Merge VR Headset

I’ve always wanted to buy a headset for my phone that would allow me to slide my phone in and watch VR. Yesterday I picked up a Merge VR headset for about $15 at Microcenter. I originally went there for a spare mouse, but I don’t think I could ever just go into that store and get what I came for and leave. There were a handful of headsets to choose from for my phone that ranged from $5 to $50. The ability to open up a window for AR is what sold me on this particular set.

The headset sat on my dresser until today when it finally saw some use. You think for someone so excited about it, he’d try it first thing right? My phone didn’t have any particular VR programs on it, but I was reading a book about VR today and it mentioned a website with the full video experience. The video is a short one called “Clouds over Sidra” which gives you a VR mode. It was super fun to watch for the first time! While my phone had about 15% battery when I started, I passed the headset around to the family so they could check it out and they were all amazed.

For the first time my kids experienced VR in a way and they were super excited and happy. It was different. After watching them half stumble, reach out as if they could touch someone, we had to set some ground rules. The first one is obviously space. What was I thinking passing them the headset in a crowded room? No touching, no stepping in front of people and no trying to mess around while having the headset and earbuds in.

I’m currently looking for all the VR stuff I can find for my phone so I can test out this headset.

Cliffs AR Life Recap – July 16th – 22nd

It feels like a lot of stuff has happened in the past week with injuries and everything. I’ve finished the book “Common Sense, the Turing Test, and the Quest for Real  AI” and it turned out to be a pretty interesting read. I wasn’t sure what I was hoping for in reading it, but I came out with some new ideas. I’ve also dove more into the Udemy course by Diego Herrera called “Discover Voice Controlled AR Apps”. In It I did a quick 10 minute Unity / Vuforia demo where it was essentially creating a scene that used my webcam as I raise my phone to show a picture of a Lamborghini. The screen would then show a 3D lambo I placed on it. Old and boring to most, but fascinating to me! My screen came out all janky when trying to screen record it, so I’m looking more into OBS to figure out the issue.

Anyways, here’s some random resources I came across this past week, hope you enjoy!


Next Reality 

I just found this site today looking for AR news. There’s tons of sources I use for web design and development, but being new to the space I had no idea where to go for AR stuff. If there’s any AR or related sites out there such as VR, then please let me know!

Unity 2018.2 Is Out

I meant to post this last week but forgot, but it’s worth downloading the latest and greatest if you’re new like me.


To go with the Udemy course I been doing, there’s a portion of the course to teach that says it’ll teach Machine Learning. It’s most likely on a small scale, but I decided to check out the subject matter with a few books that I plan on reading, this time with affiliates!


I feel like I’m not 100% sure on what goes into an AR resource post. If there’s something glaring that I’m just flat out missing or a particular focus, then let me know! I’m also not sure exactly what to call this weekly round up of AR related things I find. It feels like it’s just missing the point for a serious AR post or something. I’ll possibly come up with some tester names over the next few weeks to see what works best.

July 15th – 2018 – Cliffs AR Resources

While this list isn’t a bunch of stuff that is the hottest, greatest or even newest, it is what I’ve been looking at. If you want the latest resource then keep on moving because this is my resource list. I’m giving you the look into what I’ve been looking at, watching, reading and everything outside the actual programming aspect of it all. This could mean links to articles I’ve read, books I’ve read, books I want to read, online deals for resources, tutorials and everything. Not everything on this list is free, but it’s worth checking out!


Common Sense, the Turing Test, and the Quest for Real AI (MIT Press) 1st Edition by Hector J. Levesque (Author)
This book has been intersting just learning more about everything the title is. Common Sense, The Turing Test and the Quest for Real AI. I’m nearly done, but it does bring up interesting studies that were done to try to create AI as well how scientists are trying.

Experience on Demand: What Virtual Reality Is, How It Works, and What It Can Do
I picked this one up at the library and plan on reading it after the first one I mentioned.

