Relax: Northern Lights
November 13, 2016

A few months back I purchased the Oculus Rift and it's an amazing device. I am a business application developer so I am working with Unity to see what the capability of the device and this SDK.

I started working on Bedia VR and noticed that before I get too deep into that project I wanted to have a better idea of what is possible with these technoogies

I have watched a few 360 degree of the Northern Lights using my Rift and it is an amazing experience, however these are still a bit grainy and not as impresive as I would like so I thought this would be a good opportunity for me to dig into Unity. I have to say I have been very impressed with the Unity IDE and the capabilities of the engine as well as the support community.

Update: August 25, 2017. Beta 1. Things have gotten better, I even released the source code for the randomization. That code is available here. The application can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.

Update: July 19, 2017. Snow! The land and trees are covered in snow. There are multiple aurora, random like everything else in the scene. Each experience is unique.

Update: July 14, 2017. Got a lot done in the last 24 hours so I wanted to publish and update. The environment is smaller, now about 1 sq mile of exporable area. The previous version was getting to big for this version. Lots of work to make sure it runs well without taxing a system. I have a great desktop and some builds were taking LARGE amounts of memory, CPU and GPU. The water's reflection needs work, I know. The stars and moon are working, and they will be more random in the final version. Enjoy

Update: July 13, 2017. I have released the first alpha of this application, available below. Extra special thanks to Moonflower Carnivore for their aurora asset. This version has some of the random mountains, trees and plants. This is just the start, more coming.

Update: December 17, 2016. A new app was released yesterday called "Perfect" that includes multiple experience locations and one of them has Northern Lights. I have already purchased it, for research of course, and it is very nicely done. You may view a video of their product

In relavance to this project I have been running multiple tests to see if I can achieve the goals. Some of the planned features are listed below. Right now I have been spending time attempting to create the Northern Lights in such a way that they are random and ever changing. The base idea for this application is to create a unique experience for each visit.

Features: (many of these features are already in "Perfect", really check it out.)

  • Random mountains, trees, etc
  • Dynamic Weather using Weather Maker.. I'm a developer not a designer, and besides why build when you can buy?
  • Shooting stars
  • Random Northern Lights. Their patterns, speed, duration, etc.
  • The ability to save and share/replay a given NL Experience.
  • Download Relax: Northern Lights (Beta 1) (310 MB)

    Tech note: One of the reasons for this application is to create an ever changing environment. The script created, available on GitHub, allow the developer to easily add multiple items and/or folders to populate a given area.

    Technologies: C#, Unity, Visual Studio, VR