Or as Holly from Red Dwarf puts it:

So in case you didn’t know, I’ve been doing a online Unity Certification program since last March. It was a two-parter, with the first course focusing on an introduction to Unity and applying it virtual reality (VR) and utilizing the Oculus Quest, while the second course focused on augmented reality (AR) and building your projects to mobile devices. I only JUST completed the second course—and therefore the entire program—and I’m waiting on my certification. The program was a LOT of fun, and it was also very surprising to learn how much—AND how little—the world of 3D-CGI has changed in the twenty-ish years since I last used Infini-D 4.5. It certainly helped that all that old Infini-D 4.5 knowledge was still locked away in my head, but Unity (obviously) was much MUCH more robust and powerful than Infini-D 4.5 ever was, and I’m glad I took this course to help me nagivate twenty-ish years of advancement!

Last time I talked about it, I shared this little YouTube demo of my Midterm for the first course:

Neat stuff, huh? In fact, ended up getting a 100% on it. Huzzah!

The Second Course (which focused on AR) was… well, both easier and harder. I might have gotten a WEE bit overconfident, so when it came time to actually work on the midterm and final, I found myself stumbling a lot. I did manage to get everything done in time, however! But that said, I don’t see myself getting anything more than 75% on the Midterm and Final. Fortunately this should still even out with the first course, allowing me to still get my certification, but maybe if I paced myself a bit better I would’ve done a better job of it, or at least had the proper time to smash bugs a bit better.

But hey, maybe you’ll think it’s not half bad? Well, I actually have an Android build of my Final Project available for download. Check it out!


The PA! VR AR Experience

v0.999.20210613 (110 MB)
  • This is compatible with all Android devices running Android 7.0 “Nougat” or higher. And only because apparently AR functionality simply did not exist for any earlier version!
  • Sorry iOS users, this is Android only. I mean, technically I could build it for iOS as well, since Unity has the tools for that… the problem is that I didn’t have an iOS device to test this out on! If you’re legit curious about my AR Final Project and want to help me test builds of it, let me know!

I’ve got some really quick and simply installation instructions for you:

STEP 1: Download the APK file and copy it to your Android mobile device (assuming you didn’t directly download it to your device) STEP 2: Tap on the “PA! VR AR Experience.apk” file to install it. Click “Install” when prompted. Another box may appear saying something like “this is an app from an untrusted source” or so; if it appears, click on “Trust source” or something similar. Afterall, you trust me, right?? STEP 3: When it completes the installation process, DON’T click “Open”, but rather “Done” instead.

For some reason clicking “Open” after installing… well, it technically works, but there are some weird issues with it. But loading it from anywhere else corrects those issues. I dunno what’s going on there.

STEP 4: Locate the “PA! VR AR Experience” app in your App Drawer—usually by sliding your finger upwards from the bottom of the screen—and tap it to load it up. STEP 5: Finally, allow the app to take pictures and record video. If you tap “Only this time”, you’ll have to tap it again next time. Tapping “While using this app” ensures you don’t have to do it again.

Tadah! That’s it! From there the app should load and you’ll get to see what I made for the second course. It’s a really simple app, allowing you to place in various objects upon texting planes—either some various cameras (2D or 360), or portals to either FanimeCon or a couple places in Seoul, South Korea—as well as give you a preview of what those objects actually do.

 

You can also utilize some AR pictures to have the cameras appear upon command. Like, if you print out these pictures and lay them out on the floor, you can make a camera appear! The idea here is that you can use these AR images to test out camera positions in a real-world setting.

While testing I actually used these pictures for the AR photo function… but alas, I took that functionality out in place of the generic Nintendo AR images. (Or did I??)

AAANNNNYWAYS… that’s what I’ve been working on! The final was due last Tuesday, so I’ve really been spending the remainder of the week afterwards unwinding and decompressing. I don’t mind doing that kind of work, but I have a habit of pushing myself a bit too hard upon its due date, such that I burn myself out after delivery. I’ve only now just gathered my energy back up.

So what does that mean? Regular updates will be returning! HUZZAH!!! … There’s been quite a bit that I’ve missed out on this past month, not to mention that Nintendo’s E3 announcements are being made right around now… and the PA! Discord has been working on all kinds of various things in the background… so I’ve got A LOT to catch up on! At least too I’ve finally got my free time back, so I don’t expect to be disappearing again any time soon. Only normal, randomized Nick15 disappearances will remain, lol.

Speaking of getting back to normal with things: another thing I’ve been working on in the background has been… 8-bit programming! Y’know, stuff like BASIC, LOGO, and even assembly code. For example, I recently got an old Atari 800XL back in working operation, as well as recently acquired a Commodore 64. Both of those systems represented the best platforms of their time, so if I’m gonna teach myself how to to any kind of 8-bit programming, it’ll be on those systems.

Here, check out a stupid little thing I did on my Atari 800XL:

Why am I sharing this with you? Well, aside from the fact that I want to ease PA! into other geek-related topics such as retro computing—consider my alternative name for PA!: ‘Puters Aaah!—I also want to apply all of this towards actual Pokémon-related stuff as well. In particular, consider that the Nintendo Game Boy is (to my knowledge) just about as powerful as one of these old 8-bit computers from 1982-84. Which means that I might be able to make a Pokémon clone-game for those systems! Better yet, what made it even worth considering to do in the first place has been the rise of neo-retro games like Xeno Crisis and Attack of the PETSCII Robots as well as neo-retro programming tools like the Pico-8. These neo-retro projects not only look the part, but many times they’re also 100% playable ON older hardware! Like, imagine how different the world could’ve been if Pokémon was released in 1982 instead of 1996? Or how the SNES/Genesis Console Wars might’ve turn out if Xeno Crisis was released in 1992 instead of 2020?

I’ve always wanted to make a video game, but those dreams were strongest in my youth during the 8/16-bit eras. And now that making games that fit that style and era are hot once again, I’ve been powerfully inspired. As such, I’ve been playing around with as many of these old systems that I’ve been able to: discovering newly developed apps for them, using modern hardware to push them to their limits, AND even trying to get them online. And by the looks of it, producing something like Pokémon RBY (maybe even GSC) for these old systems seems very possible indeed, as well as making anything I produce on them also playable on modern platforms like the Switch and Steam. At the very least, teaching myself how to program for the Atari 800XL and Commodore 64 will definitely give me a better grasp of programming fundamentals in the same way Infini-D 4.5 gave me a strong foundation upon which my understanding of Unity was built upon.

Of course I still have a LONNNNNNNNGGGGG ways to go before I can develop anything close to something like Xeno Crisis… but I have definitely noticed a positive feedback loop forming between my programming creativity and the amount of serious effort I’ve been putting into developing for these old systems. It has definitely helped jumpstart that desire to program in my again, so I can’t wait to see where this takes me!

With all that said… that’s all I’ve got to say today. I just wanted to let you guys know that I’m not dead and that I’ll be working on some new updates again soon enough. All the good luck you guys gave me paid off, and now it’s time to return the favor. Stay tuned! :D