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Eevr 3 pre

EEVR III – preview

By Event Preview

Better late than never!

EEVR III is just a few days away, happening on saturday, april 11th at Tallinn. More precisely: Tallinn Polytechnic School (Pärnu mnt 57), starting from 12:00

What’s in store this time around? As an EEVR tradition, Madis Vasser will take the stage and talk about his week-long trip to the recent IEEE VR 2015 conference in France and share the latest trends happening in the academic side of VR. Expect interesting research papers and weird gadgets (example video below). For the second talk session we will either have a group discussion about the upcoming games night (MängudeÖÖ) event or a surprise guest.

 

Preliminary schedule:
12:00 meet’n’greet
12:15 First talk session (IEEE VR)
13:15 Second talk session (TBA)
14:00 – 17:00 Demo time! Including:
* Elite: Dangerous – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4EAZBvMSL8
* Alien: Isolation – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Sn5TgJZCIs
* Unreal Paris – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGGPQKBfLxc
* Weightless – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dmpr6OSCz-c
* World of Comenius – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YiGAR0JDt0
* VR Lab Rats – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_a3Eha1Ya4
* And many more

Recap from the last event – http://www.eevr.ee/?p=175

Contacts: Mario Saarik / Madis Vasser (madis@psyhhobuss.ee / 53950310)
FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1573775006237030/
Meetup event: http://www.meetup.com/EEVR-Estonian-Virtual-Reality/events/221555364/

Eevr 2 5

EEVR II – recap

By Event Recap

Undoubtedly EEVR II was a blast. With three presentations, 30 people and a room full of different hardware and software demos, the Estonian VR community was in for a real treat this time around. New ideas were shared, new acquaintances met and new realities experienced. Pictures from the event can be found here (by Kertu Saar), video below.

 

First up in the talking sessions was soon-to-be-MSc Madis Vasser with a quick overview of the status quo of VR in psychological science and at Tartu University. He demonstrated the flood of different headsets on the market, yet there seems to be less focus on accompanying software. He and a team of fellow students are working on a solution to bring researchers with less programming background closer to VR with a toolbox that makes creating virtual experiments much easier. Madis will most likely also attend the IEEE VR conference in France this march, so we’ll make sure he keeps a proper travel diary while abroad. For more info, shoot a message at madis.vasser@ut.ee.

Next things got really nostalgic and futuristic at the same time with tech entrepreneur Peeter Nieler on stage. He drew a clear distinction between virtual reality environments and the means by which to experience them. With a short history lesson the audience got to see the parallel progress in both fields that now have begun to finally merge properly. Peeter also pointed out some reacurring names in the process, like Ivan Sutherland and John Carmack. Then the time was right to reveal his own plans for the future – making man run in virtual reality. More precisely, the Criffin RunPad. He went over the many concepts and prototypes that were tried before settling on a simple and effective solution (not shown here until the proper time). A fortcoming full-body tacking system was also briefly discussed. Those interested in more detaild information can get in touch: Peeter.Nieler@criffin.com

The final talk was from a full-time game dev Filipp Keks, who is well known in VR circles for his EvilMech Runner. The problems and lessons learned from that demo was also the main topic of Filipp’s presentation, most of it happening inside Unity game engine. We discussed the different solutions to issues like walking through virtual walls, cheating the step detection algorithm and staying in camera range while in VR. Filipp pulled together different clues to suggest that Oculus is heading in the direction of a standing experience with the consumer version of the Rift. He finished with a call for action to all the developers to help make his freely available code better. Follow the link: https://github.com/taphos/oculus-natural-movement.

The demo sessions can be summarized with the words of one of the participants: “I have never seen so many Oculus Rifts together in one room!” Criffin had their latest prototypes on display for anyone to try out, this included a full body tracking system and two cool RunPads (ideally suited for Filipp’s EvilMech runner!). Madis held the first public test of his change blindness experiment, where one must spot changes in a virtual room (a devilishly difficult task), somewhat resembling Sightline: the Chair demo. Siim Raidma was back once again with his laser turret battle, this time with added multiplayer support! People were also stunned by Ambient Flight and couldn’t get enough of paragliding over the mountaintops (wind effects included). Keeping things down to earth, Keijo Koort brought out his impressive collection of driving games from Euro Truck simulator to Project Cars and Assetto Corsa. One players was so immersed he nearly killed the gear shift. Also, the funky music from a cool top-down shooter Nighttime Terror filled the room constantly. After three hours of fun and games people were ready to return to present reality.

