Dec 122016
 

Might as well share this with you as well, I’ve begun experiments on a new type of Nourishment:



Yes, I’m trying soylent!  Early results are positive.  I replace one meal a day, and so far it tastes pretty good, it’s filling, nutritious, and a huge time saver.  The only thing negative about this is that it’s 100% food, and 0% fiber. So I’ve been expecting a disruption to my BM’s, but so far no disasters.  Like that time I tried to eat my way through mainland China.  

I’ve been at war with my own weight for 20 years now.  While I’ve made substantial gains, total victory has been elusive, I’ve always plateaued in various places: 255 and 225 for a long time, 200 and 195 for just as long.   And it’s my own poor eating habits that are to blame. Soylent looks to be a great new weapon for my arsenal.  Each bottle is like a bullet dodged that would have otherwise hit me right in the waistline.  I don’t have to quit food entirely, like I did during the master cleanse.  But I could.  I could even merge the two strategies come summertime.  And compared to previous dietary mandates I’ve attempted (see above : “eat my way through mainland China”) … This one is much more sound.  Of course, I’ve still been going crazy on some meals, for instance yesterday I went absolutely bonkers at the Brazilian bbq place down the street from my house.  But what am I supposed to do?  I have a Brazilian bbq place down the street from my house!  Right next to jacks ribs and ale.  Which is in turn down the street from surf taco, JR’s, Isu sushi, Ming Ying and the freakin ORIGINAL WINDMILL.  And the inkwell.  Forget the new Thai place, cafes and the weird juice bars… My street is a gastronomic minefield, and I’m out there risking it every single day people.  The fact that I’ve survived as long as I have living in proximity to west end is a testament to my fantastic willpower and judgement, and I should be showered with praise and adulation for maintaining my awesome stalemate with myself!  Compound that with my considerable cooking skills, and I feel like I have every reason to to be exited about my extraordinary achievement of non-progress!

I will keep you all posted on the early results of this fun little experiment.  

 Posted by at 12:21 pm
Dec 122016
 

… Only some want to fly.  Isn’t that crazy?


Yes, the Commander Chair is the latest visible addition to my gaming armada.  It’s been through some rigorous testing, and performed great.  Needs some cable management improvement, but otherwise… Moving my HOTAS to my oculus setup has freed up my Vive for… Well, you’ll see.  I’m still rigging the green screen and lighting over in my room scale setup.  Pics of that will come when it’s nearer completion.  In the mean time I’m moving subsystems one by one out of the big room and into the office.  Leap Motion, webcam and DCS probably will be next.

I’ve had some great experiences and honestly I think Elite Dangerous looks a whole lot better through the Rift.  I’ve had some fantastic play sessions, but as twitch streaming and webcam haven’t been set up here there’s no record.  funny because all the times I HAVE recorded have been embarrassing failures.  But, I joined one of the best player groups in the game: East India Company.  And I’ve been helping my new friends take shit over.  I’ve been flying my Anaconda in conflict zones and making tons of money and rank in the process.  Now I’m hunting bounties, since the last war was won in short order.  

Today I say goodbye to my PlayStation 4 and PSVR.


  I sold it on Craigslist for a little more than what I paid for it.  It’s a wonderful product, however the games are too few and too expensive.  And developing for this platform is a pipe dream.  They open their doors for larger established studios only, and I’m the opposite of that.  The headset is great, but still a cut below my PC headsets.  Same is true for the camera and controllers.  Honestly, I don’t spend any time playing it.  Even when I was basically crippled lying on a recliner in my living room, I didn’t want to play it!  I’m not a console player, never was, it’s always been PC for me, and no single product will likely change that.  I’m going to push through the last bunch of free demos and hand this off to a family that will appreciate it much more than I did.  And I, in turn, will appreciate their cash in hand.  I will miss Robot Rescue though, that game helped show me what console VR could be at its best.  The tank demo, battle zone is awesome too.  Hopefully these games will be able to sneak back into my library on either oculus or vive. ( I know I have Gary the gull on pretty much every platform)

My favorite VR experience right now after E:D is Accounting.  If you are anywhere near someone with a Vive, go to them, and tell them to “put me into accounting”. You will not regret it!

