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  1. There are studios selling applications which is just copying any 3Dgraphic content and regenerating into another new window. especially for CAVE Virtual reality experience. so that the user opens REvite or CAD or any other 3D applications and opens a model. then when the user selects the rendered window the VR application copies the 3D model information from the OpenGL window. I got the clue that the VR application replaces the windows opengl32.dll file. how this is possible ... how can we copy the 3d content from the current OpenGL window. anyone, please help me .. how to go further... to create an application like VR CAVE. Thanks
  2. Still just a few years ago, you could not play a video game with your apparent body movements from a distance. It just happened in the span of last few years, and now you can fight with your game avatar just with real body movements. You have entered the era of virtual reality. More than any other industry VR came as a harbinger of change to the gaming industry. In the recent past, we have seen the launch of an array of VR devices and gadgets including VR headsets, VR game playing shoe, etc. Is this the ultimate promise we can expect from VR in games? No, rather it is just the beginning of VR which soon going to leave behind these stand-alone devices and hardware to become more compatible and affordable. As a game development company, you must know how virtual reality is changing gaming. More VR gadgets at more affordable price When talking about the imminent change that virtual reality games are supposed to bring to the gaming world, we must take into account the huge competition among the VR device brands and the sloping price as well as increasing affordability of these devices. Yes, VR devices represented for too long an expensive game niche that could have only been afforded by rich gamers. But with more brands hitting the VR game scene, the price continued to drop making it affordable for more people. But still, they are not mass products within easily affordable reach of everyone but is slowly tending to be so. Until a few years back you could have told all the major names in the market of VR gadgets and headsets that include pioneers such as Oculus Rift, Sony PlayStation, and HTC Vive. Now you have more than a dozen players who have unleashed their sophisticated VR gadgets or just preparing to do so. This gave rise to fierce competition in terms of feature offerings as well as price. While virtual reality is defined by its ability to take you to an entirely different world, augmented reality (now more commonly referred to as “mixed” reality) augments the one in which you’re living. With Microsoft’s Hololens, a self-contained computer rather than one powered by a separate device, you can watch an actual wall deform in real time and begin to spew out spiders. And as you walk around, that hole in the wall stays locked in. It is, as far as your brain is concerned, there. After Microsoft ambitious Hololens the VR scene is eagerly awaiting another major launch and it's nothing but Google Daydream which is expected to arrive with a single handed controller. Most importantly, some of the newest mobile phones have arrived with VR capability built in. Axon 7 and Moto Z are good examples of mobile handsets with built-in VR support. Deeper into the simulated reality Virtual reality gaming was conceived to allow us playing games in a simulated atmosphere or to allow us to play a digital game with real life interaction and environment. A game environment transporting the gamer to a life-like virtual reality was the quintessential aspect of VR games. It was limited to the most popular game niches involving strategy and actions. But with the VR games getting popular other game niches where game environment plays a vital role are going to be transported to virtual reality. Google Daydream is expectedly going to make online VR casino games possible. With this trend settling in later on we can see other arena games and e-sports also coming with their VR versions reaping the advantage of the technology to drive more engagement. VR will continue to dig deeper into simulated reality to transport many games with a life-like environment. Social and collaborative gaming is going to take over Social gaming is already a robust and most popular trend in the recent times. Now with VR games becoming an everyday phenomenon for gamers, it is bound to hit the social space as well. Already most of the top game titles allow players to collaborate with their friends and other players online. Now, VR games allowing the same collaborative playing will only help VR reach more players. With the huge promise and possibility of collaborative virtual reality games, a whole new breed of games can soon sweep the web. With VR devices and headsets continuing to be more affordable for people, we can see a huge upsurge in the type of games in which collaboration and social interaction play a vital role. Time for interactive gaming Finally, virtual reality in the gaming world is no longer going to be kept aside as a niche and special gaming technology. Instead of being a niche gaming technology for few it is going to string together many established and upcoming gaming trends. Other technologies that also stretches the sense of reality and helps to broaden interaction of games with the surrounding reality are going to be a part of this offering. This means we can expect some devices and games to come equipped with both VR and AR capabilities. This new approach widely being dubbed as mixed reality will push the horizon of VR and AR games further. They are not going to be two separate technologies anymore, but going to help gaming interactions even more by allowing a mix of virtual and augmented reality environment. In future, you may not need a headset anymore to play a VR game. A game playing screen can be created anywhere while you play the game with your gestures instead of touch. You can play a game right on your coffee table and play it single-handedly with gestures while still sipping your coffee. With VR and AR together offering a mixed game reality, that day is not far away. To conclude, So, the gaming world is really going to experience a revolution with so many things happening and a lot more waiting with virtual reality. The virtual reality which until now has mainly been limited to sophisticated and high-funda headsets will soon become an everywhere gaming reality blurring the division between reality and game environment further.
  3. Stuart Whyte, director of VR product development for Sony London Studios will deliver this year’s keynote for Develop:VR. Whyte, who has close to 30 years’ experience in the video games industry, starting life as an adventure columnist for Amstrad Action magazine, will open Develop:VR with his keynote entitled, ‘Taking VR to the Next Level – A Case Study in AAA Games Development’. In his keynote, Whyte will discuss the current state of the VR industry, the challenges and opportunities of AAA VR development and suggest potential solutions to maximise success for any sized studio. As well as the keynote, Tandem Events also announced the following sessions, with more to be revealed: Improve your brain – the real value of VR/AR gaming Faviana Vangelius, SVRVIVE Pioneers in the Sesert – The Reality of Developing for Virtual Reality Andrew Willans, CCP Games Love your Limitations: Defining Art for Mobile VR Anna Hollinrake, Climax Studios Collaborating with Brands to Create Magical VR Brynley Gibson, Kuju Serious VR, Making Real Money Tanya Laird, Digital Jam Drop Deadline – Delivering a Visually-Excellent, 60fps, Narrative Mobile Shooter to a Fixed Deadline with a Small Team James Horn, Pixel Toys Getting Up Close and Virtual with the Automotive Industry: Using VR for the Right Reasons James Watson, Imagination Haptics and VR – Touching Virtual Worlds Anders Hakfelt, Ultrahaptics Develop:VR is a one day conference and expo focusing on the commercial opportunities that Virtual and Augmented Reality present for today’s game developers and highlighting the tools and techniques needed to produce top selling VR and AR content. Develop:VR takes place on 9 November at Olympia London and delegate passes can be bought at a Super Early Bird rate, a saving of £100, until 20 September at www.developvr.co.uk.
  4. Stuart Whyte, director of VR product development for Sony London Studios will deliver this year’s keynote for Develop:VR. Whyte, who has close to 30 years’ experience in the video games industry, starting life as an adventure columnist for Amstrad Action magazine, will open Develop:VR with his keynote entitled, ‘Taking VR to the Next Level – A Case Study in AAA Games Development’. In his keynote, Whyte will discuss the current state of the VR industry, the challenges and opportunities of AAA VR development and suggest potential solutions to maximise success for any sized studio. As well as the keynote, Tandem Events also announced the following sessions, with more to be revealed: Improve your brain – the real value of VR/AR gaming Faviana Vangelius, SVRVIVE Pioneers in the Sesert – The Reality of Developing for Virtual Reality Andrew Willans, CCP Games Love your Limitations: Defining Art for Mobile VR Anna Hollinrake, Climax Studios Collaborating with Brands to Create Magical VR Brynley Gibson, Kuju Serious VR, Making Real Money Tanya Laird, Digital Jam Drop Deadline – Delivering a Visually-Excellent, 60fps, Narrative Mobile Shooter to a Fixed Deadline with a Small Team James Horn, Pixel Toys Getting Up Close and Virtual with the Automotive Industry: Using VR for the Right Reasons James Watson, Imagination Haptics and VR – Touching Virtual Worlds Anders Hakfelt, Ultrahaptics Develop:VR is a one day conference and expo focusing on the commercial opportunities that Virtual and Augmented Reality present for today’s game developers and highlighting the tools and techniques needed to produce top selling VR and AR content. Develop:VR takes place on 9 November at Olympia London and delegate passes can be bought at a Super Early Bird rate, a saving of £100, until 20 September at www.developvr.co.uk. View full story
  5. VR/AR world building toolset

    Hi, I am an new aspiring indie developer and just wanted to share my project with other developers for feedback and discussion. I am about a year into my business and am pretty happy with where it is and where its going. I started out with the goal of making a "multiplayer sandbox tabletop wargame that supported cross platform play between VR, AR and other future devices". I now understand what "Scope" is. As a solo dev with 3 kids and a full time job.... that isn't going to happen anytime soon. So I decided to strip that goal into parts and work on them one at a time. My first piece was to build tools for creating the tabletop terrain in VR, using motion controls. While working on this, I found it was quite fun to build miniature dioramas instead of just terrain using these tools. So I released the toolset as a "Diorama Worlds", a VR diorama building program http://store.steampowered.com/app/602630/ The concept of diorama levels works great with the VR->AR compatibility. The building can really only be done in VR with motion controls currently, but for using those scenes as levels or viewing them, they will fit perfectly into the AR platform. The only difference will be the background skybox in VR, and the real world background in AR. It was around this time that I changed my goal to working on a Diablo style game. 3rd person games are not the big hot topic in VR currently, but they do look great and I think it will be a huge thing in AR. With the new goal and still understanding scope, diablo will be pretty far off. So the next part I am going to work on is "Telling a story". This is when I came up with the "M.R. Comics" plan. With the diorama worlds acting as backgrounds and adding in a stop motion style character posing system and chat bubbles, I can tell a story as a standalone product, and also use these as cutscenes for my future games. This is a very small addition to the toolset to get it working. But at this point I also want the comics created with my toolset to work on mobile and AR devices. This project is unlikely to be profitable since I won't be spending time building comics, but instead working towards the next stage of my project. So I am going to design this around having other people build the content, and if nobody is interested, it just won't get released as a standalone product. Im still ironing out the details on how I am going to do this, but the current direction is to release short comic strips for free and allow the artist to put a billboard in the background to self promote themselves. And for larger stories I am thinking a commission based employment of sorts. - Levi - www.MR-Worlds.com - https://www.youtube.com/user/BaazSC2 Below is my most recent gameplay video for Diorama Worlds.
  6. So i'm using the html5 deviceorientation API to get device euler rotation values alpha, beta, gamma, and I want to use the gamma value to rotate a webgl scene on my phone. The scene rotates fine when I move the value within that range. However, once I go beyond -90 for example (happens when I point my phone upward), the next gamma value I get is 89. This has the effect on making the scene suddenly flipping and looking down instead of 1 more degree upwards. Question is. Is there a way to normalize the value such that the jump from -90 to 89 is treated as looking 1 more degree upwards ?
  7. Hello All, We at Snaketakes Studios Inc. are eager to start sharing more about our project "End of the Beginning" which is slated for PC, Xbox One & Scorpio, PS4 & PS4 Pro. We're aiming for an early 2018 release right now and want to start getting the word out. End of the Beginning is a unique sci-fi shooter with bold visuals and hardcore game play including 1st / 3rd Person shooter, flight action, space combat, and more... FIRST EVER: End of the Beginning's creators have been working with some of the top ufologists on the planet to gain access to formerly classified documents about aliens via FOIA Freedom of Information Act requests. Some of which clearly show that our governments have lied to the public about the reality and potential threat of real aliens. End of the Beginning will give players access to these documents as the players progress through the game!!! Please visit us online; www.snaketakes.com or www.eotbgame.com Check out our latest videos on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD-f9A_AyRj5n6JunXV9_Cw?view_as=subscriber We are always looking for new recruits as well so please feel free to message us. Team Snaketakes. EOTBX_Cine_A.wmv
  8. Hi everone - I need some help. What kind of qualification do I have to include into a JD in the following scenario: So far we are developing WBTs for our LMS and have 8 own authors (content). We produce training modules for our corporate network with a strong emphasis on product or product near trainings. This means for the content: the more graphical the better. For computer artwork we mainly use freelancers until today. We are now severly expamning and also I am looking into start experimenting with VR. We already purchased two HTC Vive sets and are quite happy with the systems. The next step now is to start producing graphical content which we can potentially use in BOTH environments in the future. In my understanding so far this means we have to go 3D artwork and create 3D models of any product etc. that we are using on display. This should then be usable on both environments in perspective if I get it right (sorry - I am a project manager, not an IT guy). Which are the skills I should/have to put into a JD when I start looking for employees that are capable of creating such 3D objects? I need at least 2 people to start with. Same direction is my next problem. Now I think about using Lumberyard to start creating virtual rooms to go through (potentially build a virtual training center where you can walk thorugh - similar to "the Lab" when you start HTV Vive. In perspective I also might want to start creating "mini-games" with learning background for our group for this VR environment. Also here I think about hiring at least two people to start working on this idea. What would the JD requirements be for that? People that are capable of creating these environents to move around in and also with regard to start producing "mini-games" in there. It would be extremely helpful to get some input from your (experienced) side and I am MORE than happy for any helpful comment or hint. Thank you in advance guys!!! PS: since some people asked - we are a german group but my team is located in India. We are now moving to Pune in November and this is where the project will start...