Many thanks to UT Idea lab for the most awesome rooms in town, Criffin for the snacks and Psühhobuss for various logistics.

Now start preparing for EEVR III in early april (probably)!

Eevr 2 9

EEVR II – preview

By Event Preview

It has been a long time coming, but the second installment of EEVR is finally just around the corner, taking place this saturday (7.02) at noon in Tartu. EEVR is a non-profit gathering of estonian virtual reality enthusiasts, researchers and developers.

Venue: Idea Lab of Tartu University, Narva mnt 4. Enterance through the main door, plenty of parking space.

Preliminary schedule (details below):
12:00 Experiments with the coffee machine
12:30 Talks by Madis Vasser, Filipp Keks & Peeter Nieler
14:00-17:00 Demo sessions with Oculus Rift & Google Cardboard

About the talks:
* Madis is a psychology student focusing on VR related research topics. His current work is related to attention (and lack of it) and making VR more accessible to researchers via an Unity toolbox under development (in collaboration with the IT department).

* Filipp is a professional game developer and VR enthusiast. He is an author of the legendary EvilMech Runner Oculus demo. Lately he has also been messing around with photometric 3D scanning.

* Peeter is an VR entrepreneur and all we are currently allowed to share about him is this:

About the demos:
* Take part in a psychological VR experiment
* Settle the score in an unreleased 1 vs 1 armed laser turret battle game
* Try the visually most stunning experiences available (i.e Senza Peso) on dedicated VR machines
* Bring Your Own Demo!

Recap of the last time: http://www.eevr.ee/?p=122

The event is generously sponsored by Psühhobuss and Criffin.

Contacts: Mario Saarik / Madis Vasser (madis@psyhhobuss.ee / 53950310)
FB event: https://www.facebook.com/events/957375797620919/

See you on saturday!

Eevr 1 6

EEVR I – recap

By Event Recap

28th of november 2014 saw the first ever EEVR meetup in Tallinn. There was a great mixture of people from 3D artists, game devs and engineers to general enthusiasts. All in all, about 15 people attended the proof-of-concept event during five hours. We had two planned talks and much discussion, also some really awesome hardware/software demos.

In the intro talk the organizers Mario and Madis talked about the concept behind the event – to get people connected, share knowledge, discuss latest VR news and also boost the development of local VR software/hardware. Humble goals indeed 🙂

Madis Vasser then discussed the different aspects that make up a stress-free VR demonstration. In short: know your hardware, location, software and audience. He highlighed some big mistakes one can do in a demo setting, like placing your laptop in direct sunlight (performance killer) or letting players accidentally smash themselves into various real objects while inside the rift (fun killer). Special focus was also on the fear factor – how different age groups tend to react to VR. Children can be quite shocked, so it’s advised to communicate with them frequently. Older people are sometimes in “VR denial”, so expect lots of screaming from them.

Mario “Zuurik” Saarik took the audience down the memory line with a quick review of VR history, starting from the 1930s! The slideshow had something new for everybody, as the VR scene was much more diverse than anyone had expected. Some headsets were super cool, slightly funny or epic failures, others never even saw a proper release. The talk
smoothly transitioned to todays technological advances. People discussed different input devices and their limitations, the possibilities of waking in VR and also the elusive soon-to-be-seen Magic Leap technology. All in all, a solid two hours of discussions. Next were the demo sessions.

Madis Vasser demonstrated the uncanny valley effect with a all-too-real looking 3D scanned self-portrait demo, done with the help of DollyMe3D. The players could see him run around, creep uncomfortably close or just mirror the headmovements of the rift to really mess with the senses. Madis also let people experience the presence of hands in VR through a rift-mounted Leap Motion and different demos found from the web.

Zuurik brought out his War Thunder cockpit –
complete with a joystick, steering pedals and throttle lever. Those who tried it were impressed – despite the crazy in-game dogfight and upside down manouvers the whole experience felt comfortable and quite immersive.

