So, I've made up my mind for good to get me an Oculus Rift DK2 to play
But this is officially not an end-user product but a "Development Kit",
and me being a software developer by trade, and co-developer of a 3D
rendering software, obviously I just /must/ also put it to some good use
related to POV-Ray. Integration into POV-Ray itself doesn't seem to make
much sense, but surely there must be a few helpful tools waiting to be
(1) The most simple of such tools will certainly be a viewer for light
probes and other 360 degrees imagery, which I guess will make a
formidable project for the first toying-around with the OR and its API.
Obviously its primary use in the context of POV-Ray would be to browse
your library of HDR light probes to choose one for your scene, or to
view a 360 degrees output image generated by POV-Ray.
Other use cases might be to decide how to orient a given light probe
within your scene relative to the camera, and maybe also deciding on a
preliminary camera viewport, so some features might later be added to
It might also be used to view a 360 degrees preview render of a scene,
and from that choose a camera viewport for a final render.
(In the long run it would of course be fancy for the tool to also help
you pick a camera /location/, but that would probably not be possible
without converting the entire scene to some mesh or voxel representation
(2) Of course we all would want the Oculus Rift to be integrated into a
full-fledged modeling tool. You know, something like a modernized
version of Moray with Oculus Rift support. Obviously this would be even
more work than the above mentioned tool to pick a camera location in a
static scene, and I wouldn't want to tackle this alone; however,
specialized modeling tools might also be helpful while being "within
budget". One thing that came to my mind was what I'd call "VirtuaLathe":
An immersive tool to model spline-based rotationally symmetric objects.
Now one thing that bugs me about this is that we (or I) don't have the
proper input device for such a project yet. A "data glove" would be
fancy, and might be used directly for a kind of "virtual potter's
wheel", but there's no hot candidate for an affordable de-facto standard
piece of hardware in that area like the Oculus Rift is for VR goggles.
The standard mouse & keyboard doesn't seem like a particularly good
input device for this purpose, as I think we need more than two degrees
of freedom at our fingertips.
Enter aforementioned Elite:Dangerous, a space flight simulator inspired
by (and produced by the original author of) the infamous classic Elite
home computer game. It, too, asks for a special input device that allows
for plenty degrees of freedom (yaw, roll, pitch and forward thrust like
in an airplane, but also vertical, horizontal and backward thrust); for
E:D, the obvious solution to that problem is a modern joystick. So
somehow the idea got lodged into my brain whether a joystick or gamepad
might also make a gread input device for that "VirtuaLathe". I haven't
thought out the details yet, but I guess it could work quite well.
This opens up another train of thoughts: Traditionally, 3D modelling
tools have a rather analytical approach to the UI, catering to people
who do modelling as a job; however, I guess for the majority of POV-Ray
users modelling is a leisure activity, so using the tool should be a fun
thing to do. And what could possibly be more fun than a game? So I think
I'll be tackling this "VirtuaLathe" project as a kind of immersive
computer game. And yes, it will have joysticks and gamepads as its
preferred choice of input device.
Unfortunately I have only a rather basic understanding of how a
real-world lathe is used in practice, and have never gotten my hands on
one myself, but I know there are various "handicrafters" among you
people, who certainly have plenty of experience in this area, so I'd
appreciate any input especially from you guys.
That's it for now; comments and related brainish storms, winds and wisps
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