  9. Seeking talent to polish sandbox game [GREENLIT] [UNPAID] [HOBBY] Website | Music | Art | Chat | Contact | Twitter | Youtube | IndieDB | Reference Imagery SCREENSHOTS What is it? Nanoforge , codenamed Facade, is a first-person, sci-fi sandbox-adventure game, built in Unity (C#). What have we accomplished? What do we offer? What do we need? C# Programmers C# experience required Prior experience with Unity a plus Communication skills Lighting Artists Level Designers Anyone who fits Note: Other programmers, LEVEL DESIGNERS, and writers are also invited to apply! JOIN NOW
  10. In case you missed it on the front page, we recently published an extensive interview with indie VR dev Eric Nevala (our very own @slayemin) where he shares some of his story, some design and VR development tips, general advice and more. Check it out:
  11. Wobbly Duck Studios founder Eric Nevala (@slayemin is his profile here on GameDev.net) has been documenting the development and Steam release of Spellbound through his devblog here on GameDev.net at slayemin's Journal. We caught up with Eric to discuss his background, challenges as an indie developer in the emerging Virtual Reality market, and thoughts on the future of VR. Read on for the interview, loaded with interesting design thoughts, tips, and more. Who are you? My name is Eric Nevala. My account on GameDev.net is @slayemin. I've been programming for 17 years now, which is hard for me to believe. In the fall of 2000, I went to community college to take more programming courses and eventually get a CS degree. I was also running a small side business building webpages for companies, so I taught myself HTML, PHP, MySQL, etc. About six months into college, I joined the US Marines as a reservist and entered into bootcamp in June 2001. I graduated bootcamp on Sept 21st, 2001, exactly ten days after 9/11/2001. Our country declared war on Afghanistan right as I was getting out. In 2003, America declared war on Iraq as well. The question of whether I'd go to war or not became a question of "when?". I decided that if I'm going to go to war, I'd do it under my own conditions, so I volunteered to join the 3rd Civil Affairs group and be their webmaster in Fallujah, Iraq. I used my programming and website background to build a web based application which managed a little over a billion dollars in reconstruction projects in Al Anbar province. I felt pressured to work hard and fast because I sincerely believed that every wasted day was another day without peace and more people die the longer I take. It took me 3 months of working 7 days a week, roughly 16 hours a day. I got it done. It was 20,000 lines of code. At the time, that was a lifetime accomplishment. It was my first time working as a "professional" developer, and the software development experience put into perspective the lessons I had learned in classes. For the next few years, I bounced between going to war and returning to the classroom. I kept on forgetting my pre-calculus and calculus maths, so I had to keep retaking those classes. It took me eight years to get a four year degree. After I got my degree in computer science, I became a contractor working for the US Military. I went to Afghanistan as a Sr. Software Developer working out of the Army headquarters in Bagram. I spent 18 months there and saved all of the money I had made. What is your background in game development? After my tour ended, I decided it was finally time to change focus and make games. Finally! I had spent years going to school, getting experience, and trying and failing to make games on my own. I really loved XNA at the time, so I decided I would make a game which combined Magic: the Gathering with Total War. I already knew the scope was ambitious, so I had to take it in small chunks. XNA is just a thin abstraction layer on top of DirectX9, so there wasn't much in terms of a useful library. I got carried away and ended up creating my own game engine from scratch. This was a mistake and I knew it, but I was having fun. I spent the next year working on my game engine, until I realized that my engine was too shoddy to be used to ship a commercial product. It was severely lacking in capabilities, so if I wanted to add a new capability such as rendering text in 3D space, I'd have to write my own text rendering engine. That would take weeks, compared to spending two minutes just reading up the documentation within an existing engine. Thus, it was decided: I would use a third party game engine. I decided to port my magic game from XNA to Unreal Engine 4, and I made some pretty rapid progress. I really loved Unreal Engine 4 because the source code to the engine was available for me to read and modify as I saw fit, so if there was any questions on what was happening underneath the hood, I could just step through the source code line by line and see for myself. Writing my own engine turned out to be enormously helpful in being comfortable and understanding the low level code within Unreal Engine. What project(s) have you been working on? So, the magic game project was going well for a year, and then I started hearing about Virtual Reality. There was this little company called Oculus which had been working on a really rough prototype of a VR head mounted display. I initially disregarded it because it seemed like a tinkerers project rather than anything commercially viable. And then, Facebook bought out Oculus for $2 billion. That got my attention. Nobody spends $2 billion on a tinkerers project and lets it die, they are going to make sure that their investment succeeds. I immediately bought the Oculus DK2 (developer kit 2) and a Leap Motion device. This eventually turned into my first commercially released game, Spellbound. How did you become interested in game development? I became interested in game development about 20 years ago. I was playing Commander Keen 1, and one summer afternoon it dawned on me that someone had actually made this game and designed this cute little green alien. Someone had taken the time to design this game and all of the fun things I loved about it. I wondered if I could eventually create a game as well. What would it take? Whatever it took, I would try. If I have to take the same math class over and over again until I get it, I will. If I have to go to war and get shot at, I will. If I have to work long, hard hours and sacrifice everything, I will. I gradually discovered that I would have to become a programmer to be able to create games, so that became my life mission. I spent my high school years taking as many programming classes as I could so that I could learn how to make games, and between classes and over summer vacation, I had my own side projects to make games. Honestly, nothing makes me happier than drinking coffee, turning up the music, and working hard on a good coding problem which comes attached with a higher purpose. What resources have you used to learn, connect, and become a better developer? I started learning game development in the mid 1990's and started visiting GameDev.net when I was in high school. Being in the presence of professionals helped mature my thinking. Most of my learning has come from working on my own programming projects and trying to figure out how to solve my problems. In terms of connecting with other developers, I usually go to a few meetups here in Seattle and have become friends with other indie developers, and we have each given lectures and workshops to each other on gamedev best practices. I think one of the best ways I have gradually gotten better as a developer is to periodically take a half hour and critically think about what I did and how I could have done things better. Constructive critical self reflection is necessary to personal growth. What tools do you use in development? Software Visual Studio 2015 community edition Notepad++ Unreal Engine 4 Adobe Photoshop Wings3D Maya 2015 Hardware Oculus Rift + Oculus Touch HTC Vive Leap Motion Other A small dry erase white board A notebook and pen for scribbling What was your inspiration for Spellbound? I had originally been working on a "Total War + Magic the Gathering" game for traditional PC gaming. It was going to be a bunch of epic magic battles between mages, competing for control over the world. I had the game designed and the prototype worked great, and the game was interesting. Then, Oculus got bought out by Facebook. I went to a meetup and tried out VR for the first time, and it was a really short demo of Technolust, where you basically stand in a space ship room and a future punk character sits in a chair, following you with her head. I thought to myself, "This demo is terrible but this VR stuff is amazing -- I bet I could do way better." I took that bet. A week later, I ordered an Oculus Rift DK2 and a Leap Motion for $500. I had read about someone who spent a weekend creating a project where he used the leap motion and VR to throw fireballs at crates and barrels. I couldn't find it online, so I said, "Hey, if this guy can make this in a weekend, then so can I!" So, I did. And then what happened? One of the problems with this game design is that throwing fireballs at crates and barrels is inherently boring. I needed something more exciting, something that progressively punished you for missing. What is scary, moves slowly, and becomes an increasing threat as it gets closer to you? The only answer I could come up with was "Zombies". So, within a weekend, I had taken some of the assets from my other magic game and made a game where you used your hands to throw fireballs at zombies. It was kind of cool. A really solid, first prototype for a VR game. The following Monday, I showed my artist the game and he said that he wished I would have included him on the project because it was fun and cool. I said that it wasn't too late. We could spend the next two weeks polishing it up and then releasing it online for free in order to collect feedback and learn from customers. I reasoned that if it took me a weekend to build, then two weeks of hard work should be more than sufficient, right? Wrong. Polish is hard, especially if you want to do it right. Polishing a prototype means you really have to redo everything. Two weeks turned into two months. Two months turned into six months. Six months turned into two years. But it always felt like the end was just around the corner. I had some tough narrative design problems to resolve: Who is the red wizard? Why are there zombies trying to eat the red wizard? What happened? Where did the zombies come from? What happens to the red wizard after he kills all of the zombies? What happens if the zombies get the wizard? Are there other types of wizards? What about other types of monsters? Are there other types of spells? What are they, and how do they work? Were your problems limited to design? Were there technical challenges? On the technical side, we had some problems with Leap Motion hand tracking and artificial locomotion as well. When people throw stuff, they bring their hands back behind their head and that causes a loss of hand tracking. A little while later, Valve announced the HTC Vive. Only the exclusive club of VR developers could work with one, and sadly, I wasn't in that club. So, I had to sit and wait for 9 months. Finally in December 2014, Valve was kind enough to send me a Vive Pre, so I switched my game from a seated VR experience to a room scale experience. That compounded all of my VR design problems. Suddenly, the player could walk around in the room and the wizard character would match their movements. What happens if the player walks through a solid object in game? What happens if the player walks through the wall at the top of the wizards tower? The wizard clips through the geometry and falls, and the falling causes motion sickness. Obviously, this is very bad and had to be solved. The other major design problem was artificial locomotion. A player may have a 2.5mx2.5m play area, but the game world may be kilometers in size. How does the player move from one end of the level to the other without leaving their physical play area? I also had a game where the threat of being surrounded by zombies needed to be a very real threat, so the common industry standard of teleporting out of danger was a lazy, terrible, immersion breaking solution. I just couldn't do it and needed something better. But what would work? I was walking to work, thinking hard about the locomotion problem, and then I realized that my arms move side to side when I walk. What if, I could use something like this as the means for locomotion within VR? It would feel natural and wouldn't break immersion. A month later, I had invented my own unique locomotion system and then went public with it (to avoid letting patent trolls take it). I called it "walk-a-motion", but later, people called it "arm swing" locomotion. What can you say about Spellbound's story? Spellbound borrows a bit from the previous magic game I had been working on. I was a huge fan of M:tG, so I decided to roughly theme my magic systems off of it. I was also a fan of Magicka, Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, Skyrim, and a few other games with magic, so I borrowed some ideas and themes from them. I was also a fan of the Harry Potter universe, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and many Disney stories. What common thread makes those stories work? Why are they so compelling? My hunch is that the stories in each universe hint at greater, amazing secrets, just begging to be discovered by the protagonist, and if only the audience waits just a little more, the protagonist might find this amazing thing, whatever it is, and it'll be amazing. The essential ingredient shared between all of these great stories is narrative curiosity. So, the goal with creating the narrative for Spellbound is to evoke those same feelings of awe and mystery, and create that sense of narrative curiosity, sprinkled with danger and reward. At the same time, I don't want to just entertain players, I want to educate them and make them into better human beings, so the stories will all contain moral components which let people explore moral choices safely and learn about consequences and how they affect other people. Lastly, I aim for heart warming tales of passion. If at the end of Spellbound you didn't feel a single emotion, either I failed to do my job or you're dead. In terms of narrative structure and story telling, I felt that the only way I could get away with an immersive VR story is to have a meta layer. I was heavily inspired by "The Princess Bride" and the narrative mechanic they used for introducing the story. I decided I would go roughly the same route. So, the audience starts off in a dusty library in some castle with a bunch of books on a shelf. They pick a book, and the book magically floats down and opens, and the narrator starts reading the story. This is sort of like an establishing shot in film, where we introduce the narrator, the character, the setting, and most importantly, the context for the experience. You enter into the story universe, and find yourself controlling the protagonist. Now, you are directing the story. Since the narrator was introduced earlier, it doesn't seem weird to hear his voice telling the story as you go along. The player can still get eaten by zombies or die in some gruesome way, so when that happens, we have to restore from a checkpoint. But for that to make narrative sense, the narrator says, "And the wizard was devoured by zombies! ... But that's not what really happened ... let's turn back a few pages!", so we maintain narrative continuity and immersion by briefly returning to a meta layer without interrupting the VR experience of immersion. This is the format I'm going to use for all of the VR stories I use, and later on when I introduce multiplayer elements to the game, the multiplayer match making will happen within the castle auditorium outside of the library. As an indie in VR, what business challenges have you faced with Spellbound? Spellbound has had TONS of challenges, both on the business side and on the technical side. The biggest business challenge is the lack of funding. I spent all of my personal savings to develop the game, ran out of money, had to lay off my artist, and somehow continue production and find a way to pay bills without any income. I tried pitching to investors, and failed miserably. When you stop and think about it, it makes no sense to an investor: I'm an independent developer. I have no team. I have no experience shipping games. It's a game, which generally has a high rate of failure. Not only that, but it's also a virtual reality game. Most investors don't even know what virtual reality is. I barely know how to pitch or how to play the investment game. So, there is no investor money. Kickstarter is also a waste of time, especially in 2017. You have to spend 3 months preparing your copy, creating media and art, coming up with backer rewards, etc. Then during the campaign, you spend a month of full time work just running the campaign, trying to get press and media attention, spamming social media, answering backer questions, etc. Kickstarter is also an all-or-nothing campaign, so if you're a dollar short, you get nothing and you wasted four months. If you're cursed with success, then you are now committed to weekly or monthly updates to your backers, and you have to fulfill backer rewards, which eat into the raised funds. On top of that, the expectations from the gaming community on what it costs to actually produce a game are wildly off from reality. If you think it costs $60,000 to produce a video game, you should consider multiplying that number by ten or a hundred. I released Spellbound on Steam in Early Access exactly a year ago. I didn't do any marketing (couldn't afford it), so the only customers I have, happened to just stumble on it. It's an early access title, so it's certainly incomplete, but I tried polishing the existing game play as much as possible so that people would get a clear idea on what to expect with the rest of the game play. As a result of these conditions, sales were terrible but reviews and feedback was highly favorable. Just to set the expectation here, in 2017 almost nobody in the VR industry can sustainably live off of sales revenue alone. I expect sales to be weak for the next three years, so in order for me (and anyone else) to continue working and throwing money at the VR industry, we need to have faith and believe in a brighter future. I couldn't do what I'm doing right now without the financial and moral support of my girlfriend and our side businesses. We were both renting out our apartments on AirBnB, often having to sleep at a friends house, and also watching dogs from Rover. We once had something like 25 dogs in our apartment during a major holiday. We gradually increased the number of accommodations we rented out on AirBnB, upgraded to a 60 acre farm next to a river that floods, and then upgraded to a 240 acre ranch near a national park. That means we're also in the tourism and hospitality business, so our revenues from that business is very feast and famine, depending on the time of year. I have only had to worry about paying for office rent and buying lunch, so the revenue from game sales has barely been enough to pay for that. In the most recent months, I've been doing contract and freelance work, creating VR products for various small and large companies. This means that game development mostly gets put on hold until I wrap up those projects. In the long term, my goal is to get Spellbound to become a financially self sustaining project. I want to bring more content to the game, bring my vision to life, and distribute it on as many distribution platforms as possible and support lots of hardware platforms to create the next level of immersive VR gaming. Eventually, the hope is that the game content is compelling enough that it sells itself and that it is widely discoverable, so the amount of money spent on marketing is lowered. Ultimately, the current lack of funding and sales severely slows down the pace of game development since I can't hire helpers or commit full time to the development of the game. I think that the funding problem is a temporary problem however, and given enough time and effort on my part, it will take care of itself. I hope that my sales will at least grow proportionately with the growth of the VR industry and that I'll still be around five years from now, still creating VR content. I am convinced that virtual