Playing with VR and Unity

Today, Virtual Reality (VR) may be the hottest topic for interactive developers (Augmented Reality will be the next within few years for sure). Many constructors propose their own Head Mounted Device (HMD) : HTC & Valve with the Vive, Oculus, with their Oculus Rift and Gear VR for Samsung mobiles, Google and the very cheap DIY Google Cardboard, and many other ones. Naturally, Unity, which is the leading global game industry software (45% market share, 47% of developers), rapidly proposed built-in functionnalities to handle some of the VR devices.

In the end of the last year, we have been asked to create Unity tools to quickly prototype virtual visits with the Google Cardboard. It was the perfect project to dive deeper in the world of VR. Here, virtual visits were a set of photo-spheres and video-spheres, which are respectively photos and videos projected inside spheres, giving you the impression you are surrounded by the scenery (think about Google Street View). Furthemore, some parts of the photo-spheres had to be interactive and display some additional content like photos, videos, text, …

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Reset git repository to a new commit

Git is an awesome version control system, popularized by Github. Working on a big project, you might need to add (huge) binaries, or libraries, or even psds, videos… to your repository. We’ll not judge this method, it has its pros & cons. The fact is: if those big files change often, your repository will increase very quickly. And sometimes your own code versioning is not a big deal. It’s stable, and for newcomer it doesn’t need all the git history and its 4Go (yeah, I already experienced that). So let see how to reset your git repository to a new commit:

Firsty, save your local .git/config file somewhere on your disk. Then:

rm -rf .git
git init

Import and overwrite your previous .git/config file. Then:

git add .
git commit -m "Repository reset"
git push -f origin master

Et voilà!

A cool thing to notice is on Github and Bitbucket, you won’t lost data subscriptions, stars & forks.

Maybe you need a backup on a specific URL just in case…? Just create a new repository, and in your .git/config file change the url and push 😉

Encoding BitmapData using AS3 Worker

Though AS3 Worker class is available since a while, its introduction on iOS is recent: less than 6 months. With AS3 workers being available everywhere, it’s about time to create small libraries multi-threaded with just a few lines of code!

If you never played with Worker, you should give a look to this great series of blog post.

There are several ways to create Worker, but if you don’t want to fall in a pitfall while using ANEs in your project, I recommend to use them via a loaded SWF.

So here is a small example making a simple library for encoding bitmap data and save images on disk via a Worker:
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From Unity 2D to Unreal Paper 2D

The Game Developers Conference is coming quickly and we’re impatient to hear the announcement from the big guys!

Since a while I wanted to give a try to the Unreal Engine. I’d no doubt that it could outperformed Unity on complex 3D rendering stuff, but for this first test I focused on simple 2D stuff to get familiar with the user interface, engine build process, scripting… Unreal Engine sounded like an indomitable beast in my mind (I spent hours on Unreal Tournament when I was young) but coming from an Unity background, the beast was easily tamed! If you never tried the Unreal Engine, the first thing to do is to check the Unreal Engine 4 For Unity Developers!
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Introducing Unity 2D Filters

You’re trying to create fancy effects for your Unity Sprite 2D game but don’t know where to start? You heard about shaders but that’s some dark magic to you? Why is it so hard to make a blur effect or have simple color effects at runtime? The Unity 2D Filters package is here to solve these problems for you!

2DFilters-Screenshot1

Today I’m proud to introduce our second commercial product, after the Google+ ANE, a Unity library for applying pre-made 2D Filters to your Sprite Renderer and the new Unity UI!

More than one year ago, I was pretty sad to see that Unity doesn’t offer a simple way to add filters (blur, outline, color matrix…) to a 2D sprite without having strong Shaders knowledge. Unity 5 didn’t change anything about this, so it was time to make our own asset! We learnt so much about shaders during that time, but making a commercial product isn’t only about making magic code working for final users! We worked hard on a nice 2D platformer demo, that I’m confident new programmers or experienced programmers but just moving on Unity will learn from it, and of course a strong documentation.

2DFilters-Screenshot2

All the Da Viking Code’s crew put his hands on this 2D Filters asset, so we really hope you will enjoy using it as much as we worked on it!

En Route, making an old school point ‘n click game

En Route, or on the way in english, is a new game offered by l’Institut pour la Ville en Mouvement (Institute for Moving City) and developed by Dowino.
En Route is the first video game learning mobility! A game that combines educational objectives at such crazy situations as realistic. It’s a game to understand his daily commute otherwise, to learn how to move in a complex urban space, to live a new experience of urban travel, to develop the personal skills of mobility with the means at hand, to expand its range of actions to defuse the sensations of panic and urgency, to overcome maze or ghetto feelings, to facilitate the learning mobility for adults in positions social and economic fragility…

The game is presented as an old school point ‘n click game. There are scenes, dialogs with multiple answers, interactive objects and even an inventory!

Available as a mobile application, desktop application and on the web thanks to Adobe AIR & Flash Player technologies, the game is not public because you need to register via an organization.

en-route-actions
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Learn more and in a fun way about cancer with “Hygee” !

In 2013, the regional center Hygée dedicated to the information, prevention and education about cancer, opened on the site of the hospital complex of Saint Etienne (in the south-west of Lyon).

Hygée Center logo

So as to raise awareness of the cancer disease among the young public, the Hygée center asked  Dowino to create a quiz game playable on tablets. Further to successful projects with us (A blind legend 3D audio game, Mission eau mobile game, Effia Synergies quiz, …), Dowino decided to call upon us one more time for the implementation part of the project. We have chosen to use Adobe Integrated Runtime (AIR) to create the application.

Your mission should you choose to accept it, is to help Hygée, the daughter of Asclepios, to perfect her knowledge about medicine (about cancer in fact) and so truly graduate to the rank of Goddess !

Hygée
Hygée, medicine god’s daughter in the Greek mythology

 

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Heineken’s popup store “The Sub®Store” app

Update: we made also a WebGL version!

The Sub® is part beer cooler and beer drafter made by Heineken in partnership with Krups. The concept is similar modern coffee machines in that this device will allow for you to insert a “cartridge” of beer , keep it cold and you can poor yourself a glass at home like a pro.
Visit this site for more info.

As I write this, a popup store called The Sub®Store is displaying this device in all manners and colors in Paris and will close the 20th of December.

For this event, we were asked to develop one of several apps that would help showcase the device in the store. Our app would display some of the technical aspects of the device, its inner workings such as how the beer would come out, at what temperature, and how it is kept cold.

We worked for Megalo who designed the app’s UI and UX and all 2D assets. We also worked with GHiOM who created the 3D models used in this app.

The following video shows the app in action.

The Sub by Heineken from Da Viking Code on Vimeo.

This 3D technical drawing that you can manipulate has been amazing to help create.
Inside that 3D model, some “hotspot” points you can click can trigger events where the camera zooms into a specific position to show more details on a given process/detail by showing some descriptive text or animations.

This would run on a single type of device, an ipad air 2, and was created with Unity.
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