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  • Sat 30 Sep 2006

    VR Gear Makes RC Airplane the Coolest Toy Ever

    Published at 23:24   Category Virtual Reality DIY  

    From VRoot.org :

    “Take a look at this Raw Feed post: it talks about a model RC airplane that can be controlled with virtual reality gear. Here’s a video. From the post: “A Canadian RC airplane enthusiast shows us some sweet unanticipated convergence between a model RC airplane and virtual reality gear. It works like this: The airplane is a conventional one, controlled by a wireless remote control. On the airplane is a pan-and-tilt camera, controlled also wirelessly. Here’s the cool part. The video is viewable through virtual reality goggles, which have a gyroscope built in to sense the movement of the goggles. When the wearer moves his head, the camera moves. Tragically, this is not a product you can buy, but a DIY project.”

    Of course, I want one :p

    Mon 25 Sep 2006

    GameTrak, a first impression

    Published at 21:23   Category Product Review, Virtual Reality DIY  

    34397-gametrak_packshot

    I finally was able to open my GameTrak box =)

    [Note: if you buy a PS2 Gametrak, you'll have to physically modify it to work on PC.]

    Easy Setup

    The setup is really simple :
    - Plug the foot mat to the base,
    - Plug the USB cord to your computer,
    - Put and plug the gloves

    And you’re ready to go. But where to go? I bought the system alone, with no game.

    Suddenly I had a doubt. Will I be able to use the gloves without a SDK?

    GAMETRAK HARDWARE (R W GOLF)

    Getting the datas

    I went into the Control Panel > Game Controllers, and was happy to see a GameTrak entry.

    At first the output seemed strange, and I was afraid some computing would be needing
    (like if they gave orientation of the base plug and lenght of the cable).

    But it all made sense quite fast :
    the position returned by the controller was indeed the x,y,z datas of the first glove,
    and the x,y,z rotation is in fact the position of the second glove.

    Wow, I’m so clever. lol. Edit: I’m not that clever after all, see Gilles Pinault’s comment below :p

    So in Virtools I simply dropped a Joystick Waiter, and set the Position as the position of a 3D Frame,
    and the Rotation as the position of another 3d Frame.

    Of course, the axis were wrong; GameTrak uses X,Y as the base plane, and Z as the height (as any reasonable 3D software should do ;) and Virtools uses a screen based (irk), left handed (irk!!!) coordinate system.

    So after a small vector component shuffle, my two virtual hands began to move!

    The latency is really low I’m really happy about that.
    I’ll have to test the accuracy, but I really don’t have time right now.

    Physical Design

    The gloves seem to have been designed with children in mind.
    It is stretchable so no problem to fit it to my hand. I’ll have to test it on friends with Canadian hands :p
    After 10 mins of use, it starts to be a bit tight and I could feel the blood flowing more slowly,
    especially in my little finger, where there’s a special strap.
    There is also a small stich rubbing the thumbs.

    All in all nothing really annoying, and it will easily for forgotten in the midst of action =)

    Conclusion

    So my first impression is really good! For the moment it’s up to my expectations: cheap, easy setup, easy to use, low lattency.
    It will be more than enough for my needs right now. I’ll let you know when I have a bit more experience with it.

    ps: I’ll be off a a couple of weeks, first to give a VRPack training in Belfast, then for a week of parachute/freefall at Bouloc. Be nice to each others ;)

    Mon 18 Sep 2006

    Teddy: A Sketching Interface for 3D Freeform Design

    Published at 12:46   Category 3d  

    Teddy is a sketch-based 3D modeling software.
    You can make interesting 3D models just by drawing freeform strokes.”

    The modelling is quite intuitive and funny.

    Mon 11 Sep 2006

    Metal Gear Solid 4 trailer

    Published at 12:30   Category 3d  

    Look at the incredible Metal Gear Solid 4 trailer, from GameTrailers.

    Mon 11 Sep 2006

    "Scene Graphs – just say no"

    Published at 11:00   Category Game development  

    Here’s an interesting point of view by Tom Forsyth, a game developper working at Rad Game Tools, entitled “Scene Graphs – just say no”.

    “The world is not a big tree – a coffee mug on a desk is not a child of the desk, or a sibling of any other mug, or a child of the house it’s in or the parent of the coffee it contains or anything – it’s just a mug. It sits there, bolted to nothing. (…) Fundamentally of course you do have to resolve a traversal order somehow – the objects need rendering, and there’s some sort of mostly-optimal way to do it. But you’re just never going to get that ordering by just traversing a single tree/graph according to some rules.

    (..)
    1. Typically, a graphics-card driver will try to take the entire state of the rendering pipeline and optimise it like crazy in a sort of “compilation” step. In the same way that changing a single line of C can produce radically different code, (…)
    2. Because of this, the number of state changes you make between rendering calls is not all that relevant any more. (…)
    3. On a platform like the PC, you often have no idea what sort of card the user is running on. (…)

    Thu 7 Sep 2006

    Robots

    Published at 10:13   Category Tech  

    More advanced than the Mindstorm NXT but also much more expensive, and way more cool !!
    You can buy one here for $1,199.99, ready to walk!

    Also look at this impressive robot fight video.

    Thu 7 Sep 2006

    Quickwrite in VR : The sources

    Published at 0:03   Category VR Applications, Virtual Reality DIY  

    Here are the sources (Virtools .cmo) for the VR QuickWrite, released under the WTFPL license.

    Wed 6 Sep 2006

    Procedural Modeling of CG Architecture

    Published at 14:32   Category 3d  

    Here’s an interesting method by Pascal Mueller, presented at Siggraph, for proceduraly generating buildings, houses and even cities!

    “CGA shape, a novel shape grammar for the procedural modeling of CG architecture, produces building shells with high visual quality and geometric detail. It produces extensive architectural models for computer games and movies, at low cost. Context sensitive shape rules allow the user to specify interactions between the entities of the hierarchical shape descriptions. (..) CGA shape is shown to efficiently generate massive urban models with unprecedented level of detail, with the virtual rebuilding of the archaeological site of Pompeii as a case in point.”

    Fri 1 Sep 2006

    Impressive CG picture

    Published at 23:30   Category 3d, Art  

    Song Hye Kyo

    The topic, the WIP.

    Fri 1 Sep 2006

    SIGGRAPH 2006 papers on the web

    Published at 10:08   Category 3d  

    You can find links to the SIGGRAPH 2006 papers here, thanks to Ke-Sen Huang and Tim Rowley.