reality will become the predominate media format for entertainment in 2020-2030, and I want to be a part of making it happen. Any technical challenges with Spellbound? On the technical and design side, Spellbound has also been really hard. I'm an overly principled designer with a vision for how things should be, and I have a strong vision on what VR is meant to look and feel like. Out of most of the VR content out there, I am relatively unimpressed by most of it because I feel most VR developers don't accurately understand or capture the essence of virtual reality and how it's different from traditional media. Broadly speaking, VR enables you to be someone else, somewhere else, and do completely different things. It is meant to capture every way we sense reality and override it with new sensory inputs in order to create a new reality. VR is not the hardware, it is not the content, it is an experience of being someone else (think of the movie Being John Malkovich). When I initially started working on Spellbound, I believed that we absolutely needed to bring our hands with us into VR. It's our most familiar way of interacting with our surrounding environments, and if we fail to bring that into VR, then it greatly weakens the overall VR experience. So, I bought the Leap Motion to bring in hand interactions. That presented its own technical challenges. Then, I added roomscale support for the HTC Vive. This created a lot of new design problems. How do you prevent players from walking through solid objects? How do you let players walk around their room and let them keep going once they get to the edge of their room? How do you account for differences in player height? How do you prevent players from getting motion sick? How do you figure out what direction the players body is facing, based off of three data points? How do you figure out where the elbows should be positioned? How do you train players on how to play your game without directly giving instructions? How do you design a user interface without a single graphical user interface widget? How do you make that UI intuitive and non-immersion breaking? How do you design your game and levels so that you constantly hit 90 frames per second throughout your entire game play experience? How do you tell a story in VR? How does VR change the nature of story telling? How do you involve the player as the center of the story being told? Keep in mind, VR is an entirely new industry and there are no answers, so you can't just google your questions to get answers -- you have to invent the answers yourself and then google will eventually tell other people whatever you came up with. To do this well, you need both the mind of an engineer and a creative mindset... and a lot of perseverance and patience for mistakes. Overall, I think the whole process of creating a VR game in a tough business climate is like trying to navigate through a maze blindfolded. I'm still in that maze, discovering dead ends and new paths. What marketing strategies have you tried for Spellbound? I have had booths at various local VR conventions and given people demos at local meetups. In terms of social media, I created a few Facebook posts, created a reddit post, and did a reddit AMA. Overall, all of my marketing efforts have been utterly ineffective. I have a Google Analytics page tied to my Steam Store page and I can track the number of daily viewers. I have established a baseline of approximately 100 visitors a day, and after any promotional activity, I look at whether my visitor count moved the needle from the baseline. If the needle doesn't move, the promotional effort was ineffective. I have believed that creating great content would help and hoped it would be good enough that people would talk about the game without my prodding, but I suspect that my early access game just isn't there yet. It's good, but not great. I've also had an assumption that if I push out content updates, sales would increase. That turned out to be a wrong assumption as well. The reality is that people only discover Spellbound in the list of available VR games on Steam. The last I checked, it was on page 6, so a customer would have to wade through quite a few higher ranked titles before they found Spellbound. The only customers who would be interested in the game would already have an existing VR headset, so already my total addressable market is quite small. As time goes on and sales dwindle and newer releases hit Steam, Spellbound gets pushed further and further down the list, making it increasingly more difficult for people to discover and purchase the game. This turns into a vicious cycle. My only chance is to make Spellbound more discoverable across multiple store channels. If I'm on page six across three major channels, that's three times better. The other strategy is to create the best content I can, tell a great story, inspire the imagination of the player, and make the content something which hardware vendors want to support. There are lots of cool VR hardware companies out there who have neat hardware, but there is very little content for that hardware. If people purchase the hardware, the next thing they'll want to do is purchase content which is compatible with that hardware. If my game is one of the few games available and it's awesome content, then it will do awesome in a very niche market. Gradually, as the markets grow and mature, I'll hopefully be able to survive. That's the long term plan. What does the future hold for Spellbound? Currently, you can only play the "prelude" version of the game. I have designed the content to be broken up into a series of books. Each book will be about an hours worth of content, and each series of books will be centered around a particular wizard and theme. The themes are roughly inspired by Magic: the Gathering, though I'm modifying them significantly. The red wizard is an elemental wizard who can control fire, earth, wind, water, and arcane elements. He accidentally triggers a demonic invasion, so he has to save the world from what he unleashed. The white wizard series (Sorceress of Light) will be a pacifist who seeks to create peace through dialogue and uses magic to heal animals and bring happiness, possibly with romance. The theme for this series will be a radical departure from blowing up zombies and general aggressive game play, making the game more appealing to a wider audience and also exploring other areas for storytelling in VR. The black wizard will be a story about a male character who faces the tragic loss of his wife and spends years looking for a way to bring her back, and he discovers necromancy. The intent here is to show that "evil" is a gradual descent rather than a sudden switch of nature, and the path towards evil can always be rationalized away. The story gets dark, but the goal is to show that human nature itself is dark and necromancy is a correlation rather than a causation of evil. The green wizard will be a story about elves who practice nature magic and have lots of hedonistic parties in the forests because they're somewhat immortal, but I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about their game play or narrative yet, other than that it is focused on ecological preservation. The last story of wizardry will center on the blue wizards, who are masters of deception, illusion magic, and mentalists. The blue wizards, being masters of illusion, have formed a sort of secret religious cult and recognize that their world is a virtual reality, so the cultists are trying their best to escape from the virtual reality and into our reality. They have discovered that on occasion, some of them become "possessed" by another being, marked by a period of blacking out and appearing in a totally different part of the land, hours or days later. This story is sort of a matrix mindf#%k story, where the player is left wondering about the nature of our reality and how they can trust their senses. I borrow a lot of inspiration from Rene Decartes and metaphysical philosophy and hope to introduce some of the critical thinking strategies to players. Any plans for multiplayer wizard battles? I'd eventually like to support multiplayer as well. I'd like to let players join each other in a lobby and go on a cooperative quest together and get rewards, and I'd like to have a wizard training battleground, where players can choose between various wizards and have combat against each other. I have no idea how that will look yet, but it's so far down the pipeline, that it's not worth expending effort on it until I have more content and a bigger player base. The VR market is tough with recent announcements that some entrants are backing out or at least slowing down their investment. As an early VR developer, what do you see happening in the VR market in the next year? Yeah, I knew the VR market would be tough. I believe the indie gaming market is even tougher. Have you seen how many games were released on Steam last year? How can an indie stand out amongst that deluge of releases and be financially self sustaining and make a reasonable living? I don't think it's possible. I think VR is the only chance for a new indie in 2017 -- it's easier to be a big fish in a little pond than it is to be a little fish in an ocean filled with big fish. I chose VR as a necessity for survival in the current environment. Where is the VR market now, and where is it going to go? My sense is that we're very early into this new form of media. VR is currently owned by enthusiastic early adopters and the general mass market is slowly getting consumer awareness of VR and what it is. As a historic comparison, it's 1950 and the neighbor just down the street got a small black and white television set, and if you jiggle the antenna a bit, you can get a picture. Everyone in the neighborhood is stopping by to take a look at it and seeing the earliest forms of television programming. Nobody has any idea on what television will become in the next few decades, or how the programming will change, and how the media format will change consumerism. This is roughly the stage where VR is at right now. Us content creators are barely starting to understand how to take advantage of this new medium and the unique story telling opportunities it creates -- we're taking what we know about traditional gaming and trying to apply them to VR -- similar to taking a popular radio program and running it on television. Being a radio heavyweight doesn't automatically mean you're an expert at television production, and the same applies to traditional gaming and VR development. A lot of the AAA game studios are watching the VR market carefully and slowly starting to dip their toes into the water with smaller projects. We have to realize that the AAA companies are going to be very focused on the financial viability of whatever IP they create, so if they are going to sink $75 million to produce an original IP for VR, they are going to want to be sure that they're going to see a return on their investment. With the current size of the VR market right now, it's just not financially feasible for AAA companies to create a major IP for VR. That's not going to be forever though: It's a tricky matter of timing. If you consider that the average title for traditional gaming takes between 3-5 years to produce, if a AAA company starts production on a VR title today, the business landscape could be very different 3-5 years from now. So, for the AAA gaming companies, it's going to be a matter of timing the market such that the release of their AAA VR content coincides with a market which has grown to the point where the company could see a reasonable return on investment. I think the smart move for AAA companies right now is to let the indie VR developers spend their money and sweat to innovate the tech and create the best practices, acquire the successful VR companies so that they can have the engineering talent in-house, and use that as a launching point for smaller and mid sized IP brands. For us indies, this leaves a narrow window of opportunity to produce our games, get proficient with the technology, and try to define the industry before we are overwhelmed by an overabundance of AAA VR content, leaving us on page 60 instead of page 6. What do you think will happen with VR in the next 5 years? There will be a lot of news in the next 2-5 years about VR companies going out of business. It's already happening. The reason these companies will go out of business is because they took on early venture capital funding, scaled up their headcount and increased their overhead costs, and couldn't get enough revenue to sustain their operating expenses. It doesn't matter what kind of product they create or how popular it is, because the companies are outpacing the growth of the VR market and it's financially unsustainable, and eventually, their bottom line will catch up to them and the venture capitalists will grow impatient and stop funding the company. Again, it has nothing to do with product viability, but everything to do with market timing, growth, and room temperature business plans. It's already happening, and every time it does, the press gobbles it up and every naysayer gets to shout "I told you so!", but slowly, the VR industry marches forward and the survivors plod onwards, one hard fought sale at a time. Five years from now, people will look back in hindsight and say, "Well, of course VR was always going to work. Startups have a historically have a high rate of failure, that's all!". Your predictions for the next 10 years? In the next 5 to 10 years, we're going to see the releases of second generation VR hardware. Video card manufacturers will have adjusted their hardware rendering pipelines to support stereoscopic displays, and the performance limitations we're seeing in content production today will gradually vanish. Hardware specs will rise across the market, and the average gamer with a VR capable PC / console will become the norm. Gradually, the current financial barrier for entry into the VR entertainment market will lower, making it increasingly accessible for more and more gamers. We'll see a lot of new names being made famous. E-sports will integrate VR, and E-sports gamers will become much more athletic in order to remain competitive with the physical demands of VR gaming. We'll also be seeing a gradual adoption of VR outside of gaming, and this will really mainstream it when it happens. Gaming has always been the tip of the spear in terms of technological innovation, but corporations all benefit from the windfalls of the technological advancement. I would expect to see VR having significant influences in training, medical imaging, travel, sales and advertising, simulations, pornography, and cinema. I also think there's going to be a huge disruption in education and online learning with VR. However, all of these other technological applications historically tend to be about 3-5 years behind the curve, so don't expect to see them immediately or being heavily developed in parallel to the gaming industry. Any interest in Spellbound AR? I'm extremely skeptical on the viability of AR. I have only seen the Hololens and spent a weekend working with it, but it was enough to lose interest in AR completely. I imagine that if I was invited to see whatever tech Magic Leap is working on, I would leave quite unimpressed. If AR is going to be viable in the future, I wouldn't expect to see anything practically useful for another 10-15 years. There are a lot of major problems with AR: It requires a lot of computational power It's an overlay of the real world, and the real world is messy, boring, and very dynamic. The range of colors you can display on AR is limited. Black is transparent. The glasses look stupid and the wearer looks creepy when walking around with a camera on their head. Every promotional bit of marketing material you see for AR is fake smoke and mirrors. NDA's prevent people from calling AR companies out on it. If AR is around the corner, then AR hardware companies would be releasing their dev kits to third party developers to create a content ecosystem. That's not happening. The best we have is a $3000 dev kit from Microsoft, with a price tag which pretty much makes the hardware unavailable to indies, which pretty much makes the platform dead on arrival. I could adapt Spellbound for AR, but that would be a radical departure from the strengths of VR. Within VR, you get to be someone else entirely and experience a new world from their eyes. Within AR, you are still yourself, experiencing you own world, with a few augmentations to it and the remaining physical limitations. Within VR, I could let the player ride a horse into battle or ride high above a town on a magical carpet, but within AR? You're just a weird guy running around a park flailing your arms wildly and shouting at invisible friends. If I rub my crystal ball extra hard and try to look 20 years into the future, I think there won't be a hardware distinction between VR and AR. You'll wear the same HMD, but the difference between AR and VR will just be the amount of sensory information from the physical world being overridden by the hardware. You'd be able to blend reality by integrating it into your VR environment, so if you are in the park and walking by a tree, you'd see a virtual representation of that same tree in VR, and the tactile sensation of touching or bumping into the tree would match expectations. Today though, I think VR development is much easier than AR development, and the market is established and a lot more healthy to make it financially viable. You've gone through some tough times with funding. What advice would you give to someone thinking about trying to make a career as an independent game developer? Don't hire employees until your revenues can support it. If you have custom assets which need to be created, contract it out. Use online market places as a way to jumpstart your asset production work, but never consider online assets to be everything you need. Avoid spending your own money if you can. It's always better to spend someone else's money (investors, publishers, etc) Don't bet with your production budget. Investing in stocks is betting. Don't invest what you can't afford to lose. Don't expect to make lots of money as an indie developer. You'll probably be poor and barely break even. Earmark at least 30% of your budget for marketing. Pay very close attention to the scope of your project, your timeline and your budget. Scope creep doesn't just eat time, it also eats money. Have enough money to be able to afford to live without income for a few years. You may have to. If you aren't testing your game with potential customers at every step in the development cycle, you risk creating a product nobody wants to buy. This was great, Eric. Thank you for your time and sharing your thoughts with others on the challenge of being an indie and developing for the VR market. You're welcome. The last bit of parting advice I can give to anyone thinking about starting this journey, is to buy a bunch of books on entrepreneurship and project management. Read them from cover to cover, absorb the knowledge. This will cost you 2-4 weeks of time and maybe $200, but just think about how much time you'll save by avoiding rookie mistakes which cost months of time and tens of thousands of dollars worth of work! The following are books I recommend: Code Complete, 2nd Edition (Microsoft Press) Lean Startup, by Eric Ries Project Management for Dummies Any book on marketing and sales Don't just read the books, try to find ways to apply their teachings to your project (otherwise you're wasting your time). Even if you aren't an indie developer, the lessons are broadly applicable and will jump start your project and career. Also, don't be afraid to publicly show your game. Forget about NDA's and people stealing your idea, that is the least of your worries. Focus on production, creating great content, and marketing. At the end of the day, making and shipping games is the easy part -- marketing and sales is the hard part, so always think about how you're going to market and sell your game and get product-market fit, right from the beginning of the project. At every step of the way, always be thinking about marketing and creating the best value for your customer. Good luck, work hard, and be persistent and consistent! Interview conducted by Kevin Hawkins (@khawk) of GameDev.net. You can learn more about Spellbound on Steam at http://store.steampowered.com/app/463400/Spellbound/.
