Thursday, October 2, 2014

Riding the waves

I spent far too much time thinking of an appropriate title for the maelstrom of stuff swirling around me at the moment. At the moment I still seem to be above the chaos and not in it, but some of those waves are looking pretty tall.
Long Term Projects: I have fleshed out several story tiers for my creative ventures. Maybe I'm the product of my environment. My parents visited us this weekend and I spent an hour or so describing the background and high-level story to my mother. Then, the next day, the book I'm currently reading flipped narrative directions and took the exact same approach I was describing, and there is an interview online of a guy heavily invested in the space-program espousing the exact philosophy I was planning to embed in my story. Equally disheartening and exciting.

As for the actual program. There were a few epiphany moments once I started breaking down some of the core concepts into actual processes and algorithms. Basically, the thing I want to begin with can be treated as a Board-Game with a twist. It sounds obvious, but somewhere in my head had been a voice saying "Well how the hell do you iterate through all the various options and keep the interactions straight?" Answer: Approach the logic as if it was a board-game with physical pieces. Once I started translating the things I wanted to happen into that space it helped me narrow down where I would need to limit abilities and how to define the 'rules' that will affect the 'board.'

 Exciting Technology: For the last few days I have had the opportunity to play with Virtual Reality equipment. An Oculus Rift DK2 paired with a Leap Motion Controller. It is extremely difficult for me to provide objective commentary. I've wanted something like this for as long as I can remember. Now that it is within striking distance I am recognizing just how far we still need to go before this will become 'better' than what we have now. Let me elaborate... What we're missing is a centralized, intelligent, low latency concierge of our various devices. Some kind of device or interface that recognizes the interfaces I have access to and binds them together seamlessly. If I start a game, and pick up a controller, the concierge should enable controller mode. If I start a program while wearing the Rift, the concierge should ensure that the program is started with the options and parameters necessary to display it on the display. Instead, what I have now is a situation where I have to manually add, drop, reorder, reconfigure my various input and output devices to trick the computer into treating the Rift as just another screen that just happens to be displaying content that looks 3D when viewed through the lenses. It's part of the fun of new technology for me, and to be 100% clear, the DK in DK2 stands for Developer Kit. What I am saying is that the Oculus will suffer along with all the other custom interfaces that PC users have had access to through the years. Some of them work great right out of the box, while others require some tuning, scripting, driver juggling, etc etc before it will be recognized by the program that maybe it was never intended to support. A low latency concierge could subvert that by simply mapping the input generated by the device the user is touching to the codes the program is expecting. The concierge would also be content aware. If I'm looking at a screen and a notification or other program wants to pop up a message it should pop up at the periphery of the screen I'm looking at, not smack in the center. Now I'm just daydreaming. The Rift, once it is running and humming along is fantastic. The sense of presence in a scene is shocking, and after showing it off to a few people around the office and at home the response has been overwhelmingly positive, despite the limited calibration and customizing for individuals I was able to do. More on this once I've had a chance to digest and process. But if this is where the future is going... sign me up.

No comments:

Post a Comment