by tex

VR Drones Racing Beta subscription

Subscribe here to be part of the (Android) VR Drones Racing beta test, you’ll be notified by email as soon as the beta is available (in the comings weeks).

In a first time, these subscriptions will be limited to 100 seats.

Please select any of the gear you own

by tex

Introducing the VR Drones Racing project

You may have noticed my interest in VR headsets and race tracks’ modeling, well i think it’s time to introduce you the project i’ve been working on for several months now : VR Drones Racing

VR Drones Racing

You guessed it, this project is about a drone racing game for virtual reality.
It’s intended to run on Android and iOS, maybe on oculus later, but this is not my first target. I really think that VR will be a mobile thing.

My current prototype allows me to play against 5 oponnents on a complete track and is running quite smoothly on an old Galaxy Nexus.
I still have to rework the oponnents’ AI, and produce most of the 2D and 3D graphical assets.

I will publish posts as much as possible during the development.

by tex

MantraMind, the man behind

This article is part of  the “mankind reloaded” initiative, whose aim is to re-publish old articles previously published on our former 90’s website.

m4nkind history through Life and History of MantraMind, the founder of the team.

The begining

MantraMind made his first cry the 28 November 1976 in Auch(32) France.

His father was a well known electronician in our country, he was one of the first man in the world to create an artisanal low-cost Canal+ (french crypted channel) decoder.

His mother was born in denmark and was working as designer for Renault , a french car industrial, she was the main designer of the famous R5.

As we can see, theses origins were probably very influent in the future of MantraMind and m4nkind…

as far as we knew (M4ntra’ didn’t like to talk about his childhood) , he almost didn’t quit his house until 8, because he was educated at home by his parents, who wanted him to be the clever possible. It seems that he didn’t like it at all, and started to fight with them in order to go to the public school. (He has a lot of personality.). He certainly wanted to live in community and to confront himself to the world. And sure it was a big shock for him, he always has terrible behaviours with teachers, his favourite game was to be noted 20/20, then 0/20 , then 20/20 again,…
he said about it: “what better way of being to be both at the middle and the extremii ?” We always thought mantra didn’t need any education. If something interested him, he just has to buy a book and then read it all night long.
he always wanted to control everything, most people were afraid of him,
while all he wanted was to play and have fun, even if he was a bit maniac.

And then we met

The first time we met was in 1987 at school, we were already computernerds at this time, but MantraMind was different, he was not only using traditional computers, he was using some weird machines that his father was working on as prototypes…he became like a kind of god for us…

At that times he took himself for “data”, a character in the goonie
movie,who always have gadgets everywhere.
He really built the core of the group, we were only a bunch of idles at
that times (backlash,tex, krabob , redshift and firehawk)

Quickly we were attracted below his influence in a rebels spirit, playing in cemetery at night, infiltrating old house and monument to climb at the top of them…and many mad things that you can’t only imagine, m4nkind was growing in our heads and the wish to communicate our spirit and way of thinking was nearer and nearer…
we started to make some code,artworks pieces, thinking that our destinies were linked as we discover some month ago that our respective fathers were friends ,in theyre youth, in a kind of electronic team, making some experiments, so we were prolonging this with computers…

One of our crazy adventure
One of our crazy adventure

Things became serious

The 3rd April 1988, MantraMind show us Digexp1 formerly known as “Digital Experience 1988” on amiga500, this piece of code without sound and artwork, had literaly made us falling on our asses, about 200 realtime dots on fullscreen with a bluring effect signed with a “god is a dog” sentence at the end, this sentence became our devise and m4nkind was born 1 month later with the Digexp2 which was a Digexp1 remix with sound and graphics signing our first digital cooperation…

krabob remember: “yes, all of us decided to buy an amiga and start doing
things seriously at that time. It was surprising to see how m4ntra could
progress. We choosed the name m4nkind because, as m4ntramind said: we will take the name that means apache in the apache language,and cherokee in the cherokee language , well we will just take our name. ”

During 4 years m4nkind became a figure of the underground french amiga scene, and with about 15 Digexp releases we were starting to touch the european underground scene…”god is a dog” was about to became a state of mind in the whole scene…

In the early 90’s we were in age of looking at girls and riding light-motorcycles, MantraMind was the best of us, as he was a kind of genius he managed to make the fastest light-motorcycle ever, quite an easy thing with such parents, its last machine was a 103XP 49.9cc motor customised at 51cc with a nitro-glycerin tank added to the carburettor with an electronic valve controled by the magnetic wheel of the cycle,he was calling it “Aerial” the March 25 of 1992, we decided to make Digexp16, we were using to work together at krabob place, so MantraMind took its Hard drive and managed to come on its AERIAL 103XP “51 NITRO-CUSTOM”, at 3.21 PM he died crashing himself against a plane tree…

