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Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Hi there!

For those who don’t want to read, let’s get the links to the demos and the 360 photo album out of the way first.

The demos are simple and were made in a very short amount of time.

Deep Azteca was created entirely by James Blaha. Check out his virtual reality music visualizer made with Unity. Although James could not be at Burning Man this year, figments of his consciousness came along with me in my hard drive. James is still working on Deep Azteca so follow him on twitter for more updates. @jamesblaha

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B6F_chbGsX5RTWEtcWV2ZUxWbUU&usp=sharing

Deep Gold was created by James Blaha and me, Cris Miranda. I took the photo and did some QA. James did all the programming wizardry. Deep Gold is a simple experience. It’s a peek inside a 360 photo of the Golden Gate Bridge injected with Google’s Deep Dream and a couple of CG objects.

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0B6F_chbGsX5RT1hiQnZPLVZuUWs&usp=sharing

The 360 photo album can be viewed in VR with your Smartphone thanks to VRChive and WebVR or in your browser.

https://alpha.vrchive.com/album/Kr

Here it goes

I’ve been meaning to write an article about what it was like to help bring virtual reality to burning man this year. Growing up in SF, I would hear about this ‘Burning Man’ thing that came and went every year just like fleet week, or Bay to Breakers there’s always something going on in the city and after a while if something doesnt resonate with you, it just becomes noise. I wouldn’t pay much mind to Burning Man until I became closely intertwined with the tech world through virtual reality in the last couple of years. To be honest, I’m not sure what propelled me to go in the first place but I’ve always been compelled to try new things so. This year’s Burning Man had the right concurrence of events that made it epic. Bugs, Sandstorms and virtual reality. For those who might not know, Burning Man is a music and arts festival clusterfuck that takes place in the middle of the desert for 7 days. It’s so much more than that but we’ll have to leave it at this.

To some people Burning Man is a place of healing and self discovery. To others, Burning Man is a giant party the likes of which humanity has never seen before. Even the Romans in their orgy filled bathhouses would get jelly by the next level debauchery burners can pull off and I felt right at home among it. To me, Burning Man was a bit of both. Through the art installations, I was able to feel the full spectrum of human emotion. in that one week I was brought to tears, filled with Joy and felt more human (whatever the fuck that means) than I’ve ever felt in my whole life. I learned to meditate better, I learned some useful Japanese bondage techniques and partied listening to Major Lazer live.

However to me, it’s the little things that made me like the experience even more. The fact that people would greet each other through hugging, I’ve never felt so welcomed wherever I went. Waking up every morning and realizing that I don’t have to stare at a fucking screen for 11 hours of my day also felt good.

The best analogy that I can come up with in describing my Burning Man experience goes like this:

I feel like Burning man swallowed me in and then it shat me out. Some how Burning man manifests itself in the form of giant beast, a beast that swallows you in with its dust, its drugs and its people. As I went through its 8 days digestive process, I ran into all sorts of folks in all sorts of circumstances.

Crepes off a random van in the dead of the night in the middle of the desert. Spontaneous orgasm competitions. Art installations that challenged my imagination (the good ones felt like virtual reality experiences). Partying with and getting to know my friends from virtual reality at a place that feels like you’re inside Second Life, like we’ve all stepped into a new reality. Reality is more malleable than I thought it was.

I went into Burning man feeling so energetic, so positive and hyped up. Overtime you begin to realize that the desert itself doesn’t give a fuck about your energies or your positive vibes. I remember fighting constantly to keep my shade structure from being blown away while a dust storm would merciless batter us with wind, sand and cold weather. The desert just, is, and just like that, Burning man can behave in the same manner at times. Don’t get me wrong Burning Man was 97% amazing and that’s pretty good for 8 days in the desert. The negative 3% I consider it as necessary and sometimes unnecessary human friction. At Burning Man I encountered some of the nicest people in the world, strangers looking out for strangers. This really has inspired something in me. The thought that, there is goodness in mankind? Who would have thought!? I found it amazing to go a place where people put down there defenses, set aside their differences and embraced each other when we say hi. Burning Man would be nothing without the people who attend it.

Imagine Burning man as a giant beast. This beast tries to eat you as you go through its 7 day digestive process. Every toll on your body is one point for the beast. Being swallowed by the beast is death and being shat out by this beast is rebirth. Your state of rebirth depends on what kind of shit the beast took. This is where you should make your own inferences. Me personally, I felt like I was shat out like explosive diarrhea. I have my own reasons for feeling that way and I’m okay with it. I’ll surely be back to see and live inside this beast once again.

The beast takes you in as you are and like clock work, it will shit you out. Sometimes the Beast is constipated and it might take a while for you to be “rebirthed” for no one is meant to live inside the beast all year long. Unless you’re a water bear, those motherfuckers can live anywhere.

Did you go to burning man? How did you feel you were you shat out by the beast?

Burning Man and Virtual Reality

Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

While working with the VR Camp, some of us(me) were kind of worried at first about how VR would be received by Burners. Would they view us as tech industry invaders trying to bastardize their community with our proto mind control devices? Would people see the value in virtual reality at all?

Well, i’m happy to report that virtual reality was really well received at Burning Man. People hugged us, kissed us, a couple of people cried. It was beautiful. Every night that we demoed kept reinforcing in me the thought that this VR thing, might just work out.

As someone who is working on becoming a VR content creator I went into Burning Man looking to absorb as much as I could about real world experience crafting. I wanted to see how it is that people use art installations to craft real world experiences because I figured that there might some crossover in lessons. I learned a lot.

