Newsletter Week 9

Our week In Recall

Week 9 started out with our ‘Halves’ presentation to the faculty. ‘Halves’ is requirement of the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC), we present the progress and findings of our project to the ETC faculty along with our plan for the rest of our time. After the presentation was over we turned our attention towards finishing our first two prototypes: 3rd Person Rig and Space Bball. According to our schedule this is our last week to work on these two projects.

What we Accomplished

For ‘Halves’ we focused on presenting our entire project, both the tests and the prototypes. Instead of focusing on only what we were currently working on or what our plans were we showcased our complete catalog of work. In conjunction with this we touched on the conclusions we had drawn in regards to the tests we conducted. Towards the end of our presentation we showcased our Space Bball prototype and performed a live demonstration of our 3rd Person Rig. And finally we showed our rough outline for the rest of the project. This included our decision to couple the Oculus with four different outside technologies: Organic Motion, PS Move, Kinect, and the Razer Hydra.


3D mount for the 3rd Person Rig



Early build of Space Bball

What’s Next

We have a plan to brainstorm and begin designing our next two prototypes on Monday.  We are entering our next two week production cycle.

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Newsletter Week 7

Our week In Recall

At the very end of last week our entire team packed up and headed down to Austin, TX for the brand new Captivate Conference. We were there until Thursday of this week attending lectures and talking to fellow developers.

What we Accomplished

The best thing we did this week was bring an Oculus with us to Texas. This allowed us to show off our work to all of the developers and companies that were visiting the conference. On Monday we talked to the conference organizers and got permission to set up a booth in one of the unused spaces.


Frank at our make shift booth at Captivate.


As a result of our booth we managed to make contact with another team who is working with the Oculus Rift in Iceland. Also we talked to a manager of a Start Up Incubator who was interested in possibly working with our project. All in all our trip to Captivate was incredible.

On our way back we decided to try something we imagine hasn’t been done before: play Oculus on an airplane.


Our airplane tray table set up.

It worked surprising well, even through turbulence.

What’s Next

Once we got back to the ETC we had a meeting and laid out our first two prototypes we’re going to create: a basketball game and a 3rd Person Camera Rig with 3D and AR.

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Newsletter Week 6

Our week In Recall

The week of the great transition. Around week 3 we decided that after quarters we would spend one week finishing up any leftover tests and move on to prototypes. Quarters was week 5 and so this week, week 6 was our final week for testing. It ended up being a perfect week to transition. We spent most of the week focused on finishing up our last few tests and getting them ready for users. But we also ended up working on two prototypes, planning a conference visit, and presenting to two groups of visitors.

What we Accomplished

The last of our tests are finished. Our last categories were called Control Variation Tests and Motion Tests. The former included a 180-Degree Spin test, a Sensitivity test, and an Axis Inversion test. These were tested on Friday, while the latter catagory will be tested over the next few weeks as they take far more time to complete.

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Our 180-Degree Test, users will have to find the ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’ boxes after the camera turns completely around.


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Our Inverted Y-Axis test. Users will have to navigate two similar tunnels, one with normal controls, the other with an inverted y-axis.


The tests were only a small part of our week. The rest of the time we spent working out what we wanted our first prototype to be. So far that looks to be a toss up between our 3rd-Person rig, and a Basketball game. Alex spent all Wednesday researching ways to create a backpack rig to hold a camera behind someone and Tushar worked on the Basketball on Friday so they could have something to show in Austin. Speaking of which, that was the third focus of this week. Project Spearhead is going to Captivate. We planned our trip and are leaving early Saturday morning to spend three days at the Captivate conference in Austin, Texas. Stay tuned to our website, we’ll be updating with pictures from our trip.

What’s Next

In the short term we’re focused on the Captivate Conference and getting as much as we can from that. We’re bringing an Oculus with us and will try to showcase as much of our work as possible.

PS_Newsletter_Week 6

Newsletter Week 5

Our week In Recall

Week 5 was mainly about prepping for quarters. As a part of our ETC requirements we have to present our progress to the faculty in process called quarters. Basically the faculty walk around in groups of 3 or 4 and attend 20 minute presentations given by the teams. The main function is to get a handle on what each team is planning to do and whether or not their project is heading in a direction the faculty deems reasonable. Its not a graded exercise; the
purpose is to give teams feedback and help them plot out the rest of their semester.

Other that we were focused on moving forward with our next two categories of testing, control and motion.

