Tag Archives: Virtual Reality

Level Achieved. Unlocked, the World of Games Interview with Jeremy Snead

13 Dec

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Both Videogames the Movie and the upcoming eight-part documentary, Unlocked, the World of Games Revealed are a passion project from filmmaker Jeremy Snead. With the former, he focussed on certain aspects of an industry that he knew he could comfortably cover — history, culture and business — but as for what’s next, the seeds were already planted and to see the idea grow was required.

“I met a couple of producers that asked me what to make next if I could take my pick, and that’s where Unlocked started,” said Snead.

This new series will become available online Dec 15, through iTunes, Google Play, Steam and Amazon and a physical release with bonus material is being planned. The topics explored present more than a look at videogames impact upon society. It has celebrity correspondents who are genuinely interested in the subject they are presenting. To decide on what topics to explore was not easy for this producer. The list was huge. To match the right person to look into that particular aspect of an industry or part of the culture was not always easy. To decide on having eight topics explored throughout the eight episodes felt right, according to this director, and he joked, “How long do we need [to tell the story] without lingering too much without making it a Ken Burns 15 hour style docu-series?”

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Taking NFB’s Cardboard Crash VR App for a Spin

1 Dec

550575449By Shawn Trommeshauser
(Dreaming in Digital)

Would you trust your safety to a computer algorithm? What about to the people who programmed it?

Cardboard Crash for iOS and Android is a deceptively straightforward Virtual Reality (VR) experience by Vincent McCurley and the National Film Board of Canada. Mid last month, it won the Digi Award for Mobile Entertainment and this award is the 11th to an NFB production. This app was first previewed in the DocLab program of the International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam (IDFA) in 2015.

This title has a cute stylised world filled with cardboard people, buildings, and cars. The cardboard textures add a lot of detail to keep the world simple and angular. The music is pleasant and fitting for the game’s contents. Nothing overstays its welcome as the scenario is only a couple of minutes long.

The game has a very simplistic interface. It doesn’t require any additional controllers or hardware beyond a VR headset such as Samsung Gear VR or Google Cardboard to play. All you need to do is look at an available button for a few seconds to activate it. A voice clip will play when you highlight one of the many buttons and if you only want to hear the description before you decide on anything, you have to look away just before the selection is finalized.

I had no problem with the motion tracking or response time using an iPhone 5s. The game was a little choppy at times, but I believe that’s simply due the age of my phone. However, I experienced a huge drain on the battery, approximately 20% in less than 5 minutes of play time.  I’m not sure if it’s this particular game, the Unity engine that it runs on, or it was simply too much for my phone to handle. So if you give this title a try, please make sure that your phone isn’t overheating as you play.

Spoiler Alert! I’m going to go into detail on what happens during gameplay. If you’re interested and have a VR-capable iOS or Android device, I suggest taking a few minutes to play through Cardboard Crash before reading any further. it is only about two or three minutes long.

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Unlocked: The World of (Video) Games is an Upcoming Online Documentary, One Byte Deep!

20 Nov

15027712_646986138795528_2453628057481800844_nBy Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Celebrity hosts Sean Astin, Tom Arnold, Matt Walsh, Penn Jillette, Michael Rooker, Zelda Williams, Alison Haislip and Meghan Camarena will look deep into the world of video games in an eight-part documentary Unlocked: The World of Games, Revealed. This series will be available online through iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Steam starting December 15th and it is currently available for preorder.

“The goal in producing a series like ‘Unlocked’ is to educate and entertain the audience on all these fascinating topics within the world of gaming all with a cast of curious correspondents that the audience is familiar with,” said series director Jeremy Snead.

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You Too Can Be The Dark Knight with Sony’s 3D Tech in Batman: Arkham VR

17 Nov

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By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Sony’s PlayStation VR bundle is now available and if some people are still in the fence about it, they can try it out at special events like Fan Expo Vancouver. This 2016 show had Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment exhibiting LEGO Dimensions and demonstrating Batman: Arkham VR (now available on Amazon) on the PS4 Pro and the experience has me believing the hardware is very capable. I was told this updated system is not absolutely necessary in order to become the crime-fighting detective, but it does help with the frame rates and rendering for those players wanting to go by the numbers.

The headwear certainly can use some fine-tuning for people like myself wearing eyeglasses. It is certainly comfortable with or without (I tried both methods on two different demos of the game) and I experienced minor fogging on the lens. If the addition of micro-fans or vents can be put in version two of the hardware, this problem can easily be solved.

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The feeling of being immersed in the digital environment is almost there; the fact the view does not fully fill the peripheral (i.e. I can see the edges of where the screen ends) shows virtual environments are not that all-encompassing. Part of the fact has to deal with the psychological aspects of distinguishing between real space and imagined space. If the eye detects an object at the edge of perception, the body will be inclined to react.

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