Drugs and virtual reality

Let’s talk about the reason why you’ve been reading this blog post in the first place. The drugs! How do drugs and virtual reality interact? We’ll, I have a lot of anecdotal evidence for ya! (take everything I say on this subject for a grain a salt. duh)

Here’s 7 takeaways about psychedelics and Virtual reality.

1) Don’t demo virtual reality to others while high or drunk.

2) Drunk people were not fun to demo for. Only one guy got kicked out from VR Camp this year and it was because he could barely stand from the alcohol he’d been drinking.

3) Mushrooms and virtual reality mix really well. I had this one guy who didn’t want to leave. It seems like to some people psylocybin mushrooms mixed with the proper VR experience can enhance the feelings of presence.

4) Don’t demo scary shit to people on Psychedelics. I demoed Celestial Song to a lady and the next morning she approached to tell me that the experience had scared her and moved her like nothing before and she wasn’t even high on anything! I apologized profusely, while she thanked me. In the planning process of the VR camp it was decided to not bring horror experiences. It was probably for the best.

5) Weed and virtual reality go hand in hand. In fact, everyone on earth should dose themselves with an MJ edible and go inside Titans of Space as soon as consumer VR rolls around.

6) Virtual reality does not seem to be a thing people want to do while on MDMA or LSD, then again, it’s Burning Man so it is the worst petridish one could use to study the complex and individualistic relations between psycho active compounds and the human mind.

7) VR porn might as well be a drug. Thank you Ela Darling and Hatsune Miku for your contributions to the progress of humanity.

Conclusion on the subject of psychedelics and virtual reality:

More science needs to be done on the matter! (Like, real science)

Final thoughts

Many people talk about how Burning Man changed their lives. I recently had a conversation with someone that told me :

“I’ve been to Burning Man, it was alright but It wasn’t the life changing event I thought it would be.” To which I replied; “that’s probably because you didn’t do enough drugs” . She agreed.

So did Burning Man changed my life? A little bit. It was mostly just a giant party where I got taste the sweet illusion of what means to be a free human in the 21st century.

My biggest takeaway from burning man as it applies to VR is that the virtual reality industry needs to foster the creation of sustainable and thriving communities for people passionate about the Metaverse to express themselves and connect with each other. Don’t just build a business, be a part of a community and if there isn’t one then that’s your calling to build one.

Thanks to everyone who took part in the VR Camp this year. These are the good ol’ days after all.

Take part in the effort to bring a next level virtual reality experience to burning man next year. Send an email to entervr01@gmail.com and let us know how you’d like to help for next year.

Post from RICOH THETA. – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

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Here I am at Oculus Connect thinking to myself. Am I trembling?
…Yup I’m trembling. I look down at my feet and see my knees shaking so hard that they were an inch or two from making loud claps. I took deep breaths as my moment to approach the mic
came closer and closer. And then…nothing happened. The talk wrapped up right at the moment I was about to speak into the microphone.

This is the question I would have asked the panel composed of Palmer Luckey, Nate Mitchel, John Carmack, Michael Abrash and Atman Binstock.

Could VR become a victim of its own success? What can be done to insure VR is not used as a scapegoate by the political class?

It happens all the time, some inexplicable tragedy occurs involving violence and the society looks for something to point its finger at. We know the world is never so simple yet it happens over and over, and one day the finger pointing will be directed towards virtual reality. It happened with DOOM, it happened with Grand Theft Auto and it’s never really stopped.

What are the cost/benefits of being reactive on this potential issue? What are the cost/benefits of being proactive?

My proposed solution is to start a virtual reality lobby group/super pac, that can be out promoting VR in the public sector.

My guess is, once VR becomes mainstream it will not take long before a section of people start fighting a technology they don’t understand. (Education is key)

Watching this play out will be very interesting. I hope Oculus has a contingency plan to deal with VR scapegoating.

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VR developer Jose Dizon has been on a marathon release of VR demos and mini experiences everyday since June 5th 2014. One of his demos involves my video tour of the Silicon Valley Virtual Reality Conference and Expo placed on a giant screen in VR.

A quick description from his Oculus Share thread includes this excerpt: “Box room with embedded web video on large virtual screen with two rotating cubes textured with the EnterVR logo.”

Here are the download links:

https://app.box.com/s/clwd460go6rp3hunqlxu

For more information on Jose and all his cool projects check out the links below:

http://josevr.com/

https://twitter.com/josed

https://developer.oculusvr.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=9136&start=20

Thanks again to Jose for putting together this awesome demo and best wishes on his marathon VR experience creation extravaganza!

pP3AF0P

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Palmer Luckey: “And then I started receiving death threats”

Sympathetic voice in the background: “aaaw”

Me: “hahahaha!”

*awkward second of silence.

Yes this actually happened and there is a record of it(check out the Supercast from Reverend Kyle at Road to VR!). My first time meeting Palmer Luckey was 99% positive and 1% awkward. I’m going to tell you about the awkward part.

But first, I gotta say the Silicon Valley Virtual Reality Conference and Expo was an astounding success, thanks to Karl Krantz, Nana Usui, Cymatic Bruce and all the awesome volunteers that made this happen.

One day I will be telling my grandchildren about the time I went to the “first virtual reality expo”, at which point my grandchildren will respond condescendingly: “oh grandpa, virtual reality is so 2020’s” In my anger towards their apathy I will reply. “Bitch! That’s why your still having sex with that robot! Why, when I was your age they called me doctor love; do you know why? because I used to cure the neurological disease called love with my penicilin”

Anyways, nevermind my ungrateful and apathetic future grandchildren. My experience at SVVR will remain in my memory forever and the connections and friendships I’ve made, I intend to make them last my whole life time. My only point of criticism is that I wish it lasted longer.

