Note: This was my project for the Student-Driven Solutions Microgrant and was cross-posted from the Jewish Ed project
n my project, Jeremiah VR, students and teachers can walk through a museum environment and explore the verses of the Book of Jeremiah. At the present time, I am creating a beta version of Jeremiah, Chapter 1. The user is fully tracked in 3D space, allowing him/her to walk around the physical space available or teleport using the tracked motion controllers.
The controllers each have multiple buttons including a thumbstick, two triggers, and a full touchpad. By pushing up on the thumbstick in either hand, the user can then point to where he/she would like to teleport to. Pointing at and selecting the text of the verses will trigger some sort of interaction. Depending on the verse, this might be a map, animation, speech bubbles, or a recording.
This is only the beginning, and the project will continue to be iterated into a fully interactive experience. In the future, objects will be able to be held and inspected up close, the environment will be full of other chapters from Jeremiah as well, and there will be full sound. This will allow the user to experience the world of the prophets gaining a tangible impression of the world of the prophets.
Okay, so this week I started working on something new, but have no idea what to call it. All I know is that I haven't seen it done before, so I have a feeling it's unprecedented in the world of indie gaming. There's a screenshot below. It's an isometric superhero game... that's not an action game.
Thanks for reading! Check back here at the official MidnightCoffee blog for more info coming!
So, 2017 has been extremely busy for me. I finished and released ROSWELL on two platforms. At the beginning of the summer I spoke at ISTE (International Society for Tech in Education) about what I learned during the development of ROSWELL. During the summer I had an idea for a game... and then completed it within the first few months of school. This became Seek Not a Lighthouse.
Then, in November/December I applied for an edTech grant and won!
This means that my next project for the coming months will be to use the grant money to develop a Virtual Reality adventure in which players can explore interesting locations we read about in class.
However, seeing as I tend to obsess over multiple ideas, I always have a personal project in the works on top of whatever I'm working on in edTech. This time it's something that I haven't seen ever done before.
Keep checking back here at the MidnightCoffee blog to be in the know!
Thanks for reading!
Google Pixel Buds: More Than Meh
Ah the Pixel Buds... Quite possibly one of the most polarizing products in recent history.
After removing the headphone jack from their wonderful (despite its issues) Pixel 2 phone, they created the Buds as a response to Apple's Airpods. People seem to either hate them or love them, with not much "meh" in between--and, I'll be perfectly honest: despite their issues, I love them!
First thing's first, when you use them...
The gestures on the side of the right bud only do four things:
1) Swipe forward for volume up
2) Swipe backward for volume down
3) Hold for Assistant (more on that later)
4) Double Tap for notifications and time
Sadly there is no way to skip tracks without asking Google. (More on that later)
The Buds follow Google's design language with the fabric-coated case and the simple colors of the buds. (They come in colors that match the Pixel 2s').
I personally love the feel of the case, but due to its construction, I do worry about its longevity.
As it is made of fabric, it is prone to stains (as is their fabric Daydream VR headset), but that's not the biggest deal to me. The case is rigid enough for me not to worry about the Buds getting damaged inside, which is good. However, the second you open the case, it is immediately clear that the hinge wasn't designed with as much care as the rest of it. It feels like someone took a small piece of cardboard and put some tape on it. Yeah, it's that bad...
It's not an issue at the moment--I throw them in my pocket almost wherever I go and there hasn't been an issue--however, I would be worried about how long it would last...
The Buds Themselves:
The actual Buds are a different story. They feel great in my hand--I would even say better than the Airpods--and I would not be worried about them breaking in any way.
One of people's major complaints about them when Google first announced the Buds was that there's a cord connecting them, making them inferior to Apple's fully wireless earbuds.
I feel the complete opposite. When the Airpods were first announced, my first thought was "oh god I've already lost them," so I am very thankful for the cord. When not in use, I can just drape them around my neck and not have to worry!
Another major complaint was the way they fit in your ear. They use a strange looping mechanism that needs some getting used to. When I first put them on, I instinctively made the loop as big as it can go, thinking that it would need that size to stay in. I was wrong.
