Friday, 26 August 2016

VR party in Edinburgh

  HTC VIVE, OCULUS RIFT ,SAMSUNG VR one in one place in Scotland 

Here we are again in Scotland and again in Edinburgh is that a coincidence? nope!
 Scotland it's a well known from castles ( there are more than 2,000 castles) and for curse whiskey.
But there is also lots of game developers, Dundee is the birthplace of the Scotish game industry.
But the heart of Scotland is in Edinburgh, there is a famous Rockstar North studio, Edinburgh had big gaming event 4 months ago.
And now there is a huge Edinburgh Digital Entertainment Festival event from 04 - 28 August.
The event is soo big that the venues were spread in a few locations, I will try to show on pictures where I was. I need to tell this now, I didn't manage to see everything because it was soo much to see, starts from street cinema to VR experience and there is more.

The Edinburgh Digital Entertainment Festiva it's in Edinburgh first time.

William Burdett-Coutts is a festival Director here is a few words what he thinks about the festival

" Our ambition is to bring together the world of arts and entertainment with digital technology - to show the best of what is happening right now and provoke the conversation about what comes next."

I started my journey on George Street from Street Cinema.

It's simply a cinema on wheels!! 

The "cinema" was parked on George Street, inside you can find 100 seats. 
Inside you can watch classic Musicals, old 70s horror movies,free short movies and much more!!.

If you want to know where they going next click HERE.

 Next stop not far away was my main stop Assembly Rooms.

Inside the Assembly Rooms was all the fun , starts from Virtual Reality Studio, Tech Hub, Games Studio and Event Cinema.

So let's start from Virtual Reality Studio

"Discover the immersive world of virtual reality..... Explore innovate documentaries, playful animations...."

That is a quick description in the booklet I have been given in the event.
But it's true, I was in a huge room with few other people, the firs thing I noticed in the room, was the lights or I should say almost no lights, so straight away I felt like I was in the cinema.
In the room, I had to sit on a soft square seat which was nice and comfy, then I put Samsung Gear VR
on my head,  had a whole hour to myself and I had a choice  to browse from a selection of films on the headset.
here is a quick demo of some short demos I was watching.

I really enjoyed MAN ON SPIRE where photographer Jimmy Chin took me on the adventure, and he was climbing on the One World Trade Center's spire. The view is spectacular, the best view is on the night scene when you can see all the city lights and you above them.

After spending an hour I wanted more, but I had to go and see other VR !

But before I will do that I just gonna mention two other places, Game Studio and Event Cinema.

Let's start from Game Studio.

Game Studio is recommended for kids 6+ but, all ages are welcome so now you have a rough idea how this looks like. Lots of lego, I like lego myself so it's fine I'm not gonna complain, they even helping kids to write their own coding program with BBC Micro:bit.  if you don't know what is this HERE is the website, you can learn everything about it, and your kids will love it!
Your kids can Explore with famous Minecraft and code with Microsoft's KODU to create games!.

There are three sessions for anybody who is hungry for technology information

Beginner - Teaser session for everyone
Intermediate – for people who want to develop a wider knowledge of the technology
Advanced – hands on and project based, for those with some prior grasp of technology

Next one is Event Cinema, I just gonna explain quickly what this is, because it's so much going on there I didn't have time to go there and watch all of it.

"The Assembly Rooms’ stunning Music Hall is transformed into a state-of-the-art cinema...."

So Event Cinema, just like I said its a lot going on Theatre, Opera, Art Exhibitions, Ballet, Sing-a-long,Special Events.
Basically, you can spend whole week just in here!!

Ok now let's move to more VR and technology in TECH HUB.

What is Tech Hub? tech hub is a paradise for a person who like new technology and VR, I love them both so I was in heaven! that is what I think, and this is how a director's describing it:

" hub is an interactive playground filled with new experiences to open your eyes to the future of technology..."

So if we talking about VR there must be some good demos, right? damn right! and good devices?
hell yea!  If I gonna mention HTC VIVE?  that's gonna count, right?

Enough talk I will show you some pictures now.
First "toy" that caught my eyes is hard to describe, Bright Side Studios is responsible for this "thing".
So this creative device if I can call it that, have few sensors to recognize movements and then it mirrors everything that you do on the "screen" well, it's not a proper screen it looks like a white transparent curtain. If you have no idea what I'm talking about here are two photos and a video.

Next one was MIX THE CITY.

Mix the City is a continuation of Kutiman’s Thru the City series, in which he records a lot of musicians of a single city and then move to different city, he was recording them while they were playing what they wanted but all in the same time, and after that, he created the new track from this! the result is just amazing!

In every station, you had headphones and tablets to choose from different cities, musicians and mix them together to make your own music!.

Next stop is Hyper Reality!

Hyper Reality is a concept film by Keiichi Matsuda, shot in location in Medellin, Columbia, it's showing how City is  flooded by Virtual Reality, floating icons, texts it's insane if this actually gonna happen.

It's no only the video, you need to see his web page  looks superb a have look HERE

Next was IGLOO VISION -360 cinema
Iglo vision is a company that's doing immersive Sound & Vision, and they doing a really good job, one of their works was on EDEF. 360 cinema where you can listen to music or watch stunning video panorama.

HERE is their website if you want to see their other products and maybe rent big dome with a 360º screen for your big party.

Another one is pufferfish, no I'm not saying I was enjoying watching a fish, pufferfish is a company that is designing and developing new platforms of the display of digital content. So rather watching 360 videos on flat screen you can watch it on spherical display systems.