Amazon tells me my Oculus Touch controllers will appear at my door tomorrow.  I got to try them out at VRDC and I liked them a lot.  Will I grow my oculus setup to full room scale?  Not sure.  We’ll try standing room only first.

Today I hope to get my first MR green screen video shot, and maybe another video of flying in ED added to my twitch channel.  Last one had issues with centering the view, I’ll try to fix this time.  My twitch link:

twitch.tv/outliervr 

Ok my thumbs are tired since for some reason I’m updating with my phone.  Oh yeah to share pictures.  CMDR out

 Posted by at 11:40 am
Dec 082016
 

Continuing to make progress.  I found out that the muscle that hates me is my right side serratus anterior.  This little baby lives underneath your lats, and connects the ends of your ribs to… other parts elsewhere.  But yes, these are breathing muscles, they expand your rib cage as you breathe.  And they hurt if you strain them… for 4 to 6 weeks.  So I guess I’d just better settle in and wait.  I can sustain moderate activity for a few hours each day.  Any more than that and the pain grows to a point where it’s difficult to rest or sleep.

I have everything I need to shoot green screen mixed reality videos in Unity, and probably also in 1st person layered view for non-unity applications.  But it means moving a bunch of furniture around my studio and rigging up green screens, plus extending the padded floor and walls of my play area another 4 feet, and I’m not up for it yet.  Still kind of excited to be doing this!

After doing two live twitch streams last week (which nobody watched!) I put up my first video.  It’s not impressive… it’s my usual routine of taking my biggest ship in Elite Dangerous into a war zone, and racking up as many kills as I can before I’m forced to withdraw.  I don’t know what it is about playing in VR, but I seem to make a lot more mistakes while flying.  Stupid things like forgetting to turn on my shield boosters or deploying my hard points, whatever.  My first attempt at the video saw me get soundly thrashed as I accidentally joined the wrong side in a war and got beat to within an inch of my life by NPC’s.  don’t think I’ll be posting that.  This time I had some kind of problem with my radar and shot a lot of friendly ships, causing them to turn on me… repeatedly.  Still, the amazing thing is that I’ve been able to make all these wonderful mistakes without being destroyed.  I stumble a lot, but don’t fall.  It’s encouraging.  I think this is my twitch channel, go check it out to see my first video.  Still working out details on my very old web cam, and my very new logitech microphone, sometimes the audio gets recorded twice and it’s annoying as hell.

www.twitch.tv/0utl1er

I think that’s my link, need to double check

Once I get the green screen working, I’ll see if I can get a video of  Vivecraft working… mine craft in VR!  I have it installed and working on my Rift PC, need to move it over to my room scale setup.  And possibly buy an account, since it’s a subscription game.

Found my old iphone 4, looking into turning it into a cheap cardboard device.  It means updating the firmware.  Never a good idea for iphones, but, what do I have to lose?  I’ve been using this thing pretty much as an ipod touch that can run Spotify.  But there was a time when this was my only device.  I had this baby jail broken and unlocked, and it was my only companion while I was ravaging china.  And not so much as a scratch on it.  I’m going to try to run cardboard on it.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

I put my Playstation VR on Craigslist, there are people there willing to pay more than I did to get it, so I might as well come out ahead on this one.  I like the product… a lot, really!  But in terms of performance it’s a cut below the PC-based alternatives, there’s a very sparse selection of games, many of which I already own on the PC, and those games are priced foolishly high, compared to their PC alternatives.  So yeah, love the console, but PC & Vive win the day.  The only console I need is the new nintendo classic, which is just about impossible to find, anywhere, at any price.  Figures.

I thought I lost most of my china journals. I kept three… two paper journals, and one on my ipad.  When my ipad was destroyed, I thought all those entries were lost.  But no, I had them backed up on “ol’ Grindy”, my venerable HP desktop replacement.  Couldn’t believe that stuff was still there, but I managed to restore my old ipad from an even older backup, and yup, all my entries are there.  So I think I’ll start posting them.  I’ll just do it on a 2 year delay, starting in February, when I went out there.  I am somewhat looking forward to this.  A lot of the entries are garbage and drivel, but I feel like a few rounds of editing, plus some nice pictures, could help create an engaging story people might want to read.  The nice part about this project is that it’s 90% done and has been for over a year.  I just need to do the final bit of polish.

