Our World Is The Benevolent Evolved Sister of The Ready Player One OASIS VR Platform
We bring some amazing epic news!
You may have heard of the Sci-fi best selling novel Ready Player One?
Description from Amazon:
"It's the year 2044, and the real world has become an ugly place. We're out of oil. We've wrecked the climate. Famine, poverty, and disease are widespread.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes this depressing reality by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia where you can be anything you want to be, where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets. And like most of humanity, Wade is obsessed by the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this alternate reality: OASIS founder James Halliday, who dies with no heir, has promised that control of the OASIS - and his massive fortune - will go to the person who can solve the riddles he has left scattered throughout his creation.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that the riddles are based in the culture of the late twentieth century. And then Wade stumbles onto the key to the first puzzle.
Suddenly, he finds himself pitted against thousands of competitors in a desperate race to claim the ultimate prize, a chase that soon takes on terrifying real-world dimensions - and that will leave both Wade and his world profoundly changed."
This has to be the best book I have ever read! :)
It has a massive cult following and millions of fans worldwide.
It is so good that Spielberg is now making a film off it, which will be out next March:
Ready Player One is compulsory reading for anyone who joins NextGen Software so they have an idea of part of what we are building with Our World, and the importance of what it teaches people to unplug and get out in nature and connect with people in real life.
The OASIS Is Real And It Powers Our World
BUT what really blew my mind is that the OASIS VR Platform featured in the book is the closest thing I have seen to Our World. They have a lot of similarities, but Our World is like the benevolent more evolved version of the OASIS. There are so many more advanced NextGen ideas featured in Our World that go beyond the OASIS.
The OASIS contains about 50% of what is in Our World. The other 50% is even further into the future… It also contains soooooo many amazing ideas to help heal this beautiful planet and the people on it… It is the solution everyone has been looking for…
I really can’t do it justice with words, it is so hard to share my vision with people, which is why I am so happy to have found this book, since I at least now have the OASIS as a good starting point for it, so a BIG thank you to Earnest Cline for that, it makes my job a bit easier now! :)
The book raises important social and morale questions about the dangers of using VR and technology to escape reality, as is a major issue even today. But in the future, it has become such an issue that the real world has become so neglected that mankind is now facing a crisis and even possible extinction.
One of the reasons Our World was created was to solve these issues, to show people the importance of unplugging from technology and getting out in the real world, especially into nature, which is very healing for everyone. It does this using the latest cutting edge technology such as Augmented Reality. Imagine Pokemon Go evolved in 20 years time and you still are not close! I started designing this years before Pokemon Go even came out.
It also promotes the importance of having real face to face interactions with people rather than being glued to your phone all the time. Most importantly of all, it teaches the importance of looking after our beautiful planet so it does not get to the state it does in the book.
Our World teaches people the importance of coming together working in co-operation as a community so everyone benefits, rather than working alone where everyone suffers and find it harder to achieve their goals. Together we are stronger, together we are ONE.
I am a geek/nerd and I am Anorak In A Parallel Universe.
What becomes even more incredible is that the creator of the OASIS James Halliday was on the Autistic Spectrum, which is the same as the creator of Our World, David Ellams BSc(Hons) (me!) I also had guitar lessons as a child and was a geek growing up in the 80's so I loved everything to do with the 80's including the movies, games, TV shows and pop culture. Definitely the best 10 years in humanities history!
When I left my last contract to finally work full-time on Our World, NextGen Software & Yoga4Autism my work place at Science UK Ltd (Damien Hirst) gave me this leaving card:
Apparently they must have worked out my obsession with the 80's too! My favourite is of course Superman flying around the the world, which just happens to be the Our World logo. More on my biggest obsession and my hero Superman later... :)
The only part I am not a fan off is the symbol in the top left hand corner, which I wish I could remove but it is on a gradient so is tricky. My colleagues put it in as a joke! ;-)
Oh, and guess the name of the engine that Our World runs on? Yup, that's right, its called the OASIS (Open Advanced Sensory Immersion System) engine.
The Ultimate Easter Egg!