  12. Here we are back on Day 4, today, we’re going to finish the Unity Space Shooter by adding the remaining UI, enemy spawning system, and then creating an end game state. So without anymore delays, let’s get started! Audio To create audio for the game we need to add an Audio Source component to our GameObject. Inside the Audio Source component, we add our music file to the AudioClip slot. A quick and easy way to add the Audio Source component is to just drag your music file to your GameObject that you wish to add. There are a lot of controls that we can use. The most important in this case being: Play On Awake — play the sound when the GameObject that this AudioSource is connected to is created Loop — repeats playing the music when it finishes Volume — Self-explanatory Adding Explosion Sounds to Asteroids The audio samples are already all provided for us in the tutorial, so all we had to do was follow along and attach the explosion sound effects to the Explosion GameObject. Afterwards, whenever an asteroid is destroyed the explosion sound effect gets played. On a side note, I want to mention that I really enjoy using Unity’s Component system. Normally you have to manually code everything, but in Unity, it’s as easy as drag and drop! Adding Shooting Sounds to the Bullets For the bullet’s sound effects, the video had us use an existing script to play the sound of our bullets being fired. However I believe we could have just as easily attached a AudioSource to our bullet prefab like we did with the explosion and achieve the same thing when we instantiate the bullet. However, this is something good to know, so let’s see the code: using UnityEngine; using System.Collections; [System.Serializable] public class Boundary { public float xMin, xMax, zMin, zMax; } public class PlayerController : MonoBehaviour { public float speed; public float tilt; public Boundary boundary; public GameObject shot; public Transform shotSpawn; public float fireRate; private float nextFire; void Update () { if (Input.GetButton("Fire1") && Time.time > nextFire) { nextFire = Time.time + fireRate; Instantiate(shot, shotSpawn.position, shotSpawn.rotation); GetComponent&lt;AudioSource&gt;().Play (); } } void FixedUpdate () { float moveHorizontal = Input.GetAxis ("Horizontal"); float moveVertical = Input.GetAxis ("Vertical"); Vector3 movement = new Vector3 (moveHorizontal, 0.0f, moveVertical); rigidbody.velocity = movement * speed; rigidbody.position = new Vector3 ( Mathf.Clamp (rigidbody.position.x, boundary.xMin, boundary.xMax), 0.0f, Mathf.Clamp (rigidbody.position.z, boundary.zMin, boundary.zMax) ); rigidbody.rotation = Quaternion.Euler (0.0f, 0.0f, rigidbody.velocity.x * -tilt); } } The only addition is the highlighted part: GetComponent<AudioSource>().Play (); We use GetComponent, to search for our AudioSource component through all components attached to the game object. If it finds it we get an instance of it, which we call Play(), to play the sound attached to it. Adding Background Music Adding the background music is straightforward. We just attach Background music as an AudioSource component to the game controller game object and set the Audio Source component to loop. Counting Points and Displaying the Score GuiText vs UI In the next section, we create a UI to show the score on the game. The video had us create an empty game object and then attach a GUIText component to it. As you might have recalled, back in the Roll-A-Ball tutorial, we used UI Gameobjects that created a canvas. So what’s the correct thing to do? From my own research, GUIText is the old way Unity used to show Text, the Canvas system is the new way to implement UI’s. One of the many benefits of using the Canvas system is so that we can anchor ourselves to specific corners as we have seen in the roll-a-ball tutorial. If we were to use GUIText, we have to manually move them ourselves. Creating Our Score and Calling other Scripts… In Scripts! Now that we have our GUI available, the next thing that needs to be done is to figure out how to get the Component and edit it. Luckily, if you’ve been following along, we should have an idea on how to do it! We use GetComponent and grab the component that we attached to our GameObject! The next question then is: which script should we attach the GameObject to? Well technically speaking, the easiest thing might be the Asteroids: DestroyByContact script, because that’s when we know we scored. However this brings up multiple complications: We would generate multiple asteroids all of which would have the same code. If were to keep track of a total score, each asteroid object would start at 0 and then when it gets destroyed, we would change our text to be 1. Every. Single. Time. From my instincts of a programmer, the DestroyByContact script shouldn’t be the one in charge of keeping our scores, we need a manager of some sort that keeps track of the overall state of the game, or maybe…a controller! And as we’ll soon see in the video, we’re right. All of the logic is added into the GameController script as you can see here: using UnityEngine; using System.Collections; public class GameController : MonoBehaviour { public GameObject hazard; public Vector3 spawnValues; public int hazardCount; public float spawnWait; public float startWait; public float waveWait; public GUIText scoreText; private int score; void Start () { score = 0; UpdateScore (); StartCoroutine (SpawnWaves ()); } IEnumerator SpawnWaves () { yield return new WaitForSeconds (startWait); while (true) { for (int i = 0; i &lt; hazardCount; i++) { Vector3 spawnPosition = new Vector3 (Random.Range (-spawnValues.x, spawnValues.x), spawnValues.y, spawnValues.z); Quaternion spawnRotation = Quaternion.identity; Instantiate (hazard, spawnPosition, spawnRotation); yield return new WaitForSeconds (spawnWait); } yield return new WaitForSeconds (waveWait); } } public void AddScore (int newScoreValue) { score += newScoreValue; UpdateScore (); } void UpdateScore () { scoreText.text = "Score: " + score; } } What do we have here? Our GameController script keeps track of our score and we only have one instant of it so we don’t have to worry about the problem discussed above with multiple instances. We’ll see that we attach our GUIText to the script. We added UpdateScore() to initialize our text starting state. But wait! How do we update our score whenever we destroy an asteroid? We’ll soon see. Note that we have a public void addScore() What does it mean for a function to be public? It means that if someone has access to our Script component, they can use the function. Looking at the DestroyByContact code, that’s exactly what’s being done! using UnityEngine; using System.Collections; public class DestroyByContact : MonoBehaviour { public GameObject explosion; public GameObject playerExplosion; public int scoreValue; private GameController gameController; void Start () { GameObject gameControllerObject = GameObject.FindWithTag ("GameController"); if (gameControllerObject != null) { gameController = gameControllerObject.GetComponent<GameController>(); } if (gameController == null) { Debug.Log ("Cannot find 'GameController' script"); } } void OnTriggerEnter(Collider other) { if (other.tag == "Boundary") { return; } Instantiate(explosion, transform.position, transform.rotation); if (other.tag == "Player") { Instantiate(playerExplosion, other.transform.position, other.transform.rotation); } gameController.AddScore (scoreValue); Destroy(other.gameObject); Destroy(gameObject); } } Looking back at our DestroyByContact code, we used Start() to grab the first instance of our GameController object that exists. We can do this by first setting the Tag: “GameController” on our GameController object. The GameObject class that we use, just like the Math library, contain static functions that are available to it, meaning we can use them anytime we want. In this case: FindWithTag() is a static function avialble to use that helps us search for the GameObject with the tag “GameController” FindWithTag() returns the GameObject if it finds it, otherwise it returns a null object. That’s why we have to first check if the object we get back is null or not, because if we try to do anything with a null object, our game will crash. Once we’re sure that our GameObject isn’t null, we do the next thing: grabbing the Script Component attached to it. Once we initialized our gameController variable, we can directly call our public function AddScore() updating our total score for destroying the enemy ship. Fantastic! Now whenever a ship blows up, we update our points! Ending the Game We made it to the end! We have: Our player ship Enemy asteroids being spawned Destruction effects Sound effects UI There’s only 1 thing left before this tutorial is finished and that’s making the game finish state. To do this, we created: Two more GUIText labels: the game over message and the restart instructions A Boolean to tell us if the game is over or not First looking at the GameController script: using UnityEngine; using System.Collections; public class GameController : MonoBehaviour { public GameObject hazard; public Vector3 spawnValues; public int hazardCount; public float spawnWait; public float startWait; public float waveWait; public GUIText scoreText; public GUIText restartText; public GUIText gameOverText; private bool gameOver; private bool restart; private int score; void Start () { gameOver = false; restart = false; restartText.text = ""; gameOverText.text = ""; score = 0; UpdateScore (); StartCoroutine (SpawnWaves ()); } void Update () { if (restart) { if (Input.GetKeyDown (KeyCode.R)) { SceneManager.LoadScene(SceneManager.GetActiveScene().buildIndex); } } } IEnumerator SpawnWaves () { yield return new WaitForSeconds (startWait); while (true) { for (int i = 0; i &lt; hazardCount; i++) { Vector3 spawnPosition = new Vector3 (Random.Range (-spawnValues.x, spawnValues.x), spawnValues.y, spawnValues.z); Quaternion spawnRotation = Quaternion.identity; Instantiate (hazard, spawnPosition, spawnRotation); yield return new WaitForSeconds (spawnWait); } yield return new WaitForSeconds (waveWait); if (gameOver) { restartText.text = "Press 'R' for Restart"; restart = true; break; } } } public void AddScore (int newScoreValue) { score += newScoreValue; UpdateScore (); } void UpdateScore () { scoreText.text = "Score: " + score; } public void GameOver () { gameOverText.text = "Game Over!"; gameOver = true; } } Creating our new variables The first thing you can see is that we created our GUIText objects and Booleans to allow us to check if the game is over or not. We initialize these new variables in Start(). Creating the restart options To restart a game, we have to capture a button press input. To do this, we have to put all of our user input code inside the Update function. That’s the only function that runs continuously allowing us to make these checks. In our Update() function, we check to see if we can reset and if we are, if the user presses R, we would reload the whole application. I’m sure we’ll see more about the SceneManager in the future, but as you recall, we work in scenes for our games in Unity. What this means is that in the future we might have games with multiple scenes that we can switch between. In the tutorial, we use Application, but that’s the depreciated version. We now use the SceneManager. Creating the Game Over state Just like when we created AddScore(). Our GameController doesn’t know when the game is over. We have to have an external source tell this to us. That’s why we made our GameOver() public. Inside the function, we set the GameOver text to say game over and set our gameOver flag to be true. But that doesn’t immediately end our game yet! If you notice in the spawn enemy code, we don’t ever stop creating new enemies, even when it’s game over! We fix that with this: if (gameOver) { restartText.text = "Press 'R' for Restart"; restart = true; break; } What this does is that we add our restart instruction and enter into the restart state, which means we can start detecting when the user presses R in Update() We also break out of while loop so we won’t continue spawning asteroids forever. The next part… So great, we added GameOver to our GameController script, but where do we call it? Inside the DestroyByContact script! Specifically when our ship blows up. using UnityEngine; using System.Collections; public class DestroyByContact : MonoBehaviour { public GameObject explosion; public GameObject playerExplosion; public int scoreValue; private GameController gameController; void Start () { GameObject gameControllerObject = GameObject.FindWithTag ("GameController"); if (gameControllerObject != null) { gameController = gameControllerObject.GetComponent<GameController>(); } if (gameController == null) { Debug.Log ("Cannot find 'GameController' script"); } } void OnTriggerEnter(Collider other) { if (other.tag == "Boundary") { return; } Instantiate(explosion, transform.position, transform.rotation); if (other.tag == "Player") { Instantiate(playerExplosion, other.transform.position, other.transform.rotation); gameController.GameOver (); } gameController.AddScore (scoreValue); Destroy(other.gameObject); Destroy(gameObject); } } We already have the gameController script component so all we need to do is call GameOver! And there we go! Now we can have a game over state and restart to the beginning! Conclusion Phew, this was a long post for the day! I’m seriously re-considering writing everything. It’s starting to take longer than the actual learning, re-watching, and then implementing! On the brightside however, I have definelty learned more than I normally would since I have to understand what I’m blogging about! Also, I think things will be a lot easier once I start working on my own projects and deviate from these long “what I learned from these tutorials posts”. Anyways, we started 3 days ago with close to nothing in knowledge and we’re now one step closer to making a VR game: Setting up an environment Creating the player Spawning enemies Destroying/Creating objects Creating UI Detecting user button presses Accessing other objects from your script And I’m sure many more! I’m going to skip the last few modules and enhancing the game and go straight to the next tutorial. I think this will be the last tutorial before I start messing around with creating a simple game. Until then! Find the original Day 4 here. Or visit the 100 days of VR main page.
