Unity Development

After four amazing years at Wayfair doing really cool XR projects I am now moving on! I am hoping to find some new and exciting projects to get involved in. Going forward I plan to work on some of my own concepts while looking for freelance Unity development opportunities!

I have many years of experience with Unity and leading XR platforms and devices – SteamVR, Oculus, Magic Leap, HoloLens, Google Daydream/Cardboard/ARCore etc. I also have plenty of experience doing mobile development and performance optimization with Unity including on standalone devices beyond phones like Oculus Quest and Magic Leap One.

I am willing to take on any project. I am reliable, detail oriented, and passionate about what I work on. Check out my LinkedIn profile to see more about my skill set, past projects, and published experiences.

If you need help with a Unity project feel free to contact me via mike@pixelatedramblings.com or reach out through LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.

Skyrim VR

So I broke down during the Steam winter sale last year and decided to pay for Skyrim again since it was half price – all so I can try it in VR! I also dusted off my giant PRIMA game guide as well but referring to a game guide while playing in VR isn’t so easy 🙂 I have been playing for quite some time and I am probably two thirds of the way through… Continue reading

Diagrams.net

Another open source gem I have been using for a while is called diagrams.net (previously draw.io) which is a great free diagramming tool that I wanted to share with anyone who hasn’t already found it.

It works really well and integrates into Google Drive and many other services providing numerous diagrams right out of the box. I particularly like it because it is really easy to share diagrams from Google Drive.

It has a nice set of UML diagrams which I am used to and also a large variety of other diagrams for all kinds of needs. Here is a simple flow chart for Alien Assimilator showing the game flow.

Audio Spatializers for VR

After switching Alien Assimilator over to Steam VR I wanted to figure out what options there were for spatialized audio. I ended up searching around some on the internet and found this great post that covers the Oculus, Google and Valve spatializers. I had the same requirements they outline: Free to use and ship in your app. Currently supported by active development. Cross-platform compatibility with Unity. The article does a fantastic job outlining the strengths… Continue reading

Optimization in Unity

Here are a few links that I have found helpful to get a great overview of optimizing graphics and code in Unity. There are so many great tips in these that you can’t really take them in all at once and I often go back to them when I am dealing with performance issues.

Best practices from the Unity manual:

Tutorials from the Unity learn site:

When I have time I want to add a Unity Tips page to the blog and start putting these kinds of links in it. There are also some good general links in the sidebar.

House Designs in VR (Part 1)

A few years ago I purchased some property in the mountains of southern Vermont where I am planning to eventually build a house.  It’s a beautiful place and is about 15 acres with approximately a third of that open fields and the rest woods.  There is a stream, a farm pond, and a three season cabin on the lower portion that is enjoyed many weekends throughout the year – except the coldest parts of the… Continue reading

Alien Assimilator Status 1

I have been making a little progress on my alien assimilation game. I have it working with SteamVR 2.0 now with some initial core mechanics. Basically you can just blast the city and pickup the debris which fuels your ship. You can also collect humans which just say funny things at the moment – they will eventually give you power ups as you collect them!  The goal will be to assimilate as many humans as possible within your limited invasion window while keeping your ship powered and defending it from the human army trying to take you down.  It’s pretty simple at the moment, but the explosions are satisfying!

Steam VR Unity Plugin 2.0

So I decided to spend some time with Steam VR and try the new Steam VR Unity Plugin 2.0. I am mentoring at the Reality Virtually hackathon at MIT next week helping represent Wayfair and the Next team there and wanted to be knowledgeable of all these recent changes. I also wanted to test my current game project in both the Rift and the Vive so now seems like a good time. I currently have… Continue reading

Playing Lost Loot Again

Just relaxing a bit after the holidays and decided to play Lost Loot since I haven’t tried it in a while.  It still runs beautifully on the Rift and is so much fun.  There is something nice about just sitting back and relaxing with the controller and wandering the ocean looking for treasure in VR.  It may not be perfect but it is a fun little game and those megalodons in the depths are still scary!

XR Dads

So the www.xr-dad.com  site launched and is exactly the kind of stuff I go through with my 8 year old son!  Some good resources here from Alex and Logan for us XR Dads.  I ended up meeting both of them in person at LEAPcon and they are great guys!  So I can officially vouch for them. 🙂

Pica Voxel

I wanted to discuss Pica Voxel which is a great little voxel framework for Unity that I have been using in my latest project. It is written entirely in C# and works pretty well.  I have had success with it and plan to use it as the core in my next project.     The best thing I like about it is that it has shaders that produce a really nice flat shaded look.  The… Continue reading

Unity Hub

If you are not using Unity Hub to manage all those versions of the engine you have installed you should get it now (download is at the end of the linked Unity Blog post). I have been using it for a while and find it almost indispensable for managing the installs, related components, and launching the right one for various projects.

What’s Up With Lost Loot

You can likely surmise from the absence of posts over the last two years that the update to Lost Loot stalled and lost momentum.  I ran into too many issues with performance around the terrain and the trees that made it just not workable and I couldn’t reliably meet frame rate on minimum spec machines.  Another big reason was that I felt the third person miniature approach I switched to was ultimately the wrong direction and dependent on a controller that wasn’t the future of VR where room scale and hand presence is the standard.  I may jump back into it once Unity revamps the whole terrain portion of the engine but that may be a while!

8 Year Old Concept Art

Here is some concept art from my 8 year old son – two units we will have in the alien invasion arcade game we are working on.  He likes to mock things up in Minecraft.  I am starting to train him with MagicaVoxel which is what I am using to build the voxel models for the game.  These units will likely grow in detail over time.  I am focusing on a programmer art approach which is to get things in then refine them over time as the game play takes shape and the fun emerges!

The Magicverse

I wanted to share my thoughts on the Magic Leap One.  I was able to work with the device as an early access developer at Wayfair and I built an experience for it called Wayfair Spaces that is published on Magic Leap World.  These are some of my personal thoughts about the device and the bigger picture of this tech and community of early adopters around it.     I honestly believe that Rony and… Continue reading