Siim Raidma premiered his special build for EEVR I called Ball Turret. In the game you are a Turret pilot that sits, well, inside a ball. The virtual world is TRON-ish, with a seemingly endless flat surface beneath and a city of blocks above. Your job is to roll about and shoot different targets high in the sky. The game relies on a joystick for movement and fire commands, the aming is done with head movements. Although rolling around in a giant ball might sound nauseating, the actual experience was super-comfortable. Drifting sideways was the most fun I’ve had in VR since the barrelrolls in Great Power demo.

We didn’t have the planned hackaton due to hardware issues, but Madis filled the gap with his DIY VR viewers (one made from a tea box, the other simply from cardboard and foam). Ott Pilipenko also brought his legendary Puppetmaster, so people could take turns controlling each others minds.

The evening presented many opportunities for networking with fellow enthusiasts. Some where looking for a job, others were offering jobs. In summary, the first event was a great success and the next one can only get better, as we already have some sweet talks in mind. Many thanks for Psühhobuss for providing all the snacks and Tallinn Polytechnic School for the nice
rooms.

The next event will most likely take place sometime in the end of january 2015 in Tartu, Estonia. Who knows, maybe in a form of a VR jam. Everybody, start your game-engines!

Eevr 3 pre

EEVR I – preview

By Event Preview
Eevr 3 pre

Time is going super fast and we are just a week away from the first ever EEVR meetup on the 28th of november! It is about time to look at the event in more detail:

Where: Tallinn Polytechnic School (Pärnu mnt 57, room A209)

Preliminary schedule:
15:30 time for setting up the demos
16:00 meet and greet
16:15 Quick introduction to EEVR (Mario Saarik & Madis Vasser)
16:20 Talk 1 – What VR headsets are out there? (Mario Saarik, in estonian)
16:40 Talk 2 – The psychology of VR, lessons from demo shows (Madis Vasser, Psühhobuss, in english)
17:00 Talk 3 – VR and education opportunities (Ivo Visak, in estonian)
17:30 Demo sessions! Some unpublished games and new leap motion VR experiences plus all the well-known VR “classics”.
19:00 Mini-VR-hackaton: combining the rift, kinect v2 and leap motion to bend space-time.
02:30 Watching the first Virtual Reality Awards live event through RiftMax (http://thevirtualrealityawards.com/)

We also try to film all the talks and publish them online in the coming weeks, so those who can’t make it in person can still catch up on the good stuff!

PS! Let us know ASAP, if you are bringing a rift and/or computer, so we can plan the logistics!

Contacts: Mario Saarik / Madis Vasser (madis@psyhhobuss.ee / 53950310)
Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1573717002848704/

Jogging

Jogging with the DK2 in EvilMech Runner

By Review
Jogging

This past week saw the release of EvilMech Runner,

a small experimental survival game that we have mentioned before by estonian developer Filipp Keks, meant to achieve the feeling of natural movement with minimal hardware. This means in-game movement without the use of a gamepad/keyboard/treadmill, using simply the Oculus hardware and clever software. Since my first encounter with the game fell short due to the long que of people wanting to try the demo and me being able to get stuck in a virtual wall, I was exited to fire the game up at home.

Setup: as the readme file suggests, I put the Oculus IR camera about eye level on a tripod and stood (yes, this game is meant to be played while standing) about 1 meters away. I also had a small carpet on the floor to give me some feedback as to where I was located in reality (pro tip for playing alone). There is a need to press the spacebar key multiple times in the beginning. Make sure you press it until you see “RUN!”, otherwise you false-start and miss half the fun (the EvilMech part).

Experience: Two players tried the game, me and the wife. Neither of us fell over, but having your feet wide apart is definitely a smart choice. Some funky graphical glitches aside (water splashes in the ceiling), the experience was quite impressive workout-wise. Quote from one of us: “How am I out of breath in my living room!?”. The main selling point, step detection, worked very well, but of course one could also cheat by just bobbing the head up and down. There was a huge difference in playing styles however – while I managed to stay on the tiny carpet without problems, my other half took a much broader approach and constantly actually ran off in different directions. So, just in case you don’t want to yank your computer off the table, find a running partner to hold you back:)

I also caught up with Filipp Keks (“hopscotch” in estonian, quite approprietly) for some background info.