It gets better, guess when I started reading Ready Player One? Yes, that's right, it was on EASTER SUNDAY 2017! You can imagine how much more this blew my mind! The ultimate Easter egg present from the Universe to me! :)
The Parallel Anorak
Just like James Halliday I was also a social recluse and got bullied excessively at School due to being so different thanks to the Autism but I excelled at technical subjects such as Math’s, Science and of course Computers. I went to Uni and got a 1st class honors degree in Computing And Informatics and came top of my class in the Uni’s hardest degree at Plymouth University, which was rated the 5th best in the UK for computing in The Times newspaper. I found/find computing/coding so very easy, especially compared to social communication, which is a minefield! I then went on to become one of the top-rated contractors in the UK working for all the big names such as Nokia, Microsoft, HSBC, KPMG, etc Nokia said I was the best contractor they had ever seen and I was the only one taken on with just a telephone interview. I never had a smartphone, I then I spent a weekend learning Windows Phone before the interview and then when I worked there they kept coming to me to ask questions about their phone because I knew it better than them! :) The power of autism :)
I am not bragging, just trying to show you how scary the similarities are between James Halliday book and my life…
I don’t believe in coincidences, everything happens for a reason and nothing is truly random, even if it may seem to on the surface. Look at all the signs, this has all happened for a reason…
I started getting visions and ideas for Our World back in 2011, the same year Ready Player One was released, yet another coincidence? Well I do not believe in coincidences, everything happens for a reason within the Universe, nothing is random. I couldn't believe someone had written so much about my idea and even more mind blowing was the creator of the OASIS being very similar to me. Well I guess my life would have gone more like Jimmy's if I hadn't discovered yoga, meditation and mindfulness and turned my life around with them starting in 2010. In a parallel Universe I am sure my life ended up being the same as Jimmy's.
I am sure I would have also got into commercial game development much earlier, which is what I have always wanted to do. It is only after how I saw how much harder game development was to web development, paid less money and had a LOT less jobs going I thought it was safer to go down the Web and Desktop dev route. But I have to say this is one of my biggest regrets in life since my heart has always wanted to do game dev, which is why I have continued with it as a hobby in my own time, but due to life pressures and lack of time, I never quite managed to finish all the projects I had started, but I have been designing MANY games my whole life, even ones I never got round to creating, and one day I hope all of these will be created... :)
When I graduated from University there were also no jobs going since it was in 2002 not long after 911. But just as I had decided to leave London and return to the South West (I prefer being near the sea and nature) I was offered a interview with a top games developer to work on their new upcoming driving car game, which later became a number one best seller! I still wonder what would have happened if I had gone to that interview... As I said in a parallel Universe I know my life would have turned out a lot closer to the other Anorak's...
I always play as a wizard in all RPG's just like Anorak too. ;-)
BEGIN GEEK OUT WARNING********************************************************************
I loved the Back To The Future films (who doesn't?!), Superman (my childhood hero and still my hero now!) films, Terminator films, Star Wars, Star Trek, Robocob, Predator, Commando (yes, I was a big Arnie fan!), Ghostbusters, WarGames, The Last Starfighter etc, etc. Most of what is in Ready Player One was also my childhood! :) I watched these films over and over again, yes they were a real obsession like most of my childhood obsessions such as computers, Lego, etc. After building models, I use to have more fun creating my own designs including giant space battle cruisers with bombing bays, fighter jets that launched from it, bases, entire cities I use to create over my bedroom floor, which my parents use to love me for! You normally couldn't see the carpet or get from one side of the room to the other, I had THAT much Lego! :)
I have always wanted to be a games developer and wrote my first games on the ZX Spectrum when I was 8 and then later on his Amiga 600. My brother loved playing the games (so did I), but I was more interested in how they worked, I started off experimenting with making the screen flash different colours and drawing different coloured shapes on the screen, after that, I was hooked and wondered what else I could make it do! :)
My 'Speccy' was later upgraded with an external floppy drive to replace the fun modem sounding cassette loader. I could squeeze sooooo many games onto just one disk. It also had a magical red button on it enabling me to freeze the current game and save its current position to the disk, it was magic! :)
I couldn't find any pics of the drive I had so this is the closest thing I could find,
I also use to play around on my Dad's IBM Microcomputer seeing what could be done with DOS and BASIC.
