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Soundscape VR Announces Newest World: Silica Sol

March 17, 2020

Today Soundscape VR unveiled its newest world, Silica Sol, inspired by the deserts of the southwest and reminds disappointed festival ticket-holders that Soundscape gives music lovers a festival experience from anywhere in the world.

Continually updating, upgrading and adding new features, Soundscape VR (SVR) introduces its fourth and largest Soundscape yet, Silica Sol. Silica Sol will transport users to a magical world of eternal desert sunsets filled with unique plant life, alien minerals and audio-reactive art. SVR users are invited to shoot, slice, draw, paint, and compete together in various game modes all while in one of four 360-degree world of breathtaking visuals – a bioluminescent forest coming to life at sunset, a crystalline mountaintop bathed in the aurora borealis, the center of the universe deep inside a shifting nebula. Like each SVR world, hidden visual effects throughout challenge users to discover glowing butterflies, crystal spirts and other dreamlike creations. 

“This whole Soundscape journey started for me at Burning Man where we traded tech-art for smiles on The Playa to the delight of festival-goers and has continued to grow from there. Burning Man is a truly a one-of-a-kind event that blends the best parts of music, community, technology and art in a mind-bending festival experience,” said SVR CEO and Lead Developer, Eric Alexander. “Silica Sol in a way pays homage to the desert landscape so many people fall in love with at Burning Man, but in the unique SVR way that our users have come to expect. We’ve also included so many new ways to customize your adventure in this update. I can’t wait to hear people’s experiences.”

In this newest update, available for free on Oculus Home and Steam, a character progression enables users to can level-up their characters and build community prestige thereby unlocking new abilities. Talent points earned will allow users to enhance their character and gain special powers like getting closer to the stage with “Rail Rider,” fly faster with “Stage Sprinter” or go invisible with “Dark Sunglasses.” Users can more easily broadcast their style and recognize that of other users with enhanced profile customization featuring favorite songs, albums, artists, festivals and more. Customize even further by earning nine new avatar elements like helmets, masks and hats.

Virtual experiences are in even higher demand in light of the world’s most recent events. SVR offers an alternative and amplified virtual festival atmosphere to people who are unable or would rather not gather in person. Functioning as a social metaverse and 24/7 VR music festival, users can customize their avatar, meet friends and other music lovers across the globe face-to-face, and experience next-generation concerts in the Soundscape audio-reactive worlds all from the comfort and convenience of home. Choose between listening to special sets from top artists like Big Gigantic and STS9, user-created mixes and synchronized playlists, or any music you can imagine from any music service. Engineered by an independent collective of artists, musicians and developers, SVR serves as the premier destination for musical and artistic virtual reality content. Users are invited to elevate the combined vision of each individual artist and user together through a bespoke VR world paired with any music, creating an entirely original and new visual experience. The SVR platform creates a 24/7 virtual music festival delivered directly to each user worldwide. Artists are given the ability to bring any visual concept to life, from a listening party deep in space to an underwater concert and beyond.

Whether gathering with music lovers from around the world or exploring individually, SVR’s offerings are unparalleled in the industry offering live concert capability, mixed reality stages, customizable avatars, unlimited music choice, multiplayer, full locomotion, bespoke worlds and more, all free to play.

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The Advantages Of VR In Today’s Climate

March 12, 2020

One of the most attractive aspects of Soundscape VR is the unique advantages it offers compared to the current state of the live music experience. Live music has been a hallmark of our existence for as long as recorded history suggests, and while it has evolved over decades of participation, it is not infallible. In the last decade, the live entertainment arena has been the setting for some of the worst tragedies experienced by music loving fans: The Sugarland Stage Collapse in 2011 (7 killed, 58 injured), the Paris Eagles of Death Metal Concert (150 killed), Ariana Grande’s Manchester Arena bombing (22 killed, 59 injured), and more recently, The Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas where more than 50 were killed and more than 500 people injured. And in the past month alone, we’ve seen some of the biggest music festivals in the world entirely shut down (SXSW, Ultra, Tomorrowland) or forced to postpone (Coachella) due to the impact of the COVID-19 virus.
 
