Tag Archives: VR

Extra Life Gaming Marathon 2018


Oh boy! It’s time to play games for the kids again. This is my 3rd year, and I’ll be playing games for 25 hours starting at 8:00am on November 3 (Sat) and ending at 8:00am the next morning. (The extra hour is thanks to the end of daylight saving time.) Here’s my Extra Life Participant Page, where you can donate to the Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland and find all the info about my schedule and streams. I’m also bumping up my goal from $200 last year to $269 this year, just because.

Third time’s a charm for streaming. This year I’ve got a new VR room setup and I even have a webcam, so I’ll be streaming and you’ll be able to watch the games as well as me playing them. I’ll attempt to talk more than I typically do, so that you can get my running commentary on the games that I’m playing. My Twitch stream is embedded here, followed by a link to my YouTube stream, for your viewing preference.

Twitch stream

YouTube stream

I will also have a schedule set up with all of the games listed so that you know when to watch if you want to see a specific game. Here’s a list of potential games that you can vote for: Extra Life 2018 Game List

I’m planning on doing more VR games this year, now that I have a clear space in which to play. I’ll likely alternate between VR and monitor games to give the headset a chance to cool off and let me sit down.

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Extra Life Gaming Marathon 2

Extra Life
The Extra Life gaming marathon is happening on Nov. 4 (Sat) this year. I’ll be playing video games for 25 hours (thanks to daylight saving time ending that night) starting at 8:00am. The purpose of the marathon is to raise money for the Children’s Miracle Network, and my donations will go to OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in particular. It also gives me an excuse to try out 25 games that I have purchased, but have not played yet for whatever reason.

Since I raised $165 last year, which was over my goal of $100, I’ve doubled my fundraising goal to $200. In exchange for the increased goal, I’m going to attempt to stream the games this year. I’ll also try to get a headset working so that you can hear my random commentary while I play, and perhaps even hear me shout obscenities when a game is being stupid. I’ve been testing some streams on YouTube and Twitch so far, and I am leaning toward YouTube at the moment.

Extra Life 2017 Game List
I’ve created a form which lists all of the games which I will have ready to play. You can click the link above to see the list. You can also vote for any games that you would like to see me play, which will give them priority. Similar to last year, I will be playing each game for 1 hour, and these are all games which I have not played yet. If I have any technical issues, I’ll simply move onto the next game.

If you feel like donating (which is tax-deductible, by the way), click this banner:

I think Helen Lovejoy said it best, when she said: Won’t somebody please think of the children?!?

Thanks, and pay attention to my social media channels during the event to get links to the streams and other updates.

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Extra Life Gaming Marathon

Extra Life

On Saturday, November 5, I’ll be participating in the Extra Life charity event. I’ll be playing video games for 24 hours, starting at 8am, to raise money for PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center.

If you would like to donate to the cause, visit my page at: TGIFrydave Extra Life Page

Or click on this thing:

Game Plan

I’ll be putting together a list of 24 games for the event, with some backups just in case. There will be PC, console, and mobile games, with several in VR. My plan is to play each game for at least an hour, and see how far down the list I can get. If I happen to come across a game that I want to play for longer, then that’s what’s going to happen.

I’ll be posting to my social media accounts to keep a running update of my progress. I’ll also be trying to set up some software to allow streaming for games that are compatible with it. Console and mobile titles will not be streamable, unless I can find a web cam in my pile of hardware.

Feel free to check in on me during the event to see how far I’ve made it, or just to heckle me for my game choices. Game on!

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Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning

Well, it’s Spring, so I suppose I should clean out my backlog of things that I should have posted since my birthday. Here’s a quick preview of the stuff I’ll be writing about soon. I’m not going to bother with pictures in this post, since it’s just a preview.

Cartoon Network Game Jam

First of all, the week after my birthday I participated in the Cartoon Network Game Jam in Portland. This kind of derailed my blogging, since I wanted to post about it but wasn’t sure if I could legally. Since Cartoon Network posted about it here: JAMMIN’ WITH OK, K.O.!, I suppose it’s OK for me to post about it now. In fact, the finalists are going to be announced this Sunday (5/1) and the winner will be announced next week.

Game Releases

I did post about my game releases, briefly. I’ll post more about some of the implementation and update details. I suppose it’s mainly for my records, but it may be interesting to somebody else as well.

I made a decision to release the games with the basic gameplay remade in VR, and as close to the functionality of the arcade games as I could get. So, basically they have all of the features, save high scores locally, are fully functional, and will always be free.

I’ll be doing some small updates to all of them to add analytics, extra controller support, and some other minor fixes and tweaks. I even added a leaderboard and achievements for VR Battletank on Android. I’ll be adding them to the other games soon.

After getting the basic framework done, I’ll be adding enhanced content to each of them as time allows.

