What’s half an Atom? An amazing deal, that’s what!

Have you always wanted Cubey Terra’s best plane, but couldn’t dig up the Linden dollars? Now’s your chance to add it to your aircraft hangar with all the bragging rights that go with it.

For a limited time, the Cubey Terra signature sport plane, Terra Atom, is on sale.

Get the Terra Atom for 50% off the regular price (for a limited time).

Get your Terra Atom before the sale ends. Visit Terra Aeronautics on the Second Life Market place.

Terra Atom is an agile and powerful single-seat plane designed with a mid-century feel. It’s flowing lines are inspired by the Supermarine S.6B, P-51 Mustang, and Bugatti 100p. Even parked on the tarmac, it looks fast.

Here’s what’s under the hood:

  • Mesh design with a paint menu that lets you choose from several paint schemes.
  • The instrument panel in the cockpit shows real flight data if you fly in first-person (“mouselook”) view.
  • The HUD attachment includes speed indicator, altimeter, artificial horizon, compass, vertical speed indicator, fuel and temperature indicators, and several switches and buttons to control your plane.
  • Optional hovertext info display on the tail.
  • Optional collision damage: prop strike, wing strike, tail strike, water landing.
  • Optional overspeed wing shear.
  • Optional engine damage and fuel use (uses free Terra Aircraft Fuel).
  • Terra Atom’s handling can be modified to your preferences: adjust roll, pitch, and thrust.
  • Flip a switch for a smoke trail.
  • The product updater gets the latest available version.

Setting up for room-scale virtual reality

I’m extremely unhappy with my Oculus Rift. It’s mind-blowing. Even months after adopting a Rift, I’m simply astounded by how it feels to slip on the VR goggles and be transported to other places and other lives. Or to make something in Blender, and then pick it up and turn it over in my hands at it as if it were a real object. Or to teleport to a campfire and chat with people from around the world.

Yes, I’m really very unhappy with my Rift, because right now it’s packed in a moving box where it’s going to stay for at least a week until it makes its debut in a new home. Is VR withdrawal a thing? I feel like it’s a thing.

But as the great Julius Henry Marx once said, “Time flies like an arrow, and fruit flies like a banana.” Before I know it, I’ll be setting up my first fully room-scale virtual reality space in the new apartment. Room-scale VR for the Rift means finding the optimal placement for two or three Rift sensors — the camera-cum-positioning sensors — so that your Rift and controllers are visible to at least two sensors no matter which way you turn. When sensor placement is sub-optimal, your virtual hands may freeze up, for example.

So why would you need to cover an entire room with sensors? Because of the robots, of course. Action games like Robo Recall and Echo Arena need space for you to throw, punch, dodge, reach, and more. Honestly, if you don’t give yourself enough space, you and your furniture will regret it.

What is the optimal placement?

Room-scale, overlapping Rift sensor placement [source: Oculus.com]
Room-scale, overlapping Rift sensor placement [source: Oculus.com]
This blog post by the Oculus Rift team explains how to cover a room efficiently. If you’re considering picking up a Rift bundle, which is now selling for only $400 US in most places, you’ll want to consult this post.

Oculus Rift blog: https://www.oculus.com/blog/oculus-roomscale-tips-for-setting-up-a-killer-vr-room/

Ubisoft mix up gives hundreds early access to Star Trek VR game

Ubisoft’s Star Trek: Bridge Crew releases Tuesday, May 30.

It’s like Santa showing up two days before Christmas with exactly what you asked him for. This morning, virtual reality fans woke up to discover that this week’s big VR title, Star Trek: Bridge Crew, was available for purchase and download. Discord user Erthican posted the news:

Some boldly went too soon. (image credit: Ubisoft)

Star Trek Bridge Crew is available now for Oculus Home through Ubisoft’s website, instructions to get it ready to go are pinned here. We have members online and playing, looking for crew, and loving the game already. Looking forward to meeting you on the bridge!