Part of being a festival operator or concert promoter is knowing the risks involved, and thankfully, that’s why insurance exists. However, the staggering insurance premiums required to faithfully protect not just the promoter, but the fans, the artists, the vendors – are all typically passed along to the consumer in the price of the ticket or additional fees. And that’s assuming the promoter did in fact secure insurance in the first place! Virtual reality offers the unique opportunity to entirely mitigate issues like these when it comes to the live performance industry. And because it’s virtual, other factors like traffic, noise pollution, trash, and violence, immediately cease to be a cause of concern. 

While SXSW is shut down and Coachella is postponed, fans must deal with the heartbreak of missing their most anticipated performances by their favorite artists. But the show goes on for VR users who are able to freely tap into a 24-7-365 music festival that never ends. When you just don’t have the budget for the ticket and the VIP camping, and the supplies, VR users can put on their headset and be teleported thousands of miles instantly to connect with friends. When flights are cancelled or travel is impossible, an artist can slip into VR and project their avatar across the globe, delivering a performance from anywhere on Earth. And why should having a family limit your ability to catch those favorite artists live? You don’t have to anymore. VR changes the paradigm when it comes to what is possible with experience and live music.
 
For music fans, VR offers wins across the board in convenience, immersion, price, flexibility, and audiovisual quality. And those advantages are only improving more rapidly as further technological development is incorporated into each new hardware iteration. With every feature added, VR’s list of advantages for fans and artists alike, grows even further. It won’t be long before serious music enthusiasts can no longer ignore the innovation that is happening with music and virtual reality. It’s hard to believe that it wasn’t too long ago where if you might have been called crazy for believing that movie lovers would regularly choose their living room over the theatre, yet that is the world we live in today. Cheaper technology afforded a clear path to replicating the experience at home, movies are now widely available at the touch of a button, and price gouging for cheap popcorn and name-brand soda are a thing of the past. The transformation took less than a decade. What Netflix is to the movie industry is what Soundscape VR will be to the music industry. Staying at home no longer has to be an isolating experience.

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Does gaming (specifically VR) bring people together or isolate them?

February 3, 2020

Each month, we feature new perspectives from our Developer Team at Soundscape VR. This month, CEO and Lead Developer, Eric Alexander discusses his ideas about the hot topic of isolation in gaming:

The relationship between technology and community has always been complicated and it’s no different with Virtual Reality (VR). Virtual reality creates a universe outside or in addition to the one we live in every day and, like any universe, can be adapted to serve the user best in that particular moment. VR certainly has the power to isolate and also build community like no other technology.

Its isolation potential already quite strong, and will only continue to increase with further hardware improvements as the technology matures.  But is VR’s isolation potential a bad thing?

Isolation can be an amazing thing in small doses. To be able to disconnect from society at times is a necessity. With VR a user has the potential to be isolated in the greatest way possible, fully losing themselves in an experience. I originally set out to create Soundscape VR not for just its social capabilities but because I wanted to explore the power of music and isolation. VR can be a gateway to a zen universe with no distractions of the real world (including the otherwise ever-present cell phone), a place you can escape to and not be bothered with reality for ten minutes or for hours.

Most thing in life are better when shared with those closest to you so it was important to me to ensure Soundscape VR could be enjoyed in groups when users don’t want to be isolated. The connection potential that VR allows can be equal to or greater to that of phone calls, text messaging, or email. VR social worlds bring friends from across the globe together virtually into a shared space where they can escape together, unlike any other technology. VR can also help users forge new friendships with other users who have similar interests but would never encounter each other save for in VR. Nonverbal communication alone with a friend’s IK avatar is an incredible feeling that will blow your mind.  It will not be too long until enjoying the company of friends in VR is a regular activity for many that bring them even closer to the people they care most about.