I have a feeling this is one of the misunderstandings about this product. The loop isn't on or off. The whole point is that it's adjustable to fit your eat. So, after much fiddling I did get a good fit. Unfortunately, the fit does get lost every now and then after putting them back in the case, but that's something I got used to. Overall, after finding the right fit, you do almost forget they're there... but only after finding the right fit.
As for the sound quality, they sound significantly better than the Airpods, with a little more bass and overall sound quality. They do not go inside your ear canal like some other earbuds. Rather, they sort of rest on the outside of your ear, hanging. This makes outside noise very easy to hear while listening, which is a common complaint. Again, this is a misunderstanding of the product. They are supposed to be worn all the time (or, at least that's what Google wants), so the user should be able to hear outside noise! However, for headphones that do not go all the way inside your ear, they do sound great.
Google Assistant and Translator:
Assistant, Pairing, and Translate are the three buzzwords on the product page, and I'll tell you... only one of these things work flawlessly.
Assistant is, simply put, amazing. I find myself looking for excuses to use it throughout my day. I am an avid user of Google Play Music, so I often ask "What song is playing" or "Skip track" (because of the lack of a "Skip Track" gesture.) Google assistant is literally instant: you can touch and hold and begin speaking immediately! Google's response time will vary depending on your connection, however.
Instant-Pair is a different story. I am using the Buds with a Samsung Galaxy S8 at the moment, and instant pairing is still supposed to work... but it didn't. Not at first, at least. The first time, I had to pair them manually like any other pair of bluetooth earbuds, which was annoying, seeing as I was expecting a seamless first experience. However, after that, the second I open the case, they are instantly paired to my phone, ready for use.
I should mention that they do work well with MacOS and Windows computers quite well, with the touch and hold gesture being used to activate Siri. Swipe for volume gestures work on any device.
Translation is a strange one. It supposedly (according to Google) does not work with any phone other than a Pixel phone (1 or 2). But, I was able to get it working once...but never again. There are a few reviewers who said it worked fine with other devices, but I have had no such luck.
Overall, the Buds are a good product. However, they are not for everyone. If you are looking for a device that you can talk to when needed, (for tasks, that is. not for loneliness), have good sound quality, and that you can hear the outside world with--as I was--these are for you.
If you are looking for the Babel Fish (Google it--or better yet, as Assistant), able to translate anything you hear, well, they're not there yet...
Thank's for reading!
heck back here at the MidnightCoffee Blog for more product reviews, game updates, and more!
Haven't posted in a while, mainly due to busyness. Went to a local comic con yesterday exhibiting ROSWELL, Pengwings, and an early build of Seek Not a Lighthouse. Went well.
Okay, back to the development stuff!
Hopefully the game will be out by the end of the summer for you all to play!
After getting an extra monitor for my desk setup, development has been much faster.
I've been trying to pack in as many references to other games of the same genre for my own fun...
("For a good time - 2460") -- Maniac Mansion, 1988
With the extra monitor, I can easily transfer scenes between Photoshop and the game engine, making things so much easier.
More screenshots of the game will be posted shortly, so keep your eyes out!
Production of our 3rd game has just began mere weeks ago, with the first build looking great!
Seek Not a Lighthouse is a point and click adventure game with a retro style (as we do here at MidnightCoffee, Inc.).
Taking inspiration from classic LucasArts games, such as Monkey Island and Maniac Mansion, Lighthouse has ridiculous puzzles with a fascinating narrative.
You play as a traveler, lost in his way, who comes across an island on the verge of sinking. He soon finds out that the islanders are not so keen on his arrival...
.Just practiced first two minutes up on stage. Seems pretty good so far. Backstage is pretty cool too. Using similar tech to Frisch's Cougar Nation Livestreaming, so I'm pretty familiar with all of it.
The session starts at 10 here in San-Antonio, and 11 EST (New York).
MidnightCoffee is proud to announce that we will be giving an Ignite session Tomorrow (Monday) morning!