 Posted by at 11:46 am
Dec 032016
 

So, I messed up pretty bad and now I’m paying for it.  I did the hot yoga on Monday and over exerted myself.  “What was it Ken?  What got you?  Heatstroke?  Dehydration?  Cardiac distress?  Did you fall?”  Well I did redline my heart rate and lose a lot of water, and I flirted with heatstroke but she didn’t take me home this time.  Nope.  The doctors say I strained a muscle in my chest wall.  I walked around with it for a week, because the pain was masked.  all my muscles hurt!  But one pain would not fade away, and the more active I was, the more it grew.  And grow it did, pulling in nearby muscle groups into the action.  Until Thursday night when breathing became agony.  Somehow I managed to sleep and rest helped.  I soldiered on through Friday, but by then I was done.  It hurt too much to breathe and I had to go to the ER.  Any task requiring more than the most shallow of breaths left me in agony and fear that I would suffocate.  Even lying down in the wrong position set me into a panic.  I felt like a damn fool.  Still do.  I feel like those times I go out for an endurance run on the beach and place mental bets as to what will fail first.  Muscles? Back?  Sunburn?  Knees?  Thirst?  Nope, it’s blisters, nice job, congrats on your new callouses.  

So now I sit here, in a recliner, with heating pads and muscle relaxants, and breathing exercises.  Sleeping when I’m able and watching HBO when I can’t.  I hate this.  I have a PlayStation VR I’m planning to sell on eBay this week, maybe I should play it.  Oh but all the games are severely overpriced and I’m limited to demos.  Never mind.

I do have some progress to report.  Thursday night before the worst of my pain I was able to set up my first twitch stream!   I streamed two play sessions in Elite Dangerous!  No mixed reality, I don’t think it’s feasible ATM.  I did set up a picture-in-picture from my webcam, so that’s something.  Still, I filmed myself making an unsuccessful solo run against a federation capital ship in the Derrin system.  And a second foray into a another Hi activity combat zone elsewhere in the same system.  I got overwhelmed fairly quickly both times.  I also flew my heavily modded viper iii into battle in a low intensity zone for the first time, again to disappointing results.  Why did I spend all that effort to trick out a damn viper?  I barely lasted 5 minutes out there in the thick of it.  I love the speed on the thing, but I couldn’t even take out the first ship I engaged, which happened to be another viper.  I probably should have tried a vulture instead.

I checked the streams and they do indeed work, but nothing of my events was saved.  So from here on in I think I’m dumping live streams for pre recorded videos.  

 Posted by at 5:20 pm
Dec 012016
 

Another slipped release date… Sorry friends, been distracted of late.

These distractions have mostly been me going to New York to talk to people at tech meetups. I’ve also been networking with other VR developers and professionals, and this is really something I should have done sooner. My game isn’t even out yet and I have feedback from my not-yet-fans. And that advice more often than not has been: “Find a graphic designer and work with them on your game”.  So happily I’ve made contact with a few local artists and animators, and I’m ready to solicit the help I need to get my game published.  I really wanted this project to be wholly 100% mine, but more and more the benefits of collaboration keep making themselves known.

I’ve been checking out VR spaces and arcades around my area… and calling it “research”. I’ve started writing a business plan but without a solid team to run with it’s all very tentative at the moment.  I think there’s a huge opportunity in the space though, and I’m going to continue investigating it.

In terms of development, I’ve decided it’s time for me to get my hands on a GearVR and develop something for it. so that is in the works.  Looking forward to it.

