In the time-honoured tradition of making things do that which they weren’t quite designed for, I’ve added a variable walking speed to the CtrlAltStudio Viewer, Alpha 5 126.96.36.199376. I’ve also added “spot standing” Kinect control of avatar movement for people to try out. These two items can be used with all display modes: normal, stereoscopic 3D, and Oculus Rift.
The variable walk speed came about through a confluence of factors. When using the Oculus Rift, the jolt when starting and stopping movement was quite severe, and it seemed to be exacerbated in my initial Kinect control trials. Also, the high speed of movement and lack of fine control in position was a problem both when walking and when flying with the Rift. I happened across a Firestorm JIRA, FIRE-11098, in which Adeon Writer notes SL server support for slow walking if you hold the spacebar down while walking. I expanded on this idea so that you can set your walk speed to 1 of 5 levels from really slow to the “normal” fast walk. The setting also controls your flying speed.
This variable speed is admittedly a bit of a kludge, and the avatar’s animations at some speeds and directions is not very good. Also, it unfortunately doesn’t work very well at all with OpenSim: walking is always done at normal speed and flying at slow speeds is stuttery. And it doesn’t work properly with the SpaceNavigator (yet). Still, I find variable speed much better than the default fast walk and if other people do too, perhaps Second Life and OpenSim might be updated with better support for it.
The variable walk speed improves the usability of Kinect “spot standing” control, usable in Windows builds on PCs with Kinect for Windows sensors installed. You set a “home” position of zero movement, then once you move out of a dead zone around that position your avatar starts moving in the direction you’ve moved in. Avatar movement starts off slow and increases speed as you move further out, with the maximum being that of the walk speed you’ve configured. Except that for forwards movement you start running after the maximum walk speed. Also, if you move too far away then movement stops.
To turn, rotate your shoulders. To fly up or down use the gestures shown above. You can also crouch down to fly down. The speed of turning and flying up or down depend on how far you turn or lower and raise your arms. To stop control, either use the “stop” gesture or walk out of Kinect range.
I like the experience of the Kinect control when standing using the Rift, however it does take a bit of getting used to and can be a bit laggy in operation. The new Kinect sensor due out in the not too distant future will have lower latency and increased resolution, both of which should help improve the experience.
One other particular item of note added this version is configurable Rift orientation sensor prediction. Sensor prediction helps reduce latency and you can configure how far into the future your orientation is predicted. With your Rift on, adjust the Prediction Delta value until moving your head feels most comfortable.
Further changes this version are listed in the release notes.
- Windows: 188.8.131.52376 Alpha 5, 18 Nov 2013.
You can install this version over the top of a previous 1.1 alpha version.