Category: About Me


HMDs at GDC

Well, while at GDC I was lucky enough to try out Sony’s new Head Mounted Display, and I was impressed. It was very light, all the weight was on the top of the head so there was no uncomfortable twisting forces. It was very immersive and a whole lot of fun.

Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus looking good!

Oculus Rift and Project Morpheus looking good!

I was treated to two demos. In the first I found myself hoisted up in a shark cage and dropped into a tropical ocean near a coral reef. Predictably, not everything went to plan and whilst the team on the boat were trying to fix the winch to pull me up a huge shark appeared from the depths at started taking my cage apart.

In the second demo I was in a medieval castle where I could attack a training dummy with swords and a cross bow. You could even grab the dummies arm, hack it off and then swing it at him which was a lot of fun. All too soon the demo ended when a huge dragon statue came to life and ate me!

Although I heard rumours that a few of the units were failing the product as a whole seemed very close to being released. The big question for me now is how much will it cost, especially when you consider that you need a PS4, a Move camera and controllers and the head mounted display to use it.

The other question for me are on health and safety, and on the social aspect. On the health and safety side Sony seemed keen to highlight that they could track the back of your head, implying that you could turn around in games. However, whenever you do that you end up wrapping yourself up in your own cable. I can’t see these headset being used in any other way than sitting down, unless you invest in some sort of rig like the Omni.

Sony seemed to be promoting the headset as a social experience in a couch coop setting, but the headset was so immersive that I don’t see how it can be. If I were playing with me, I certainly wouldn’t trust me when I couldn’t see or hear what I was doing.

In other news, there was a big focus on the Oculus Rift at GDC. They seemed to be everywhere! Not just in OculusVRs substantial area in the trade show. Since GDC Facebook as bought OculusVR for $2bn. I don’t see the two headsets really competing, ad they’re focussed on different markets, but it seems the future is bright for Head Mounted Displays.

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Strange Rooms

1:52. That’s what’s it said on the large, red digital display next to me when I woke up. My nose and throat were dry, and my back ached like I’d been sitting in the same position for several hours. Outside I could hear the familiar, bell like tones of chains being dragged beneath the street that service the San Francisco trams.

Yes, after a shameful gap in which I failed to blog about all sorts of things, including the Global Game Jam! We made two games ambitiously linked by a bespoke, configurable 3D printed controller! I’ve decide to use my trip to GDC to try to kickstarting my blog, at least for the next few days.

GDC is the Games Developers Conference which is held annually in San Francisco. It’s a really great experience where we get to go to all sorts of talks on all sorts of topics. We get to find out about how parts of particular games were made, and go to talks on all sorts of topics, from hardware to graphics, physics and maths, to business and monetization.

So, Warren and I got an early train from Hull, and after more than fifteen hours of traveling, waiting and traveling again we arrived at our hotel. It’s traditional to take a picture of the view from your hotel room. Here’s mine:

Room with a view

Room with a view

The hotel is pretty good and is in a great location for the conference. I’ll try to post more tomorrow, but in the meantime if you want to find out more about what goes on at GDC go to www.gdconf.com

So I got my XBox One home and whilst there is still a load more things to do I have been experimenting with some of it’s integration features (as well as playing games, obviously). I can now issue some voice commands to Kinect 2 that get passed to my TV, and I’m getting used to snapping things in and out. I’m currently missing any really useful stuff, like controlling my sky box. Hopefully that’s coming though.

Today I also experimented with the features that allow you to record, edit and upload gameplay footage. I was pretty impressed that I was able to upload directly to my sky drive, and that’s why I’ve been able to cut together the 7 touchdowns I put past Denver in the first preseason game of my new Madden 25 franchise. The tools are pretty intuitive, although editing 7 clips was a little tricky. I could only string three video clips together at a time, but I was able to string two sets of three clips together, and then add those two to a final, 7th clip to get all of the scores (next time I guess I’ll just have to score less ๐Ÿ˜‰ ).

The video is below. If you are interested in what happened on each score there is a summary below. The difficulty is set to all-pro ๐Ÿ™‚

1. In the first clip I want to go to the left to Crabtree (15), but the Broncos are blitzing, so I went to my safety value and got the ball to Frank Gore (21) out of the backfield. As all the other routes are concentrated on the left hand side of the field there is only one safety to beat, and he takes an outside angle so I was lucky to be able to cut inside of him, and run 49 yards to the endzone!

2. Even though it’s only the 3rd quarter, because this is a preseason game it’s more about testing the backup and getting them some experience, so my starters have been benched. In a short yardage situation on 3rd down I can still get a first down without scoring, so I’m only looking for a couple of yards. Tight end Vance McDonald (89) finds a bit of space on the hitch and makes the catch even though the ball is a little late.

3. I’m probably not as comfortable stretching the field vertically as I would like to be. I tend to prefer posts and ins that cross across the middle of the formation. The routes on this play are pretty standard. We have a receiver on each side working inside out, and the outside receiver is slanting in. Before the snap I try to figure out which side of the field looks more open. Initially it seems that the right side is the better option, but immediately after the snap a player from the right side rushes, and all the coverage shifts to the right which means the favourable gap in the coverage is now on the left. Again, the ball is a little late, but I hit Patton on the slanting route and he fights his way to the end zone.

4. Now because I’m in the lead I’m going to the run a bit more to keep the clock moving. Anthony Dixon is in at running back. He’s a big, heavy bruiser, so handing it off on the one yard line is a pretty good bet. Not much to say on this one.

5.This is a similar situation as before. I only have a yard to go to get a first and goal. I like this play because there is some really nice blocking going on. There is a double team at the point of attack, and the back side guard (78) pulls to the play side to add a little extra muscle on the play side. The O-Line seal everyone off to the right and we’re left with a guard, full back and tight end blocking for big Anthony Dixon on his way to the endzone.

6. This one was a bit of a surprise. It’s the same play as the previous score, but this time I’m nearly 70 yards out. The defence is a little less compressed, and the play is almost stopped for just a few yards. Then a Bronco player barges into the pile allowing Anthony Dixon to bounce out of the tackle. There are also two great blocks on the safeties which give Dixon room to run into. I thought he was going to run out of steam before he got to the goal line, but he made it. Normally I think it’s a bit out of order to pile on the scores, but what the hell ๐Ÿ™‚

7. Yes, I should have been taking a knee, but I love practising the screen. A screen is where you try to catch an aggressive defence out by allowing them to rush upfield towards the quarterback, who then lofts the ball over their heads to another player, who has a wall of blockers in front of him. I probably shouldn’t have thrown this pass because one of the D line reads the screen and chases Kendall Hunter, the intended receiver, but there’s a great block on the outside and I’m lucky hit the running back in stride so he can accelerate away towards the end zone, behind his convoy of linemen.

So, overall I’m pretty impressed with this new ability to capture game and share game footage. Although it was still a bit of an effort cutting the different pieces together, it’s definitely steps in the right direction!