Profile cover photo
Profile photo
Nathan Ehresmann
Nathan's posts

My HTC Vive arrived yesterday. I had a great time with it, but I'll first get to the frustrations so they're out of the way.

Setting it up is not an enjoyable experience. I had a couple of pieces of furniture that I was planning to put the lighthouses on. One of these is a bookshelf standing perpendicular to the wall. One of the lighthouses would go on the edge of that. Thing is, the power cable for the lighthouse is probably 10ft long, so hope you have a power outlet nearby or have an extension cable. They definitely designed it to be wall-mounted about 7-9ft up.

Once I got it all connected up I started up Steam VR, which promptly requested that I set up the room scale or standing room VR. I've cleared out a roughly 3m by 2m area for playing, so I went to set up room scale VR. You follow the onscreen prompts which tell you to put the headset and the controllers in an area that can be seen by at least one of the lighthouses. Steam VR almost immediately registers that the headset is in view, but would not acknowledge that the controllers were in view. I go back and check the troubleshooting, it says that lit green LED on the controllers means they're connected and should be in view. I look at my controllers and find they've got a nice green LED light on. "Ok, maybe I should just re-pair them," I think, which makes no difference. I try quite a few different things, and end up looking online to see if anyone else has had this issue. Yeah, good luck, first day the device is supposed to be released to consumers. Eventually I did find a developer who had to move the base station from a USB 3.0 port to a USB 2.0 port to get it to work properly. I try this, and magically Steam VR is happy. So yeah, that should probably be in the troubleshooting steps.

Ok, so the frustrations are out of the way, let's get to the good stuff. Setting up room scale VR is pretty easy stuff, just stand in the center of the play area with one of the controllers and pull the trigger. Then draw the borders of the play area with one of the controllers and it'll calculate a play area inside that containing nothing from floor to ceiling. That said, this is just setup, it's nice that configuring the play area is easy, but actually playing is where it's at.

It's been 15 years since I've used a VR headset, and as you can imagine a lot has changed since 2001. The headset I had used was a piece of equipment my school had for a general tech class. The headset was used in a mod of Half-Life where you would develop levels using Valve Hammer Editor and experience them in this mod (no guns, no blood, it was school appropriate stuff). The headset used a compass for horizontal direction orientation, and I'm not sure what it used for vertical orientation. Either way, it was not good at tracking movement. Head motions were delayed in the headset, and up/down motions were not 1 to 1, it moved far less in the simulation than I moved my head. And of course, any translational movement is simply not picked up at all. Even with all those problems, it was an amazing experience. I knew this was something special when I was looking at a catwalk I made in the game and could intuitively tell which of the two guard rails I had placed on either side of the catwalk was closer to me. It wasn't the same as normal 3d on a flat screen where you have to use depth cues, mostly size and occlusion, to determine what was in front. It felt unreal; even with all of the problems that headset had I still loved it.

Now the moment of truth, I'm instructed to put the Vive on. I awkwardly try to put the straps on the back of my head and slide the headset over my eyes before realizing I should do the opposite: put the visor over my eyes and then slide the straps over my head. I finish this and am now standing in a large warehouse being greeted by a personality core from Portal. My brain almost immediately accepted this. Every movement I made was reflected in this warehouse. I could look around, tilt my head, crouch, and walk. Everything felt... normal. I could see the controllers lying on the ground of the warehouse, and while I couldn't see my own hands, it was not difficult to kneel down and pick them up. Once I did, those controllers became my hands. It was so believable because every motion I made with my hands was reflected in these controllers. The personality core is going through the various buttons on the controller, and honestly I didn't care, I was engrossed in existing.

I played a few different games with the Vive: Job Simulator, Fantastic Contraption, Budget Cuts (pre-alpha demo), and Elite: Dangerous. Interestingly enough, the game I was looking forward to the most (Elite: Dangerous) was not the one I had the most fun with. Room scale VR is definitely where I feel VR is going to shine, and Budget Cuts did an amazing job showcasing this. Peeking around a corner while hiding from killer robots; popping out to throw and knife only to horribly miss and dart back behind cover. It's a really simple concept as a game, but when it's experienced in this way it's a completely different beast. I'm not pressing a button to take cover, I'm physically moving my own body behind the cover. I'm not pressing a button to throw a knife, I'm physically throwing my arm forward to throw a (hopefully virtual) object. This opens up entirely new experiences we've never been able to do before, and I'm excited to see what else is in store for me in this new world.

Post has attachment

Post has attachment

Post has attachment
Well, decided to smash a craft with some debris. Head on collision, each object moving roughly 1300m/s in opposite directions.

There's little to no sound in the video (save for the collision), so just play whatever you want over the top.

