AltSpace

Max hanging out in his high rise apartment.

Oculus Go envigored my interest in VR and I went looking for the real thing.
The 80s dream of a virtual world where you can have a home, walk about, meet people and do stuff has always fascinated me, indeed my first job in Norway (ok third, first two don’t count)was Astronaut Media who were building a place in the now defunct (or so I thought) Active Worlds for the Scandinavian internet operator SOL. (more on AW in another post soon).
Of course Active Worlds and the later and more porny Second Life are both 2D (er.. yes 3d characters and worlds but not VR… you know what I mean) so they are not really the VR we were dreaming of, but then I stumbled upon AltSpace!
So far Im having alot of fun. and not a price in sight! Is there anything to pay for at all? I think its totally funced my Microsoft, so it’s a good contender for “going somewhere”. I´m in!

For a start, it handles almost all possible devices (except mac and IOS, microsoft remember..) Oculus Rift, Oculus Go, Samsung Gear (still oculus really) Google Daydream (cardboard in a nice box, a very nice box) HTC Vive, Windows mixed reality headsets, and a very usable desktop, non-VR version.
After briefly getting used to controls in my home (Bit unsure as of this time if I can get visitors here, and there seem to be many possible “homes”, I changed mine later to the”Highrise”, I head off to explore, here I am exploring. Again, at this stage Im not sure if Im likely to bump into anyone, maybe I have to invite people to come with me, which means you need “friends”.

Anyway, soon you discover that the main place to meet people is  a cosy little place called “The campfire”.

Here I am with my new friend.

Here I mostly listened in to people’s conversations (feeling a bit odd about speaking our load in my house incase my family thought I had gone mad). This one fellow, pictured above, took me for a noob and offered to show me a few tricks. These are, picking up stuff. A stick or a firework, and throwing them. This sounds simplistic and sarcky, ok a bit, but it’s a start. Then he showed me how to light the firework, and hit a xylophone with the stick (which didn’t work so well). But now I have a friend, from Taiwan. Maybe I should invite him to my home… Except, its very generic… I wonder what I can do about that?
OK, back at my home I discover I can play videos on my big screen so I do that, then (after some time googling) I find that there are something called enclosures where you can put stuff, this is code you host yourself (or github if you prefer) I follow some tutorials and now I have a Moon hangin and rotating in my room, which is very cool.
Then I discover you can start your own spaces from scratch, which I do, twice, figured Id make to very different places. This proves to be harder than I thought. But I managed to make 2 teleporters to these worlds in my Home anyhow. Ill do something with them later.
I discover Shanes Editor, which appears to be a more advanced editor, best on the desktop version, but haven’t gone there yet, next post maybe.

 

Tech Notes

Just a post where Im going to leave notes to myself incase I forget stuff!

For a Google Cardboard Unity build

1 export build from Unity (disable symlink libraries)
2 open in Xcode
3 add security framework
4 disable bitcode

Upload to App-store

First Product/ArchiveThen upload from Xcode organizer  fails so export a version for the App Store and then I uploaded it using the Application Loader (It’s available on the Xcode menu, under “Open Developer Tool”).

VRoom 06 The City

Just thought Id make a corner of a block in a big US city. Maybe a cross-section. not too big, but deal with AI in the cars that are stopping and turning… people hanging about, maybe overhear conversations if you are close.
tempted to make this a 3 minutes before 9:11 game.. It ends as a plane goes over… but thats seems a bit morbid, and do I really wanna be political? Well maybe? lets face it.. that moment is a bit of a BEFORE and AFTER moment for the 21st century.
possible conversations:
so and so is getting married to the wrong guy
I hope I get that job
the girl at the copy shop is cute.. wonder if i could ask her out
I love the city, but its hard to find a decent apartment.
problems?
How to restrict the area..?
I only want to be able to stand on this street corner… Maybe NOT let the user do the walking, they can look around, but we  just walk them, maybe also as part of the car AI.. when it’s safe to cross etc. that way they only get snippets of the conversations…
wonder if I can GET conversations for free somewhere…
rather not have lip-synch… maybe just bone move…

VRoom 05 The dark room

Experimenting with audio.

Screen shot... Lovely huh?
Screen shot… Lovely huh?

VR glasses on, but totally black. A voice is heard in the distance.
“Hello! Over here.. turn this way… come to me…”
When we are facing the voice it changes
” Yes thats right now come over here”
and the voice becomes nearer, as we additionally hear footsteps from below ourselves.