Pipeworks Labs

The main reason that I’ve been slow to update my games and make blog posts is because I started a year-long project at Pipeworks new division, Pipeworks Labs, in March.

It’s a therapeutic VR project, which means it’s not technically a game. The great thing is that Pipeworks is cool enough to not have a non-compete clause,  so I’ll still be able to work on my own projects during my spare time.

Oculus Rift

The consumer version of the Oculus Rift finally started shipping at the end of March. I got mine the first week, and it’s awesome. I’ve played several games and experiences, and I’ll go into more detail in a later post. The game I’ve played the most so far is Elite Dangerous. I bought a Thrustmaster Flight Stick for this game, and it’s been a blast. I’ve played over 20 hours so far, and I think I’ve accomplished 2 or 3 tasks. I still don’t have much of clue what I’m doing, but it’s so fun flying around I don’t really care yet.

Oregon Game Project Challenge

I spent a day up in Salem last Saturday being a judge for the OGPC 9.0. I was a Game Design judge for several game projects that were made by teams of High School, and some Middle School, students. It was quite impressive to see what these kids came up with, and I’ll point out some of the stuff that stood out to me.

I’ll be pestering you with social media posts soon enough. In the meantime, go play my games:

VR Meteors

VR Missile Control

VR Battletank

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VR Battletank Released!

VR Battletank Released!

Feature Graphic 1024x500

It’s a trifecta! Out Of My Mind Games has a trio of games available for you to play now.

See? I told you in my last post that it was coming soon.

Get It Now

You can download VR Battletank from Google Play or WEARVR below:

Get it on Google Play

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Game Info

Strap on your headset and head out to the desolate virtual wastelands where you will face off against enemy tanks and missiles. Avoid the obstacles and shoot the flying saucers for big points, if you have the chance.

Controls

The controls are a little different, but simple to learn. You use each thumbstick on the gamepad to control the respective tank tread. If you push forward on the left thumbstick, then the left side of the tank moves forward. If you pull backward on the right thumbstick, then the right side of the tank moves backward. And vice versa. With the headset, you are now able to freely look around to locate your targets. However, the tank will always fire the direction that it is facing, as indicated by the reticle. You’ll need to maneuver the tank into position to make the shot.

If you play the Cardboard version, the default settings enable tilt and look to turn controls. That means that you can tilt the viewer left/right to turn left/right, and tilt forward/backward to move forward/backward. You can also turn your head and the tank will turn to face the same direction. Each of these settings is adjustable from the menu.

What’s Next

Next on my plate is an update for VR Discs Of Golf. Leap Motion has just released a new version of their software that is optimized for VR input. According to some demo videos that I have watched, the tracking is much better than the old software. I’m excited to put better motion controls back into the game.

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VR Missile Control Released!

VR Missile Control Released!

Feature Graphic 1024x500

*AIR RAID SIREN*

Beware! Incoming missiles are threatening your cities. Shoot them out of the sky before they hit their targets.

Get Your Copy Now

VR Missile Control is now available to download from the Google Play store.

Get it on Google Play

It’s also available on WEARVR.

WEARVR

If you feel like waiting for an undisclosed amount of time, you’ll be able to get it from the Oculus Share site. There’s no reason to wait though, since Oculus is so slow to review builds that it’ll always be behind the above builds.

More Info

VR Missile Control has been designed to work with one button input, so you can use it with your Google Cardboard viewer. It also supports some common gamepads for both Windows and Android. I’ll be putting a WebGL version up on my web site soon, after I make some minor tweaks to the mouse controls. Check it out and let me know what you think.

The current build is version 1.0.1, which means that the core gameplay is in place with no known bugs. I’ll be adding enhanced VR and gameplay features in future versions. Fun stuff, like new weapons, new enemies, full 3D UI layouts, new effects, and whatever else comes to mind.

Coming soon: VR Battletank

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VR Meteors Released!

VR Meteors Released!

VR Meteors Title ScreenIt finally happened! I released VR Meteors for Cardboard on the Google Play store. I also submitted a Windows version for Oculus Rift to the Oculus Share page, which may take a few weeks to be approved. I’ll announce when it’s available, don’t worry.

Phase 1 of my business plan is complete.

Phase 1 Phase 2 Phase 3
Release VR Meteors ? Profit

For those of you with an Android device, grab your Cardboard viewer and check it out. It’s free!

If you missed the link above, just click here:

Get it on Google Play

For those of you with Windows and an Oculus Rift, you can grab the first playable version from the Share site now at: VR Meteors for Oculus Rift. If you want to play the release version, you’ll have to wait until Oculus approves it or you can download the file from here: VR Meteors 1.0

For those of you with a Gear VR, I’ll be releasing a version for you soon. I just need to find somebody who has a Gear VR to test it for me. There will probably be a handful of bugs to fix, since I’m not positive I have the input handling set up correctly.