I spoke to the security guard because she looked lonely and she told me “this is the first conference I’ve worked, where people actually want to be here, it was hard getting them to leave on the first day”.

Its true, Cymatic Bruce had to manually herd people out of the expo floor on the second day because people wouldn’t leave.

It’s almost a year since I started EnterVR, I honestly never thought that this industry would unravel before my eyes so quickly. To me VR will save and improve people’s lives, bring about a new breath fresh air to a stagnant gaming industry and eventually change life on earth as we know it. I’m positive of all this and its all a matter of when these things will happen.

How do I know this, you ask?

I’m from the future.
Before I continue forward with my story on Palmer. I gotta thank you to Reverend Kyle for having the huevos to go up to Palmer and ask him to join us in on a Podcast. I gotta admit, I don’t think I would have had the balls to approach him, I guess I didn’t think recording a podcast would be worth his time. Good thing I was wrong.

So here I am, sitting next to Bullardo, with Reverend Kyle across the table from me and Matt Stompz sitting next to the Rev. As we started recording, in the back of my head I was thinking” I hope I can say the word FUCK on this podcast, I like the word Fuck”.

Some 5 minutes into our conversation Palmer Luckey walks in and we began recording one of the coolest podcast I’ve ever done. To be frank, I wasn’t sure what to expect at first. What kind of guy is Palmer after all? Would he be snobbish? would he be mean? did the money get to him?

The answer is nope, nope and nope. In fact I was really surprised by how quickly I warmed up to him. This might be a no brainer to some of you reading this but I have come to the conclusion that Palmer is a human being and he’s pretty “normal”.

So, at one point during the conversation someone asked Palmer how things have changed since the Facebook deal and at some point during his answer he says ” And I’ve also received death threats”

In the background I hear a sympathetic voice saying “aww” meanwhile I let out a nice and hearty three syllable “hahaha”. There was a quick awkward second of silence in the room, to me it felt like a lifetime, I was already thinking to myself “damn it I broke the podcast…now everyone thinks I’m weird”

Thankfully all went better than expected and my laughter seemed like water off a ducks back to Palmer. (at least I hope so)

On the ride home, I thought to myself. “damn why did I do that?”

I have two theories :

1: I’m an asshole

2: Laughter is my healing mechanism when I try to get over bad memories and it has become a reflex even if the memories aren’t my own.

Why_not_both-

This isn’t the first time this has happened, I am often the only person laughing when people share their uncomfortable experiences when i’m in a group. Laughing and joking doesn’t work every time and for every circumstances but it has helped me. Death threats aren’t funny but in the right setting, with the right joke structure and the ideal circumstance in which no one was physically harmed, we can start a healing process through laughter.

To me, it feels therapeutic to laugh at your own misfortune in the presence of good people. If I ever have Palmer on my podcast I’ll make sure to tell him some of my most unfortunate experiences (like the time my monkey bit me, or the time I almost got arrested for showing my butt cheeks to the police, or the time – you get the idea…)

 

Don’t worry I don’t usually laugh at strangers when they share bad memories, but Palmer had become so approachable that I just started seeing him as a “bro”.

 

 

Anyways, being a part of the virtual reality community has taught me a lot about technology, entrepreneurship and ultimately myself. I’m truly grateful.

The only thing that excites me more than what I’ve already seen, is thinking of all things I have yet to witness.

Thanks again to Palmer for being a true scholar and gentleman of Virtual Reality.

Here are a couple of highlights from the conference:

Don’t get forget to check out the Ubercast!

 

IMAG0559

 

 

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This time last year, John Torkington, Koriel Kruer, and James Steininger of White Lotus Interactive ran a successful Kickstarter to support the development of a first-person puzzle adventure game for the PC called XING: The Land Beyond.

The Kickstarter hit its reach goal of Oculus Rift support, so the trio’s spent a year now developing an environment-based world compatible with the latest in VR tech. I held an interview with them about what it’s like to put in days on end in a virtual world of their own design.

XING’s premise:

Your body may be gone, but your life has just begun. In death, you will find yourself on a journey across a series of mysterious lands. You will encounter perplexing puzzles, trapped souls, and the power to change the environment around you. Spiritualism, mysticism and logic come together in the land of XING, where you will traverse mountains, deserts, forests, volcanoes and more.

Obligatory: What’s your take on Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus?

Koriel: Well, we’re surprised by this turn of events, especially for what it might mean for developers — but we can see the benefits for VR tech that this new acquisition can make. Let’s just hope that Oculus doesn’t get too much of a big head and forget its loving indie devs.

John: We’ve enjoyed personal chats with Oculus employees in the past and certainly wouldn’t like to see that disappear with the new ownership. There are definitely a lot of negative responses to the acquisition within the current Oculus communities, but we hope that Oculus can use their newfound wealth towards the future of VR and the creation of fantastic products, while avoiding the negativity that surrounds Facebook in the tech community.

What demographic do you expect to have a Rift?

John: Right now, basically it’s enthusiasts and devs— anyone with an interest in VR prior to the Rift. There’s a huge lack of content for VR, because it’s really young. There’s a small and dedicated fan base for VR, but it’s not enough for any big company to step up and make a game. That’s going to be a big hurdle for the hardware guys.

One thing Oculus has mentioned is that they’re looking for a killer app to make it sell. Nobody really knows what this will be yet.

