By now you should have realised that interaction within Virtual Reality is my biggest turn-on. After playing with DanceMats, Blink detection, custom controllers, etc… there was still one key missing experiment to do: Balance control.
The Wii Balance Board is an inexpensive (£10), obsolete and reliable piece of hardware. With two pressure plates per foot (toe and heel) it can measure with precision the balance of the user and share it over Bluetooth. It has been used in a few experimental VR games in the past, but I still wanted to give it a go and try to design around the problems in a different way.
Imagine that you are in a VR adventure where you enter a room full of characters. They are all minding their own businesses: talking to each other, playing games and, in general, being alive. When you approach a group, or a single character, you start talking with them normally and they talk to you like if you were one of them. They are all following more or less a script for a story where you are the protagonist, and it is through interacting with all characters how you can progress in your very personal adventure. How could we create this?
In March 2017 a was convinced by a friend to assist to the Hack_Construct hackaton in Manchester. What made this hackaton interesting was that it was aimed to the Health and Safety processes in the construction world. Teams were formed by a good mix of construction engineers, architecs and programmers; and the goal was to use technology to find new ways to improve their incredibly obsolete H&S procedures.
I am working on a new VR game for PC. The concept is quite simple: you fly a stunt-kite that has to perform a choreography following the music.
I started thinking about what would be a good VR-PC standing experience and kite flying is perfect: you are usually facing the same direction, taking maximum 1-2 steps forward/backward while controlling the lines. No need to teleport around or use the controllers awkwardly, you just swing your arms, walk a little and look around!
This is a post and not a proper page because I just wanted to highlight some of the features I am developing for the game. In this project I am taking care of the code and shading while a colleague is doing the 3D, so most (all) of the pictures are a work in progress.
In December 2015 I was invited to Granada Gaming, a Video-games festival held in my home town, to talk about VR and my interaction experiments. Very exciting times!
I had to give two talks: the first one was oriented to all the professionals (coders, artists, journalists) where I explained some of the decisions I took while creating Apnea (my always in-progress videogame). The second talk was for a general public and for this one I wanted to talk about something that seems to concern a lot of people: VR limitation and why FPS won’t work very well at the beginning.
I won’t cover the whole talk here as many of the interaction experiments showcased can be found already in the “VR Wireless” post and my github page, but I created something I thing is a cool hack to solve one of the main trends in VR movement: the blink transition.
October 2014 came fast and I was ready for another HackManchester after having a blast the previous year. But this time having to work +60 hours in a week made me take the decision of doing something much simpler so I could get some sleep.
At this point I was starting to experiment with an idea for what later will become Apnea, my first ever commercial/experimental game (still in the making… but more on this on another post). One of the key features of Apnea was the detection of the user steps using the HMD’s accelerometer and another one was the detection of the user breath with the microphone. Soon I realized I had a problem: every time the user walked very strange signals appeared in the breath detector, quite odd! I fixed those problems much later, but by that time I decided what if I make a small interactive game out of this odd behaviour?
After leaving my VR Gun project for a while I decided to go to HackManchester 2013 and give it the push it deserves by creating not just the Gun, but a full VR experience. In 25 hours I managed to finish the weapon and modify an existing game named Angry Bots to be playable with all the freedom of a wireless system!
I know that Nintendo DS is old hardware now, but back in my time it was awesome! One day I discovered PAlib for NDS and I decided to investigate. I came up with some weird ideas, from a back-scratching game to a portable version of the “Shelters of Catan” board game (now it do exists for NDS but it is not my unfinished-experimental version). I also started to program a time-based multiplayer gymkhana game for various teams so they can play in a specific forest, and the clues had to be solved using the NDS.
These projects taught me how hard is to create a game without a real graphical artist in the team, but I also found that seeing your results in a video-console transmits and amazing feeling.
Note: the scratching game is about…that. With difficulty from stinting to herpes!
During my holidays I was growing quite fat due to inactivity and I was spending to much time playing Minecraft. Here at home I have got a dance mat for DDR and those rhythm games but I don’t really like them, so I decided to create something funny, healthy and a bit geek: a home-made virtual reality system!