  13. It was a blast at PAX West, but it’s time to get back to our regularly scheduled postings. Finally back to the original coding on Day 3. I left off creating the background, the player object, and the ability to shoot! Some of the core topics that were talked about in today’s tutorial include: Creating a boundary box to delete objects Creating enemies/obstacles Let’s get started! Boundaries, Hazard, and Enemies Boundary Leaving off from last time, we created bullets that would fire off from the ship, but if you were to look at the game hierarchy pane, you would see a lot of the bullet objects would just remain there. The more you shoot, the more you’ll have. So what gives? If you were to pause the game and go to the Scene tab, you’ll see that the bullets actually keep going, never disappearing. Is this a problem? You bet it is! The more GameObject we instantiate, the more Unity has to calculate, which means our performance will suffer! What was done to solve this problem was to create a giant cube that covers over the scene. I attached a script to this cube and I added: using UnityEngine; using System.Collections; public class DestroyByBoundary : MonoBehaviour { void OnTriggerExit(Collider other) { Destroy(other.gameObject); } } What we’re relying on for this is the OnTriggerExit() function. As you might suspect, by the name, the function gets called when a collider leaves the object it’s colliding with. When we trigger the code, we would Destroy() the object, which in this case it the laser. Afterward we attach this script, you’ll see that the lasers disappears. Creating Hazards In the next video, we learn how to create asteroids that will fly down at the player. We: Used the provided asteroid model to create the GameObject Attached a capsule collider component to it Adjusted the collider to much the asteroid shape as much as possible Added a Rigidbody component and made it a trigger Added the provided RandomRotator script to the asteroid using UnityEngine; using System.Collections; public class RandomRotator : MonoBehaviour { public float tumble; void Start () { GetComponent<RigidBody>().angularVelocity = Random.insideUnitSphere * tumble; } } AngularVelocity AngularVelocity is the speed of how fast the object rotates. In the video, we’re using AngularVelocity to create a random rotation of the object. We do this by using Unity’s random function. Specifically, we chose to use insideUnitSphere to create a random position Vector that’s inside the gameobject and multiply it by the speed we want the asteroid to roll. Destroy Asteroids When Shot Now that we have our first “enemy” we want to be able to shoot and get rid of it! When our laser touches the asteroid, nothing would happen, and that’s because both the asteroids and asteroids are a trigger so they don’t collide with each other. What we have to do at this point is add a Script to our object that have logic that deals with what happens when it collides with another object. We attach this script to our asteroid class: using UnityEngine; using System.Collections; public class DestroyByContact : MonoBehaviour { void OnTriggerEnter(Collider other) { if (other.tag == "Boundary") { return; } Destroy(other.gameObject); Destroy(gameObject); } } We’re already familiar with this code. When our asteroid runs into something, it’ll destroy both the other object and itself. An interesting here is that we check to see if the object we run into is the Boundary box that we created and if it is, we stop our code. It’s important that we check for the boundary, because if we don’t the first thing that’ll happen when the game loads is that the asteroid will collide with the boundary and they’ll both be destroyed. To solve this, the video created a tag called Boundary and attached it to the Boundary GameObject. With this, whenever the asteroid collides with the Boundary GameObject, we’ll end the function call and nothing will happen. Explosions In the next video we added some more special effects, specifically what happens when the asteroid gets hit. Opening up the DestroyByContact script that was created previously, the video made some changes: using UnityEngine; using System.Collections; public class DestroyByContact : MonoBehaviour { public GameObject explosion; public GameObject playerExplosion; void OnTriggerEnter(Collider other) { if (other.tag == "Boundary") { return; } Instantiate(explosion, transform.position, transform.rotation); if (other.tag == "Player") { Instantiate(playerExplosion, other.transform.position, other.transform.rotation); } Destroy(other.gameObject); Destroy(gameObject); } } In the code, 2 GameObjects were made public variables. These are the explosion effects the tutorial provided: one is the asteroid explosion and the other is the player explosion. Similar to how we create a new bullet GameObject, we Instantiate() an explosion GameObject for the asteroid and if the asteroid collides with the player object (we set a tag to it), we would also make the player blow up. Once we added the code above to the script, I went back to the editor and attached my explosion effects to my script component. Re-using Code It’s also interesting to take note that in this video, we re-attached our Mover script to our asteroid and set the speed to -5. As a result, instead of the Asteroid moving up like our bullet, it goes the opposite direction: down. What’s important about this is that Scripts are re-usable components themselves, we don’t have to create a Script for every GameObject, if an existing script already does something that’s needed, we can just re-use the same script with different values! Game Controller In the next video, we worked on creating a Game Controller. The game controller is responsible for controlling the state of the game, which in this case is generating asteroids. For the GameController script, we attached it to a new Empty GameObject. We’ll call this game object GameController and we create our GameController script for it. using UnityEngine; using System.Collections; public class GameController : MonoBehaviour { public GameObject hazard; public Vector3 spawnValues; void Start () { SpawnWaves (); } void SpawnWaves () { Vector3 spawnPosition = new Vector3 (Random.Range (-spawnValues.x, spawnValues.x), spawnValues.y, spawnValues.z); Quaternion spawnRotation = Quaternion.identity; Instantiate (hazard, spawnPosition, spawnRotation); } } Let’s go through this code for a bit. We created some public variables: public GameObject hazard; public Vector3 spawnValues; hazard is the asteroid and spawnValues are the range of locations where we would instantiate our Asteroids. We create a new function SpawnWaves() and call it from the Start() function. We’ll see why the video does this later, but reading the code in the function: void SpawnWaves () { Vector3 spawnPosition = new Vector3 (Random.Range (-spawnValues.x, spawnValues.x), spawnValues.y, spawnValues.z); Quaternion spawnRotation = Quaternion.identity; Instantiate (hazard, spawnPosition, spawnRotation); } We create a Vector3 that represents the point we want to create an Asteroid. We use Random.Range() to create a randomize value between the 2 values we give it. We don’t want to change the Y or Z value of our GameObject, so we only randomize our starting X location (left and right) Quarternion.identity just means no rotation. What this means for our code is that we’re creating an Asteroid at a random position and without rotation. The reason why we don’t have a rotation is because that would interfere with the rotation that we already added for our Asteroid script. Spawning waves Currently, the code only generates one asteroid. It’ll be a pretty boring game if the player only has to avoid one asteroid to win. So next up, in this video, we create waves of asteroids that will come down for the player to dodge. To do this, we could do something like copy and pasting more prefabs into Start() in the GameController script, however, not only does this make me cry a bit in the inside, it’ll also make it harder to make changes in the future. Here’s what we ended up making: using UnityEngine; using System.Collections; public class GameController : MonoBehaviour { public GameObject hazard; public Vector3 spawnValues; public int hazardCount; public float spawnWait; public float startWait; public float waveWait; void Start () { StartCoroutine (SpawnWaves ()); } IEnumerator SpawnWaves () { yield return new WaitForSeconds (startWait); while (true) { for (int i = 0; i &amp;lt; hazardCount; i++) { Vector3 spawnPosition = new Vector3 (Random.Range (-spawnValues.x, spawnValues.x), spawnValues.y, spawnValues.z); Quaternion spawnRotation = Quaternion.identity; Instantiate (hazard, spawnPosition, spawnRotation); yield return new WaitForSeconds (spawnWait); } yield return new WaitForSeconds (waveWait); } } } Coroutine Coroutines are functions that run your code, return and yield control back to rest of Unity, and then resumes again on the starting back once the condition for waiting has been met. We can see more about this in the code above. That we have: yield return new WaitForSeconds (spawnWait); This means that we will wait whatever seconds to spawn a new enemy. However, if we were to do something like: yield return null; The code will execute immediately after the next frame. Does that sound kind of familiar? That’s because they act very similarly to how Update() works! From my understanding, you can almost use coroutines to replace Update() if you wanted to, but the main benefit of using them is to prevent cramming code inside Update(). If there is some code logic that we want to use only once a while, we can use coroutines instead to avoid unnecessary code from running. Another thing to note, coroutines run outside the normal flow of your code. If you were to put something like this: void Start() { StartCoroutine(test()); print("end start"); } IEnumerator test() { for (int i = 0; i < 3; i++) { print("in for loop " + i); yield return new WaitForSeconds(1); } } Our console will print this: In for loop 0 End start In for loop 1 In for loop 2 And if we were to do something like this: void Update() { StartCoroutine(test()); } IEnumerator test() { for (int i = 0; i < 3; i++) { print("in for loop " + i); yield return new WaitForSeconds(1); } } We would have something like this In for loop 0 In for loop 0 In for loop 0 In for loop 0 In for loop 0 In for loop 0 In for loop 0 In for loop 0 In for loop 0 … and so on for 1 second and then from there we’ll have a mix of: In for loop 0 and in for loop 1 This happens because we call the coroutine multiple times, specifically, once per frame and then after a second, the function will start printing when i = 1 while Update() is still making new coroutine calls that print when i = 0 Besides the coroutine, the rest of the code is pretty straigthforward, we add a couple public variables for waiting time. Cleaning up Explosions Moving on from creating our waves, whenever our ship destroys an asteroid, we create an explosion. However that explosion never disappears. This is because these explosions never leave our boundary. What we do is attach the DestroyByTIme script to the explosion. The script will destroy the explosion GameObject after a set amount of time. The code to do this is pretty straight forward. using UnityEngine; using System.Collections; public class DestroyByTime : MonoBehaviour { public float lifetime; void Start () { Destroy (gameObject, lifetime); } } Conclusion Phew and that’s it for day 3, today we learned: How to use boundaries to clean up some of our GameObject leaving it How to create, move, and destroy enemy waves. How to use corroutines, which in some ways are similar to Update() I’m going to call it a day! In the next part of the series, we’ll be looking into creating UI’s and audio to finish the space shooter game. See the original Day 3 Tutorial See the main 100 days of Unity VR Development page
  14. Since Microsoft launched its Mixed Reality program, initially with the business focused HoloLens program, a lot of interest has been garnered for the experiences it has generated, especially with most of its game focused demos. Now that the program has begun targeting the consumer space with its new range of entry level Mixed Reality headsets (or Immersive Headsets as they are referred to) from Acer, Asus, Dell and others, the pace is certainly heating up. For full disclosure, I am a developer on the Mixed Reality program and received my preview headset from Microsoft. However, apart from being a Microsoft MVP (community evangelist) I have no direct connection to Microsoft and I do not work for them. This review is all my own works and opinions and has not been influenced from any vendor or supplier. Everything else I discuss in this article has been paid for and sourced by myself with the view to provide an unbiased review of the consumer experience with the new Mixed Reality headsets. All information is subject to the preview program for Mixed reality which is due for full release in October 2017. My concern as a developer, was how easy these new Mixed Reality headsets, portals and setup were for new consumers. How things are put together and any troubles new users could face. To make it a real experience, I even purchased a new entry level gaming PC and have not changed anything about it during setup for testing. For fun, I also dragged in my family, both old and new for a full comparison. What is Windows 10 Mixed Reality and how does it differ from the other VR offerings? With all of the existing Virtual Reality setups such as the Occulus Rift, HTC Vive (although now just referred to as Vive) and the Sony PSVR, there was a fair amount of setup and (in some cases) a fairly hefty upfront costs to gain the full experience. Most require a fairly restricted room setup through the use of cameras and other sensors which have to be specifically placed within a room (making it very difficult to travel with), as well as certain lighting restrictions or requirements. These experiences are astounding once they are up and running and truly immersive but to the every-day consumer, can seem quite daunting. The Windows 10 Mixed Reality setup on the other hand has been the easiest out-of-the-box setup experiences I’ve had to date. No fiddly cameras or sensors, any room will do (great for taking places) and the PC requirements for running a modest experience has dropped significantly. *Note, more of the PC requirements and experience levels later. The Devices Microsoft has taken a turn back to its roots and unlike the HoloLens, has given the manufacture and production of its new headsets to its OEM partners, which seem to be growing week on week at the moment. So far, they’ve announced the following headsets and vendors: Acer $299 Headset $399 Headset + Controllers HP $329 Headset $429 Headset + Controllers Asus $535 Headset + Controllers? (Controller bundle not confirmed) Dell $349 Headset $449 Headset + Controllers Lenovo $349 Headset $449 Headset + Controllers *All prices are subject to change and based on current published figures As you can see each device has a very similar look and feel based on Microsoft’s base specification, providing: 1,440 x 1,440 resolution in each eyepiece 90Hz refresh rate Adjustable headband (some also include special headbands which are anti-bacterial, a nice touch when multiple people use it) A Flip Up visor design, which makes it easy to switch to the real world without removing the headset USB 3 & HDMI connectors Each manufacturer has taken its own view and design with the specs to give a unique feel and weight to each. The Inside out experience The one main thing that sets the Microsoft Mixed Reality setup different to every other high-powered VR style experience (excluding the likes of Cardboard / mobile VR) is that it requires absolutely no external setup, no additional devices or sensors, it is literally just plug and go. This is all provided by the two front motion sensors and a collection of other sensors built in to the visor which track all movement within the headset and project it’s view outwards. It knows which way you are facing, what altitude you are at (standing, sitting and even lying down) as well as the angle of your head. In my own testing, this is extremely accurate, even if you “shake your head”. The tracking system is also not bothered by the light levels in the room, so whether it’s dark or extremely bright (I’ve personally tested both) it makes no difference. The only environment I’ve not tested in is outside, as the PC cords don’t reach that far. The way the inside-out sensors work (as opposed to the camera/sensor outside-in setup where you are “watched from outside”), is that the camera sensors track the headset’s movement by watching the room movement and then translating that in to direction. This is paired with another set of other sensors, such as a gyroscope and accelerometer, to both validate this input and also give relative force / angle measurements. This simply results in the headset itself knowing where it’s moving, instead of other systems tracking you externally. The HoloLens takes this further by actually mapping the environment it see’s, which the Mixed Reality (Immersive headset) is based upon. Currently developers don’t yet have access to this “view” from the sensors, so we can’t embellish the experience. But here’s hoping it is exposed later which will make for some even more fun projects. The Motion Controllers So far we’ve only see one exact controller design, to which most have observed that these resemble a melding of the current Vive and Oculus controller designs with the addition of a Windows button. Each controller has a touch thumbstick as well as a traditional thumbstick and the usual plethora of additional buttons to cater for most VR experiences. At the time of writing, I’ve yet to receive my controllers to pair up with my Headset experience. I’ll do a follow up post once they arrive. Unlike Vive, Occulus and PSVR however, these controllers require no additional sensors, devices, light up beacons or cameras, they simply use the existing sensors built right in to the headset. The headset detects the position / rotation of the controllers and the inputs are fed back to the PC through a bluetooth connection, no wires needed. Hardware Requirements One of the biggest things that has put off a lot of consumers from the VR space (again excluding phone like experiences) is the cost. The PC’s and Graphic card requirements of most systems has been considerable and well out of the reach of all but the prosumer / elite gamer. The tide has now turned with the introduction of the PSVR which only needs a Playstation 4 (additional hardware is provided with the headset to supplement the consoles hardware). Both Vive and Oculus have also lowered the bar for their minimum PC specification(although it still requires some high-end gear). Note, to run the Mixed Reality Headsets, you will have to update your PC’s operating system to at least the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update. Available now in preview (insider program) and due for full release in October 2017. With the Windows 10 Mixed Reality setup, things are different. Sure, if you want the Uber high end experience, you will need a PC to meet that level but for the everyday consumer who just wants to experiment and play, there is now a much more comfortable zone which meets the means of the average gaming PC. * For Windows PCs with integrated graphics hardware, please note the following: Windows Mixed Reality immersive headsets will only run at a maximum of 60Hz. Windows Mixed Reality feature support has only been tested for, and confirmed to run on, the Intel HD Graphics (620 or higher) platform at this time. AMD integrated graphics platforms have not yet been tested or confirmed by Microsoft. AMD