Lareena gets a 360 Camera!

MY NEW GOPRO FUSION!

For a long time, I’ve been coveting a great 360 video camera. That long awaited day has come!

After much agonizing and study, I’ve picked a nice semi-pro camera that will work for us and we backpack through Europe (coming soon)! I bought a GoPro Fusion. It has a reputation for good resolution (that looks even better than the numbers suggest) and also good color correction, night footage and image stabilization.

I PLUG IT IN FOR THE FIRST TIME

(But didn’t realize it was on)

LAREENA IS CONFUSED, TESTING FUSION

In my living room, I test the Gopro Fusion out, using the iPad app to control it.

TESTING THE STITCHING.

I walk all the way around the camera. You can notice the stitching a little, but i was impressed with how good it was!

TESTING THE IMAGE STABILIZATION

I walked down the street, holding the GoPro Fusion above my head, to see how bumpy it got. A little bumpy, you can tell I’m taking steps but fairly good! I’m satisfied.

I’m happy with my GoPro Fusion camera, but still more tests to come!

 

Why You Should Use VRTK as your SDK

WHY VRTK?

Because it’s brilliant, that’s why. Also, it can support a wide variety of formats the most important (for me) being VIVE and Oculus. These were the two main platforms that we wanted to come out on.

Once I learned to create a world in Unity, I couldn’t rest until I’d looked at it in my new VIVE headset. I was hooked! I wanted more. I wanted to move around in my world. And that was a little trickier.

I was a beginner to Unity and programming. I had no idea what I was doing. I tried tutorial after tutorial. Usually, I’d get stuck along the way because it didn’t work for me the way the tutorials did.

Then I learned about SteamVR and I got excited. It took awhile to figure out how to put the camera in the scene and get it working, nominally. But I was very excited.

Another tutorial show me that all I needed all along was to drop the “Player” into the scene (and also the “Teleportation” element). Wow, it worked! Now in order to teleport, all I had to do was add a teleport point to any place I wanted to go. Or to put down a teleport plane onto surfaces I wanted to walk across.

But after awhile, it got tedious. I’d put down a path of teleport points and they wouldn’t be close enough together. I had to fuss with them.

Then my co-conspirator Carolyn called and said forget SteamVR. Download VRTK. And I was like “Oh no, not *another* system. I just got SteamVR figured out!” So, I downloaded it and watch maybe one or two tutorials on how to build the VRTK SDK’s and *boom* I was off and running.

VRTK

GETTING STARTED WITH STEAMVR

Steps you through how to set up the SDK for SteamVR using VRTK.

VRTK Website:

https://vrtoolkit.readme.io/docs/getting-started

No need to put down those teleport points or teleport planes. I could go anywhere! It was a sudden freedom of movement.

So friendly. So easy. I think I was in love.

And other interactions were easy, like climbing. (I went a little crazy with climbing). There was even a tutorial to convert that first person shooter project. Nice. All I had to do was find a bunch of useful monsters and substitute them for the ones in the original, build a world and implement it all over again. (Okay, not super easy, but I did it).

CONVERT THE SURVIVAL SHOOTER TUTORIAL TO VRTK

I went through all the sample scenes, of which there are many, and found a ton of useful methods that gave me a lot of control over the interactions with the environment. You can create a gun holster, ziplines, throw things, use a sword! Lots more!

STILL USING STEAMVR?

So, if it’s so great, why did I keep one scene in my game with SteamVR instead of VRTK?

Well, it was the bow.

I loved the SteamVR bow; it’s awesome! (You know, the one from the Lab?) Also, early on, I’d done a tutorial where I learned to make it spawn on the player’s back and return there. Pretty cool.

Try as we might, we just couldn’t get the VRTK bow to work in a way we liked. We called it the “Sausage bow” because in the tutorial, it was made of little links. So, in the Skyway scene, we kept SteamVR instead of VRTK. Still need to sort out a decent bow to use in VRTK. (Email me if you know how).

Here’s Eddie Balderas‘s tutorial on setting up the SteamVR bow to spawn on the player’s back.

NO MORE VRTK? OR IS THERE?

Then I heard the sad news that the developer, thestonefox  (https://github.com/thestonefox/VRTK) was no longer developing it and I felt a little crushed. Still, he was maintaining the SDKs, so I kept using them, hoping to get through with the game before it became obsolete.

But then I heard the good news: VRTK and theStoneFox is back in business! Apparently funded by Oculus. Yay! Good news. I wasn’t keen to learn a whole new system, though I suppose in the ever-changing world of VR, it’s inevitable at some point.

Just not today.

 

Lareena’s Amazing Credits Room

Me: “We need to credit the asset creators.”

Lareena: “Okay.”

I didn’t want to be like the company which put out the Adventure game:

http://readyplayerone.wikia.com/wiki/Adventure

I was thinking we should at least list the credits with a prominent link.

Lareena, however, has gone all-out:

 

Lareena’s amazing credits room for Fantabula

Dang.  Lareena did good.

Wonder if she put an Easter Egg anywhere in this rogue’s gallery.

 

(Colossal Cave Adventure on the Dec 10, in 1979, was my second ever computer game. First was Pong, in the lobby of the theater showing Star Wars. 1977. Lots of credits in the Star Wars movie, but none in Pong.)

–Carolyn

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REVIEW: RECROOM

RECROOM is available on Steam.

Works with VIVE, Oculus, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets.

Tired of first person shooters? Want to try virtual laser tag and paintball? This is your game!

They have an awesome laser tag and paintball section. You play against other real players, so it’s challenging. Some of them are very good. Everyone is automatically assigned a team, but you can switch teams before the game starts.

If people are rude or vulgar, there’s a great system for kicking people from the game. I’ve never had much trouble from other players in RecRoom.

Adding other friends is easy. There are other games, like ping pong, dodge ball and soccer (but I didn’t like those as well).

Also, the laser tag / paintball games are short, like 8 minutes, so I can play even if I don’t have a lot of time. You don’t have to play all night (but you *could*).

My video is mostly of the laser tag, my favorite part.

CREATE YOUR OWN ROOM.

The other fun feature in RecRoom is their Create a Room feature. You can use almost unlimited creativity in putting together a room. They provide 3d objects to put in it, as well as a paint-gun similar to Tiltbrush to decorate with. The rooms can be private or public. And you can make your own paintball or tag game.

Some rooms I’ve visited: a huge ship in the sky, a giant dragon, an archery game (with no apparent rules), a forest.

It’s all good fun. Try it out!