Lightblade VR Update

For the last few weeks I’ve been getting a regular workout by playing various VR games on Vive whilst the Oculus continues to remain in its box with a layer of dust increasing until the Touch controllers come out.

Lightblades VR is a Star Wars fans dream come true as it brings to life (somehow getting around any copyright) lightsabres/Lightsabers (depending where you reside).

So far the experience is limited to battling a spherical bot as it fires laser bolts at your general direction with the aim being to deflect them back and accumulate a perfect score.

There has been an update in the works by the developer for a couple weeks, but today they released a snippet of video showing off advanced bot mechanics which include 360 degree movement, currently limited to attacking you from one direction. Also cutting the bot looks to be a feature, which is a welcome addition when one wishes to rage against the bot. A new temple map makes an appearance that looks to fit with a Sith/Rebels era.

But most impressive of all is the inclusion of an AI enemy going toe to toe with the player in a lightsabre battle.

The release date has been pushed back to sometime in August, but going by the new game mechanics is good to ensure that new features have ample time to polish.

To keep up with the games development checkout the Steam Store page.

Myo Armband

I haven’t been too impressed with some of the gesture controlled tech on the market, with the abundance of Kickstarter funded products I’d not be surprised if there’s not a gesture based zimmer frame or worse.

The Kinect was fun for a short while, back at the beginning of the Kinect revolution I was delighted to attend a special hands on at Rage in Birmingham and got to see their sports game up close before release and more importantly the tech behind the device. Kinect was good, but it was more interesting to see how the modding community hacked and slashed their way through the device and so much so its next iteration is apparently aimed at modders. Continue Reading

The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz

Published on 29 Jun 2014
The film follows the story of programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz. From Swartz’s help in the development of the basic internet protocol RSS to his co-founding of Reddit, his fingerprints are all over the internet. But it was Swartz’s groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing combined with his aggressive approach to information access that ensnared him in a two-year legal nightmare.

It was a battle that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26.

Aaron’s story touched a nerve with people far beyond the online communities in which he was a celebrity.

This film is a personal story about what we lose when we are tone deaf about technology and its relationship to our civil liberties.

Film by Brian KnappenbergerLuminant Media
http://www.takepart.com/internets-own-boy
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/26788492/aaron-swartz-documentary-the-internets-own-boy-0
Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

Help creating subtitles for this film: http://www.amara.org/de/videos/5Mo4oAj1bxOb/info/the-internets-own-boy-the-story-of-aaron-swartz/
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Film & Animation
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The general assumptions of John Cridland

 

Encourage teenagers to study arts so computer games of the future are not designed by ‘spotty nerds’

– John Cridland

 

What’s the meaning of this statement? should anyone feel isolated? affected? enraged? broken? A sweeping statement such as this is hurtful in many ways. As a child with dreams growing up in the 80’s, as adult who has spanned the last 15 years working hard to grow a business in an infant industry… I feel all of these things.
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Colourblind Glasses? Seeing colour for the first time.

A few years ago I responded to an article on the BBC which went into detail about people who have, generally speaking, colourblindness amongst gamers – by setting up a website to draw together research and as much data on the subject as possible. I kept it up for a while and received positive feedback but work commitments meant it was difficult to keep up.

Today Mashable posted an article on a Dad seeing colour for the first time via the use of some pretty cool glasses by EnChroma.

It would be interesting to ‘see’ how much of an impact this product makes on being colourblind and playing video games. After living with the most common form of red and green colourblindness ‘deuteranomalyI’d be very interested in experiencing colour. Looks like a birthday present.

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Star Wars – Alliance VR Update

A long time ago in a bedroom far away I would sit for hours at my trusty Pentium II immersed in the Star Wars space sim ‘Alliance‘. Sadly, the game proved to be the last in the popular X-Wing series but was great fun up until these titles stopped working on more modern operating systems.

When I ran my LAN centre I remember many allnighters with friends and customers lining up to join our personal rebellion in skirmish mode. This provided a customised option of setting the space setting (deep space, asteroid belt or mine field) and which ships either side would have with wave after wave of tie fighters and capital ships to choose from. Continue Reading

Visual Effects: Going Behind The Magic – LIFE AFTER PI (Official VFX Documentary)

I’ve been a fan of visual effects since its birth and well before before through practical effects. Today I was bowled over after landing on a video on You Tube. At first I was, as many people do, about to jump to something else as I was working on something else which needed my full attention, but I thankfully left it on, though not much work was achieved.

