Friday, 13 February 2015

Potential meeting with Dr.Claus

As he's having trouble accessing our Dropbox and the simulation, he'd like to meet up with us. 

I let him know I'd be available on Tuesday, if you guys can make it to the meeting that'd be cool, if your other modules are keeping you busy that's fine too. I'll confirm date and time as soon as I find out.


Tuesday, 6 January 2015

My updates

Hello everyone :)

Just wanted to let you know my blog is completely updated and the assets I created (Triton, Larissa, Proteus, Nereid and Naiad) uploaded into our dropbox account. Also, for those using my models, I've just created new Nereid and Naiad moons with half of the polygons (sorry, I just realized now they were too heavy). Just tell me if you want them and I'll upload the files.

Cheers :)


Monday, 5 January 2015

2D Video Animation

I have created the 2D Video Animation that would be displayed while students are waiting to use the Oculus. It shows a simple story of what the student would be doing once using the Oculus.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Presentation video

Hi all,

As discussed I made a small video update for the presentation. Hope it's all good. Link to it can be found here:


Saturday, 3 January 2015

Useful link for info on Neptunes moons

I been using this to check up on distances on the moons around Neptune. Thought I'd post the link here:

Might be useful to some of you :)


Thursday, 1 January 2015

Some useful modeling info

Hi guys,

I asked my brother for some advice on our project. He has an undergrad in computer graphics and thought we might find the following useful:


Proper texture unwrapping on sphere (Titan): Using UV Texture Editor, ensure an even map for all your faces in order to remove the pinching found at the top of the sphere.

See tutorial attached. You can split the UV mapping of the sphere in half but selecting the individual halves then editing in UV Texture Editor (if both halves overlap, this could also remove the pinching)

More information on UV Wrapping, Texturing and Bump/Normal mapping can be found on: Digital Tutors. (

If I remember correctly you can get a
reduced fee for being students if the uni sponsors you!

For any objects used in game, ensure a singular connected mesh is used or you will have inconsistent lighting, rendering and problems with performance


Thought this would be useful to the modeling people :)

I also rolled back from Unity 4.6 to 4.5.5. This meant I had to rebuild everything I did thus far. It's all up and running. Even though I found work arounds to 4.6 without the Oculus hardware I don't want to risk it. I'l post more details about it in my blog.


Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Interesting articles on Programming / Games Dev / Mobile Dev / HCI

Hey guys,

Anyone doing research on anything computational might find this post useful. It's a site with articles about many different areas. Graphics, Photoshop, Mobile Dev, Game Dev, HCI etc.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Oculus Rift booking - Need a favour

Hey guys,

For a while now (up until the 20th of this month) I've been trying to coordinate a time to book a rift to run some tests (especailly since Unity 4.6 is out). This is for our project. But unfortunatly everytime I get a time/opening to go get one out I am stuck at work.

At this rate I don't think we will have any time to test our prototypes on the rift. As such if anyone near the uni has time could they try and grab us a rift? This way I can meet ya at some point and we can test our stuff on it.

The University re-opens on the 2nd of January. Here are details about the tech office I got:

"The university currently owns two Oculus devices that can be borrowed by students of the faculty. The devices can be taken out by visiting the technicians office in PRSB2019 and requesting them, you are simply required to present a valid university ID and sign out for them."

Give me a shout if you can help out.


Tuesday, 16 December 2014

FBG page set up

Hey all,

Deon edited all the raw data I pulled from our facebook group. I added a page to the blog called FBG Archive, you should see it up top.

We need to copy Deons text file into that. I've not had time yet but I'll get to it when I have a moment, unless sombody else feels like doing it.

Deon's modified text can be found in our dropbox.

Also just as a reminder, even though it's all good talking over Facebook as that seems to be the way we are all comfortable with, make sure to post what you're up to on this blog as well. This is so that it is easier on all of us when it comes down to formalities and our grades. A quick update or a note to say you finished something is fine for Facebook but if you complete a piece of work make sure to mention it here on the blog.

It will take a lot of crunch time to pull more data from Facebook so lets make a clean switch :)


Balancing Minigame v0.8

Small update to the balancing minigame. Added raycasting for feedback and timer. Blog post here.

Will hook up the timer soon, have most of the code written but need to debug it. Also had an idea about taking the photos we can discuss tomorrow.

