The ghost howls

A blog of virtual reality, startup and stuff



My opinion on Oculus using hackable cameras

Some days ago all the virtual reality world was talking about a single news: Oculus positional tracking cameras are actually hackable cameras.

Epic virtual reality researcher Oliver Kreylos (we all love him) has managed to access the infra-red camera stream of Oculus cameras, doing strange stuff on Linux like re-compiling a loadable Kernel module and discovering the actual codec of the camera stream. He published a photo of him taken by this camera and everyone went mad. UploadVR published a complete article about this and I recommend you to read it. Everyone was like “OMG, Zuckerberg is spying on me!”

As always, I’m like “meh” about these news. The thing that got my attention of this news is the fact that Doc-ok managed to hack the cameras and how he did this (really talented that guy), not the “privacy stuff”. Reasons are: Continue reading “My opinion on Oculus using hackable cameras”

Oculus Touch tracking problems… it’s all USB fault? And will they be fixed?

Since their announcement, Oculus Touch have gathered lots of attentions and positive reviews. I’ve tried them and reviewed them (here and here, and even talked about their SDK here) and I agree that they’re great.

But lots of users are having lots of issues: unstable tracking, room scale not working and so on. It seems that Oculus answer to Vive room-scale has not been that good. I and lots of other users have not had any issues, but on reddit every day tons of users say that they’re having problems: Touch drifting, losing tracking… this kind of stuff.

Continue reading “Oculus Touch tracking problems… it’s all USB fault? And will they be fixed?”

Dear Angelica review

Friday evening I decided to have a look at the featured experience on the Oculus Store: Dear Angelica. I knew that this was some kind of 360-video experience, since there was a Sundance Film Festival in the corner of the tile… and I surely prefer interactive experiences. Furthermore in the description there was written that the story was about some kind of girl remembering some episodes of her life… and I was like: “oh God why, this surely will be some kind of super-boring stuff”. I want an action game Super Hot, not this kind of soap opera stuff. But I said to myself: “ok, let’s watch it anyway… so I can review it for my dear readers” (I was sacrificing for you!).

Well, the first 10 seconds I got bored by it… but in the end I was like “it is fu*king awesome”. But not a standard “awesome”… but an “awesome” as is said by the voice of Unreal Tournament when you make lots of kills in a row. Continue reading “Dear Angelica review”

Getting started with Oculus Touch and Avatar SDK in Unity

Welcome to 2017! I wish to you all that this will be an astonishing year!

In 2016 I left you with this video showcasing my first experiments with Oculus Touch, Avatar SDK, in cooperation with our ImmotionRoom full body system. As you can see in the video, there are female full body avatars made with ImmotionRoom (so, basically, made using a Microsoft Kinect) and epic-bearded blue avatars made using Oculus Avatar SDK. Then there is some firing, because firing in VR is always cool!

This demo took me more time than expected, due to some problems I had in using the Avatar SDK. That’s why I’m writing this article: to help you in developing using this SDK wasting less time than me. It will not be a step-by-step tutorial, but I’ll give you some detailed hints. So, ready… go! Continue reading “Getting started with Oculus Touch and Avatar SDK in Unity”

First experiments with Oculus Touch!

Today I’ve made first experiments with Oculus Touch and their companion SDK! It’s been super-interesting and I’ve learnt really a lot! I’ve also had some fun, but I found that there are some obscure things that I had to learn with trials&errors… so in the new year I’ll make a tutorial just for you my dear readers!

In the meantime, enjoy this video showcasing the results of my experiments!

How to show a video in a Texture with Unity on Android

Yesterday I’ve been asked about how to display a video inside a hobbist AR application in Unity, so I’m writing this tutorial to help people having the same problem.

You know, in Unity to display a movie inside a texture, you have to use a MovieTexture. MovieTextures are cool and work flawlessly, but… they don’t work on Android. The only thing that you can do in Android is showing the movie full screen using methods of HandHeld class. But… if you are going to develop a mobile VR or AR application and you want to show the movie inside a quad (maybe because this is the screen of a TV inside your game), this is absolutely useless. So, how can you do it? I can give you some hints.

  1. Develop your own solution. This is the preferred answer if you have time to employ in doing it and/or you want to learn how this stuff works. Or if this is a critical piece of your applications, so you develop it once for all and then you use it forever. Here you have to find a way to open your movie file (OpenCV can be an option), then read every frame and put it on a texture using Unity methods. Of course some optimizations have to be performed or everything will come out super-laggy (very low FPS).
  2. Continue reading “How to show a video in a Texture with Unity on Android”

Oculus Touch: first review

Some days ago, finally my Oculus Touch that I preordered some months ago have arrived… but I haven’t been able to try it thoroughly until today, when I played 2 hours with them. I’ll write here a short review about them and then I’ll write a more detailed one on our Immotionar website in the next days.

I’ll drop the bomb immediately: I did not fall in love with Oculus Touch. Now I’ll give fanboys the time to go at the end of this article and write bad comments about me saying that they want to kill me… have you done it? Ok, now I can go on happily :). Let me explain what I mean… I like both Oculus and Vive, so it is not a matter of brand…

virtual reality Oculus Touch review
Palmer Luckey, don’t get angry… but I don’t think that your controllers are super-awesome

Continue reading “Oculus Touch: first review”

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”

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”

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