20/05/2016 – Mobile VR 2: Electric Boogaloo, Uncharted 4, and Dealing With Boredom

Hello again.

So that previous mobile VR headset, well turns out that the lenses were fucked. On the inside of it, the plastic was corrugated, so everything I looked at was blurry as shit no matter what I did. So I ended up replacing the thing entirely. Now I have the VIGICA RIEM 2.

This headset actually has a magnet switch (Albeit on the wrong side, so I had to switch it), lense adjusters, suction cup grip for the phone, and generally fits better. But most importantly, the lenses are smooth plastic.

It certainly an improvement over the previous piece of crap I had. Actually it’s so good, since I start using it, my previous complaints about getting motion sick have been minimal at best. So I imagine the clearer picture helps a lot with that. Additionally, it’s Google Cardboard compatible out of the box, although the model I have didn’t have the QR code, but luckily someone had generated one.

That being said, I still can’t see the point of it outside of being a head-mounted display. A decent one at that, but only that.

Now. Uncharted 4.

After the disappointment that was Uncharted 3, I didn’t have that high of expectations going into 4. And after playing a good chunk of The Last Of Us and despising it for it’s animation systems and combat, I really thought it was going to have the same issues.

Thankfully, Naughty Dog have learnt and improved.

Pretty game is pretty.

Pretty game is pretty.

The gameplay systems have been improved where combat is concerned. Gunplay is relatively tight (Although they decided to reinvent the wheel and change how aiming and recoil is handled AGAIN) and enemies a little less bullet spongy. Additionally, other than maybe 3 areas of the game, you can use stealth to get through all your encounters. You could do this in Uncharted 2 as well, but the systems have been significantly improved here with indicators showing when an enemy sees you and so on. And should you want it, you can turn these features off.

The dialogue is good, general quips are still pretty interesting and the interactions between characters works in a believable way. The main two villains aren’t great. The main guy is kind of an arsehole in a “I’m a rich guy who wants to become famous, despite already having fame and fortune from my parents” way, which OK, it works but come on. The other is a woman who just seems over-powered for SOME REASON, but ultimately does the “You guys are crazy I’m out” thing right at end of the game. And frankly that just makes her existence seem pointless.

My biggest problem with the game is that it’s not very memorable. No particular events stand out in my mind like Nazi stuff in Uncharted 1, or the train level in 2, or the desert scene in 3. This might change as time goes on and I think about the game again, but who knows.

The in-game graphics filters are great.

The in-game graphics filters are great.

Well, that’s my two cents on that.

The other game I started working on is near completion now. Just needs some adjustments and extras and it’ll be ready for release on Android.

It should of been finished weeks ago, but unfortunately I’ve been having a problem with keeping myself motivated. I’ve barely been doing anything. I just sit in my chair and browse the Internet all day sometimes and listen to the same songs I’ve heard before and then complain about how bored I am. I can’t even be arsed to go through my staggering backlog of games. So if there’s something I can give Uncharted 4 credit for, it’s making me motivated to do SOMETHING other than slowly dying in front of two LCD monitors.

Now that I’ve gotten past the mental block, maybe I’ll actually be productive again.

And I’ll call the Enterprise Centre soon. I sent them an e-mail a few days ago but never got a reply.

-Adam

P.S.

I’ll be updating this site with stuff I’ve done from Uni soonish. I need to clean up this damn room first.

Posted in Blog, Game Development, My Projects, Video Games | Comments Off on 20/05/2016 – Mobile VR 2: Electric Boogaloo, Uncharted 4, and Dealing With Boredom

28/02/2016 – Mobile VR

This is my first post in 2016.

Right, well, first off; I am still working on a game. It’s not the same game I was working on the last I made a post though. That game is currently shelved until I finish the one I’m working on. And the one I’m working on is basically an advanced Pong clone, because I wanted to make something for Android. Surprisingly, I’ve learned a lot more about using Unity with mobile platforms and more of the APIs it has.

Regardless, you’re gonna be waiting a little longer for a release. I’m kinda busy sorting out paperwork, which is almost done.

But onto the main topic; Mobile VR.

I recently got a Mobile VR headset, a DESTEK 3D Virtual Reality Headset. I got this one partly because my phone is small, and I prefer the sturdiness of plastic rather than cardboard. Thing is, this isn’t Google Cardboard. It has a NFC sticker on it, but not the QR code the Cardboard app asks for. You can still run it though.

Add it to the other pictures of white guys with VR headsets I guess.

