Getting to grips with Unity & VR

At work, I have been tasked with investigating Virtual Reality and what can be done with it.  The results went in to a Lab Report to that was sent to the rest of the business.  When thinking about building any VR proof of concept (POC), Unity just makes sense due to how easy they make it to enable it (a single tick box).  Out of the box, they support the main headsets (Rift, GearVR, Vive) to a useable level.  All of my POC’s where targeted at the Samsung GearVR as currently that’s the only commercial headset available.  This does give you some challenges due to the lack of user interaction possible and performance.  That’s been my major struggle recently, gett the FPS up.

Unity do offer some very nice and pretty VR samples in the Asset store, its recommended for anyone to take a look at how they are put together.  They also show you have to pickup taps / swipes etc on the GearVR touch pad.

Another challenge I have faced with being a programmer, and not a designer is making stuff look awesome, luckily in the Lab we have someone who knows Unity a lot better than I do and has a eye for detail, which most developers lack.

All in all I have enjoyed learning Unity and hope to use it with some proper VR hardware (Vive / Rift), I also hope that if I do get to do a larger project in it, that I have a more powerful machine.  Even my fairly new MacBook Pro struggles with Unity.

I have also learned a lot about good but mainly bad uses of VR,  the key message here is, don’t use VR for everything, use it for its strengths

 

New version of Hack24 submitted!

I May of just solved a programming issue that’s been bugging me for many months. The only way I thought I could get round it was a complete rewrite of the 3D engine for Hack24. However it seems you can get around the massive performance with Hack24 by having multiple threads. Yes seems obvious however this is OpenGL world and that is completely different, the items have to created in the main context!

The fix worked, so a new version of Hack24 has been submitted (with other bug fixes!)

Humble Bundle Game Dev Edition

Humble

Humble Bundles generally consist of a number of indie games sold together at a low price in support of charity.  This time however it’s a bit different, as this one is composed almost entirely of game development tools and asset packs.  The bundle currently includes:

  • Axis Game Factory Starter Pack
  • Stencyl Indie Edition 1 year License
  • RPG Maker 90% off coupon
  • Humble Bundle Starter DLC ( sprite tiles and music tracks )
  • Indie Game Maker 2014 Finalist Pack ( more assets )
  • Labyrinth Dreams ( a game )
  • RPG Maker VX Ace Delux
  • Game Character Hub
  • Humble Bundle SciFi Pack
  • Humble Bundle New DLC Pack
  • Aveyond:Lord of Twilight ( a game )
  • Crimson Clover WORLD IGNITION ( a game )
  • App Game Kit 2
  • Spriter Pro
  • Sprite Lamp
  • Humble Bundle Fantasy DLC Pack
  • Goats on a Bridge ( a game )

The above list is the complete purchase list however, and requires an investment of at least 12$.  That said, Spriter alone usually has a 50$ price tag and Stencyl Indie is 99$, thats an extremely reasonable price tag.

More details about the Humble Game Making Bundle are available right here.

Hack24 2.0 out now!

So, finally I got some time to update Hack24, my first ever MMO for iOS.  2.0 is not as big upgraded as I hoped but added some more fun to the game.

  • You can now customise the colour and building type
  • You can now message online players
  • NPC have been introduced to add more fun
  • Bug fixes
  • Game balancing
  • iOS8 fixes

Next, I plan to improve performance, the game keeps getting new users, and so development will continue

You can get it free from iTunes

New version of Virtual Worlds Submitted for Android

Just a small update, the following features, bugs have been fixed.

  • Added feature to turn VR mode off
  • Added feature so you no longer need a game controller
  • Fixed issue with be able to place objects in other peoples worlds
  • Fixed a few crashes!

Please check out

Virtual Worlds

SHDR : Online OpenGL Shader Editor

I had to post about this amazing tool I found, now when I am writing my 3D games, I basically pray every time I play with a shader in case I brake it.

I know the basics but using either xCode or Android Studio (now has a tool), there is no syntax highlighting or easy way to see errors!

SHDR allows you to paste in your fragment and vertex shader and tells indicates any issues, and renders the results if it can!

BRILLIANT!