0:50 - Clip one of the solar panels off
7:10 - Almost hit, notice how quickly it speeds by
11:30 - Smashed into the debris, camera goes wild
12:10 - Debris field generated by collision, all of it will deorbit

The rest of the time is just watching the debris fall. Kinda neat, I'm glad Kerbal Space Program will calculate the collision and not just have the two objects phase though each other. I mean, putting it in perspective, these things are moving about twice as fast a a bullet, each, and KSP still handled the collision well.

Post has attachment

Post has shared content
Fire extinguishers are about you vs the fire, they're not about providing any sort of long term solution to the issues that result in the "need" for a fire extinguisher.

Extinguishing a fire doesn't prevent more from being created. There's also no guarantee that you'll be successful in extinguishing the fire anyway. Over a long enough timeline you'll succumb to a fire.

Extinguishing a fire doesn't stop other fires. Especially if you're not there. Over a long enough timeline you'll have a fire in your home.

No problem "solved" by owning a fire extinguisher is "solved" in the long term. Anyone who says they need a fire extinguisher for any of these reasons, and who isn't also working towards improving fire codes and other endeavors to reduce the genuine causes of fires, is flat-out lying to themselves about why they own a fire extinguisher.

Anyone who owns a fire extinguisher and isn't fully committed to creating a world where people don't need fire extinguishers is diluted about how effective fire extinguishers are, and is just trying to protect themselves instead of society as a whole.
How come all the folks in the US who say they need assault riffles to protect themselves from their government aren't actually using them for that? Seriously, these people are quite often in the same circle as those who call the government out as tyrannical and oppressive and a bunch of other stuff that would, based on their description of why they say they need their guns, be the justification required for marching on the government and saving the US from tyranny. They should be marching on the government right now, with their guns and their anger and their cries of freedom. 

But they don't.

It's almost as if they realize that they've long since passed the point where an assault riffle has any practical value against their military, because they realize that their military completely outguns them or, to put a more positive light on it, because they realize their military is composed of other people, just like them, who probably wouldn't even be committed to large scale operations against the population.

Guns are about us vs them, they're not about providing any sort of long term solution to the issue that result in the "need" for a gun.

Shooting a mugger, rapist and carjacker doesn't prevent society from creating more. There's also no guarantee that you'll be successful. Over a long enough timeline you'll be mugged, raped or carjacked.

Shooting a burglar or a home invader doesn't stop burglars and home invaders. Especially if you're not there. Over a long enough timeline you'll be burgled and home invaded.

Putting food on the table is a ludicrous reason for a gun. Nobody in the US uses guns exclusively for this purpose.

No problem "solved" by owning a gun is "solved" in the long term. Anyone who says they need a gun for any of these reasons, and who isn't also working towards improving social programs and other such endeavors to reduce the genuine causes of crime, and also work towards ending hunger, is flat-out lying to themselves about why they own a gun.

Anyone who owns a gun and isn't fully committed to creating a world where people don't need to own guns is diluted about how effective guns are, and is just playing with toys.

Post has attachment
+Abrak Jamson +Adam Helsene

Got into the Photosynth preview. Not too difficult to make and turns out awesome.

New Google+ tactic: Error out rendering the page saying you can't provide the CSS file when the web browser is Internet Explorer. This will cause a massive spike in alternative web browser usage and justify their own circular logic to ignore Internet Explorer.

On a more serious note, +Google, fix your shit.

This message was sent from Internet Explorer 11 pretending to be Mozilla Firefox.

Post has attachment
Just gonna plug the Kickstarter project The Girl and the Robot. It looks highly inspired by Ico, combat seems sorta like Dark Souls, and there's a flavor of The Legend of Zelda in there with the puzzles.

I'm liking the art direction and it's something I definitely want to play. I backed this project so much, and you should too!

I'm going to preface this post with a warning:

This visual novel is for mature audiences with sound minds. This visual novel is grotesque. No, I mean really, really grotesque. Scenes of sex and rape. Disturbing descriptions and visuals of gore, dismemberment, and mutilation.

Alright, so what visual novel? Saya no Uta (Song of Saya), recently released in the United States 10 years after its creation. It is lovecraftian horror that mixes in a very twisted love story. The basic premise is that Sakisaka Fuminori was involved in an accident that ended up with his brain twisting reality. Everything he sees is horribly mutilated. The world no longer resembles what it once was. Humans are disfigured and beyond recognition. Everything looks horrifying to him, except for one person: Saya.

Where Saya no Uta really shines is the character development. The changes that the characters undergo as they go deeper into the insanity. Most immediate is Sakisaka Fuminori's responses to what he witnesses, but as the story progresses those involved with Fuminori change as well.

I won't speak much of the endings except that each of them left me feeling conflicted: each of them conflicted in a different way. A rather interesting mix of emotions from each one.

I hesitate to recommend Saya no Uta because of how grotesque it is, but it is a well executed visual novel. The writing is excellent, the story and character progression is meaningful, and the visual novel doesn't fail to evoke the feeling that deep down, something isn't right. Or, is it exactly as it should be?
Wait while more posts are being loaded