At the moment, Oculus seems to be focusing on the seated experience. For example, I’m sitting at a desk, and I can see something happening in front of me. They’re working right now with the Eve Online guys on Eve Valkyrie, where you’re seated in a cockpit and get you get to fly around. The focus is here because there’s the least probability of simulator sickness, because there’s not a discontinuity between your locomotion and what you’re perceiving in VR.

If you go onto the OR forums and look at consumers, it’s completely different. People underestimate the effects of simulator sickness; “We wanna explore immersive worlds.”

One game people are really excited about is Star Citizen. It’s a space fighting sim. People want to see the really grand scale, like a capital ship that stretches out in front of them for miles.

Koriel: When people think VR, they want to see scale.

James: Oculus as a company is very careful with the content they’re putting out there to demo. Palmer has this very robust vision of what VR could be, or should be.

Oculus wasn’t cold to us, but has kind of been careful about their relationship with devs in general, including us. That could be because of our smaller size, our lack of clout, whatever, but we understand they have to be very careful because they want VR to be awesome.

Koriel: Especially for their first launch, they want seated experiences. As things continue, there should be more games that have you just walking around. Devs who have been working for at least a year find they have their “VR legs” — this is probably how the public will be after the first couple games.

What’s been the most rewarding part of developing with OR? The most challenging?

John: On a technical level, it’s pretty simple. Oculus has given us a lot of tools and methods to implement basic head-tracking and more, especially paired with the Unreal Engine.

However, there’s a lot of hidden difficulties to working with VR. Yeah, there’s some rendering issues to be resolved, but the big bother is basically this little device itself [holds up Rift]. So you’ll be testing something, then gotta put this thing on, find your mouse and keyboard, run the tests, take this thing off, and set it down — try doing that for four hours, and your brain just starts melting from constant adjustments between VR, the computer screen, and reality.

Polished VR content is really beautiful…

…unpolished content is just frightening.

Something weird happens, and there’s a bug, and something clips into your head. Or the frame rate is off, and it makes you feel out-of-body. Sometimes after a couple hours devving with VR, I just feel kinda weird.

I’ve experienced motion sickness from boats before; you just feel bad for a little while, anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. It’s especially weird when you’re not actually moving. I mean, on a car or a boat, your brain knows why it feels bad — with VR, you get confused.

Koriel: As far as our development goes, we are making sure that the experience we create will be comfortable with the Rift. From movement speed to the lack of head-bob in Rift-mode, we are listening to all the issues that current VR games are facing and trying to make sure that XING will be a pleasant experience. Textures must be high-res, the HUD must be barely there or non-existent, and players must be allowed to take breaks.

James: The locomotion issue is key because you don’t want the vestibular system in your ears to freak out, so being in the cockpit of a fighter jet is a good scenario. When the fighter jet changes directions, the sudden shift in movement makes sense to your ears, because it’s the ship moving and not the player.

In first-person shooters, like Portal or TF2, I can actually turn my head to look all the way around, but when I use the handheld controller to do it, my body is confused.

John: This also happened with DOOM back in 1993— people got sick playing it, even though it was just on a screen. Our generation has been raised on 3D graphics, so we don’t have a problem anymore. Put someone older in front of Call of Duty and they’re going to feel sick.

How does the Rift contribute to the kind of experience you hope to give people with XING?

 

Koriel: We’re interested in letting people experience XING at their own pace. With VR, pacing is important, and XING embodies that. It’s probably gonna be a lot easier for people to handle [than FPSs].

What will the difference in experience be between Rift-XING and non-Rift-XING?

JohnNONCULUS. Ehem. We’re on the cusp of VR tech actually being sound. Because we’re developing on brand new tech, it behooves us to make an experience that’s good even without it. Nine times out of ten, we play XING on a monitor, even though it’s designed with VR in mind.

James: That has to do with the logistics of how we develop too, though, since that’s naturally on a desktop. If Oculus or Sony nails hardware, if they make that experience as seamless as possible, the XING experience on the Rift will simply be more immersive. You’ll get that sense of depth and presence.

John: I guess the difference is like a movie being in 3D or not. Some people really like ‘em. I don’t, personally.

James: We had someone come over to the booth whose eyes were misaligned. When we gave him the opportunity to try our Rift; he declined, saying he “simply wouldn’t enjoy it” — but would buy our game anyway.

You guys were just at GDC. What were people most excited about/impressed by?

John: This is definitely the year of VR. There are so many companies doing things with VR; when we walked on the floor, you would constantly hear people mention Oculus in passing.

James: As far as XING goes, first they were intrigued by the booth, because it was a floral haven of awesomeness. Then by the game itself; people were impressed that the fact that it was done by a team of just three people — and that it was on the Rift.

John: For a lot of people, XING was their first VR experience, with what we thought was a really awesome demo. Not to pat our own backs, but we didn’t get any negative responses. I’d say that’s a pretty good metric to show that people are at least interested in VR.

Your reaction re: Sony’s Project Morpheus?

John: Sony’s done a lot of experimentation with VR, well before Oculus was a company, back when Palmer was a baby. But so far they haven’t found much consumer success.

White Lotus is interested in developing awesome VR content that is translatable to whatever VR tech is out there. We don’t care if it’s Oculus or Sony or whoever, because more players just invites more competition, more collaboration, and making more cool things.

And the 2nd gen dev kit (DK2)?

James: Have you checked out Oculus’ new video on DK2?

John: As far as positional tracking and whatnot, we can’t wait to support everything Oculus puts out. Once we get our DK2, we’ll see how it changes things and make adjustments accordingly.

What do you see next for VR? Do you think we’ll go back to the arcades?