Functionality idea: Adding obfuscation by having different colliders around for the raycast to hit. On hit return data based on colliders type/name/tag or layer. This would result in different levels of feedback. Meaning that I could use this technique to have the player return different levels of 'fuzzy' data/photo's. The more centered they aim, the better the result, the less accurate they are, the worse.


Importing an .obj into Unity / Making normalmaps

I wrote this for Begoña but I thought I would post it here as well for reference in case anyone else needs to do this in the near future.

Here's a quick and rough guide to import Triton into Unity and attach a normalmap to it.

Importing an .obj into Unity
  • Click and drag Triton folder into Assets box
  • Set Triton GameObject to position X=0, Y=0, Z=0
  • Place Triton prefab into scene and zoom out as it'll be pretty big
  • The sphere will be black in colour for now
  • Open the Triton GameObject in the Hierarchy (on the left, where the Main Camera is)
  • Click on the pSphere1 object, this will be the actual black sphere object
  • In the Inspector (on the right side) you'll see your texture (blinn1sG) in a Diffuse shader
  • We need to change the Main Colour to a brighter one rather than black (Pick white for example).
  • Now you should see a sphere with your texture on it, but you won't have any nice bumps on it
  • We need to change this to use the bump mapping, so it looks nice
  • Click on the shader that says Diffuse and change it to Bumped Diffuse
  • Now you'll see a little empty grey box called Normalmap
  • We need to convert our Bumpmap to a Normalmap to use with the shader
If you have your own normal map you can use that instead, if not see below: 

Converting a Bumpmap to a Normalmap in Unity:
  • Go to Assets > YOURASSET > Click on your BumpMap image
  • Change the Texture Type from Texture to Normal Map
  • Here you can change options on how bumpy you want it and if you want it smooth or clamped etc. You can come back and change this whenever you like.
  • Once done click Apply
  • Your bump map will now be a Normalmap

Now that we have a normalmap we can apply it to pSphere1

  • Click on pSphere1 again and drag your new Normalmap into the empty grey box
Now your object should have the normalmap applied and it'll look bumpy.


Sunday, 14 December 2014

Todays work - Rebalancing minigame

Hey guys,

Started implementation of the mini-games. Started working on the rebalancing one I mentioned in a post below.

Updated my blog with the stuff I did today, can check it out here. :)


Friday, 12 December 2014

Research, Persona and Storyboard

Hey guys! I totally forgot to add this here, but I just added the personas, some earlier research and the storyboard (soon done) for the Oculus Rift to my blog. Konrad has done the Storyboard for the presentation part :)

Take a look if you want!


Sunday, 7 December 2014

more about Neptune...

Hi again,

This link here has more information about Neptune that could be really interesting if we get to develope this simulation further . The site itself holds more links which are full of data (again, I guess this could be useful for the mini games??). They are really impressive. Have a look!

Enjoy :)

Saturday, 6 December 2014

More about Dr. Malcolm Claus meeting

Hi guys,

I'm just going to add a few more things to what we talked in the meeting with our mentor (please be advised this is a copy of the comment I left to Rob's post. I just thought I could make a post of it as I am including a lot information that could be useful for all of us and I don't want you to miss it) :)

Dr. Claus mentioned the Beagle 2, a Mars lander which was launched with the Mars Express orbiter towards Mars on 19 December 2003, as something we could use as a reference for our project. I've been looking into it and actually found lots of useful information that can give us ideas for mini games as well as the different parts of the lander, how they work and their purpose. Have a look here:


As for how the probe would detach itself from the orbiter Dr. Claus said it would happen with a spring mechanism, so with this information I looked in the web and found this article:
This web page has lots of information so have a look and see if you find something else of your interest :)

Another question I raised was how the orbiter is powered, as I thought running out of fuel or batteries could be another option for a mini game. I've done some research and the truth is most of the spacecrafts are powered with solar panels, but missions to deep space (as ours to Neptune) would need enormous panels, so for these missions nuclear energy is the only option. More info here

Also, I just found this blog with the lastest update about the MISSION TO NEPTUNE!! You can find out more about this and also the nuclear fission reactor that is used for the propulsion of the probe in this blog:

Enjoy :)

Friday, 5 December 2014

Last lecture with Marta Kruneva

Just a few notes about last lecture with Marta Kruneva. For those who were not present in the morning lecture, it mainly was about the creation of a logo and a video for the presentation.

