Mapping a Gamepad to Second Life & OculusVR with Voice to Text

Im fighting my own opinions about the SL OculusViewer. One side of me thinks it’s a terrible Oculus experience that puts to many options in your face, the second side of me thinks the OculusVR is just an overhyped headset and only one part of a large amount of hardware that’ll be needed if we are going to take full advantage of what Second Life has to offer.

The First side of me has spoken with many who haven’t been able to try an Oculus with SL yet but are very interested. They ask me things like “how great is it to build stuff with the rift?” and my answer is ‘pretty crap’. I blamed the UI for this, having all the same old hard to use UI thats hard for people to even use without an Oculus on.  I was hopping the Lab would perhaps take advantage of an opportunity create a new simplified UI for a new different way to experience Second Life, instead they wrapped EVERYTHING around your field of view and expect you to be able to touch type which i know some superhuman SL users can do. Im not one of them unfortunately.

The Second Side of me decided to try and achieve the type of simplified experience i wanted from using Oculus with Second Life. I got an old Xbox controller out of the cupboard and bought a copy of the MAC Peripheral mapping software ‘Controllermate‘ ($25). At first it looks complicated but there are some good tutorial vids online that help show just how simple it is to map any device to keyboard keys and combos (I used this tutorial by dude called Mo).



For those interested in mapping their Xbox Controllers to SL here is my mapped settings that you can open up in controller mate

Not only did i want to map the key important Second life short keys such as ‘hide UI’ and ‘open nearby chat box’ as well as navigation, i also wanted to map a dictation feature of OSX Mavericks that allows me to voice to text conversion.

The result was very kool as i hope you can see in the accompanying video. I was able to use the Gamepad to quickly navigate and activate options that would otherwise have me thumbing for the keyboard. I was also able to continue using text without having to type on a keyboard.

So after this experiment the Second Side of me realised the OculusVR while giving us that visual immersion can’t be expected to solve every VR Ui issue. It will suck to build stuff in Second Life until things like PrioVR, STEM, Notch or Leapmotion allow us to do away with the mouse and keyboards. Even Apples Siri or Googles Cortana could in future lead to a better less cluttered Oculus view of Second Life by allowing us to use voice commands at a click of one button. 

The First side of me however is thinking if all these options suck until better hardware solutions come along, why bother having them all in the oculus view. Reluctantly though the first side agrees with the Second side of me that i’ll continue to play with the Second Life Oculus Feature as it evolves over the coming decade as new hardware comes on the scene to improve it. So don’t expect your VR dreams to stop at just buying an Oculus Headset!.

Seeing Second Life via a 3D headset is still bloody awesome though. :-p

5 thoughts on “Mapping a Gamepad to Second Life & OculusVR with Voice to Text

  1. Cool video!
    Yes I agree, but of course it is all still very early days.
    We’re not even at the T-Ford stage if we could compare VR to the evolution of cars.
    I love the voice to chat option you’re using, I think SL should acquire something like that and build it into SL.
    I think that eventually we will use some sort of kinect/leap motion device that will simply scan all our RL movements, besides a headset, we won’t need anything else to wear or plug in.
    Except perhaps a omni directional treadmill.
    But we’re not there yet.

    • Yes I’m aware this is still early days, this is my main point of internal conflict. If this is so early in development, why make it so you can do everything badly from the start. Wont this just put off people? or maybe having all the options available will highlight what it’s good for and what its bad for? should i really be caring this much about it lol :-p

      • For my Dive VR HMD i use “Dragon Naturally Speaking” for text Chat as well, i think a Speech2TXT should have bin implemented in the viewer a long time ago as well as a simple addition to the mouse like in most MMORPG’s is that you should be able to control the camera and forward movement by holding both mouse buttons down, i can control all Movements and camera movements with my Logitech G600 mouse but well that one has 20 Buttons. To make SL as easy for beginners and as comfortable, SL should be at least be fully controllable one handed using the only the mouse, so my workaround : Logitech G600 MMO Mouse and Dragon Naturally Speaking for speech2TXT

  2. Nice, I have been thinking about mapping a controller… but I wasn’t sure what to do about the chat. I am not on a mac, so I would have to look at other options for the chat part. But it is nice to see it work so well.

    As to how cumbersome it is to use all this stuff (in Second Life or anywhere else), I am pretty sure that will just naturally get better over time. As more people see a problem (which will happen with an increase in vr use), there will be more people to help come up with ways of solving it. The hardware side will simplify and hopefully ways of making the SL interface better will become more obvious. It would suck to miss out on the start of things just because it is awkward.

    It really is amazing to actually stand inside your own art and have it feel so “solid” and “real”. I wouldn’t want to miss this 🙂

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