What is behind my interest in VR?

So it’s no secret that I have been following VR since the earliest prototype devices of the 80s (and if you count stereoscopic imagery- then it dates back to my first viewmaster which I had for Christmas way back when I was 8!).  I have tried most of the current crop of VR and AR headsets from the PSVR all the way up to the HoloLens.  In a previous post I outlined my build PC for the Oculus Rift DK2 – I still have that machine – though with graphics card updated to an RX480 and a PIMAX 4k Headset (the subject of a future post?). 

Before the Internet I would travel around photographic auctions and shows looking for old bits of stereoscopic kit – it was always exciting to unearth and research a new piece that I was unfamiliar with and I picked up some of my favourite pieces in this way..  In the early days of the internet I made contact with a few collectors in the US and when I heard reports that the Nintendo Virtual Boy was being ‘sold off’ in Walmart I reached out to a couple of them and bagged a couple for my collection (one to play with and one to keep MIB!)  I also managed to get most of the game cartridges!

Nintendo-Virtual-Boy-Red-Black-ConsoleVirtual Boy 2WOTW

(I always thought the VB looked a bit like a Triffid Death Machine from “War of the Worlds”)

My favourite devices are probably the oldest – I have a half dozen or so of these dotted around my house – just because I think they look great!  (There was a time when you could pick these up quote cheaply) The classic ‘Taxiphote’ is probably my favourite, though there are many variations of the basic model some of which I am still discovering …

taxiphote

Sometimes it’s the unexpected gems that I was able to ‘bag’ that give me the most pleasure.  I used to routinely submit  “blind” low bids to photographic auctions and one time noticed that one lot had ‘a collection of stereoscopic glass slides’ as very much a secondary item included with a lot of two Kodak projectors.  I won the lot with my low bid and was astonished when I went to collect and found the most incredible collection of stereoscopic glass slides taken by a Frenchman on his travels across Europe at the turn of the 20th century.  I still haven’t managed to successfully catalogue the whole collection but it remains one of my most prized items!

A Typical stereoscopic image from my collection (the actual resolution is very impressive given these images age!)

 

Not content with viewers I also have quite a collection of stereoscopic cameras – again, my favourites are probably the oldest ones in my collection (in my opinion  ‘design classics’)

Cameras
NB people ask me about the first camera top left – yes, it is a stereoscopic camera but also came with an interchangeable lens for 2d use!

Most of the cameras on the second row fold up inside themselves – the ultimate gadgets of their day!

The 3D craze in the fifties produced a treasure trove of cameras and no self respecting gadget lover would be without a Realist or Kodak, (A small selection of 50’s cameras are shown on the bottom right of the picture).

 

And just recently I have spent some time setting up a dedicated (albeit limited by my dwindling finances) VR area in my ‘man cave’ – perhaps the subject of another future blog post?

Shooting Range Augmented Reality App

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As I work on the ‘tasks & quests’ for “Goblin Harvest” I am consistently hit by the opportunities for Games & Apps that take advantage of Augmented Reality.  This one is a bit of a ‘tester’ that I am hoping to have ready for BUILD and revolves around the concept of a shooting gallery (Inspiration – Inspector Callaghan in Magnum Force!) 

The idea is straightforward – you get points for shooting bad guys and you lose points for shooting good guys.  Each session in the range lasts one minute.

I have a number of levels planned which revolve around the following parameters:

  1. Expanding the number of Shooting Targets
  2. Reducing the ‘time standing’ for targets.
  3. Increasing the number of good targets that closely resemble bad targets(
  4. Expanding the width of the shooting range (level 1 being all in front of you with subsequent levels taking in more of your 360 degree panorama)

With all the above being driven through an XML file.  If the game proves popular I will add the ability to add your own targets and parameterise the variables from within the game.

All in all this has resulted in several 12-14 hour days as my enthusiasm demands and while maybe not quite the same as a trip to Prague (http://www.allpraha.com/d/33581/Magnum_Shooting_Range/)  great fun nevertheless!

Shooting Range Augmented Reality game–under development

Beta Testing

Send me your email if you would like to beta test this app and have a Windows Phone that supports motion (NB As I write this these are only in the hands of reviewers and developers)

Thanks to the family for support and not shooting ME

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Mango Beta App Submission Walkthrough

Lots of interest in the Augmented Reality YouTube video on my previous post and although it isn’t anywhere near beta status I decided to publish “Goblin Attack” on it’s own for anyone with an interest.

This post is a walkthrough of the process I went through:

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Marking the App as a ‘private beta’

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NB the workaround if you receive the above error is documented here anApp:d involves setting a default Language for the http://forums.create.msdn.com/forums/t/87530.aspx

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Project Properties Options dialog

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As you might expect this is the same as with a standard submission

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Here you have the opportunity to invite your beta testers individually

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It is then a question of monitoring the lifecycle page until the App is through the ingestion process for beta apps.

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The initial lifecycle page

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When the app is ready you will receive the above notification via email.  (It may still be some time before the App is available via Zune)

Download Link (Mango with Motion API requirement)

Moving fast with development on this app – there are already a few features and bug fixes that are not in this beta – but all feedback will be gratefully received.

In an ideal world the Goblin would be a little more 3D, made in XAML and swipe his sword / die more effectively – anyone with the appropriate graphics skills please get in touch!

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Goblin Harvest – Augmented Reality Demo

Time for another progress update, this time looking at the early stages of augmented reality within “Goblin Harvest”.

Conceptually the game is a card / board game but with a few interesting “extras” for Mango based phones.  The opportunity to fight off Goblins in ‘hand to hand combat’ arises when one of the task cards is overturned. ( Additional points can be earned relating to the number of Goblins killed or the seriousness of wounds inflicted).

“Goblin Attack”

NB the above is conceptual at the moment – I hope to be able to improve animations and sound effects as we go.

Download Link (Mango with Motion API requirement)

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