I first noticed this while in the pub one day after work with some of the Introverts. Mark and Chris were having one of their many discussions where each believe they are completely right and the other is completely wrong, even if they are arguing the same thing. Anyway, the conversation was about to what level the police should be armed in certain situations. Quite a good, fun, serious point. Chris made a very compelling argument that while pepper spray is good, it doesn't have the same psychological power as a firearm. You know, if you have a gun in your face, you're more likely to stop running at a Police Officer than if they were pointing a can of what could be hair spray at you. So what do you do about it? Well, according to Chris, you make all pepper spray cans look like guns, obviously. And while I still think this is a good idea, the conversation took on a very different turn from then on. Kitten rocket launchers to subdue rioters were not exempt from being mentioned. And this isn't limited to out of office hours either. Routine, Darwinia+ meetings turn from technical problems (such as control mappings) to “So's your face” slug matches. It's great!
So anyway, why is this blog worthy? Well, as you may have noticed, people other than the directors are now putting up blog posts. This came out of the very serious work we did in Italy. We have all been given the chance to not only work on our official projects, but anything we want, and that we think would be cool.
Eventually, I will follow in Gary and Byron's footsteps and post up snippets from a game, but the first thing I wanted to do was make something silly just because I can. And that silly thing was Defcon Augmented Reality (Xvid required).
Simply put, if Virtual Reality is a completely computer generated world you walk around in, Augmented Reality is somewhere between that and Real Life. It is the rendering of computer generated content into an image of the real world. This can range from SatNav in your car that draws arrows on the road for you to follow, to, well, games! It's something that I think is incredible cool, and has a lot of potential.
DefconAR was originally just gonna be a cool little toy for us to use in the office to wow people who came to see us. Who'd have to hide the Defcon screen from your boss when playing Office mode, if there isn't even a window open for it? Have a small tile on your desk, wearing some AR goggles, and no one would know. Obviously there isn't much to it at the moment, I still need to spice up the world rendering, and then add in some actual content, but just imagine how this would look with nukes flying over the globe in realistic arcs, and maybe even 3D mushroom clouds.
I'm currently using something called the ARToolkit to just get this prototype up and running, but there are a few things I would do differently if I could, so it might be that I'm going to have to learn a nice lot of image processing techniques in order to add in an AR module to our code base. This would mean that this project would move from a silly little gadget to a serious project. But if that happens, you could well see the all the Introversion staff standing around a table in the middle of the Flying Hamster, watching a fully operational Subversion building. Wouldn't that be seriously cool?
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