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  • Thu 30 Nov 2006

    Why gesture gives you more immersion ?

    Published at 17:15   Category Virtual Reality  

    Here’s an interesting theory, explained for the Wii : “How the Nintendo Wii will get you emotionally invested in video games.”

    “we have to revisit an old theory of emotion, first proposed by the great American psychologist and philosopher William James. In his 1884 article “What is an emotion?” James argued that all of our mental feelings actually begin in the body. (…) without the body there would be no fear, for an emotion begins as the perception of a bodily change.(…)

    In the 1980s, the neuroscientist Antonio Damasio realized that James was actually right: Most of our emotions are preceded by changes in our physical body. (…) if you can’t produce the bodily symptoms of an emotion—the swelling tear ducts of sadness, or the elevated heart rate of fear—then you can’t feel the emotion. As Damasio notes, “The mind is embodied, not just embrained.”

    In order to prepare for all this hand-to-hand combat, the brain automatically triggers a wave of changes in our “physical viscera,” such as quickening our pulses, flooding our bloodstreams with adrenaline, and contracting our intestines. Once we start stabbing at the squid, these effects are exaggerated, because our active muscles need oxygenated blood. Damasio calls this process the “body loop,” since the brain and body are constantly interacting with each other.

    (…) This is the irony of the Wii: although it can’t compete with the visual realism of Sony and Microsoft, it ends up feeling much more realistic. (…)

    Thu 30 Nov 2006

    Using the Wii accelerometers on the PC

    Published at 10:10   Category VR Devices, Virtual Reality DIY  

    Seems some people have connected the bluetooth Wiimote to a PC and started getting infos about the accelerometers.
    Here’s a page about the Wiimote protocol.
    This video (from marcan42 on youtube) is very shaky, so prepare for some headache.

    YouTube Preview Image

    Now I’m waiting for the IR infos, a proper mouvement integration lib, and of course a gesture recognition lib ;)

    Fri 24 Nov 2006

    Geek love poem

    Published at 15:51   Category Tech  

    Roses are #FF0000
    Violets are #0000FF
    All my base
    Are belong to you

    (c) ThinkGeek

    Thu 23 Nov 2006

    Laws in Second Life ?

    Published at 19:46   Category Metaverse  

    Here’s an article talking about the necessity of laws in SL, which also poses good questions :

    “Yet the notion of grassroots justice in a virtual world raises a host of serious questions: On what authority would they act? What punishments can they mete out? And to whom would they be accountable? For example, if a shopkeeper is erroneously blacklisted, can he or she hold anyone responsible for lost sales? If so, who?”

    Wed 22 Nov 2006

    Second Life facts

    Published at 9:30   Category Metaverse  

    From this article where a journalist of The Observer immerges for one week in Second Life :

    • Anshe Chung, Second Life’s richest avatar, owns a property empire on the site worth $250,000 (£137,000) and employs 17 real-life people.
    • Second Life has an estimated GDP of $64m. Last month alone, $6.6m was spent in user-user transactions – 40 per cent of it on designer clothes.
    • More than 3,000 residents earn an average of $20,000 in annual revenues from the game.
    • Musicians who have played virtual gigs in Second Life include Duran Duran and Suzanne Vega.
    • Possible 2008 presidential candidate Mark Warner was interviewed by a virtual journalist in a Second Life town hall.
    • 20th Century Fox held a premiere for the third X-Men movie in Second Life and BBC Radio 1 recreated its Big Weekend festival on a virtual island.
    • $1bn was spent last year on multiplayer games such as Second Life.

    (…) “I’m struck, not for the first time, by the insane seriousness of this place. It’s clearly much more than a game. (…) He arranges to see Adam Pasick who works at the Reuters agency. Adam is the first full-time real-world hack in Second Life. In the lobby of the high-tech Reuters office Kenny runs into a Canadian TV crew working on a story about the story. (…) He’s been here two months now, he says, and he is starting to dream in RL about Second Life, which is alarming him. Since he is on all day he feels he should get his wife an avatar. He’s been madly busy, he says, breaking the story of US tax investigation into SL businesses.”

    Thu 9 Nov 2006

    NVIDIA rethinks the GPU with the new GeForce 8800

    Published at 15:34   Category 3d  

    NVIDIA rethinks the GPU with the new GeForce 8800 ( from ArsTechnica ) :

    “The G80 architecture that powers NVIDIA’s new G8800 graphics processor has been four years in development, and its new-from-the-ground-up design marks a significant departure from previous PC GPUs. (…) It’s actually built from the ground up as a highly multithreaded, general-purpose stream processor, with the GPU functionality layered over it in software. (…) So with the G80, a programmer can write a stream program in a regular high-level language (HLL) that compiles directly to the stream processor, without the additional overhead that goes along with translating HLL programs into a graphics-specific language like OpenGL.”

