Note: The "Stone Oakvalley's Moment In Time" project deals with 10 episodes, I just randomly chosen Episode #9 as my fifth focus after Episode #2,3,4 & 7 which are also still in production.
Introduction - 10 Jun 2022This episode deals with a winter landscape, biathlon, skiing, snow, rifle and target shooting. The inspiration for this experience came from all the way back in time in 1987 when I was 13 years old and it has stuck with me ever since! It will be a single level experience, but will be a physical and challenging experience/game where naturally time, stamina and precision are required from the player.
I have not started any project in Unity just yet, but will during the weekend, the research for this experience started in January 2022. Since I already have created an Unity landscape of the mountains where I physically live (and same mountain used in other Episodes already posted on my website), the challenge this time around is to convert the summer landscape into a winter landscape and start looking for free 3d models that always will have to be improved as well as creating my own 3d models based on real life pictures of the actual things needed. Naturally textures in the beginning is not the top most priority, as I need to get the VR interraction running first, then start with basic colliders and movement including scripts.
On the 3d model side I would at least need some skies, biathlon rifle, biathlon target stand, bullet, ski poles and all that follows a winter type of challenge as seen on tv.
Screenshots of project should appear within some days, stay tuned.
25 Aug 2022:Since the last update I struggled with bullet too fast for colliders, configurable joint too nervous with collided with bullet. Both issues solved with slowing down bullet when it went over 45 meters. Fixed a bug where BulletFirePoint followed player rifle after it was shot, meaning we could control the bullet. Fixed with SetParent(null) then reparent after bullet went over 60meter and destroyed. Finalized the Target hits, score count, center and outer target hit detection and started working on skiing boots, ski and poles (see pictures below).
At this point, only working mostly on Episode #09, I will soon post updates on a new entry for Episode #01 shortly. Episode #09 was worked on almost every day since June and I want to take a break of seeing just snow covered mountains and struggeling/finetuning the Biathlon Rifle mechanics and bulllet collider issues, XR socket control of magazines and so fourth.
04 Aug 2022:Since last update I finally managed to make all the interactions with Rifle Ammo Magazines, Single (relay) bullets and game logic code for that to work. Now I can interchange magazines, fire bullets, eject bullets and shells and juggle around all the ammo clips and sockets. The only thing missing now is to code functions and logic for inserting a Single bullet into the rifle.
Further, I have had a really headache trying to code and design the Scope Focus. As you may know, the Biathlon Rifles does not have any magnification lens, they just look through the rear sight and it matches up with the front sight. So, I experimented with some PNG Alpha Overlay and stick Rifle to camera along with having the possibility to move the sight around once in Scope Focus with right and left hand controller movement.
I also created the Biathlon Target object and started prepare them into Unity. Now, the target themselves are only 11.5cm wide on a 1.3meter wide plate located 50 meters away from the player, see screenshots below.
When I try to look through the Biathlon rifle's Rear and Front sights, I could see the black target barely. This was very bad quality and even with URP 8X anti aliasing the graphics turned kind of okay, crisp and clear without and wiggle in the pixels, but still the target is so small when compared to real targets.
You can imagine an 11.5cm dish on 50 meters distance requires a really big resolution and quality, which seems to be a technical challenge as both the graphics performance, resolution and lenses on a Quest 2 can't really recreate this for us. So, I had to actually scale up the target 3 x, resulting in the target plate become over 3 meter wide, and the actual black round targets around 34cm wide.
Only then, even with stable hands through two sights the gameplay is gonna be really hard to hit the targets, but hey, its supposed to be realistic. It must be damn hard to shoot those targets really in a real Biathlon race. Actually if you think about it there are several factors involved into keeping a steady sight.
1: The movement between the rifle and eye into rear sight.
2: The movement between left hand and the rifle.
3: The movement between right hand and the rifle.
4: The movement of the entire body in relation to rifle.
So, to make it a bit more easy, I stuck the rifle into the main camera object, so it became a parent basically making it stick to your movement of the camera. I also adjusted the left and right hand controller impact of movement to at least make it a bit more easy to keep a steady hand and possibly actually hit the targets dead center, but its gonna be quite a gameplay challenge which is of course as intended, this is afterall Virtual Reality that mimics real life :-)
The days ahead I will try to finalize the Scope functionality, both in code, logic and graphics and operation, so that I can eventually start on the skiing motion with Ski on the legs and Ski Poles in the hand. Can't wait to see if I can manage to code and movement that mimics skiing motion as you would in real life.
