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Screensaver Game Jam Recap

Itch.io recently hosted a screensaver themed game jam. Our talented VR/MR developers and designers decided to seize the opportunity to teach the broader 8ninths team the basics of Unity while enjoying some pizza and brew. Kevin, our lead Unity developer, led the effort getting the team started on some silly ‘savers. The outcome of the evening below.


Galen Drew (Designer)


Sequence 1

Sequence 2

​This was my first experience doing a game jam, and pretty much my first experience making a game in Unity. During the jam I ended up helping Anna (UX Designer) learn some of the basics of using Unity and working with preset Unity objects. After people cleared out at work, I headed home and obsessively worked on a screensaver of my own. I made four different experiments and ended up really liking the pagoda model in the screenshots and developed a screensaver around that model. I ended up modeling the environment, developing the day/night cycle, and writing the evolving music to go along with the game.
http://splice14.itch.io/sequence


Kyle Warbis (Web Developer)

meltman2

I tried to include some ragdoll physics in my screen saver…tried. It might have been the beer, it might have been my limited knowledge in Unity. Whatever the reason, the final result was a man melting in the heat of a plasma ball.


Kevin Maxon (Unity Developer), Zoe Vartanian (Contract Designer, Artist at Ice Water Games)

pizza

I spent some time drinking beer and teaching people about vectors and shaders and Unity asset importers. Then I ate a real pizza while making a virtual pizza and generally had a Good Time. – Kevin


Anna Heatwole (UX Designer)
ice water

For my first experience with Unity, I set myself the task of creating an environment to host some 8ninths branding: a snow covered glacier surrounded by floating icebergs. I got as far as building up the mountainous terrain, smoothing it over for a softer snow-covered feel, and creating a material—adding color and texture to a water layer that I could raise and lower on the y axis to flood my landscape. The next step will be to add movement to the water plane and some of these floating ‘bergs!

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Seattle Interactive Conference Wrap-Up

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As Seattle rapidly establishes its position as a hotbed for cutting-edge technology and innovative marketing, the Seattle Interactive Conference provides a rare chance to gather the industry’s most exciting influencers to roll up their sleeves and make long-lasting connections across the community.

This year the 8ninths team showcased groundbreaking new Virtual Reality technology including the HTC Vive, Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift systems to throngs of VR newcomers, enthusiasts and developers. From fully-immersive 360° video tours over Icelandic landscapes on the Gear VR to shimmering 3D paintings on the HTC Vive, the response was overwhelmingly positive.

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As many of the curious attendees experienced VR for the first time, the atmosphere crackled with ideas about how this exciting new technology could disrupt their industry. Digital trendsetters—including The Oatmeal’s Matthew Inman—were instantly hooked on Virtual Reality’s potential to redefine the way they share meaningful stories within an entirely new medium.

Matthew Inman (@theoatmeal) using VR to sketch in a 3D space! #sic2015 #sic

A video posted by Mitch Netzer (@mitchnetzer) on

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Thanks to the talented artists at SIC2015 for their Tiltbrush wizardry on the HTC Vive.


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Image Credits: David Dossett

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Augmented and Virtual Reality for Business: An exploration of AR & VR business impact

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Last Thursday evening, Seattle’s most innovative business leaders gathered to explore the next wave of technology through the lens of HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard.  Hosted by the 8ninths team in the beautiful MBI Showroom, the playful atmosphere was brimming with chatter and curiosity as many guests experienced virtual reality for the first time.

 

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“It’s incredibly exciting to see interest from the business community in Augmented and Virtual Reality.  We think the work we are doing is going to be enormously transformative for business as a whole and this event is a great start to exploring the possibilities with Seattle’s cutting-edge business leaders.”

William Lai, Co-Founder and President of 8ninths

 

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“2016 is going to be a huge year for Augmented and Virtual Reality with major platform releases coming from Oculus, Sony, Samsung, HTC and Microsoft.  We are on the cusp of a paradigm shift that could rival the inception of the Web in magnitude.  It was exciting to witness forward-thinking leaders in the Seattle community engage with VR and AR and begin to explore their business potential.”

Heather Raikes, Creative Director for Augmented and Virtual Reality

 

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As the first Augmented and Virtual Reality event hosted by 8ninths, the goal was to present the basics of AR and VR, invite guests to experience this revolutionary technology first-hand, and to explore business impact and potential applications.  As guests demoed the array of headsets, the room filled with energy and intriguing conversation about the endless possibilities that Augmented and Virtual Reality opens for business and beyond.

 

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Image Credits: David Dossett

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HoloLens Design Patterns July, 2016

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A new medium brings with it a new palette, new design possibilities, new composition methods, and an invitation to create defining new experiences.

