The Intel® RealSense™ SDK has been discontinued. No ongoing support or updates will be available.
For the past ten years, the Science Center in my home town of Orlando has hosted a gaming event called Otronicon which brings together all forms of interactive media developed in the greater Central Florida area. It has become a place for local developers and enthusiasts alike to congregate and show off new ideas as well as get inspired by the technology and applications that are being worked on. For the first time last year the event hosted a game jam, focusing on making a game for the then fresh tech, the Oculus Rift. The event was a great success and so this year when I was asked to be a part of organizing it, I thought that Intel® RealSense™ technology would be a great way to follow in the theme of up and coming emerging technology that is being incorporated into games.
The game jam, this year named “Sense the Jam”, took place over the weekend from January 16th – 18th and saw 22 developers come together to rapidly create a working game using Intel RealSense technology. For this event, Intel was able to provide laptops, cameras, and Unity licenses for attendees to develop their games with. However, as always when working with new tech, there is a learning curve to be overcome in order to get started with actually developing. While I was confident in everyone’s ability to develop a game, working with third party hardware and software often adds an extra level of complexity and point of failure, especially when trying to rapidly produce an application as is the case in a game jam. That said, both the ability of jammers and the usability of Intel RealSense tech truly showed, as each team was able to produce a working, playable demo which was judged at the end of the event.
There were four teams which participated in the jam, each creating their own unique application using Intel RealSense technologies. One of the games used hand tracking to let players control two thrusters in a pod racer-like racing game. Another put players behind a glass window making sandwiches by using their hands to pick up different toppings. The third group took a carnival style approach, challenging players to throw colored balls selected with different facial expressions onto a spinning wheel, while the fourth group went retro and created an Intel RealSense tech throwback of a classic Galaga style game. In the end, the winning team (selected by a diverse group of judges) received a new Intel RealSense 3D camera for each of their team members; more info found here.
Game jams are always a place where, in spite of competition, developers come together in support of each other to help develop skills, meet new people, and get inspired. This year’s game jam was no different and saw some pretty special moments. A father and 13 year-old son team came in together with the expectation of working on a game themselves. Having never made a game or been in a game jam before, they went into the experience looking to try something new and to meet like-minded people interested in making cool games just like they were. When pitching their game, they were surprised when another team decided to scrap their own idea and work with them. It was especially exciting to watch as the two diverse teams came together to successfully make a working game that used hand controls. Though their game didn’t end up being picked by the judges, the winning team agreed to give one of their prize cameras to the son so he could continue developing his skills and working with Intel RealSense technology.
This was my first experience hosting a game jam and it was a truly rewarding one. Having the opportunity to bring developers together and get their hands on cool technology like Intel RealSense solutions is one I wish I could have been a part of when I was cranking away at hacky code and shuffling through countless tutorials in my early days as a developer. Though times have changed and game development has become more accessible, it feels good to know that I’m a part of a community that hasn’t lost its humility. The fact that Intel was able to support this with their own resources makes me glad to be working closely with them. As a member of the Intel Software Innovators group, I take pride in knowing that I am a part of a growing movement of new technology and developers looking to create the next generation of applications. Orlando is the home of many great developers, many of whom are looking for that opportunity to apply their skill and passion to a project where they can create something, have fun, and try something new. As Intel RealSense tech is released onto the world and consumers get a first glimpse at what tomorrow’s technology will bring, I’m glad that my friends and peers in the Orlando development community will have a head start in creating applications that I believe are going to change the way we work, play, and live our lives.
Learn more about Intel RealSense tech by visiting the Intel RealSense Developer Zone. Below are images from the game jam as well as links to two of the four games created:
Behavior Splash - http://peteypop14.itch.io/behavior-splash
Metro - http://orlandogamedev.itch.io/