26 Jul 2022:Since last update I finalized more logos and re-used the same random logo code to apply to rifle stickers as well. In that process I want to also illustrate the 30 logos and the actual "Grannespelet" that was produced in only 2000 copies.
The full title of the game is:
"Grannespelet - Spelet om Ølen, Etne og Vindafjord", sub title: "Et kjekt spel for heile familien".
Note: It should be noted that my VR Experience/Game HAS NOTHING to to directly with the table top game, its just a reference to where the logo idea came from.
24 Jul 2022:Since last update I had focused on learning and study "XR Socket Interaction" along with improvements on the VR LEFT HAND control via the "XR Grab Interactable" stuff for the interraction between player hand(s) and the Rifle mechanics. There are quite many things to consider.
Further, I started planning the randomized code of logos to appear on those long wide banners that ski races often has in each edge of the track/road whatever. I actually found an old table top game locally called "Grannespelet" which was produced at the end of the 80's. These tabletop games where given away as gifts by local companies to their employees (maybe even possibly to buy in local stores), in which my father (which drove a semi-trailer during the 70-90's) got one game from his boss. Many local companies in 1988-1989 was sponsoring the production of the tabletop game, so I thought since this VR Experience/game is set to 1985 or so, it would be nice to feature these old, now almost 40 year old logo's in my VR Experience to both in memory of my father which passed away in 2013 and the local companies that I knew, or even worked at. Some of these companies are still active today, but naturally some got out of business, merged with other, changed name or had a growth that let them redesign their company profile and logo.
These nostalgic local logos will be randomly attached to the side track banners as shown in the screenshots below. I will also have 2-3 stickers on the rifle itself that features the same logo's in a different design. So, each time the experience/game is played the logo's appear randomly on rifle and on the side track banners. This means that there are now favourite company that get the most exposure :-)
During the next days I will continue on the logic around magazines, reloading, fire bullet, eject bullet or shells, along with randomizing the logo stickers on the rifle itself. Come to think of it, it has been months since I even touched my other VR Experiences, but I left them in a state where some hard problems was solved and I believe once I revisit them I can start on the actual game play design and Terrain design. Up til now, all the VR Episodes I started working on was primarly to get the understanding of code, unity, quest 2 interaction, performance, graphics effects and some sound design. I had not even started programming the actual game play design yet. Only thanks to focusing on this Episode #09 I learned some tricks and code that can be re-used in the other Episodes as well.
15 Jul 2022:Since last update I had focused only on getting interraction between player and the Biathlon rifle, learning about collisions, triggers, snap zones, Unity animation system and a whole lot more. Then a week followed with a vacation with no VR development. I also started detailing and texturing the Biathlon rifle a lot more, and currently the magazine logic is left todo. I also worked on creating a Game Manager to keep track of logic and such. I should soon start to focus on the Skiing parts and objects, as well as how to move the player around doing a simulated Skiing exercise naturally :-)
During the past month I had to watch youtube videos about real Biathlon rifles, google around of the mechanics and details of the parts involved. So, the past 4 weeks was also research, not just code and VR development. It's all part of the journey to create a realistic VR experience.
Finally, I closed down my long lasting unrelated VR project, called Stone Oakvalley's Authentic SID Collection (SOASC=) which was a project started in 2006 still going on until 1 week ago in July 2022! The project was about recording music from real Commodore 64 hardware into MP3 and FLAC files. I had to close that project down due to my shifting gears into game and VR related development instead which I do not regret 1 seconds, I simply love VR!
19 Jun 2022:After finally solve the Steering Wheel in Episode #04, I could today move on to progress futher on this Episode #09 and having to deal with a winter landscape, snow covered 3d-models and planning to start the Biathlon rifle handling in VR later in the week. I uploaded some screenshots of the snow creation below!
15 Jun 2022:Have mostly been working on Steering Wheel logic for Episode #04 the past 2 weeks, but took some time off to just experiment with my landscape from where I live that had a summer/fall texture to it and basically just photoshop it to appear as a snowy landscape instead. It worked great, so I played around with Skybox, lightning and found a suitable spot on the huge mountain I have where the VR player will start the experience. I also played around with fog to get that nice winter landscape feeling. Added 2 screenshots below on that process.
12 Jun 2022:Added some screenshots, just a Biathlon rifle added to my re-use of terrain from other episodes. The texturing of the Oculus hand process was added too. I was thinking keeping the glove in the end in white/grey color instead of the black one showed below. The black version of the glove will be used in Episode #04 too.