Merry Christmas! / End of the Year Update

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Chrismas!

I figure I should post one last update to close out 2014. So what have I been up to?

My New Project & Thanksgiving Day Stream

Friday, November 21, 2014

This new project started out as practice project for later trying to get emulators displaying in VR scenes. And when I finally got working on it, it was with being for VRChat in mind. Things change, and well, here we are!

10 Months a VR Developer, 10 Days a VR User

Saturday, October 04, 2014

We've seen a LOT of first impressions posts for the DK2, so one from me may not be all that interesting at this point. But I do have 1 unique perspective though. I've been a fan of the Rift since the Kickstarter, and a dev since the end of last year. However, I have not used a Rift at all yet. That's crazy right? How could I believe in the Rift enough to dev for it for almost 10 months but have never put on on my head? How can I even do it at all without a Rift for testing on? I'll answer these questions, and more. I'll also try to take you on a journey through what lead me to this day. And finally, yes, give you some first impressions.

Keep in mind, I wrote this intending to just let my thoughts flow freely and edit later. But after delays in finishing this up, I decided to just post it as is rather then wait any longer and maybe never posting it. It's a little long, so you can skip some things if if you want.

Waiting on DK2...

Friday, September 05, 2014

Things have been silent on my part since I release v2.5 of the Kokiri Forest demo. And that's because, I just haven't done much. I took a step back for a few weeks, as now that I'm waiting on the DK2, I knew seeing all the talk about it, people getting theirs, crowing about demos and game and such, that it was just going to make me more and more impatient when waiting for mine.

Kokiri Forest - Release v2.4

Friday, July 25, 2014

It's back for another round. Now with DK2 support!

While I'm waiting on my own Rift DK2 so I can get to finishing up with Project: Ocarina, I felt I could stand to re-release the original Kokiri Forest demo with some DK2 support from the Oculus 0.4.0 SDK, and a few minor changes.

Here's a summary of whats changed...

My VRChat Rooms

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I've now made a couple of my VRChat rooms public here on my site. VRChat supports catching url links to open rooms inside of it now, so all you have to do is click a link, press "Play" on the setup dialog, and (for now) press "Connect" on the server select screen. After that VRChat will download (if need be) and drop you in the room.

Hopefully sharing rooms like this will help grow VRChat, and get people connecting more often during the week. But for now, its at least nice to explore the environments, whether you have a Rift or not!

There's only 2 rooms now, but I'll add more over time. While I can't promise to make all of them available, to date I've worked on dozens!

In the future I will be sharing avatars by way of these rooms. Rather then copying and pasting urls, typing commands, following instructions and such, there will be rooms you connect to that you simply walk over to a NPC avatar/mannequin and press the Use button on to become that avatar. Just like in the main hub (Pad) room.

An Amazing Holiday Weekend

Monday, July 07, 2014

One could say my holiday weekend started out kind of sad. It was Independence day weekend here in the states of course. A time when people get together with friends/family, watch some fireworks, barbeques, swimming, etc. But that wasn't on the menu for me. So at the last minute I figured I'd make a new VRChat room to have my own fireworks show, and I enjoy it with my online VR friends that are either rained out where they live, or maybe from another country. About 2 hours later it was ready, and I think people really enjoyed it! It has a nice atmosphere. Over the night I refined it more and more, and eventually a ton of people got to see it on Sunday at the weekly meetup, and even a few others got to see it on Bruces stream. There were a couple disappointing things about that, but still over all it was a great time and seemed well received! =)

VRChat Zelda Room, and Dark Link

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Today I finally got to show off the Zelda room I worked on for VRChat like 2 months ago. I've been waiting for it to be stable enough to host an entire meeting, and that's exactly what happened! While some people had to bow out early, or others arrived late, it was up for 5 1/2 hours with little to no issues.

So for those that missed it, after all this time what was my Zelda room?

WoW Characters in VRChat

Friday, June 27, 2014

Sunday and Wednesday I showed off the latest addition to my collection of VRChat avatars, and along with it the inclusion of avatars like it from my avatar services. I can now do WoW characters. This is an exact copy of my WoW Rogue Ubaest from the end of Cataclysm.

And for comparison, heres a real screenshot of my Rogue the day I got his Legendary daggers.

As I've been asked about creating avatars for people more and more, I've been trying to expand my menu as it were. WoW characters seemed like one of the best inclusions. It's been a popular game for years, and many people have spent a lot of time behind the eyes/head of their characters. In a sense, MMOs are a pre-pre-metaverse were people ARE their characters. So some people may want to continue that into VRChat.

