Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Window

The first of my VR experiments is almost finished. The Window is a one room claustrophobic experience for Google Cardboard. I like the way that VR has kind of pushed back the idea of “the short game!” Wearing a cardboard device for more than about 5 minutes is painful and impractical so we have to make short interactive “ideas” fit that format. It brings to mind the typical quirkjy YouTube clip, or before that the single floppy “demos” on the Amiga, that I loved so much.. had a big collection… oh wait a minute.. and before that.. THE SINGLE!
What is it with that time slot? 4 or 5 minutes seems to be a nice little slice of time?
Anyway, The window explores the way to move around with no interface or controller, not totally solved, it has a few ways to interact with things, a phone, a door, a button and an electric guitar. Things change, but will you notice? until its too late? A little environmental in message, and quite dark.. in a Stanley Parable kind of way…

Coming soon on Apples App store… not free, but “virtually free” ha ha

F_002.unity - VRoom_01_The Window - iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad (Personal)

Flicker film

This is the movie I made to show behind me play in Santa Cruz in 2010. For some reason I had not posted it on my site before now.

Its silent, I made it in After Effects, its basically 2 layers of random textures, lots of found footage and scratchy film, that are combined using a mask of a 3rd and rather flickery layer. (For some reason its showing 4:3 here. Its not, its 16:9… but who cares really?

Virtual Box stuff for Mutable Instruments software burning

After successfully burning the software to the ARM chip on the clouds module I thought Id better collect all the instructions down in one place. I still havent gotten Braids to work, but Im not deterred, Id still like to make Frames, Grids, Edges and.. er that new morphing modulator one.. forgotten..

Anyway here it is…

Get Software
Install Virtual Box https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads
and the extension pack (same page)
Install vagrant https://www.vagrantup.com/downloads.html

Get Code
Go to the MI git repository at https://github.com/pichenettes/eurorack
and click DOWNLOAD zip (you unless you know what you are doing with github, which I don’t)
Unzip it
This folder is your MASTER directory for MI building. it is called:
mutable-dev-environment-master
In it you will see, loose a file called Vagrantfile.
In order to run vagrant your computer must be able to see that file, that means navigating to this folder via Terminal.

Starting Vagrant (these instructions copied from https://github.com/pichenettes/mutable-dev-environment)
Open Terminal
Hard to describe how to do this without knowing where you have saved your folder. But you need some knowledge of command line navigation. Either:
you know it
You go to https://wwwcodecademy.com/ and take the Learn the Command Line course (recommended)
wing it… heres some hints

Command line 101
Use ls to show a list of files and/or directory that are in the current directory
Use cd to change directory so cd documents will put you in the documents folder, then you can run another ls and see what the contents there are. hopefully, you saved the mutable stuff there, and all you need to do is cd mutable-dev-environment-master and you are in the right place
use cd.. to go up one level, just incase you go in the wrong folder

Type the terminal command to start up Vagrant. That is:

vagrant up

The first time the VM is started, all tools will be downloaded, and the latest version of the code will be grabbed from github. The process takes about 15 minutes, depending on the speed of your internet connection or computer.

Then login to Vagrant (again in the terminal, NEVER in the black terminal lookalike window that Virtual box throws up, was a mistake of mine)Type:
vagrant ssh

THE MAKEFILE
You then need to change a few lines in one file, this is to tell it to upload via StLink (I think)
So look in the main eurorack-modules folder,
open the stmlib folder
Then try to open makefile.inc
You probably need to use a very simple text editor, like Text Edit. But it wont recognise the filetype .inc but will open.

