Hot Red News

Communication Standard for Smart Home Devices

Amazon, Google, Apple and the Zigbee Alliance have decided to unite and begin to develop a communication standard for all smart home devices. The Connected Home over IP project will greatly simplify the development of new applications, the process of synchronizing devices and software, including voice assistants, cloud services and other mobile applications. The working group will work together on an open source standard. Members of the group want other developers to join the project and contribute to the development of the standard. Apple has already released its first smart home product inside this project, the HomeKit Accessory Development Kit. The application is open source, that is, open to all developers and published in the public domain on GitHub.


Facebook Operating System

Facebook decided to abandon Android services and create their own mobile operating system. It is assumed that the new OS will be created from scratch, but with the involvement of specialists who worked on the creation of the very first and most popular operating networks. Recently, a very good specialist, a former Microsoft employee who participated in the creation of basic systems for Windows 7 and 10, Mark Luсovsky, was attracted to work on the project. In the near future, the company plans to transfer all of its devices, including the Oculus Quest virtual reality headset and the Oculus Go stand-alone virtual headset, to its own operating system. At the moment, the company is developing new virtual reality glasses, which are likely to become one of the first carriers of the new operating system. The release of the VR glasses is tentatively announced for the year 2023.


Predictions for VR/AR games and apps on 2024

Juniper Research studied the sharp rise in the popularity of VR/AR games and applications, and presented their research results and forecasts for 2024. So, according to company forecasts, the total profit of VR and AR applications from advertisingwill reach $11 billion by 2024, which is five times more than the revenue of 2019 ($2 billion). The number of downloads of mixed reality applications will increase three times - from the current 3 billion to 10 billion, and smartphones will become the main platform for 75% of all applications. There is already a ready-made base, including the game stores, elaborated monetization techniques, advertising, as well as a huge audience. The virtual reality is becoming popular in social networks. For example, Facebook and Snapchat developers are gradually adding new AR and VR features to their applications. Also, according to analysts, games such as Pokemon Go and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite are attracting more and more users, and by 2024 more than half of the revenue of the entire virtual games market will come from social networks and gaming applications, and the total revenue from the mobile AR and VR applications will grow to $43 billion.


UX Design Tips for Virtual Reality Games

How to improve the design of a VR game? How to make the interface more understandable for users? To avoid mistakes when creating a VR game, read the article. ACQUAINTANCE WITH THE GAME Before inviting the player to take active actions in the game space, give him a few seconds to get comfortable, assess the situation and get used to the new environment. The appearance of the scene in this case can be gradual, for example, the manifestation from the fog, or the assembly of various objects, etc. Those who find themselves in virtual reality for the first time are often afraid to take the first step. Therefore, in the training mode of the game, you can include not only teleportation tasks, but also simple movement in space. Not all users can immediately determine the distance to the object by depth, so in the first scenes it is advisable to arrange objects so that they are either at arm's length or vice versa, much further from the player, so that it is clear that the object needs to be reached. MOVING IN VIRTUAL SPACE It is necessary to select the most suitable ways to move around the playing field. If a player crashes in a VR-space, the developers are to blame. Therefore, before starting work on the game, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with this problem in more detail and study additional materials on the topic. Often disorientation in space can occur due to quick and distant movements. Therefore, when creating a teleportation system, it is worth limiting the distance of maximum movement. CONTROLLERS AND INTERACTIVE CONTENT INDICATION When the controller touches the object of the virtual world, you can highlight it to show the user that you can go to the next step - take the object. And the fewer controller buttons will be involved in this action, the better. When the object is in the hands of the player, it is better to hide the controller so as not to allow mixing of the object and controller textures. If you want to visualize the player’s hands as a controller, do not forget to make their endings so that they do not look cut off. There are two ways to solve this problem: going into transparency, or creating the effect of empty gloves. Players usually want to interact with everything in sight. It is important to justify their expectations, and, for example, to place only interactive objects in the reach zone, or to set a visual indication for those objects with which interaction is possible. And so that players do not hit real controllers against the real floor, trying to take a fallen object, it is necessary to create an animation of the magnetization of the object at the moment the controller approaches. TIPS In order to draw the attention of users to a specific object in the scene, use several tools at the same time, i.e. combine voice and text prompts, animation in the required area, backlighting, etc. Also you should take into account that the animation of the characters in the game attracts more attention than, for example, text or voice prompts. During the first interaction with the game and the controller, a lot of users do not immediately understand which button needs to be pressed to perform a certain action. In this case, it is necessary to visualize the controller in the space next to the hand or the held object. LOCATION OF CONTROLS AND MAIN MENU The first thing a user sees when entering the game is the main menu. And if in mobile or computer games the menu can be as minimalistic as possible, like filling the screen with one color, then in the virtual world everything is somewhat different. You should spend a little more time and create some kind of space where players will be pleased to be. The menu can reflect the essence of the project or gradually move to the first scene of the game. If the game has long downloads between scenes, it is better to create a separate “waiting room”, conceptually associated with the game itself. The menu interface should be visually associated with the space of the scene so that the buttons do not hang in the air, but fit into the overall picture. For example, the control panel in the menu can be visualized as a projector that displays information on the screen, or holograms. It's also very convenient to present the menu in the form of a tablet in hand, on which the player sees the usual 2D images. When interacting with the menu for a long time, the user should not be tired, which means that you should not place objects from the menu at the player’s eye level, you should lower them to the level of the abdomen so that the player's arms and shoulders don't get tired. AVATARS AND NETWORKING If the project involves the game avatars, then their additional visualization will help make the game more realistic. Add blinking animation to the avatars, work through additional animations of accessories, and most importantly - do not forget to adjust the direction of view so that it matches the rotation of the head. VR devices have already learned to distinguish user movements with high accuracy, however, tracking of facial expressions, eyes and other parts of the body is absent on most devices. Therefore, taking into account the degree of development of VR technologies, it is better to make avatars of users less realistic.