Humble Bundle

Virtual Reality by Springer Nature
I love a good Humble Bundle special! My collection of Steam games is essentially 95% from paying the minimum $1 for a few cheap games. I was bummed at first knowing they had books, but then was happy to know it was all about Virtual Reality! I plan on getting the full tier. Act fast though, this deal ends July 16th at around 2pm Eastern I believe, which isn’t much time if you’re reading this.

Tier 1: Pay $1 or more

  • Learning Webbased Virtual Reality
  • Processing for Android
  • Develop Microsoft HoloLens Apps Now
  • Humanity 2.0

Tier 2: Pay $8 or more

  • Human Factors in Augmented Reality Environments
  • Virtual Reality and Animation for MATLAB and Simulink Users
  • Feeling Present in the Physical World and in ComputerMediated Environments
  • Beginning Windows Mixed Reality Programming
  • Pro Processing for Images and Computer Vision with OpenCV

Tier 3: Pay $15 or more

  • Echoes of Other Worlds: Sound in Virtual Reality
  • Augmented Reality Art
  • Being Really Virtual
  • Augmented Reality
  • Learn Unity for Android Game Development
  • Envisioning Holograms

Online Udemy Courses

Introduction to Unity for Absolute Beginners 2018

If you’ve seen my last posts, then you’ve seen some things I been creating. I did those through a free Udemy course by Diego Herrera. I was unsure of where to go for AR and Unity stuff and I saw him but I wasn’t sure of his teaching style. There’s a ton of cool Udemy courses out there showing cool things, but I’ve purchased those courses and the teaching style just seemed out of place and hacked together. He offered the course for free so I gave it a shot. I absolutely loved his tone and teaching style that when I went looking for more, I went and made a purchase for his latest course.

Discover Voice Controlled AR Apps | Unity & A Cloud Based AI

Just by watching the preview for it, it seems like something I can’t wait to dig into after writing this article. Expect more of my next blog posts to be focused around what I create in that course.

That’s all I have for today. Short and simple and of course I came up with it in the past 6 hours cause I was so excited to share with what I’ve been checking out today. I look forward to bringing you more info on what I was able to find out on my journey!

— Anything linked to Amazon is under no affiliation, so I don’t make any money. 

FPS Terrain building in Unity 3D

I’ve posted a video before on a quick set I did in Unity 3D with two space soldiers jumping up and down. I used a Frame Capturer package I found on github which can be found here. For this video today, I tried using OBS on window capture which made everything kind of janky and choppy. I’ll keep on trying though.

WARNING: I’m new to all of this, so feel free to laugh or just reach out and tell me all the technical things I’m missing out. I want to learn!

Today I’ve done something new! I started out with stuff that Unity already provides, which makes things really easy when you have no idea where else to go. I set up the scene by painting the grass on and making mountains with the terrain component. There were a lot of options for grass and trees that I used to just splatter around the world. It was pretty cool picking the random size of everything and the density of the trees. It’s almost like a hard to navigate Minecraft mode. Hard? Yes. I’m still getting used to the Unity interface as a n00b, but I’ll manage and be able to hot key and slide through it all soon enough.

I used an FPS controller to create that walking around view. Walking through the trees and grass was pretty cool, but I wasn’t done with the rest of my tutorial video! Adding in wind to blow the trees around was the next step. The levels of everything seemed to be off since it seemed like a hurricane at first, but I changed it down. It feels a little windy and its set at a sphere, so only parts of the map are affected. I managed to create a dust storm next in the mountains and later added it to my FPS controller so it followed me around. A Particle system was set to my FPS controller as well and the end result is almost a blizzard like feel, which I thought came out well. Disregard the fact that EVERY thing is green.

That’s what I did and learned in Unity 3D today. It was fun and my only regret is not getting more detailed on the map. Maybe in the future I can put together a local area? Maybe check out google maps and recreate some areas familiar to me? The idea is to learn AR, so that may be put on the back log of things to do when I get frustrated or stuck in the programming.


