after performing the attack, the hacker returned close to $3 million in digital funds. At the time of writing, the reasoning behind this move remains unclear, though it could be to try and ease relations somewhat considering those in charge of the platform claim they know who the attacker is, citing them as “well-known in the crypto community.”

According to a tweet, the attack occurred simply because Harvest Finance’s technological prowess wasn’t up to speed, and executives say they are doing everything they can to ensure the money is returned. At press time, they have even reached out to the hacker saying that should all funds be returned, they will not face any consequences.

Trying to Put Things Right

The team writes:

We made an engineering mistake. We own up to it. We do not have any interesting in doxing the attacker… People should have their privacy. You’ve proven your point. If you can return the funds to the users, it would be greatly appreciated by the community, and let’s move on.

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