Ultimate Coder Challenge: Sixense Studios - Week 6

Hey everyone, chip from Sixense reporting in once again.  Wow, I am beat.  Two days after GDC and my feet are still throbbing.  I slept most of Saturday away and now here I am wide awake on on Sunday night with a messed-up sleep schedule.  This seems like as good a time as any to write our blog post.  At least by writing it now, I can sleep in a bit longer tomorrow. 


Although GDC week was busy and exhausting, we had a fantastic show. It was great to meet so many of our fellow contestants in person. There are some great projects coming out of this contest and it’s inspiring to see them all first-hand. Great job everyone!

On the GDC show floor, we were running Puppet In Motion on the Yoga at 60fps and we could have two people interacting with the puppets at once. We were also able to use the recording feature, which was a fun surprise for unsuspecting users. :)  Here’s one of the videos we recorded on the show floor:



In the two weeks since our last post, we have been honing in on delivering a solid core experience.  Even though we had parts of the online multiplayer working, we decided that it was too ambitious for the scope of the contest.  Instead we focused on solidifying the movie capture/export process, since being able to share the stories you create is fundamental to what we are trying to do. We also (foolishly) upgraded our Unity installations, which resulted in lots of errors and editor crashes. We rolled back to the version we had started the project with (4.01), but ended up losing about a day in productivity.

Puppet and Set Interaction

We finally got one of our pigs rigged and brought into the game. It was pretty easy to hook the model up to our puppet controller. This time around, we had a puppet animating within 4-5 minutes after importing it!  Danny learned quite a bit about Unity and physics collisions due to all the work he did for the Oculus Rift + Razer Hydra VR demo we put together for GDC. He was able to get our puppets colliding with the world and constrained to a “box” around the camera so that they wouldn’t fly off-screen. This “fix” will be an iterative process because there are times when we will want the puppets to move off-screen. Ragdoll is another great feature we were able to revive. This makes the puppets a little more dynamic and adds some life to the otherwise stiff puppets.  Personally, the floppy ears are my favorite. 

Art and Performance

In the art department, Dan has been busy populating the scene and wow it is looking great! Of course, we then needed to aggressively optimize it for the Lenova and the application's debut at GDC. We had issues with alpha cards being used for plants and far tree assets maxing our fillrate so we’ve been swapping these out for higher poly cutout versions; trading texture expense for poly count. In the end we had the Lenova ultrabook running at 60fps and 30fps or more while recording.


GDC left us with a lot of user feedback that we’re now incorporating into Puppet In Motion. There’s not much time left in this contest, so we’ll be working hard to ensure we deliver the best experience we can. If you were at GDC, we hope you had fun with our demos.

 Lastly, It was great to meet everyone in person at the Intel Coder Challenge dinner at GDC!

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