mobile CPUs have not yet been confirmed by Microsoft. As you will see later in this review, for my Personal setup, I purchased a Modest gaming PC (I paid approx. £750) which proved more than sufficient to run the Mixed reality setup. I probably would not recommend using Integrated Graphics chips and suggest using a more capable video card, such as those from Nvidia and AMD. The takeaway (TL;DR) In short, once you have an average gaming PC with at least HDMI 1.4 and USB 3.0 connections (the main things to check if you have the Blue USB connectors) and your PC has been updated to the Windows 10 Fall Creators update (available now in preview and full released in October 2017), you are ready to start. There is no additional setup, simply plug in your headset and you are good to go. Just try not to trip over the cable when connecting the headset to the PC. Testing the Consumer Experience With the preamble out of the way, let’s dig in to the real meat of this review. Being a developer, we usually have mega machines to cope with running both the title and the development environment at the same time, which creates an issue with testing. However, to get the real-world consumer experience, I dropped all that (actually, I replaced my setup because my main uber PC actually died and I needed a replacement that didn’t hurt the wallet too much) and began with what I had out of the box with my new PC. The Gaming PC Given most consumers will walk in to a computer shop or browse amazon (insert preferred online retailer here) and pick something that fits their budget for the most part. To the layman, the specs seem largely irrelevant, most of all general consumers (aka parents) are simply looking to get the most for the money they have. For those of us who are a little more tech savvy, we check specifications and ensure we are getting something that fits our needs balancing with our wallet. For my part I settled on a mid-range gaming PC which had enough power and didn’t stretch my wallet too much. With a keen eye on the Mixed Reality specs above, it had enough wiggle room and the only area I was particularly concerned with was the graphics card (I did however have a backup plan as my main graphics card was still good from my old PC). Breaking it down: Running Windows 10 Home edition – Well within the MR specs but as a developer I’ll likely upgrade this. For a consumer, this is perfectly fine for Mixed Reality (I didn’t upgrade for tests) Processor – Intel i5 7400 (7th gen) – A modest processor well within the Mixed Reality specs NVidia GTX1050 2GB – A robust graphics card with a decent amount of throughput. If you are looking at laptops, then make sure to go for a minimum of the 1050TI, just to be sure. 8GB Memory – Again, nothing major and the minimum you’ll see offered with most gaming PC’s and some power PC’s 256GB SSD – If you want your PC on in seconds and want things to run fast, I highly recommend an SSD. However, for MR it’s not essential if you want to save a few pennies All in all, I spent only £750 (Approx $950) which for a gamer who wants to play modern titles, this is about on par. you could probably shave a £100 or so if you shop around. I hoped would this PC setup would be sufficient for a good Mixed Reality experience with the fall back that I had my uber powered graphics card as backup if I needed. Which to my amazement, this rig absolutely flew through all of the tests I hit it with. The Headset The headset that I was sent, is the Acer development version of their Mixed Reality headset. I have to point out this is still classed as a preview device and not a production version, so the final version may have some slight differences between what we developers get and what the general public receive. Historically though, this is not far off and the main differences are with the packaging and documentation included with the headset (something prettier than a brown cardboard box) The first thing I noticed after unboxing the headset was how light it was. I’ve used all of the other headsets and there is a fair amount of weight with them. If you use them continuously, your head does start to feel a little heavy (which is fine because your eyes usually give up on you first, or your stomach if the dev hasn’t accounted for good VR movement). With the Mixed reality headset, there is practically nothing to it (the Asus headset is reported as the lightest, which might explain its higher cost). All of my family noted this while wearing it, they barely noticed the headset was there (ignoring the fact you are looking at a mountain vista from the get go). My only real complaint with the Acer headset is the head strap, it uses a push button fix / release system to tighten it. This can become quite fiddly, especially when multiple people are passing the headset around to play/test and can lead to a very common issue of “hair snagging”. Some of the other MR headsets use the more common twist lock, which would have been my preference. The other issue I faced was that the foam to protect your face on the headset (which is removable and washable, a nice touch) just isn’t thick enough. So much so, that when I wear the headset there is a gap between the foam and the sides of my face, which lets in light. I can work around it but it’s not the best, granted only really an issue in well light / daylight scenarios. My Test Area Not the tidiest of rooms (I am a dev after all) and with a casual onlooker, but my test room is good for a variety of reasons: A modest space to experiment in with a walkable space of about 2 Meters x 2.5 meters. Which is more than enough with the cable length you get with the Mixed Reality headset. The room is exposed to direct Sunlight for the morning (being fully surrounded by glass), shaded light in the afternoon and obviously pitch-black at night, with or without the spotlights. This gave me enough freedom to test all light conditions. It is a little cluttered, with a few shelves and other obstacles that my head and such, would not like to come in repeated contact with. The floor is quite slippery while wearing socks, for some skiing / swimming experiments. This gives us an approximate kind of space most gamers are going to have in some shape or form. The space is large enough for most walking tests and I have a nice chair on wheels for some fun sat down as well. I would probably think about looking into ways to extend the HDMI/USB cables and possibly fix them in an elevated position, to avoid tripping over the cables which is a common problem with all of the higher quality headsets (unless you have a backpack PC, which look totally awesome) Will all this ready, let’s unbox the headset, plug it in and get it setup. Challenge 1: Testing the setup process After you have unboxed all your toys and the boxes are strewn all over the living room floor, the first task any new Mixed Reality consumer is going to face is “how to plug all this stuff in anyway”. Sure, the headset looks cool while you are wearing it and you can look kind of space age while walking around. Eventually though you will want to actually turn the thing on. Check for Updates First task is to ensure the PC is up to date, no doubt there will be sufficient notice in the documentation for the headset, to ensure that you have upgraded/updated your PC to the latest and greatest Windows 10 build, namely the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update (still no word at the time of writing if it’ll be called the “Autumn Creators update” or if we’ll have to live with the US Naming as well). So once your PC is updated, it’s time to plug it in. Side Note, for the purposes of this test I have installed the Creators update using the “Windows Insider Program”, which gives every person the chance to test out the newest updates from Microsoft before they hit the shelves. From October, this won’t be necessary, unless you want even newer builds/versions than the Creators Update. Plugging In The final installation guide that is released with the production headsets will likely recommended to launch the “Mixed Reality Portal” before plugging in the Headset but in true consumer simulation testing, I plugged it in before I even tried. Thankfully whether you plug the headset in first or launch the portal, it makes no difference, so all bases are covered there. Once the device is recognised and drivers are installed, you are ready to get started. Although at this point there isn’t much to see. Starting up the Mixed Reality Portal When you start the “Mixed Reality Portal” application for the first time (this new app is installed by default with the Creators Update), the first step will test your PC, your headset and then get everything else installed and ready: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Starting from the Top-Left and working right, let’s walk through the setup process: The First screen you see is as informative as you would expect, giving you some much needed information for what to expect from this arduous process (just kidding). Next, we have the critical System test. If your PC doesn’t come up to scratch, this will tell you where you need to focus. Whether it’s just newer drivers, replace your graphics card or grab the wallet for a newer PC. Now the fun begins, connect your headset to the PC, plugging in the Video (HDMI) and Driver (USB3.0). Once your headset is detected, you’ll get a personalised walk-through your gear. And a detailed view of all the ports, including the sensors, headband and where to find the in-built headset jack (no trailing headset wires!) – Just be sure to use one with a mic for the full experience. If you have purchased the extra controllers, you will then be prompted to pair them with the PC. Don’t worry if you haven’t, you can still use either keyboard and mouse or an Xbox One controller (provided you have the Xbox Wireless receiver in your PC) Next, we come to the all-important choice, do you want to sit or walk. The headset will work in either mode and it’s up to you which you will start with. Don’t worry, you can always switch later. If you chose to walk, you’ll need to setup your initial boundary. Here the device uses its sensors and your legs, to scan your room to work out where you can and can’t walk. First job is to setup your center. The process recommends this is at your PC but it isn’t essential. For your first go though, hold your headset in your hands and face your PC as instructed and Click “Center”. Now you will get a little demo about tracing your environment, this simply involves walking around your room, keeping the headset facing the computer (or your center) as far as you physically can (including how far the cable will let you go), when you return to the center it will automatically finish. In this shot, you can see the effect of the trace in my room setup, a little smaller than the demo. Once complete, the setup recommends jumping for joy, although I would recommend you put the headset down first. Now that you’re are all setup, all that is left to download the rest of the Mixed Reality setup, including the VR house that you begin with for experimenting (or kicking back and watching movies on the largest screen EVER!) Now you are ready, Don your headset and start exploring. As you can see, the setup experience has been well thought through and without the need for extra camera’s and sensors, the process is just as simple and plug-in, walk round your room and you are done. For the basic seated experience (e.g. space sim, driving, rollercoaster, etc) it’s even easier. Challenge 2: Trying it out with a non-techie Although the process was quick and simple for me, I still wasn’t convinced. So, I uninstalled everything, packed up my gear and challenged my 14yr old daughter to “have a go”. Within 20 mins the rig was back up and running and she was happily destroying my VR house and filling it with animals. So even with some basic tech know how (i.e. can plug things in the right ports) even teenagers can set this up. Challenge 3: First experiences As soon as you have the Headset up and running and attached to your head, you are entered in to the default Mixed Reality environment, that being your 3D virtual house. This includes such locations as: A veranda with an excellent view A library like area with shelves and some art A visitor area with a globe, pictures and applications running on the wall Finally, my favourite room (where I spend most of my time), the 100 ft cinema room. There’s a lot to see and you start to get a feel for how the basic Mixed Reality controls work, which are pretty much the same as any other VR experience. However… There is a flaw in the current setup as it doesn’t actually tell you HOW it works, you almost have to figure it out on your own. Hopefully, this will be resolved in the “Box” experience, where some manuals or “QuickStart” instructions but to be honest, I would have also expected this to be introduced to the “player” in their first run of the Experience. There is a “Holo Tour” app which does offer you some insight, but it isn’t installed by default. Additionally, new applications once installed don’t actually start just by running them, they are only available from the “in-house” experience where you can launch them, again there isn’t much to tell you that this is the case. As a developer, I’ll likely explore these start-up options myself and try to find an easy path. Both Oculus and Vive allow you to just Start VR experiences from the desktop and offer a similar “welcome tour” or “demo kit” as another option, more akin to the traditional PC gaming “Click to run”, so it feels normal. Will investigate more and maybe I’m just missing something. Like I said at the start, I was jumping in without reading and just testing the “out of the box” experience, so it may just be that. I fully expect SteamVR applications to “Just Start” else that would break the Steam experience but we won’t know / see more until it’s made available, likely on or just after the October launch. (no details released as yet to the SteamVR support) Challenge 4: Managing the setup If you know Windows 10, you will already be familiar with the “Settings” application, which is simply accessed by clicking on the start button and then clicking on the COG. It’s nice to see Microsoft are keeping trend with this when it comes to Mixed Reality, so the config is all under its own banner in the Settings application. No faffing and searching for hidden options. It’s also nice to see that this option is only available once you have completed the “Mixed Reality Portal” setup and is removed when the Mixed Reality extensions are uninstalled (yes you can remove them). Behind this are a small selection of options to customise your setup, including: Audio and Speech Setup Includes options to: Force the PC to switch to using the Headset’s audio port by default Force the PC to switch to using the Headset’s microphone audio port by default Is speech recognition (aka Cortana) enabled in Mixed reality (Allows you to control your environment and interact with it, might not be good in games) Plus, it includes some feedback and help options (actually, these are every screen so they are always to hand) Environment Controls This will reset any boundary or scans of your environment from the PC. Useful if you travel and need to re-setup the experience. It also includes options to “Reset Your Home” VR environment. (Like when your kids fill it with animals and delete all your stuff) Headset display options Through this screen, you can alter your perceived experience, this includes options to: Increase or decrease the Visual Quality pushed to the headset Useful if you PC is struggling or you want to see if it can perform at higher settings The Default is “Automatic” where the Mixed Reality setup will manage it for you Calibration If you are regularly having issues focusing on the display, you can tweak the focal distance the eyepiece uses to display visuals This can help especially if you use it without your glasses or have regular trouble. Usually tightening the headset band. There is enough space to also use it with your glasses on. Uninstall If by some chance you’ve had enough, are returning the headset or (more likely) transferring to another PC, you can remove all the Mixed Reality config from the PC It is also useful if you had an issue in the install / setup and just want to reset the entire process and start again. Through doing this write-up, I’ve had to do this several times. It’s quick, painless and leaves no lasting scars thankfully. Don’t worry about clicking it by accident, it’ll still ask you if you’re sure and even if you do, reinstalling is as simple as opening the “Mixed Reality Portal” again. Final Conclusions – Ultimate TL;DR From the Device’s, Price and initial setup, I can happily say the experience is far better that I could have guessed. I’ve worked with other development teams using alternate VR solutions and Microsoft’s Mixed Reality set-up compares equally on both quality and head tracking (in some cases better but time will tell). However, it far outstrips its competition with its rapid setup (not needing other sensors and a “special” room setting up) and its weight. There aren’t many apps yet, as the store is still in preview and developers can’t “publish” to it yet. But with the recent announcement of SteamVR support and the number of developers I’ve talked to who are already making UWP Mixed Reality versions of their games, I suspect this will rapidly ramp up come launch time. Not to mention the Dream Build Play competition, which has an entire category focused on Mixed Reality games with $50,000 at stake. I do hope the “first run” experience is tweaked or improved on the run up to launch, as this was the only area I felt it was “let down” slightly, but that is a minor thing and should be fairly easy to resolve, if it hasn’t already and I just missed something. Pro’s Lightweight and comfortable to wear No additional hardware sensors required, it’s all built in No need to remove the headset just to run another game, can be done in the environment or by simply “Flipping” up the visor and using your PC Extremely easy setup experience and detailed setup guide, even a 14yr old could follow it. Con’s Preview hardware had issues with the cushioning foam, didn’t touch face in places (might be different with release or other headsets). If you started the headset whilst it was outside of it’s boundary, it sometimes had trouble and you had to reset up the boundary. Like it’s cousins, it’s a wired setup. 3rd party providers will need to come up with ways to improve this, either going wireless or having a Wire Stand. Kids will need supervision, at least at first No way to “turn it off”. Might sound odd for a con, but by default the settings will wake the Mixed Reality Portal when the headset moves. this includes if you nudge it by accident. The simple fix is to turn this option off. But for first time users, they may not know where to look (even though it’s in the common settings screens). All in all, I’m very happy with the headset and the options this opens for me, as a parent, a consumer and a developer. The fact it can run on modest and fairly inexpensive hardware is a huge boon. That I have a full VR setup for just over £1000 means it’s very accessible and not cost prohibitive. If you already have a capable gaming machine, which meet these lower specifications, then your outlay is even less. All in all, I do think that Oculus and Vive have some serious competition on their hands with the new Mixed Reality range. The fact there are several suppliers and not just one vendor that are bringing these to market shows just how much Microsoft has thought about its strategy and has returned to the days when PC’s were great. Now VR truly has a chance of being great with it so readily accessible.
