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/

Cubical dweller again

I suppose that only a handful of my readers remember the days when this blog was CubicleDweller.com. Back in the heyday of personal blogs, I wrote frequently about life at the office, working the cubical farm — you can still read those posts in the archives here. Fewer readers will know that this is how I got the name “Cubey”, which I carried forward as “Cubey Terra” for a decade and a half of building aeronautic fun in the virtual world.

As of last week, I’ve headed back to the cube farm. I’m once again working full-time as a software technical writer. What that means is that Cubey Terra will only be around on weekends, and that new hoverboard will be delayed. 


If any of my Second Life customers need help, please go ahead and message me in-world — I get those as emails, and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as possible. 

So Second Life, I’ll see you next weekend. Real life, I see you all the time, don’t I? Stop being so clingy.

Christmas leftover mélange recipe

A blender, often used once right after Christmas, and thereafter used to fill space in the back of the bottom cupboard
A blender, often used once right after Christmas, and thereafter used to fill space in the back of the bottom cupboard

This recipe is not only an excellent way to finish up the endless Christmas leftovers, but also great for trying out the blender you unwrapped two days ago.

  1. Add some leftovers to the blender jar: cold, slimy turkey meat, dried-up mashed potatoes, and veggies with the good ones picked out (leaving mainly Brussels sprouts).
  2. If you have any gravy left, add that, but realistically all you’ll have is a gallon of cranberry sauce. Add that with a deep sigh of resignation.
  3. Carefully measure 1 cup of rum-and-eggnog, gulp it down, then put the rest into the blender.
  4. If you have any fruit cake or short bread you can optionally add them or you could keep them until next year. They’ll be completely inedible by then, but nobody will notice, since they’re never actually eaten.
  5. Purée until smooth. If you need more liquid, add the tears of young children who didn’t get exactly what they wanted for Christmas.
  6. Decant the mixture into a large, disposable cup, and throw it vigorously at your neighbour’s garish lights-and-sounds Christmas lawn display — it’s best served at Santa’s head, but Rudolf or Frosty are reasonable substitutes.

After the overwhelming merriment of the holiday season, a large mug of this mélange of Christmas cheer can bring relaxation and smug satisfaction as you peer between the curtains at your confused neighbours.

How I love Christmas

Children everywhere in this time zone are at this moment practically quaking and excitement of jumping out of bed to see what Santa brought them. That was me, an undisclosed number of years ago. More than a few. Okay, a lot of years.

What do I look forward to in Christmas Day these days?

  • Annoying people by sleeping late.
  • Eating a proper breakfast.
  • Looking back on a full day and knowing that it won’t be back for 364 days.

I think of Christmas in the same way that the writers say, “I loathe writing, but I love having written.”

I love having Christmassed.

Merry Christmas, all. Don’t worry. It’s over soon. 🎄