Here’s the Star Wars VR Demo Apple Showed During Their Keynote

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At yesterday’s keynote at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) 2017, Apple revealed the new iMac Pro and updated 27” Retina iMac, both of which are VR-ready, along with a slew of other VR related product updates. John Knoll, chief creative officer at Industrial Light & Magic, presented a mixed reality Star Wars themed live demo of VR content created on Mac and played on the Vive.

Lauren Ridge, programmer at Epic Games, was backstage to operate the demo (which you can watch in the video heading this article). Standing in a green screen setup to facilitate a mixed reality presentation, Lauren used HTC Vive hardware connected to a new 27-inch Retina iMac to illustrate the performance of Apple’s VR-capable hardware and native VR support in High Sierra, the next major version of macOS.

Watch Epic Games' Nick Donaldson Build a Scene in Unreal's VR Editor

Using Unreal Engine’s VR Editor, which has allowed developers to create within a VR environment on Windows PC since June 2016, Lauren manipulated some of ILMxLAB’s Star Wars assets around a virtual ‘Planet Mustafar’ environment in real-time using the Vive motion controllers. Thanks to higher-performance Intel Kaby Lake CPUs and AMD Radeon Pro 570, 575 and 580 GPUs, combined with a VR-optimised display pipeline in the Metal 2 graphics API, Apple users can now enjoy this creative technology natively on the Mac.

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The trial version of Microsoft’s Monster Truck Madness probably had something to do with it. And certainly the original Super Mario Kart and Gran Turismo. A car nut from an early age, Dominic was always drawn to racing games above all other genres. Now a seasoned driving simulation enthusiast, and former editor of Sim Racer magazine, Dominic has followed virtual reality developments with keen interest, as cockpit-based simulation is a perfect match for the technology. Conditions could hardly be more ideal, a scientist once said. Writing about simulators lead him to Road to VR, whose broad coverage of the industry revealed the bigger picture and limitless potential of the medium. Passionate about technology and a lifelong PC gamer, Dominic suffers from the ‘tweak for days’ PC gaming condition, where he plays the same section over and over at every possible combination of visual settings to find the right balance between fidelity and performance. Based within The Fens of Lincolnshire (it’s very flat), Dominic can sometimes be found marvelling at the real world’s ‘draw distance’, wishing virtual technologies would catch up.
  • NooYawker

    That’s a pretty incredible demo. Especially running on a crappy video card. There’s much be a lot of OS optimization or something.

    • Drag0n

      It’s a Radeon Pro 580, that’s not a crappy card.

      • J.C.

        It’s not CRAPPY, but it certainly isn’t a powerhouse. It’s mid-range. Just because it’s the best AMD’s got doesn’t make it a top end card.

        • Drag0n

          Yeah, it’s just, he put it like it was an IGPU, I am a Nvidea fanboy, buy I got to give credit where credit is due, it’s not a terrible card.

      • Darshan

        580 falls between 1060 and 1070, there are gamers who already use Gtx 1080 and reported card seem to be on edge while playing games like project cars. 1070 is border line for good performance in VR games of 2017 not even future proof. something below it and you are too much limiting your self

        consider this after paying $ 1800 and picture is clear.

        • Brent

          it is future proof with eyetracking

    • J.C.

      Ehhhh not THAT impressive. It’s a pre-planned sequence, with no physics, AI, game logic or netcode to worry about. You can do AMAZING things, visually, if you don’t have to worry about interactivity.

      • Darshan

        j.C. your comment seem to be more valid yes its possibility demo must be extremely curated and highly orchestrated to fit that Radeon Limitations.

  • Lucidfeuer

    Wow that’s some unnecessary, expensive and inefficient advertisement content. ILM x Star Wars seem to have pretty much become the go-to “agency” for short demo showcase of VR corporations…

    • Darshan

      Apart from Hobbit Dragon (Lord of the Rings) and old and reliable ‘Dinosaurs’.

    • NooYawker

      Nerds love tech and nerds love Start Wars.

      • Lucidfeuer

        There was a recent time I would have said that this is insulting to nerds and you are probably referencing to geek. But today I’d rather be called a geek than a nerd.

        • NooYawker

          Yes I was referencing geeks. Does anyone use nerd anymore? Just showing my age I guess.

  • Joe Corr

    The green screen makes sense, but how did they know the occlusion of her body, to place any content in the foreground in front of her (her keyed out physical form)?

  • mpisc192

    When are devs going to get access to Mixed Reality support in Unreal??