Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Networking Things in Boston

Yeah! I've been doing fuel cells work again, and also Final Fantasy XIV (shhhh). So, the post today is going to be about some cool networking things in the Boston area. But first:

Feedback on the prototype

The feedback so far has been mostly Bad! Which is Good if you're trying to make a game that is Bad? or is it? I'm unsure. The feedback has been good, I mean, and that the feedback is that the game is bad. Which is totally understandable. Rami said he'd play it, but has yet to do so, or at least tell me his thoughts on it. Some interesting bits of feedback:
  • Art scale is off
  • There is no way to quit without alt-f4
  • Without reading the instructions, the game is impossible to play
  • The mouse cursor shows up while you're playing
  • Putting stuff in the reactor isn't fun
  • It's hard to tell which room is which from the map
  • There are some bugs with barrels and the megatongs and also barrels and the oxygen station
  • The oxygen station doesn't make sense to anyone, even if you do read the instructions
So that's cool, some of those things are just bugs that I need to fix, but some of them are more conceptual. Mostly the reactor thing needs to be made more fun, and also I need to think of a way to make the map room more intuitive. The oxygen system does make sense, but it just needs a better explanation. Hopefully I will be able to wrestle my willpower away from FFXIV and actually do some game dev soon, but its jaws are powerful.

The Oculus/Matrix partners Rift party thing

This was kind of weird. I don't know what the Matrix partners do, but apparently they are some cool investment thing that gave Oculus 60 million to make the king of head mounted displays. Their office is in some super high end building thing in Cambridge, and parking is free if you know the magic word. You go up to the 17th  floor and wander through these big glass sliding doors and then you're in a monochromatic color scheme conference zoo. Everything is a tasteful shade of off-white and there is a super slick desk with a secretary greeter person who asks you to sign in. After that, it's just a big island table (covered in pizza, for this event) and various places to sit. It's really weird to have an office just to have a place for conferences but I guess so.

At the event, they had two of the high-def rift prototypes (1080p panels) and trying out one of them in what seemed like the Unreal 4 demo, it was really really impressive. You can still see the pixels, but it's good enough. I mean, in the same way with the first dev-kit, you can kind of forget about the pixels, but with the high def prototype, it's even better because the pixels aren't that apparent unless you're looking for them. The demo that I saw was a snowy outside area of castle, and then inside was some lava and a mean golem guy that yells. And also you can shoot crazy GPU particle effects out of your face (as usual). Once I got to the golem thing, it growled at me and then I press some of the d-pad things and the screen tore in half and oops I broke it. But it was cool up until then!

I met a bunch of the Boston Indies guys there, and also Benjamin and Antonio. Benjamin is the guy putting together the talk on Rift development that's happening in November, and Antonio is the king of the Matrix partners who apparently decided to give all the funding to Oculus. I have his card, and supposedly there is a way to get "face time" with him so that I can do something? I mean, is my game dev thing the kind of thing that receives "seed funding" or am I just a guy trying to make a video game?
I don't know, but I haven't gotten an email from anyone regarding a big check yet. Oh, and I misheard Dave Evans about demo night at the Boston Indie Games Collective.

The Boston Indie Games Collective

Now this is super cool. The indie collective is a group of local game developers that rent out a space in a big room and they all work on games independently but can also talk to each other and get feedback on stuff and it's pretty much way better than making games in your room by yourself. It's somewhere in Cambridge and also it's hard to find unless you know the name of the place that rents the space (intrepid labs). In fact, it was fairly unlucky because I searched the first, second and third floors, and it just happened to be in the attic, suspended from the ceiling by big metal poles. I showed up for the demo night myth and well, it wasn't demo night. But that didn't matter because I had super awesome conversations with a bunch of the Boston Indies guys like Trevor, Erik, Luigi and Elliott. We talked about everything from networking code to the graphics pipeline. I saw Trevor's rhythm monkey strategy game and Erik's disco dodgeball, and also there was free beer. But I don't drink, so free ginger ale? Yeah.

I asked about getting some space so that I could work with them at the indie games collective, but unfortunately there is no availability until some of the other companies move out. Dang.

Some cool talk about Rift game dev in November

Here's the link to the eventbrite. I was asked to give a talk on echobox and the Rift integration. Apparently the idea is to invite game developers, students and faculty to show off how cool the Boston community is for game developers and also learning about game development. Benjamin said that there are even some acoustics R&D people who are interested in hearing about how I did the acoustic propagation for the echobox. Which is exciting. When I released echobox, nobody cared, which is a shame because I think some of the technology is really cool and hasn't really ever been done before in a game. So it's neat that some people are actually interested in it now. But this also means that I have to put together a presentation for it. I could talk a lot about echobox, but unfortunately they want to limit it to stuff about the Rift, and unfortunately again, the rift integration was pretty easy (except for some adjustments per-eye in the ray-marching algorithm). I think I'll figure out how to sneak in a bunch of stuff about the simulation because that is the coolest part. Though, it's only a half hour. Anyways, if you are in the Boston area on November 2nd, you should totally go and see me give a talk there!

So that's all the cool stuff that I've been going to in Boston, and if you see me around, be sure to say Hi, or bye, or something, anything really.