For those of you with an iOS device, it may be a little while before I go through the Apple developer process. I don’t have a Mac, so I’ll have to borrow one to get my builds running. Thanks, Apple.

For those of you who actually play it, here is some info for you.

Single Button Input For Cardboard

I designed the Cardboard version of the game to work with a single button, so that you can play it easily with a standard Cardboard viewer. There are only a few game actions, and here they are:

  • AIM: Rotate the viewer
  • FIRE: Press the trigger
  • THRUST: Hold the trigger
  • START/PAUSE: Tilt the viewer 90° clockwise

Basic Remake

For this first version of the game, I’ve focused on the basic gameplay and standard features that are found in Asteroids. I want to provide an easy-to-play VR experience that you can enjoy for minutes at a time, and easily show to your friends and family without a lot of instruction. You can even turn off the VR rendering in the pause menu and play in 2D. You’ll still be able to aim by rotating the device, fire by tapping the screen, thrust by holding the screen, and you won’t need a viewer.

  • 10 high scores
  • 4 bullets at a time
  • 3 sizes of Asteroids
  • 2 sizes of UFOs
  • 1 heart beat sound effect

Concessions for VR

There are some modifications to accommodate the VR presentation. Some things just don’t make sense conceptually in virtual reality. I’ll add them in later, if I can come up with good solutions.

  • Hyperspace was left out so as not to disorient the user
  • Shields instead of lives, to avoid spawning and disorientation
  • The difficulty is a little lower than I would like, which likely has to do with how easy it is to aim with a VR viewer. I’ll crank it up for future releases.

Looking Ahead

Future updates will add enhanced features.

  • Leaderboards
  • More types and sizes of asteroids and UFOs
  • Different weapons
  • Skyboxes
  • Powerups
  • Whatever else I come up with

Coming Soon

For now, I’m going to put this project on hold to get VR Missile Control released. I’ll still be working on getting VR Meteors for the Gear VR done. I just won’t be changing the gameplay until the next version. I will be applying the lessons that I learned on this project to VR Missile Control, so I expect things to go much quicker and smoother.

Need A Cardboard Viewer?

I think I’ve mentioned this in a previous post, but I’ll say it again. I highly recommend the View-Master viewer to use with Cardboard apps. It is the sturdiest viewer that I’ve tried. It has secure and easy access to the phone. It has an actual lever, instead of a touch pad or magnet. People are familiar with it and get excited to try it.

Enjoy the game, and feel free to send me any feedback. Yeah, like anybody is reading this.

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VR Meteors Out Now!

VR Meteors Out Now!

VR Meteors Title ScreenHey, want to play VR Meteors? Damn right you do! It’s available to download from the Oculus Share site now. Get it here:

VR Meteors On Oculus Share

This is the first releasable version, meaning that the game is basically playable and there aren’t broken things hanging around. Original audio by: Mike Jones Audio. Replacing the arcade sound effects was the main reason I hadn’t released this sooner. There are still a few things that need to be implemented, such as:

  • Online leaderboards (and saving high scores between sessions)
  • More robust and configurable input settings
  • Audio volume settings

Also, now that I’ve got the basics in place, it’s time to start working on making things look and sound better. I’ll be starting to add better art, since my art skills have improved a bit since I first made the existing models. I also have a better understanding of materials and shaders, so I will try to get a decent outline mode working. I’m also going to implement the Oculus audio spatializer for 3D audio positioning.

Regarding VR Meteors for Google Cardboard and Gear VR, I broke the Android rendering when I cleaned up some of my code and shaders. So, I will be working on Android-specific materials as well. I also want to add different control modes to support single-button play, and sitting/standing options for camera movement. I’ve played around with these various options already, so it’s a matter of choosing good defaults and adding options to the menus. Still plenty to do.

What’s Been Taking So Damn Long?

I submitted this build to Oculus a few weeks ago, and it just got approved. So, you may be wondering what I’ve been doing in the meantime. Well, I’ve been doing some more contract work for Pipeworks and ordering parts to build a new computer. Oh yeah, and spending some holiday time with friends and family.

After submitting VR Discs Of Golf for the Leap Motion 3D Jam, I had the opportunity to try it out on a modern PC. Wow! It became readily apparent that the issues I was having with the Leap Motion controller and Oculus Rift were due to my aging computer. Turns out that a Intel Core 2 Duo and Radeon 5700 from several years ago is just not going to cut it for VR.

I spent a bit of time trying, and failing, to get the latest Oculus drivers to work with my laptop. I figured that would be a stopgap solution, but it was not to be. When Oculus removed the extended mode rendering in runtime 0.7, it basically broke laptop VR for almost everybody. The new direct mode rendering requires support from the graphics drivers. The issue comes down to most laptops using an integrated Intel graphics chip that is directly wired to the screen and HDMI port, and not being able to bypass that pipeline to render to the VR headset. On a desktop computer, the HDMI ports are directly on the graphics card, so the drivers are able to support VR without having to interact with any integrated graphics chip that is in the way.