The relevant lines should look like this (ignore those starting with #, they are just comments):
# Supported: arm-usb-ocd, arm-usb-ocd-h, arm-usb-tiny-h, stlink-v2
# PGM_INTERFACE ?= arm-usb-ocd-h
PGM_INTERFACE = stlink-v2
# hla for stlink-v2 ; jtag otherwise
# PGM_INTERFACE_TYPE ?= jtag
PGM_INTERFACE_TYPE = hla

Leave no spaces at the end of lines

Now back in terminal
You can begin to build things
Do these one at a time.

to clean the area reserved for the bootloader
make -f clouds/bootloader/makefile clean

to clean the area reserved for the software
make -f clouds/makefile clean

to build the bootloader
make -f clouds/bootloader/makefile hex

to build the software
make -f clouds/makefile hex

That should be it, but there’s an option to do both at once.. not sure if it worked for me

to upload both in one package to the chip
make -f clouds/makefile upload_combo_jtag

Also found in the make file..
make -f clouds/makefile upload_combo_jtag_erase_first

something gbiz suggested when trying to get Braids to work…

openocd -f interface/stlink-v2.cfg -f target/stm32f1x_stlink.cfg -c init -c halt -c "flash write_bank 0 build/braids/braids_bootloader_combo.bin 0x0"

he said
“It’s most of the command that make runs to flash the binary, less a couple of configure options. I doubt it’ll help, but it’s worth a try.”

and I dont think it did…

Three games

I played 3 new games this week, well one wasnt so new… not for me.
Lets see how I liked them?

Dreamfall Chapters – Red Thread Games
Zoe-reaching-for-dream-900x168
Been meaning to play for a while. HAVE NOT played any of the others. I know they are well loved, and highly lauded. And I would very much do all I can to support the company, having broken away from FunCom to do their own thing.
But sorry, this is horrible. Ill push on, but the endless cutscenes, listening to this annoying Im so cool girl… I just dont get the fuss… Its getting more interesting now that Im suddenly in a prison, and no sight of the girl, but then I got stuck as the game is really just a pixel hunt.. find the hotspot kinda game

Her Story

2893760-herstory-2

Very Interesting, shot on VHS video, Made in Portsmouth. Its 100 Police interview tapes… kind of a whodunnit, not really a game apart from the annoying ket words thing, (you have to enter key words to find the clips, but if you dont know a keyword, you cant play it) but wow.. who’ed a thought this would work? Ive talked about fragment storytelling in regards to my own game TRUTH, but this was proof of concept for me… Ill just mention, the timed entry of the chat box… changed the whole thing for me.. was about to quit… but didnt.
But ok… got a bit boring after a while, and.. it is just police tapes, no resolution… id have liked a resolution…or dare I say it… a twist?

Lifeless Planet

xboxTitledHeroArt

Not quite as beautiful as Journey (just as sandy though) but more “game”.. just enough jumping and jet packing, just enough clue hunting, and nice voice acting (for a change), intriguing and exiting and fun and everything a game should be for me…
Wonderfull.. My favourite game in ages..

Vectr Noiz

More Vectr. This time a bit noisier. Basic patch is x controlling VCO1 and Y controlling VCO 2, but this time i have both VCOs going into a VCA where the volume level is controlled by Z (or proximity to the screen) So I can fade in sounds by moving hand closer or further away.
The cool thing is that when you record, the Z is recorded too.
Z is a bit different to the other axis because it has a slow fade down, so it can be used as a manual ADSR.

Demo of Through the Woods

The backers of Antagonist Games received a demo of the start of their Kickstarter, Through the Woods this week.
Finally the mac version became available and I was eager to try it. As previously posted, I was dismayed but resigned to the fact that 2 games are being made that step hugely into the area to The Road Up to Hell, so, as before I will write this review as both a huge fan and friend of the Antagonist guys, but tinge it with some slightly tongue in cheek “sour grapes”

Firstly I must say that my poor mac was not nearly man enough to handle the game, I hope they can optimise it a bit later, for the final product. I had to reduce the graphics to LOW just to get it to run. I must admit that I have had similar problems in TRUTH, but seem to have succeeded a little better than Antagonist, now I can only really improve my game by getting the pro version of Unity, which I can not hope to afford any time soon. I can feel in the lag that they are doing something, the frame rate drops when approaching buildings and the non torch view seemed sluggish, I suspect the post effects, but sitting and waiting for a second seemed to help, which makes no sense, its not YouTube… but I could get through, so I tried to ignore this, but for some reason you get a really stuff wrist from it…

