Aug 03

Current project: Trinus Gyre, transforming your Android into an Oculus Rift

I’ve recently been working in a project that got me quite excited, and I think it is time to share a bit 🙂
I’ve been fooling around with the idea for quite a long time now, and on and off was trying to find the right mixture of software and hardware from different sources.
The idea, yes, well, basically: I wanted a setup for playing VR games, something like Oculus Rift or the likes but on the cheap/DIY.
The thing is, it is not hard to realize that most of the hardware for such a head mounted display is already available on a modern smartphone. The main issue is putting the software together to get it working. A bit more than a year ago I got an OpenDive, a headset carcass for your phone. I played a bit with it, tried different tech demos for it, combined with video streaming apps like Kainy but that’s about it… I didn’t get anything really worth using so I dropped the project.
Until recently. After I heard about the Google Cardboard project I thought a bit more about it, searched again for cool options but couldn’t find a proper solution, that is, a mixture that would let me play PC games immersing through a head tracking, 3D display headset. Again, nothing properly working… you would thing somebody would have made something about it (maybe they have and I didn’t google hard enough). Point in case, I decided to go ahead and build the software to be able to use my phone as a 3D display and head tracking device that I could mount on the OpenDive.
And I have something quite promising at this point, I mean the game choices are a bit limited (some have head tracking support, some have 3D view support, and a few have both), and there is room for improvement to make it more compatible and reliable, but here you can see what I have managed so far:

If you would be interested in trying yourself, head to this page for instructions and download links, hopefully you can bring me some feedback and maybe find other games that can work with it.
Here’s the list of requirements to get up and running:
– My video server and Android app
– Opentrack (it might work with FacetrackNoIR too, but I stopped using it because of the mapping limitations for the yaw/pitch/roll angles)
– Some 3D game with Freetrack support (FlightGear and Simconnect should do too). Arma 2, Condor gliding simulator and Rise of Flight worked for me. Also used Grid and Dear Esther for testing (no head tracking support though)
– Of course, you will need a headset holder for your phone. You can make your own, buy a Google Cardboard (plenty of places online) or a Durovis Dive
– Optionally, you can use TriDef (doesn’t work very well atm, because of the fullscreen requirement) or Vireio perception (I liked that one, it is a work in progress but it is free) for stereoscopic view

On the hardware side, you need a PC, an Android device and a network connecting them both.

Jun 10

New Netslide

Well, not really a game, but still a good excuse to show life signs.

Netslide was my first Android project, initially meant for personal use. The app would display a slideshow with content on your network (instead of just the device storage), something that didn’t exist in the market at the time.

Other projects and interests kept me away of this project, despite user requests and complains, but I have finally taken the time to do a big improvement on this one!

Some of the new features include: slideshows from RSS feeds (so sources like Flickr or Instagram can be used), geolocation map, exif comments, … and plenty more!

So what are you waiting for, go to Play and give it a try.

(Hopefully there are not many bugs and I can get back to another semi-abandoned project, this time a neat racing game based on Unity)

Jun 03

Me too…

recently I upgraded my phone to Android ICS, and it was all good and fun until, during a social event, I realized one of my old projects, MeToo, wouldn’t work anymore. That I didn’t like.

MeToo is a simple photo taking app for Android that uses both the front and back camera to take two pictures and merge them. The aim of the app is to be included in the picture that you take: have you noticed that you usually don’t show up in your photos? that’s because you are on the wrong side of the camera (you’ve been wondering about that, haven’t you?). With this app you can take a crowd picture of your family and friends (or colleagues, or bare acquaintances) and be included in it!

So, with a long weekend ahead, I decided to take a detour from current Odd sheep projects and fix the old code. It should now play nice on any Android device with Gingerbread (2.3) or later… as long as it has two cameras. So go get it now while stocks last!