I’ve also ordered a green screen, so I can start shooting some basic mixed reality videos, that are all the rage right now! In fact quite a lot of these are out there right now, pretty much exclusively for Unity created games. But there’s scarcely any MR video that features flight and space sims, like DCS, Elite Dangerous, Eve Valkyrie or Star Citizen (if it every comes out).  I found some guy doing it for racing games, but nothing for flight.  Thankfully his methods appear to be sound, and I should be able to re-create his techniques to create mixed reality videos of space and flight sims.  No foreground/background issues to resolve, it’s as simple as overlaying one video over another, one from the goggles perspective, and the other from the video capture on the PC.  If I do it right, it should look like I’m really flying, with my hands visibly working the controls and everything.  I’m a little bit astonished that nobody has thought to do this yet.  Anyway, that’s my next goal the VR/MR space.  Looking forward to publishing some Mixed Reality videos and possibly some VR themed Twitch streams.  Stay tuned.

 Posted by at 9:53 pm
Oct 292016
 

So, I know I’m a true dev because I skipped karaoke to fix some bugs and push out a build last night!  Problem was, my build was buggy – but everything ran fine in the editor.  Took most of the night to sort out.  Apparently, there are things you can do in (or to) Unity that make all your tags vanish!  Yup.  Lost my tags at some point.  And I saw this behavior back in August when I was struggling with this same symptom, I can only assume that was the issue then, too.  So, I gotta rebuild my tag library.  NBD but I wasn’t going to try to do that at 2 AM so I left myself a sticky note and hopped to bed and dreamed about frank Herbert’s Dune (which I read a bit of before bedtime… Recommend it.  I’ve heard the sequels are worthy too)

Thanks go out to Chris, Zach and Erin for voicing 3 of the roles in the game!  At some point I will upload and link all that audio.  It is unlikely to be complete for release.

 Posted by at 11:03 am
Oct 282016
 

Having a grand time here working on the game.  Here’s the latest!

  • I have a playable demo!  I break parts of it each day but manage to fix most of it before pushing my changes in the evening.
  • Usable Datapads are in the game!  Just need a little UI work and some data.
  • Lots of cool new features coming in – haptic feedback, animated hands, little mini-games being dropped in here and there.
  • More usable objects, related to the mini-games.
  • Script is finished, and we are recording voice actors this week.  Thanks to Chris, Zach, and Erin for contributing your talents.  Still waiting on three more of you to come in here and read.
  • It’s also well appreciated to have my voice actors help out as demo testers.  That thing where I messed up the hands and made the game unplayable?  And that thing where I took the gravity off something important, and it just went floating away?  And the falling to your death repeatedly?  I appreciate you finding these little problems for me.  Happy to say these are all fixed (well, 2/3 of them are).
  • Made some visual changes to the Key items, so they now better catch the eye.
  • A pile of bugs fixed.  These are mostly stuff that got wonky when I migrated the codebase from my other PC.  I ended it doing some wacky git nonsense where I made a new branch master and force pushed it up.  I also broke that rule where you only open repos with the Unity version they were written in, so after pulling the repo down it was necessary to re-import a lot of the assets that stopped running smoothly as a result.  The most blatant example of this was a mesh and some materials for one of the ships that just went missing, and had to be re-imported.
  • Exceeded the max repo size on Bitbucket.  OK well this is not really an accomplishment, it’s really more of a problem, but one I think I have solved by taking my codebase and starting a brand new repo on Github.  Where 2 gigs is chump change!  Anyway, I am pushing that repo right as we speak.  I’ve been blogging for almost 10 minutes, and it’s still only up to 71%.  Eventually I will finish, and it will be time to push out today’s build.  Hurrah!

Still some issues with performance enhancement (runs fine on my machine, but gotta try it out on other hardware), and I have a feeling my lighting maps might need to be repopulated.  Lighting needs tweaks in a lot of places.

The good news is, each night I end the day with a stable build, and soon it will be stable enough for y’all to give it a try!

I remain in good health and spirits, despite my  daunting Halloween release date looming over me like a shade from hades.