At this time I can do any character race/sex, facial, hair, skin color, and armor from Cata and before. I currently have to rig/skin the models my self, but they're low enough polygon count to where its not to tough, and just a factor of time. In the future I hope to add animations too.

I also debuted a new self-added VRChat feature as it were. Custom nameplates. We have seen the white text with a black drop shadow for awhile. It changes to red text when someones talking. Well, I can change that and spruce it up a little. On my Rogue avatar I created the name plate in the exact style of WoW, complete with color and font. I even added a fake guild tag to better illustrate the idea. The cool part is that this custom nameplate even changes when you talk too. While not exactly WoW like (I never used the internal WoW voice chat, so I don't know for certain), the name changes to red while you're talking.

This of course is a simple example of what could be done with custom nameplates. The names are just images, so anything that can be drawn with a image can be used for a nameplate. They can even be animated! Though I wouldn't do much myself beyond a simple few frames. My skills are growing in many areas, but I'm still not much of an artist right now. I'm capable of some thing, but can't promise much.

Interest in hiring me to create VRChat avatars has been picking up a little more lately. And with that I'm finding a need to take it a bit more seriously and have quicker answers to what I would charge for what. I created that page last week in part as a portfollio of what I can do. And since then I've been working on what specific services I can offer and at what prices. I won't be posting my prices publicly, but people will be able to email me for them if they're interested. It's a bit of a balancing act figuring out prices, considering my skill/quality, time invested, and keeping things cheap enough that people will want to hire me.

Like donations, anything I make right now from creating avatars will go to my DK2 fund. So if you want to help me reach that goal, maybe this will be of interest to you. Though I will still take donations. =)

As always, you can contact me at darkakuma [ at ]

My VRChat Avatars

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

In the months since VRChat added support for using your own custom avatars I've been kind of making a name for myself as the "Avatar Guy". The label comes from my habit of trying to show up with a new avatar for myself every week, but also from the avatars I make for other people.

When making a avatar I try to have some fun with it. Make something a bit silly/fun/cool that can help make the weekly meetup that much more of a good experience for everyone. But alas, once the week is over that may be it for a avatar. And some people will have never known about them. So I figure I could compile a list of all the avatars I've made, for everyone to see!

Some day I'll hopefully even share some of these for public use. Also, since I have done some freelance work on avatars for others, this could double as a portfollio of my past work. Though of course a lot of these aren't 100% modeled by me, but instead maybe just rigged/skinned, had the Animation Controller setup, or bundled up as a VRChat compatible avatar by me. But I still put time and effort into them just the same.

I placed the images after the break as there are a lot of them, and they will take a bit to load. Press "Read More" to see them.

My New Project!

Saturday, June 07, 2014

First, I'm not done with PJO, nor have I given up on it or anything. It's just on the back burner for now. I still work on it to a degree in that I'm learning about how to do things relating to what I still want to add to it. Just not on the project itself. Outside of the Zelda room I made for VRChat that I will probably put into PJO.

Now as far as that Zelda room goes, I still have not shown it off. It's been done for a couple weeks, but turned out not to be the right time for it since then. And it may not be until a couple weeks yet. And heres why.

Last week I dove in really hard to turn out a custom room for VRChat, intending it to be for hosting a party day. It is a true party room. I went a bit overboard with it to try and make it fun. The party plan didn't happen as I hoped, but I still ended up showing it off. And well, exposed some issues with VRChat that need fixing before we can really start having Sunday meetups in custom rooms. To put it short, the Custom Room feature just can't handle that kind of stress right now. So because of this I won't be showing the Zelda room just yet.

But I am confident the issues will be addressed, and I will be able to show it off soon enough. In the meantime I can work more with the VRChat SDK and create other rooms and avatars. And that brings me to my next topic. A new project!

Since I started deving for VR I've been trying to think of a good idea for a show to host. There's podcast after podcast, a few talk shows, and others. I wanted to think of something unique, and unlike my horrible luck with the Kokiri Forest demo, be the first to do something! At the same time I've felt it's a shame that VRChat doesn't get the attention it deserves. And I would love to see a show hosted using it. Even if it wasn't me. And a bit ago it finally came to me. An idea for a show! I could make the first VR GameShow!