HoloLens Design Patterns is a design research document intended to serve as a dynamic foundation for the ground-breaking, in-depth, iterative processes that will forge the first generation of HoloLens experiences. This is a living document that will grow and evolve as we continue to explore and discover what this phenomenal new technology is capable of. In its initial iteration, four foundational aspects are represented:

A Table of Elements defines the palette for composing HoloLens experiences, delineating elements in the categories of Physical Space, User Input, Holographic Form, and 3D Sound.

Mixed Reality Design Methods identifies pivotal creative strategies for combining the elements and composing mixed reality experiences with HoloLens.

Case Studies analyzes early Microsoft HoloLens experiences using the Mixed Reality Design Methods and Table of Elements.

An Example Flow Diagram applies the language of the HoloLens Design Patterns to a moment-by-moment flow analysis of a HoloLens experience.

 

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Building upon the foundation of the Design Patterns, 8ninths is currently in the process of applying this emerging vocabulary and set of compositional strategies to blueprints for new HoloLens experiences.

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Qandidate desktop

Qandidate.com

Everyday, employees leave, new jobs are created and vacancies open. Every business experiences the hiring process. Without a formalized system, it is almost impossible to keep track of applicant emails, resumes and portfolios. Qandidate (pronounced ‘candidate’) is a free, beta-web tool designed to organize and manage the hiring process. Qandidate was designed with a strong UI in mind. Candidates are organized by vacancy and can be arranged in various ways including application status, percentage of correctly answered questions and 0-5 star rating. It also provides you with a talent pool and free career site to host vacancies that can be linked anywhere else. Qandidate has helped 8ninths grow a ton. We love our Qandidates!

01_Dashboard          Qandidate.com-Candidate-profile1

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Qandidate has made the recruitment process much easier. Our old hiring system was overly complicated and frustrating to use. I love Qandidate for the simplicity and reliability. They make their money posting vacancies to different media sites, so the actual  tool is completely free. Two thumbs up from me! Emily

Using this tool is great for keeping track of everyone. After an interview, I can write my notes or introduce the applicant to other people in my company. Logging the recruitment data is a neat feature too. It’s great to see our hiring rates over time.  Caitlin

MORE CONTEXT

Release date: February 2013

Usage data: More than 10,000 companies

Platform / Tech: Web

Features: Media webshop, resume and cover letter organization, free career site, talent pool, screening questions, and email integration

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Slack Colour RGB

Slack

Everyday, emails arrive and clutter your inbox.  Communications are easily lost or forgotten as mail piles up. Slack was conceived by Tiny Speck Company, who was searching for a truly efficient method of professional communication. Unlike email, Slack allows team members to share ideas in real time. Chat rooms are “hash-tagged” to specific topics, where everyone can share files and links relevant to the topic. Slack can also host non-employees for collaboration on dedicated projects. Larger corporations will probably shy away from Slack because communication is naturally more relaxed and open. Slack is not a traditional chat room. It’s a multi-platform app, featuring real-time communication, topic search, and file sharing history. Your team can assign unique notifications to any slack room, such as twitter updates or new bug warnings. Direct messaging removes the need for email or instant messaging. 8ninths uses Slack, and we love it. Slack us!

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After working in corporate office environments and understanding the struggle to find ‘that one email’, transitioning to Slack has been a piece of cake. I can quickly search and reference files or a conversation that sparked an idea. Email has it’s place, but for our team, it’s Slack all the way. -Caitlin

Slack’s file integrations with Dropbox and Google Drive work great. It is incredibly easy to search for files or old conversations. I always have the desktop app open. It makes internal communication much faster and efficient. -Emily

MORE CONTEXT

Release date: August, 2013

Usage data: 30,000 + teams using Slack

Platform / Tech: Mac, iOS, Android, Web browser

Features: File sharing, real time discussions, conversation and topic archives, complete history search

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Displio

Displio 5

Keeping you on track and on time, Displio is a small, lightweight portable display for you home, office or desk space. Displio sits on your counter, alerting you to emails, stocks, social media, or any other notifications. Using the same E-Ink Screen as the Amazon Kindle, Displio is simple and easy to read. Using the WebClip feature, anyone can create their own Displio widgets. It requires WiFi to work, so a mobile hotspot, office, or home space is the best place to use this display.