Police said that he was riding too fast, but it was weel known that MantraMind was an elite rider and we strongly suppose that something or someone as sabotaged its nitro-injection system and that it as surely been launched in a turn…

Since this day our “god is a dog” devise became “we fuck dogs”

note from krabob: this is far more complicated, Auch is a small town, m4ntra was known to mock the police all the time with his engine and his crazy radio fakes, but most of all, his intelligence and inventions were kept secret by the few people who knew his real potential.
That’s one of the reason we then kept MKD project silent until 1995. Tex, don’t you think it’s strange that he has his accident just near leboulin ?

in this accident we lost The best of us and the whole of its digital work but we decided to keep the spirit going on and 3 years later we made our first demo, as an homage we called it “Aerial” …

Today we are still looking at the Digexp collection, if you are an happy owner of one or more of theses pieces of art, please contact us…

MantraMind you’ll always be in our hearts.

by tex

My experience with VR Headsets

Since Oculus Rift Kickstarter campaign was launched, Virtual Reality became a growing trending topic. In the mid 2014 i decided to finally make a jump in it, but as i’m more interested in mobile development, i bought a Durovis Dive, an accessory that basically convert your smartphone in an Oculus like VR headset.

Durovis Dive

The Durovis Dive is more like a Google Cardboard in plastic with some straps to maintain it on your head (the Google Cardboard was not existing yet).

You launch your favorite VR app on your phone , put the phone in the Dive , put the whole thing on your head, and your are ready to go. No cables, it just work as well as the app is good at tracking your head movements.

It’s made with more or less cheap plastic, but it’s OK because it was just less than 70 euros. (latest version is now available for 50 euros)

The other minor cons of the Dive are :

  • the size of the lenses
  • the lens holder itself
  • the phone mount system

Despite this i was happy with the Dive and started to work on my own VR experiments and a brand new project (but it’s another story).

To make the Dive a little more immersive,  i purchased new lenses from magnifiers found on amazon : http://www.amazon.com/Ultra-SV-2LP-LED-Pocket-Lighted-Magnifier/dp/B000BQSWK8/

Magnifier

and downloaded a new lens holder to print it via shapeways : http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:277225

durovis eyepiece holder

It was better but some weeks later i found the crowdfunding campaign for the Homido headset. The final product seemed to be more qualitative for the same price, and it’s a detail, was built in my country. So i participated to the campaign and received mine some weeks later.

homido headset

The Homido headset is way more better than the Dive, good plastics, big lenses, comfortable and the lens holder is robust and fully adjustable.

Now that the Samsung Gear VR is available for some little more euros, i ‘m still using the Homido, because it’s a really good headset for my needs.

To fully complete my VR equipment i use a wireless PS3 compatible gamepad via the Sixaxis controller app

Sixaxis Controller
Price: €2.29

 

by tex

Redefining the colors

When i started my game Bubble Alkemist in 2013, when i was designing the bubbles , i used the same colors that i had used for the blocks in swipeblock. This can be seen in this video of one of the Bubble Alkemist early prototypes  :

But in the feedbacks i had from Swipeblocks, some were relating the fact that some colors were not enough differentiated and some others not enough eye candy , so i decided to set some more traditional colors for this kind of game:

Bubble Alkemist original colors

i was quite happy with this setting, but sometime after the release of the game i get some feedbacks again about these colors.

During the development i used a Galaxy Nexus, an LG L1 2 and a Nexus 7, on all this devices, the colors were OK, but it appears that it is not the case on some other screens.

Here is a simulation of the current colors as they are rendered on such screens:

Bubble Alkemist original colors with tint

As you can see, violet and blue are near.
Red and orange, green and yellow are not so far from each other, but violet and blue are the worst case.

So here comes a new photoshop round, and i finally get this :

Bubble Alkemist new colors

and its tinted counterpart :

Bubble Alkemist new colors tinted

Let’s compare the old and new colors, first without the screen tint:

 

Bubble Alkemist original colors

Bubble Alkemist new colors

And with the tint

Bubble Alkemist original colors with tint

Bubble Alkemist new colors tinted

Most of the work was done on the blue and the violet, to remove the red component in blue and the blue in violet. I also gave more power to the red, more luminosity and less blue in the yellow. Orange get a very subtle saturation boost and green was unchanged.

Now i have to test on real devices, i think the red and violet are too near on “normal” screens now, maybe i’ll have to bring back some blue in it.

 

Bubble Alkemist
Developer: tEXtOO.NEt
Price: Free+