I kept the idea secret until Sunday, as I feared as soon as the idea slipped out, someone would try to beat me to it. But it's out now! And hopefully I can get it done before anyone else.

The show will be created by me, likely hosted by me, will be hosted inside VRChat, I'll need a camera man or 2 as it will probably be streamed to Twitch or Hitbox and made available later on YouTube.

The design and type of gameshow is not finalized yet. I've only gotten the chance to work on a couple pieces of it so far. And thats counting the game I made for the party room that can be considered a sort of prototype for some of the idea of the show.

Likely at the start contestants will be VR community members (with Rifts). And there will be no real prizes/incentive outside of getting to promote your projects.

I would REALLY like to take my time on the project, and do it well. But as I said, I also want to do it before anyone else jumps on the bandwagon to beat me to it. So I might try to make a sort of Pilot episode sooner rather than later. When? I don't know. I'd do it a week from now if that's how it works out, but I wouldn't count on it.

It's going to be a fun, original project either way. And I hope lots of people enjoy it! =)

Project: Ocarina - Status

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Today I realized it's been over a month since I last posted a update here. I expected the updates to be less frequent now that I'm trying to use twitter. But I didn't intend to be quite that silent. I havent even posted much to twitter this past couple weeks. The reason is, I just haven't done much with PJO. And the reason for that is mostly because I was sick, and it held on a bit longer than I thought it would.

Project: Ocarina - Hyrule Field

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Earlier this month I asked for some feedback on what area to add next. What I got was all over the place with people just suggesting everything, more or less. But thankfully one area did stand out above the rest enough with popular demand, and of course that place is Hyrule Field!

My Feelings on the Facebook Acquisition of Oculus

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Big news yesterday! And the result? An equally big storm and division in the VR community! No matter what side of the fence you're on, this isn't going to go away quickly.

Kokiri Forest v2.2 - Bug Fix

Monday, March 17, 2014

It seems that when I changed the ladders/vines to prevent users from falling through the world, I broke them in all of the scenes except for the main one. And for the collect mini-game scene, it was rendered unbeatable.

So I made a small update to correct this. The download links in the original v2 post have been replaced with v2.2.

Additionally, I built the mac version with Unity 4.3 as apparently 4.2 has compatibility issues on Mac rendering the demo unable to be played at all. However I never got confirmation that a test build I released a couple weeks ago works or not.

Kokiri Forest - Release v2 Post (Now with v2.2 Download Links)

Enjoy! =)

P.S. I know there's been a lack of progress news here lately. I am still working on Project: Ocarina. It's just there has been little to report, and most news I've been releasing on my twitter. So check that out and follow it by clicking its new link, the light blue square in the upper right corner of the banner logo for this site.

It's been one crazy month!

Friday, February 28, 2014

With a bit more traffic coming in lately, I'm realizing more and more that I should take steps at posting a bit more, lets say, professionally. And one of the ways to work towards that goal is to stop posting on a variety of topics in a single post, especially when I do some rambling! However, I will still post about my thoughts and things of a less project update oriented nature.

So what have I been up to, and what do I think about my latest project?

Announcement - Project: Ocarina

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

It's funny. Despite me saying otherwise, people kept thinking and saying I was going to continue on with recreating Ocarina of Time in Unity. I said there was a chance, but that was it. Well I'm happy to say now that, thanks to a few kind donators of Unity Pro trial keys, that's no longer the case. I will be continuing, and the project will be given a new official name! And that name is...

Kokiri Forest Demo: Behind the Scenes...

Friday, February 14, 2014

Now that I'm back to using Unity Free and no longer under any deadlines to get things done before my trial expires, I'm free to work more casually again. I can focus a bit more on learning now, and less on results.

Since the release of v2.1 I have in fact worked on a couple things related to the Kokiri Forest project, and as I've done so I've come to realize that some people may like to read about some of the details that go into it, or why some things weren't seen in the demo. In this post I'll talk about the latter.

I can't guarantee that many people will find this post to be particularly valuable. If you're a game developer, this may just be the ramblings of a novice. If you're just a VR or Zelda fan, then perhaps it's bunch of techno-babble. Hopefully it's interesting for someone!

Kokiri Forest - Release v2

Friday, February 07, 2014

NOTICE!!!: This is an old post. The project has been updated to v2.5, and the new post can be found over here. (7/25/14)

It's felt like a long 2 weeks. I've had to battle through a Cold. I've had to move beyond the small foundation of Unity skill I had when I started. But here it is! Version 2!