This documentary covers the flip side of the visual effects and animation industry to present how difficult is is to run a company working in these sectors – even after winning an Academy Award. Which is a continued part of the documentary on and offline.

life of pi vfx

Rhythm & Hues Studios is one such visual effects company that goes though a rough ride, at first rising with superb effects and continuing to develop unbelievable effects to slowly being eroded by the lack of support and attention they so deservedly need – they go bankrupt. Continue Reading

Chasing Dr. Jones

Like many people born in and around 1975 I had a wide range of adventures from BMX treks, climbing trees, building dens, tracking and lots of other physical activities which kept myself and friends from falling in with the wrong crowds. Well, it wasn’t until the birth of home computing that everything changed – but now as an adult approaching 40 I find myself day dreaming of the old days when there were no cares in the world.

LEGO was classic, but still hurt like hell when you accidentally stood on it. Transformers was the toy of choice, which thanks to my relatives from Canada gifted me Skywarp way before the show hit UK television – much to the anguish of my school chums. Continue Reading

Building a future in 3D

It seems only yesterday that we worked on Gaming the Tibby, the brain child of Digital Native Academy, one of the companies I founded back in the mid 2000’s. But today I seemed to have gone full circle by tapping into Ordnance Survey data once again.

Back in 2008 there was no such thing as Minecraft, though the style has become synonymous with the humbled beginnings of video games and for the project we needed to tap into something special to get across the aims of the project. Continue Reading

Playing with steam locomotives

*Article taken from What Happened To Steam – 15th February 2015

During the past few days we have updated a significant amount of WHTS Volumes with additional data appertaining to disposals and storage all of which help to enhance the WHTS data trails for the individual locomotives recorded on the website.

Volumes 1-26 & Vol. 26 has amassed over 208,500 words which have been translated into our dynamic WHTS database of Volumes. Everything held within the WHTS website has been carefully researched and detailed investigations of the correct data has been maintained to provide the most widely sourced records of the demise of steam currently available on the internet.

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Android Studio was unable to find valid JVM

After a break away from any hands on development I’ve gone back to Unity3D and getting dirty with augmented reality Apps. So of course there’s the issue of software updates and problems.

I want to work with Android devices to begin with due to the ease in which it is to develop for, as much as I don’t like the devices I have to admit its way easier to work with – though I am working on Yosemite – which is a first.

First issue of the day – android studio was unable to find valid jvm – whilst installing the most up to date Android Studio client.

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 11.41.22

So to fix this, download this patch.

Lets see how this goes…

 

Bam Bam Bam its Batman

There are few game series/franchises which seem to grasp the ethos and 360 degrees of a character better than the Arkham series and the latest return to the video game media is one for the pre order.

ACE Chemicals Part 1: Infiltration the first of three new gameplay videos from Batman™: Arkham Knight. All feature Batman learning about his new foe— the Arkham Knight—as he enters ACE Chemicals. The video highlights new game features including the new “Fear Takedown” maneuver (sic), as well as the seamless integration of the Batmobile into gameplay and Combat Mode.

You’ll have to trust me when I say I know my DC. I’ve been an avid reader of the comics for as long as I can remember as well as ravenously eaten up any and all the cartoon action. Though as mine and many other fans were dealt a massive blow when the superb series’ Green Lantern and Young Justice were cancelled there’s certainly been a gap left in the DC animated series front.

Anyway. Arkham Knight mania certainly looks to be building as March 2015 rolls closer the eye candy of AK will cause a lot of rubber necking.. speaking of which…

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Welcome to Gaming Wonderland and Ghotos

I recently wrote on how my addition to Diablo 3 was having an impact on me picking up another title. Well thats smashed. On Monday night I waved a sad goodbye to my trusty band of heroes and booked a day off from work to land in the stunningly beautiful Far Cry 4 the following day.

