JanusVR gstreamer 0.10 multimedia fix for Ubuntu 14.04

Unfortunately the upgrade to gstream 1.0 in Ubuntu 14.04 causes problems with some Qt apps and that means that the sound and videos won’t work with JanusVR.

For example, when entering rooms with multimedia content like the Virtual Reality Reviewer room I see the following error in my terminal:

defaultServiceProvider::requestService(): no service found for – “org.qt-project.qt.mediaplayer”

Luckily the fix is a PPA away:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mc3man/trusty-media
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg libqt5multimedia5

After the install, restart Janus hop into the VRR room and try clicking on a video to confirm it works. Now that the sound works you’re probably already sick of that wind sound, so just hit ‘m’ to mute Janus.



Hanging out in Janus

Hanging out in Janus

Your first Virtual Reality Room with JanusVR and VRSites.com

If you haven’t checked out JanusVR yet then you need to stop reading and go do that now. You don’t need a rift to use it. Go!

Ok, now that you’re back you’re probably wondering how to create your own rooms in Janus. Luckily it’s pretty easy because the creator of JanusVR, James McCrae, has written a very clear and simple guide, so get started by giving it a quick read over here.  Here’s a template you can use to get started creating your own VR site:

<title>Hello VR World!</title>
<Room use_local_asset=”room1″>

You can play with your room locally but getting it online is more fun. To get your site online go to VRSites.com and sign up. Now put your room’s code in one of the 10 rooms editors and save it. You can then find your room in Janus by going to the VRSites room (big portal on the right) and finding it based on the address on the top right side of the editor window, or just press tab in Janus and enter your room’s URL. The url is simply james.vrsites.com followed by the room number and then your user number. For example, my user number is 288 and so my Room 1 is found at http://james.vrsites.com/1/288.

You can also use SketchUp to create rooms, but try creating your own from the mark-up language first!

JanusVR Screenshot

JanusVR Screenshot

TECHNOLUST: True Cyberpunk Kickstarter

This weekend on the Oculus Developer forums I stumbled upon this great Oculus Rift demo for a game called Technolust. There was a lot of positive feedback so I checked it out. Now, let me first say that I do not have the DK1 and am waiting for the DK2 so I couldn’t actually try the demo the way it was meant to be enjoyed. However, I was still able to get it up and running and walk around in the world a bit. I loved the ambience, the game premise, the easter eggs and all of the references and parallels to cyberpunk cultural icons such as Blade Runner and Ready Player One. I was also happy to see that they are treating Linux as a first class citizen and my nationalistic pride was raised when I saw the developer is in Toronto. I eagerly backed the project on Kickstarter. Check it out for yourself:

TECHNOLUST: True Cyberpunk on Kickstarter

TECHNOLUST: BEST. DEMO. EVER. thread on Oculus Developer Forums (must be logged in for the link to work)

Cyber-thriller ‘Technolust’ for Oculus Rift Launches Kickstarter, Unveils New Prototype (Developer Interview)

Technolust Oculus Rift Review

Unfortunately I couldn’t get the Linux demo working on Ubuntu 14.04 64bit because of a missing libGLU.so.1 32bit library. The Linux demo appears to have been published as a 32bit binary through Unity. I tried several hacks to try and get around this and searched online for a solution but was unable to get it running. I did get the Windows version working though so I got a chance to mess around with it. I think it’s going to be an awesome game and I can’t wait to see how it all comes together!

Facebook buys Oculus

Facebook is buying Oculus for $2 billion and I have to say I’m a bit disappointed. I was hoping that VR tech would make it into the hands of developers and consumers before being snatched up by the tech giants. I was imagining the possibilities of having  FOSS based social development around VR that could bring in more innovation and creativity without the interference of the existing giants. Imagine IRC with VR chatrooms created, hosted and moderated by individuals or tribes. When combined with PrioVR we could have some seriously fun and interesting worlds to explore. What if Facebook decides to lock down the device so that it can only be used for social purposes through some kind of Facebook API? That would make them the gatekeepers to our virtual reality.  Will those that do not want a facebook account be locked out of the VR experience as well?

If I was a backer of the Oculus Rift Kickstarter I’m not sure how I’d feel about the the company I backed selling out before they’ve even shipped the product I sponsored.  When you sponsor a project on Kickstarter you are also buying into the vision of the creators and I think I would feel ripped off if that vision get absorbed by a larger corporate story before I even get my hands on the device. On the other hand I feel that I can trust John Carmack and Michael Abrash and if they think Oculus is still worth supporting then that makes me feel slightly less concerned. Let’s just hope some competitors arrive in this market to keep it more open and transparent. If someone wants to start a FOSS VR headset on Kickstarter I’d gladly be a backer!

You can read more here:

Facebook to Acquire Oculus 

Facebook buying Oculus VR for $2 billion

Facebook to buy Oculus virtual reality firm for $2B

I’d especially recommend Peter Berkman’s tumbr post, Wrong and Right Reasons To Be Upset About Oculus, not just because of the article itself but because John Carmack personally responded to it in the comments.

PrioVR Kickstarter

PrioVR Kickstarter Image

PrioVR: Suit up. Game on.

Ever since reading Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One I’ve been more interested in watching how AR and VR will evolve over the next few years. Of course everyone is already hotly anticipating the release of the consumer edition of the Oculus Rift but the headset is just one part of a full VR or AR experience.  I wasn’t aware of any reasonable consumer level attempts to integrate one’s full body into the VR experience until I came across the PrioVR Kickstarter campaign.  From their homepage it looks like they’ve got a great team and a good grip on their target market. I wondered about Linux support so I emailed them through Kickstarter campaign. Here’s what they said:

Me: Will you support Linux distros like Debian, Ubuntu or SteamOS? Will any of the source code or hardware be made open source?

YEI Technology: Yes, the PrioVR will, like the 3-Space Sensors, support a variety of Linux variants. And the source code for the demo games will be made open source.

That gets me even more excited! Opening up the project will help it evolve in ways that the creators might never even have imagined. I can’t wait to get mine and start hacking away on it!