What we Accomplished

Our quarters presentation went well. After checking in with a few faculty members and going over the impressions each of the team members had we’re going to count this as a win. The first objective and one of the most critical things to achieve during quarters is to accurately communicate what the project is to the faculty. We managed to achieve this by displaying the finished deliverables in the form of the tests we’ve been working on. We had several of these booted up for the faculty to try out. This gave them a first hand look at the tests we are creating and how we are conducting them. We also detailed our semester schedule and predictions on the number of tests/prototypes we are looking to complete. We supplemented these numbers with our definitions of tests and prototypes. Tests are smaller Unity executables that help us learn about the Oculus Rift. We are planning to have at least 14 of these completed. Prototypes are larger deliverables and more focused on being a fun and unique Oculus Rift mini-game. We plan to have somewhere between 5 and 10 of these by the end of the semester, depending on how in-depth we take each one.


The format we used to present our deliverables.

The feedback we’ve received from quarters has been positive across the board. Everyone understands what we’re trying to do, and agrees with our current approach. Beyond that, the faculty was pleased with our current progress of 8 finished deliverables. In short, we’re headed on the right path.

What’s Next

We’re moving into our final week of testing, week 6 is the deadline we’ve imposed on ourselves. This week we’re focused on finishing the Control and Motion Tests and setting up our move onto Prototypes.

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Newsletter Week 4

Our week In Recall

This week was all about getting work down and building as many tests as possible. Our goal is to go into Quarters next week with as many completed deliverables as possible. We’ve decided to end the testing phase of our project one week after Quartersso we moving faster than we originally planned. The beginning of the week saw our first ever testing session and by the end of the week we had enough tests completed to start planning another. In addition we finished setting up control schemes that will act as starting blocks for the next couple groups of tests. Last week we completely planned out the first half of our semester; this week we made major progress towards that plan.

What we Accomplished

On Sunday we had our first major testing day. We had ten people come in and try each of our Gesture Tests. Some of our inital observations include: moving the camera in small way does not cause discomfort, and it is possible to make small manuevers using the Oculus’s orientation tracking. After the testing was over we turned to our two main tasks for the week. Tushar and Frank were focusing on creating basic control schemes that would be used throughout the semester. Throughout the week they created five different schemes including one that works with an X-box 360 controller and one that works with the Razer Hydra motion controller. Meanwhile Austin and Alex were working on the next set of tests. Each of these tests had to do with analyzing compatible forms of art on the Oculus. We are aware that certain colors and certain textures can exacerbate the simulator sickness that sometimes occurs when using the Oculus and so we created tests to check for which colors were problematic. Likewise, fonts and text placement is a recurring problem for designers when developing for the Oculus, so we created tests to learn more about the affordances of the device in regards to those two areas.


Example of our font test.

What’s Next

We plan to hold a second testing session on Sunday, with a third on Tuesday so that we can invite some faculty members. Beyond testing we will begin working a set of tests that focuses on control variations.

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Newsletter Week 3

Download Link: PS_Newsletter_Week 3

Our week In Recall

This was a week of progress and planning, if I had to name it, I would call it the ‘First week of the rest of our project’.
We had several meetings throughout the week, especially during the first three days. These were mainly organizational meetings where we discussed the progress we had made in regards to our first set of tests and looked forward to figure out what would be next for our team. On Wednesday we sat down for about 2 hours to go back over some of our decisions and finalize everything that had been talking about. We now have a clear view of our next few weeks until the week after quarters.
Thursday and Friday were working days. Tushar is completing the last of our Gesture Tests and Austin started on a new set of tests focusing on Art assets.

What we Accomplished

The biggest thing we accomplished was to plan out our next several weeks. We will be working on tests until the week following quarters. After that we are going to switch over to prototypes. This decision ended up being a catalyst to us focusing our testing efforts. We went through our lists of test and began to distinguish which test were important to us.
Beyond general planning we have our first date set aside for testing. Since we are putting the final touches on our Gesture Test today and tomorrow we are going to invite testers in on Sunday. Currently we have 2 out of 4 tests complete with the other two at about 50%.

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Our ‘Tracking Resolution Test’, the user turns their head to line the light colored cube up with the hole and pass through.


Simultaneous to Tushar’s work,  Austin is starting work on a series of Art Tests designed to see how the Oculus’s fisheye effect might distort art work.




What’s Next

While Austin and I focus on the Art Tests, Tushar and Frank will be working on getting several forms of input working in Unity (X-box controllers, Razer Hydras, etc.). Once these two tasks are done we will meet together again to tackle a group of Control Tests and perform our Motion Tests.

Poster and Half Sheet

Project Spearhead’s 30 Second Promotion Video


Project Spearhead’s Full Promotion Video


Below you may find links to our Logo, Halfsheet and Poster