To the game itself. The voiceover, being a post story interview with a Psychiatrist, was pure genius! And for a change the voice acting wasn’t bad. The recording was well done with the Shrinks voice being a little “off mike”. The accent of the Mother was also quite spot on, as Norwegians speaking English often get this really weird tinge of American to their voice, but IM pretty sure she WAS norsk.
It starts slow, which I like and the sound effects are good, I wish they were louder to be honest, the voice comes in so loud in comparison. Also, its NOT that quiet in the woods, and silence doesnt seem scary to me, its calming.. a more dense and compressed sound picture would have been better IMHO.
The idea that the kid had an endless supply of reflectors that guide you was a bit far fetched to me, but who cares, I can hardly say that shining magical deer that lead you to weird spiky hills with telescopes on top is exactly realistic (A spoiler from my game) and kids DO collect all kinds of shit in their pockets.So Ill accept that… But I thought they missed an opportunity here, if the trail had been a trail of stuff her kid dropped, she could have picked them up and used them, so it would have been like the kid was “helping”. I know it doesn’t work with Antagonists UI model (as in, there ISNT ONE) but it didn’t need to be like TRUTH with an inventory and interface, it could just have been, “I used the yoyo string on the door handle”. But I guess they are determined to stick to their “Amnesia” template (no wait.. theres a inventory there too).. Their template.. and not deal with.. “oh no I have to go all the way back and fetch the yoyo” issues…
The modelling was pretty generic… The houses felt similar to some asset store packs I have and IM not sure but they definitely used the same environment packs as me , I obviously have no problem with doing that, but it did make it look very similar to mine in places. The terrain texturing was very poor however, although this might have been as a result of my low low settings… but I spent alot of time tweaking (without knowing what the hell I was doing) the terrain shader, to use normal maps and that helped alot. There were also terrible bush billboards, which rotated to face me while I was very close, again, probably my settings, but lavender? Never seen lavender in a Norwegian Wood.

The atmosphere built quite nicely, and I had no problem with the door open fails, Im sure I would have enjoyed exploring more if it wasn’t for the frame rate. I lost my way a couple of times and found myself going back down the path the wrong way, an audible hint might have been fun here… its a very linear game after all, so a variable trigger with a voiceover.. ” I retraced my steps a little to see if I had missed something” would have been possible, but too many of them would get generic, maybe?

The moment when the door shut behind you and she screamed, well the scream was a bit too much at that stage… I would have preferred a muttered “oh my god”.

But then the (Spoiler Alert) Troll attack. funnily enough on my first play through it worked fantastically… For some reason, the growling and a clear path encouraged me to run, so without even getting a glimpse of the troll I ran into the cave, stopped, turned around, and jumped out of my skin as the Troll was there and dropped a stone on the entrance. FANTASTIC!!! What a brilliant thing… I didn’t get a too good look too early (Amnesia keeps you from seeing the monster for ages, soon as you do, funs over) and it was a jump scare, but now I could only go on… but I didn’t…heh heh… being a geek, I quit and started again… but unfortunately the next time I got to that bit of the wood I hung a round looking for the Troll… and there it was lumbering towards me, and thwack.. dead… spawn. Meh… was more fun the previous time… But how could they have done that? Force MY first experience? Easy!…well simply NOT spawned the Troll till I was in the cave, forced me so stop.. fall over for example, look around, Troll feet, Rock BLAM darkness… eyes adjust to cave… torch on again… LEVEL TWO.. but seeing the troll so clearly was less scary and more… “ok here comes the game”.

On the whole was was quite impressed with my own game, TRUTH looks better, plays better, and will have much more things to do, but is lacking the strong normal “story” that Through the Woods has, very strong, very usable and makes me very keen to play the rest. Of course my game is a totally different thing with my proposed multi player storywriting feature, and less obvious, but weirder locations.

But this is just the start scene, an I have a good feeling that Through the Woods is going to be a great game!

very much looking forward to playing

So go and back them now…
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1854868411/through-the-woods/