New theme live, new features on the way

First, I updated the theme. That was long over due. I am not entirely done customizing it to fit the tone and mood of the website, so be prepared for more changes soon.

I also added a couple of social media buttons. As of right now all I have set up is a Facebook page and a Twitter account. I don’t know if I will be setting up any other social media accounts for the site or not. I might add a few additional share buttons but I haven’t gotten around to that just yet.

The Youtube channel is getting closer to launching. I don’t have any firm plans on what video content is going to be on the channel, just throwing around a few ideas. I want to make sure if I do any video content that it’s worth watching while also easy enough to produce so to not interfere with my other projects. I do have a full-time job that takes up a lot of my time.

I am thinking about doing two podcasts instead of just the one. The primary podcast is going to continue being the casual podcast where I sit and play a video game and leisurely talk into the microphone each week. I am working on getting a second podcast together that will shoot for a once a month schedule. This one will be more “polished” with a few guests and a video feed to accompany the audio. This one is going to take me a little longer to get up and running. I have an idea what I want to do, I am just working on getting a few regular guests that are willing to sit in and make it happen. I have at least a couple of people willing to do it and a few others I am trying to get on board.

I am also branching out in the types of articles I write. I don’t want to be a theme blog where the theme determines what I write about, I want it to reach an audience who appreciates the tone of my writing and the topics I write about. I don’t want to have a site dedicated to a specific theme, topic, or genre that forces my hand while limiting my creativity. And yes, that does mean politics are certainly not off limits.

Notice how the site is, mostly, devoid of photos? Part of that is I have no interest in stealing photos from other websites or photographers. I might occasionally download a public domain photo or something that is easily under the fair use category, but for the most part I want to ensure any photos I run on this site belong to me, either photos I took with my own camera, created myself using a photo editing software, or photos a contributor directly provides to the site.

Music reviews and movie reviews are coming. I want to do this, I have a lot of thoughts on a lot of different audio recordings that I think I need to get written down. Movie reviews are a little harder to get motivated to write. I don’t want to do anything that is going to bring any copyright notices against the site. As such I am working on finding out how to get licensed clips directly from studios for the purpose of reviews. I know you can do this, when I worked at the TV station we were able to do that so I know there are services out there. I remember a previous website I ran I had a paid subscription to a file video service so I know they are out there. I will look into what I need. I hate it when people just use other people’s IP without permission and then cry fair use when their ability to make money off other people’s works gets prohibited. It’s always better to just get permission first and then you have nothing to worry about.

That is the latest site update. Be sure to check back often and tell all your friends to share this website, follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.

Virtual Reality is finally near

Go back in time to the late 1980’s and early 1990’s and there was this prevailing belief in our culture that virtual reality was going to someday become a reality. We had glimpses of it in the 90’s but they were expensive ventures that had little real substance.

In 2006 the first strides were made to bring VR to the masses. Nintendo released their Wii gaming machine that introduced motion controls to the world of interactive entertainment. While the concept was a novel idea, the execution ultimately turned into nothing more than just that, a novelty. Still the sales success of the Wii and it’s “magic wand” did re-introduce gamers to the idea of virtual reality and soon their competitors began offering motion controls and immersive experiences on their machines as well.

Then a few years latter Oculus was conceived which has finally made its way to market. I am not here to actually write a review of the Oculus Rift, since I don’t currently own one and I haven’t had a chance to demo one either. Instead I just want to express my excitement that between this machine and others now hitting the market, or soon to be hitting the market, I will soon get a chance to experience that world of VR that was promised to us over twenty years ago.

If you are not clear what Virtual Reality is think of it as total immersion. In normal, or should I say traditional, video games you sit on a couch and interact with the TV using a game controller. Wii took this a step closer to immersion giving us motion controls, that were neat but ahead of their time. Wii itself was actually a repeat of a similar attempt two decades earlier, the Power Glove. So with any new technology it takes time for things to advance to a point where consumers might buy in.

There are two schools of thought that are prevailing currently when it comes to VR. The first is the skeptics who have watched VR tech come and go for years and see this new round as nothing more than a waste of money and energy. TheĀ  argument is these machines are too expensive, the games are not ready, there are too few types of games that would benefit from VR, the list goes on.

The other school of though is that with the level of investment and excitement this time VR is bound to take off. The argument goes that the entry point isn’t as great as it used to be, that it is in line with other budding technologies of our time that have taken off, so not out of reach for the average consumer. They also argue that with as much competition now there is a greater chance of success.

If you look at either argument you will see they both have some merits. While I personally think VR is the future, and I am super excited for the devices that are hitting the market, I do concede that price is an issue. For me in order to get into Oculus I would need to spend a minimum of $950 dollars on a compatible PC, that is if I order one pre-tested by Oculus to work, I could always buy a cheaper model or build one my own and “make it fit” by upgrading necessary hardware but in the end the time cost doesn’t balance the money saved so I would still prefer to buy a pre-built machine proven to work. Then on top of that there is the $600 entry fee of the machine itself. On top of that I would need to buy compatible games, non of which I currently own as of right now. This puts Oculus just out of my reach. While true I am planning on buying a new computer in the very near future, I am not looking to spend that kind of money on one at this time.

With Oculus out that leaves me looking at the three, that I know of, devices either on the market or about to be by the end of the year. The one I am most likely to purchase is the Playstation VR. Why? Because for starters I already own a PS4 which is the base machine required for the Playstation VR. Also I currently own a couple of dozen games for the PS4 and several of the games that are set to be compatible with Playstation VR are games I was already interested in getting. This means that the barrier of entry is lower for me, I can buy the headset, pick up a compatible game and be on my way for about the price of a new game console. Now unless the NX totally blows my mind, I am perfectly happy buying a PS VR since I am planning on getting a new console this year anyways, it was either going to be Xbox One or NX but I might just stick to getting PS VR.

One thing that makes me excited about this round of VR is the technology has finally arrived where it no longer is a burden to play. I am also excited by the number of companies getting into this, especially seeing Sony who is the world-wide leader in the video game industry. I don’t think VR is “here and now” like many are proclaiming but I have always felt it was the future and for the first time I do believe that future is very near.