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BigScreen brings Martian LAN parties to the Oculus Store

BigScreen is hitting the Oculus Home store with a big update today, delivering on the promise to bring a “completely cross-platform” LAN party experience to virtual reality.

Using BigScreen, up to four users can share a virtual space, broadcasting desktop video and audio to create the illusion of an old-fashioned LAN party, with each “player” being represented by a disembodied head.

When BigScreen launched earlier this year, users were all represented in the virtual space as floating, featureless white heads, but today’s update changes all of that. With the latest update, users can customize their avatars with new hairstyles, skin colors, eye colors, and accessories like glasses or VR goggles, alongside eye and mouth tracking to allow users to tell each other apart more easily, according to Engadget.

Everyone’s still a disembodied head, and even when using the HTC Vive’s motion controllers, users’ hands are invisible. Still, today’s update is a big improvement, providing a much more interactive experience for users of the VR LAN party software.

Related: BigScreen makes the most of the HTC Vive’s motion controllers.

Today’s update also includes support for shared desktop audio from any participant in a virtual space, previously only the host could broadcast audio to all four participants. With the avatar updates and the support for shared audio, BigScreen is really delivering on its promise to bring the LAN party experience of yesteryear into the 21st century.

BigScreen was one of the first platforms which allowed the use of software not designed for VR in a VR space, initially just via the Steam VR store, but today’s expansion into the Oculus Home store makes the popular VR LAN software more accessible for owners of the Oculus Rift. Users can choose from a dozen virtual environments, including the Moon and Mars, to share while they play games, watch movies, or just chat.

The latest update for BigScreen is available today, for free, on the Steam VR and Oculus Home stores.