Finally finished with first year, I should be receiving my results any day now. More importantly however, is the Accelerator program that I will be attending until mid August, ran by Hull based VR company VISR!
The program trains students in developing for the Hololens, providing real projects to work on, from real big-name companies. In the next few months, my fellow students and I will be producing real interactive spatial solutions to address industry needs.
Two weeks have already passed, but only now have we been assigned our work groups and partner companies. For these first two weeks we have had several workshops ranging from the use of singletons in C# to the creation of 3D assets, and have had two “GameJam’s”. Game Jams you ask? Yup. And I can think of no better method to get 24 individual students to: work together, learn new software and hardware, build teamwork, and gain experience.
Very excited, but I probably won’t be able to post much due to the NDA. Hopefully when the project is completed, I will be able to share. Until then, here is what microsoft have to say about it:
Starting to mess around with developing for mixed reality with the Microsoft Hololens emulator and Unity, and I have to say, its going surprisingly smoothly! Whilst I wont be able to buy myself an actual Hololens any time soon, the emulator does a very good job for development purposes, and works seamlessly with visual studio and Unity. (after taking 10m on first launch… but ah well, can’t be picky)
My last foray into the world of AR was back in 2014, using Qualcomm Vuforia and Unity. Whilst there were a few headaches, especially getting the apps to work on actual mobile devices, that development was also relatively smooth thanks to Unity’s in-built emulator, which allowed me to use my webcam to test out the scenes, holding up the physical AR targets created via Vuforia’s developer website. I have yet to use Vuforia again, since it was integrated into Unity as standard from the 2017.2 version onward, but look forward to doing so, as I have heard great things about it.
Back to the present, I was a little surprised, but delighted to find that everything went exactly as Microsofts tutorial said it would: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/mixed-reality/academy. Once I updated my version of visual studio, and downloaded the emulator, https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/mixed-reality/using-the-hololens-emulator, it was the next best thing to having a hololens in front of me.
Whilst it is still just a dev tool, and cannot replicate the sense of wonder and experience that I’m sure a real device would bring, it is very useful to train and learn with. With the cost of the hololens being so high, an effective emulator is essential, whether for poor students, or large companies who cannot afford a hololens per developer. It is reassuring to see it work so well, I am glad that microsoft have realised its importance.
In a previous post I mentioned that we had won our second ThreeThingGame with our game: “Angry Rolling Drake”. But this time I will leave out the bragging, and focus on the game itself. We haven’t polished it much, as we wanted to stay true to the game that was built in 24 hours.
Bugs “Unique features” and all. Here it is in all of its glory!
The three words to make our game from were: Angry, Rolling and Drake
In this particular park feeding the ducks has been banned! As a Drake (male mallard duck), you get a bit Angry about this, especially as you were programmed not to be able to eat anything else! As your rage builds, you decide to declare war on the pedestrians, and take the bread by force.
Normally you are slower than the pedestrians, and will take damage if they hit you, decreasing your hunger gauge. Using your stored Anger however, you can Roll into a ball (as ducks do) and defeat those selfish people, gaining access to their bread. This can either be crumbs, a slice, or a loaf, each fill your hunger gauge by different amounts.
Running out of anger means going back to walking, so be careful how you use it. Try and last the longest before succumbing to hunger!
We will soon be uploading the game online, and when we do I will add a link here! Watch this space!
Earlier this year I posted that me and my team had won Hull Universitys 2017 Autumn Three Thing Game Jam…
Well now I can happily report that we have also won the 2018 Spring Three Thing Game Jam! Well done to the team, and a massive well done and thankyou to the sound dev guys who put music to our madness!
Team “Parse(Nips);” came together again, though this time with an additional member, making it 3 first years and two second years. The three random words that we needed to incorporate into our game were “Angry”, “Rolling” and “Drake”. Whilst all three interpretations of “Drake” would have been entertaining (Singer, Duck, Dragon), we decided to use the duck.
Full video in my next post!
Just realised that I havent posted anything this month. I know myself well enough not to expect to update weekly, but I should at least make sure to update monthly!
We’re half way through semester two now, and I have been kept relatively busy with coursework, especially the “Fault-tree analysis” project, and to a lesser extent the “Algorithm Performance Analysis” report.
The strikes have caused students quite a bit of disturbance. Hearing the complaints of third year students in the Student-Staff Forum and Course-Rep meetings make me glad that this happened in my first year, and in no way affects my final grade.
I also attended a very interesting (if small) recruitment fair organised by the university, and talked with representatives from companies like “Stellar Entertainment”, “VISR”, and “Wren Kitchens”.
Now “Wren Kitchens” might look out of place among game and VR development companies, but after visiting their headquarters along with a few other students who were invited, I was amazed. It was very interesting to see a real life implementation of Agile methodologies, and talk with lead developers regarding their online CAD software and the new VR showroom set-up.
A bit late, but now that I’m blogging, three months ago me and my team won Hull Universitys Autumn 24h Three Thing Game Jam!
I teamed up with two fellow first years, and a second year, forming the 4 person team “ParseNips”.
The three words that we needed to incorporate into our game were “Hull”, “Culture” and “Change”, in accordance with Hull being the City of Culture that year. We decided to create a game that encompassed several minigames and took the player on a journey from a humble whaling village to modern day Hull. It was very interesting working as a team to create our vision in such a short amount of time.
I have quite a lot of 3D projects on my vimeo page, but the most important would be my VFX demo reel.
I created this reel entirely in my own time, attempting to get a position in a VFX studio without a higher education degree. Whilst it did open up a few possible doors, I decided that the positions offered were not right for me in the current economical climate.
After hearing about the innovations at Siggraph 2016 I realised that I didn’t want to be a bystander anymore, I want to be at the forefront, developing the technologies of the future, not just using them.