While in the Czech Republic still a few weeks ago, I had the chance to visit Zbraslavice airfield and do some gliding way before anyone in Finland would even think of starting the gliding season. Of course the weather was not so good that day so I only did one short flight with a local teacher in the L-23 Super Blanik.

The Blanik is certainly a different beast than the modern DG-505 I had flown before. Aluminium construction, not so perfect ergonomics, no high tech gadgets to help you. But I liked it and it was an unique opportunity to have a flight logged in my logbook in another country before I even have my license :)

Short video of an aerotow start there, it was my first time experiencing that as well:

I recently got hold of the Oculus Rift DK1 but ran into a bit of a problem with the fact that my Nvidia card only has four display outputs which all were already in use. So to use the Rift I’d need to unplug one monitor, use a HDMI switch or a HDMI splitter. The splitter seemed like the best option but active splitters seemed very expensive and I read about EDID problems with passive splitters.

Cheap passive HDMI splitter

Cheap passive HDMI splitter

The EDID problem comes when you have two displays (a monitor and the Rift) at the end of the single HDMI output and Windows (or the video card) pretty much randomly uses the EDID from either one – and when it uses the one from the monitor the Oculus SDK will not detect the Rift as being attached and cannot read the information from it. A way to avoid this issue is to plug in the Rift first, let windows detect it and then plug in the monitor. But this is clumbersome and needs to be done on every reboot so it is not very practical.

Thinking about what to do about this the solution was simple: Make Windows not see the desktop monitor at all by cutting off the DDC pins from the HDMI cable that goes to the monitor. DDC is used for communicating the EDID and with those gone Windows will only be able to talk to the Rift. This of course means the Rift must be attached to have something visible in the monitor and the monitor will be limited to resolutions supported by the Rift, but in my case this is not a problem as the Rift reports it can support 1920×1200 which is the native resolution of the monitor I use.

In practice the easiest way to get rid of the DDC pins was to remove them from a HDMI to DVI adapter that goes to the monitor. In the DVI connector DDC data & clock are in pins 6 and 7:

ddc_pins

Female side of the DVI connector. Pins number 6 and 7 are the DDC clock and data pins used for reading EDID information.

These were easy to remove with a pair of pliers, you need to be a bit careful to not bend the other pins too much but these adapters are also very cheap so its not a huge loss for it to go wrong. My result:

hdmi_cut

This is the male DVI side of a HDMI to DVI adapter with the DDC pins cut off.

I use this with a cheap passive HDMI splitter that cost 10 euros and it works well. One problem I did notice is that if I turn off the Rift box I get some signal errors visible on the monitor image, possibly the signal gets too weak when the unpowered Rift box is attached in the cable. It can be avoided by just keeping the Rift powered at all times or by unplugging the power cable from the Rift box instead of just turning it off (Reading the EDID from the Rift still works even with the box unpowered). Some shorter cables might help as well.

Rift and the Dell monitor displaying the same image, but Windows only sees the Rift EDID information.

Rift and the Dell monitor displaying the same image, but Windows only sees the Rift EDID information.

blender

Collidable objects just needed to have the string ‘wall’ in them.

I had a look at why the tree, forest, etc. collisions were not working since some Assetto Corsa patch and it turned out to be easy to fix so here is another update for Joux Plane. I improved the tree collision models as well, they no longer throw you around the track so much (rather you seem to now sometimes get stuck in them. Oh well).

Download v1.4 of Joux Plane from here.

A few of these things under the track were causing problems.

A few of these things under the track were causing problems.

Finally got around to fix the issues in Joux Plane with the recent Assetto Corsa early access versions causing collision problems in some parts of the track. There were some leftover triangles under the track in a few places from lower LOD level mesh used originally by RBR.

A few other improvements are included also, changelog for version 1.3:

  • Removed some remnants of low detail geometry under the track causing collision issues with newer AC versions
  • Broken track section no longer adds dirt to tyres
  • All grass is now valid track to avoid penalty from small cuts
  • Added more zoomed in external cameras

Download it hereThe tree collisions also meanwhile seem to have become almost nonexistant and you can fall off the track in many places as well. But just stay on the track and you’re fine ;) Edit: Get the second updated version here instead, it fixes the collisions with trees.

Some photos from Prague, Czech Republic. Avoiding the almost-cliche photos of Charles Bridge with Prague castle in the background ;)

Also visited Butovicke Hradiste near Prague and the National Technical Museum. Buovicke Hradiste is a hill where a fortification used to stand, nowdays nothing appears to be left of the fort except a flat hill offering a nice view to the surroundings.

On the forums Justin (born2belyin) announced that he plans to continue SoftTH development:

After a year of “kicking the tires,” I’ve decided to finally put some effort behind bringing SoftTH into the DX10/11 era. I’ll be launching a Kickstarter project within the next month or so to get some initial donations for work on SoftTH. Money donated will go toward my time as developer and toward game purchases for testing (as needed). If enough money is gained, I may even be able to pay another talented developer for his/her time on the project. I plan to work on SoftTH whether the project gets much funding/donations or not, but I will be much more likely to dedicate significant amounts of time and effort if their is a show of community support. I want to bring SoftTH forward for my own gaming purposes, and I want other gamers like myself to enjoy the benefits of SoftTH not being limited to DX8/9 games.

Visit his site at www.softth.net to support the project!

Finally got around adding all the old content to a new WordPress based site I have been working on for almost an year now. Never enough time for finishing anything… But now it’s done, and I might post some junk here more frequently as well.

My new year went nicely in the middle of a pitch black forest hunting some newly published geocaches, GC4W4N5 and GC4W4RX. FTF on both \o/

Gliding season has ended for this year, I didn’t manage to get my license yet due to some delays with getting the medical certificate. I could not do solo flights until I got the medical, so they will have to wait until next year.

I did manage a total of over 30 hours in the air, max. altitude ~2200m and longest flight of just short of 4 hours.

Here is a video of some flying, captured with the Mobius Action Camera:

Had a chance to test the Oculus Rift, along with D-Box. The combination doesn’t work great due to the seat motion causing the Oculus head tracking to go out of whack sometimes, but it is likely solvable with software.

This was done in Richard Burns Rally with a quickly slapped together Oculus “hack” for it as I could not get any existing solutions working. It did full stereo rendering with Oculus distortion + partial head tracking (It worked ok as long as you didn’t look too much to the sides)