Monthly Archives: October 2015

VR Discs Of Golf

VR Discs Of Golf

VR Discs Of Golf Title Screen

I suppose I can go ahead and announce that the project I’m making for the Leap Motion 3D Jam is a VR Disc Golf game. I basically have the disc physics and basket interaction at a playable state, so I’m going to stay committed to the premise. I still don’t know how accurate it really is, since I can’t find any type of recorded flight data online. That’s why I’ll need to bother some of my friends who disc golf to try it out for me.

I’ll be making the course out of geometric shapes and basic grid-style textures. It’ll be a little like Discs Of Tron, so that’s why I’m calling it VR Discs Of Golf. In fact, I’m pretty sure that this is a precursor to a Discs Of Tron remake for VR. I may even add moving obstacles and trick shots, so it’ll be kind of like disc mini-golf.

Unfortunately, I don’t know if the Leap Motion is going to be accurate or fast enough to do a realistic throw motion for the game. It may be that my computer is finally starting to show its age, and can’t quite keep up the with Leap Motion’s processing demands. It may also be that the angle of the hand when making a disc throwing motion is about the most inaccurate angle for the cameras, so that’s my fault for not trying the interface before I wrote the physics code. It’ll still be cool, but it will be more of a gesture-based interface. While I think about the interface and how I’m going to handle it, I’ve gone back to finishing up a release version of VR Meteors.

VR Meteors

VR Meteors Title Screen

VR Meteors keeps getting closer to a release date. I put in the high score and initials screens today. I also added a shield effect when you get hit. Of course, it’s all delightfully programmer art, but it gets the job done.

At this point, I only have a few things left to do. I’ll add a background sound and audio options to the settings. I’m going to implement the single button play style that I had for the Gear VR into the Cardboard build. Now that I have a better understanding of the rendering system, I’ll see about being able to switch between the colored and outline graphics on-the-fly. Then I’ll do a tuning and polish pass and go through the publishing steps for Google Play and the Oculus Share site.

Since publishing a game is a pretty significant step and legitimizes my company, I’m really getting excited about it. I’m pretty nervous too, since this will effectively be my “first impression”. I’m just trying to deliver an enjoyable experience that is quick and easy to play, while not trying to do anything extraneous. I’ll add more stuff in later updates as I get the systems written. At least it’s free, so there shouldn’t be any complaints about the price. It is the internet though, so I won’t be surprised if there are.

 

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AR/VR Tech Talk And A New Laptop

AR/VR Tech Talk And A New Laptop

What a quick week and a half it’s been. My progress was slowed a couple days when I went up to Portland last week for an Augmented Reality (AR)/Virtual Reality (VR) Tech Talk. Unfortunately, my previous laptop decided to blue screen again, so I didn’t get much work done those days. My new laptop arrived yesterday, so I’m glad to have that taken care of. Let’s hope that the 4th time’s the charm with this laptop situation.

Dell Inspiron 17 5000 Series Touch

Dell Inspiron 17 5000

I ended up with a Dell Inspiron with an AMD graphics chip. Once I have everything installed, I’ll see if I can use the DK2 with this beast. This is easily the largest laptop I’ve ever used, and it’s heavy. I believe it may be about 7.5 lbs. If it works with the VR hardware, it will be worth it.

AR/VR Tech Talk

The tech talk that I attended was held at the Nike Decathlon Club Cafe next to their campus in Beaverton. It was 2 1-hour talks and some time before and after to socialize. I went over a few hours before the talks and did some work while I waited. I met a few other devs who showed up early as well, and showed them my new View-Master Cardboard viewer. Surprisingly, that viewer generated a lot of interest from several people who were there. The bright and familiar colored plastic probably has a lot to do with it.

AR Talk

The first talk was about augmented reality (AR), and the speaker was from Meta. He was more of a business guy instead of a developer, so his talk was about a lot of the things that he had seen, the potential of AR, and info about their product. He showed several examples of their product being used for education and other non-gaming applications. He spoke quite a bit about how AR will allow for medical training in developing countries and remote locations, which was pretty cool.

Meta 1 Dev Kit

The development kit is available for less than $700. Though this is much less than the $3000 for the HoloLens, it does require a computer to run the software and it is tethered. It was nice to know that there is a HoloLens competitor that already has hardware out in the world though. Here’s a picture of their upcoming Pro version, which looks pretty slick.

Meta Pro

VR Talk

The second talk was about VR, and was given by Kent Bye, who has been attending dozens of conferences and gatherings the past couple of years and has hundreds of interviews. He hosts a podcast called Voices Of VR. He also organizes monthly meetups and is active in the Portland AR/VR community.

His talk was a little more interesting to me at least, as he has been a little more involved with the community at large and has seen a wide range of the hardware and talked to a lot of people in the industry. I did ask him what he is currently most excited about in the VR space, and he mentioned: Tiltbrush, Oculus Medium, Super Hypercube, and Fantastic Contraption. I’ll be checking out whatever info I can find about these soon.

Fantastic Contraption - Vive

That’s enough for now. I’ll have another post shortly with updates on my current projects.

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Leap Motion 3D Jam & Stuff

Leap Motion 3D Jam & Stuff

This week has been busy and fun. I feel like I have all the pieces to finish VR Meteors. I just need to put them in place now. I have plenty of plans for extra features and some restructuring, which will wait until after I put the game out into the wild. Here’s a screenshot of the title screen to show that I’m super cereal.

VR Meteors Title Screen

Getting VR Meteors online will also free me up to work on a project for this month, which is the Leap Motion 3D Jam. I just got my Leap Motion controller this week and have a couple ideas that I’m going to try. I’ll have to see how well the controller works, and the best hand positions, before I can decide which one to develop.

