Category Archives: Development

Beyond Inventory Systems

Going on an adventure means, at some point, having to look through your pockets for those all important bits of kit. Whether it’s a map, compass or gauntlet of power, you need to make sure your preparations weren’t in vain and that you’ll last long enough to reach the next safe spot. Inventory systems are a core component of many genres and aren’t exclusive to roleplaying games. Choosing your loadout in a first person shooter, making sure you have your long and short range options carefully considered also qualifies. Rather than focusing on the different ways of handling a grid of images (as most discussion on this topic seems to get stuck), I wanted to […]

Read More

Cartography in Gaming

To this day, I continue to get excited whenever I see a game map. I feel the urge to explore and my imagination goes into overdrive, creating stories for the areas depicted and quickly convincing myself that the world is more expansive and fantastic than it usually ends up being. This ‘runaway imagination train’ effect is something I always look to experience when I pickup a new game and hope to be able to replicate in future projects. In games, maps tend to provide context. They show us where we sit in the scheme of things and sometimes allow us to gauge our progress en route to a terminal destination, be it a snowy mountain […]

Read More

Demonstrating Virtual Reality at the University of Hertfordshire

It’s not often that we get the chance to demonstrate what we’re working on as, in education, it’s more about the finished product and conclusions. Nevertheless, during the HEaTED East of England network event , we were given the opportunity to allow people to wonder around a bespoke 3D environment while using our HTC Vive headset and touch controllers. We used the controllers themselves to emulate the functional behaviours of a smartphone. The reactions were all positive and I managed to have chats with some senior managers about where it is we’re hoping to take our vision for VR at the University. You can find a brief video depicting the space below: The idea was […]

Read More

Mixed Reality with the Oculus DK2

The irony of virtual reality is that, despite being a visual medium, it remains incredibly difficult to convey in a faithful manner. It’s not just about the visual impact of an experience but also the immersion factor. I made a post a few months ago in which I filmed myself using the Oculus Rift at a desk. In that video, I cross-faded the perspectives of a bystander and user in an attempt to communicate how people can interact with a 3D environment using a headset. Virtual Reality represents something of a growth industry right now but it will take time to convince people of its promise as a means for channelling emotional bandwidth. In the […]

Read More

The Weston Auditorium at the University of Hertfordshire in Virtual Reality

Much has changed these last few years in the gaming industry. Until recently, real-time/interactive 3D has had something of a stigma associated with it when it came to education. Happily, in the spirit of inquiry, research has continued to verify its potency for creating memorable and engaging experiences. Click here to view the search trend data on Google We’ve been in possession of an Oculus Rift (development kit 2) for a while now and it’s provided us with some exciting opportunities to do with Learning & Teaching Innovation. We’re currently working with Psychology staff to create virtual environments for use in research and have been awarded funding to pursue some other ideas with measurable outcomes. […]

Read More

Experiments with Photogrammetry

Photogrammetry is the means by which a 3D model can be constructed using photos as the sole input. It’s used extensively in archaeology to document artifacts in such a way that it allows specimens and sites to be explored in great detail without fear of having the original crumble into dust upon touch. I recently made a post about the visual fidelity of a game called the Vanishing of Ethan Carter, the game is beautiful and the studio responsible for it made extensive use of photogrammetry in their workflow. The problem with using it in gaming is that a lot of editing is needed to make the art assets fit for purpose. The geometry needs […]

Read More

3D Land Law

It’s often difficult to visualise something in a medium as text heavy as law, though an opportunity for creativity made itself available recently. A colleague approached me with a view to enhancing a sketch he had made with a 3D representation. It’s now being used to assist in conveying the principles of land law. Due to some time constraints, there were limits to what we wanted to achieve with this though I decided the best use of our time would be to work with Google Sketchup. The end result is what you see in the video below. The idea is that students are able to navigate the scene by downloading the Sketchup viewer and pressing […]

Read More

Welcome to the new site!

It seems to be the case that every three years I completely redevelop my website with a view to improving the content navigation and aesthetic qualities. I originally used a piece of blogging software called b2Evolution and, sometime later, moved to using Drupal. I’m now using a privately hosted version of WordPress which seems to take a lot of the headache out of things. I’ve wanted different things from my site over the last few years. I think I’ve learned to appreciate the user experience along with accessibility and navigability more through my work with disabled students. The University has a commitment to ‘reasonable adjustment’ which is the term used by law when referring to […]

Read More

Oculus Rift – Development Kit 2

I’ve recently been loaned an Oculus Rift with a view to creating a few technical demonstrations of what the head mounted display is capable of. This will go some way to allowing me to obtain closure on my workflow as I’ve been at odds for some time with regards to which devices I ought to spend my time developing for. The primary annoyance is that though my authoring environment of choice, Unity, exports to multiple platforms, compatibility problems still exist. The libraries I use for windows executables might not work as well on Android and with the death of the unity browser-based plugin, I am now limited to HTML5/WebGL in that particular medium. Windows 10 […]

Read More

Unity 3D realistic terrain data

In my quest to model a believable glacial environment, I’ve resorted to using real-world terrain data. It used to be that I would sculpt terrain by hand and rely on perlin noise generators to produce something from which I could use as a base. The video below shows some of the things I’ve been working on and offers a bit more of an explanation. The difficulty comes with having to make the scene explorable form a first person perspective. By and large, terrain data doesn’t allow for high enough detail to make this achievable. There is still a lot of work to be done by way of manually adding erosion and creating some textures for […]

Read More