Category Archives: VR/AR

HoloVCS – Play Atari 2600 Pitfall! in 3D on a Looking Glass Portrait

Have a Looking Glass screen and want to try the above thing? Well, you can!

Download for Windows (~120 MB)

Github source

How to set it up and play it

To run this, you need:

  • A Looking Glass holographic display device connected to a Windows computer via hdmi (designed for the Portrait, but in theory it should run on all of them…)
  • The Holoplay driver installed
  • A beefy ass graphics card
  • A game rom (.a26 or .nes file) which needs to be put in the /atari2600 dir or /nes dir, depending on the system it’s for

If you don’t have a holographic device the screen will look like blurry garbage. If you want a build that works in 2D for some reason, I guess I could do one though…

Supported games (you must supply the rom, they are not included in the zip):

  • Pitfall! (Atari 2600)
  • Super Mario Bros (NES)
  • Castlevania (NES)

The actual filenames don’t matter, it detects supported games by checksum.

Note: There are two versions of Castlevania NES roms out there, if it’s not detected and playing in 3D you might have the wrong one.

It will run unsupported games, but they won’t have any depth/3d effects.

I’ve only tested with the Looking Glass Portrait and the OG 8.9. They both seem to run around the same speed, with the OG 8.9 being too zoomed in initially. (try the – key to zoom out?)

When it starts, it will show a menu with the hotkeys, but here they:

Arrow keys: Move
Ctrl, Space, Enter: A and B and Start buttons (gamepad supported too)
Return: Reset game
Num 0 through 5: Set frameskip (higher makes the game run faster by not showing every frame)
A: Adjust audio to match game speed (experimental but can help with audio problems)
/+: Zoom in/out. Hoping this will help with other Looking Glass sizes.
S: Save state
L: Load state
< and > : Cycle through detected games (any roms you’ve placed in the atari2600 and nes directories)

Tips

I can get 60 fps with NES games but only around 45 on 2600 games. (5ghz with Nvidia 3090)

If a game is too slow, press 1 or 2 for frame skipping modes. If audio is weird, press A to cause audio to sync with the recent framerate. (gets rid of pops and scratches usually, but pitch/speed will be wrong)

If you have problems, check the log.txt file for clues. (created in the root dir where HoloVCS.exe is)

FAQ

Q. Does it support other games besides these?

A. It will play unsupported games without 3d plane effects, so not really

Q. I noticed you’re using emulators via a libretro dll interface, does this mean I can pop in more emulator types?

A. Yes! Will, no. I mean, each requires customizations to work properly and do 3d stuff.

Q. The snake in Pitfall! is mostly invisible!

A. This is a known bug, sorry. I mean, it’s a ghost snake now

Q. Why do some levels look weird or broken?

A. Sorry, I only made it so the first levels works, didn’t worry about later stuff. It is possible to detect current level/environments via PPU memory and adjust rendering to match the situation though.

Q. Why is it called HoloVCS?

A. It originally only supported Atari VCS emulation. Too lazy to change it

History

1.0 Initial release, supports Pitfall! for the Atari VCS

1.1 Added support for a few NES games too

Got a Vive Pro – initial thoughts

Is it worth the money? How different is it?

So I broke down and got a Vive Pro despite its exorbitant price tag. Is it worth it?  Well… probably not, unless you’ve got money to burn.

I hate the idea of playing something like Skyrim VR with the old Vive when I know I could be seeing something prettier if I had better hardware.  It’s like that feeling of sadness I had playing Quest For Glory 2 before I had a sound card; I knew I was missing out on some of the experience.

It’s got some nifty tech inside that may be useful later though – dual cameras for AR stuff and Hololens-like collider detection as well as eventual 10×10 meter room support when the new base stations are released. (a 10×10 VR play space in Japan? let me pause to laugh uncontrollably followed by a single tear down the cheek)

In a year they’ll probably have one neat package with all the new stuff, so better for most to wait for that.

I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I felt like the optics were slightly blurrier on the peripheral areas as compared to the original.  Might be my imagination or something specific to my eyes, dunno.  I took some pics through the lenses with both devices with this setup to compare:

 

It’s all quite scientific, let me assure you. Yeah.

I couldn’t really notice a different in the edge lens distortion from the pics.  Here’s a comparison of the square from the middle, you can see there really is less screen-door effect now though.

Pics are from Skyrim VR

My NVidia 1080ti seems to run content at the same FPS as the old Vive, so so no real downside to the switch I guess.  It seems about equally as comfortable as the original Vive, that is to say, extremely uncomfortable.

4/24 2018 Update: HTC has announced an “aimed at the enterprise” $1399 Vive Pro full kit that includes the new 2.0 base stations and controllers, which in theory will offer better tracking and huge spaces.  A word of warning – unless they just started shipping with a new cable, the Vive Pro cable is the same length as the Vive, meaning larger spaces wouldn’t do you much good until the wireless addon is released later this year. (?)