- Category: Uncategorised
So I got my Samsung Gear VR a couple of days ago and have been playing around with it quite a bit. I have also been showing it to a couple of people to get their reactions and so far everyone, including me, is very positive about this product and the future of VR in general. I had previously had the pleasure of playing a couple of times on the Oculus DK2 at a friends house, so the first impression was immediately the better screen resolution. It's still not quite there yet, you can still see the 'net' between the pixels clearly, but it's clearly less than the DK2. As far as I know, the current Oculus prototype 'Crescent Bay' has an even higher resolution and probably by the time they come to the consumer release, it will be even higher. But for people like me (and possibly you, my reader), the early adopters, the enthusiasts, the pioneers, this current release of the Samsung Gear VR gives a very acceptable experience. At least to hold us over until the damn Oculus consumer edition is finally upon us.
The second thing I noticed, was the lighter weight of the whole contraption. Comparing it to the DK2, it feels more comfortable and lighter. Not by much, but every little bit is appreciated. The velcro straps can be easily adjusted to keep the Gear VR from resting too heavily on your nose. If you are showing the device to other people (first timers), it's usually easiest for you to help them adjust it once them have it on. But for your own use, it's actually quite easy to do it yourself while you are wearing it. This should not be understated, it's very important for a helmet or whatever we want to call these strap-on-screen things, to be comfortable. Currently I'm not sure I could wear this for more than an hour while actively using it. Maybe longer if I'm just sitting there watching a movie in the virtual cinema.
The third thing I noticed was my phone overheating. What ? Already in the box they included a disclaimer about this. They did give you the option of returning the product if you don't like overheating phones. While I don't care so much about additional wear and tear on my device (I'm going to need a new one in 2 years anyway), I don't like being interrupted in an intense 360 gaming experience with the message that my device is overheating. This is imo the device's biggest flaw. The overheat has happened to me several times already after using it intensively for longer than an hour. Oh well, I'll live with it. Maybe it's better this way, I might end up never taking the thing off anymore otherwise. Although I guess the battery lasting about 3 hours of full time use prevents that too.
The head tracking and rotation is perfect to my feeling. I do not detect any lag at all. I also tested a little bit with screen casting to a Google Chromecast but it had a huge impact on performance and I got a lot of juttering during gaming while screencasting. I guess it is asking a bit much, but it would have been nice for the people who don't have the helmet on to see what's going on inside the thing so they can understand the users reactions better etc. Well the screencasting is still in beta and the oculus software is also still an early release.
Which brings me to the software. Every device needs software and this is no less true for the Gear VR. It's going to be the most important factor deciding in the success of the product. Of course, since the gear VR only works in combination with the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 phone, the market is going to be quite limited. This also means it's not a very interesting market for developers. On the other hand, for those developers that understand the massive future which is ahead for VR as a whole new market could see this as an opportunity to get their name out there early. The smartphone apps / games market is flooded with new developers trying to get their product seen, most of them failing. The same goes for all the indie developer studios on the PC .. so much competition makes it very hard to stand out. The tiny VR market could be a chance for such companies to get their products seen. So what is there available at the moment ? Samsung offers all of the content to you in an app called 'Oculus', where you can find 3 basic types of content: Games, Apps and Experiences.
In the games section, there are 16 games available but most of these are only demos of 1 or 2 levels of the game, giving you no option at the time of writing at least to purchase the full version of any of these. Apparently the 'paid apps store' is still being worked on. I think also a lot of these developers have cranked out a quick level or 2 and are still working on the rest of the content. So games, a little lacking and therefore I will review the games separately.