John: I’d be excited to see that, because there are a lot of VR experiences that lend themselves to a 5 minute chunk. For example, I can imagine our mine cart demo being in the arcades. Like if you had a nickel — ok, a dollar.

I see a very natural place for large, well-designed VR units to be in an arcade, where you don’t have to worry about space. I’m just speculating, but with modern tech you could make a VR machine that could play a lot of different content, and in that sense kind of represents the old cabinet style of the 90s.

James: That said, I think Sony and Oculus are trying really hard to make it an at-home experience.

If it were in the arcade, though, it could be really cool. Valve was demoing a walkable VR experience at Steam Dev Days — we didn’t get to try it, but it was apparently really amazing. People approached a cliff and were told to jump off, and apparently half the participants didn’t because it was so disorienting and immersive. The setup for that hardware included the room: QR codes were all over the walls, and you needed the surrounding space to walk around.

I was actually talking with my dad this morning at breakfast about VR experiences outside of gaming. In education, instead of going to Egypt to see the pyramids, you could go in VR; you could even see the pyramids as they were in any era. Or Rome, or wherever.

My dad is a nuclear engineer and has to do a lot of consulting in outside countries, as far away as China, and it’s always a big deal to show a problem in 3D space. You have to take a lot of photos and make a detailed description. If you could replicate problems in VR, you could show it more directly to someone else.

What about VR movies?

John: We talked to a company at Steam Dev Days called Condition Onethat is doing exactly that. They made a rig — I guess they’re calling it anomnidirectional camera — to capture the scene from all angles, so with the Rift you could look in 360 degrees and see what’s happening everywhere.

There’s also an app that’s very popular among VR devs right now — VR Cinema, like VLC for the Rift.

James: You can walk around the theatre and sit in any of the seats.

John: The screen feels like the IMAX. There’s been jokes like there should be someone kicking your seat and throwing popcorn.

Then there’s a Super Nintendo simulator for the Rift. It puts a crappy little TV in front of you, and you can play any Super Nintendo game in a virtual bedroom.

One interesting thing: they’ve been doing social experiments with VR. There was a big event earlier like a chat room in a VR setting, like a Second Life sort of situation, where you could look at other people’s avatars and chat with them via voiceover.

Koriel: Someone took screenshots of this and posted it to Reddit, where half the people were walking around a meeting room with the same model.

John: PvP experiences are cool. Your opponent is right there “with you,” but could actually be anywhere. In theory, you can replicate the “couch gaming” culture — “I’m here on the couch with my buddies next to me.”

With the growth of mobile culture, do you foresee any conflict with a device that necessarily confines gamers to one spot?

John: In terms of mobile VR, I had one honestly very weird experience.

Guy comes up to our GDC booth, tells us to try this headset, it’s Android based. I put it on and it’s just like — oh cool, it’s like an Unreal 3 demo of looking around in a room. There’s no wires, no computer, just a device. It was custom built, essentially the guts of a Samsung S5. It looked to my eyes like it was hitting 60 frames/sec, and he said it was a 1080p screen. So it was like, well, cool, that works! Look ma, no wires.

I gave it back, and he was like, ok, see ya. And he leaves. There were like 15 people watching me at the booth, and none of them got to try. [NOTE: This device was GameFace. There’s an optimistic Polygon article about it.]

The lines between personal computers and mobile are blurring every day. I just don’t know what’s gonna come of that, but going mobile has some distinct advantages.

What other VR titles are y’all excited about?

JohnTheme Park Studio. We picture it as a VRRoller Coaster Tycoon: where you ride the roller coaster that you built yourself.

James: That dolphin game! Classroom Aquatic. You actually use the Rift as a control mechanism in this game. You’re taking a test underwater, but its in dolphin language, so you have to cheat. The goal is to peek at another student’s answers while avoiding the teacher’s gaze.

John: Like we mentioned before, Star Citizen. It’s by the same guy asFreelancer! Finally, we get Freelancer 2.

The Gallery: Six Elements is another puzzle adventure game like ours.

James: There’s an unofficial version of Pokémon for the Rift! And of course there’s a Flappy Bird.

Will VR broaden or narrow the generational gap? Could grandparents be able to play with their grandchildren?

Koriel: Our parents have enjoyed it. We had other older folks come over and try it out, and they wanted to play MechWarrior, because that’s what they used to play.

John: Dunno if we’ll see grandparents playing VR Call of Duty anytime soon, though.

Any expected Frankenstein syndrome? How can people feel reluctance towards an idea as awesome as VR?

John: It’s funny you mention that. When we were at Steam Dev Days, Palmer gave a very short presentation about his experiences. Near the end of his presentation, he said, “I believe VR tech is the most important breakthrough… of our lives.

Koriel: That’s classic Palmer. Best thing ever! Gonna change the world!

John: VR has a really bad history in terms of consumers, especially theVirtual Boy. There are a lot of reasons why that was a total disaster, not only because VR wasn’t ready. It was prior to 3D graphics, prior to screen tracking — there have been so many breakthroughs recently that push VR towards an affordable consumer price point.

I think you’re always going to get naysayers, sinking ship…, history proves…,but the pieces are in place for success.

Koriel: It’ll be a battle of the voices, between people who like it and people who get sick using it and/or think it’s dumb. Who will be the loudest? Alternatively, who has the most money?

John: But seriously, at our booth, everyone walked away happy.

James: VR seems to be way less controversial than AR. If you’re gaming, it’s socially acceptable to have a big TV and consoles and whatever, it’s not nearly as uncool as, say, wearing something on your face. I don’t think society will pooh-pooh VR a la Google Glass.