Everybody needs a refresh sometimes, and this is my temporary refresh. I’ve had my portfolio site up for nearly two years, showing off stuff that’s almost 4 years old. What’s the point in that? The web design changed, but the projects remained the same. I kept telling myself when I get the time, I’ll properly update my portfolio site with new projects, new case studies and explain everything I do and all that jazz. I’d fill it with all that design bullshit jargon that everybody looks for in a designer with words that are supposed to make it sound like you deserve the title “President of Everything Design”. I’d name drop every UX twitter handle I follow, quote everything they say and walk around with a big jewel encrusted rod touting the next big thing.

That’s not me. Those who know me personally are possibly laughing right now about how ridiculous I’d look and sound doing any of that. Whoever has spent more than 10 minutes with me knows that I like to simplify every little thing. I don’t like making everything I do sound like I just came down the mountain declaring the commandments of design. What I do is get super excited about things I learn. Hounding people and oversharing something I learned so they can know about it too is just something I’m a natural at in life.

That’s what this blog is going to continue being about. I’ve archived everything from the past so it’s not page after page of my old exciting times. Going forward, my new focus is going to be centered around my current loves and passions. Right now I’ve been getting into the idea of AR and maybe even VR. There’s a few Udemy courses ready to go as I learn the basics of Unity 3D and C# programming. Why did I choose Unity over Unreal? There was more info in my search when it came to AR/VR for Unity 3D, so that’s the direction I took. Nothing personal and I don’t hold any loyalty over one or the other. I’ve used Unreal in the past and I’ve loved it, but this is just the way I’m going.

The ultimate goal here is to create AR or VR games for gamers to enjoy and play. Video games have always been a big part of my life growing up and even at 35 as of this writing, I still dream of being in the gaming industry. So why not start now? Ready. Set. Go.

Ok, not yet. I’m not done talking and referencing myself in this blog. I’m still a web designer! I still love opening up Photoshop, Illustrator and Adobe XD on a daily basis to create great designs. Will that stop? Of course not! I’d love to pick up some freelance work, especially for the gaming industry. All my work and side projects will be shown on the portfolio link that goes to my Behance page, Go check it out! Unlike your typical portfolio where people put their best 5 or so pieces, I’m just putting up everything. Why not?

This page will be centered around my next journey as well as my passions. I’d love for you to share and check me out and everything on this page as it continues.

It was a pretty fun week as my focused was changed to VR momentarily. I picked up a headset that is also good to use with AR and spent a lot of time downloading random apps.


Augmented Reality Puts the Magic in ‘Magic: The Gathering’ Cards

This was really awesome to see. In the beginning of my AR idea list, Magic the Gathering took top of it. The concept seemed simple to have stats pop out and somehow mix with each other. This news article shows just some simple tricks, like video and what appears to be language changing, which is great for those who came across foreign cards but would really like to read them.


Merge VR 

This was the headset I picked up for only $14.99 on sale at Microcenter. You can click on the link above for Amazon who has it currently for $29.99, but if you’re anywhere near a Microcenter and love going there, go check it out to see if it’s still on the cheap!

VR Videos:

Clouds over Sidra

“Meet Sidra. This charming 12-year-old girl will guide you through her temporary home: The Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan. Zaatari is home to 130,000 Syrians fleeing violence and war, and children make up half the camp’s population. In this lyrical VR film, Sidra leads you through her daily life: Eating, sleeping, learning and playing in the vast desert city of tents.”
This being my first official video in full VR, I was hooked! This will forever be the one I compare all things too since it’s that first video on a headset.


VR Thrills

This is the first thing I found on the app store when I got my headset. I always wanted to go on roller coasters, but after a few times, I had to stop because i’m just not a roller coaster guy. I wouldn’t say this is the best app, but it’s what I tried. I kept freezing and the quality was very poor.


Ready Player One

After reading the book, I was excited to finally watch this movie on Blu-Ray. While it doesn’t stay fully true to the book, the entire concept is there and it does a pretty decent job of at least keeping things together.

That’s all for this week. Make sure to check back throughout the week for any random posts and until next week, see ya!