I got my Amiga 600 when I was 10 and loved writing games in AMOS. My early games were text based adventure games, which I also created the music and graphics for including full graphical intros (using rendering software to create 3D terrains). My best was called Knightmare II (yes based on the classic kids TV series called Knightmare I use to watch after school, it was my favourite TV show! :)
I then moved onto my Amiga 1200 when I was 12, which today is still my favourite computer! It was waaaaaay ahead of its time! The Amiga 1200 was later upgraded to include an external floppy drive, a whopping 320 MB internal HD, n 68030 40Mhz (the stock was 12 Mhz so this was a BIG improvement in speed!) accelerator card along with an additional 8 MEG ram giving the Amiga a massive 10 MB of RAM. This machine was the muts nuts for its time and was very powerful for computing standards back then. The amazing Workbench OS booted almost instantly along with the thousands of games that could now be squeezed onto the HD. Baring in mind games and the WorkBench OS normally boot from floppy disc and even then only took about 10 seconds max. Workbench was tiny and fit on one floppy, loaded within a few seconds from floppy and very rarely crashed! It pooped all over PC's and most other machines of its time. My friends had Commodore 64's and Atari's which I played on but nothing really touched my heart like the good old Amiga did.
Sadly due to Commodore stopping support for the Amiga and going bust and after one failed promise after another of each subsequent company to take over, I admitted defeat and was forced to turn to the dark side and built my first PC rig at 15. It was after playing DOOM, Duke Nukem 3D, C&C and WarCraft 2 on a LAN with my mates every weekend I realized I needed to buy a PC to play these amazing games. I realized after this that my favorite type of games were RTS (Real-Time Strategy) and FPS (First Person Shooter).
My favorite game of all time was SC (StarCraft) and then later SC2 (StatCraft 2). I almost dropped out of University because of SC, it was that addictive! I was a member of online clans and got pretty good at it. I was also a member of a number of Quake, Quake2 and Quake 3 Arena clans, games I also played a LOT off! I was very good at these too, thanks to one of my best mates being the 2nd best in the UK at DOOM, so when I was younger playing at those LAN weekends getting my ass handed to me time and time again on deathmatch, I slowly but surely got better and better.
My favourite type of games are RTS (Real-Time-Strategey), FPS (First Person Shooter) and RPG (Role Playing Game). I also love the Diablo games and have played all of them. During our LAN days when I was younger we also played a LOT of SC, Diablo/Diablo2 and WarCraft 3. Blizzard and ID are my favourite Game Developers, I have always seen them as Gods! :)
I later also fell in love with Valve after they created Half Life, Half Life 2, Portal and Portal 2, also rated as some of the best games ever made! Half Life actually started off using the Quake engine but was so heavily customised not a lot remains of the original code!
When I was younger I also use to play a lot of board RPG's such as D&D and Shadow Run, which was a lot of fun since you needed to use your imagination. I was also a big fan of the Magic The Gathering card game, I spent a LOT of money on this and had a massive collection, which I still have somewhere. I had a lot of rare cards and killer decks, which I rarely lost with. I was also of course a big comic book fan including Marvel, DC comics, etc. It's very exciting to see these being made into movies now, reliving my childhood again and again! :)
Superman was my childhood hero and still is, one of my biggest obsessions has to be Superman, I am normally always wearing a superman t-shirt (as you can see on my FB profile and pics at the end of this blog)and love everything to do with him, I even have 4 figures of various sizes of him at home. As a child I had superman wallpaper, bed shirts, superman everything!
TOP TIP: It may be a good idea to take some notes on this history since it may well help you find an Easter Egg in future... Maybe you should start some sort of grail? ;-)
END GEEK OUT WARNING
That was FUN, I owe a BIG thank you and a lot of gratitude to both Earest Cline and Wil Wheaton for helping me to fully embrace my geek side and my geeky past. It's odd, I have half hidden it most of my life after all the bullying I endured, which was also down to my Autism. In time I learnt to accept my Autism and even started to be proud of it and to see it as a gift and not a curse, I then had no problem disclosing it instead of trying to hide it. But for some reason I never extended that to my geeky lineage... until NOW that is... :)
Check out this awesome video from Wil Wheaton, who I am also a big fan off and will always be Wesley Crusher to me from TNG (Star Trek The Next Generation). I use to love that show! :) I still do! :)
This video was taken from this post, which I also strongly recommend you check out:
Very wise words he says in the video above and I agree the key is how you love something, not just what you love. The how you do something is much more important than what you do...
He closes by saying he will do his best to leave the kids a planet they can still live on. Well Our World is the answer to that, together we can not only leave them a planet but we can leave them a much better world than the one we are in now.