If we veer off, or turn our heads, the footsteps cease and the voice goes
“no, come back, not that way!”
Eventually we get close to the voice and the footsteps stop. The voice says, “Oh.. you know what, there was a light switch back where you came from all the time…”

You turn around, and theres a small light illuminating a switch. A small amount of the room is seen…

We walk over to the switch, just before arrival it fizzes and fails, the voice shouts..
“Oh shit.. well ok.. to your left then… “
and a light comes on, again illuminating a light switch, if we try to look away (at the speaking voice for example, the light fails, and it happens again.)

VRoom 04 The Valley

Experiment: To make a really lovely place, where actually lying down is the only thing that has an effect. 

Fully AI wildlife and day night weather cycles

A small enclosed valley… there is no escape. on the one side a small lake with a waterfall, on the other a spooky cave that opens out to an underground cavern with stalactites. The valley has flowers and plants all over and is very lovely… Birds fly over head, small animals can be seen in the distance. IF you sit completely still, and only move your head very slowly, the animals will approach, any movement and they run off…the Valley_02.unity - VRoom_04_The Valley - PC, Mac & Linux Standalone (Personal) -1

the Valley_02.unity - VRoom_04_The Valley - PC, Mac & Linux Standalone (Personal) -3

the Valley_02.unity - VRoom_04_The Valley - PC, Mac & Linux Standalone (Personal) -2

VRoom 03 The Cage

The experiment: claustrophobia, what feeling can only audio give?

You are in a small and constricted room, almost like a wooden crate. at head height there is a small “slit” window that is on all sides. after a while voices are heard… and faces appear (just the eyes) at the slits. They all talk at the same time. Some people are talking about you.

VRoom 02 The HatchArt

The Experiment: The feeling of falling?

You are in a room, there is a hatch in the floor, the window only shows a few clouds, or fog. There is a button that opens the hatch. If you jump through. you fall… through clouds, past birds, past a plane, past skyscrapers, into a huge hole (maybe volcano?) into caves, through the earth into the magma, fiery centre, up through the same, out onto Chinese scene high into the air and in through a hatch on a small floating “island” repeat.. if you want…

falling.unity - VRoom_02 Falling - PC, Mac & Linux Standalone (Personal) -1

falling.unity - VRoom_02 Falling - PC, Mac & Linux Standalone (Personal)
Just trying something with a farmhouse model I have… The classic little island in the air.-..

NOTES:
Maybe NOT use genuine gravity, use paths, and fakes speeds…(rollercoaster effects?)

VRoom 01 The Window

The experiment: working with interaction methods, non touch gui, changing things the user is not looking at, red herrings, can the user perceive a point. External point, environmental, electricity use, continued use of, despite instructions not to, final message of doom delivered by child…

We are in a locked room, we can see out, we pass the time aimlessly. We are given a rule. We break the rule. Due to boredom, we break the rule again. We finally understand why we should NOT break the rule, we break it again anyway.

SPOILER

You find yourself in a room with a red button and a door and a window and an electric guitar and a table with phone on it. If you press the button you are told not to, if you try the door you are told it is locked. The phone is dead… You can interact with the guitar. play it? Throw it? Overtime the button is pressed the view outside the window changes slightly, from lovely and idyllic through bleak and empty to empty. All the time there s a girl playing far away on a hill by a tree… you don’t notice her at first, finally, she walks towards the window and tells you off—- the end.

So I finally uploaded this to the app store (only test flight right now)but YAY! iTunes Connect

…within minutes James reported he had walked through the wall and gone to visit the girls on the hill. TYPICAL… rather than fix that bug Ill leave it as a feature, but WOE BETIDE someone finds it again! I am introducing a new element that will do away with any namby pamby moaning about bugs…


 

The girl
Adding blend-shapes to the girl.

 

 

 

VRoom

Introduction to VR rooms

I have always been interested in VR, ever since I first read about it in the 80s. I read a lot of Cyberpunk books, and rushed to the local fair-ground when they got a (very bad) VR flying game installed.
Almost 30 years later, the technology has finally reached a point where we can realise some of the dreams we had back then. And oh what dreams we had, but what of now? Architectural walk-thru´s? Desperate attempts to VR-ify the latest shoot em ups…?

ETC.. more…