 Posted by at 11:13 pm
Oct 262016
 

Hello Friends,

So, I created my company last week to cover my VR self-publishing activities.  Here’s a quick update on the projects I have in development:

  • I’ve broken ground on my skee-ball game, still messing with the physics of it, haven’t made any real effort to get the graphics nice.
  • Concept development on my glyph-magic game, I still want to use my Leap Motion controller so players can actually use gestures to cast spells.  I have been using Leap’s Interaction Engine, and I’m really enjoying it so far.
  • Simon Clone is on the back burner, it’s fun and it makes cool sounds and flashy lights, which I like, but I’m not sure where to go with it next.
  • Pokemon No is marching towards it’s more publishable alter ego, Ball Pit Mania.  I have fun ideas for puzzles but I’m hung up on building the environments.  What I have is a pretty fun game ball physics game/simulation with a single level to it, so the way forward right now looks to be building additional levels to the experience.
  • My flagship game, Escape from Zellman Orbital, is in progress.  Like a flagship, it is big, bulky, slow and cumbersome.  Originally, I wanted the game itself finished, done, complete by August 19, for demoing at Upload in San Francisco.  And I certainly demoed something, but what I had at the time was not the game I had envisioned weeks before.  Is that normal?  To look at what you’ve created and wondered how the hell you got here from there?  Regardless, there were bumps in the road from getting my Steam store set up, apparently my account had not been populated with the right hooks to add all the publishing information I needed to set up my storefront page.  I was shooting for a steam release of August 19, and then set that back to September 15.  At this time I had JUST resolved my storefront issue and not ready to release.  I was also preoccupied with the construction of my studio space (more on that later) and doing all the new-company things you have to do when you start a new company.  By the time I returned to EFZO, I could see from my continuing testing experiences that I had made some misjudgments on the scope of the game (yes, overscoping) and to deliver the product I wanted would require more time.  And that is where I stand right now – pinned, in a vice made of time itself, between the present (This crisp Wednesday afternoon in October) and my true deadline of October 31, at 12:00 noon.  My current struggles are recording and implementing some of the additional audio which tells the story of the station.

Anyway, I need testers to come help me test some of these experiences, I can’t work in a bubble, so if any of you feel like helping, please get in touch with me.

Thanks

Ken

 

 Posted by at 5:28 pm
Oct 182016
 

VOICE ACTORS WANTED

for Escape From Zellman Orbital

an “Escape-The-Room” Style
Sci-Fi / Horror Themed
Virtual Reality Experience
by Outlier Studios

Set in the Distant Future,
Around a Large Red Sun About 300 Light Years from Earth,
Liberally drawing Inspiration Direct from the Mythos of Lovecraft
This 23 minute long “Escape The Space Station” Virtual Reality Simulation

Will Literally DRIVE YOU INSANE!

OUTLIER STUDIOS is looking for actors to voice the following seven roles: (All Roles open to All Genders)

DR CALEB GLASSNER – Lead Scientist of project Wassergass. You were a talented student of astrophysics. Good, but not great. Your studies focused almost entirely on theoretical conjectures on the behavior of dark matter – a poorly understood and, until lately, never observed phemonemon. It exists perfectly well on paper, but until now, nobody has ever actually observed any up close… until now. With the discovery of the Dark Matter Orb near Alpha Vulpecula, you were the only choice to lead up the mission, and it is under your leadership that everyone on the station is marching headlong into madness. (This role calls for a wide range, from sterile reporting, to excited babbling, to ranting lunacy. )

KAY ALDEBERAN – Graduate student at the University of Sirius. You have only one purpose in life – to get your PhD, and you need Dr. Glassner to do it. So you followed him here, to the edge of nowhere to study this highly dangerous physical anomaly in a bizarre station that looks like it was cobbled together by a lunatic. You wish you were still aboard the Andromeda. This is a nice place to visit, but living here is fraying your nerves.

THE STATION COMPUTER – Your designation is OZiE – Orbital Zellman Intelligence Entity. You are a standard shipboard AI, adopted to a station role. You are responsible for carrying out the stations core functions to the best of your ability. (For Casting purposes, we’re looking for a gentle, relaxed, female tone to calmly convey messages both informative, banal, and downright chilling)

CAPTAIN BARRY ANGERS – You used to serve in the Interstellar Officer Corps as an operations officer. You thought that if you worked hard enough, you know, distinguished yourself as an officer, well then you might be able to have the job that every kid growing up on Mars dreams of: Captain of an OIC Cruiser. Instead, you got stuck here. Yes, it’s a command position, but you still view this station as a coffin for your career.