Jogging 2

Where did you get the idea for this kind of solution?
The idea came to my head the first day I received my DK2 back in August. After trying first couple of demos I noticed that the motion tracker range is capable of much more then just “peering around corners” as it was announced. In almost any demo you can actually walk a couple of meters from the initial point. At the same time solutions like [Virtuix] Omni and Cyberith seemed a bit too over-engineered. I also tried to mix gameplay with a standard treadmill, but it limits you by speed and direction, so I rejected the idea and stuck with simple jogging in place. According to some fitness and medical sites I found, jogging in place is also quite healthy and beneficial 🙂 The disadvantage of my solution is that you can not turn back as you would block the tracker camera view. I worked around this problem by making the game forward running, so the player never have to turn back. Later it came out that Oculus developers are moving the same direction as they made the new Crescent Bay prototype with IR sensors visible from behind.

How easy was this approach to implement?
It took me one weekend. Most of the time I spent rewriting a part of the Oculus Unity driver. Version 0.4.2 was quite a mess, now 0.4.3 came out and it looks much nicer and logical. Currently I’ve rewritten the code for the latest SDK. I plan to release my code as open source so others could make more demos with the same type of gameplay.

Will this kind of movement control catch on?
Maybe not exactly – DK2 wasn’t designed for it after all 🙂 But this is definitely the direction where VR will be moving in the near future. Oculus newest Crescent Bay prototype has a wider position tracker range and IR sensors on the back which perfectly suits my idea of gameplay.

Lastly, what are your next plans?
I have plans to experiment with full body motion tracking using something like a Kinect. I also have a couple of ideas how to make the gameplay more interesting and unsusual, so stay tuned.
EEVR will keep a close eye on Filipp! If some of the readers are unable or simply lack the stamina to try EvilMech Runner, here’s the official gameplay clip

Start

Hello, (virtual) reality!

By News
Start

This blog is the brainchild of a few estonian VR developers (see below) who met recently in Tallinn at the Night of Games (MängudeÖÖ). After a great evening of networking and Oculus demo sessions it was clear that the estonian VR scene needs a proper home. And so EEVR was established. This site will do its best to keep up with all the local VR-related news and happenings. This might include some new tech gadgetry from a near-by startup, a game demo from an unknown developer or a scientific study from one of our universities. Since not everyone in the world speaks estonian language though, this blog shall contain mostly english-compatible material.

First, a quick review of VR-related content from the Night of Games event. Mario “Zuurik” Saarik entertained the crowd with some well-known demos, including Black Hat Oculus, Lava Inc, Dreadhalls, Pixelrift and a nasty surprise (which was of course Alien: Isolation). Some were presenting their own work, like a western-style bar shoot-out called “Better than life” (GitHub). The guests also had a wonderful opportunity for a quick haircut thanks to Erkki Trummal and his “Guillotine Simulator” (the most famous estonian VR experience to date?). Another big surprise was “BMX Ride“, a VR-enabled bike game, that apparently is also developed right here in Estonia by Rando Tkatsenko. Stay tuned for an in-depth review.

Start 2

Further back you could see Filipp Keks putting people through their paces, literally. He was showing a simple survival game, where you run through a sci-fi tunnel. The really interestin bit was the running – this was achieved not via a controller, but with actual running in one spot. Filipp’s program then read out the vertical movement of the Rift IR LEDs and fed that info to the game as forward motion. For such a simple hack it worked amazingly well. Although a few people managed to hit the wall while running. Overall a great event with tons of content, props to the organizers at level1.ee!

 

What next? Our FB community is live and we are in the process of organizing EEVRs first meet-up for devs and other interested parties.
Date: 28th november.
Place: Tallinn, Estonia.
Schedule: Some presentations, some demostrations and the viewing of the first Virtual Reality Awards (submission deadline for your creation is november 9th!).

About the authors:
Mario “Zuurik” Saarik is a gamer and hardware engineer with too much ideas in his head. Fortunatelly he also knows how to make them a reality.
Madis “Mad” Vasser (MadVR) is a psychology MA with a keen interest in using VR for experimental research and non-gaming purposes.

Just Creative