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TheLaughingMan

Broken Age - Oculus Rift Environment Demo

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I have been playing with my Oculus Rift DK2 and really enjoy some of the environments that people have come up with. I think it would be cool if an environment could be set up where I could hang out with the Lumberjack or the Tree. No goal other than being in a Nathan Stapley world with 3 or 4 simple interactions with the environment. The Totoro or Kamaji environments for example. Would be a pretty kick ass demo and precursor to the technology that is right around the corner...

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I thought it'd be neat to make a Double Fine Action View Master made out of an Oculus Rift where it would place you in scenes from Double Fine's games. I heard that at least the DK1 had some solder points where you could wire in extra controls. If that's actually true you could wire in a button or even a lever operated button for switching between scenes. So then one scene you'd be on a stage in front of a crowd in Brutal Legend, another you'd be in the middle of the Milkman level in Psychonauts, and another you'd be on the platform in Sugar Bunting waiting for Mog Chothra to gobble you up. Of course, those games use different engines so it's not realistic. Plus it'd be a near total waste of time to program, hah :)

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My kids are still flooding my living room with lava and smashing stuff via Kinect Party and AR. And now that we have the Oculus Rift DK2, we have been riding coasters, floating in space, and interacting with giant cat buses. The appeal is evident and lasting. I am a managing partner and director of operations of a tech company in the energy sector so don't generally have the opportunity to get my hands dirty with UI and code anymore... where I spent most of my earlier career. I still have my Photoshop chops and fluency in OOP and have been designing a home in SketchUp for over two years now (to be certified by a legit architect) and thought, hey, wouldn't it be cool to pick up Unity and dabble?

I really considered putting together a mimicked environment with Stapley's look and feel by attempting to emulate color, shapes, and objects by sampling screenshots from Broken Age and bringing them to a single virtual construct in Unity. If I spent enough time, I am sure I could 'build a box' that felt like I was in a Reds scene; forest or indoor. Alas, there are perhaps a number of factors I have not considered, so I may be talking warm-wind from my hind region. BUT, I imagine the result of a combined effort to be appealing from a collaborative fan/hobbyist point of view.

VR is the future and everyone will be fighting to find content as evident for OC a couple of months ago. In my mind ADVENTURE GAMES WILL BE THE BEST EXPERIENCES IN VIRTUAL REALITY! VR will be about storied content and is right up Tim Schafer's GHA(sic, don't ask). Alas, it is a bet that DF will most likely not be in a position to make financially. But they will be best suited to take full advantage of the new platform in a BLUE WATER MARKET. Sorry Justin Bailey; if we ever meet, my chin is all yours for a right cross.

With that being said, anyone interested in collaborating on a tech demo in praise of our love of DF, maybe we can plan out a home-brew. I am sure I could put together a legal fund to fight DF IP litigation while we crank out a cool VR joint... I will be watching this thread for replies... :)

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Personally, I think VR is nothing but a stop-gap technology that'll require big bucks for a piecemeal solution that won't work perfectly or have any significant content. This is all because peripherals don't sell games, they only restrict game sales. Another limiter is that VR won't change the way we use computers. So much of what we do with computers has to do with documents (web pages, word processing, spreadsheeting, coding, etc) and that's always done best with a 2D display and interface. When you look at any of the William Gibson stories or at Snow Crash, the idea of the internet visualized as a world you can "travel" through is kind of ridiculous. The network isn't interesting and it's not supposed to be.

Movement, interactions, and haptics are major problems. Haptics especially-- if you can't touch it, it ain't real. Those 360 degree treadmills? Dumb. I play video games so I can do heroic stuff without physical exertion.

If VR truly had the promise of changing the way we use computers then I'd say it has a shot at going mainstream.

Wake me up when we have brain link interfaces, they're the real technology that'll change how we use computers.

Augmented Reality, on the other hand, can be really neat. I like Kinect Party and Happy Action Theater. I also like Star Walk on the iPad. I'd also like to have an AR display as part of the windscreen on my car or as part of the shield on my motorcycle helmet. Google Glass is kinda close but I don't wanna look like a Gargoyle from Snow Crash.

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Only the DK1, it was pretty terrible. There was this demo of bungee jumping... looking around was kinda neat but if you wanted to turn around you actually have to be standing and turn around, which is no good when your head is attached to your computer by a cable. Of course the actual bungee jump wasn't impressive because, you know, no actual sense of falling which is the point of bungee jumping. It was a stupid demo that only showed off what the Oculus Rift is NOT applicable to. I know the DK2 has better resolution and some more sensors on it for head tilt, which is absolutely necessary. I see the value in it for cockpit style games like flight sims (well, space flight sims) and car racing games but without a whole other array of hardware certain genres are just going to be made worse, not better. And still, HAPTICS.

It's the same with the Kinect, if you stayed within its limits (Kinect Party, Child of Eden) it was pretty cool but when you went outside of its limits (Kinect Adventures, Kinect Star Wars) it's kinda lame.

And no, I'm not going to throw so much money at it that I gotta dedicate a room to this...

The-Lawnmower-Man-1992-.jpg

... because a) it's silly and b) there'll be like ONE game that uses it.

I'll be a believer when I see actual real content not in production, but actually released, and a significant amount of it. I just know that the more peripherals you add, the less content you get. So the content for Oculus Rift will be a small percentage of all games and content for Oculus Rift + Sixense will be a small percentage of that small percentage. I know these things because I've owned an Essential Reality P5 VR glove, a Novint Falcon, and a Leap Motion Sensor-- my unsupported tech closet is stuffed full of this crap already. The Oculus Rift has the same crazy optimism as I've seen before without any real information on the content so right now it's all just potential.

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