Isolation and shared experience available within technology, and VR specifically, are the yin and yang. People must have the freedom to have either kind of experience, and each person will have to be mindful of the balance that works best for them depending on a variety of factors. They must also have the discipline to use VR responsibly as we approach simulation superiority — the moment in time when the virtual world will begin to exceed the real one.

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Mike Swanson Joins Soundscape VR Advisory Board

January 31, 2020

Soundscape VR is please to announced the addition of Mike Swanson to the company’s advisory board. Mike joins the team with over 25 years of experience working in the video game industry.

“Mike has been an Executive Producer on eight shipped titles, and we are beyond thrilled to have him join our Advisory Board. His experience at Electronic Arts, Sega, and LucasArts, brings a wealth of knowledge to our team at Soundscape VR and in his short time with the company so far, he’s already proven himself to be a change-maker,” said Soundscape VR CEO Eric Alexander.

Mike has left his stamp across the gaming industry. In addition to working with large publishing companies like Electronic Arts, he also supported top VR and PC game titles and experiences while at technology company, NVIDIA. While his credit list includes notable titles like SSX, FIFA, and several Star Wars titles, Mike is most looking forward to the bleeding edge that Virtual Reality gaming offers,

“I love working with Soundscape VR – the experience, the visuals and the potential are awe-inspiring! The roadmap for success with Soundscape is truly exciting and I am looking forward to being involved and associated with this success!” commented Swanson.

Soundscape VR (SVR) is a music, arts, and gaming VR platform enabling a new generation of live concerts, music experiences, and sound visualization conceptualized by Eric Ryan Alexander in 2014. Friends across the globe can listen, fly, paint, explore, watch, dance, compete, and more – with groups of up to 240 players together in a sonic-visual adventure. With richly detailed environments that span miles, Soundscape VR is the premier destination for musical and artistic virtual reality content.

Soundscape VR is available for download for FREE today on Oculus Home and Steam.

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Announcing Soundscape VR 2020, our next update

December 1, 2019

Today we are rolling out a massive update to the Soundscape Universe platform and our last official update of the year, Soundscape VR 2020. This massive update has a long list of features, but a couple of highlights include visual and performance improvements across all worlds, updates to the Sonic AI audio-reactivity engine, and so much more. Take a look at the highlight list below for more detailed information.

Don’t forget to join us on Discord, you’re feedback and enthusiasm drives this universe! Thank you & Happy Holidays to all of our users!

Visual overhaul and enhancement of all worlds
– All worlds have received new art assets and expansion of their core visual theme. Discover new spotlights, new planets, new trees, new foliage, new snow, new stage areas, and much more, as well as lighting and shadow upgrades to make each Soundscape more beautiful than ever before.

Performance improvements for all worlds
– All worlds have undergone significant optimizations improving performance. Higher framerates means a more immersive and comfortable experience for longer play sessions. Twilight Thicket is still our most advanced level and designed for users with advanced GPUs, but you can expect to see improvements of 30% or more on framerates, while at the same time improving overall visual quality.

Control upgrades supporting Vive/Index/Rift CV1/Rift S
– Enhanced haptics, controls, aim, and usability for all controller types, including new experimental WMR support.

SVR LIVE performance and gameplay upgrades
– A variety of visual and usability enhancements to our mixed reality stage and art installation mode.

Sonic AI v2 audio-reactivity improvements
– Improvements to beat detection, frequency detection, and visual reactivity to any genre of music, making the world of Soundscape more reactive and dynamic. Phase 2 improvements coming soon.

Real-Money transactions are now available for those who wish to support development
– All store items can be purchased for free with Harmonia you earn from playing. Want to help out another way? Leave a review for Soundscape on your platform(s) of choice and share your experience to help other music lovers find this free software!

Optical Hack unlocked for all players across all platforms
– 3 trippy effects available for free, expandable with up to 25 visual enhancements that you can use to glitch out your friends.

Lighting micro-controller to control and modify each world in tune with the music available for purchase and coming soon
– Includes free Enhanced Optical Hack effects!

