The ghost howls

A blog of virtual reality, startup and stuff


January 2017

HoloLens scene initialization

Yesterday I started collaborating in a little project that uses HoloLens (with Andrea… do you remember the guy of presence vs immersion article?) and as every normal guy working with this new device, I started looking at Microsoft Academy videos and articles.

First thing I discovered is that HoloLens requires you to change lots of settings in scene and in build parameters and this is soooooo boring. So I’ve said to myself “why can’t I write an editor script and do all this stuff automatically? I’ve already made something similar for our multi-build setup of ImmotionRoom, so it is something that I know how to do in few minutes”. Two hours of scripting later I discovered that maybe I over-estimated my capabilities (and the documentation of Unity Editor classes). And, even worse, I discovered that this feature is already present in that swiss knife that lies under the name of HoloToolKit (if you develop for HoloLens in Unity and you don’t use the HoloToolKit, you’re just a fool) 😀

Total facepalm (image by

Continue reading “HoloLens scene initialization”

Gabe Newell AMA shows great news for Vive (but no Half Life 3, sorry)

Everyone these days is focused on the trial Oculus vs Zenimax (if you don’t know what I’m talking about… you can start getting an idea looking at good articles like this one). I think that it’s something interesting, but it’s nothing more than VR gossip, something that I like to read while grabbing popcorns. Honestly I don’t think Zenimax will win this trial (just a gut feeling eh, I don’t have any evidence or such) and from a technical standpoint I don’t find this battle interesting.

I think that focusing on that stuff, lot of people lost the focus on the most important virtual reality thing of the day: the AMA of Gabe Newell on reddit. The fat copy of Harry Potter and other Valve employees stood there on /r/The_Gaben to answer all questions. Some were just random curiosity questions like “Have you ever been to Amsterdam?”, others were focused on Steam (someone asked about seeing pornography games on Steam… and no, guys, it won’t happen, sorry), others on games like Half Life 3 (he answered “The number 3 must not be said” ahahhahaha), then, of course, there have been questions about virtual reality. You can read all the AMA here or you can get an extract of most valuable Q&A here on Kotaku. Here I just want to comment two key posts. Continue reading “Gabe Newell AMA shows great news for Vive (but no Half Life 3, sorry)”

Meet me next weeks!

Hello everyone… if you are in Italy next weeks, come and meet me to talk about AR and VR! You can find me:

  • On January, the 21th, in Milan, Italy at Holo Dev Day event! We of Immotionar will make a little theorical session, with a fast introduction to Unity. The event is cool because it is focused on HoloLens and the audience will be able to try the devices!
  • On February, the 2nd, in Turin, Italy at Sognando La Realtà event (“Dreaming the reality”… it is really a cool name for an event!) organized by local GDG community. There we will make a little workshop where we’ll teach you the basics of Unity and gaze interactions for Cardboard headsets. At the event should be present a Daydream device, so it will be super interesting

Of course in both events we will showcase our full body VR ImmotionRoom solution: so, if you’re near here come and let’s have a chat about virtual reality!

Top 50 virtual reality websites of 2017

Great guys of TechTyche have made a list of top 50 virtual reality blogs of 2017. Their list is unordered and I guess that they’ve made it like this to not become enemies of anyone making a personal classification :D. I think that their list is very valuable because it is very long and includes a lot of important VR resources. They made a great job in condensing in only one place references to lots of very interesting VR blogs.

First of all it can be useful to you because you can find new websites to read VR news, opinions and tutorials: you can have a look at it and pick VR websites you haven’t heard before. The fact it is unordered is a bit a pity so you don’t get which ones are the most important resources where to find the most valuable infos, but, again, I understand their choice (ok, I’ll be a bit brave, UploadVR should be at first place and RoadToVR at the second one). If you are new to VR, you can scroll the list and discover websites where to start learning about this new amazing technology. Continue reading “Top 50 virtual reality websites of 2017”

Google Earth VR review (and how to make it work with Oculus)

Do you remember my article about Google Earth VR? It was about Google project of porting Google Earth to VR: an application you can already play for free on Steam and that has generated a lot of hype. At last, today I’ve managed to give it a try and so I can write you a little review.