For those who don’t know, the Leap Motion controller is a small device which houses an IR camera that tracks hand movements. This allows for interaction with 3D objects by moving your hands around in the air. Typically, you would place it on your desk and it would track your hands as you move them around above the device. However, for my interests, they have a mount that allows you to stick the camera on the front of a VR headset so that you can track your hands in a virtual environment.

Other Stuff

Some other things that I’ve been working on this week are: menus, input, paths and splines, 3D text models, and various framework tasks.

Menus

For the menus, I’m trying to figure out how to separate the menu system and package it in a way that it’s easy to import into new projects. I drew a simple vector based frame to use for the various controls and have been working on setting up a template for the various UI elements in Unity so that the layout and sizing works the way that I want. I still have quite a bit of work to do before it’s truly flexible. Fortunately, VR Meteors is my primary development project, so it works for that.

Xbox360ContollerMenu OUYAContollerMenu

I’ve also made a couple of screens for the Xbox 360 and OUYA gamepads that display the controllers and highlight the buttons when you press them. I’ll be putting this at the beginning of my games to try and remove the need for me to explain the controls to people when they try the games. Especially since I won’t be able to do that when people download them soon.

Input

Wow, I don’t know exactly how Unity’s input system could be more cumbersome and less useful. Even if it didn’t exist, it would be more obvious from the beginning that you would want to write your own. I’ve been working on a new input manager to handle various controllers on all the platforms that I’m trying to support. Even the same controller on another platform has different button mappings, and the axis and button handling are separated seemingly arbitrarily. Fun times.

Since I’m primarily focused on VR using a gamepad, I haven’t yet tried to figure out how to handle keyboard, mouse, tilt, and touch controls. I’m sure that will be a whole new can of worms when I start working on some mobile app ideas.

Paths And Splines

When I was working on VR You Make Me Sick to go along with my talk last weekend, I wrote some simple path control code to make the targets move. I have now adapted that to move any transform in Unity along a path, circle, and now splines. I have a basic spline calculation that I came up with just playing around. I’m going to implement a proper Bézier Curve calculation as well, for more precise control. I’ve also learned how to use the gizmo system in Unity in the process, which will be handy.

3D Text Models

I learned how to create 3D text models in Blender, so I decided to use them as logos for now. I went to the Google Fonts site and downloaded a few different fonts that I felt fit the style of the games and modeled the titles to use for the title screens. I still need to figure out textures for them, but I think they’ll do the job until I can get some real art done.

That’s enough writing for now. I’ll be working on the finishing touches for VR Meteors this weekend and you should see it online next week sometime. Then I’ll get to work on the 3D Jam.

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Indie Game Con!

Indie Game Con

The Indie Game Con starts today. It’s all taking place in downtown Eugene. There is a Business Summit this afternoon and Art Show this evening. The Expo and Pro Talks are all day tomorrow. Followed, of course, by After Parties.

VRoom! Getting Up To Speed With Virtual Reality

As a bit of self-promotion, I’m giving a talk at 4:20, called VRoom! Getting Up To Speed With Virtual Reality. I’ll be talking about various topics related to virtual reality, as well as a little bit about augmented reality. I’ll cover the various popular game engines that support VR, the hardware that is currently and soon-to-be available, best practices for VR, and share some of my personal experiences with working with all of the above.

I’ll make another post to supplement my talk, and I’ll share a link to my presentation as well. I’ll do this after the talk, so that I can make sure to cover things that I missed, provide further info, and integrate any Q & A information.

I’ll even have a small game that I’m putting together to demonstrate what not to do in VR. It’s called: VR You Make Me Sick.

Business Summit

This is happening all afternoon today, at the newest addition to the downtown bar scene, The Wayward Lamb. It’s several hours of information from members of the local startup and indie game community, as well as some guest speakers who are in town for the IGC. I suspect there will be quite a bit of useful information for those of us who are new to running a business.

Art Show

Immediately after the Business Summit ends at 7, the Art Show begins at the LCC Downtown Campus. There will be art from and inspired by video games, as well as a DJ playing music with a video game theme. I’m not sure where I saw that info, so I don’t have a link to it. Sorry.

Expo

The expo is the main part of the Indie Game Con, and there are over 25 indie games being shown this weekend. Come down and take a look at them, play them, and talk to the developers. This is a chance to get any questions you have about game development answered by developers who don’t have to watch what they say, since they work for themselves. If you can’t find a game that you like in this bunch, I’d say it’s likely that you didn’t look hard enough.

Pro Talks

I already talked myself up earlier, so I’ll focus on the other talks here. There are 18 talks and a panel discussion on LGBTQ issues in games and the game industry. The speakers range from business people, to full-time game studio developers, to online personalities, to indie developers. 6 of the talks are free to attend with the basic expo pass, so you have no reason not to check at least one of them out. The other 12, require a pro talk pass, so be sure to get the correct ticket if you want to see any of them.

After Parties

After the expo ends at 6:00, or 6:30 if you attend the panel, the party begins at 8:00 at 3 locations nearby.

Big City Gamin’

This will be where you want to go if you’re under 21, since it is the all ages party. It’s just over 3 blocks away, so you’ll be able to walk there in a few minutes. I’m not sure what all will be happening there, but I expect games and music at least.

Shoryuken League

If you’re 21 or over, and want to play some more of those awesome indie games that you didn’t have time for at the expo, this is where you will want to go. It’s less than 2 blocks away, and will have plenty of demo stations set up for developers to show off their work. They’ll have drink specials and happy hour starts at 5, if you want to head over early.

The Wayward Lamb

If you’re 21 or over, got your fill of playing games during the expo, and just need to dance, head over to The Wayward Lamb. This is the dance party. There’ll be DJs and drinks and it’s right behind the LCC building.

Come support your local game development community. It’s going to be a blast!

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