 

Lets release pre-alpha software! Yeah

So, tonight I decided just to punt out Virtual Worlds.  Probably a silly move but nothing has been happening lately with it due to work stuff, a 3 week long cough, 2 birthdays, Christmas and home life!

I will soon know how bad it is!

I managed to do some useful bug fixes, tested it on a couple of controllers etc.  More will come soon!

What does it have?

  • Main world has little huts which is your door way to the other worlds
  • It has some built in help to tell you what buttons do what.
  • It has some nice new textures but sadly very limiting at the moment
  • You can see other players in the game, pretty poor graphics but that will be fixed very soon
  • You can create your own little minecraft type world 🙂 though very basic!

Whats next?

  • Once I see it in the Google Store, I will test it works 🙂 (releases always seem to cause some odd bug)
  • I need to add some more textures ASAP
  • A way for people to report bugs
  • A way for people to talk to each other!

Google Play Link

Virtual Worlds update 0.1

So, Virtual Worlds, hmm I had planned to release that by the end of the month however a few things have come up!  Man Flu has not helped me code, the snot just goes everywhere!

I have also had a few other things on!

Excuses over, where are we?

  • Started getting a better set of textures together thanks to Gary
  • Made a very rough simple player model which maybe be replaced by a OBJ file
  • Fixed lots of bugs
  • Created a control screen showing controls etc
  • Improved the navigation throughout the app
  • Implemented some speaking help notifications
  • Got Google Cloud Messaging working however not sure why I need it now.
  • Moved to Live server!

Left to do by 1st December

  • Improve player object
  • Finish texture pack off
  • Make scalable zone object
  • Fix any controller issues
  • Allow user interaction maybe using GCM
  • Allow players to fly in zones if they own them to help build them
  • TEST

Wish me luck!

Virtual Worlds : Progress so far

What? a? Virtual Worlds? What a sh*t name?  Your probably right but its just better than Android 3D mmo thingy!

Progress so far?  I would of liked to give it more time but some times I am not in the mood, sometimes I can’t get out of the mood which also leads to lack of sleep!  Last night I had beer! (not a usual thing sadly)

What can you do so far?

  • Register, login
  • Navigate the main world, which will allow you to enter player zones and create your own zones.
  • You can see other players (as cubes) move about
  • Once in your own zone, you can place cubes to make structures (see below) this has been vastly improved.
  • You can climb your structures to make bigger structures (I had to make a stair case to to make the archway)
  • You can enter delete mode in your zone and delete things with ease
  • Started adding back in the voice engine, sound effects etc
  • There are now system text messages to show you important information
  • Players and zones have text above them showing their username

device-2014-11-15-231021

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Whats next

So to get it to the point where I can alpha test it I would like to do the follow

  • Create a 3D model for players as they are currently cubes
  • Make a 3D object for a zone, this should grow as the zone gets more popular / better in some way
  • Find a wider range of textures snow, grass, wood, etc
  • Create a control help screen to list gamepad controls
  • Make all commands voice activated (may get dropped)
  • Allow you to send messages to users (may be text or voice)
  • Create some sort of reason to play the game, prices, score boards etc.
  • Implement GCM (push notifications)

The aim is to have a demo zone thats setup for xmas when I release alpha:)

Off to bed!

Android OpenGL ES 2.0 : VBO’s for the win

I am currently working on an Android Virtual Reality framework, project, well not sure what it is.  I have been trying to get different types of objects to render, use different types of devices for control / movement and I did manage to release one game that uses it (I made this in a 12 hour GameJam).

Can’t Get Out

I have been looking at ways to improve performance, before any changes I could only render 1000 cubes at 1 FPS! Ar BALLS

I followed this post on StackOverFlow and that got me to about 5 FPS!

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/24825896/android-opengl-2-0-low-fps

I then read about using Vertex Buffer Objects (VBO’s) and followed this tutorial!

http://www.learnopengles.com/android-lesson-seven-an-introduction-to-vertex-buffer-objects-vbos/

People, this is the way to go, I did not use Stride but I still got 64,000 cubes at 30fps!  Now that’s an improvement!

The sad thing is, this tutorial is from a book I own that I have still not read 🙁  Next missing, read the flipping book!

OpenGL ES 2 for Android: A Quick-Start Guide