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They should totally make a pirate game for this - Tactical Ninja

May. 14th, 2013

09:46 am - They should totally make a pirate game for this

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Last night I went to the launch of A Forager's Treasury - not only written by someone I know and therefore more awesome than your average book, but also awesome in and of itself for its subject matter. Which is, basically, how to find food (ie wild plants) while out wandering around, and what to do with it when you find it. Unlike a lot of these sorts of books, it's a) New Zealand focused, and b) full of recipes that have been tested and found tasty, including one that's been a Top Secret family one until now. So yeah, you should buy it.

When I got home, I was fully expecting to find Dr Wheel lying on the floor wearing his Oculus Rift and cackling maniacally. Instead I found him on the bed wearing a cat blanket and feeling a bit seasick. So it turns out that it's realistic enough to give you motion sickness - which of course had nothing to do with how he'd spent over an hour playing with it instead of the recommended 10 minutes for the first go. Nope.

It's a virtual reality headset that allows you to immerse yourself in a 3-D world - when you look around with your head, it looks around in the world. It even has stabilisers and horizon control, so if you tip your head on one side, the horizon stays level. It's actually kind of funky, and only a bit more dorky looking than Google Glass. Here is a picture of me looking at the sky:

See? Not dorky looking at all! *cough*

What I can see inside the mask is the two images on the screen placed on top of each other to provide the 3-D. You can see in that picture that I'm using the standard keyboard/mouse controls that you'd use in a video game. That's because I'm in the sandbox world (which is apparently Tuscany), learning to run around and use a combination of hand and head controls to not run into things or fall off cliffs. If you're moving forward on this control method and you turn your head, it works like a strafe - you keep looking ahead but move toward where your head's turned. You have to use the mouse to look, and then you turn and the world turns around you, and it's all a bit confusing.

However, it gets more confusing when you start using the joysticks to control it. They're handheld wossits, kind of like if you had half an X Box controller in each hand. You centre them by clicking the triggers while holding the wossits to your shoulders, and suddenly, two disembodied hands appear! Which is kind of weird! But it does mean that you can pick stuff up and throw it around. Vis:

As you can see, it's very realistic as you hurl chairs with one hand! We tried juggling and bouncing a basketball, and Dr Wheel even managed to find a plank and place it on the balcony in such a way that he could walk up it and jump off, which produced a sequence of noises that went like this:

"OH.. OOOH... UH-OH.. aaaAAAAAAARGH! Teeheehee!"

Apparently jumping off things is quite realistic.

Anyway, the instructions say that you get used to the weird motion and can then spend longer at it, which is good because, well, there's quite a gap between what I can do with this new set of controls and kiting the Arishok effectively, you know? I would get my arse nailed to the walls in 2 seconds flat while I tried to work out which button to push. I need more practice - and also quite a lot of room for flailing because the wossits work on accelerometer type technology. Perhaps not surprisingly, Dr Wheel is better at it (having practiced), and the YoT seems to be a natural (because teenager).

However, the main aim isn't videogames. Dr Wheel has plans! Oooh, such plans! That I'm not allowed to brag about on the internet just yet. Boo. Also, I want a planetarium that I can fly around in. Please make me one, internet.

Tonight I have to go up to the uni and collect my silly hat. Apparently I can give it back after the ceremony without having to go back up to the uni - although in my dream last night I had to wait until there were only 5 people left at the Dean's reception before I could undress.

Question: What is a Dean's reception? Are they worth going to? I have a voucher for a free drink at it, is all.


[User Picture]
Date:May 13th, 2013 10:21 pm (UTC)
At Waikato it was just a big tent with drink laid out and everyone hanging around, we're not planning on sticking around for this one.

Rob got his silly hat yesterday and it wasn't nearly as silly as I'd hoped (some other universities have these round massive bonnets but his is just a tricorny pointy thing).
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[User Picture]
Date:May 13th, 2013 11:00 pm (UTC)
The Dean's reception is basically when everyone crowds into the foyer of the Michael Fowler Centre and attempts to talk at top volume while clutching glasses of cheap white wine or orange juice. There's also a bunch of people in silly hats forcing their way through the crowd saying "Let me through, I'm a doctor!". They're generally going to the bar.
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[User Picture]
Date:May 14th, 2013 02:45 am (UTC)
wow, that's awesome! reminds me of an episode of sliders that has them wearing vr goggles that look very much like those. how amazing!!
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[User Picture]
Date:May 14th, 2013 04:13 am (UTC)
Sounds like a fun system. One of the good/bad things with head-mounted displays for me is that, since I'm not used to getting very realistic stereo depth cues, I'm less likely to get the motion sickness. But on the other hand, I don't get the stereo depth effects. Funny old things, eyes.
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