Apps section contains 3D video and picture viewers, of which there are several. Oculus 360 photos and VR gallery are picture viewers, with VR gallery showing you the pictures you have taken with your phone and 360 photos is a viewer for specially formatted 360 photos. For videos there are 3 apps, Oculus 360 videos, Oculus Cinema and Milk (only available in the USA, more about that in a separate post about getting that working outside the USA). In the Oculus Cinema app you can sit in an virtual home theatre or virtual cinema or even on the moon watching movies on a huge (virtual) screen. You can put your own movies on your SD card and watch them in this manner, which I found pretty cool but I'm not sure I could watch an entire 2 hour movie this way. It does support 3D movies, which I have tested and will write a separate post about how to add your own 3D movies to the collection. The Milk app contains a very nice collection of 360 videos, a lot of helicopter flyovers and such, although most is unfortunately at low resolutions. Daily new content is released on Milk, so this is at the moment one of the big sources of new content. I loved the flight over Dubai, it was like being on another planet. And of course you have the possibility of adding your own content in the form of 3D movies, 360 videos, 360 photos, etc etc. I'll cover adding these types of content yourself in a separate post.
My verdict : I'm very excited about VR and this was for me well worth the money !
- Category: Uncategorised
Apparently, this is a fact of human nature. I forgot where I read it, but it was on the internet, so it must be true.
What happens when we have too much choice ? The brain starts to think if it chooses one thing, it's missing out on all those other options. This goes for many different things in life, but in mine it applies to games. And it only took me 37 years to figure it out. But I think I get it now ;)
When I was a teenager, and even slightly before that .. I used to play games on my 8-bit Atari 800-XL. Good times ! Back then there was no internet. If you wanted games, you went to the store and bought them, or you had to have a friend with connections who could get you 'cracked' games. I did not grow up particularly rich, so even though I did buy quite some games from the store, I also managed to get some access to the 'underground'. Anyway to cut a long story short, I noticed that as I got more games, I enjoyed them less. Instead of playing games to the end, or at least attempting to do so, I would check out a new title, play it for a bit and then decide it was not as great as I expected and I should go out and get more games in order to have more fun. I would go out and get more games, sometimes many more games (at the time 20 games was a ton). But the problem only got worse. Games started to bore me sooner and sooner. Lesson learned ? I think not !
As I grew up and got into PCs, there were more options to get a hold of 'copied' games. Some of you may remember the warez collection CD's called 'Oh no - more games !'. Well the name should have given me a hint, more games is just more trouble. Then the internet came and many 'warez' sites stated popping up. It was VERY easy to get a hold of games for free now. So what did I do ? Download all the warez of course. I wanted everything and the more I got, the more I wanted. So I got more and more and more. Did that make me happier ? Nope, sure didn't. I'm not trying to say that I was getting depressed or anything, just that the great feeling of playing a game through to the end was felt less and less. I did still complete quite a few games, but many more were just left behind. My attention span was worsening progressively.
Even later in life, a couple of years ago, the games market really boomed. This meant I cold get even MORE games ! Awesome ! Right ? Download everything, spend time unzipping, unrarring, mounting ISOs, copying cracks and cracked patches etc etc. Only to start the game, play it for 5 minutes and decide it was not worth my time and I should really look at all those OTHER great games that were availaable. Rinse and repeat.
Time went on and I grew up, got a decent job and was earning a decent wage at this point. I had some friends who had already given up getting games for free from the warez scene and they pointed me to the wonderful platform known as 'Steam'. For those of you who don't know (why the fuck are you even reading this, but ok) Steam is a game distribution platform. It's basically like an appstore for games, before Apple ever created an appstore and called it innovation. It made getting games in an honest way much easier and with the regular sales they were having, games no longer had to cost 50 euros each. Also,l I figured since I was no longer the flat broke kid I used to be, I really couldn't justify downloading games for free anymore to myself. At this point I had learned a little bit from my mistakes in the past and thought it would be great to get rid of all the 'warez' and just get a few good titles and play them to the end. Having plunked down actual cash for a game should be a good motivator.
But then I fell into the same trap as before .. Steam sales and 'Humble bundle' deals offered me games for such low prices .. how could I say no ? I mean, $1 for 5 games is a killer deal. Nevermind if you are ever going to play them .. good to have them in the library, right ? After a few years I am now stuck with almost 400 games in my Steam library and am none the happier about it. And there's no way back really ... I paid for them .. I own them. I'm stuck with them and not really happy about it. Will I ever learn ?
