Some tweaks to my play area fixed some problems. First, I re mapped it so the back of the room is now the “front” direction for Steam VR. This necessitated recalibrating the camera, but that process goes a lot faster after you’ve done it 20 or so times! The camera is also repositioned to capture more of the action… there’s still a lot going on you can’t see, I need additional green screens and higher ceilings to fix that. For some reason the “floor” in steam VR is off, it thinks the world ends at my ankles. shrug. It’s not worth remapping to fix though. The work continues!
Well, we have MVP. I made a mixed reality trailer of my favorite game, Space Pirate Trainer!
Some problems with it. It defaulted to flac, not mp4, so I can’t edit it with the software I know. The capture card for some reason is sending up very choppy images, so it looks like I’m moving around in some kind of weird time bubble. I have no idea why. The chroma key detecting the screen is pretty sloppy, which is probably due to the lighting, which needs improvement. I only have one green screen, so you can only see one vector instead of a whole bunch. The camera angle is lousy, and too close, it needs to be set farther back and up more. This will mean re calibrating it but I’ve kind of got the process down from doing it 30 times today. What else. There’s probably a scaling issue between the two cameras, I don’t think they’re mapped perfectly, I was kind of guessing at the resolutions, but until I get the image less choppy there’s no way to know for sure! Other than that… well, see for yourself. I dodge lasers like a pro, and got a new high score, 14900!
There’s more than one way to do mixed reality, and my approach was a kind of hodge podge of other techniques pioneered by my colleagues. The point is, there’s an unlimited number of correct ways to do MR, and a hundred ways for me to improve my process. This is just a first step and it was lots of fun taking it!
In Xi’An, you can take the subway to any of the four city gates (each something of a large citadel), climb up onto the city wall and… rent a bike. The wall is well over sixty feet wide, and one of very few intact after China’s recent cultural revolution. And it runs rectangular a total of 18 km – two walls of 6 km running east-west, and two more north-south running 3 km. Making ancient Xi’An 18 square km rectangle. The city has since sprawled well beyond these boundaries, but somehow the walls here have survived, when the walls in almost every other city are almost completely erased. I visited over 10 cities in China, and while they all had walls at one point – only two remained. This one, and the one in Hangzhou.
With many interesting “portally” things along the way – and even more plainly visible on both sides of the wall. The inside teems with commerce and culture, the brilliant progress of a city that is nearly three thousand years old, and the outside more of the same, but growing less focused as the city sprawls away off into the grey, misty, filthy air, off into the distance, as only a Chinese capital city can. Those hazy construction cranes in the background smog are an omni-present symbol in modern China.
So, I have most of what I need to shoot mixed reality videos! It took some time to set up, especially moving things around, given my stamina is not back to 100%. Here’s what it looks like:
Not too bad right! Not picture is the video capture card I installed into Baby after lugging her across the room. And I still need to mount my third Vive wand onto the camera. However once that’s done, it should work. Biggest problem will probably be the lighting. I got a pretty nice kit, but it’s a bit underpowered, and doesn’t seem to penetrate all the way to the green screen.
I broke one of my own rules and tried a new game out. Usually I send someone else in but for some reason I’m short on volunteers at the moment. I played Arizona Sunshine. Holy shit, friends. This game is amazing. It makes my games look like a pile of crap. I can’t believe how well done everything is. They do things right that I couldn’t believe. The protagonist has an internal monologue. This is so often abused, but man the actor they got to read this story was damn good! The story itself, is also damn good! The gameplay is amazing, and fits with the story perfectly. Sound and graphics excellent, play control excellent, inventory excellent. No UI to speak of, which is excellent! Movement by teleport, best implementation I’ve seen lately. This is one of the best games I’ve ever played, and really fun and engaging. Only got stuck twice, and was able to pick up in the next session. I can’t believe I’ve only lost 4 hours of my life to this according to Steam. It feels like I lived half a life in there already. That kind of time dialation can only come from the adrenaline packed gameplay, where your fear response slows down time in your mind. Amazing.
I’m humbled and once more disheartened. How can I possibly complete with this! Hah, well, I can’t, on my own. This is the collective work of over thirty people focusing more energy and time than I have. It’s just another example of teamwork making the dreamwork.
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:
Ok my thumbs are tired since for some reason I’m updating with my phone. Oh yeah to share pictures. CMDR out