Things to take into account when creating a logo:
  • research
  • take notes of what you like
  • what your project/company stands for
  • target audience
Things to take into account when creating a video:
  • what we want to say
  • how we want to show it 
Video examples:
  •  Spotify

  •  Airbnb

Things to have into account when making a explainer video:
  • tell a story
  • convey the message in the first half of the video
  • keep it short (2 min. maximum)
  • speak directly to the audience
  • choose the right pace
  • decide first what kind of animation we want to do and then choose the software.
A couple of resources simple to use:
Video-editing software
Marta also talked about the convinience of animating the logo. We have done this already, but I'm just going to write what she said as we can maybe consider any of these points to make it better:
  • short (under 10 sec.)
  • start slow, reveal the logo at the end
  • colour scheme, background color
  • effects: depth of field, motion blur
  • glare/glow effects
  • 3D particles*
  • camera animation
  • logo animation
  • sound design
*A note from Melina, who I think was the only one in the afternoon session with Marta since Matias, Rob, Deon and me went to the meeting with Mr Claus and then left:


Voyager 2 at Triton (Neptune's biggest moon)

More inspiring ideas for the presentation.

The Voyager 2 spacecraft flew by Triton, a moon of Neptune, on August 25, 1989. Paul Schenk, a scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, used Voyager data to construct this video recreating that exciting encounter.

Enjoy :)

JPL Mobile Apps

Hi guys :)

I found this a couple of weeks ago and posted it on Facebook, but it seems like nobody saw it and it could be really helpful. It's a NASA web page with games and missions apps which are downloadable for apple, android and/or windows:

I haven't downloaded any of them, but I guess they could give us some ideas for the mini games??

Additionally, this other page has lots of stunning space images that we could also use at some point. Have a look!

idea for the presentation

Hello again :)

I just thought we could use something like this to help with the presentation (maybe in the introduction video??) . What do you think??


Virtual Reality: Oculus Rift /vs/ Sony Morpheus

Hello everyone :)

I'm just going to point out some information I read in a Games Extra magazine about VR that might be of interest for our project.

First of all, the magazine makes a definition of what VR is: "Anything which completely immerses you in visuals, sending them directly to your eyes rather than mediating through a TV screen". Therefore, other devices like Google Glass which "projects some visuals to your eyes but lets you see the outside world" are not VR but augmented reality.

It also talks about the story of Oculus Rift, which began in 2012 and has produced three prototype versions since then (DK1, DK2 and Crescent Bay) encouraging a big number of developers to make Oculus Rift versions of their games. No consumer version has been released yet, but it seems that this will happen in 2015.

On the other side, Sony announced in March this year they were working on a VR headset designed to be used with the PlayStation 4, called Project Morpheus. This will cover the consoles games (Oculus will do PC games) and will probably be released towards the end of 2015.

However, there are still some technical issues to overcome such as the latency, which the magazine defines as "a time-gap between any action you make and the reaction you see in your VR headset". This is particularly important for the succes of the VR headsets, as latency could cause motion-sickness to players. Oculus Rift lastest versions have largerly reduced latency whereas Sony's Morpheus early prototypes were laking in it. Another issue to have in mind is the maximum length of time you should spend using VR headsets (the magazine doesn't go any further in this, and I haven't found anything in the internet, but we should look out for more as this is quite important for our project since it could determine the maximum number of mini games to be played in one go - we don't want students to be sick and run away from University, do we? haha :D).

Finally, the article shows a box comparing both Oculus Rift and Sony Morpheus:

There are a few more things in the article I didn't mention because I think they are not relevant for the project, but if any of you guys (especially those doing the research) want to have a look just let me know and I will bring it with me next week to Uni.

I've tried to open this link Rob posted in our Facebook group page…/2014-11-27-frances-health-an… because I thought it may have some relation with all this, but I haven't been able to open it. So feel free to have a look and maybe add something else to this post??

Hope you find this post useful :)

See you soon,

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Potential minigame idea - Using Balance

Hey guys,

During the meeting with Malcolm he mentioned something that I thought was cool and we could maybe use for one of the mini games.

The probe or orbiter (I'm not sure which, somebody who knows please comment) has these buoy's that keeps or helps to keep the orbiter in orbit and stable. So (and credit goes to Dr.Claus cause he came up with this really), what if a mini asteroid / piece of space debris hits one of these buoys and make the orbiter or the probe spin out of control?

