VR Random Dungeon

It has struck me recently while diving deep in TLS RFCs that it would be kind of fun to build a VR random dungeon generator inspired by the old AD&D dungeon master’s guide random dungeon generator.

It would be comparatively simple to code and would be a blast from the past and provide an interesting sense of scale to some of those old ten foot wide corridors and massive rooms.

Not sure I’ll ever get around to putting the necessary effort in, but who knows I might one day be able to walk the halls of an old school random dungeon of my own creation 🙂

Saturday, January 4, 2020

Continuing to read and watch Blender training information.


Getting a bit distracted by pulling in blender 2.8 build source code. I’m now a bit curious about the internals and may let myself be distracted by that now and again. Certainly planning to see if I can run a local build on JabberwockChaos upstairs has path issues that I’ll need to resolve before I can do much on that front. One of the nicer things about having more than one build-capable machines around.


Looking at a few things in the immediate future

  • Get text working. Hover text labels over stars that always face the viewer with at a minimum the name of the star.
  • Build star gate model(s) in blender and import them into unity and then place gates in the view.
  • Build a simple information viewing panel in game and support star selection where the information for the selected star shows on the panel.
  • Build a simple mechanism for saving game and loading games. Need a persistence format for game data.
  • Look into adding simple feedback sounds to the game. At least a noise when a selection is changed in the star display.

A New Year, Blender and Unity and Games

Rolling into 2020 after a busy and somewhat chaotic six months I’m looking to get back on track with VR coding in Unity.


First step (although likely still mixed with other things) will be to get up to speed with Blender 2.8. I’ve bought the previous two editions of The Complete Guide to Blender Graphics (one in paper, one in Kindle) and not found the time to run through them before a new edition was published.

With blender 2.8, the UI has allegedly been completely reworked. At this point I’m going to put off laying down cash for the version of that book that covers this version of Blender and first go through a beginners tutorial to make sure I’m decently on my way before spending a big chunk of cash.

Hoping this goes well as I’d like to be able to create more interesting items than my current simple shapes to populate my VR creations.


My first goal in the Blender work will be to put together models for my stargates. I’ve got my star cluster in place. I’ve got some usable ship models (though these could use significant work to make them more visually interesting).

I could use some sound samples for interaction feedback. I have minor haptic feedback when a star is selected with the control wand but a ‘bump’ noise would be welcome as well. I need to dig up my little digital recorder and figure out the APIs in Unity for this stuff.

I need to add in star name labels and other related display bits. Ideally these would float above each star and face the viewer/camera regardless of their position. I’ve got public-domain name lists of star names to use so I should be able to do better than just ‘star’ above each one.

I’d like to fully implement a ‘select’ system where the last star that was ‘wanded’ shows its full system information on a hanging display monitor to one side of the main play area. This could then be extended to support setting up unit orders for movement and such.

Adding in planet generation should round out the environment management.

Then I’ll need:

  • Cluster state save games.
  • Ship entry.
  • Fleet movement orders.
  • Assignment of ships to a fleet.
  • One admiral for each fleet.
  • Exploration to reveal the system information once ships have arrived.
  • …and more…


Clearly I have much more to learn about using Unity for game development. There are probably additional tools that I should be considering as well.

No particular areas of focus within unity at the moment, but I expect that once I get back to doing some coding there, I’ll find plenty of things to dig into.


I’ve got my HTC Vive set up back in the front basement (had moved it up to my home office but there really isn’t enough room there). We’ve doing a clean-up pass through the basement so there should be yet more space down there in the near future.

I’m expecting to get the motion capture cameras set up again soon as well. Not sure when as I’m going to try to stay a bit more focused on blender and unity in the immediate future.

I’m still tempted by new headsets but so far I haven’t seen anything that is sufficiently exciting to throw money at. If I picked up a second one I’d probably put one upstairs and one in the basement to facilitate development work.

The closest something has come to getting my attention was the HTC Cosmos with its inside-out tracking and new controllers. I’m still a bit tempted as the convenience of a headset without external trackers would be nice. The fact that they’re suggesting that they may add support for outside-in tracking to improve precision has kept me on the side-lines so far.

If they add support (a new face-plate has been suggested) so that this head-set can do both with the better display panel it already has then I might go for it.

