A mobile VR where several players engage in competitive multiplayer racing. You are the mac Lirs, children of the sea. You must ride you mighty oceanic beasts (IKEA office chairs) to claim your birthright. Inspiration for the name comes from the Irish god Manannan mac Lir.

Visiting the venue

Today, me and a colleague who is also showcasing something at the festival visited the venue; a large, indoor atrium at Chalmers, the university where I studied. We had a look at what types of materials we had to work with, got key cards with access to related spaces and talked about various other things with the planners and project leaders.

Most of the day went into scooping out the space, and there isn’t much time left. But it’s still doable. : )

Solder, together

So the Aha festival i sneaking up on us, and as per usual it might be tight to get things ready in time. This time I have user tests in another project and town as well as a workshop in yet another town coming up just before the festival. But I’m positive, in theory the things should be working if I can just put them together.

Luckily, I’m not alone. An intern, Gabriella Di Feola, have offered to help out for the festival. Today I was presented with a bag of Enbarr chips with the new audio jack component soldered onto them. I think there is a fair chance things will work, at least at the festival. : )

Phone phantastic

Got my hands on some new phones that I can borrow from my job. One of my major challenges from the last run was the phones barely being powerful enough to run the VR environment. As a result, the network connection and data input from the chairs suffered. The new phones should have no problems handling all of this, so my hopes are high. : )

Now I’m just looking for a fourth, final phone, some cases for the circuits to protect them and proper testing ahead of the event.

Automat 2017

I attended this year’s Automat arcade event! It was super fun, attendance could have been better, but given the somewhat remote location and the wonderful visitors I think it was great never the less. Sadly, I didn’t have the time I had hoped for to prepare Enbarr mac Lir and RAGE for the event, so in the end Enbarr was pretty buggy and I didn’t even bring RAGE. The issue with Enbarr was mostly that I hadn’t had time to test it fully and the cables I brought were glitchy and such. I also managed to break one of the chair chips due to unexpected need to pack the chairs in a compact way… and then I had to fix a software thing rather than fixing a new chip for the chair. Well well, I had a really good time.

More on the event: Automatarkad at Tumblr

System Test

Managed to get to test most of the system this week (only missing part is network and having four players at once). After some minor bug fixes it worked rather nicely with the chair rotation and back pumping. There are a few issues though, most notably the game is too heavy too run at a good frame rate on our available phones. The plan is to try to find the right balance between flow and graphical quality this weekend.

Next steps will include coding new logic for smoother LAN connection and race rules as well as testing with four players.

Welcome to Voodoo Wetlands

The next version of Enbarr will be presented at an event in October with a spooky theme. The new system will require some new digital content to be tried out in, so what better than to design a new Halloween themed racing track? I have chosen a swampy setting and I call it the Voodoo Wetlands. Because it’s supposed to be played on not too powerful phones as VR, the details can’t be that extreme. Yet, I feel that this will be a really cool and maybe even scary stage. : )

IMU Testing

This evening I did a little testing of IMUs (inertial measurements unit). Reason being is that I would like to explore the possibility of giving the chair it’s separate rotation from the HMD. Imagine that you want to look behind you to see if someone is catching up, that’s the kind of experience I’d like to facilitate for. Unfortunately, the rotation of the head is also the rotation of the horse in the current version. since the only IMU present is the one in the phone.
I got some great help from my good friend and colleague Gunnar (who is somehow both the best and the worst).

The G man have, literally, a box of IMUs always in handy. So I tried two, first MPU 9250 which relies on external code to do sensor fusion with its sensors. Didn’t really work for me, didn’t even say “hi”. So I was hooked up with the lovely BNO 055 with onboard sensor fusion. Easy piecy, locked and loaded. It is a bit tough to get a micro controller to converse with Unity, and in particular to a phone using Unity via pure, serial communication. So I’m doing a little hack around that, emulating a keyboard with the micro controller.

Finally, a little video of it sort of working. Looking forward to see whether it will make one completely nauseous when it turns the VR world.

Update for Automat!

It’s happening! Automat 2017, the indie arcade fest of greatness! I’ve been given the honor to help out in the planning, meanwhile I’ll try to push for a version two of both my arcade gun, RAGE, and the chair-based game Enbarr mac Lir. Me and a friend who also co-built Enbarr will be looking into prepping these game for something a bit more elaborate than a 10 year old school experiment and a 2-day jam result. Looking forward!