I just have no words.
The past few months have been ridiculously difficult, all due to Apple.
Yes, I have been using a PC for my VR development, but I've been using Macs since I was 7. Aside from accidental damage, I've never had any issue--Until now.
As some of you may know, I got a grant to develop The Jeremiah VR Experience prototype. Part of this grant allowed me to purchase a Macbook Pro 13 with Touch Bar. It had 16gb of RAM and 256gb of storage.
This machine became my primary non-home/non-VR computer that I took to school, used for all Photoshop and Illustrator work, and some light video editing, 3D modeling, and programming. (I also used it to remotely access my VR rig when I'm not at home.)
Then came the keyboard issue.
It was (and still is) mentioned all around the internet, but I never thought much of it--until it hit my machine.
Oh well. I took it to my local Genius bar and had it fixed at no cost. Yay. After being delayed twice, I finally got it back.
A week later the touch bar was acting weird, and then stopped working completely. Just my luck.
I took it in again, waited a week, picked it up and brought it home, again at no cost. The second I took it home and turned it on, I noticed two things: There was a loud clicking sound whenever I opened or closed the lid, and a white splotch on the screen. Crap.
Okay, fine, I took it in again, waited another week, then, finally, I got it back again. The Genius handed me the laptop, and I immediately noticed that the lid was misaligned. Yes, it was shifted to the right. This is the third time I am left with a defective product that was truly their fault. Their policy is that after three botched repairs they replace the laptop. Okay, fine, if that's the best I can do, so be it. They told me that I can either wait two weeks for a refurbished laptop of the same model number, or take what they had in stock at the store. After all that, I refused to risk accepting a refurbished computer, so I went with what they had in stock at the time. All they had that was comparable was a 13 inch Macbook Pro with 512gb of storage and 8gb of RAM. Not the same as what I had originally. After all the waiting, I gave up and took that machine. It's still acceptable for the Adobe Suite, though the extra 8gb of RAM I had before would have been helpful.. oh well. I now have enough storage to dump my entire movie library on it, so that's good!
Please Apple. Don't let this happen again. People trust in your (mostly) superior build quality, great software, and, more importantly, your customer support as being some of the best in the business. But, if incidents like these keep happening, it's hard to maintain that trust.
As I've mentioned before, I am using the Dell Visor WMR Headset, running on Microsofts "Mixed Reality" software, but developing for SteamVR. This has worked great and hasn't caused any issue before. (Except when Steam tells me my boundaries aren't set when they are, just through the WMR home.)
Because of all of the issues plaguing the Windows October Update, my computer didn't get it until yesterday. The update includes a few new cool features for the WMR platform, and I figured I'd break them down and discuss what they mean for SteamVR Developers!
You can see the full list of updates at the link at the bottom of this post, but with that being said, let's see what's included!
First we have one of the coolest features, the "Mixed Reality Flashlight." This allows users to "Open a portal into the real world to find your keyboard, see someone nearby, or take a look at your surroundings without removing your headset!" This is super useful if you need to quickly make changes to something on your computer screen... but for that, it does make more sense to just flip up the headset. For people walking into the room, however, this is actually perfect. The question is, can we turn it on while in a SteamVR App?
...Well yes you can, because one of the other new features is that you can 1) launch SteamVR apps from the WMR home! While this isn't a huge benefit to developers, it is extremely useful to VR game players because launching SteamVR just to play a game is a little annoying. And 2) The Windows button on the controllers now changes function depending on what you're doing! This means that it can launch the SteamVR menu, turn on the flashlight, or go back to the home!
But, more technical stuff, developers can now use QR codes in their apps to scan outside objects. Additionally, there is now hardware DRM support for WMR immersive apps. Devs can also have the Mixed Reality Capture UI directly in their apps, so users don't have to start it in the home.
As cool as these features are, the problem is that they only work for WMR apps, and won't have any affect in normal SteamVR apps. In any case, we'll have to see what cool stuff people come up with!
You can see the full changelog here:
Thanks for reading!
You may have noticed that the past two posts used a color block behind the text unlike the usual all black background with white text. Though I much preferred the white text on black, when taking the RSS feed and publishing it elsewhere, the white text color carries over, making the text invisible on white backgrounds, which the majority of websites use...
I didn't realize this until yesterday so for now on this will be the way it is. No big deal, just thought I'd mention it.
EDIT: Now, for some reason, the RSS feed is picking up the HTML code of the color block, so that's out. I can't change the theme of the site to have a white background, because then, unless I go back and change the text color from every post, older posts will be invisible! So then, I guess I'll be sticking with this grey text on black. It translates well to any other background color, so that's good.
Additionally, my overall workflow has been set back for a bit. My setup usually consists of a gaming PC for VR, and a Macbook Pro for other art creation for the game. A few weeks ago, my Mac suffered from the same damn keyboard issue that plagued many other machines. After being delayed twice by Apple, I finally got it repaired... BUT, since then the Touch Bar has been acting strange, until a few days ago where it just became completely unresponsive. So, once again, I am eagerly awaiting my laptop to be back from the Apple Repair Center. Very frustrating.
In any case, despite these issues, I have been working as hard as I can, implementing new features and fixing old bugs every day. Be on the look out for a new post detailing exactly what I've been working on specifically, and maybe even a rundown of my entire game dev setup!
Thanks for reading!