Let’s let our minds fly: What will VR be like in 2025? 2050? “Meet me at the holodeck?”

John: A holodeck! That’s the ultimate in VR: fully fooling yourself into thinking you’re in a virtual environment, no treadmill, no headset. Who knows if Oculus as a company will be there, but clearly they’re a pioneer. They’re the Zenith TV of VR.

James: Have you seen Her? and Minority Report? I’m not a tech wizard in this sense, but I think the Rift is the alternative to the holodeck kind of stuff. Until 3D projection tech takes off, it’ll be this. The research that Oculus is doing right now sets up rules and guidelines for the future of VR.

Koriel: More like being in The Matrix.

John: Yeah, The Matrix is a better analogy than the holodeck.

James: Yeah, cause you plug in when you put on the Rift.

John: I imagine in the nearer future, the headset will get smaller and smaller, maybe project into your retinas. Maybe via a corneal implant.

James: Something wrapped around your rods and cones.

John: Let’s leave that to the futurists.

Build Your Own Afterlife: Oculus Rift Game Development and the Future of VR


 

Massive thanks go to White Lotus Interactive. XING is expected to be released via Steam in the second half of 2014.

Follow the XING dev blog to keep track of the latest from White Lotus. They’re on Twitter and Facebook, too.

 

This article was a cross publishing effort with Janel Torkington. Thanks so much to Janel for her amazing work!

 

5912
I got in touch with Linda Wells of OculusRealPorn.com, a company working on bringing adult content into virtual reality. Thanks again to Linda and the guys from OculusRealPorn for answering my questions. 
> How did you guys come up with the idea?

We are fans of virtual reality from watching movies like The Lawnmower Man. Last year, when the Oculus Rift arrived to market  we ran to buy one to achieve true VR experiences with it. We realized that there wasn’t any porn with real people for Virtual Reality, so we contacted friends who were porn actresses of and we started the company.

>  Why virtual reality?

The possibility to explore another world with VR games and to disconnect from every day work is very attractive to us. You can play whatever role you want and feel like you are a different person in another environment. That feeling is priceless.

>  Why pornography?

All the possibilities with VR are more attractive and addictive if
when there is porn for everybody. No matter if you are a man or a woman, you can make all your fantasies “reality”.

>  What is the biggest selling point for Vr porn?

Internet, of course. People want immediateness and discretion when they want to consume porn, and internet is perfect for all that.

>  Who is your target audience?

Right now we are aiming at every VR developer or enthusiast and primarily men, but it’ll increase with the commercial release of the Oculus Rift. We are asking our users about their fantasies to create content that might achieve that.

>  What are your biggest challenges at this point?

Porn for VR is relatively new and there are technical challenges with
video production. We are producing new videos in 120º FOV while simultaneously researching to increase the field of view. The big challenge is increasing the field of view with stereoscopic video. Also there are a lot of users that are helping us choose a correct video edition to create the most comfortable experience possible. We are working tirelessly and we are achieving all of that gradually.

>  How does creating pornographic content for vr differ from more
 traditional methods?

The video editing and camera shaking is overall different to other kind of content for most users. We must let the user watch every scene eliminating all the motion sickness that we can, although we have advanced VR users that prefers the same video editing techniques of traditional porn content.

>  Will there be porn for women or people of other sexual orientations in the future?

Yes, that is our intention, bringing the best VR sex experiences so all kinds of people can enjoy.

>  What features should we expect in the future? What will VR pornography be able to bring us 5 years, 10 years from now?

We hope to put on the market devices to grab a total FOV for each eye, in order to get a complete immersion in the scene, and especially without cables. In porn, we expect greater interactivity experiences with HMDs properly adapted interfaces, we would like to see sensors that make you feel exactly what you see on the HMD, we think that it’ll be possible in the next few years. We’ll see a new revolution in media market.

>  What is your ultimate vision for the future for your technology? Both on a macro and an individual level.

We hope that the HMD completely disappears, so that the image and feelings can be sent directly to our cerebral cortex using electrodes or similar devices. When this happens (we believe it will), it will absolutely change the way we see the world, the audiovisual industry and relationships among people. We do not think this is necessarily a bad thing, as with all technologies, it is the user who decides the way he/she uses it. It’s possible that all that comes with time and we hope to be there to continue creating the best quality content we can.

Thank you very much for your interview, kind regards.

Linda Wells

And thank you Linda!

 

For more information on OculusRealPorn check out the links below

http://oculusrealporn.com/

https://twitter.com/oculusrealporn

 

1823

The only constant in the universe is change (Heraclitus more or less said this). It seems to me that the current technological paradigm that we live under is a transitory period. We are all transitioning to new ways of interacting with computers, new methods of producitivity and new visions for our technological future.

10 months ago I was writing parking tickets on a college campus, I’ve come a long way from those days and I got a lot more to go in the pursuit of my dreams and aspirations. The other night I had my first dream about the metaverse. In my dream, I saw it. I saw the metaverse, a new layer to reality, a place that will inhabit the minds of us all.

By no means am I an expert, heck I’m really just some guy with an obsession for the future and the technology that’s bringing it to us. In speaking with the great people I get to meet on my podcast, I find myself learning constantly. The future is indeed an exciting place. From the many talks I’ve had, I have begun to form a puzzle inside my head, a foggy construct that lives inside my mind; growing and building upon itself the more I learn about this technology. I think, one could spend a life time and still be unable to learn everything there is to know about this new medium of communication.

