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Designing ‘Virtual Virtual Reality’, One of Mobile VR’s Most Immersive Games Yet

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Launched initially on Daydream in early 2017, and now available on Gear VR, Oculus Go, and Oculus Rift, Virtual Virtual Reality’s smart interaction design gives players freedom and control which—combined with a narrative tying it all together—makes Virtual Virtual Reality one of the most immersive mobile VR games to date. This guest article by Mitch Mastroni, Interaction Designer at Tender Claws, the studio behind the game, explores how the game achieved significant immersion even on more restrictive mobile VR headsets.

Guest Article by Mitch Mastroni

Mitch Mastroni is an Interaction Designer at Tender Claws, where he handles all aspects of systems design and programming across both VR and AR experiences. He pulls from his background in performance art—ranging from improv comedy to jazz percussion—to create compelling interactive experiences. He holds a B.S. in Computer Science: Game Design from UC Santa Cruz, where he developed the 2016 IndieCade finalist Séance. You can find him in the corner of a networking event, waxing poetic about theme park design.

Our game Virtual Virtual Reality is a comedic adventure that is both love letter to VR and playful commentary on the tech industry. Players are welcomed by their manager Chaz to Activitude, a virtual service where humans are tasked with assisting AI clients. These AI, which appear in various forms ranging from a tempermental artichoke to a demanding stick of butter, have increasingly bizarre requests for the player to perform. The story unfolds as the player travels between virtual realities, diving deeper and deeper into the machinations of Activitude.

If you haven’t had a chance to play Virtual Virtual Reality, check out the trailer below to get a taste of the game, which also recently launched on the Oculus Rift:

Object Interaction: The Leash

When players pick up objects in Virtual Virtual Reality, they see a curved line connecting their VR controller to the object in question. This ‘leash’ is the only tool that players have at their disposal for the full duration of the game. All other object interactions in the game (plugging a plug into a socket, watering flowers with a watering can, etc.) are performed with the leash. Even simple interactions—like tossing a ball in the air or dragging your manager by his robotic legs—are very satisfying to perform with the leash.

The leash helps the player understand the relationship between the controller’s movement and the object’s movement. It also enhances game feel by giving virtual objects weight. Instead of instantly moving the object to the position where the player’s controller is pointing, the leash applies a constant force to the object in the direction of that position. Heavier objects will take longer to arrive at their destination and will sag the leash downwards. By swiping the trackpad forward and backward, players can also push and pull objects towards and away from themselves, enabling 6DOF object control from a 3DOF controller.

Virtual Virtual Reality was originally developed for Daydream VR and its 3DOF controller, leading us to consider control schemes found on other devices with 3DOF controllers (see this article for an introduction to 3 DOF vs 6 DOF ). We were inspired by the ‘Capture Gun’ in Elebits, Konami’s 2006 Wii-exclusive title. Elebits achieved a surprisingly intuitive use of the 3DOF Wiimote that we had yet to see implemented in any game: VR or otherwise. We were pleasantly surprised to find that the leash is also comfortable while using multiple controllers and 6DOF controllers. We designed unique visual and haptic feedback for the leash to fit each of Virtual Virtual Reality’s platforms and to leverage their respective control schemes.

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The choice of the leash was also informed by the distance between players and the objects that they interact with. Early VR experiments at Tender Claws resulted in us constraining object interactions to the “mid-range.” Most objects that the player grabs are at least one meter in front of the them and and no further than six meters away. This tends to be the most comfortable range for modern VR headsets. Some players have trouble focusing on objects closer than one meter. Further than six meters away, there is no clear sense of depth and small objects are clearly pixelated. The leash closes the mental gap between the player and their object of focus, allowing that object to become an extension of the player.

World Interaction: Headsets

The most recognizable gameplay mechanic of Virtual Virtual Reality is the ability to put on and take off any VR headsets in the game at any time. Virtual reality inside of virtual reality. Yes, in fact, it is kind of like Inception.

Early into our development of the headset transition mechanic at a 2015 hackathon, we realized that the experience of taking off and putting on headsets had potential beyond a narrative framing device. We wanted players to interact with headsets as often as possible.

One key characteristic of headset transitions is that they are completely seamless without any perceivable loading time. To achieve this, every accessible virtual reality, or level, is loaded into memory before its associated headset appears. Although this required significant performance optimizations to reduce the memory footprint of each level, it also lead us to an artistic direction that reduced the workload of our artists.

We experimented with various visual transitions to reduce the jarring effect of leaving one level and entering another. Ultimately we chose a fisheye lens effect that warps the edges of the screen, paired with a single frame cut between the two levels at the peak of the warping. The fisheye effect is accomplished through the use of a vertex shader: the geometry of the world is actually stretched away from the player to emulate the familiar look.