To summarize the list of fixes, additions and changes, here I go.

Kokiri Forest - Update 2

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

It's now been 1 week since I released the demo. The reception has seemed good and positive, for the most part! But there's no "buzz" around it at all which is very disappointing.

My worries about the thunder of my project being stolen seem founded. Numerous times in the past week when I've seen a Kokiri Forest demo mentioned, linked to, or played without direct relation to my Oculus forum thread, it's been about the other project. I even had one redditer say mine was the same after reviewing the other one and giving it a 4/5. Maybe it was because he was drunk, lol. He was trying to compliment it. But saying it's the same after all the work put into it was hard to not see as insulting. (The following has been edited because some found my original statements to be too harsh, despite my best efforts to preface it.) I don't want to be insulting myself, but I have to be honest. The other version had very little effort put into it. I'm not sure how, but some textures were even made worse then they should be if left un-fixed. After playing the 2, anyone should be able to see a clear difference.

Moving on. So what have I been up to on the project? Well, I attempted to provoke some feedback on what to work on with it before my Unity Pro trial is up. But that didn't really produce any results. So I've been working on what I can, and what interests me. There's a ton I would want to do, but figuring out whats best with a looming deadline has been tricky. I've been dabbling in something to get an idea of how smoothly/quickly adding it would go, and moving on a lot.

I've fixed 2 things. The mustache of the Deku tree. I forgot to/didn't know to color it. And I forgot to set the climbable vines to a transparent shader.

Kokiri Forest - Release

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Here it is! My re-creation of the Kokiri Forest from "The Legend of Zelda, The Ocarina of Time", in Unity 4.2.2, and built specifically for the Oculus Rift!

This re-creation aimed for attention to detail, and should be quite a complete visual experience. It's not a game. There's no interaction at all. Nor are there NPCs or story. It's just a walk around demo.

I've created builds for Windows x86, Windows x64, Mac OSX x86, and Linux x86 + x64. But I can only account for the Windows versions as working and looking as intended.

Kokiri Forest - Update 1

Saturday, January 18, 2014

I'm happy to say that after a brief time of questioning my continuation on this little project, I resumed work on it.

I now have it at a point where only polish work is left to be done. Compared to my old screenshots, what are the major differences?

All the objects are now in. Bushes, signs, rocks, truth stones, and even some Hearts and Rupees.

Fences now are visible from both sides and have proper colliders, meaning you can't walk through them, and can stand on top of them.

The ladder to Link's house, and the vines leading to the Lost Woods can now be climbed. My ladder code isn't great, but it's all I could come up with right now and gets the job done.

The Sky looks more true to how it looks in the real game.

The waterfall and river now animates and very closely resembles how it looks in the real game.

The worn away paths are now in and look close to how they do in the real game. I'd like to work on these more though.

The ground texture looks closer to how it does in the real game.

There's been a lot of misc tweaking of texture alignment/tiling. Rave's version showed what the scene looks like with little work fixing that stuff up, and my old screenshots showed vast improvements over that. But there was still more fine tuning to be done.

The cameras size/height has been set to around Young Links size. I went with this rather than Adult Link as this is a recreation of the Kokiri Forest of the past. And a child's size should help you get lost in the experience. Also, think about it, its a village of little Elves. It's designed for people of that height. The height of the signs are a good example.

The Hearts and Rupees now spin, and do so in a way close to the real game.

I added a particle effect system for the area. The particles are very similar to the real game, but not as exact as other things are. I think most would agree they're close enough.

Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen

Monday, January 13, 2014

It seems the father of MMOs is at it again!

Just when I had thrown in the towel, and given up ever again seeing a MMO I could enjoy – thanks to SOE's huge disappointment with EverQuestNotNext. Along comes Brad McQuaid. Fresh off a layoff from SOE after a unexpected return to the EverQuest 1 team. Deciding that enough time had passed since his failure of the spiritual sequel to EQ1, Vanguard, he's now ready to renter the MMO scene once again in a leadership role in development of a brand new game. That game is:

Zelda's Kokiri Village in Unity

Saturday, January 11, 2014

This is a project I've been working on, off and on for the past week. I was going to wait and post about it later. But it seems someone had the exact same idea and beat me to the punch over on the Oculus reddit/Dev forums.

As stated in the title, that was my goal. To make a Kokiri Forest experience demo for the Oculus Rift. It was to be my first Rift project.

Here are some screenshots of my work so far.