Add it to the other pictures of white guys with VR headsets I guess.

There’s a bunch of VR apps to mess with, but I only messed around with Cardboard and the YouTube apps, along with the Unity Demo App for Cardboard.

It’s not a bad effect, it takes a moment for your eyes to adjust to it, so you can get a screen-door effect sometimes. A lot of the apps I looked at required me to stand up and move around to see things, the only stuff for sitting down VR were side-by-side video players. I’ll get to the point with that, it’s kinda shitty. I felt like shit after like 5 minutes and had to lie down.

There’s already plenty of information on why that happens, but I feel not making me stand up in the middle of my room, spinning around like a spastic; would of helped minimize the nausea I had. I seriously hope those developing apps don’t have the intention of designing them in ways that fucks with people’s sense of balance or world placement. Maybe they’ll get the message after a few videos of people smashing into their living room objects.

As for the headset itself (Minus the phone part, obviously), it’s mostly comfortable. That is providing you don’t wear glasses like me. In that case, expect them to become embedded into the sides of your nose. To be fair, it did come with extra padding, and I used that to ease up on that issue, but be fair warned regardless. The lenses are fine, mostly clear. There is a weird blurring, but I’m not sure if that’s the lenses, my glasses being dirty, or my poor eyesight without my glasses.

So in general, I like the idea of VR, but less like the idea of people not taking into account how people’s bodies react to it. Then again, Mobile VR and something like the Rift or Vive are very different machines. If you want to develop the mobile stuff, consider slower things where you turn have to turn around as much. But holy Hell does this stuff make my stomach turn. I’ll keep at it to see if my body can become accustomed to it and not be sick as a dog after minutes, but fuck man.

Either way, if you wanna buy into it, Google Cardboard is cheap and supports any phone/tablet display from 4.7″ to 6″, with some of them going larger.

Now I just need to stop goofing around and finish these things I start.

-Adam

Posted in Blog, Uncategorized | Comments Off on 28/02/2016 – Mobile VR

ADMAN’s Gaming Den – 22/11/2015

Time for video games.

I’ve been playing stuff on and off recently. I occasionally hop back into Destiny to do my Dailies and whatever quests I feel like doing, and trying to grind to a high enough level so I can do the hard mode version of the King’s Fall raid.

I recently started Ryu ga Gotoku Zero (AKA, Yakuza Zero) and I’ve been enjoying it for the most part. Although it being completely in Japanese doesn’t help. At the same time, I’m not quite as drawn to the side material like gambling or pool like I previously have.

Kiryu’s new fighting styles are welcoming though, especially Rush which is an extremely fast paced fighting style, which is what I’ve been wanting more of since I played Akiyama in Yakuza 4.

Yakuza 5 should be out SOON (I hope).

Finally, I played Danganronpa Another Episode, which is a pretty damn cool game. As a shooter it works fine, the enemy variety and weapon mechanics make it worthwhile. The story is pretty weird. Unfortunately Junko doesn’t take over an AI or become some kind of transentient god; she’s not really in it at all. Instead, it’s just Komaru and Touko fighting their way through the city to make children stop killing adults. Which… Makes sense.

A friend of mine considers the story in those games to be nonsensical, and to some extent I agree with him. On the other hand, it doesn’t bother me that much. The amount of mind-fuckery is amusing, and the style the games have is just kinda awesome.

The ending cutscene was long though, holy fucking shit. I had to pause it at 2am after watching it unfold for the last hour, go to bed, wake up, and I still had about 40 more minutes to sit through plus an end boss. The game is still good though, worth playing.

That’s all. There’ll be a regular blog post within a week or so.

Posted in Video Games | Comments Off on ADMAN’s Gaming Den – 22/11/2015

05/10/2015 – This Thing On?

In case anybody was wondering what I’ve been doing the past few months, it has been a mix of Destiny, MGSV, Yakuza, PC maintenance, and working on a game.

Oh yeah, I’m working on a game. Given progress so far, I should have something showable within 4 months provided everything doesn’t set on fire. Also, I bought out a separate domain for stuff, not sure what I’ll do with it yet.

I’ll try and post more.

-Adam

Posted in Blog | Comments Off on 05/10/2015 – This Thing On?

06/07/2015 – Back Home

I have finished my University degree and now I’m back home.

Currently I’m looking into self-employment and doing some programming related projects on my own. No game development yet, but the time will come. That being said, I’ve mostly been playing Destiny, gotta get my Hunter to 34.

