Category: Software

Project Morpheus makes waves

The highlight of the day at GDC was Sony’s little publicised session in which they announced Project Morpheus, their competitor to the oculus rift, and bid to bring virtual reality to mainstream.

Project Morpheus - Sony's VR Headset

Project Morpheus – Sony’s VR Headset

Project Morpheus will be available for use with PS4 and PS Move, with 1000Hz tracking and 1080p screen (presumably split between both eyes). Sony talked about immersion and presence, but there were no specifics, no release date, no final specs, no price point. I have no doubt that Sony are getting close to release, but the whole thing seemed a little rushed. The session wasn’t in the programs, and appears to have been arranged at the very last minute. Despite the fact there are bigger rooms here we were squeezed into two rooms with a video link between them. The session was on Tuesday before most of the developers arrive tomorrow. It just doesn’t make sense.

It’s almost like Sony are trying to get the jump on something. I wonder if there are more announcements to come. Perhaps Sony are trying to beat Microsoft or OculusVR (or both) to the party.

The Games Developer Conference starts on Monday, so Sunday gives a good opportunity to try to get over the jet lag and wander round the city. That’s exactly what we did. After starting at the shops in fisherman’s wharf we walked towards the bridge, which was obscured by a heavy fog, then up the hill and back round towards the city. I think we covered about nine miles in all. After that we walked down to the convention centre to register before heading back to the hotel.

Monday saw the start of the conference. I mostly switched between sessions on the math and the graphics tracks. I learnt all about Grassmann Algebra, which is a more generalised version of vector algebra that I’m more familiar with. Then I learnt about some important considerations when introducing randomness into games, and then rotations using quaternions.

In the afternoon I deviated a little to see a session on using OpenCL for AI, and then I spent the rest of the day in the graphics track, covering shader optimisation in DirectX, optimizing DirectX, tessellation, volumetric rendering for shadows and god rays, and hair and fur shaders.

It was a busy day, but then it always is at GDC. There’s just too many great sessions on at a time!

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 πŸ˜‰ ).

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 πŸ™‚

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 πŸ™‚

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!