Welcome To 2015

With the laptop solution being ruled out, it became clear that it was time for a new computer. Fortunately, a friend of mine had gotten me a discount on a motherboard and CPU just before I was laid off in the spring, so I already had the important parts. With the power supply and memory getting here this week, I should be up and running very soon. I’ll still be using an older graphics card for now, and will wait to update that until I can get the consumer version of the rift. That way I’ll be able to get the best performance for the money.

With better understanding of the laptop situation, I may even return the behemoth I ended up getting for something that doesn’t weigh as much as a gallon of water. Since I can’t run VR on it, I’ll just be using it to work while traveling, and building to Android for testing.

As for my other projects, I still plan on getting some more tasks done by the end of the year:

Check back in a few weeks to see how I did.

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Bang The Chains!

Bang The Chains!

I’ve uploaded the final submission of VR Discs Of Golf to the Leap Motion 3D Jam. It’s probably not super applicable to you if you don’t have an Oculus Rift and Leap Motion controller, but I’ll be adding gamepad controls, Cardboard, and non-VR support after the 3D Jam so that everyone can play it.

Screenshot6

You can download it and vote for it here: VR Discs Of Golf submission page

Lessons Learned

It was a pretty fun project, and I learned quite a bit from it. Plus, I got to write some custom physics code for the discs. I’ll go ahead and dump whatever I can remember right now into this post for posterity.

“Free” Hardware

When I first heard about this 3D Jam just over a month ago, I was told that anybody who submitted a project would receive the Leap Motion controller for free. If I only consider the $80 cost, then I easily made less than 69¢ an hour. Of course, having a playable game is a much bigger payoff than the hardware.

I had decided to make a disc golf game while I was reading about the hardware, since I know a bunch of avid disc golfers and hadn’t really seen many disc golf games before. Unfortunately, after I received the controller I realized that the hand positions for disc golf are pretty much the worst they can be for motion tracking. So, the controls are a bit simplified for now.

Custom Physics Code

This was easily the highlight of the project. I haven’t written custom physics code in several years and it was great to get back to it. I read quite a few papers about disc physics and pulled together the parts that were sensible. Being the internet, there are a bunch of people who like to talk a lot about things that they don’t actually understand. Ultimately, I found myself taking much of my model from a few research papers, which I came across in various articles.

I prioritized the various aspects of the physics model and focused on the lift/drag model and gyroscopic precession first, since they have the most influence and were the easiest to test. Due to the time limit, I didn’t get to the more subtle aspects; spin decay, instability, magnus force, variable moment of pressure, etc. The game feels pretty good though, so I’m happy with what I got in for the 3D Jam.

Simplified Controls

The Leap Motion controller is a small box with 2 IR cameras in it that can track hand positions within a couple feet. When mounted on the front of the Oculus Rift, it can track your hands as you move them around in front of your face. Due to the angle that the cameras are facing, when you have your hands pointed away from you and closed it presents a very small image to process. Unfortunately, that’s the primary position for throwing a disc.

So, I’m still not entirely sure that the controller can’t detect disc throwing movements very well. I think that a major factor with the tracking issues I had is my old computer hitting its limits. I’m already researching new components to build a new machine soon.

In any case, since I needed the game to work on my machine, I simplified the controls to that you hold your hand(s) in positions that are very easy to identify for the controller. The controller seemed to do a very good job at recognizing when you open and close your hands, so I based most of the interface on opening and closing your hands to trigger actions, while using movement and rotation to fine tune the input.

I had a friend try it out earlier today and watched as he struggled to make it do what he wanted. Since I had to finish the game by midnight tonight, I was a little bummed. However, I tried a minor modification that turned out to work and the game is much better now. I basically separated the aiming and throwing phases of input which made each of them more robust. Phew!

Pre-release Means It’s Broken Somewhere

This no longer surprises me, but it still wastes my time. I never did update to the latest version of Oculus and Unity for the game, which I really wanted to do. The main reason is that I haven’t been able to get the latest version of the Oculus runtime working on my computer yet. I’m sure I’ll figure it out soon, but I didn’t want to waste time with it when the game worked with older versions. I doubt it would have made much of a difference, but I still don’t like feeling like there isn’t time to upgrade everything and take advantage of any bug fixes and optimizations.

VR Meteors Update

I’ve also done a little bit more work on VR Meteors this past month and am planning to upload the Oculus version to the share site soon. I’ve come across a few issues with the Android version that I’ll need to fix before I release a Cardboard build. I suspect that this will progress much faster now that the 3D Jam is done.

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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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