This would mean the player would need to keep the orbiter or probe from spinning out of control by manually controlling it. :D

I'm thinking in terms of mini game the player would hold down either left/right trigger on the Xbox360 controller and there would be a balancing mechanic. Pretty similar to something like pipe walking on the Mirrors Edge game. Keep the balance and all is good, points could be awarded based on how well balanced the object is. Keep the balance in the sweet spot gives more points, keeping the balance just outside is less points. Not keeping the balance at all results in the object burning up and it's game over/ minigame failed state.

If you guys think this would be a cool idea it might be worth looking into? 

If so Deon and Luke could do some research into how spacecraft make use of buoys so we can try and make it somewhat realistic?

What do you guys think?

Anyhow that's my rambling done :)

Cheers guys,

Supervisor meeting - Results

Hey all,

Thanks again Matias for setting up the meeting with Dr.Claus. Just to briefly update the other people who couldn't make it please see below.

  • Dr. Claus we really happy with our work thus far guys! :) All feedback was good. So well done to all of you!

We need to keep this momentum going, if we manage that we should be all good come 7 weeks.

  • We took Dr. Claus through the prototypes and showed him the basic mechanic for the Infrared game mechanic. 
  • Matias will give Dr.Claus a link to our new group blog (this bog).

  • We also explained how we would ideally like to give him the ability to modify the system in terms of number of minigames available. Also in terms of changing textures that get applied to assets without having to use the game engine. Keeping the system flexible and modifiable, as Akshayan mentioned. I did let him know that this was something we would 'like' to add to the system not something we definitely will be adding. But I'll try and come up with some kind of Admin panel in the next couple of weeks :) In theory it shouldn't be crazy difficult and would be awesome!

  • We asked a number of animation questions as well, which Begoña made notes of. For example how the probe would detach itself from the orbiter.
  • Begoña also asked about potential issues that would occur with the orbiter which was smart since this could potentially open up loads of mini game scenarios. We also discussed the trade off between probe payload and the weight of the probe.

  • Dr. Clause mentioned, what I think is a neat idea for a mini game, that I will post in a separate post.

  • I also told Dr.Claus that we will have a working prototype with at least one mini game done within the next two weeks. If anything seeing as how we have 7 weeks left we should really be able to meet this deliverable if not surpass. I intent to build a web player build or PC build for him. I'll post more details on my personal blog when that time comes.

Any of you other guys who were present please do reply if you think I've missed anything! :)


Monday, 1 December 2014

Regarding our presentation feedback

Hey guys :D

I have been working through all the research you guys have posted and I have finally caught up with it all. Quick question about your roles as I have been going through the marking scheme.

I can't find anything in terms of UX design or animation with regards to the marking, unless I am missing something.

I took the following from the marking scheme documentation:

Researcher - Assessment based on: the quality of research and presentation measured by the relevance of topics covered, the relevance of the actual findings, the structure of the written document, the references – quality and comprehensiveness, the authority of the sources used

Design Lead - Assessment based on: the quality of the answer to the requirements as set out in the brief and as defined following the research findings; articulation of the design principles in the design document; evidence on how the design evolved; critique of the design in the design document

Tech Lead - Assessment based on: the quality of the implementation (prototype or simulation or animation), functionality; critique of the achievements in the written document

This would mean that we Design lead works closely with the Researcher, and the programmers work closely with the Design lead based on implementing his designs. This is pretty black and white and we will adapt it a bit etc. But this is how these roles will be assessed.

Researcher -> Design Lead -> Tech Lead / Programming

But where do the animation / UX design roles fit in here with regards to the marking?

Animation / UX Design?

I just wanted to be sure we were all aware of this, because even if we make a kick ass simulation (which we will), it won't help you guys out if you miss most of the criteria.

Do you animators / UX guys know what criteria you need to meet? Sorry if this if common knowledge I was stuck at work for this lecture.

Cheers guys :)

Regarding the survey

Hey Matias and Konrad could you guys please post your uni emails here so that I can CC you into the mail thread with Yemi regarding your surveys. The sooner the better as I dont want to keep him waiting  thanks! Either post here or in on the facebook group page if you prefer.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Neptune and probe progress

Neptune and probe progress

Hey guys! 

