DIY – Building your own Computer

I’ve been building computers on and off since…  whenever. This is a video that shows a quick build for those that have never built their own computer. It is from ASUS, my choice in motherboards. They deliberately make it look easy. While I am sure they ran into problems when building this unit and then edited them out, this is pretty real.

For instance, the radiator and memory conflict they mention. First time through this would be an almost certain gotcha. It would normally require some disassembly, new plan, and re-assembly.

If you are wondering how he knows what wire to hook to what connector, it is the motherboard manual that explains that. Computer assembly is pretty much a paint by number thing these days. The complication is in knowing what they are calling things.

The home for ASUS on YouTube is here. You’ll find a full parts list on this page. Continue reading

How to Play PC Games on Gear VR 2017… Right…

This is for NVIDIA owners… sorry AMD peeps. It’s a software limitation.

Stream Theater Start Screen – Post Setup

So, you want to see Second Life™ or any OpenGL game on your Gear VR. Well… you are going to have to learn a lot. You’ll also find few are telling you what the result of their tutorials or apps actually provides. Advertising hype is everywhere. If  O N E  PC or OpenGL game will run or even sort of run, then PC and OpenGL compatibility is the headline. Expect disappointment. I’ll explain what worked for me below.

Visual quality is the next point of disappointment. My S8 has a 4k screen. I normally run it at 2k to save battery. In everyday use, 2k is pretty much retina resolution, way sharp and crisp, beautiful. 4k is overkill. If I didn’t tell you which mode the phone was in, you probably couldn’t guess.

The Gear VR turns the phone up to 4k when connected. Most VR headsets are NOT 4k and thus most media is made for 2k and that media is fuzzy on my 4k screen. Looking at my 1k 24” Samsung monitor is way nicer.

Then there is ‘screen door’… This is a term from the VR-world. The headsets magnify the small screens to fill the field of view. In doing so the individual pixels start to be visually apparent. This creates an effect that looks a bit like looking through a window/door screen. With the S8 it is a very fine screen, but a visible screen.  Continue reading

VR: Minimal Latency

You probably know a serious problem with VR is latency, the delay between moving your head and your eyes seeing the visual response. It is considered the primary cause of Simulator Sickness, aka motion sickness, AKA sea sickness, etc. A part of that delay comes from how long it takes the display screen to refresh the image it displays.

I suspect many of us haven’t realized that for Augmented Reality the problem is even worse. In AR we are seeing the world in real time with perfect sight and head movement synchronization and  an lagging AR image super imposed. While there is less chance of simulator/motion sickness the lag is visually obvious and annoying. See the video.

NVIDIA is experimenting with 16,000Hz (16KHz) screens. My Samsung screen provides a 120Hz refresh rate, more than 1,000 times slower.

See: NVIDIA Demonstrates Experimental 16,000Hz AR Display

We can get acceptable AR for most uses with way lower refresh rates. However, NVIDEA’s tech will provide crisp images even in combat games and athletic efforts where head motion is extreme.

Second Life and NVIDA Update Problem – Fix

It seems people updating to the current NVIDIA driver are having problems logging in. They crash on viewer launch.

As of April 6, there is an NVIDIA driver version 381.65. This is the one people have a problem with. The previous version 378.92, the one I am running, does not have the problem. So, some people are rolling back to 378.92.

Whirly Fizzle has posted in the SL Forum that the problem has been tracked to NVIDIA’s Shadowplay/Share feature. Turn it off and things work.

We are early in this problem fix cycle. So, we may learn more soon.

NVIDIA Driver 378.66 Released

SL users have suffered from a problem with the NVIDIA driver, a blue colored world. I haven’t seen the problem, except in pictures. Whether you see the problem or not depends on your graphics settings. Having ALM enabled seems to eliminate the problem. So, while I can’t say this new driver version fixes the problem, it is worth a try.

Version 378.66 released 2/13. Download.

Which platform are VR people using?

Massively Overpowered has an article about information a company named Superdata provided on the gaming market and VR: Virtual Reality Helps Push Mobile Gaming To New Heights.

Winter Circus

Winter Circus

I find it interesting that mobile VR games netted as much money as the movie industry netted from box offices. Mobile VR accounted for half the global market in digital games. I think that is rather impressive and shifts my thinking on where gaming and VR are going.

I suppose it is not that surprising. I plan to buy my next phone based on its VR abilities. I have to have a phone. My existing telecom contracts have expired. I can change carriers, renew or not a contract… I’m sort of a telecom free agent. But, buying a dedicated VR headset, like an Oculus, would be a total splurge and unlikely. An upgrade for the desktop I built in 2016 is more likely. i5 to i7 or 1060 to 1080 or even a 2080 (NVIDIA will likely have the 20 series out in early 2017).

With information coming out about how VR is going mobile way more than I ever expected, I am almost certain to consider Samsung’s coming (end of March, may be April) S8 for my VR. Especially since it is Samsung that is out selling other VR mobile makers. (4.5 million out of 6.4 million sold in 2016 – 69.2% market share.)

Gaming in 2016 – Predicting 2017?

According to SuperData Research  people spent US$91,000,000,000 on games. Billion… This is an all-time record. But, they are hyping things a bit. In 2015 Statistica shows $91.5 billion spent and $99.6 billion in 2016. I suppose it depends on where one gets their numbers and categorizes them. Game revenue is notoriously flaky as companies like to hype their increasing sales and keep decreases secret.

Still that is about a 10% increase year-to-year. Eight billion isn’t chump change, unless your spending $10 trillion on credit, like some governments…

Data From Statistica

They break the revenue down into subcategories. Handheld games are dying. Smartphone games are the hot item. They show the largest growth from 2015 to 2016 and that is expected to continue, which seems reasonable as smartphones are selling well.

In 2005 smartphones sales were just $3.8 billion. Eleven years later in 2016 sales of smart phones was $55 billion, a 1,447% increase. So, as more people get smartphones there are more possible users of smartphone games. According to Statistica a little less than half of the 2016 game revenue was from smartphone gaming. Continue reading