Tag Archives: Virtual Reality

Beyond Ready Player One. On Technology and the Music

5 Apr

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

  • Spoiler Alert

The virtual reality (VR) interfaces we have today has not drastically changed in Steven Spielberg‘s adaptation of the book, Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Futurists have to believe advancements in neural interfaces and holo projection will fill in the gap instead of advancements in the hardware used today. The former is vaguely suggested and the latter, none is even considered. This movie is not comparable to The Matrix or The Congress. Amusingly, a joke is made when nature calls. Unplugging is required.

Even in the future 30 years from now, folks are still wearing those darned headsets! I am having neural seizures since not everyone is going to have full command of their senses to believe the world they are jumping into is real. The IMAX 3D presentation hardly jumped; much of the visual treatment was flat. The music featured, however, was amazing and it spoke to me. Although for this glimpse into virtual reality, when my first exposure into this discourse is with William Gibson’s Neuromancer, the bar is set high. This work is neither at Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell level of exploration, even though the story offers a fleeting tease of what could be.

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Re-imagining the Retro for VR gaming

7 Jan

doomvfrBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Videogamers can belong to one camp or many. I love the idea of what virtual reality can bring to the electronic world of gaming. I have played enough demos and product to know what I like. This medium is absolutely perfect for simulators and first person shooters.

At the same time, I miss the simplicity of the older games found at arcades from the late 70’s to 90’s. I played many translations of these games on the PC or gamer consoles. While the low resolution and technology from a decade ago were not able of making VR come alive, the devices we have now are more than capable! Not every game needs photo-realism. To play these products will offer some exercise to those rarely flexed biceps and triceps. Before chiropractors can cry foul, I suggest all games have a fixed time limit so physical injury can not result.

My imagination is running wild at the idea of fine-tuning fond retro classics for VR gamers to marvel at. A few titles have been redesigned and instead of paddles or trackballs, players can use either motion controllers (like Sony Playstation’s Move) or a traditional gamepad. I still wonder if the original mold can be used though.

Some of the titles I like to see get re-imagined are grouped together than given its own entry.  I offer my thoughts on how each of them can work with either Mobile VR or standalone (Oculus, PlayStation VR or HTV Vive). While the former can fully render the classics in their original form, the latter is more about redesigning the game for a modern gamer to enjoy.

Tempest (Atari 1981)

Instead of a PS4 style of controller, to have this game played with motion sensors tracking hand motions will definitely tire many players out. To play it on a traditional controller will be easier, and the main reason why I feel this game deserves this VR treatment is in the fact it was designed with 3D in mind. A modernized version is in the works. Sadly, no word is said if this update will be designed for VR.

In what makes the experience special is when the geometric play field zooms in carrying the player’s ship (named The Claw) to the next level! To watch this pull you in like the wormhole sequence in Stargate SG-1 (or film) will have me at least squealing in delight like Starbuck launching out of the Battlestar Galactica!

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Reflections on Fan Expo Vancouver 2017

16 Nov

215d2-fanexpovancouverBy Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

The variety of nerdy interests represented at Fan Expo Vancouver every year will differ. They have certainly become the crossroads of where all kinds of pop culture can converge, hence the X in their #FXV hashtag. While previous shows may feel more jam-packed than recent, this year’s event only affirms what I suspected from 2016 — this local event is getting connected with various television productions which film around the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. This event is settling into a groove most will approve and I can only imagine it will get better. Although years away, I’m sure the organizers will have something grand planned when year ten hits. But that’s four years away.

This festival moved from April to November two years ago, making the expense of staying at hotels a touch better during the offseason and offering to both exhibitors and fans a chance to rest before setting up for the next show. Epic Photo Ops deserves special mention for effectively managing the lineups for those seeking a memento with their favourite group of (or with a particular) performer.

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Grant Gustin does not appear at many conventions so those hoping to meet him will have to do so at this show. As The Flash in The CW‘s flagship show, I can imagine he’s not easy to meet. To see both him and the entire STAR labs team (minus Jesse L. Martin) on stage is usually a San Diego Comic Con Hall H scale event, and fans of the show got it at Fan Expo in Vancouver, BC Canada! This panel was packed, and anyone there saw the sweet chemistry he has with Candice Patton in real life too. The star of this panel, however, was Zoe Patton, a cute canine which no doubt won many hearts. Viewers who saw this week’s episode, “When Harry met Harry,” got to understand what the Council of Wells was about, and Tom Cavanagh talked about how this segment was pieced together.

When considering the number of television and film productions going on in this corner of the world, folks hoping for a celebrity sighting will find attending this event better than to wait during a film/television shoot. A chance to interact with a star is never guaranteed when the set is a workplace. From the massive list of CW comic book based shows (Riverdale, Arrow, The Flash, Legends of Tomorrow, Supergirl and iZombie) to movies like Deadpool 2 — which ended production the month before — just who will attend are decided months before. Attendees will have to hope there are no sudden changes the week before due to work (or family, like Stephen Amell had) obligations coming up last-minute. I’m sure there were attendees hoping to spot Ryan Reynolds or Kevin Smith (who did appear in 2016).

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What can I see from the NFB at the Annecy 2017 Festival?

10 Jun

annecyBy Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

If I only had the riches, I’d go to France in high style to enjoy the 2017 Annecy International Animated Film Festival, which takes place from June 12 to 17. There’s tons of special events and programming being offered.

After watching Captain Underpants, I’m interested in learning about the difficulties involved in translating printed artistic material to film. Acclaimed Canadian artist/director Robert Valley has a panel, From Graphic Novels to Animated Music Videos and Short Films, which I feel will be very insightful.

National Film Board of Canada

And representation from Canada is not limited. The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) will have a press conference, which will take place on June 14 at 10:30 a.m., and be presenting many animated shorts, a VR experience for attendees to enjoy (Blind Vaysha is being previewed in this medium), highlighting a retrospective on Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski, and be placing four film in competition. For the latter, I have seen a few of the pieces, and I am anxious to learn who will stand out when animation aficionados will have their eyes and ears about the news coming out of this show.

Also, the nerd in me wants to know what the next animated Marvel Entertainment piece, Ant-Man, will look like. Animators Ugo Bienvenu and Kevin Manach will be talking about their work in this series.

Can someone buy me a plane ticket, please?

From the Press Release, the details revealed are:

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