Friday, February 23, 2018
In a science fiction novel I was writing 15 years ago, I described what is essentially AR and MR. The main character was able to see a digital overlay through his very eyes because of nanites (microscopic robots) that were attached to his optic nerve, relaying information directly to his brain. I never finished that novel, and I remember my wife's words at the time—I should finish the book before it becomes reality. But in reference to the concept, I was thinking this: why would we necessarily have to wear glasses when we could have contacts that contained microscopic bots, or even eyedrops that deposited them onto our eyes? If you saw the opening to the Olympics and watched the hundreds of tiny drones coordinating their movements collectively into different shapes, then it is not a stretch to imagine tiny nanites doing the same, aligning in front of your eye to display or project digital images into your vision, then moving back to the periphery of your cornea or contact lens. Some might say that people would never adopt this, but look back through recent history at how technology has been readily adopted despite the naysayers.
Thursday, February 22, 2018
In an age where we are used to wireless controllers, bluetooth pairing, and wifi everywhere we go, we've raised our standards and expect more from our technology. Will developers adjust to meet these demands? The market says that developers will adjust to consumer standards, not the other way around. VR headsets are seeing a large adoption rate, despite their downsides, but even so, the popularity of the technology is encouraging new start-up companies to try and create a better headset. Already, wireless VR headsets are emerging on the market, and the industry honestly looks like it's exploding in all directions. AR, some say, might not be as successful, and this is blamed on complaints about the smartglasses. Unwillingness to wear them could be just a short blip in the history of technology, though, because if developers ride out the resistance, they may see this technology become as widespread as smartphone use. Smartglasses might not even be the right way to go, either. Making the glasses thinner and lighter is obviously one helpful step, but what if AR images could be projected to your vision by other means?
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
People are not willing to wear AR smartglasses everywhere they go. It wasn't long ago when Google Glass failed spectacularly with beta testers that were quickly labeled “Glass-holes” by those that had to deal with them. Technology can be intrusive, and there is often a fine line between acceptable and convenient technology vs. obnoxious and frustrating. Often, when a new technology emerges, it does so in a form that is rarely as streamlined as it could be. Take the VR headsets as an example: they are large, clunky, expensive, and most of them require cords. Sometimes it takes a clear vision for there to be enough adoption of technology still in its infancy. I was skeptical about VR at first—until I tried it. Then, I suddenly realized the immense potential of this technology, and bought a headset right away. VR's potential is still being unlocked and there are years of discovery yet to come, but many, like me, can see its potential clearly and want to be there every step of the way as it develops. I'm willing to deal with the irritating cord on my headset and the slight discomfort that comes with wearing it for several hours at a time. Regarding AR, perhaps it's not entirely the discomfort of wearing smartglasses; one factor in its dwindling adoption rate might simply be that the technology feels more like a gimmick than something visionary with vast potential. Why all this smartglasses stuff when I can do essentially the same things with my smartphone?
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
I was reading an article the other day about AR: “Augmented Reality.” If you're unfamiliar with the term, it is different from VR (Virtual Reality) because it melds the real world with digital overlays. AR is not to be confused with Mixed Reality (MR). To explain MR, imagine looking through the camera of your cell phone at the other side of your room and seeing a Unicorn or an Ogre standing there, as if it's really in your room. If you're familiar with the successful Pokemon Go video game, then you understand MR. What is AR, then? It involves wearable technology that provides digital information and interaction that enables the user to more easily work and complete tasks, like a PC desktop superimposed over your vision. Smartglasses are used to superimpose computer-desktop icons and information and provide a wearable, visual interface wherever you go. Yet, in the article I read, there are concerns that the adoption rate for AR is going to decline soon. Why?
Monday, February 19, 2018
The first episode of the game I played with the D20FutureShow podcast guys in the UK is online! We coordinated through a video conference, aiming our cameras at the game table while using headphones to prevent the others' sound from being recorded with our microphones. Then, the host of the podcast, Richard Kirke, mixed it all together and produced this great show! Everyone was totally new to Solar Echoes, so the first episode involves a little learn-as-you-play, but things actually moved surprisingly fast. This was recorded last year, and the D20FutureShow guys were the first to try the free demo, Operation: Flash Strike. If you'd like to hear the first 30 minutes of the game, here's the link:
Friday, February 16, 2018
I just wanted to let you know where the production was at this point. I have all but 1 of the voice actor's lines in, and he's going to get them to me on Tuesday. I've planned out every scene and am working on the graphical backgrounds, and I'm also getting help on the background design from the voice actress that did the female Krissethi's part. There are lots of moving parts to put in place, but I've got a few of the background scenes nearly completed already. I've divided up all the voice files into individual lines and am beginning to piece them together for each scene, and I'm planning out the various angles and effects I'm going to use for each scene. I have collected most of the sound effects I'll need, and just need to start mixing things together. I have a few ideas for the character graphics and effects, but I'll need to see if I can make them actually work with the programs I'm using. Pacing is also very important, which is why I need to get the voice files all chained together. Then I can keep things moving visually in reaction to each line. I've never done this before, but I can visualize each scene and I'm so excited to make it all happen so you can see what I'm seeing!
Thursday, February 15, 2018
Combo weapons enhance existing firearms with the features of other firearms, but Augmented Technology goes beyond that. Finding an augmented weapon or piece of armor is rare—they cannot be purchased in stores, and their owners are unwilling to part with them. However, as a member of the Union Guard, you may confiscate an augmented item after defeating its owner. The GM should be careful not to place NPC's with augmented items against the players unless he is willing to allow the players to have those items, should they defeat the NPC's. Details of every available augment are included in the Mission Controller's Guide.
Here are two examples of augments that you might find on firearms weapons:
Assassin: Grants the “Headshot” talent while using this weapon.
Blasting: Weapon deals 1 less point of damage, but on a successful attack, the target is pushed 2 squares away from the user and knocked prone.
Examples of augments found on Simple Weapons:
Armor Shredding: Doubles the degradation rate of armor when damage is applied.
Linked: You cannot be disarmed when using this weapon