This is what I have done so far.. I broke it down so you can see the difference. (Begoña, I found a way to create a sphere with a cube using a deformer - Animation menu /create deformers/sculpt deformer/scale it up and delete history)
Can any of you open the probe files in Dropbox? I don't know how to open that file format (help? ;))
This is what I could make from the probe and orbiter pictures please correct me if something is wrong. 
I am not sure if the colors are correct in the picture either.. They are colored like that just to tell that they are different parts right? 
Let me know what you guys think!

Friday, 28 November 2014

Facebook group message logs

Hey guys,

Since we were talking about getting the messages from the facebook group, for archiving I checked out the developer section on Facebook. I found an API and an online explorer that let my export all the group transcripts.

It looks a bit ugly but we now have a hard copy that I put on dropbox, any images or links to videos will come up and links in the log.

I put it under a folder called 'FaceBook_Chatlogs_Raw_data'. We might need to edit the raw data to make it look pretty for the group blog.


Replaced Coordinate System with Raycasting

Hey guys :D 

Quick and sloppy update, I'll go into much more detail tomorrow on my personal blog, with commented code etc.

Basically I replaced my coordinate tracking system (used in the presentation) with a Raycast and tied the rotation to the focus object code I wrote.

Which means I went from 75 lines of code to around 35 lines of code :D Pretty nifty. 

Only drawback at the moment is that it works to well. The Raycast is pretty precise, which means you have to angle the camera perfectly. I think I can offset this by making the planet objects collision sphere larger so it shouldn't be a big problem.

Sorry I wasn't around much (online) today I was super busy at work!

I'll add some screenshots tomorrow and also link to a Github repository I set up for all my uni code.

Peace! *gansta signs*

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

2D Animation

Hey guys, I just found this plug-in for 3D studio max that helps create 2D animations:
Have you worked with it already?? It might be helpful :)

Post Presentation - Team Meeting results

After our presentation we spent some time working out what we need to make a start on. This is what we've agreed upon:

Deon - 2D asset creation / Research into minigames used with the Occulus Rift
Luke - Minigame research / Video editing  / compiling the facebook discussion board
Begoña - Modeling Neptune's moons (placeholder assets with added detail as time permits)
Melina - Modeling Neptune and the Probe

Rob - Texture replacement mechanic for swapping out textures during runtime / Raycasting
Akshayan - 'Rings' minigame implementation / Scope document

Matias wrote down a whole page worth of stuff he wants to start work on with regards to the UX  elements but I'll leave that for him to update.

Please edit this if its nor accurate and let me know and I can update it :)

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Team Meeting Minutes

Meeting minutes from our Skype call today

Brief meeting summary from our skype call.

Spoke about:
  • Who was going to present (we decided on Luke, Deon, Rob)
  • AK was happy for me to present the programming part as he is very busy with work/assignments and had to play catch up.
  • Discussed different parts of the presentation (each area of expertise, UX, Games Design, Animation, Programming) and how they should fit together
  • Begoña and Melina are going to send me compiled slides/assets to cover in the presentation.
  • Covered the overview of the project and how it should be presented - discussed the presentations general overview and how we were doing this.
  • I will talk about the project overview / animation areas / development areas / conclusion
  • Luke (and Deon) will talk about the Project goals (what we are trying to accomplish) / Design / Gamification and Research
  • We'll make sure Matias has the slides for compilation by today/tonight
  • We can add in Melina’s stuff tomorrow along with the other compilation
  • (I'll have a conversation with Matias today at some point) 
   Sub-Tasks before Tuesday:
  1.     Deon will get his slides to Luke sometime today (23/11/2014)
  2.     Begoña will send me her slides at some point tonight (23/11/2014)
  3.     Melina will send me some assets tomorrow (24/11/2014)
In general everyone seemed quite keen to get things done and we all had some very valuable input. Many thanks to all for taking some time out of their week end!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Hello and welcome!

Oceanus Simulations is a group of post graduate students who are working on a simulation project for their univeristy as part of their Digital Media module.

Briefly the aim of this project is to create a Simulation to attract A-level students based on the Mission To Neptune Report by the Astronautics student group.

We are taking an iterative approach working on design and development in paralel. Currently our project is divided into 10 sprints and we are on sprint 2 currently with the next sprint to start on the 26th of November.

Please refer to our individual blogs (on the members page) for more information about our specific work and goings-on.