August 25, 2014

Test Footage for VR gaming show

Here is a quick few minutes of test footage that was made with my friend Amber. She is playing the game Spaceterror VR on Android available on the Google Play Store.

This test wasn’t perfect but I think shows there is enough potential here to have an ongoing VR of some sort if it this easy with just mobile gaming. More VR as time goes on!

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August 17, 2014

Google Cardboard Vines

Here are some vines I made with my Google Cardboard for a laugh:

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August 17, 2014

Google Cardboard, VR Series Part 2

This update is going to be less about the possible philosophical underpinnings of VR and more about the practical thoughts regarding the specific technology that is emerging.

Before the Oculus Rift DK2 comes in the mail, I thought I’d experiment with the easier’ form of VR currently available to experiment with. That is the Google Cardboard(as seen on the Nexus 5):

Compared to the Oculus Rift, this may not look like much. But this is all you really need to start experiencing VR/3D experiences that you’ve never experienced before. The basic idea of this whole thing is rather simple. The screen displays two seperate images that have a slgithly different perspective.

The Biconvex lenses trick your mind into seeing actual depth and 3D space on a 2D panel. This trick can be accomplished with even low resoultion enviroments or imagery. Though the higher the resoultion, the greater the heights of immersion are felt. 

Putting it Together

Currently, I have two Google Cardboard style VR headsets:

One is made by Dodocase and the other is made by I AM CARDBOARD® (I wasn’t able to find a source page for them outside of Amazon). I’m using an LG made Google Nexus 5 to be the screen and render workhorse for this rig. So not a whole not of difference between these two headsets. I just got impatient and ordered another.

Both were fairly easy to put together but both had me with a reletive panic of not thinking I could figure it out. The I AM CARDBOARD version was a snap and didn’t involve much thought. Just taped one part of the box closed.. that was about all of the steps. The Dodocase involved following some pretty simple steps that even most children could figure out.

Google Cardboard App

Google Cardboard refers to both the headset itself and the app available on the Google Play Store. This app has a series of demos that show the possible ideas that could be implemented in more fleshed out ways by other devolopers. What is here is impressive as it is. Here is a short video of me going through the Tour Guide’ mode. In this mode, I am taken on a virtual tour of Château de Versailles, showing you the basics of the idea:

Google Cardboard Tour Guide from Chaz Carlson on Vimeo.

Now keep in mind that I used my head to look around and there is almost no latency noticed between my actual head movement/movement inside the virual interface or enviroment. Also remember that the Cardboard headset effectively makes the 360 panoramas seen in the video 3D and like you could reach out to touch them. This could be a very effective way to immerse someone to help them learn something quickly.

Youtube reimagined…

Another demo in Cardboard is the Youtube app — basically it reimagines the interface for selecting video as being a 360 spatial one where you use your direction of view as your cursor and the magnegtic button on the Cardboard as the clicker’. 

Google Cardboard Demo from Chaz Carlson on Vimeo.

As you saw in the video, the app isn’t perfect by any means. The voice search was a recent addition however. But this just as a demo shows how we can totally change our conceptions of how we access and organize our digital information. Maximizing the amount of connection to the media and under lying thoughts/meanings is essential. When you have Cardboard on, this small little 5 inch screen becomes a 60 inch screen to you.. it’s all you can see.. it’s all there is. With headphones, you can get quite immersed.

This last video is round up of the other demos in the app that were decent in their own right. Including a cartoon, Google Earth, 360 Google Street View in Paris, and being able to look at 360 panos taken by the phone’s camera:

Google Cardboard Footage from Chaz Carlson on Vimeo.

Other Content for Cardboard/Other HMDs

Even if the Cardboard app was the only source of demo content for this VR/3D thing, it would be good enough, but there is even more! The most accessible and relatable demo is the one that is the most popular on the Oculus Rift DK1: Tuscany:

Tuscany Demo on Nexus 5 Google Cardboard from Chaz Carlson on Vimeo.

I hope this blog post serves as a good introduction to VR and 3D on mobile. Next blog post will go to the next level as I will be using a PS3 controller to play some of the Horror Games available for Android and are caompatiable with Cardboard. Another month or so until I get Oculus Rift… that’s when things get kicked up to the next level. More content in the future will involve other people’s opinions and explorations of the VR world. Until then… back into the VR…

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August 3, 2014

VR Convergence — ‘An argument for taking VR srsly’ Part 1

Thie below little snippet of writing was written on the way to San Diego from Phoenix. It reflects my excitement and outright terror of fully embracing the possible final result of this technology. Most of these comments come from thinking about the evolution of art froms and forms of entertainment in the last 100 years. Music being a powerful emotional tool to transmit meaning almost infectously between people and it creates an experience for the listener. It starts from this simple thought and goes from there:

Music represents an attempt to convey meaning just like any other art form. What exactly is the source of the meaning that they are attempting to convey? Thoughts and ideas, as complex as they are, aren’t easy to transmit in full.clarity.

Television is another attempted conveyance of thoughts, of meaning. This is a one sided (mostly) visual construct that seems to fall short with me. Perhaps the fact that television has been so heavily conquered and the corporate emptiness made king.

Video games are an awakening, they are the bi-directional interaction and that is the most valuable thing that has come from entertainment in the last few decades.

What is the next step to this? How is immersion created? What is the next level of creating immersion and completeness of experience?

Virtual reality has long since been the masturbatory fantasy of nerds and cyberpunks alike. It is the next novel step to dominate reality, by creating our own realities. The next few decades will be spent perfecting these realities. Someday kids will grow up in virtual worlds more amazing and real than real life.

VR represents the collision of experience and transmission of thought unparalleled in Human history. Short term it represents the emergence of a new art form, a new way to experience reality, a new way to learn, a new way to stay in touch, and possible ideas that I cannot even conceive as I fly down this highway on my 30th birthday.

I imagine the best examples of virtual reality being self adaptive VR simulations that create narrative based on the person’s actions. Or games that allow game mechanics to be created on the fly’. These are the true magic that will help things like this see widespread adoption.

Being able to stop thinking about getting a bigger monitor and just doing everything inside a HMD seems silly now…

Will music be enough? Will a simple video on a monitor ever be enough? Why simply watch something when you can EXPERIENCE something? Become a different person for an extended flight? Experience a different reality! Distractions or are they real? What IS real” at that point?

The further exploration and critical analysis of everyone’s perception of what is real’ will only create a positive benefit in society. 

Update Aug 9th: I plan to elaborate further in an on-going series regarding virtual reality. I actually get my Oculus Rift next month.

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