VR & AR Experiments

VR & AR doesn’t seem like a trend that is going away anytime soon.

So we are jumping on the bandwagon.

Since I come from a mobile dev background and I’m dirt poor, I decided to get a Google Cardboard.

I attempted to make one on my own, but I couldn’t find the correct lenses.

So I ordered one online from Unofficial Cardboard, which comes preassembled, which is great. And it’s Version 2, so the lenses are bigger.

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Last night, my lil sis went to a nigh market (Ximending, Taipei) and saw a stall selling Google Cardboard Version 1 that you have to assemble yourself for only 150 NT (roughly 5 USD).

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Recently, there have been a couple of exhibits in Taiwan that has that VR & AR bonus. My lil sis went to an exhibit by Japanese comic artist, Ito Jun Ji, where they were given VR googles and they are instructed to download an accompanying app on their iPhones. As they were walking around the exhibit, animations will pop out from the comic artworks.

Real life escape the room games are also a thing now in Taiwan and in the Philippines. We joined one a few months ago, it was 500 NT per person, and you can join with a team of 8. We picked a Snow White inspired room, and we were all assigned roles as one of the 7 dwarfs (the 8th members is the leader), and we were tasked to find out missing souls, which were stolen by the queen or something (no, this is not your cannon Snow White story). It was fun (mostly because we managed to escape), but also because the puzzles were really clever and they used very simple mechanics such as magnetic cards (similar to the ones used as MRT tickets) and run the mill combination locks to open doors and treasure boxes.

So we’re thinking of combine those two ideas together.

An escape the room game that utilizes VR and AR.

AR has been a fascination of mine for a while now, but I still felt that it was kind of weird, because you have to point your phone at the marker and you can only see the AR thing coming out on your phone. While with VR goggles, it’s more immersive, and in a way it feels more natural.

AR is also about marker detection. So we are wondering if we can manipulate the markers and see what will happen.

One experiment we tried is to cut an image marker into little pieces, like a puzzle. So when they are in there little pieces, you are actually not detecting anything. But once formed, it works like a proper image marker and whatever AR stuff you put can come out.

I used Vuforia’s sample marker and then cut it into little pieces, which is a challenge in itself to assemble. And it works!

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Next, I want to try if I can use a clock as my marker and see if it will only be detectable at the right time. The players will be able to adjust the time themselves though, they don’t need to wait for time to pass naturally.

Currently with VR, they are still utilizing other controllers that are separate from the goggles.

And we were wondering there are other ways to control your character, maybe using Speech Recognition instead of button controls or native Step Detectors to allow players to move around (this is for another game).

That’s some thoughts and experiments we have so far. I will keep updating this post with more information and hopefully successful results.

‘Till next time!