The ghost howls

A blog of virtual reality, startup and stuff


November 2016

How a developer can reduce motion sickness in VR games

Some times ago I made a quite successful post about how to experience virtual reality reducing your simulation sickness. After that, I also published a deeper insight on simulation sickness where I described how this issue depends on age, sex and race of the person experiencing virtual reality. People have asked me to make another kind of post: if you are a developer and don’t want to give motion sickness to your users… what can you do? So, here you are, with some advices on how to make your users puke less.

First of all, absolutely, in any case, don’t make the camera move without an explicit action of the user. Please, don’t. I know that making some cinematic sequences with camera moving on the play area is very cool, but it’s also very nausea inducing… so, it’s not a good idea. The reason is the same that I described in my previous articles (read them if you want to understand better what motion sickness is!): your body stays still, but your eyes see movement; the brain thinks that this sensorial mismatch is due to some kind of poison and so trigger its defenses, that are nausea and stuff (come on brain, what awful defenses you have! 🙂 ). This is a very basic concept, but I continue seeing lots of demos with automatic camera movements. Camera MUST move only under consent of the user. Continue reading “How a developer can reduce motion sickness in VR games”

Lantern review

Some days ago, I’ve been contacted from 1C publishing studio for a possible review of one of their games: Lantern. I’ve said to myself “why not?” and so I played a bit with their game… and here you can find my honest review.

Lantern is a relaxing experience for Oculus, Vive and OSVR: you can find it on Steam, where you can download a little demo and then purchase the full game for €6,99, if you want. It isn’t truly a game, but more something that you can play to have some relaxing moments in virtual reality.

When the game starts, you’re provided with a 2D menu that is hard to control with mouse and keyboard: I’ve had lots of difficulties in understanding how to activate the menu entries, because the cursor sometimes disappeared.

Lantern VR game Steam
The start menu. For me it has been the first puzzle of the game

Once you manage to click on start, a little 2D intro showing an asian girl is proposed to you, just to put you in the right mood for the game that starts little after.

Lantern VR game Steam
The intro with beautiful drawings and a beautiful asian girl crying

The game environment is a nice low-poly world, where all is gray and sad. The visuals are very nice and I appreciated them. You can control a little lantern to spread the love and make all the world become coloured again. You control the lantern with your space key (that acts as a throttle) and with your mouse (that sets the direction towards which the lantern can move in the space).The control system is interesting and very easy to use, once you’ve mastered with it a bit. Luckily they’ve added little icons nearby the lantern that appear when the user seems struck, just to help the novice user with the controls: I appreciated this a lot. Continue reading “Lantern review”

VRideo shuts down

While I was preparing my next article, a great sad news arrived to me: VRideo shuts down. With a long, sad and warm message on their blog, they closed their platform yesterday. They were one of the most famous VR video apps (they had 700.000+ installations), they were compatible with lots of headsets (I remember VRideo being one of the first non-gaming app for GearVR), they raised a huge investment (2 million dollars!), they were super-cool… nonetheless, they’re closing. Continue reading “VRideo shuts down”

How to mirror Gear VR or Cardboard to PC

Tomorrow we will be at the WTT to make a talk about the differences between AR/VR/MR and on how to use our ImmotionRoom system. We’ll take with us a laptop and a GearVR and so we’ll need a technique to stream Gear VR content to my laptop or to an external screen (or a projector) to make people see what my buddy Gianni will see inside the virtual world (otherwise, from the audience standpoint, he would just look like an idiot waving hands and feet like a zombie). But… how to make it? How to let people see what you’re seeing in your mobile virtual reality headset? Continue reading “How to mirror Gear VR or Cardboard to PC”

Google Earth VR for HTC Vive

Virtual reality world is very cool because every day you wake up and there is an unexpected news popping out from nowhere and that excites you a lot. Today’s great news has been the announcement by Google of the release of Google Earth in Virtual Reality!

It seems to be a project that has born 4 ago inside Google, by employees using the famous 20% of creative time that Big-G leaves to all its developers to create interesting side-projects (lots of great services of Google have born this way: Gmail is a great example of these). 4 years ago means 2012, the year that Oculus Kickstarter campaign has begun changing our future… so these smart guys envisioned Google Earth in virtual reality the very first moment they saw a VR headset! They kept the project secret till now, where they suddenly unveiled and released this little jewel. Continue reading “Google Earth VR for HTC Vive”

Oculus vs Vive: November 2016 update

One of the biggest disputes of the virtual reality world is: it is better Oculus Rift or HTC Vive? There is no accepted answer to this question: lots of people have tried to make a comparison (me too, with this post) but there is not a headset that is truly superior to the other one. Besides that, virtual reality has been ruined by fanboyism, so there are lots of idiots giving biased reviews just because they’re fan of one headset or the other one.

The problem of all those reviews (mine included) is that they refer to the situation that holded until summer 2016. After that, lots of things have changed: autumn has been a hot season for VR, with lots of announcements by Oculus, HTC, Microsoft and Google. I think that a recap including the latest news is necessary, so to make a more effective comparison at current state of art. So, what is the current situation of this endless war between these two great virtual reality devices? Let me try to write some points:

Main Specs

It’s a tie: FOV, framerate, resolution, etc… are almost identical in the two contestants. Someone says that Oculus has slightly better visual quality, but it’s almost non-noticeable. Continue reading “Oculus vs Vive: November 2016 update”

OT: Google Quickdraw

Just inaugurating my off-topic section with this post, that doesn’t talk about virtual reality or startup life. Today I just want to talk about my little experience with Google Quickdraw.

Google Quickdraw is like playing Draw Something (or Pictionary, for who, like me, spent some entertaining evenings playing with the board game), but against an Artificial Intelligence system… the one of Google… and you know how Google is smart with neural networks. (do you remember the success of DeepGo against the Go world champion? Well, Pepperidge Farm remembers) Continue reading “OT: Google Quickdraw”

Wireless Vive is now a reality

I talked a lot about how headsets wire is a big issue in virtual reality. I talked about standalone headsets and about HTC project to make Vive wireless. We were all thinking that this was only experimental research, when yesterday HTC made the big announcement: you can buy a device to make your Vive wireless!

The device is not produced by HTC itself, but by TPCAST and it is a little black box that you can position in the rear of your headset, then you plug your Vive in and it starts streaming your virtual reality data from/to the headset, so the Vive becomes wireless. Its cost is not that bad: 220$, that, with current high prices of virtual reality devices is completely acceptable.

Continue reading “Wireless Vive is now a reality”

The difference between presence and immersion

Today I was talking with my friend Andrea about our ImmotionRoom system and he asked me: “but your virtual reality system increases presence or immersion?” and I was like “eeeh…uhm… aren’t they the same thing?”. Of course not, so Andrea started to introduce me the difference between this two terms. After his explanation, my mind was completely blown.

(Image from ReactionGifs)

Thanks to him, I just documented a bit and so now I’m going to tell you the difference between this two terms, so you won’t do the same error while speaking to another Andrea. Continue reading “The difference between presence and immersion”

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