Thursday, February 16, 2017

20170216 VR brainstorming

Tonight, we revised the games and experiences we had previously examined, and created a rough set of guidelines laying out what works, what doesn't, what's feasible for a small team. This covered art direction, animation, art, mechanics - essentially we're trying to find a recipe for what to make, based on our limitations.

Scheduling is in flux for the next few weeks, as a number of large video game conventions and conferences are looming, so we likely won't get back into things until the end of March.

However it's good to be pausing at a stage where we have a bunch of options for what to do when we're ready.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

20170209 VR porting experiment

Tonight we tried porting a friend's Unity first-person project to VR - not the whole thing, just testing a scene.

Ran into a litany of weird Unity errors - this is our first time interfering with someone else's project, and it was pretty offputting!

Something to do with Unity versioning, and/or plugins.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

20170207 Vive Camera experiment

The chaperone effect is pretty neat if you like Glowing Edges in Photoshop. I do.
Tonight, we ran some experiments related to the HTC Vive's built-in camera, mostly riffing on how possible it might be to use as a real-world camera in which one might place virtual objects.

From what we can tell, the camera simply isn't high-definition enough to be useful for this, and given our three-hour session limit, it felt like too much of a rabbit-hole to re-fit the camera's image output to be suitable for use within the headset. My inclination is also that someone has already done this part somewhere out there.

We also took a side-trip and made a little cube character who would mimic your movements in reverse, thus mirroring you. Its name is HeadFriend and it is strangely compelling and 'life-like' despite being obviously not lifelike at all.

One fun little thing we ran into tonight was the weird feeling of watching the Unity Game view as someone else wearing the headset approaches you from behind. It is a chilling feeling, even though you know they are there, to watch someone approach you! Pretty interesting.

The overall outcome of tonight is that we're really starting to pick up the pace on the idea-implement-execute cycle. Some things this evening barely took 20 minutes to go from 'what if' to 'oh, cool!'. That feels good, for sure. Not bad for just 4~ weeks of VR experimentation.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

20170202 VR testing

Audioshield is a lot of fun.
Tonight we completed our testing that we had begun on Tuesday. Our conclusions remain mostly the same, with the exception that we saved a few 'best in class' entries for tonight, to avoid overly coloring our impressions of the others in the line-up.

Space Pirate Trainer is an excellent shooting gallery that results in quite a cardio workout as wave difficulty and intensity increases.

Budget Cuts has a particularly cool idea for modifying what the tracked controllers do, and I can almost definitely imagine using it in the future.

Overall our impressionss were:
  • Lots of physics and scripting is good and works well
  • As little animation as possible is fine - the player is largely more interested in how they can affect their surroundings.
  • If you do have loads of art and animation, it is very impressive but also looks acceptably very expensive
  • Games where you walk the least are the most engaging
  • Teleportation does not feel like 'the answer' to VR movement