Gaming Artificial Intelligence

Lots of modern games have built-in artificial intelligence (AI). Today we will tell you more about the possibilities of machine learning,about various types of artificial intelligence and show with real examples the mechanisms of their work. WHAT IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE? The essence of gaming artificial intelligence is that a certain object of the game must act on the basis of the conditions and circumstances in which it is located. This object (it can be either a single game character, or an abstract game object, as well as a whole group of objects) is usually called "anagent". All actions of agents are divided into three stages: - to feel (i.e., collect information about the environment, and identify factors that may affect the execution of an action); - to think (i.e. adequately assess the situation and plan actions in accordance with the conditions); - to act (i.e. implement the developed plan). Then the circle repeats, because after the agent’s actions the conditions change. GAMING AI FEATURES - Agents must act as realistically as possible so that players feel like they are playing with real people. - Agents must make plausible decisions, not ideal ones. - Gaming artificial intelligence should work in real time, without loading the processor for a long time to make decisions. The types of game artificial intelligence directly depend on the complexity of the gameitself, its conditions and plot. Basic decision making Imagine a Pong game in which you need to move the platform so that the ball bounces off of it. This is the simplest possible plot. It is enough for artificial intelligence to analyze the direction of the ball’s flight and, based on the information received, move the platform to the right or left, or do nothing with it if it is located correctly. If you write these conditions in the form of code, you would get the following: every frame / update while the game is running: if the ball is to the left of the paddle: move paddle left else if the ball is to the right of the paddle: move paddle right The same example can be illustrated using a decision tree or a flowchart. Drawing up a decision tree allows you to accurately and simply describe the game in such a way that it is clear to both the game designer and the average user. Making difficult decisions When there are too many conditions, and it is difficult to fit them into the decision tree, developers use more complex approaches to the organization of AI behavior. One approach is the behavior tree. To make it clearer, we give an example. The abstract game has NPC guards. Being in different states, these agents behave differently. - Attacking: if the guard sees the enemy, he attacks. - Patrol: if the guard no longer sees the enemy, he patrols a certain territory. - Runaway: if the guard attacks, but is injured, he runs away. This character may also have several more conditions. - Inaction: when there are no enemies nearby and there is no need to patrol the territory. - Search: when an already noticed enemy has disappeared from the field of view. - Request for help: when the noticed enemy is too strong to fight with him alone. Thus, the behavior tree will look like a decision tree, but with a lot of variations of one action. Also, all nodes of this behavior tree or flowchart in the process of creating a game can be tied to a specific time. For example, if within 10 seconds the state of the guard does not change from the position of the patrol, then the character goes into a state of inaction.


Google Digital Addiction Apps

Currently, Google is actively researching various methods to restrict the use of mobile devices to improve the physical and mental health of users. The company published a PDF file describing techniques for creating digital well-being tools for novice developers. Google also presented materials from the Digital Wellbeing Experiment on GitHub. To clearly demonstrate the work of these tricks, Google published its own applications. 1. POST BOX An application that allows users to set the time at which notifications will be sent. 2. WE FLIP An application for group use, which allows the company to forget about mobile devices and spend time together. 3. DESERT ISLAND This application offers to limit the set of applications used, highlight the most important ones and stick to work with them all day. 4. MORPH The application is very similar to the previous one, but here you can create sets of applications for various purposes. For example, for the "Work" mode, you can include applications such as Slack, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. in the set, and for the "Sport" mode, include applications for jogging and sports in the set. Moreover, each mode can be automatically activated depending on the user's location. 5. UNLOCK CLOCK The counter, which is located on the main screen of the phone as wallpaper, and shows how many times a day you unlocked the phone.