The interaction language and logic is consistent for the VR headsets in the game. They can be picked up like any other object in Virtual Virtual Reality. To take off their current headset, the player points their controller at their head and grabs that headset. Drawing attention to the presence of the player’s real headset does not compromise immersion, in fact it reinforces their connection to the experience.

We decided that the action of moving between virtual realities should be a valid choice at any point. Any headset in the game can be picked up and put on, and at any point you can take off your current headset to ‘go up a level’. These choices are also recognized and validated by other systems in the game. For example, characters will comment on you leaving and returning to their virtual realities, which helps reinforce the relationship between the headset system and the narrative.

Localization and Subtitles

We began the process of localizing Virtual Virtual Reality into eight languages after the game launched on Daydream. The spoken and written words of Virtual Virtual Reality are central to the experience and we wanted to give more players an opportunity to comfortably enjoy the game.

The decision to use subtitles instead of recording dialogue in new languages was a matter of resources and quality control. We worked with an extremely talented cast of voice actors who recorded over 3,000 lines of dialogue to bring the characters of Virtual Virtual Reality to life. The task of re-recording and implementing that dialogue in eight additional languages was simply beyond the scope of our team. Instead, we focused our efforts on creating the best subtitle system ever conceived by god or man. Or at least by a mobile VR game in 2017.

The Virtual Virtual Reality subtitle system was designed with two guiding principles. First, subtitles should be comfortably visible at all times. Second, it should always be clear who is speaking. Neither of these are novel concepts (see the game accessibility guidelines and this excellent article by Ian Hamilton), but at the time of development there were virtually no examples of these principles being applied in VR.

The key to our approach is dynamic positioning. The subtitles are repositioned to best fit the direction that the player is looking. When the player is looking at a speaking character, the subtitles appear directly below that character. When the player is looking elsewhere, the subtitles appear at the bottom of the player’s view with an arrow pointing in the direction of the character. The arrow is particularly helpful for players who are hard of hearing. Subtitles smoothly transition between the two states so that reading is never interrupted. Scenes with multiple speaking characters utilize different colored text for additional clarity.

Next Steps

Designing Virtual Virtual Reality was an incredible learning experience for our whole team. We all have backgrounds in gaming but none of us had ever worked on anything quite like this—a dense three-hour narrative adventure in VR. We are currently working on several new projects that leverage our lessons learned from Virtual Virtual Reality and further our integration of systems and narrative. The state of interaction design in VR has come so far in the past few years, and we’re excited to continue exploring and innovating as we create new experiences.

The post Designing ‘Virtual Virtual Reality’, One of Mobile VR’s Most Immersive Games Yet appeared first on Road to VR.

Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/designing-virtual-virtual-reality-mitch-mastroni-tender-claws/

Blockchain

Yearn.finance Price Forecast: YFI Poised For A Rally To $35,000

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  • Yearn.finance bounces off support validating a key bullish outlook.
  • The formation of double-bottom pattern prints a positive picture for gains targeting $35,000.

The decentralized finance (DeFi) darling, Yearn.finance is resuming the uptrend after falling consistently from highs around $34,000, traded on September 27. The crypto encountered high selling pressure after another bounce from support established at $20,000 On September 24. The recent retreat held the ground at $21,800, breathing life into the bullish camp.

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At the time of writing, YFI is exchanging hands at $25,500 after adding more than 7% in gains over the last 24 hours. Its immediate upside is capped by the 50 Simple Moving Average (SMA) in the 4-hour range. For the bullish outlook to hold, YFI must step above this key moving average and make a daily close. It is from here that buyers will have the opportunity to shift their focus on higher levels such as $28,000 and $30,000.

Meanwhile, the bullish action also follows the formation of another double-bottom pattern. These types of chart patterns highlight key support areas and often help investors to time reversals from an extended downtrend. They also have a clear target on the upside, for instance, $35,000 for Yearn.finance.

YFI/USD 4-hour chart

YFI/USD price chart
YFI/USD price chart by Tradingview

From another technical perspective, the Relative Strength Index (RSI) seems to be validating the bullish outlook as it scales the levels towards the midline. Continued upward action on the road to the overbought would encourage more buyers to join the market, thereby creating the volume needed for the breakout to $35,000.