Artist Link stage upgrades
– Improved and expanded with brand new enhancements to visualizations, models, and pyrotechnics

Menu and UI enhancements
– New world select screen, new gameplay modes added, and new instructions on how to play any music you want to hear

Bug Fixes
– A large number of reported bugs have been fixed enhancing every thing from solo to social play, UI, cosmetic items, music, and more.

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SVR Live at the Far Out Factory

September 1, 2019

Soundscape VR has been invited to join some of the top music, artistic, and tech talent from the Denver area at the second annual Far Out Factory art experience. This year’s event takes place on October 11-12, 2019 from 6PM-2AM on both nights. This event is limited to adults aged 21 and up. Far Out Factory is being hosted at Major Studios – 3881 Steele Street.

Inspired by cannabis and perfected by dreamers, Far Out Factory transforms an old warehouse into a multisensory portal, enabling and encouraging a complete escape from reality and a glimpse into another dimension. This two-day makeshift museum-meets-music-festival promises to titillate your senses and expand your perceptions like you never thought possible. Please note, though cannabis-inspired, this is a strictly no-consumption event.

This year’s line-up includes Crooked Colours, Brasstracks, Will Clarke, Quantic, Ventus, Chrome Sparks, Retrofette, Motion Trap, and more!

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Feature Story: This Denver Startup is Bringing VR Concerts to Your Living Room

July 12, 2019

Live concerts are a blast, but expensive tickets, bustling crowds, long bathroom lines and obstructed views can sometimes dampen the show.

One local startup wants to enhance the current live music experience, while also bringing virtual reality concerts into the comforts of your living room.

Soundscape VR CEO Eric Alexander admits that he wasn’t always focused on virtual reality. Prior to launching Soundscape in 2018, he was a food scientist with a degree in microbiology that had a side interest in tech, music and digital art.

Gradually that side interest grew to become his main one and his focus shifted exclusively to what would become Soundscape VR.

“It was just too much for me to resist,” he said with a laugh.

He launched Soundscape in Chicago, but after researching some of the best places to start a tech company he landed in Denver. Since arriving, the one-person team has ballooned to more than ten and Soundscape’s technology has garnered interest at festivals across the country.

Soundscape offers two main products, an at-home VR experience and a live, VR music stage.

The at-home experience is the company’s most robust offering, allowing users to explore virtual, social worlds with up to 244 other users, all while listening to music. The company has developed three worlds, all between 10 to 20 kilometers in size, for users to explore, interact with other users and experience a concert-like atmosphere.

Soundscape has partnered with Boulder artist Big Gigantic and Atlanta’s STS9 to upload concert sets to the platform. Users can also play their own music over the platform, creating a concert-like atmosphere with the music they want to hear. Within the world, Soundscape offers a series of character customization micro-transactions. Alexander said the platform, available for free download on Oculus Rift, has more than 40,000 users.

“At the initial level, it was just about letting people have that immersive experience at home. It’s a full field of view, immersive physical experience. You can drink beers out of your fridge, use your own bathroom and go any night of the week,” Alexander said.

The latest version of the company’s virtual reality music stage made its official debut at the recent Sonic Bloom music festival at Hummingbird Ranch, CO.

The stage allows users to put on a headset and go on a musically guided tour of a digital world that lasts between eight and 20 minutes.

“We’ve grown the stage to allow for more participants at the same time, increased visibility to 360 degrees so all spectators can experience what’s happening ‘in world’ and enhanced our state-of-the-art VR hardware to the most powerful in the world – when you couple all of that with the live music pumping through the new P.A. system, it’s a shared immersive audiovisual experience unlike anything ever seen before,” Alexander said.

The stage was first presented at Burning Man, and then Suwannee Hulaween.

As the company grows, Alexander said Soundscape is preparing to launch a Series A funding round and hopes to form more partnerships with musicians to build out the platform’s experiences.

