Hi. I'm John.

Sometimes I make games. Sometimes I make websites. This is my blog.

Category Archives: If I Had Money…


Virtual Reality is On Its Way

Oculur Rift virtual reality headset

Looks like I finally got my wish.

So happy. I blogged about the need for something just like this 3 years ago.

Project Natal + OpenSim = Heaven? Getting there!

Microsoft unveiled their new Xbox 360 controller, or, lack-of-controller today at E3. Yes, I’m referring to Project Natal.

If you haven’t heard of it yet, you obviously don’t have a Twitter account. All of the videos I’ve seen thus far are pre-recorded, but if this thing works as good as they make it look, we are all in for a treat. Check it out:

Looks pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.

I have a few questions, which I’m sure you all do as well. Mine are

  1. Will the sensor be a USB device?
  2. If so, has anyone hacked their own drivers yet? :)
  3. How long until someone uses it in a virtual world, like OpenSim?

Combine this with a projection-cube-room like this one, a treadmill floor so you can actually walk, and you’ve got yourself a holodeck, son.

Whatever happened to Virtual Reality?

Am I the only late-20-something that’s sorely disappointed that Virtual Reality has basically dropped off the face of the planet?

When I was young, Virtual Reality was supposed to be the “next big thing.” And for a while, it was. I played Dactyl Nightmare with the best of them on a Virtuality machine in a mall in Port Huron and anxiously awaited any tidbit of news to come from Atari about their Jaguar 3D headset.

Then, all of a sudden, VR disappeared.

I think it’s because of the Virtual Boy. I really liked that system, but I guess at the time it made a bunch of people sick and companies got scared to try it again.

Here’s what I want:

  1. A lightweight, high-resolution, full-vision 3D display headset with built-in (at least Stereo) sound. If it needs to take advantage of dual-header DVI graphics cards, so be it.
  2. Two Nintendo PowerGlove-ish devices that let me manipulate objects in 3D.

Can you do it for cheap?

Does anyone know of a high-quality headset like the one described above? Let me know in the comments!

As far as the gloves… I was thinking about getting 10 Nintendo Wii controllers and removing and then mounting the IR units on the tips of my fingers. Take advantage of the many open-source Wii controller drivers around the net to build a PC joystick driver that can work in engines like Torque.

I often fool around with 3D tools like blender and Torque Construction Set. I get frustrated at the interface with my computer. Not only is any size screen too small, a mouse and a flat 2D display just can’t manipulate the objects fast enough. I want to use my hands, damnit!

Just think of how cool it would be to wave your hand and have a forest grow behind it or earth raise into a mountain. The Matrix, here we come!

Helping The World = The Power of Ideas + Resources

Google has launched a new initiative asking people for ideas on how to help as many people around the world as possible. The project is called “Project 10 to the 100th”. Users submit ideas, which are then reviewed by a small panel of experts. The ones that have the potential to help the most amount of people will have financial resources committed to them by Google.

Google is spending $10 million to help these projects get off the ground.  If you have a great idea that you think may help people lead better lives around the world, you’re encouraged to send it in! While you won’t be receiving a financial reward if your idea is picked, you will sleep well knowing your idea is being made for real and will help those in need.

There are 10 categories to choose from. From the official website:

  • Community: How can we help connect people, build communities and protect unique cultures?
  • Opportunity: How can we help people better provide for themselves and their families?
  • Energy: How can we help move the world toward safe, clean, inexpensive energy?
  • Environment: How can we help promote a cleaner and more sustainable global ecosystem?
  • Health: How can we help individuals lead longer, healthier lives?
  • Education: How can we help more people get more access to better education?
  • Shelter: How can we help ensure that everyone has a safe place to live?
  • Everything else: Sometimes the best ideas don’t fit into any category at all.

Submissions to the project are due October 20th, 2008. For more information, watch this video:

Links:
Project 10 to the 100
How It Works
Submit Your Idea
Submission Categories
Frequently Asked Questions

Grass-roots open-source gaming console?

Earlier today, I had a thought: What if a few of us got together to develop specs for a PC-based open-source games console that uses a bootable Linux-based game DVD for games?

