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Month: June 2015

Hoping to build a computer this year…

Still waiting. You know, for 2016. Because you know what happens in 2016? Presidential election! But, more interestingly, the Oculus Rift will be released! (If everything goes as planned, I guess.)

(Sorry in advance for the materialistic nature of this post. Thinking too much about money and materialistic crap may be harmful to some readers’ souls. Reader discretion is advised.)

I spent some time researching the computer I’ll need to power the Rift, and honestly I’d like to have it ASAP so I can start fooling around with game programming with Unity 5. (As I said before, my current computer runs Unity 4 too slowly, and my OS (Vista) is not even officially supported, so trying to learn Unity on here is a bit torturous.) I’ve used this site as a sort of guide for what I’ll need, so I’m basically looking into building the computer myself, which, for all my interest in computers, will be my first time actually building one from individually purchased parts. Fingers crossed that it’ll go well. Anyway, my plans currently don’t deviate much from the parts listed on the aforementioned site. I’ll probably look into different cases as I’d prefer one with a bit more personality (such as a window), but that’s only if I can find one at a good price with some good space for future upgrades should I want them. Hard drive wise, I’d like to look into perhaps getting both a solid state drive to store the operating system and an old-fashioned mechanical hard drive with 1 or 2 TB’s for some good storage. (Composing music can take up a good amount of space when you’re storing some big audio files, plus games in general can take up some significant chunks themselves.) I’ll have to research how to set that up.

Altogether, my current estimate is that the computer will cost $1,200. Of course, when the time comes, I’ll search around for deals and save every bit I can. I’ll probably also search some nearby stores and see if I can pick up anything in person; having to wait for parts in the mail will be torture for my weak impatient soul (though that will probably be the cheaper option). Anyway, I won’t have to worry about it yet; still gotta save the actual money. (It’s tempting to just use my credit card and buy it all now, but I guess I’ll resist.) With the debts I’m still paying off, my phone bill, and my Netflix addiction, it’ll probably take around three months, give or take. I’m currently about 1/6th of the way there, $200 saved of $1,200. So only $1,000 short.

It’s aggravating having to wait; my mind’s been obsessed with dreaming about VR and a new rig all week. Everything I do feels like something to fill the time while waiting. And while that hasn’t really helped me be more productive in any way, it has actually been a bit cathartic; it’s helped relieve some of my overly-self-conscious “is this a good use of my time?” anxiety that just makes me angry when I feel like I wasted some time, which just makes me waste more time.

I’ve also been looking forward to YouTube’s upcoming game-streaming platform, their answer to Twitch. Maybe I’ll even try streaming some gameplay of my own, though that’ll have to wait until I build that new rig, because I doubt my current Vista-powered computer would stream very well.

I’m also looking forward to the upcoming game for PS4, The Last Guardian, showcased not long ago at E3. I’ve been waiting at least 6 years for this game; it was originally intended as a PS3 game, but it’s been in development for so long that PS4 is now their target console. Check it out:

I don’t have a PS4, but I guess I’ll need to buy one just for this game. Unless I get trapped in my Oculus Rift.

Waiting for the Oculus Rift

It was computer gaming that inspired┬áme to self-learn GW-BASIC programming in elementary school. I wanted to make games. For the past decade, I’ve meandered from that interest, more towards music composition, writing fantasy, and even a couple years studying character animation. I’ve also been interested in 3D images since a young age, when ViewMasters and those Magic Eye books were popular. I’ve loved 3D movies at the theater since they’ve become feasible. I pity those who get motion sickness from the experience, but I’ve never understood any other sort of objections to them. (I, on the other hand, get motion sickness when trying to read in a car, which stinks. I usually have to look out the front window to avoid sickness. Of course, when driving, I have to do that anyway.)

So I’m super excited for the Oculus Rift, the virtual reality gear set to come out sometime near the beginning of 2016. That also gives me time to save up the money to buy it, along with the new computer I’ll need to power it. (And which I need anyway now that my 2009 Alienware laptop is practically useless outside of safe mode thanks to a failing hard drive, and my 2008 Vista-powered desktop is almost out of hard drive space and is outdated a quite a few other regards.) The Rift may get me obsessed with gaming again, and of course I’ll also want to explore developing my own projects with Unity 5. (My current desktop doesn’t even support Unity 5, and Unity 4 runs so slowly that it’s a bit agonizing to use.)┬áThe wait is a bit agonizing, but I’m definitely looking forward to it.

Beyond gaming, I can’t help but think about other possibilities the VR gear may make possible. Could I write a novel in a VR world, inspired by fantastical scenery and drowning out real-world distractions? Could I compose music by moving around blocks of notes or something instead of having to click notes into a scoring program? Could I watch a movie (perhaps a 3D one?) in a virtual movie theater so that it’s like watching the movie on a big screen in the distance?

How might VR gear transform websites themselves into virtual experiences? Could I browse books on Amazon as an enormous epic bookstore? Could I make a VR world for my blog?

What about chatting and VR hangouts in virtual worlds?

And then of course there’s Oculus’s Story Studio which I’ve already blogged about that is exploring fascinating possibilities.

I can’t wait to see what awesome new worlds VR technology may make possible!