  15. What are the things you should do and don’t do when making VR applications? Find out about the do’s don’ts of VR! In my second and last VR related panel I went to this year in PAX West 2017. I went to The Do’s and Don’ts of VR. Hosted by: Peter Akemann [President, Skydance Interactive] Michael Glombicki [Road to VR] Unfortunately I must confess: I was not able to find a YouTube video of this panel and… I showed up 10-15 minutes late to the panel What this means is that I most might missed a good portion of the initial advice and that I have no other way to verify my notes. With that all being said, what are the do’s and don’ts of VR (that I’ll hopefully get to in the 100 days of VR challenge)? Let’s find out! The Do’s and Don’ts of VR Do: Make Shorter Experiences With VR being a new way to experience playing a game, there are a lot of problems that haven’t been resolved, motion sickness being one of them. There have been many experimentations and tests to try and avoid motion sickness and I’m sure in the future this problem will be solved. The key word here is future. What was suggested was to create fun and thrilling experiences like Archangel (created by Skydance Interactive) Have all the optimizations to prevent motion sickness that you can try and do, but try to segment gameplay to shorter 15 minutes experiences so that players can take a break. Don’t: Feature Creep VR is the wild west of application development right now. There are too many cool ideas to create and not enough developers to create them. Resists the urge to keep creating new experiences. Instead, create your concept work, show it, and then iterate upon it. Do: Standardize the Software/Hardware Right now, there are too many new software and hardware being created across multiple platforms. At this point, we don’t need new hardware, especially if there’s no standardization. Developer will never create an application using an obscure hardware/controller, because no one will ever use it. Likewise hardware creators will never create new devices if developers/users will never use them. What needs to be done is have a standard way for people to create VR applications from any development platform and then published to any VR platform with any controller device, even the obscure ones. A great example is what Khronos OpenXR is trying to achieve by abstracting the different platforms, allowing you to interweave software and hardware seamlessly through a simple API. Ideally in the future, any developer can pick up their engine of choice (Unity or Unreal Engine) and just as easily ship their game to the different platforms (Oculus or Vibe) all in a touch of a button. Do: Be Able to Create Content in VR in VR Currently we’re in the age where we can use software to create more software. An example is being able to create a game using a game engine like Unity. There are still many components in VR where we can still use computer software to create the application, such as coding and making the world and character, however there are certain situations that being able to create content in VR would be the best. The best example given was using the Oculus Medium in Archangels. In VR, the details that are put inside each model is important, because users are free to look around the game, exposing details that normally could have been hidden away. Oculus Medium puts you in a VR world allowing you to make changes live in VR. By creating VR in VR, you can easily catch things that you’d miss on a computer and allow you to craft more realistic models. Do: Collaborate with Other Developers and Form Partnerships VR is fighting an uphill battle. Unlike how Mobile apps carved out a niche for itself for casual gaming (think playing on the bus), VR headsets require you to be completely focused on it. In terms of consumer attention, VR devices have to compete with game consoles and PCs. With VR being new, it might be hard to create an compelling experience by yourself. It’s best to collaborate with others to make the maximum impact in creating a commercially viable product. A great suggestion to do that is to: Go to http://www.meetup.com/ and find your local VR meetups Interact with devs on forums You might actually run into stealth Venture Capitalists in meetups where you can pitch your ideas or find someone who would be willing to pass around your demo to a VC. Note, it’s important that you have a demo and not just an idea. Everybody has an idea, but in this space, execution (or at least a demo) is even more important. Do: Get Started Finally, get started! VR desperately needs more creators and if we hope to stand a chance in making the technology prevail, we need to pool our skills together to create unique and fun experiences that will wow the users. Get started: Pick up a development toolkit like Unity or Unreal. Pick up a Oculus, Vive, or even Google Cardboard. Get started prototyping! Conclusion I think the TLDR of the panel is that developers should create something and share their experiences with other developers when they have something to show. By providing as much value as you can to others, you might be rewarded in the future with the connections that you make. Who knows, maybe the guy you helped out before might be willing cooperate with you on your next project! It was a great panel and another great year to be at PAX, however all good things must come to an end. I can’t wait for next year to see how much things will have changed in the VR space. Until then, I’ll see you guys tomorrow for Day 3 of the 100 days of VR! Original source: PAX Panel: The Do’s and Don’ts of VR
  16. Hey! Welcome back to the 2nd day of my 100 days of VR! We last left off going through the Unity Roll a ball tutorial. I’ve learned a lot about how to code in Unity, and how to use some of their existing API’s. Even more importantly, I learned how to navigate and use the Unity editor! The editor is definitely different compared to Web or Mobile development where you create everything via code, but the editor definitely makes things easier! Today in day 2, I started to look at the 2nd Unity lesson, the Unity Space Shooter, I’ve learned a lot about Unity from the previous tutorial, maybe even enough for me to start developing my own simple game (with a LOT of help from stackoverflow), but instead I’ve decided to solidify my foundations by going through more 1–2 more tutorials. I didn’t get nearly as far as I did during Day 1 because of my job, but I did finish the First section: Game setup, Player and Camera Setting up the project Unlike the previous tutorial where we just used simple materials and shapes, this time I had to use actual assets. The first thing I had to do was download the assets that were provided from the tutorial. I saw that when you create a new project in Unity. If you click on that tab, you can see the project, you can download it there (or from the Unity asset store) And then when you create a new project, just make sure to add the asset package the resource: After setting up the Unity tutorial, I found out that you can adjust the screen resolution of your game, by clicking on the Game and selecting the resolution options below it to set and create the resolution of your game. So far so good, nothing too complex yet! The Player GameObject Now that I’ve setup the project, I’ve moved on to create the Player GameObject. It’s nothing too different from what I’ve learned in the previous tutorial. Except this time, instead of creating a 3D sphere, I’m dragging an existing model asset provided to me. Cool ship! Some interesting things to note on this video Mesh Collider, Mesh Filter, and Mesh Renderer Looking at the components of the ship, we see that there are a Mesh Filter and a Mesh Renderer. From a simple Google search: Mesh Filter Components take in a Mesh, which is a 3D object that is created with triangles (triangles, because it’s the most efficient shape to process in GUI programming). The Mesh Filter will then create the shape of what your GameObject will look like based off of the mesh that you provide it. Afterwards, if you want to see your model, you’ll need a Mesh Renderer this takes in your mesh and applies a material over it. The material being the skin of the ship you see above. Finally, we have the Mesh Collider Component that we add, that takes in a mesh. This allows us to create a collider that matches the exact shape of our ship. It’s important to think about the gameplay vs. performance tradeoff that we have to make. More fine-grain collider => Unity doing more work => Slower performance. However on the other hand, we might not want to create a cube collider over our ship. If we do, we might collide with something on the front of the ship where there aren’t any meshes. In a more fine grain control game like this space shooter, that would be bad. Easy way to change your Game Transform values Also on another un-related note, I found a nifty trick for the editor. If you want to experiment with values, instead of manually putting the values in, you can actually left click on the properties circled in this picture And then from there drag your mouse up and down to change the values. It’s much easier than just putting the values in manually! Camera and Lighting In the next video, we played around a bit with the camera and lighting. Camera In the camera component you can set the background. In our case, we just set a black background, making everything in the games tab black except for our ship. Lighting In the later Unity version, the project already comes with a Directional Light in the hierarchy, but these sources of light, as you expect, lights up your game! The directional light is just light glowing down from a certain direction. You can adjust things like the color of the light, how intense the light is, the direction the light comes from and many other things. However in this case, we just played with moving it around a bit and the intensity of the light to get our ship looking however we want it to look. Adding a background Creating a background is in a way very similar to adding a material to an existing shape object. For this project, we created a quad, which you can think of as a flat plane that you can’t change the Y scale at all. We have an existing .tif file that’s provided for us to use to create an object, but our quad object only wants materials. How do we get this to work? It turns out, if you were to drag the .tif file into the quad, it’ll automatically create the material for you that you can use. Shaders Another subject that was briefly talked upon are shaders. From my understanding, shaders are used for rendering effects on the material. It gives us the ability to apply brightness, colors, and other special effects on top of an existing image. Luckily we don’t’ have to do learn how to do any of this (yet) and we can just use the existing ones that Unity provides us. Yay for frameworks! In the video, we applied an Unlit Texture Shader affect to make our background image look brighter. Moving the Ship So finally now that we have our environment setup, we finally started to do some coding. using UnityEngine; using System.Collections; [System.Serializable] public class Boundary { public float xMin, xMax, zMin, zMax; } public class PlayerController : MonoBehaviour { public float speed; public float tilt; public Boundary boundary; void FixedUpdate () { float moveHorizontal = Input.GetAxis ("Horizontal"); float moveVertical = Input.GetAxis ("Vertical"); Vector3 movement = new Vector3 (moveHorizontal, 0.0f, moveVertical); rigidbody.velocity = movement * speed; rigidbody.position = new Vector3 ( Mathf.Clamp (rigidbody.position.x, boundary.xMin, boundary.xMax), 0.0f, Mathf.Clamp (rigidbody.position.z, boundary.zMin, boundary.zMax) ); rigidbody.rotation = Quaternion.Euler (0.0f, 0.0f, rigidbody.velocity.x * -tilt); } } Let’s break this code down. RigidBody The most important thing right now is that in Unity 5.X, this code actually won’t run. That’s because we no longer get our RigidBody component as we do now. We have to do something similar to what we did with the roll-a-ball tutorial and save an instance of our RigidBody in the Start() function, like so: using UnityEngine; using System.Collections; [System.Serializable] public class Boundary { public float xMin, xMax, zMin, zMax; } public class PlayerController : MonoBehaviour { public float speed; public float tilt; public Boundary boundary; public RigidBody rigidbody; void Start() { Rigidbody = GetComponent<RigidBody>(); } void FixedUpdate () { float moveHorizontal = Input.GetAxis ("Horizontal"); float moveVertical = Input.GetAxis ("Vertical"); Vector3 movement = new Vector3 (moveHorizontal, 0.0f, moveVertical); rigidbody.velocity = movement * speed; rigidbody.position = new Vector3 ( Mathf.Clamp (rigidbody.position.x, boundary.xMin, boundary.xMax), 0.0f, Mathf.Clamp (rigidbody.position.z, boundary.zMin, boundary.zMax) ); rigidbody.rotation = Quaternion.Euler (0.0f, 0.0f, rigidbody.velocity.x * -tilt); } } We have to use GetComponent<RigidBody> to access our GameObject’s components now. Boundary The first thing you might notice is that there’s another class: Boundary. It has [System.Serializable] on top of it. [System.Serializable] public class Boundary { public float xMin, xMax, zMin, zMax; } What serializable means is that you’re telling Unity if you make the class a public variable it’ll expose the variables in the class for you to use in the inspector. We’re going to use this boundary to set how far our ship can go in the game. Specifically, prevent our ship from going off screen. Movement To move the ship, we applied something very similar to what we did in Day 1 with the ball tutorial. We see that we still use the same FixedUpdate() function and we grab the players movement input the same way. The new interesting part is using more of Unity’s library. Unity comes with its own math library, Mathf. The library provides nifty game calculations for us. rigidbody.position = new Vector3 ( Mathf.Clamp (rigidbody.position.x, boundary.xMin, boundary.xMax), 0.0f, Mathf.Clamp (rigidbody.position.z, boundary.zMin, boundary.zMax) ); In this case, we’re using Mathf.Clamp to help set a position boundary so that if our position surpasses the minimum, it’ll stay at the minimum and if it surpasses the maximum, it’ll stay at the maximum. Creating Shots So now we have a ship and some movement, we moved on to something completely new, shooting things! We create our bullet the same we create our background. We make a Quad object and then use the .tif file to create a material (or just use the existing one) and attach the material. We applied some shaders on it. We can optimize our performance by using mobile shaders instead of normal ones. Mobile shaders offer less controls, but as a result they’re less computationally intensive. Finally we have the code that moves our bullet forward: using UnityEngine; using System.Collections; public class Mover : MonoBehaviour { public float speed; void Start () { rigidbody.velocity = transform.forward * speed; } } The code itself is pretty straight forward, we just set the velocity of our RigidBody to be some value and it’ll always go in that direction. Shooting shots Now that we’ve created a prefab of our bullet in the previous lesson, we can start working on shooting. In the video, what was shown was that we created a new “spawner” GameObject. A spawner is basically just an empty GameObject that we use its location to create new bullets. The important thing here is to make the spawner a child of the player GameObject, this way it’ll always stay consistent relative to our ship. In our script, we added a public variable for both the bullet prefab and the spawn point location. using UnityEngine; using System.Collections; [System.Serializable] public class Boundary { public float xMin, xMax, zMin, zMax; } public class PlayerController : MonoBehaviour { public float speed; public float tilt; public Boundary boundary; public GameObject shot; public Transform shotSpawn; public float fireRate; private float nextFire; void Update () { if (Input.GetButton("Fire1") && Time.time > nextFire) { nextFire = Time.time + fireRate; Instantiate(shot, shotSpawn.position, shotSpawn.rotation); } } void FixedUpdate () { float moveHorizontal = Input.GetAxis ("Horizontal"); float moveVertical = Input.GetAxis ("Vertical"); Vector3 movement = new Vector3 (moveHorizontal, 0.0f, moveVertical); rigidbody.velocity = movement * speed; rigidbody.position = new Vector3 ( Mathf.Clamp (rigidbody.position.x, boundary.xMin, boundary.xMax), 0.0f, Mathf.Clamp (rigidbody.position.z, boundary.zMin, boundary.zMax) ); rigidbody.rotation = Quaternion.Euler (0.0f, 0.0f, rigidbody.velocity.x * -tilt); } } The part of the code that we’re really interested in is in our new Update() function: void Update () { if (Input.GetButton("Fire1") && Time.time > nextFire) { nextFire = Time.time + fireRate; Instantiate(shot, shotSpawn.position, shotSpawn.rotation); } } Inside the code, we use the Input class to detect when the user clicks the fire button (left click) and check for a shooting delay. The interesting part is how we create our bullet. This is done in Unity with the Instantiate function. We just need to pass in the GameObject we want to create a copy of, its starting position, and its rotation. And that’s it! Conclusion In day 2, I finished the first part of the Space Shooter tutorial. Once again, a lot of the learning is actually being done outside of code with the editor. The goods news is that I’m beginning to see similar things with using GameObjects, materials, and prefabs to name some examples. Code-wise, everything seems pretty straightforward. Now I might be biased, because I already know how to code, but I have a good feeling that we’ll see many of these API’s again. It’s my hope that I’ll see patterns and that I use to make my own game. My goal is to know enough what’s available in Unity so I can branch out and start writing my own code! Side note: wow these writes up are long! I’m actually wondering what takes longer, going through the video’s and learning and understanding what’s happening or writing these explanations! Visit the original Day 2 Go to the 100 Days of Unity VR Development Main Page