DAVE RODGERS – You’re the facilities manager. A technician with a fancy title. You inspect systems, clean and replace components, run diagnostics, keep the cleaning bots in working order, and try not to step on anyone elses’ toes. That last part is the hardest. Still, the pay for taking this job in the back o beyond is truly stellar. You look forward to your early retirement. (looking for a generally provincial tone or light accent)

THE VIPER PILOT – You are a tough-as-nails single-seat space fighter pilot. You take your life into your hands every single day running escort, courier and survey missions on the edge of the bubble of colonized systems. You routinely expose yourself to ridiculous amounts of danger in exchange for ridiculous sums of credits. Of the situation you have stumbled into, all you can say for certain is you are not being paid enough for this.

THE SCRIPT CONSISTS OF:

A SINGLE SCENE with 5 characters interacting together. (In future releases, we plan to graft this onto some character animation.)

ABOUT 22 SHORT MONOLOGUES, consisting of a variety of Radio Transmissions, Research Log Entries, Personal Log Entries, Station Log Entries, Letters To And From Home, Recordings of Research Findings, Research Journal Articles

A COLLECTION OF SHORT STATEMENTS – This is mostly the Station Computer, delivering a wide variety of simple messages – “Yes”, “No”, “Affirmative”, “Station Shutdown Imminent”, “Nine Minutes until Impact”. … and so forth. The AI character has a lot of them, so be prepared. We’ll run through them as quickly as possible. They’re short so just one take for each.

YOU WILL GET:

* TO PLAY IN VR! * A $5 DUNKIN DONUTS CARD * $50 CASH *
* A CREDIT IN THE GAME’S LAUNCH SCREEN! *
* A FREE STEAM DOWNLOAD OF THE GAME! * UNLIMITED PLAY TESTING! *
*A NEAT LITTLE THROWAWAY PROJECT WITH WHICH YOU MAY LEGITIMATELY PAD YOUR RESUME!*

AUDITIONS STARTING NOW, RECORDING WILL TAKE PLACE IN A SINGLE SESSION AT OUR STUDIOS IN LONG BRANCH, NJ
YOU CAN READ FOR YOUR PART OVER THE PHONE OR ON SKYPE, IT’S COOL

Voice Acting for VR Game
Call Ken at (732) 861-9293
or Email krichlin@gmail.com

 Posted by at 1:06 pm
Oct 162016
 

Outlier VR,is an LLC I founded solo in October of 2016 to self-publish and market my own VR experiences, code snippets, and original art. It also represents the Lab and Studio space I am building in order to create this work – we are one part Game Studio, one part Virtual Reality Arcade, one part Innovation Lab, and one part Tech Startup, and one part… well, we will probably start introducing influences of a Media Lab or get involved with some consulting work focused on deploying Arcade Style VR experiences, like the ones that are all over China but for some reason hard to find here in the States. The company is also safe harbor in which I may stay safely anchored while waiting for a larger, established development house to pluck me from ship and provide me with what I REALLY want: full-time software development, and business development work in the VR space.

In terms of products, our flagship product will be a Sci-Fi themed Escape Room, “Escape from Zellman Orbital”. We are currently targeting a release date of October 25, 2016. But I can assure you we will almost certainly extend that target to October 26. At OutlierVR, we are dedicated to quality in both story-based and game-driven VR experiences. But only those two genres, so if you have other ideas, like fun things with 360 degree video or cinema-style short films, I’d be interested to learn about those projects, but hesitant to embark on one myself. My company is me, myself, and I, and together we three Titans will conquer the VR world! (However we welcome collaboration)

Additional Projects that are also in Early phases of Development:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Pokemon No (or, as my lawyers advise me, Super Ball Pit Mania)
Unnamed Glyph-Magic Game (using the Magic Leap Motion Controller)
Saitek X55 Control Schemes For Ships, Planes, Cars and Tanks (Unity Store product)
Simone (a clone of Simon)
Battle Bridge
Super Skee Ball

more info on my blog here: http://kenrichlin.me

 Posted by at 1:08 pm