Yearn.finance Intraday Levels

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Spot rate: $25,500

Percentage change: 7%

Relative change: 1740

Trend: Bullish

Volatility: Expanding

Read more: Yearn.finance Technical Analysis: YFI rebound to $25,000 remains a challenge


To get the daily price analysis, Follow us on TradingView

Author: John Isige




John is a talented writer with over two years of experience actively contributing to the cryptocurrency industry by providing credible, interesting and easy to read the content. His main focus is on cryptocurrency price analysis and industry news coverage. Lets follow him on Twitter at @jjisige

Source: https://coingape.com/yearn-finance-price-forecast-yfi-poised-for-a-rally-to-35000/

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Bitcoin Price Prediction: BTC Falters Ahead Of A Potential Breakdown To $10,000

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  • Bitcoin settles above $10,800 after bouncing off $10,600 support.
  • Bitcoin nurtures a sideways trend ahead of a breakdown that could revisit levels around $10,000.

The cryptocurrency market is indecisive and continues to trade horizontally. Bitcoin has impressively held above $10,800. However, gains towards $11,000 have been capped under $10,900.

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On the downside, the flagship cryptocurrency is protected at $10,600. In other words, BTC is lock-step trading in the range between $10,600 and $10,900. Meanwhile, the digital asset is valued at $10,805 at the time of writing. The Relative Strength Index (RSI) in the daily range is leveling at the midline, particularly emphasizing the sideways trading.

At the moment, it is not clear which direction BTC will take following the return and the end of the uncertainty. At the same time, the formation of a short term ascending wedge pattern in the same daily range highlights the possibility of a downtrend that could eventually send Bitcoin back to lows around $10,000.

BTC/USD daily chart

BTC/USD price char
BTC/USD price chart by Tradingview

Various support zones will try to absorb the selling pressure including $10,600, $10,400 and $10,200. Bitcoin could stand to gain more with the slide to $10,000, giving investors another chance to buy the dip. The volume that would be created following the deep might give the bellwether cryptocurrency a boost past $11,000.

Bitcoin IOMAP model

BTC IOMAP model
BTC IOMAP model by IntoTheBlock

Note that the bearish outlook could be invalidated altogether based on on-chain metrics released by IntoTheBlock. The IOMAP model shows that Bitcoin has a smoother ride to $11,000 as opposed to a breakdown. The most significant resistance lies in the zone between $11,450 and $11,800. Previously, nearly 980,000 addresses bought 761,000 BTC in the range. On the downside, BTC is seating on a region with immense support; from $10,500 to $10,800. Here, roughly 1.8 million addresses purchased 1.4 million BTC.

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Bitcoin Intraday Levels

Spot rate: $10,805

Relative change: 28

Percentage change: 0.3%

Trend: Sideways trading bias

Volatility: Low

Read more: Why JP Morgan Getting Fined $1bn For Market Manipulation is Good For Bitcoin


To get the daily price analysis, Follow us on TradingView

Author: John Isige




John is a talented writer with over two years of experience actively contributing to the cryptocurrency industry by providing credible, interesting and easy to read the content. His main focus is on cryptocurrency price analysis and industry news coverage. Lets follow him on Twitter at @jjisige

Source: https://coingape.com/bitcoin-price-prediction-btc-falters-ahead-of-a-potential-breakdown-to-10000/

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Twitter’s Jack Dorsey takes aim at Coinbase’s apolitical stance

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Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has taken major U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase to task over its open letter to employees published on Sep 28. 

The letter, written by Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, explained why the firm intends to avoid political and social distractions, and instead focus on its core mission of building an open financial system for the world.

The new direction has met with strong support in some quarters and pushback from others.

In a Twitter post to his 4.7 million followers, Dorsey argues that “Bitcoin (aka crypto) is direct activism against an unverifiable and exclusionary financial system.” He goes on to add that the exchange cannot simply ignore social issues as this will leave its customers behind:

Dorsey has long taken an active involvement in the cryptocurrency space, and Twitter itself has been criticized for favoring progressive over conservative political views in its moderation process. But Dorsey’s opinion urging greater political engagement was not well received by the crypto community with the overwhelming number of replies agreeing with Armstrong’s approach.

The vice president of venture capital firm Founders Fund, Mike Solana, did not agree with Dorsey opposing “a corporate trend away from polarizing political statements and dramatic displays of culture war pageantry”. Solana contrasted this apolitical approach with Twitter’s business model and suggested Dorsey was “a man who makes hundreds of millions of dollars fueling political polarization.”

Adam Draper, the son of famed crypto investor Tim Draper, praised the Coinbase approach, comparing Armstrong to Michael Jordanfor his single-minded focus on advancing the virtual currency sector:

“This is thought leadership. We get things done when we are all focused on a unified mission. Brian is Jordan in his prime right now. If anyone is selling shares of Coinbase, I’ll buy.”

Dorsey wasn’t entirely without support however:

Coinbase has offered any employee who fundamentally disagrees with Armstrong’s position a severance package of up to six months. The email added: “it’s always sad when we see teammates go, but it can also be what is best for them and the company.”

Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/twitter-s-jack-dorsey-takes-aim-at-coinbase-s-apolitical-stance

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