The device in the event was called PufferSphere the company has 3 different models.
The sphere I was testing, had a 360 video of a drone flying above the city and then had a 360 video of street view . I could also touch the sphere and interact with video by simply touching the sphere and swipe to look around the city.

Another interesting device I saw was  LINE WOBBLER

"Line Wobbler is a one-dimensional dungeon crawler game with a unique wobble controller made out of a door-stopper spring and several meters long ultrabright LED strip display. The entire game runs on an Arduino, including sound, particle effects, and 60+fps" - Robin Baumgarten designer.

This game is simple and it's a lot of fun, retro sound, it's no surprise this is an award-winning experiment in minimalism in game design.

Then I moved to Oculus stands, yes that's right not only one there were few demos, relly good ones.

Let's start from BBC.
BBC Learning exactly, the EASTER RISING : VOICE OF A REBEL is a VR experience for oculus rift.
"Step into one man’s memories and journey back to a moment that changed Irish History forever: the 1916 Easter Rising. A new VR experience for Oculus Rift.."- BBC

So BBC has made a virtual reality documentary about the 1916 Easter Rising, it's interesting to BBC getting involved into VR.
 I can’t help but think about how incredible behind-the-lines works in VR. Imagine being able to create again dangerous real world situations from the today's day  and using that as a tool to grow awareness of just how bad things are in this world.

Another Oculus Rift demo was called  IXIAN GATE

IXIAN GATE is  a virtual reality  animation created by artist,Jess Johnson and music video director Simon Ward. Ixian Gate was created from high-resolution scans of Jess Johnson’s drawings which she produced over an intensive four-year period, Simon Ward used these scans to create the incredible 3D world, the art style so impressive you need to try it on yourself .

The next two demos I tried were really good and immersive, especially ABE VR, where you  have a robot in the front of you.This is a cinematic experience based on the multi-award winning short film, and Hollywood planned feature film, written and directed by Rob McLellan. This demo was made in well-known game engine Unreal Engine.
After this demo I have nightmares! but because I like horror games this is great!.

Next is THE TURNING FOREST, where are a boy and fantastical creature, Around them is a magical forest.The demo is a real-time VR experience for all ages.

The forest inviting people to a creative and space of imagination. In the forest, things are not quite what they seem.

And now let's talk about HTC VIVE experience yes, at last, I was able to try it out! The first demo was absolutely fabulous, another demo from BBC called HOME.
The demo was inspired by training program and the experience of its astronauts.
Home allows you to be in the suit of an astronaut and giving you the experience to have a spacewalk in endless blackness of space.

The experience was fantastic I could use Vive controllers to open the door from the space station, and I had to grab the handles on the station, to not fall in the space. The gaming chair had vibrations every time I used jet pack so I felt like I was there.

The second amazing demo I was trying was TILT BRUSH by Google for HTC VIVE

What this is ? is basically you painting in 3D space with virtual reality. it sounds simple, and it's simple but so much fun! really! The possibilities are endless! you have the brush on your right hand, your palette with colors and different brushes like star brush and loads more on your left hand. And you just having fun.

Here is a promo video to show you what it looks like.

 In the tech hub, I met two game developers, the first is working on project that is called Castle Under Seige the project is in collaboration between mogworks and Stand Out Games Studio

I have tried and it's great VRexperience the project is still in development process.
The Castle Under Seige is dropping you in the castle  middle of fight, with catapults, orcs and.. dragons yes dragons!! big dragons. Great medieval VR experience!
If you want any updates what they doing now click HERE to go to The Castle Under Seige website.

The second developer showed me a different type of game actually ,this is a refreshed version of the original game called The Ship. The game is developed by Blazing Griffin  the game The Ship Remasted is now available on steam so you can check it HERE.
Here is quick explanation what this is "You find yourself aboard a series of luxury 1920s cruise ships – a guest of the mysterious Mr X who has engineered your presence on board to take part in a murderous game."
I have played the game and I need to say the  guys at Blazing Griffin studio have done a great job I love the idea you have Donald Trump, so if you don't like him you can punch him right in the face! great!
Game include multiplayer so you can have fun with your friends,and kill each other that is another thing I like in first person games humiliate your friends.

Another stop was in THE GEORGE HOTEL for virtual reality and technology talks.

The first talk was about virtual reality and Museums, hosted by Adrian Hon, CEO and Co-Founder at Six to Start, creators of games including the word's bestselling smartphone fitness game "Zombies, Run!"

The Talk was about how virtual reality can help museums, and how people can benefit from this.I really enjoyed this talk, Adrian has a lot of experience and that day he shared his information and experience with all that people were there.

The next talk I was excited about was about PlayStation VR! hosted by Simon Benson, Director of Immersive Technology Group within Sony Interactive Entertainment Worldwide Studios and is a founder member of the PlayStationVR project team. He is behind projects like World Rally Championship on PlayStation2 and my favorite MotorStorm for Playstation3.
The speech he gives was called " Virtual Reality the PlayStation way" and it was 50 minutes talk.
The talk was how PlayStation sees virtual reality and how much important this is to concentrate on games just for now. Simon also mentioned some technical aspects for PlayStation VR.
The talk was very interesting for me , and I really enjoyed Simon's talk.

The Ideas Studio, (that was the name for the talk event) had a lot more talks but unfortunately, I didn't have time to stay, so I had to finish my journey with VR.
I really enjoyed the  Edinburgh Digital Entertainment Festival it was one of the best experiences with VR and technology I had. Everything was nice and well organized, the staff was very helpful  from the start of booking my press pass to the end of my day.

Thank you so much EDEF for this experience!!

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