I've read some posts on sites like Rock paper shotgun where people are complaining about the exact same thing. One thing suggested, to deal with the constant backlog of games, was to set yourself targets/goals. Like .. today I have some time to play games, I should try and complete at least another 10% in South Park - stick of truth. And then ignore all the impulses to check out other stuff, stick with your guns and play what you decided you wanted to play. Forget about how much you invested in your library, etc etc. And ... stop fucking buying more games ! No matter how good the deal. The only exception I'm going to make is when my friends get a game that we can play together (like coop or whatever), I'll grab it just so I can have fun with my friends.
TL;DR : There's a nice TED talk on this subject - The paradox of choice
- Category: Rants
I left Facebook a long time ago. I didn't to be there to begin with, but you know how it is .. everybody and their grandmother (and even your own, if you still have one) asks you if you are on Facebook and if you would please please please accept their friend request. At some point I caved and got an account .. kinda started to like it, because I got reconnected with friends from school and placed I used to work at. Kinda nice. And it's free. Which is nice .. until you realise WHY it's free. It's free because YOU are the product (I'm sure you've heard that one before, I didn't come up with that myself. But it's SO true). Facebook is in the business of DATA. Your data. Everyone's data. The more the better. Now, I generally don't have a huge issue with that. Nor am I some privacy freak who worries about someone at FB constantly checking what I'm doing, or where I am, etc etc. No problem with that whatsoever. But then .. they enabled facial recognition. Enabling it by default for all current and new users of the platform. Whooo ... wait a minute. This could have implications way beyond FB and even beyond the internets. Once they know your unique facial features, you can be recognized on ANY picture that shows (most of) your face. That includes pictures I didn't make and ones that I wasn't even aware of that people were taking ! That includes pictures where I'm still a youngster, or ones in the far future where I'm really old. THAT'S what got me to cancel my account. There is no way to control other people tagging you in pictures. Yes you can untag them or whatever, but that doesn't solve the problem. Now they have your face. And knowing FB, they are going to hold onto that data for EVER.
There's something else I really didn't like about Facebook ... family, friends and colleagues are all mixed into one bag. Family does not equal friends and visa versa. I don't want to talk about the same stuff with those groups of people. Not to mention I don't feel the need to share anything with my colleagues. But how can you tell people 'Yes I have FB, but I don't want to be your friend ?'. Try telling that to your manager. Or your sister. I think it's a *very bad idea* to mix those circles and that was another reason for me to get the F out of FB.
Another HUGE reason for me to depart the platform was all the damn baby pictures. My god, who wants to see those ? I don't give a flying fuck that you just gave birth. It's not a miracle, it's just nature. Anyone can do it .. well .. any woman can... Granted she's fertile (which is the default setting in nature, but I guess there are exceptions). And even though parents may think everyone wants to see their new born, most of us don't. Or at least, I don't and I'm sure I'm not alone in this. I started by just telling facebook I didn't want to see any more posts from people as soon as they posted a single baby picture. But they just kept on coming and coming and coming, like a 20 year old in a wild orgy .. Really, I love kids as much as the next guy, maybe even more. Love my nieces and nephews, love to spend some time with them but at the end of the day I'm glad they are going home with their parents and I get my peace and quiet back. I don't want kids, I don't need them. My life is awesome the way it is .. Don't push your kids pictures down my throat !
And then there's the political posts. And the religious ones .. and then all the ads started coming in (Back when I signed up there where NO ADS). In the end I figured I didn't need it. And I'm of the opinion that most people don't 'need' facebook in their lives. Unless you are living in another country than your family, it's an easy way to stay in touch and see who got a baby. For all other people, it's waste of fucking time and internet bandwidth.
- Category: Site news
Yes, I've done it again. A restart of the entire website. It's like Tupac, or Jezus .. only , you know .. for reals ! I know you'd rather see The Pirate Bay resurrected, but that's out of my control.
I've nuked all my old articles and will take the site in a new direction. More ranting, screaming, crying and boasting about random stuff that bothers me. It's going to be so much fun ! Be prepared.