    If I understand correctly there will be 128 Streaming processors…
    Look at some videos.

    Wed 8 Nov 2006

    Multiverse Open Beta

    Published at 9:52   Category Metaverse, Virtual Reality DIY  

    Multiverse is the only company focused on delivering a complete, end-to-end solution for MMOG and virtual world development. (…) Download the SDK (software development kit) with the full platform, the sample game, the complete documentation, and the starter assets, all for free. Multiverse makes its money through revenue-sharing. So when you make money, we make money. Not before.”

    Look at the Technology platform to see what Multiverse has to offer, and the Tutorial.

    We already talked about this company in The future of internet, the inter-virtual worlds.

    Mon 6 Nov 2006

    Valve goes multicore

    Published at 17:44   Category Game development  

    An interesting article at Gamasutra about how the makers of Half-Life 2 are using multicore systems to improve their Source engine :

    “The first was called “coarse threading” (…). The idea is to put whole subsystems on separate cores. (…) The problem with this approach is that some subsystems are less demanding on CPU time than others.”
    “The second approach was fine-grained threading, which separates tasks into many discrete elements and then distributes them among as many cores as are available. For example, a loop that updates the position of 1,000 objects based on their velocity can be divided among, say, four cores, with each core handling 250 objects apiece. The drawback with this approach is that not all tasks divide neatly into discrete components that can operate independently.”
    “The approach that Valve finally chose was a combination of the coarse and fine-grained, with some extra enhancements thrown in. Some systems were split on multiple cores using coarse threading. Other tasks, such as VVIS (the calculations of what objects are visible to the player from their point of view) were split up using fine-grained threading. Lastly, whenever part of a core is idle, work that can be precalculated without lagging or adversely affecting the game experience (such as AI calculations or pathfinding) was queued up to be delivered to the game engine later.”

    Sun 5 Nov 2006

    NVidia 3D Stereo drivers

    Published at 11:46   Category Virtual Reality DIY  

    The NVidia 3D Stereo drivers allow users of any NVidia GPU to have their OpenGL and DirectX games in “real” stereoscopic 3D on their screen.

    You can have active, passive, anaglyph stereo, as well as horizontal/vertical interleaved, white/blue line code glasses, even Philips and Sharp autostereoscopic displays!

    Here’s the NVidia 3D Stereo User’s Guide.
    One drawback, but not from the drivers, is that due to hardware limitations LCD monitors can’t be used for active stereo at the moment.
    You can use the active stereo on a CRT monitor, or with some cheap DLP projectors (I mean in the “cheap” price range).

    Also you have to be in fullscreen.

    I’ve been playing WoW for about one hour with my eDimensional glasses and it’s really cool !!
    My eyes weren’t tired, I had a good depth feeling, and hardly felt dizzy when going back to RW (Real World ;) .
    The only thing is the glasses falling down from my nose, I’d need to stick them or something..

    I had to disable some shaders to have it work though.
    You can change convergence, separation, gamma and other settings in-game with hot-keys to have the perfect settings for comfort and depth.

    The Stereo API allows you to access and set the stereo parameters, capture a stereo image, and, I think but not sure, display stereo images (to make 3d movie players for example) with the StereoBLT api. But I don’t know if this is included in the Stereo API or if you have to ask for it.

    There is a also Virtools BB to control these parameters.

    Without this StereoBLT API, you have no idea which eye you’re rendering since the card does the camera offset for you. This is less flexible than the Quadro Quad Buffer.

    All in all it’s very interesting and useful, thanks a lot NVidia!

    Thu 2 Nov 2006

    DIY Stereoscopy at home

    Published at 16:56   Category Virtual Reality DIY  

    [EDIT : I'm moving this page here, and will update it based on my foundings!] 


    I’ve found some pretty interesting material about enthousiasts building up stereoscopic displays at home:
    - Here’s a guy who’s building a passive stereo system.
    - Here’s a forum which lists a lot of “cheap” projectors to do active stereo.
    - Here’s a very recent pdf (aug 06) about the use of LCD monitors and DLP projectors for active stereo. The bottom line: no lcd monitor is good, lot of dlp projectors are good.
    - 3D Flight simulator : they have a 2 projectors, active stereo setup, with a tutorial to make a cheap rear-projection screen.