To say I over played Far Cry 3 is an understatement. It was one of those games you can truly be lost in, even for-filling many an archeologist fantasy searching for the many artefacts and hidden treasures spread across a huge landscape. I nailed 99% of the game. Sadly the last of the collectables are still located in a locked down temple (and save file). Even after attempting a frustrating period of jumping up rocks and random geometry to enter the temple from above it turned out to be fruitless as the open space above I’d intended to jump down from had a bloomin’ transparent plane across it – which I stood defeatedly on looking down at the remaining chests just a few feet away…

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Oculus, LEAP & Unity Development – Ongoing Article

Lets face it, you buy an Oculus Rift and with high hopes of being Tony Stark as you fly around virtual objects and problem solve in the 3rd dimension.. but the reality is that there are a lot of demos and games that are almost there but not quite there yet.

Oculus Rift, LEAP and Unity are in a state of changing sands as these technologies shift on a daily basis, so any attempt at documenting my development experiences in one article is fruitless.

I have covered some of the fun experiences I initially had after taking Oculus out of the box for the first time in a previous post. Now its time to put the toys to one side and dig deep into prototyping and development.

I purchased the LEAP head mount to avoid having to tape the LEAP device to my Oculus, which is a neat solution and easy to setup.

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One game to rule them all?

OK any Diablo 3 haters out there tune out. I love this game. Over the last 10 months since its release on Playstation 3 I’ve sunk my teeth into it and lost myself to its violent world of swords and treasure goblins.

I put many many houses into the game on console due to its ease of pick up and play which I am glad to state I’ve enjoyed throughout the ages on PC with equal if not more time investment. So having a technically easier way to play it without having to worry about graphics drivers and grumbling about outdated graphics cards I can frankly state its one of my top games in the last few years.

Since Reaper of Souls launched on PS4 its dominated my other gaming choices. Recently my collection increased with Destiny, Shadow of Mordor and Alien, ease superb games in their own right – all fall at the knees to D3:RoS.

diablo 3 2

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Hands on Oculus

Excusing the intended pun, this week I received my DK2 from Oculus (OR) and my word its been a fun ride so far.

After some initial setup issues on OSX I moved over to Windows 7 for stability as well as access to a wider range of demos and content to play with.

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Someone in the office giving the Rift a whirl

I followed in the footsteps of many a Rifter (the term used to describe users of OR) with the Tuscany demo. Nothing too special, but worthy of getting the device working correctly.

Once setup it was time to explore the content via Rift Enabled and the official Oculus libraries. After a few crappy experiences I landed on From Ashes a superb educational demonstration of what the Oculus can do through an imaginary and factual journey through the ages. I quite literally fell out of my chair after foolishly leaving the tilt bar unlocked. :/

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Operation Market Garden 70+

Operation Market Garden (17–25 September 1944) was an unsuccessful Allied military operation, fought in the Netherlands and Germany in the Second World War. It was the largest airborne operation up to that time.[e]

Field Marshal Montgomery’s goal was to force an entry into Germany over the Lower Rhine. He wanted to circumvent the northern end of the Siegfried Line and this required the operation to seize the bridges across the Maas (Meuse River) and two arms of the Rhine (the Waal and the Lower Rhine) as well as several smaller canals and tributaries. Crossing the Lower Rhine would allow the Allies to encircle Germany’s industrial heartland in the Ruhr from the north. It made large-scale use of airborne forces, whose tactical objectives were to secure the bridges and allow a rapid advance by armored units into Northern Germany.

Several bridges between Eindhoven and Nijmegen were captured at the beginning of the operation but Gen. Horrocks’ XXX Corps ground force advance was delayed by the demolition of a bridge over the Wilhelmina Canal, an extremely overstretched supply line at Son, and failure to capture the main road bridge over the river Waal before 20 September. At Arnhem, the British 1st Airborne Division encountered far stronger resistance than anticipated. In the ensuing battle, only a small force managed to hold one end of the Arnhem road bridge and after the ground forces failed to relieve them, they were overrun on 21 September. The rest of the division, trapped in a small pocket west of the bridge, had to be evacuated on 25 September. The Allies had failed to cross the Rhine in sufficient force and the river remained a barrier to their advance until offensives at Remagen, Oppenheim, Rees and Wesel in March 1945. The failure of Market Garden ended Allied expectations of finishing the war by Christmas 1944.

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