3D Printing

I’m still on the side-lines with 3D printing. It is an interesting technology but I don’t have enough need and I’m swamped with things I want to get done as is. I still might consider a pre-built machine at some point (particularly if the basement work bench gets cleared enough to be usable) but it is likely low on my list.

In truth, I suspect that a laser cutter would be more immediately interesting than a 3D printer. The big problem on that front is that a decent laser cutter is much more expensive than a decent 3D printer.


I’ve been walking through my game collection to gather ideas and inspiration as I go. There are quite a few concepts that would be worth bringing over from board wargaming into complex computer games.

One challenge I see for turn based strategic games is that many of the board game designs have interactive resolution steps within a turn. This works well when you’re standing across the table from your opponent and the two of you can interact as things get resolved. This does not work if you’re trying to run something turn based where the participants aren’t expected to be online at the same time.

I’m looking at mechanics where the fine-grained actions are either carried out by a mechanic (commanders or similar where you have a number of choices and each commander has a profile) or where they’re abstracted into a larger mechanic. On balance, there’s no reason that a strategic commander should have any input into the ebb and flow of one battle or a local commander be involved in the decisions that a platoon leader makes.

New Job and All of the Busy That Goes with That

I’ve just moved from KMC Systems to Draeger and the last couple of weeks have been very busy. That has resulted in very little outside activity worth posting about. At this point I’ve been in my new position for a week or so and feel a little bit more like I’ve got my feet on the ground so I’m expecting to get back to some interesting work.

I’m also no longer working with Malcolm and Sam so no more lunch-time discussions of semi-random technical issues and unity programming stuff. Hoping to set up some regular get-togethers as we move into the fall. Got to get the interesting stuff kick-started again and three brains are definitely better than one.

Cluster – RESTful APIs

As part of building the front-end to the shared web side aspect of the cluster game, I’m starting to lay out the RESTful interface to the database at the back-end of the server side.

I’m looking at several main categories using query parameters to filter results on aggregate areas.

  • players
    Returns a list of player names and ids. Details of a specific player can be retrieved (and changed) by accessing the player by player id as a sub-resource. Permissions do apply here…a normal player can only view or edit the details for their own information. An administrator can view and change information for any player.
    • id (immutable after creation)
    • name – Unique, human readable user name
    • email
    • is email public
    • password (settable only)
    • active
    • date joined
    • date last activity
  • games
    Returns a list of games in the database. With query parameters this can return games containing only a selected player or players, games that are in progress and perhaps other subsets of all stored games. Details of a specific game may be retrieved by game id. For normal players, only the details that their player identity has access to may be retrieved. For developers all details are visible and subject to modification.
    • id
    • player ids
    • turns
      One entry for each turn in the game so far. All open if the game is completed otherwise only information visible to this user is present.
      • turn number
      • units list
        • unit id
        • unit type
          ship type, planetary resource type, population
        • location type
          space or system or planet
        • location
        • player id
      • technology list
        • players
          • player id
          • technology id
          • level
          • investment
      • moves list
        • players
    • current turn
    • moves submitted
      (may be part of the turns container)
    • active
    • created
    • completed
    • final scores if completed
    • stars
  • options
    Options that relate to new games being started. Global lists (start information, admiral information and such). Generally these will only impact newly created games. Selected items may affect all games.
  • audit
    Audit log recording changes made using administrative privileges.

February 7, 2019

Looking at Blender and Unity as tools.

Spent some time last night playing with prefabs for the Cluster game I’m prototyping. Not too much detail yet, just looking to create prefabs that are distinct enough to make it clear what is going on with each and have them look interesting.

Got the google daydream headset in from Amazon and got my phone configured to use it. So far I’ve only loaded the software on my phone and played with it a little bit. In the short time that my wife and I played with it, it burned through 50% of my phone battery and left my Pixel XL quite warm. Eventually this may be the item that causes me to upgrade phones…

At lunch today there was a discussion about the awkwardness involved in working with blender and some discussions around working with UV mapped textures directly in VR. Potentially interesting thing to try. Should be possible to implement a visual airbrush…particularly with the vive where the artist can walk around the model being worked on and see it from various angles. This is an interesting idea, but if I spend any time on it at the moment, I’ll never complete the game work I’m messing with so on the shelf it goes.