About one year ago I was hired to help with a Virtual Reality project for a massive sci-fi movie. I was very excited as I love the genre and that saga in particular is great… then I saw the Unity project!
We all have been there: a project with little direction at the beginning where different agencies have taken care of animations and sounds respectively without worrying too much about how to hold everything together. Once all the mess is done then you call the programmers to work on it.
I always like to think about my house as a playground, that is why I try to do a pillow fort every now and then (I am getting incredibly good at it) with mazes, levers and riddles. But maybe I am finally getting old and for the last one I thought that moving mattresses, tables and hanging ropes everywhere was not a great idea because, when the puzzle is finished, I would have to dismantle it and I won’t be able to replay it ever again.
I recently went to my first “Escape the Room” game ever. In these games you are locked for 60 minutes in a room with some friends and have to solve some puzzles to get out. I really had a great time, it adds so much more things to the experience than the video-game versions! I was also well surprised with the difficulty: instead of 4 or 5 very hard riddles you have dozens of smaller ones, making it a more satisfying than frustrating experience… I needed to do one of those Escape the Room games for myself!
Half a year after HackManchester I decided to give a go to a Data-Based Hackaton… this time joining a team with friends. The result was the Light Raider, an Android app that encourages running among Mancunians by targeting lamps in the streets. It went really well as we won in “life quality” topic … and I used that money to get me an Oculus Rift SDK 2 (but that is a different story) and we even got showcased by some of the local media.
A lot of things have happened since the last update. Being the most important one that I achieve to get a job in the augmented reality industry! This has keep me very busy for the last year, but I have effectively managed to learn a lot in the field and also Android, iOS, Unity3D and many… many more. I love it!
Now that my “learning” curve has eased out I finally got time to carry on in my personal projects / hacks. And this time I promise I will put some proper code and tutorials (by the way I have enabled the comments so feel free to comment code in the older entries).
So this first new entry is related to the fact that I just received an Oculus Rift. This HMD is called to push the VR back in the trenches and I wanted to try it first hand… It promises real-time head tracking and perfect 3D vision of the environment with an epic field-of-view. You can move around the scenarios and after 3 minutes you truly believe you are inside. But head tracking is not everything in Virtual Reality and there is still some edges to cut: one of those is solving the problem of “moving around” with some kind of localization and I will talk about that one at some point; but the interesting one today is interacting with the environment, and when I say interacting I mean shooting at things… time for some Virtual Reality FPS.
One of the advantages of the AR system developed is the ability to couple the logic of a video game. At the same time I was coding the system, my friend Carlos Torija was designing a video
game, he created the artificial intelligence and logic and then we both added simple graphics with openGL and gave it some AR. In this game you have to evade/attack an evil drone that follows and tries to kill you. The game has been produced to be played in a open space and it has virtual walls! Next step includes map recognition.
I also started another AR game using my system. I planned to release it for bada 2.0 but Samsung keeps delaying it so the game is unfinished. The game is an augmented stunt kite simulator, at the moment it has really simple physics and fixed wind but I plan to add a wind system using weather forecast and advanced physics in order to perform realistic tricks.
After 5 years studying it comes time for the dissertation. You can choose one of the many subjects proposed by the professors , but I decided to go on my own creating a whole augmented reality system.
Augmented Reality is probably one of the most eye-catching technologies nowadays. I still remember how I started to dream about it years before it became an emerging technology. Much time later I was able to do a complete dissertation about it (I will talk about this in another section).
My very first try with AR supposed the creation of a weird idea I had long time ago: some day AR and social networks will work completely together and people will be able to see personal information about me just pointing at me with their phones. This terrible future is too close and I decided it was possible to create an App that explains the idea.