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Release date: June 2015

Usage data: 1,113 Kickstarter backers

Platform / Tech: Compatible with Android, iOS, wifi. API available

Features: WiFi Display, E-Ink display, highly customizable notifications and widgets

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Since you only have to rotate it on its side to change widgets, Displio could be a great tool for someone with limited dexterity. It is so simple to use, it is easy to see why it was a successful crowd funded project.
– Caitlin

Having a visual notification tool is really handy. Rather than searching for my phone or pulling out a computer, I can easily see any updates. The size is a big factor for me. I like that Displio is small enough to throw in my purse so I can use it between home and work.
Emily

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Shifts Work Calendar

 

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Shift the Way You Plan Your Day

Are you a restaurant or hospital employee who works in shifts? Shifts is an app created to help build and manage your schedule. For those who schedule their shifts with a traditional smart phone calendar, understand how much of a hassle it can be to organize recurring shifts that change at a day’s notice. Little icons that are easy to operate have resulted in a simplified calendar experience. Add or change shifts with a tap, and share your calendar with family members to help them stay on track with you. Exclusively on iOS, the app integrates seamlessly with your calendar and helps you create your schedule, fast.

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FOOD FOR THOUGHT

I always used the standard calendar app on my phone to remember my waitressing schedule. It was handy to see my shifts, but it took forever to enter in the data. An app that is functional and simple has a big market for shift-based industries.
– Emily

Shifts would have been useful to me while I was going to college and serving tables. It will be great for a student trying keep their homework and ever-changing work schedule on track.
– Caitlin

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Your 8ninths team,
1 official color

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VR Union Claire

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The Claire VR Headset is the most sophisticated VR on the market. Stylish, lightweight and durable, the Claire VR is designed for businesses that want to add more oomph in employee training, create a buzz at trade show events, and impress clients in sales presentations. With Fresnel lens technology and better screen displays than your iPhone, Claire immerses you in wild 3D visuals. Additionally, the set fits over prescription glasses ensuring that no one misses out on the total experience.

MORE CONTEXT

Release date: March 27, 2014 (Indiegogo)

Usage data: February 2015 batch: 51 units sold

Platform / Tech: VR Union Development, Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR)

Features: IPS dual display, 1350HzYEI internal orientation sensor, 170 degree Fresnel lens, prescription glasses compatible

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

I’m curious to see how other VR headsets will compare with Claire. The screen resolution is 3 times greater than anything else on the market, setting the bar high for competitors. It will be interesting to see how companies will utilize this technology.
– Emily 

Claire is designed with businesses in mind, so I can really see this taking off as a must-have tool for presentations. It’s a great way to make an emotional connection with challenging abstract concepts. — Caitlin

 

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Quadcopter 3

DJI Phantom 2 Vision+

In April 2014, DJI released an upgraded version of its popular consumer drone, the Phantom 2 Vision+. The DJI Phantom series is one of the first types of quadcopter drones designed with consumers in mind. The simplicity of the controls and thoughtful configuration works to eliminate the challenges of first time flying. The DJI Vision app is used on a mobile phone or tablet device in conjunction with a hand-held controller. The phone app controls the camera and shows flight information while the hand-held controller manipulates aeronautics. Drone camera footage is live-streamed to the mobile device so the operator sees exactly what the drone sees.

While there is concern of losing the drone or breaching restricted aircraft space, DJI has created a solution by fully incorporating GPS. While flying, drone operators are alerted to no-fly zones. If the drone exceeds its 700-meter range, ‘Return-to-Home’ is activated and the Vision+ will automatically fly itself to its original takeoff point. Similar to the Vision, both drones feature 14 megapixel cameras with full-HD 1080p recording capabilities. While in flight, pictures and video are downloaded directly to your phone or tablet and can be instantly shared on social media.

The Vision+ is the third drone in the Phantom 2 series. Next to its sister model, the Vision+ maintains many of the same key features with one significant upgrade, the incorporation of camera stabilization. By including a gimbal (a mechanism for keeping an instrument horizontal) this model takes steadier pictures and videos in comparison with its predecessors. Despite the enhanced video and picture quality, this improvement comes at a high price tag. With a $400 difference between the two models, the Vision+ is priced at $1,099 in comparison with the $699 Vision. Although the Vision+ is expensive, the improved features and the excellent photo and video quality are well worth the investment.

 

Photo credit Compudemano  Quadcopter 4

 

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

I first used this drone last summer on a windy hill in park by the coast. I was amazed by how easy it was to fly on my first attempt, especially with the wind factor. The range of the drone is very impressive. It would fly beyond my eyesight, yet I could look on my phone screen and view everything the camera was seeing. The camera’s unique perspective created really, incredible pictures. While I have not tried the drone models without camera stabilization, I can’t imagine the footage would have come out so clear. -Emily

 

MORE CONTEXT

Release date: April 2014

Platform / Tech: iOS 6.1 or above, Android 4.0 or above

Features: Full HD video, GPS enabled radar positioning & return home, real-time flight parameters, camera stabilization, no-fly zone features, Adobe lens profile support, 90 degree camera tilt

Watch the demo video here

 

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Photo credit: Compudemano

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