I just felt like making a post seeing as I haven’t put one out since the coursework period. It feels fucking great to be out of the education system.

-Adam

Posted in Blog, Uncategorized | Comments Off on 06/07/2015 – Back Home

Meanwhile at the lab…

 

Deadlines are coming up.

Posted in Blog, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Meanwhile at the lab…

11/04/2015 – Two Lessons Learnt

So since the beginning of the Easter break I’ve been keeping my head down and doing coursework. Meaning I’ve been doing little else minus watching a fair amount of anime late at night. Coursework is going OK, my final project report hasn’t really been started, but it will be shortly; Visualization is 4/5ths complete, with just one task remaining; and Mobile is coming along, albeit slowly.

Reflecting back to last year where I had a week to do 400 hours worth of work (Which I maintain was a fucking insane amount for a programmer with less than two years experience, and would still be insane even now), I definitely learnt my lesson about not doing work within a correct timeframe and falling behind.

I mean strictly speaking, I’m still somewhat behind with my project and this Mobile coursework, but it’s far easier to catch up.

Now that I’m done reflecting…

Fuck Adware.
I’ve spent the last two days dealing with Malware on my machine. I fucking hate this shit. It puts me into a cold fucking sweat every single fucking time. I’m almost certain it’s completely removed now, but I’m still panicking about it.

So, second lesson of the day: Stay the fuck away from dodgy Internet sites and make sure your antivirus is good.

-Adam

Posted in Blog, Uncategorized | Comments Off on 11/04/2015 – Two Lessons Learnt

Three Thing Game – March 2015

It was that time of year again.

Our words: Ninja, Platform, Bandit.

Being the only 5-man team at the event, we decided to move out of the main lab an into the .NET lab, away from everyone else.

DSC_0004[1]

This is where we were set up. Pictured: Mike and Ed.

We had the gameplay more or less designed. It was a endless runner.

The player was a ninja that ran across a never ending train fighting a horde of bandits.

DSC_0003[1]

My set up. Just a laptop this time.

Look, I don’t remember that much from the night. It took quite a while to get the game up and running, and even then, it was never really playable. I spent pretty much the whole time doing art for the game. Near the end I ended up re-making the main menu for the game after the person who had done it, left without committing.

FOOD.

FOOD.

MORE FOOD.

MORE FOOD.

That’s all the photos I took, unfortunately. Lukas and Rob ended up taking a bunch.

Anyway, we all ended up bailing around 7am. The game remained unfinished.

It was a ton of fun though, and I did a shit load of half-decent art.

 

Posted in Game Development, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Three Thing Game – March 2015

10/03/2015 – New 3DS Impressions and More.

I’ll be short with my impressions of the New 3DS (Specifically the XL version). It’s a better handheld. The decreased load times, generally better performance, significantly improved 3D to the point it actually works, and a C-Stick.

That being said, the shitty ergonomic design that makes it difficult to hold for long periods remains, and frankly the improvements are not really enough of a justification to upgrade unless you really are in the market for a new one.

In my case, my old one went to my half-brother to replace his DS which was pretty much on its way out anyway.

In terms of games, getting to play Monster Hunter 4 at 60FPS is neat, but I don’t have much time for games these days.

I still prefer the Vita.

So that’s that.

In terms of life, I’m almost about to enter the part of the year where I go completely off the grid to complete coursework. And on that subject, a small rant.

The lack of documentation for building a music visualizer is mind-boggling. People have created them, made some really pretty ones, but nobody has really documented the low-level process of building one from scratch.

It’s taken me 7 months of hitting my head on a keyboard to finally reach a point where I understand exactly what it is doing from a processing standpoint. Something that I should have completed within the first month of this project. The problem is that my project is specifically focused on the data processing aspect of the audio. General audio APIs like FMOD or OpenAL don’t really give me what I want.

I’ll do a full write up on my project once Uni is finished, just so somebody somewhere doesn’t hit their head against a wall as hard as I did.

And finally, I’m entering Three Thing Game again. I’ll make a post about it after the event.

-Adam

Posted in Blog, Uncategorized | Comments Off on 10/03/2015 – New 3DS Impressions and More.

Global Game Jam 2015 – Photo Dump and Thoughts

DSC_0007

COME ON AND SLAM, AND WELCOME TO GLOBAL GAME JAM!

 

So I travelled to Grimsby with Ed Brown for the 2015 Global Game Jam. This was the first time the event had been held there, and incidentally mine and Ed’s first time going there. It was held that the Grimsby Institute, which was actually quite a nice venue. It reminded me of “The Tech” in Omagh. Anyway, the theme this year was “What Do We Do Now?“.

