[HOT] : Blaston is the first Quest 2 game to add AR relay, and it’s incredibly useful

I don’t know how Blaston missed my VR radar. Released in late 2020, this is a dynamic dueling shooter where you lean and squeeze through a small arena to dodge bullets while grabbing various guns floating in the air around you to blast your enemy . With Superhot’s strategic body contortion mixed with multiplayer strategy, Blaston has remained a popular title with an active community on Discord.

The big news today for Blaston fans is the new Arctic Blast DLC, which adds a charming, casual winter-themed playlist for fierce snowball fights that won’t affect the leaderboard. of your game. It also adds a new “Knockout!” »Tournament mode for 2 to 8 players, with a huge trophy and bragging rights for the winner. After testing the new free modes, they only make this $ 10 game even more engaging.

Blaston may be the first official game from the Oculus Store to add true mixed reality.

Most exciting for Meta Quest 2 owners in general, Resolution Games has incorporated the Meta Passthrough API into Blaston. It uses sensor cameras to insert your real environment into the virtual environment, so that you can see exactly where nearby objects are. No other Oculus Store game to our knowledge has officially added this feature to their game.

As someone who deals with using VR in a cramped apartment living room, I’m very excited that AR is coming to other popular Quest 2 games. It won’t work. for all games, as I will explain. But it could start a trend towards the democratization of VR for new Quest 2 owners who can’t afford a massive home with dedicated VR space.

Disclaimer: This Blaston practice test was made possible by a review code provided by Resolution Games. The company did not see the content of the review before posting it.

What’s new with Blaston Arctic Blast

Past Blaston updates have added a short Crackdown campaign mode to hone your skills against bots, a Western-themed mode with quick matchups, and the Ozo lounge to meet, dance with, and challenge your fellow Blaston players. But this latest update might be the best yet.

Category Blaston Title Blaston Developer Solving games Publisher Solving games Genre Action, shooter, exercise Game size 502 MB Players 1 to 2 players Introductory price $ 10

Until recently, players could only participate in a ranked mode where every match counted. As Dennis Bagstevold, Community Manager at Resolution Games told me, because the game pits you against enemies of the same rank, you are constantly in a stressful fight for your life. So, adding casual modes allows people to have fun and try new shooting skills and advanced weapons that they haven’t unlocked yet, regardless of rank.

The latest casual mode is Arctic Blast. You’ll face off on separate ice floes in a new Arctic Resort map. Go down and you will freeze to death instantly; stay in the area and you will have to dodge deadly snowballs and blasts from your opponent’s ice cannon.

As a beginner, I much preferred the standard duel mode, even with its more basic map design. Arctic Mode looks gorgeous but has very limited weapon options compared to Main Mode – and it doesn’t currently support AR Relay either. But for those who have been using the same maps and modes for a year, I’m sure they appreciate the change more.

Another newly introduced mode is Knockout !. Two to eight players join a lounge and compete in a single tournament slice. While two players compete against each other, the others can watch, listen to music on the jukebox, check the Discord stream in the headphones, or just hang out. Bagstevold explained that most players were running unofficial tournaments online before this update and hoped that this would help make it easier for friends to compete against each other at the same time.

Last but not the least, you get a new mixed reality rocker. Turn it on and you will be able to see your furniture or nearby people engraved in your virtual environment.

Why AR passthrough is changing the VR game

In Blaston you should always stay within a 6 foot diameter and you will need each foot to have enough room to comfortably dodge the bullets flying towards you. Like most rhythm or exercise games, it is designed to be confined to a small area, but if your play area is too small it will impact your performance.

In my case, I don’t have an uninterrupted space like that in my apartment, so when it comes to dodging bullets or sliding over targets, I can never completely lose myself in a VR game without the fear. in the back of my mind hurting myself or damaging a Touch controller. This changed during Blaston’s test with the passthrough enabled.

Passthrough projects your house into the void of your VR game but doesn’t record anywhere Meta can access.

I can’t show you what the passthrough looks like; For privacy reasons, the Quest 2 does not store or download any camera footage from your home, so screenshots with passthrough enabled show your characters standing in a black void. So imagine the blurry environment you see when you set up your Quest Guardian with a cartoon neon filter on it, layered over your favorite VR game.

In Blaston’s case, my couch, television, tables, and other furniture – as well as my partner sitting at her desk across the room – were all visible in green lines amid the dark void. They’re pretty quiet compared to the game’s main UI, so it’s not annoying at all; they just serve as a handy reminder in case I stray too far from something (or someone).

Speaking with Resolution Games CEO Tommy Palm, I learned that integrating augmented reality into a VR-only game was “surprisingly difficult” for his team, despite help from Oculus / Meta. He didn’t give a lot of technical details, but did note that there were some perfectly logical design decisions for VR that made it difficult to integrate AR content into the world.

Quest 2 sensor cameras don’t have the power or color for realistic passthrough, but its stylized look in Blaston comes from works.

Another issue Palm pointed out is that the Oculus team didn’t design the Quest 2 sensor cameras with realistic passthrough in mind. Blaston might get away with a cartoonish, pixelated passthrough thanks to its distinct animation style, but the more realistic or detailed the VR graphics, the more out of place your blurry and real environment will seem in this world.

Although Palm hasn’t suggested it, other VR developers may have more difficulty incorporating the passthrough due to different graphics or designs. If your VR world already contains physical objects that could overlap with passthrough objects, this could be a problem; and the passthrough feels less natural in games where you physically move around a world, as your room will remain static while the world of VR changes.

Nonetheless, I think this passthrough update could herald another wave of transformative updates, on par with the widespread graphics improvement updates from Quest 2 from last year. Games like Beat Saber would work perfectly with it, and others could at least offer permanent passthrough as an accessibility option, even if it interrupts the immersion a bit.

AR on the Quest 2 “gives consumers a glimpse into the future,” says Palm. The Quest 2 is very affordable compared to augmented or mixed reality prototypes, so more people will be able to try out the technology than the small niche groups that normally would. Eventually, he suggested, AR on the Quest 2 might allow more cross-play experiences with people outside of Quest 2 using smartphones, as passthrough lets you be more aware of it.

For now, I already don’t want to go back to VR games that don’t offer optional passthrough.

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