This is my last image taken in Maribor. All in all I can say is, that I was surprised by how lovely this small city is. Maribor is actually not far from home, but it is in that unfortunate zone that is a little bit too far to drive there for a coffee, but on the other hand so near that most of the time we drive by to another destination. It shares that fate with Udine or Ljubljana. The question is always: “Why not drive a little bit further and down to the sea?”. Well, this time we didn’t and I’m glad about it 🙂
I have no idea what they do when suddenly rain comes falling, but I found the idea of having that furniture out on the street pretty charming 🙂
By the way, I’m writing this on March 8 and yesterday Adobe released new versions of ACR and Lightroom with full support for the E-M1 MkII (among others). Sweet! I can again choose from the Olympus camera profiles (like “Standard” or “Vivid”) as starting points.
Pretty nice, right? Of course this is not a really old church. In a way these late 19th century churches, with their architecture always mimicking some historic style, could well be dismissed as kitsch, but on the other hand I like to think that a church does have a purpose as well.
If a church of roughly similar looks fit that purpose 800 years ago, I see no reason why the style shouldn’t fit the purpose today. Or, look at it this way, if we accept that Yellowstone can be the subject of images after Ansel Adams, why shouldn’t we accept Neo-Romanesque or Neo-Gothic architecture?
Anyway, I like churches to be bright, and this one surprised me pleasantly.
Maribor in Slovenija is a beautiful town not far away from the Austrian border. It lies at the same river Drau/Drava as Villach, only about 150 km downstream. It’s one of those towns that not only nominally lie at a river, it’s one of those that really make use of that position.
You don’t see the promenade in this image, you don’t see the the restaurants and cafés along that promenade, but they are what make the difference.
Historically it’s of course understandable. Today’s rivers are regulated and relatively safe. You see the perils of building too near the river in some of those cities that are situated at the confluence of two or sometimes three rivers. The city of Steyr in Austria is regularly flooded and so is Passau in Germany.
In Maribor the main city is safe at something like 30 meters above river level. A cascade of restaurants and cafés, warehouses and workshops falls down to the river, and that’s where the most beautiful spots are.
Speaking of flying over Paris as an eagle, you may ask yourself if I ever felt motion sickness.
Motion sickness is really a problem with VR games. It sets in, because what you see does not match what you feel. In the game you move at high speed, you avoid obstacles, but you don’t feel the forces that your body has learned to expect in real life.
It’s a big, big problem and developers address it in very different ways. Some games don’t let you walk, they let you teleport instead. It sounds unintuitive, it most likely is, but it surely helps against motion sickness. Others try to give you a reference frame. As an eagle, for instance, I always see part of my beak and some feathers. They never move. In car games you have the car itself as reference frame, in other games you are on a roller coaster or something like that. The important thing seems to be the never moving frame.
This is something that greatly interests me. You have a problem and a lot of people try very different things to solve it.
The other thing that made me buy the Playstation VR is, that this is a new paradigm. It’s a little bit like the advent of smartphones.
In the beginning we had many comanies trying all sorts of things, and then Apple finally found the glorious solution. I had ignored smartphones for more than two years, but then I deemed it necessary to learn the new tricks. I had to do it in order to stay relevant in my own profession. Today it’s all smartphones and tablets, and at work we have finished two apps this year. In the long run I expect VR (and especially augmented reality like Microsoft’s HoloLens) to become a big thing.
But, what about motion sickness now? Does it work?
Yes. I can’t fly much longer than half an hour, but the reason is not motion sickness, it is shear exhaustion. So, yes, it works. At least while I fly.
Oh boy, when I remove the VR gear and am back in the real world, the world refuses to behave as it should. I can look where I want and I don’t move. I can tilt my head and nothing reacts as it had for the last 30 minutes.
Have you ever been drunk? Real drunk? The kind of can’t-walk-a-straight-line drunk? Yes, that’s what it feels like, and it does not go away for hours.
There you have it: fly for 30 minutes, pay for a few hours. And still, it’s worth it 🙂
Before I began taking photographs, I played a lot of computer games and even made two maps for the game Unreal Tournament 2004. I spent lots of money on graphics cards and fast computers.
Then all changed. Today I don’t even have a computer capable of playing current games. Ten years old “Half Life 2” runs pretty well on my Mac, but forget about “Far Cry 4” or anything like that.
Two weeks ago I bought a Playstation 4 Pro. I did it mostly for VR, but – as everybody else has likely found out – there are not that many good VR games currently on the market.
The seemingly best one is “Resident Evil 7”, a horror game that lets you creep through a decrepit house somewhere far away from any other people than the members of a psychopathic family who are out to kill you. It’s all dark, dirty, mouldy and full of insects. Guess what? I am not interested 🙂
The VR game that I did buy is “Eagle Flight”. Here’s an in-game video on YouTube. Basically you’re a bird and you fly over and through a Paris without people, reclaimed by nature.
The game has a great and intuitive control system that lets you fly wherever you look. Tilt your head to the right and you make a turn to the right, tilt to the left and turn left. It’s that easy. There are only two buttons on the controller, one to accelerate, one to slow down.
That’s exactly what I was looking for. I think VR works great for horror (“Jump in your face” was never so real), but it also works great for flying. My preference is clear, I prefer flying 🙂
This is the last image from Novo Mesto. If you’ve followed my recommendation yesterday and looked at the Google image search, you may ask yourself why I have not taken any images that are more “spectacular”.
Well, the problem is, the best look on Novo Mesto is from high above. The spectacular thing is, how this town is embraced by the river, but in order to see that, you’d have to fly. A drone would probably do the trick, but maybe it really needs and airplane. I had neither, therefore I saw it mostly as another small town with two churches, a river and a bridge. Nice, but ultimately not as outstanding as I had expected it to be.