I blogged about the awesome boot’n’play Linux CD before, but it still relies on someone to burn the disc and reboot their machine. Also, this requires gamers to (unless they have a unique set-up) sit at their desk and look at their computer monitor to play games. Finally, you always hope that the bootable disc supports your graphics or sound hardware.

Why can’t we put together some specs for a cheap gaming PC in a mini-atx case, include a TV-out card that has composite, S-Video, and Component output, and offer downloadable ISO game-packs from a website. The system can have a hard disk or can save the games to a USB memory card.

The goal is to make the gaming system as easy to use as, say, a GameCube.

Download the ISO, burn the disc, put it in the console and play.

We’re already half there — the games console could easily use the boot’n’play Linux CD I spoke about earlier. It kind of makes you wonder why this hasn’t been done already?

Games I Would Remake

In light of the recent release of the Quest for Glory 2 Remake (omigod I still can’t believe it’s real), I wanted to do an “If I had a ton of money…I would make/remake these games” post. These are games that mean something to me — they have either touched my life in some way or I always thought they were overlooked by the gaming masses. Sometimes because of a glaring design flaw, sometimes because the technology just wasn’t there. Regardless, here’s the list (and it’s by no means final).

#1. Shenmue 1 thru 3 in one giant game.

Shenmue epitomized the Sega Dreamcast. Years ahead of its time, yet somehow not quite technically capable of doing what it set out to achieve. This epic game featured neat novelties such as being able to pick up and examine pretty much anything — even completely useless matchboxes. An intriguing story marred by awkward yet unintentionally funny dialog, this game is a good candidate for a new as yet unavailable virtual reality technology.  Imagine playing this game with full, modern graphics and a 3D headset!

#2. Syndicate

For a long time when I was in public school this was my favorite game for the Atari Jaguar. I loved the idea, the music, and the game-play.  I played Syndicate Wars and it was awesome, as well. I’d really like to see a sequel made with today’s graphics.

#3. Bonk’s Adventure

If game developers nowadays took almost any old-school platform game and converted it to 2.5D, it’d be a much more fun world for all of us. Bonk’s Adventure, in my opinion, would be near the top of the list of games to re-do in glorious 2.5D. In all honesty, I could see a remake of this game appearing on the Wii for today’s kids to play. Good stuff.

#4. Road Rash – 3DO/Saturn/PSX version

This game was hella fun in its day. It still is.  Where are games like this today?

#5. Transport Tycoon Deluxe / Locomotion

I know, I know. Locomotion is relatively new and it’s the spiritual successor to Transport Tycoon. But, what I’m envisioning is a huge graphical upgrade to the series along with networked play via the internet. Imagine a persistent MMO universe version of this game where players are continuing to build while you’re offline. A humongous world-size playfield: 30,000km with thousands of cities and villages. Perhaps that’s something for the creators of games like Second Life to think about. Instead of taking Transport Tycoon Deluxe and making it part of a persistent world, why don’t they make transportation a user-driven economy in large-scale persistent-world online social games? It’s more fun than chatting!

Crossover Games, PlayOnLinux, Wine, and Cedega

If I had a lot of money…

I’d buy PlayOnLinux and Cedega and Crossover Games (while maintaining a great working relationship with the good folks still at Crossover working on apps) and put together (with some hefty funds behind them) a crack team of DirectX hackers and previous Microsoft DirectX programmers to put together a fully-functional, working DirectX emulator for Mac and Linux. Then, port all those changes back into the Wine trunk while promoting an off-the-shelf Windows games player.

I truly believe that if games worked on Linux flawlessly there would be a greater adoption of Linux on desktops worldwide. I know locally it is a huge hurdle to jump. All of my friends are interested in Linux, two of them have the ISO sitting on their desktop. Why are they not making the switch? One: Games. The other: Sony Vegas. People want to use it but they want their games too!

Game development and publishing companies wouldn’t have to write games to be cross platform if the emulator worked perfectly. They would go on making Windows games while Linux continues to grow in installed user base.

Making games for Linux is not the answer, making Linux work for games is!