Virtual reality along with its complimentary technologies (drones, 3d printing, quantum computing) will usher in a new stage of evolution for mankind. It’s all a matter of when it happens really. This hypothetical end goal, this transition to a new transition will not occur overnight. There is a long road ahead, but we will get there. I predict that the markers for how this transition will occur will make themselves easy to spot in plain sight.

This post is about the evolution of human computer interaction through virtual reality. I’m going to tell you where we are currently, the 3 phases of interaction and ultimately, the multiple macro outcomes that can come from this technology.

Our current paradigm:

I remember watching an interview with John Carmack where he talked about the current state of technology. He talks about how we have been able to build these amazing 3D worlds and yet we are only able to enjoy them through flat screens and keyboards in front of us. What if you could only experience reality through a 15.6 inch window? My opinion is in line with Carmack’s. He believes the current state of affairs is awfully inefficient. Interacting with the computer world should be as seamless and perhaps even more seamless than interacting with reality. Inside these worlds we can be the creators and explorers we’ve inherently been born to be.

The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of time is probably one of the greatest games ever created. The other day, I got to experience a segment of my childhood inside virtual reality. Nostalgia and emotion flooded my body, when I found myself inside a world I used to stare at through the digital window of my TV screen. I went from looking at this world from a distance to being fully inside. It’s a feeling that is hard to describe. Cymatic Bruce played the Kokiri Forest demo for the Oculus and it made him want to play every single game he’s ever played all over again but in VR. I couldn’t agree more. I can’t wait to one day play Banjo Kazooie, Zelda Majoras mask and Mario Kart 64 inside VR.

Truth is, we haven’t even began Phase 1. Like Palmer likes to say ” We are still witnessing day zero”. When the first Oculus Rift consumer model gets released I will still be proclaiming it as day zero not until we reach the Haptic era.

 

Phase 1: The Haptic Era

In my mind, optics and binaural audio will get mastered and get constantly perfected as the phases of virtual reality occur around us. But even before we reach the haptic era, I think these two fields of VR will be very well developed.

What optics do with vision, haptics do with touch. Haptics is a field that will go hand in hand with virtual reality. The whole point of good a virtual reality experiences is the idea of connecting as many senses as possible. I predict that during the Haptic era, virtual reality will find its input device(s). These devices will allow the user to feel the textures, have a sense of “force” whether it be gravity or centripedal or meticlorian. A proper Jedi training simulation, will be exponentially better if the user is able to “feel” impact forces, sense . In my opinion a haptic glove (thanks for the idea, Ready Player One) is the ultimate input device for Virtual Reality. What the mouse has done for the desktop, Haptic gloves will do for virtual reality. The guys at Tactical Haptics are doing some pretty ground breaking work in the realm of haptics. I’ve also seen a vest that gives you feedback through air bursts shot at your body.

Omni directional treadmills with some form of force feedback should be standard thing. If i’m playing Jurassic Park VR, and a T-Rex stomps by, I want the ground below my feet to tremble.

One thing that I am really excited for is VR haptic suits or haptic clothing. Clothing that might mimick wind blowing (i’m not sure how), temperature, and impacts. If I am playing a boxing game inside of VR it would be amazing to feel (without pain) where my opponent is tagging me.

As a side note, I will be incredibly suprised if we do not master a way to implement voice commands inside virtual reality or eye tracking during the Haptic era.

Phase 2 : The Age of Biometrics

The merge of virtual reality and Biometrics will give us an unprecedented amount of knowledge about ourselves. With biometrics we will have the ability to measure, visualize and interact with our bodily functions inside of virtual reality. Imagine playing a horror game that keeps track of your heart rate, and the machine learns to time the scary shit according to how relaxed or on edge it might perceive you to be.

For gamers; the applications of biometric feedback are obvious. Let the human body not just become an extension of the controller but a controller itself. Imagine a mission impossible type game where you have to control your breathing in order to not activate the wall of security lasers in front of you. Or a sniper game that requires you to bring your body in complete sync in order to take that fateful shot.

For the casual consumers this could be huge as well. What if we could go to the doctor’s office to get our annual check up by simply using telepresence and biometric feedback so that doctors could take care of more patients and with better quality of care. Biometric feed back could be used for fitness apps as well.

Wii fitness has proven that people seek healthy alternatives to passive entertainment media. One day I want to be able to hike the Alps or the jungles of Borneo and have a clear record of my biometric activity over a that period of time. In essence, we could unravel a new way of maintaining and thereby enhancing our terrestrial vessels of flesh, water and bacteria.

 
Phase 3: The rise of neural computer interaction/ Humanity 2.0

One day I want to be able to transmit my thoughts directly onto the computer world. I want to be able to share my favorite dreams with the people around me, I dream of the day when I will be able to go up to you and say, hey Johnny! Do you want to go inside the dream I had last night? To which Johny will reply ” Fuck no! I don’t want to venture inside your fucked up mind Cris Miranda!”

I really want to control the video games with my mind already!

In this phase there’s no telling how we will access the metaverse. Will the metaverse be projected directly into our brains bypassing our eyes? Will we have nano implants attached to our pupils?

All I know is that we humans will begin moving away from what it means to be human in the minds of those who will decide to get left behind.

What good could come from this?

Here’s an idea. If humanity starts becoming this always connected, multi neural consciousness we will be able to make more rational decisions about the way we treat our planet, each other and we might have a fighting chance against the impending robot apocalypse. Our collective wisdom will uncover and defuse the robot plot to take over the planet and harvest us and our children’s chidren for biofuel for all eternity or until the expansion of the sun occurs.
Fin?