He acknowledges that VR is unlikely to ever replace the live concert experience but hopes to be a supplement to it.

“Soundscape has to be at least as good or better than the live music experience to succeed,” he said.

As appears on https://www.americaninno.com/colorado/denver-startups/this-denver-startup-is-bringing-vr-concerts-to-your-living-room/

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SVR Live at Sonic Bloom Recap Video

July 9, 2019

On June 21st 2019, Soundscape VR debuted v3.0 of their mixed reality live stage at Sonic Bloom Music Festival. First presented at Burning Man, and then Suwannee Hulaween, Sonic Bloom marked the first event to feature SVR’s expanded, 360-degree virtual reality stage.

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Soundscape VR Debuts New Stage at Colorado’s Sonic Bloom Festival

June 25, 2019

Soundscape VR, the world’s first virtual reality music stage, made its official debut at last week’s Sonic Bloom music festival at Hummingbird Ranch, CO. Groove Science Studios, creators of the Soundscape VR platform, offered festival attendees the opportunity to explore and interact with the company’s audio-reactive virtual reality worlds while onsite at the music festival. First presented at Burning Man, and then Suwannee Hulaween, Sonic Bloom marked the version 3 unveiling of the latest changes to the expanded stage

Soundscape VR is home to the most advanced visual arts and music experiences available in virtual reality. Users can fly, explore, play, create, and immersive themselves in massive surreal audio-reactive worlds with breathtaking visuals; alone, with friends, or other fans – Soundscape VR is a social, musical, metaverse without limits.

“We’ve grown the stage to allow for more participants at the same time, increased visibility to 360º so all spectators can experience what’s happening ‘in world,’ and enhanced our state-of-the-art VR hardware to the most powerful in the world – when you couple all of that with the live music pumping through the new P.A. system, it’s a shared immersive audiovisual experience unlike anything ever seen before,” remarked Eric Alexander, Founder and CEO of Groove Science Studios.

“Our intention has also been to bridge the gap between what’s capable live, on-stage, and what we can experience ‘in-world’ through virtual reality. said Alexander, “It’s incredibly satisfying to work with other artists who ‘get’ what’s happening with music and virtual reality, and it only emboldens Soundscape to push the boundaries of what we can do. After all, if it wasn’t for music, this wouldn’t exist at all!” 

Soundscape VR is catching the eye of the industry. Earlier this year, the company announced the addition of three pre-loaded sets to the platform, including Big Gigantic’s Nocturnal album, STS9’s 2018 Hulaween set, and EOTO’s performance from Denver, CO in 2018. 

“We’re working with artists who really love utilizing new technology and concepts to engage and interact with their fans. Soundscape offers a 24/7, enhanced festival environment where bands and fans can intermingle, experience music in new ways, and connect, regardless of location or time. It’s the next generation in social music,” commented Matt Hogan, Director of Artist Outreach, “And because we have the capability to build out custom environments, the artists we work with can curate their own ‘always-on’ venues and worlds.”

Soundscape VR can be found on Oculus Home and Steam, and downloaded for free for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and the Valve Index. The platform has already seen a number of additions this year, including 244-player social interactivity, character upgrades and customization, and the addition of a third, brand-new 20 sq km fantasy world “Twilight Thicket.”  

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Patch 2.03 Goes Live With Improved Graphics and Sound Visualization

April 2, 2019

Patch 2.03 is live! In this new patch, we have made a number of upgrades to the graphics and sound visualization effects across all three levels. We also addressed a few minor bugs affecting players.

-Crystalline summit BUFFED with new audio-reactive effects, lighting, shadows, and other visual upgrades!
-Fire effects have been upgraded across all worlds
-Laser visual upgrades across all worlds
-Glowing materials and objects now have RGB rainbow fading modes triggered by audio-reactivity.
-Floating lanterns upgraded
-Fixed an issue where players could not access instant paint light
-Fixed an issue in multiplayer that caused players to rotate when loading into the world
-Fixed an issue with teleportation that would cause players to rotate

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