First of all we all thought that Google made Google Earth only for Vive because at that time Oculus had not ergonomic controllers. But now Oculus has awesome controllers, the Touch, so finally Google Earth VR can work with Ocu…no, forget it: it continues working with Vive only. So, how is it possible that I tried it with my Rift and Touch? Well, there is a hack that I found thanks to RoadToVR and the name of this hack is FakeVive. FakeVive is basically a DLL that tricks the programs saying to it that the current headset is a Vive: it may actually be a Oculus Rift, Razer HDK or a potato, the program will think that it is a HTC Vive. The repository of FakeVive already has all instructions to use it to play with Google Earth VR, so all you have to do is go there and follow each step. Basically you get this DLL and put it on Google Earth executable directory and that’s it! You can finally play Google Earth with Oculus and Touch!

Continue reading “Google Earth VR review (and how to make it work with Oculus)”

Predictions for virtual reality in 2017

I just wrote a long article on Medium about my predictions for VR market in 2017… you can read it here. I would be happy if you can read it and express your opinon about my forecasts! VR is so uncertain and we’re all making predictions… it’s so funny to speculate!

This is not my first article on Medium… I had already wrote something about what worked and not in our VR marketing effort here. So, if you’re a fellow VR startupper, follow me there!

How to change Virtual Reality SDKs list in Unity Build settings (via script)

Just a quick article to help people that are desperate like I was yesterday. Yesterday I was implementing the develop-once-build-everywhere facility of our ImmotionRoom system: it’s a very nice menu where you can choose the headset you’re developing for and then it sets for you all settings, prefab and stuff so that you can build your program for every headset you want without changing a single line of code or modifiying your scene. Cool, isn’t it?

cross platform full body vr
The amazing multi-build menu now available on ImmotionRoom SDK: this way developing full body games for all platforms have become super easy… you just need to click on a menu entry!

Well, I was getting crazy because I was developing some editor scripts to implement it and then I didn’t manage to find how to change via script that damn Virtual Reality SDKs list that you can see in your Player Settings. Changing the Virtual reality Supported flag is super-easy and documented, but I could not find a way to change the other thing and in PlayerSettings class I couldn’t manage to find a solution. Continue reading “How to change Virtual Reality SDKs list in Unity Build settings (via script)”

Can Vive Puck be the positional tracker for GearVR?

After Vive announcement of the Tracker (the “Puck”) at current CES, there has been a lot of hype surrounding it. Everyone has started thinking about possible applications, fantasizing about awesome Vive installations with lots of Trackers. I love enthusiasm of VR community.

One thing that people has started thinking about is using Trackers to implement positional tracking for GearVR. So one person could have a positional tracked GearVR with just the simplicity and the little cost of a puck: $50-100. And imagine using this Puck-tracked-GearVR with VRidge and use GearVR as a wireless replacement for the Vive. There are 5 millions Gear VR in this world and even more Cardboard headsets… and having now a simple solution to offer them positional tracking is huge! Continue reading “Can Vive Puck be the positional tracker for GearVR?”

Project Alloy virtual reality headset at CES 2017

Do you remember my first article about Project Alloy? I said that it would have disrupted the VR market… and not surprisingly, all headsets are going wireless, like Vive has done with TPCAST and Oculus with Santa Cruz.

Intel has brought an Alloy prototype at CES this year and has made some showcases on the stage and in its own booth. So, what do we know about Alloy after CES?

First of all, we know that Intel will start selling its first implementation of Alloy in Q4 2017. Currently they have only a prototype. Let me remember you that Alloy is not the name of a device, but more of a project, of a set of guidelines to follow to have an Alloy-like standalone headset that offers Merged Reality. It is like Microsoft Hololens: a set of guidelines where the manufacturer makes the first exemplar. So, Intel is making the first device and hopes that other companies will make other Alloy compatible headsets. Continue reading “Project Alloy virtual reality headset at CES 2017”

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