Virtual Reality Round Up Mid-May

So much going on in the world of Virtual Reality and Oculus Rift as usual!  So I added the new hardware buying page and am going to write about 2 things today:

A.  Articles/Posts/Videos that have interested me

B.  Game creation related stuff

A.  Articles/Posts/Videos that have interested me

 A1.  Tactile Feedback

3D Gun

The general interest in guns in the gaming world (follow link for example) and the extra momentary news value of 3D gun from Defense Distributed has led to me putting up a picture of a gun – yes, I thought this would grab your attention, but the point I would like to make is that with Virtual Reality you may not really see what you are holding, but you will be able to feel it and perhaps see a representation through your goggles   Dumb 3D printed objects we can touch in reality could magically come to life within the virtual world.  So, perhaps I could 3D print a cube with the tactile feel, stick on an augmented reality marker so that my webcam can track it and then when I pick up the cube in my virtual world, I pick it up the real world as well?  I want to keep this blog as non-commercial as possible, but the merchandising opportunities would be obvious.  See a Hellraiser cube whilst really holding a Rubiks Cube?

RubiksCube

A2.  Minecraft… I mean Minecrift…

Minecrift

Yes, happening as expected.  See this clip of somebody check it out the mod.  Download it here if you want to give it a go!

A3 Position Tracking

My ongoing interest with position tracking.  Everybody has heard about Leap Motion, but is Oculus going to do something with them?  Check out end of this video.  Did you know Microsoft had something called Digits??  Strap a couple of these on your wrist for fine grained tracking and then with an XBox Kinect for course grain tracking?

Not flogging a dead horse or anything, but for anybody else who was wondering whether or not you could use the magnetometer in the Oculus Rift in conjunction with a Razer Hydra base station for head position tracking – check out the Oculus VR forum.

Also on my TOTRY list is position tracking using augmented reality and markers… note to self… read more about ARToolKit!

A4 Motion Capture

I realize this is actually related to A3, but what the hell, I am into this whole tracking thing right now and want to get all the links I found in one place… check out this older, but still very cool tech from Yost Engineering:

If your pockets are not so deep then check out Brekel’s free MoCap software or Ipi Soft (yes… unfortunate name…).  I have not tried any of these yet, but on my TOTRY list for sure…

A5 Shipping Update

Palmer Luckey gave some indication of current developer kit shipping forecasts via Reddit.  Looks like mid June for me then… check out RoadToVR article for predicted shipping table.

A6 Half Life 2 Beta

Another note to self… TOTRY Half Life 2

B.  Game creation related items

  1. Decided on the type of game we wanted to create -> Something hugely immersive and something that will play to the strength of the Oculus Rift.
  2. Agreed on a premise – yes, there is a story 🙂
  3. Discussed the look/feel/emotions we want to bring to the audience of 1 (not considering multi right now)
  4. Assessed the size of task – broke down game into 3 major “Acts”

Not sure if I am doing this the “right way” as I have no experience in making a “proper game”.  Made something like Pac Man in Java once, but nothing more than that!  It looks like there are 2 major streams of work:

Artistry -> Write story/Concept Art/Mood Boards/Color Themes/Music/Audio

Technical -> Establish Technical Asset Pipeline/Test Pipeline/Asset Integration Activities

It’s becoming clear that the job of creating in game assets (3D, in particular) is going to be a huge task.  I have lowered my UDK cramming effort and began a parallel activity of 3D packages re-familiarization (I had a brief play about a year ago).  Here’s a basic pipeline test for 3D assets I tried out (the Kinect element made it more interesting and I want to get familiar with the related tools):

Useful link: Kinect Fusion (http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn188670.aspx)

I also finally managed to get some time to try out the Razer Hydra I bought ages ago.  I have a video for this too, but don’t have time to edit it today.  Will include in next post.

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