New spread quickly to Reddit. Apparently, it only worked for users in the US and Canada, but of course a VPN comes in handy for other countries, notes Redditor, Decapper:

Just vpn to USA, you can download from U.K. Once you get key then you just need to vpn again to login. That it close vpn and play

It wasn’t long until reports of amazingly immersive gameplay rolled in:

image credit: Ubisoft

i get a total nerd thrill out of saying out everything i’m doing like i’m on the show :stuck_out_tongue: plus theres an absolute joy in not taking action you know you need to take because you havne’t been ordered to yet…
like when i was at tactical and we were headed towards mines but i didn’t get permission to fire yet and the captain was in the middle of talking so i just had to sit and watch them get closed until he was done so i could get permission [Discord user Rotalumiz]

And then the fun came to a sudden, abrupt end, when suddenly activation keys stopped working, and installed copies of Star Trek: Bridge Crew vanished from their Oculus Library. Poof!

So what happened? A Redditor and apparent Ubisoft rep, UbiCeeCee, posted an explanation:

Some players have received access to Star Trek: Bridge Crew prior to the official launch of May 30th. We have since followed up with how these were distributed and corrected the issue. As a result of this correction, if you receive an Oculus key early and try to redeem it, you will get an “unknown error has occurred when redeeming this code”. This is normal and you will be able to redeem your code when the game goes live at 12:00am EST on May 30th. We’re sorry for any confusion or inconvenience this may cause. We looking forward to seeing you all in the Trench on Tuesday

So the wait continues. But we have this description from YesICannabis420 to whet our appetite:

I have successfully completed a few missions with a brave crew and a fantastic captain, bumbled through captaining a mission myself, blown up Klingons and disabled engines on a freighter…

The response from players so far has been overwhelmingly positive in terms of the actual gameplay and general Star Trek feel. I for one feel like a dream has come true.

My dream VR rig, realized

As my followers know, I’ve been involved with all things virtual since I became a content creator for Second Life waaaaaay back in 2003. Back then, SL seemed incredibly demanding, in terms of its hardware requirements, and I couldn’t afford an adequate SL rig until 2007 when I bought my dream machine: a Pentium quad core at 2.4 GHz with a whopping 4 gigabytes of RAM. A speed demon!

I’ve had my eye on the rise of VR hardware even as my once-enviable computer edged further into the depressing territory of obsolescence. How could I contribute to new virtual worlds without anything resembling a capable PC?

A naked processor! Gasp!

This year, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive seem to be hitting their stride. Microsoft is pushing new hardware for their “mixed reality” solutions. Console gamers are getting in on the action with PlayStation VR. Even smartphones have VR content with Google Daydream and the aging Google Cardboard. 2017 marks a major step forward in consumer adoption of virtual reality.

In this context, I realized that it’s time to step up and buy a ticket to the virtual world. So I built my dream machine.

It’s going to get really nerdy in a moment, so if you glaze over at the mention of hardware, you might want to visit my sidebar for some more engaging content where I write about penguins, breakfast sandwiches, and airplanes.

Knowing that VR is extremely demanding, I decided to get the best I could afford (which is different from the best available), that would fit into the smallest form factor possible.

  • Case: CoolerMaster Elite 130. This one’s notable for being small, but long enough to house a full-size graphics card, which is key for VR.
  • MSI B260i Pro “gaming” motherboard in a mini-ITX form factor (to fit my mini-ITX case).
  • Intel i7 7700k quad core “Kaby Lake”. My last was a quad core, but this clocks in at 4.2GHz without overclocking. Nifty.
  • Corsair “Vengeance” RAM, 16GB. I don’t know how fast. It’s supposedly quite fast.
  • MSI/nVidia GTX 1060 graphics card with 6GB on-board. Here I skimped a bit, but a 1080 seemed like overkill.
  • Samsung SSD for the system drive.

And then, of course, I bought myself an Oculus Rift with Oculus Touch controllers (described in a previous post). After recovering from utter stunned amazement at my Rift, I noticed that my little i7 was overheating badly. The Noctua “low-profile” cooler that the store expert assured me was sufficient was not. Like… close to boiling water kind of insufficient.

The best solution for a hot processor is liquid cooling. But in a mini-ITX case? It was already a tight squeeze, but I managed to mash a full-size Corsair twin-fan radiator and pump inside along with the truly bulky GTX 1060.

So now I have my dream machine — a rig that can handle pretty much anything this year’s software can throw at it. And a bit less the next year. And the next year. Until the relentless march of time turns my dream into a doorstop.

Stay frosty

Virtual reality sits out on the bleeding edge of technology — a spot its occupied for decades — always an elusive dream. Now, with the right hardware, it’s within reach.  A dream machine can take us there.