September Monthly Tech Release Notes
Oculus Developer Blog
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Posted by The Oculus Team
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September 15, 2017
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It's that time again. Our software, audio, integrations and documentation teams have released the following new packages for this month's tech updates.

Major updates include our newest PC SDK with the release of version 1.18, and new platform, audio, integrations, and docs updates.

PC SDK 1.18

Two Vulkan-specific functions have been introduced in the latest PC SDK version 1.18: ovr_GetInstanceExtensionsVk and ovr_GetDeviceExtensionsVk. These functions return a list of strings that identify Vulkan extensions that must be available in the current video card driver in order for the VR runtime to support Vulkan-based applications. They are declared in OVR_CAPI_Vk.h along with additional documentation and example usage code.

Please note that the SI 1.18 runtime release included a change affecting applications using Vulkan. If you are using Vulkan, it is imperative that you update your app with SDK 1.18 and make sure users are on the current GPU drivers. If you do not update, your app will crash for users at launch. The Vulkan sample apps in the SDK download provide examples of how to ensure your app is running well. Documentation will be updated on Monday, September 18.

Platform SDK 1.18

Platform SDK 1.18 introduces new APIs created so that you may further establish social connections within your app.

Recently Met API

Use ovr_User_GetLoggedInUserRecentlyMetUsersAndRooms to retrieve a list of users who the logged-in user recently interacted with in your app. Interesting users, users who interact frequently or for a long duration, will be returned first. Oculus tracks the number of times users meet in VR, their most recent encounter, and the amount of time they spend together. Please see the documentation for additional information.

Profile Card API

On Gear VR, you can use ovr_User_LaunchProfile to launch a profile that displays the Oculus name, ID, online status, recent interactions, and mutual friends for a specified user. The profile also allows a friend request to be sent. Please see the documentation for additional information.

It's worth noting that the Platform SDK 1.17 launched a bit later last month and there were some noteworthy additions including:

Standalone Initialization

Standalone initialization allows you to initialize the Platform SDK in test and development environments and is now available for Unity. Read about initializing the SDK in standalone mode on the Initializing and Checking Entitlements page.

Rooms Invites Push Notifications

The Platform SDK will now send notifications to the message queue when a user has been invited to join a room. Information about room invite notifications can be found in the Rooms guide.

Parties on Rift

Rift now supports Parties. Parties allow users to chat wherever they are in VR, including your app. Please review the Parties guide for information about how to handle potential conflicts with VoIP streams.

Audio Package Updates

This month's new audio packages include a new Audio SDK Profiler and an Audio Loudness Meter. In addition, there was an update that occurred late last month adding the Oculus Audio Spatializer Plugin for Wwise 2017. More details for each are below.

Oculus Audio SDK Profiler

The Audio SDK Profiler provides real-time statistics and metrics to track audio performance in apps that use Oculus Spatializer plugins. The profiler collects analytics from an analytics server embedded within every Oculus Spatializer plugin (OSP). You can profile audio performance in both VR and non-VR applications, either running locally or remotely.

Limitations:

  • Analytics are only available for Unity, Wwise, FMOD, and Native OSP versions 1.18 or later.
  • Remote profiling requires both nodes to be in the same subnet of the local area network.
  • Profiling mobile or Gear VR apps requires a Wi-Fi connection.

The Audio Loudness Meter

The Audio Loudness Meter measures the overall loudness of your app's audio mix. Loudness goes beyond simple peak level measurements, using integral functions and gates to measure loudness over time in LUFS units according to ITU standards (BS.1770-3). In the interest of providing a consistent audio volume experience across all Oculus VR experiences, we ask that you set a target of -18 LUFS for Rift apps and -16 LUFS for Gear VR apps.

Wwise support for Gear VR

The Wwise spatializer plugin now supports Android for Gear VR development and macOS, available for Wwise2016 and Wwise2017. For more information, see our Audio SDK Developer Guide.

Mixed Reality Capture Update

Mixed Reality Capture allows you to capture videos of your users in VR from a third-person perspective using a green screen. The videos are a powerful way to illustrate the experience of using the app to an viewer who is not actually in VR. There are quite a few updates to mixed reality in Unity new to 1.18 including dynamic lighting, latency control, chroma key correction, ZED camera support, external configuration support, and sandwich mode.

Tools

Oculus Remote Monitor 1.8 includes a new Overview page with an at-a-glance summary of the performance data captured from your Gear VR applications. You can double-click any performance hotspot on the Overview page and zoom into the Timeline view for further analysis and troubleshooting. Oculus Remote Monitor is compatible with any Gear VR application built with Unity, Unreal Engine, or Native development tools.

New Documentation and Assets

We have a few recent blog posts that are designed to help improve your development cycles and they include sample code.

Simulating a Gear VR Controller with Touch - In this post, Gabor Szauer provides Unity code that emulates a Gear VR Controller using a Touch controller. This functionality will allow you to iterate faster by previewing basic Gear VR Controller functionality directly in the Unity Editor without having to wait for a full mobile build.

Implementing Quality Hands With Oculus Touch - Accurately tracked, responsive, and properly-modeled hands make your application more fun, immersive, and easier to use. In this post, Matthew Franklin put together a collection of assets, samples, and SDKs to make it easy to add high-quality hands to your Rift app.

Distance Grab Sample Now Available in Unity Sample Framework - “Distance Grab” is a feature that allows users to point to faraway objects, and have them leap into your hands when they squeeze the grip button. To help you add distance grab behavior to your app, we’ve added the DistanceGrab scene to version 1.18 of the Oculus Unity Sample Framework. The Oculus Unity Sample Framework project file is available in the Unity Asset Store, and from our downloads page.

Oculus Connect 2017:

The newest round of sessions was just announced for our 4th annual developer event, Oculus Connect 2017 (OC4) in California, USA from October 11 - 12 [https://www.oculusconnect.com/]. Applications to attend are now closed, but stay tuned for more information for how you can follow news from the show.

Stay up-to-date with all our tech updates and more from the Oculus Team via our developer channels on Facebook and Twitter.