This week’s update delivers a bunch of our most-requested features across multiple games: Multiplayer cycling, in-game “shout” messaging, gameplay tuning in Chopper, tidier Strava updates, an option to skip account creation, and a new mech upgrade for Tank! The update’s already live for Steam users, and PlayStation users should see these plus our last few updates bundled in a patch within a couple weeks. In addition, tune in to the HTC Vive Summit this weekend to see eSports teams competing on VirZOOM! Read on for more information on all of this news, with more posts in the coming days to dig into features in more detail.

Le Tour, our bicycling game, now features drop-in, drop-out multiplayer in Quickplay mode. In addition to the AI riders you normally see, you’ll also see other players with their usernames over their heads.

River Run, our helicopter game, also saw some gameplay tuning. Fuel cans now give less fuel per pickup and appear less frequently, encouraging you to keep moving more than before. Accordingly, star ratings (for score milestones) have been adjusted to account for greater difficulty in taking out boats and turrets. You can also now see Chopper “ghosts” in Friend Challenges to see how your friends did as you play.

Shouts are a new form of messaging we’ve added to all multiplayer games. Use the face buttons on your handlebars (or controller) to bring up options for pre-written messages you can broadcast to other players. Messages appear over the head of the avatar sending them and have a delay after sending each one, so you can greet, taunt, and congratulate your fellow players without worrying about spamming them.

Strava now records all workouts done back-to-back as one big workout, rather than putting in a separate entry for each game you play. Now, as far as Strava is concerned, any sessions played within 10 minutes of each other all count as part of the same workout. (Special thanks to user RonKramer1957 for helping test this extensively!)

Account creation is now optional when you launch VirZOOM Arcade for the first time ever. Previously, in order to play any games at all, you had to verify your email address first. Now, you can choose to bypass that step if you want to get limited, offline-only access to all the games. This offers something of a demo, allowing you to any games you want, but without tracking scores, heart rate, calories burned, etc., and without our normal tutorial flow to help acclimatize you to VR locomotion. To get access to online multiplayer and stat tracking, you still need to create an account.

Mechs are a new avatar upgrade for the Tank in Winterstan. These giant robots can take more damage, but offer a larger target to hit. They can also fire more frequently, but have noticeably reduced range. Hold the trigger to aim, and release to fire. To equip this upgrade, go to Tank in the game selection menu, hit the L and R buttons (triggers on the bike), and select the Mech. (And note that this will leave any flags equipped, just in case you want to show off your love of flowers and rainbows as you stomp around in your mechanized war machine.) Each time you “rent” the mech costs a few thousand coins earned from Tank matches, but very soon, we’ll offer the option to purchase upgrades like this permanently.

And in addition to this week’s updates, we have one special announcement:

Watch eSports Teams Compete on VirZOOM on Twitch! HTC Vive is hosting eSports teams Cloud9, Team SoloMid, and Team Liquid to compete on VirZOOM.  You can watch the action on Twitch Sunday January 15th at 4 PM ET, 1 PM PT!  Visit the Vive Summit website for more information.

Questions, comments, or feedback? Drop by to comment on our blog, and be ready for more information and updates soon!