  17. Every year someone always says that the next year will be the year of VR. Will 2017 finally be the year of VR? Read on to find out! If you think that I’m just going to PAX to take a break from developing, well… you wouldn’t be wrong. However I found some great panels related to VR so I thought I would do a write up on them. In PAX West 2017 I had the opportunity to attend some great VR related panels the first one being: Is THIS going to be the year of VR? Which, if you want to see the actual talk, you can find it on Youtube: Hosted by: Demetri Detsaridis [Managing Director, Experiment 7] Geoffrey Zatkin [Creative Director, Experiment 7] Ikrima Elhassan [Co-founder, Kite & Lightning] Robin Hunicke [Co-founder, Funomena] Jeff Pobst [CEO, Hidden Path Entertainment] Maria Essig [VR/ARContent Partnerships, Google] (Absent) Todd Hooper [CEO, VReal] (Taking place for Maria Essig) Note: This is my own interpretation of the panel. It may or may not be what was actually said during the panel. Specifically, please don’t hate me if I misunderstood something! The big question: Is 2017, going to be the year of VR? The quick answer: most likely not. Current state of VR While 2017 might not be THE year, VR is growing. We’re constantly getting all these new experiences… …like these ones being created by the panelists: Luna: Bebylon Battle Royale: Brass Tactics: Settler of Catan VR: Not all VR games have to be fast paced first person shooting games that you would normally imagine for a VR experience, there are just so many more amazing experiences that can be discovered, experimented, and created. There was also a rumored Scrapbook VR coming soon in the future from this very panel! (It’s not) However, even with all these experiences, VR is still near its embryonic stages and it’s still too early for it to take off. The panelists suggested that 2018 might be closer to the beginning of the Year of VR. A possible contribution to these hype deadlines is high expectations, publications and analysts make claims that: VR will explode! Sales of devices will be great! And so on and so forth: Note: I’m not sure how accurate these charts actually ended up being, but my gut feeling is that it didn’t go exactly as planned. How bad are we talking? Well looking at the Oculus Rift sales in 2016 the expectations was: expected for millions to be sold vs. the reality of maybe only 100,000. VR is a new technology. It’s going to take time and patience for consumers to slowly pick it up. However, with that being said. The panelists did praise how fast VR is going. While sales aren’t going as fast as planned, the integration and addition of new hardware and software is going fast. Some examples given were the development of: Mobile VR, VR social rooms, VR controllers, VR Knuckle Controllers. The TLDR is: For developers, the technology is growing at an amazing pace and there is more becoming available faster than originally expected. For everyone else, VR provides an amazing experience, but its growth is much slower than expected. After all, how hard is it to just add a VR mode to an existing game? Accelerating VR Development We have an idea of where we are currently at now with VR, but how can we make it better? The panelist’s answers were: Speed up time/More install bases Currently, many tech leaders (Facebook, Google, and Microsoft) are spending boat loads of money into building hardware and content for developers to use. What needs to happen is for VR developers to create more and more applications that would incentivize more users to try VR. Eventually, there will be a point where there will be enough users playing with VR to justify the making of a larger VR games, bringing us to the next point. Having a Killer App If we were to have a killer app, an app that’s so good or necessary that it forces people to buy the hardware and install bases, we would be a virtuous cycle of more users, more games. Once there is a solid install base of users, we go back to the first point: more users, more developers, and more great apps. Cheaper Devices The next point is that VR devices in their current price are too expensive. We’re not going to see a fast adoption in VR if the devices are out of priced outside of the range of the average consumer. Last year was the year of $500-$600 VR headsets. This year is the year of $300-$400 headsets. And hopefully, the next year will be the year of $200 VR headsets. Having cheaper headsets => more people trying it and hopefully adopting the devices =>more developers => more games being created! Changes in the Platform that Can Accelerate VR The above changes are all the things that we would want to have, but there are some changes that were mentioned that could improve the current state of VR: Better curated content If the app stores for VR make sure that new users download amazing apps spread across multiple genres, they will hook the players into VR. Ideally, from there we’ll see higher retention rate and more recommendation to use VR resulting in more users using VR, incentivizing more developers to create applications. Cheaper Hardware Same as mentioned above Better Tools In the current state of the tools available (which hopefully we’ll get to see one day in the 100 days of VR), there are sometimes software updates in the tools that makes everything that was done in the past that you did no longer work. I can imagine that having to go back and fixed everything that broke, because of an update is both not fun and tedious. No Exclusivity Having no exclusivity to a certain platform is a tough problem for the industry as a whole. In an ideal situation a developer can release their game to all platforms allowing more people to access to their games regardless of what headset they have, however… …VR developers will most likely never see profit from their game, or at least enough the justify the time spent developing. The current number of users available is too low to justify professionals to make a career developing VR applications. I know this might come as a surprise, but developers need to eat and sleep too! Unless VR developers are being subsidized by one of the platforms, it doesn’t make economic sense for professionals to spend a year+ making a game. The piece of advice here is that if by chance you’re pitching your game to a subsidizer. If your budget request is small enough for a smaller game, it might be possible to negotiate non-exclusivity among the platforms, having them subsidize part of the game. Having said all of this, I can’t personally affirm or deny any of these statements being made. Conclusion Is 2017 the year of VR? Sadly, it seems that’s unlikely the case. 2018 might even be a little too early. The good news is that the VR development community is still growing strong: Industry leaders are still pumping money to making new hardware and platforms. Developers are constantly pushing out new apps and experimenting with new concepts. We’re slowly but surely creating momentum that will eventually break VR into mainstream usage. However until then, we’re just going to keep making games and creating cool experiences. This was a great 1st talk at PAX and I can’t wait to see how the panelist’s game will do out in the market when they come out! Until then, I’ll see you all later! Happy PAX! Original article: Is 2017 Going to be the Year of VR?
  18. The V-aRms Race Has Begun: VIVE Drops Price $200

    This is only the beginning, VRm I right? Not unlike an arms race, the VR price war has only begun. Who has the best Equipment? Early this Summer, Oculus had a massive sale on their device, the Oculus Rift, ending in a permanent price drop. HTC is now following suit, cutting out the sale, dropping the price altogether on their Vive Head-Mounted Display. Yesterday, The HTC Vive took a hefty slash in price, dropping from their $799 price tag, down to $599. This comes as no surprise after the Oculus Rift dropped down to $399 earlier this Summer on sale. At the end of the sale, the price raised back up to $499 as the final price, $100 less than previous to the sale. The HTC Vive comes with plenty of their worth for the price, too. Along with the head-mounted display, accessories include two wireless controllers, two bases stations, comfort-related materials, and everything purchasers need to get going (cords, etc.). Additionally, the system comes with Google Tilt Brush, Everest VR, and Richie’s Plank Experience as promotional content, as well as one-month subscription to Viveport. Vive's Giving Away Some Free Content For New Owners As a breakdown of the free content, purchasers of the Vive get $53 of extra content from the promotional pack. Google Tilt Brush ($19.99 retail value) gives artists a full 360-degree canvas to paint massive murals and masterpieces. Everest VR ($14.99 retail value) allows people to climb Mount Everest in first-person, without the fear of dying from hypothermia. Richie’s Plank Experience is a starter “game” for new VR players, teaching balance using VR, as well as giving a couple extra modes like a sky-writing experience. But, that’s not all! Purchasers of the $600 system also get a free 1-month subscription to Viveport, HTC’s subscription service, valued at the incredibly pricey $6.99. Subscribers can choose five games/experiences to try out during their subscription period, with five more for each additional subscribed month. The list to choose from includes some amazing titles like ROM: Extraction, which has players shooting robots in a space station. But, people should research their potential options to maximise their potential. For instance, players can also choose the (somehow) award winning title, BUTTS: The VR Experience, which may or may not push virtual reality to its foremost limits (spoiler: it doesn’t). But, What About Me And You? The question to ask is “What does this mean for potential VR buyers?” Well, the war is in motion here, showing both of these price drops. Virtual Reality enthusiasts and companies are pushing that VR is the future. With this price drop, the Vive finally becomes more affordable to the masses, as well as the even more affordable Oculus Rift. But, alas, other companies are starting to get in on the game, as well. Some people just want entertainment instead of gaming. Artists want whitespace to create. Experiences can be strapped to a face for cheap. Google, the folks that bring the Daydream to the VR market, is pushing their own boundaries by teaming up with HTC and Lenovo for cost-effective standalone experiences. Microsoft’s HoloLens will take users into augmented reality, albeit from a much higher price. VRotica, an erotica-enabled standalone HMD device already on the market, costs a fraction of the price of other HMDs. Essentially, VR is getting cheaper. For those that have a device already, awesome. The experiences are unlike anything ever before. For potential buyers, as with all technology in history, VR is getting cheaper all the time. Thousands of games and experiences inhabit the SteamVR storefront and respective virtual shops. “VR Ready” Computers are coming down in price as well, eventually making the idea a non-issue. But, the average joe still has to fork out some cash for a game-capable machine, because cheap computers still can’t handle it. VR, at the moment, is for the elite, but it won’t be for too much longer. Is it the perfect time to grab a now $599 Vive, a recently dropped $499 Rift, or should buyers wait it out for even better prices and devices later?
  19. Wingless Release date: Aug 22, 2017Systems Supported: VIVE, RIFTPlatforms: Windows, VRPlayspace: Standing, Room-ScaleControls: Tracked Motion ControllersGenres: Action, IndieDeveloper & Publisher: Kentoo Sp. z o oSteam: SteamPrice: 6,99€ Description: It’s a snowball crafting, penguin mashing, dynamite throwing fun! Fend off waves of flightless birds in the name of gaining the ultimate skill - flight. Who deserves it more? Humans or wingless animals? Think quickly and act accordingly, avoid blows dealt by desperate penguins and try to fight back. Combine and utilize surrounding objects - adapt to ever increasing difficulty level. Earn points - higher the score, closer to the top of leaderboard you get. Master the art of snowball building, pitch fast ones or roll massive balls of ice down the slope that stop everything in it’s path. In the end only thing that matters is keeping those pesky birds off your precious artifact. Wingless is a game for everyone looking for classic defense experience with a bit of crafty twist. Built from scratch using the Unreal Engine 4 for VR platforms - HTC Vive and Oculus Rift alike. Features: Fast paced defense action with a crafty twist! Engage your muscles (get some proper cardio), reflexes and resource management skills! Trust your aim and good old snowballs, blast em' with dynamite or lure with tasty fish. Do whatever it takes to protect the amulet! Chill out and have stress-free fun in Casual Mode, let the penguins come close and check out their cool hats! Fight your way to the top of the leaderboard in Competitive Mode, break your way through endless waves of enemies and show world who's best! Unlock wide variety of glove skins; don fashionable leather or get yourself some sporty spice - the choice is yours! Full support for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift with Touch Controllers! Trailer: Wingless Trailer Screenshots:
  20. Become a VR Beta Tester

    I invite all of you to test our latest project in VR - Gravity Tunnel VR. Read about the game on our website: https://qverty.com/gravity-tunnel and watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KXBbsJhxKzk&feature=youtu.be I would like to ask you to give us feedback on the experience. If you are interested, please write a comment below and I will send you the game keys and a few questions for the collection of feedback.
  21. As of today, Aug 28th... Spartaga is now available on Steam! Spartaga is a VR Bullet-Hell action arcade game, where your controller is your ship. Geometry Wars and Xortex 26XX in the lab were the big inspirations. We handmade all the levels, did a lot of tuning, playtesting, etc. We're very happy with how it came out. There are a couple free updates we'd like to do as well, once we start getting feedback. We were also very lucky to collaborate with Carbon Based Lifeforms, one of the most popular ambient electronica artists in the world, and we dedicated a whole mode to them. It's very, very pretty. We can actually run at 90 fps slightly under minimum VR spec if you turn off some of the graphic options, but if your computer can handle it, you'll want to turn everything on. It's very cool. The background art is synced to the music, some of the CBL schemes have dozens of dynamic lights (honestly I'm still a little surprised it runs so well). The whole project was made in Unity, with a good amount of assets from the store (mostly sound, pfx, UI). 2 people for about a year, one of us (me) was fulltime the whole time, the other guy went full time for about the last 6 months, and was doing it for a side project / royalty before that on the side of being a lifeguard. As for me, I came from a long AAA history at Microsoft Studios in publishing, but also did a bunch of stuff on kinect, and 5 years on HoloLens. It was super fun, but i'm very excited to be a small indie now, it's what i've always wanted to do. I've been a lurker on gamedev.net since I was a kid, some of the old articles helped me out in my first interviews to get into the industry. Check it out! Happy to take any feedback or answer questions about the game or development or anything else.
  22. Hangry Bunnies From Mars - Launched

    We did it! It was a crazy, intense and awesome ride! http://store.steampowered.com/app/672910/Hangry_Bunnies_From_Mars/
  23. I have been working on and off on Etherea for a few years now, always using only my spare time. A few years ago it was already in a playable state, with players walking and fighting inside space stations, taking off to open space and visiting planets within a galaxy. Then I froze the project to work on something entirely different on an ambitious job.Here is a short video that shows some features of the old game:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WN7ImKeuiIAs said, although not fully complete, it had multiplayer and was playable already. It required a dedicated server though, so I only kept it online for a short time.Now, I'm back to this project again, and it has a few important improvements. Not only hardware is now more powerful, but I am also a better and more experienced programmer, so I'm in the process of reimplementing everything and it's now called Etherea². This version is compatible with both Oculus Rift on desktops, and GearVR/Cardboard on mobiles. It has many other improvements as well, and I strongly believe on its potential.Initially, I wrote an entire 3D engine from scratch using WebGL. Then I decided to switch to Unity because it really cuts development time with its many ready features. Here is a mixed video showing part done on Unity, and part done in my own WebGL engine:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L5piGlyjxcUI really like the game-design I wrote, and I believe this game can find many people who will like to play it.At this time, I would like to be able to work on it full time, though, as working only at nights and weekends, when I'm tired already, makes it a painful development. I am looking for someone who is willing to invest on this project and become a partner with me.If you are this serious partner who wants to bet with me, please contact me at "imerso" ..at.. "imersiva.com".Thanks.Vander
  24. Hello everybody ,i am making a game using unreal 4 i need to track the player using a camera to control the virtual objects in the game by his/her movement .. i was deciding to use kinect v1 as it is available in my college ,but i read it is not compatible with unreal ,any suggestions if using a webcam will go right ,or any other device for tracking but not cost alot? Thanks alot.
  25. Develop:VR

    Brought to you by the team behind Develop:Brighton, Develop:VR is a one day event taking place on Thursday 9 November at Olympia London. After a successful launch last year, we’re back with a focus on the new commercial opportunities that Virtual and Augmented Reality present, together with exploring the tools and techniques needed to produce top notch VR and AR content.