 
I’ll end with this. All in all, technology could give zero fucks about our morals and ethics. It really is up to us to use technology to the benefit of mankind. Having coming to grips with the reality of human nature, that human beings can be both equally inspiring and terrifying is a fact of our current condition. For every good being done out there, there is just as much evil. Virtual reality can be used to expand our minds, enhance our view of reality and liberate us from the current monetary paradigm. At the same time virtual reality can be used to torture individuals, control the minds of the weak and distract the minds of the many. This is why I have made it my personal mission to create, support and push forward positive applications of this technology. There is no way I will be able to stop the inevitable evil that will be created with this tool but sitting on the sidelines of history with my arms crossed is not an option either.
Nothing will be impossible in the 21st century. I’m so happy to be alive to be able to witness it.

 

Quick note:

But Cris how will we know which phase we are in? Simple. If you hear your grandma, your barber, your mailman talk about Haptics or biometrics then there you have it, when the technology becomes ubiquitos to those who are more distant from technology then it means you are part of a certain phase. For example, tablets were laughed at, by my grandparents once but now they are a part of their lives and they are as ubiquitoes as newspapers. (actually I view newspapers as more of a novelty nowadays.)

1103

  The ability to place yourself inside virtual worlds has been in the realm of science of fiction for a long time. But, 2014 has the potential change that and usher in a new era of human computer interaction. Thanks to the Oculus Rift, virtual reality will be a subject of wide interest for mainstream society. Here are 5 reasons why VR will see a successful 2014. (This list is in no specific order)

Reason 1: Immersion

Human beings like to tell a good a story. All of us do it, and we do it through different mediums. Through my podcast and blog i’d like to think that I am telling a story of virtual reality. Sure, anyone can tell stories, but what makes a good story?

No matter what the content or how it is consumed, a good story is one that you loose yourself inside of.

Exhibit A: Disneyland. Theme parks we’re built in a time when computer graphics didn’t exist, so in order to bring you somewhere only I have imagined I have to build the place physically myself. Disney wanted to build worlds from which he would be able to tell you his stories. He wanted you immersed, he wanted you to forget that you were in Anaheim California. Immersion sells millions of dollars in themepark tickets sales.

Exhibit B : Wii; I would argue that the Wii’s success is greatly attributed to the immersion the Wii was able to provide.  Immersion doesn’t just sell theme park tickets, it also sells video game consoles.  When the Wii came out, it’s direct competitors we’re targeting a specific audience of gamer.  The hardcore. And hard core gamer wanted nothing to do with gimicky wands and peripherals. Except, for the casual gamer the Wii mote and nunchuck attachment was a new bridge for them cross into the realm of gaming. The Wii made it so that grandma could play Bowling or mom could play Tennis in a way that was simple and intuitive. Playing tennis, you simply swing your arms around as if you were really holding a tennis racket. The Wii came out the clear winner in the last console generation having sold more than 100 million units world wide.

The Wii’s success goes to show that casual gamers are just as hungry for more immersive experiences as the core gamer.

I could write a whole book on the importance of immersion so this discussion will be continued.

2 The Console and PC market are stagnant in innovation.

From a consumer’s perspective, I look all around me and see a lot of monotony in the gaming industry. The content is diverse as ever but the ways with which we consume media will soon seem antiquated.

We are currently stuck in the interface paradigm. Our only access to the computer world is through flat surfaces we stare at while we type away or press buttons on a controller. Fundamentally what this means is: The PS1, PS2, PS3 and PS4 are all exactly the same thing and perform in the same manner to grant you access to the computer world.  Some people might like this current status quo, but living in the year 2014 at the dawn of the 21st century, makes you wonder: Where are my moon colonies? Where are all the jetpacks? Why don’t I have a robot wiping my butt by now?

Truth is, we are all living in the future and as consumers we need to set our expectations a lot higher for what can be possible technologically.  Virtual reality seems to meet my expectations of what gaming will look like in the first quarter of the 21st century.

The rise of tablets and smartphones will help accelerate the growth of virtual reality.  The components that make virtual reality possible such as accelerometers and high res screens have been coming down in price because of the Smart phone race.  This is what allows Oculus to aim to charge 300 dollars for their device.

Soon, mobile devices will have caught up in processing power to desktops and laptops with Envidia showing off its new 192 core processor at CES 2014. This new mobile future feels more tangible than ever.

3. 300 dollars for a Virtual reality headset is a compelling price.

People have the disposable income for extraordinary experiences. Back in 2012 I remember seeing impressions of the Oculus Rift from E3. The thing that stood out for me the most was the following thought:  “Wow, I’m seeing reporters, gamers, developers of all kinds walking away amazed. People who think they have seen everything the gaming industry has to offer are walking away amazed.”

I say this because, if gamers and game industry folk whom spent their lives inside the industry are blown away by the rift, Imagine what it will do to John Doe at Best Buy?

4 The porn will be amazing

Enough said.

5 There are numerous services and products that VR will improve

Education could be changed forever. Let’s visit the places we want to learn about. Let’s simulate the actions we want to get better at. The school field trip budget is now only tied down to the limits of one’s own imagination.

Creating things inside VR and sharing those creations with the world will be immensely compelling one day.

Tele-presence will give us the freedom to visit the places we might never see in real life.

It’s just a matter of time, till someone is able to nail down the casual VR experience properly.

I could probably name a lot more reasons why VR will be successful in 2014. The future likes bright, but life wouldn’t be life if it wasn’t for obstacles. Already, it’s difficult to predict how the greater society will react. We don’t know what impact patent law will have on the medium.

Still, the future looks promising and we now have the choice to decide whether we want to be participants of history or witnesses.

Cris M.