DSC_0001

Presentation before we began. Showing the theme.

After getting with a group of first years from the institute, we went about designing some ideas for what we wanted.

DSC_0003

The whiteboard we stuck all our ideas to.

DSC_0002

The “Yes” pile of ideas.

Originally, we sort of planned for a “What-if” scenario where the Y2K bug became real, and most computing equipment went completely haywire. The player played as an IT technician during the point when all the computing equipment was going nuts, and you had to navigate the environment. Later on, stealth mechanics, items, NPCs, and other environmental hazards would pop-up.

DSC_0004

Writing some ideas.

The first level would have taken place in an office, and demonstrated some of the navigational mechanics the player has, as well as partly setting up the game world. The second level would act more as a set piece, showing the world around being thrown into a state of havoc. The third level that was planned was a underground level, showing more of the use of items and environment navigation.

DSC_0009

First level design.

It was a very ambitious design, heavily relying on art. Thankfully we had 3 artists. The being said, the morning after, we abandoned the design in favour of something else.

DSC_0005

The room we were stuck in for 48 hours.

DSC_0006

Ed being Ed.

The new game was a more simplistic platformer that heavily relied on it’s art to standout. The reasoning for this decision was because we had 3 good artist, 1 sound guy, 1 good programmer (Ed), 2 not so good programmers (Including me), and 1 other person. The idea we originally came up with was quite taxing from both an art and programming standpoint, so changing it to something less crazy was probably for the best.

Anyway, GitHub is not as great as people say it is. With Unity anyway.

Myself and Ed hadn’t really used it much, so we had no idea what to expect. But basically it broke down to this; Ed would do a thing, someone else would do something as well, Ed would commit it, other guy would get a fuckload of conflicts and try to merge, other guy loses hours of work.

Because of that, programming turned into a “one PC at a time” kind of deal. So Ed was really the only person working on it from a programming perspective. Actually, his laptop’s Internet would crap itself, so it he eventually started using other people’s PCs. In case you were wondering what I ended up working on, I programmed the Checkpoints within the level (Which I then rewrote with Ed sitting next to me), made the particle effects for the butterfly, and rigged the level.

Oh yeah, I guess I haven’t explained fully what the game is. The game was a platformer where the character would try to chase a butterfly through a continuous level, filled with enemies and devious platforming. The butterfly was meant to represent the characters dreams. I won’t spoil what happens, you can play it for yourself later.

Anyway, in the downtime; I re-familiarized myself with Unity by watching tutorials. Especially the new ones that covered 2D games. After a while, I became more confident in my ability to work and started to help out a bit, suggesting solutions to problems and such.

The people we were working with were alright. Other than the occasional loud noises and Nerf gun fights, things were mostly pleasant. People coming into the room and distracting us was a problem during the second night though.

1505518_10152529533421924_8556125497771750698_n

Our team. Ed and myself on the far right.

 

Somehow I managed to get some sleep, although it was the most uncomfortable thing in the world having to sleep on the floor underneath a desk. Not to mention the sporadic heating problems, whether it was either too hot or too cold.

Anyway, back to the game.

PW-1

 

The art was great, my checkpoints mostly worked, and it played fine.

There were a handful of issues, like most games made in 48 hours.

  • The collision detection on level objects was not correct, meaning the player would be left running or sliding on surfaces meant to be straight.
  • Checkpointing would break and the player was left floating between some objects if they died in a specific spot.
  • Enemies would get stuck on terrain.
  • Touch controls did not work that well.
  • There are missing aspects from the game, such as enemies, more platforming pieces, and events.

All things considered though, I’m relatively happy with what we made, and I had fun at the event. Eating food, bantering, designing things. Was fun.

And guess what, we won a thing:

DSC_0012

Woo! We won a thing!

And then Ed (After being awake for about 30 something hours) drove me home. Which was fun because we were both tired and the GPS would occasionally point us in the wrong direction.

This is the second time I have stayed for the entirety of a jam, and the first time I stayed for the whole of a GGJ.

Our team’s page can be found here: http://globalgamejam.org/2015/games/painted-wings

Additionally, here’s Ed’s Blog and here’s an article about the jam.

For those wondering whether you should go to one of these things, I’d recommend it. But I’d also recommend bringing a sleeping bag.

-Adam

Posted in Game Development, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Global Game Jam 2015 – Photo Dump and Thoughts