Monday, July 15, 2024

The Vision Pro just got one of its most anticipated features

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Apple's chess demo showed how to make Vision Pro games in WebXR.Apple’s chess demo showed how to make Vision Pro games in WebXR. Apple

At the recent WWDC 2024 event, Apple previewed visionOS 2, which will arrive later this year. The developer beta version is already available, and now we know about a new way to experience VR in the Vision Pro.

The new VR games are available via WebXR in the Vision Pro’s Safari browser. WebXR a well-established cross-platform technology that lets developers create immersive and mixed reality apps via websites. There are a variety of JavaScript frameworks available such as Three.js, Babylon.js, PlayCanvas, Wonderland, and A-Frame.

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While there was a way to enable WebXR in earlier versions of visionOS, it wasn’t on by default, signaling support was limited and WebXR apps could have problems. By switching this feature on, Apple seems to be suggesting most WebXR apps should work on the Vision Pro.

Apple explained how to use the new WebXR capabilities in a developer video where a chess app was played via a local file connection, simulating a website for testing and debugging purposes before the web app is published. According to RoadToVR, Apple’s implementation only allows immersive apps. Hopefully, mixed reality support will arrive in the general release.

In the example, you navigate to the WebXR website to start the chess game and select a button to enter VR. An immersive scene loads with the virtual chessboard ready to play. Interaction is the same as any other visionOS app. You look at a chess piece and pinch to grab and move it. The computer opponent makes its move, and the process continues. To leave the immersive view, use the End VR button.

You can find more WebXR games at websites like itch.io. itch.io

There are already many WebXR apps, and most should be compatible with visionOS 2. You can also use a Bluetooth keyboard for games that use the classic WASD-key movement scheme. The visionOS 2 update also sends gamepad and voice to WebXR, so there are plenty of input options for developers to use.

The Vision Pro app library is growing, but it’s still small compared to the vast number of VR and mixed reality games available for the Meta Quest 3.

RoadToVR mentioned MoonRider, a Beat Saber-like rhythm game. You can find more at game websites like itch.io.

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