Ideas for VR Games

On the flight out to San Diego I was kicking around some game ideas. The cluster game is already in progress and I’m leaving that one aside. Here are some of them… this is going to be a bit ‘stream of consciousness at the moment.

Human Space Invaders

The idea is that you’re standing there looking up at space invaders flying around and getting closer. You have several weapons you can fire at the attackers and they drop ordnance towards you as they fly over. There are shields above you in places that neither you nor the invaders can shoot through but all shots damage the shields if they hit them.

I was thinking of a few weapons for the player:

  • a beam weapon that you can play around like a flashlight. This would use ‘energy’ that is slow to refill and rapidly consumed when lasering. Very powerful and effective but limited availability.
  • Pulse weapon similar to the laser but much more efficient. Draws from the same energy reserve but fires blobs of energy up at the enemies.
  • Controllable weapon. Limited number per stage. After launch you can direct it with your controller and either cause it to hit an enemy or detonate it on command to throw out a spray of damage. The direction the relevant controller is held in would control the direction of flight of the round. Releasing the fire button would detonate the round.
  • Possibly a ‘boom’ round that flies directly up from where you currently are and when triggered throws out a much larger spray of damage than the missiles. Probably like a ‘smart bomb’ a limited total supply of these over all.

Hypergate Centurion-alike

Resource management game.

You are looking over a set of hypergates where your job is to send out attack craft to deal with space monsters and pirates. You get points for ships successfully transtting your gates or coming in and flying off to in-system destinations.

Items in the game:

  • Hypergates: ships and monsters enter and leave through these. When a commercial ship leaves through its designated gate you get points.\
  • Defense stations: Each station hosts a number of attack and salvage ships that you can send out to perform tasks. Stations and ships can be attacked by various things. You need to manage these resources to get your job done.
  • Plasma buoys: You have a plasma weapon that you can fire directly at targets (think ‘grid fire’ in the culture novels). Your attack power is related to how many buoys you have active and how close they are to the target location.
  • Off screen destinations: some ships (and pirates) come from or go to planets in the system that are off screen.
  • Commercial ships
  • Noncombatant military ships transiting the system. You get points for these ships getting where they’re going. They will defend themselves if attacked. They can be asked to assist with threats that don’t directly affect them but this costs points and is not guaranteed.
  • Gas and debris clouds. Obscure sensor readings. Conceal and generate monsters and pirates

More options to come…those were the first two on the list and probably the most fleshed out…also could restyle the invaders game with a less cartoony missile command approach and get something more serious and perhaps with more long term playability.

More Motion Capture Thoughts…

Looking at cameras and possible target parts.

The solutions I see out there tend to use active or passive targets attached to the actor and tracked by multiple cameras. Most seem to favor faster cameras rather than higher quality cameras.

I’m looking at the $8.00-ish Fosmon USB 6 LED 1.2 Megapixel USB PC Webcam and the $7.00-sh Sony PlayStation Eye for fast capture. The Fosmon camera also seems to see in IR and thus may be usable with high output IR LEDs for tracking points. The PS3 Eye camera is fast and there are directions on the web for removing the IR filter to make it IR sensitive as well.

I’ve got a couple of Logitech C930e cameras already to cover the slower but higher resolution (and visible light) part of the spectrum. When the budget recharges I’ll likely pick up a third (they’re also tripod compatible which is nice) to better cover registration of objects in three-space. I’m also considering the Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 as a middle of the road option…much cheaper than the high end Logitech, but likely faster than it as well (at 720 rather than 1080 resolution).

I’m really thinking that an array of several different cameras might be interesting…with faster and more plentiful cameras providing tracking and disambiguation and higher resolution cameras locking samples more tightly in position when images are available.

I’m also wondering whether a visible timing device might help. Thinking an rPI driven grey counter facing in several directions and running at a decent clip so that each camera can pull the timing information for its images from the picture taken.

Add in some IR and/or visible LED targets powered by something small and capable like a CR2032 battery or two and I suspect that interesting things may be possible. Whether it works or not it seems like an interesting challenge to take on and the learning experience alone should be interesting.

If the cheap cameras work decently (I’m ordering one of each to try out) then I’ll probably pick up a group of them to work with. I’ll probably try to see if Malcolm can 3D print some sort of appropriate brackets for the cheap cameras as they do not have screw mounts (and a fixed mount would be nice to preserve calibrations between runs). First pass is likely to involve several cameras and OpenCV acquisition of data to track a single beacon.

If that works out, I’ll likely move to fabricate a timing device that can provide the time information to the frames and see how that goes. I’d like to avoid the frame synchronization game that I saw one demo engage in where all cameras are wired into an electrical sync system. Embedding the timing information into each frame optically and using that to place them in sequence seems much better. I’d rather have a few extra cameras to fill in the gaps than run wires everywhere.

If all of the above goes well, I expect to move to looking at recording data streams separately and then doing the beacon registration offline. On the fly operation would be nice, but the power of handling things separately seems likely to be easier and allow multiple computers to get involved in the recording process to ensure high frame rates and few drop-outs.

New Site…Likely for Creative Things

Years ago my daughter bought a ‘panda massage mallet’ at Disney World. It was essentially a plush panda head on a stick. Since then our panda mallets have been a running joke in the family.

When I logged into my hosting provider to renew my site and domain registrations this year they offered me the domain on the splash page and I couldn’t refuse. I have been planning to get involved in some more creative endeavors (in addition to my photography) and this seems like the perfect spot to place those with an interesting new URL and a fresh wordpress instance.

Not sure how fast this will come together as I’m a bit busy at the moment but the domain is live, the site is up and waiting to be configured and loaded with content…