Unite 2016 – VR Technical Solutions and How They Influence Design

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Graeme Borland, Anton Hand, Julie Heyde, Kayla Kinnunen and Elliott Mitchell at Unite ’16 Los Angeles

One day into Unity’s flagship Conference, Unite 2016 (Los Angeles, CA), Vermont Digital Arts’ Elliott Mitchell was unexpectedly invited to speak on a panel, VR Technical Solutions and How They Influence Design. Of course, Elliott gratefully obliged!

Watch the video below to hear some entertaining VR war stories from a group of VR pioneers including: Graeme Borland (Owlchemy Labs), Anton Hand (RUST LTD), Julie Heyde (VR Unicorns) and Kayla Kinnunen (Independent).

Björk Digital – Virtual Reality Taken To A New Level

Musical pioneer and artist extraordinaire, Björk, has been diving head first into Virtual Reality with her traveling art exhibit Björk Digital. The VR exhibit is a work in progress which features four VR music experiences from Björk’s “Vulnicura” album. Our resident artist, Elliott Mitchell, was fortunate enough to have had a small role working with environment art on one of the VR pieces. Checkout this video clip from Björk’s Instagram account which includes some of Elliott’s handy work!

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GDC: It Takes a Village: Growing Vibrant Game Developer Communities

In case you missed GDC 2016, and you are interested what makes a vibrant game developer community, check out the GDC Vault release of the all star panel Elliott Mitchell assembled: It Takes a Village: Growing Vibrant Game Developer Communities!

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The panel, comprised of key organizers from the Boston and Austin communities, offers the audience valuable insights into organizing events, meet-ups and co-working collectives which in turn fuel local industry growth for the future. Speakers include Elliott Mitchell (Vermont Digital Arts), Adri Mills (Independent), Dawn Rivers (Harmonix Music Systems), Michael Carriere (Zapdot), Jono Forbes (Defective Studios) & Andrew Eiche (Owlchemy Labs).

Leviathan Project: Mixed Reality At Sundance

There has been a lot of buzz lately about Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), games and filmmaking. Since our founding in 2008, Vermont Digital Arts has been on a mission to be on the forefront of blurring the lines between film and games.

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Vermont Digital Arts recently had the amazing opportunity to lend a hand with Leviathan Project which is currently being demoed at Sundance New Frontiers. Leviathan Project is a mixed reality installation with its roots Scott Westerfield’s best-selling trilogy, Leviathan.

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Leviathan Project is a work in progress and a result of the magic that happens when visionaries like Alex McDowell and Bradley Newman, in collaboration with 5D Global Studio, Unity Technologies and Intel work together to transcend storytelling mediums. Elliott Mitchell, Vermont Digital Arts co-founder, was brought in late in the project to help out with the final push for Sundance. Elliott worked on some VFX and Lighting Design. It was akin to standing on the shoulders of giants.

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If you are able to get to Sundance, check it out! Otherwise, here is a link to a recent Engadget article which goes more in depth about Leviathan Project. Also, checkout the Leviathan Project’s Instagram account. You might see photo’s of Robert Redford

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Leviathan-Project-Sundance-02Leviathan Project’s next stop is the Vision AR/VR Summit this February 10th and 11th in Hollywood, CA. Catch it there if you are able!

UVs: The Good, Bad and Ugly

 

Elliott Mitchell Auto Unwrapping UV Devil 2016

UVs are often shrouded in mystery, or simply an afterthought to many 3D artists and game developers. Not only are UVs essential to texturing 3D models in Unity, UVs are required for Real-Time and Baked Global Illumination(Lightmapping). Unbeknownst to many, UVs may also have a profound influence on runtime performance and an artist’s iteration cycles.

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Earlier this month, Elliott Mitchell (co-founder of Vermont Digital Arts) delivered a quick ten minute lightning talk on the subject of UVs at the Boston Unity Group. His presentation is a high level overview of UVs for the given truncated format. 

Keep an eye out for a more fleshed out talk on UVs in the near future. There is so much more to cover. Here is a link to Elliott’s slides.

Unity Asset Store Gives Waggle Words That Extra Polish

Check out this video of Vermont Digital Art’s co-founder, Elliott Mitchell, as well as Adam Simonar (NVYVE Studios) & Evan Doody (Darkwind Media) talk about their favorite Unity Asset Store products. Elliott is using Circular Gravity Force, Koreographer, and Chromatica Studio in Waggle Words for VR and mobile. Check out the game footage!

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Circular Gravity Force

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Koreographer

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Chromatica Studio

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Waggle Words is Coming!

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You and me and baby makes three. And another baby makes four. And two cats and two dogs and six chickens makes fourteen. And then Mama decides she wants honey bees and the total soars to somewhere around 25,000. That’s the family that makes up Vermont Digital Arts.

You could say that we are all the worker bees. Papa is an artist and programmer and does most of the technical work at Vermont Digital Arts. Mama is the Queen Bee who sits back and is fed royal jelly all day … oh no, wait, that was my fantasy. No, Mama flits from one thing to the next, writing, designing, organizing, keeping the hive running. The two youngest humans in the family make games, stories, art and music.

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One day the youngest human thought that it would be cool to have a game that was a cross between Spell Tower (http://www.spelltower.com/) and Chip Chain (http://chip-chain.com/), so a meeting was called. Everyone (except the chickens and the bees) gathered around the dinner table and talked about what such a game would look like. Mama took notes and then a few days later made a paper prototype. Being a beekeeper, she used hexagons to make a honeycomb board and took the name Waggle Words from the movements that bees make to communicate with each other which is called a “waggle dance”.  

The family decided that Papa, a trained artist who wanted to hone his programming skills, would engineer the game himself. Learning how to program requires time, patience and extra baking. Thankfully, Papa was up to the task of learning and Eldest Child who loves to bake kept everyone happy with lots of treats.

Finally the Vermont Digital Arts family has a playable game. We are so excited about how Waggle Words is turning out. It is a super fun, strategic, single-player word game AND it will also be a groundbreaking multi-player VR game. Just wait!

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