Games I have made to date
Below is a list of some of the games I have made to date, this is not to brag but to simply show you my geeky anorak heritage. ;-)
Text based graphic adventure game written in AMOS on the good old Amiga. :) This was obviously inspired by my favourite kids TV show Knightmare that I already mentioned above. I created music in Octamed a MIDI synthesis on the Amiga as well as created a intro using a ray tracing program, it took a VERY LONG time to make each scene with the very low processing power back then, but was definiley worth it! Watching each pixel get rendered was fun back in my very geeky childhood! ;-)
When I was in School in Office Studies I use to do the class computer tasks within about 5 to 10 mins while everyone else was still struggling so I then use to pass the time by coding a QBASIC Tankz clone, which is what other games later copied such as Scored Earth, Worms and Angry Birds. I also use to have fun hacking into the School network as a challenge and installed games such as Duke Nuke Em that I use to play in between coding and doing the boring curriculum tasks!
When I was a kid and went round my friends flat (Stephen Watts) we use to do pair programming on various different little projects, one of them was this game, which I am a little embarrassed to say involved you being a drug dealer and building up your empire, it didn't have any fancy graphics, was mainly text based. Back then I was never naive and didn't really care about the content, just enjoyed the programming tasks. It was actually my mates project that I helped out on... ;-)
Again when I was round my mates Steve's flat, when I got bored I use to code various little projects, tools, games, etc and one was a vertical scrolling shoot em up game similar to Raiden. It used graphical sprites lifted straight from Doom, my favorite game at the time, which you had to shoot out of the sky!
Owl Hunt Easter Egg Game
Even back a long time ago I use to love hiding Easter Eggs in games, apps, websites, etc. One was during my placement year where I was coding VBA (Visual Basic Application) for Excel talking to a back-end Oracle DB. Basically allowing data to be downloaded, processed and uploaded to the DB. Again this was very noddy work for me and I got bored very quickly so I ended up write a game similar to Duck Hunt where you needed to shoot Owls that appeared in random places. Again, I would NEVER code anything like this now, all animals and life is very precious! But the graphics were very basic and cartoony so there was no blood or guts like todays games. The reason it was Owls is because the software system was called OWL, I cannot remember what the letters stood for. As I recall there was an OWL graphic in the top left hand corner of the GUI (Graphical User Interface) that when you left clicked whilst holding down CTL + O would launch the Easter Egg game... :)
I wonder if my application is still being used today, and if anyone ever found the Easter Egg... ;-)
I started programming this for my final year project for my degree but I quickly hit the limits of what could be done with VB6. It featured AI players as well as network code to allow up to 4 players to play at a time. It also featured a chat room for players to talk before a game began. It featured a number of different game modes as well as music and sound effects. I also was not sufficiently challenged by this so I decided to write my first low-level C++ DirectX game Shadow Fighter for my project instead.
You can download the full game for FREE here.
This was my first proper game written in low-level C++ and DirectX 4 as my final year project for my degree in Computing And Informatics at The University of Plymouth, in which I was awarded a 1st class honors degree for. The degree is rated as the hardest degree the University has to offer and I came top of his class in all technical modules. The School of Computing for the University is also rated as one of the top five in the country by The Times.
The game is a parallel scrolling shoot em up and was deeply inspired by Babylon 5 (one of my favourite Sci-Fi series of all time) and Raiden (I loved this game), as may become apparent. Raiden was my Joust/Black Tiger and got me through my childhood along with Golden Axe, Street Fighter 2 and Mortal Kombat, Teenage Hero Mutant Turtles arcade game & the Thriller arcade game amongst many more!
Just like Anorak and Ernest Cline I LOVE my retro gaming so this game is in honour of that! :)
It plays in a similar way to Raiden in that you have a primary, secondary and special weapon. The primary and secondary weapon can be upgraded both in power and spread (the number of projectiles that can be launch simultaneously). It has a number of end of level bosses as well as about 25 levels with an engrossing story line. It also features a number of hidden cheats and Easter Eggs.
It was my first serious game developed in low-level C++ and DirectX 4 in 2001/2002. It was a steep learning curve, I taught myself how to code DirectX and low level C++, created the game, graphics, music, sound effects, speech synth, storyline, user manual and 100+ page final year project report all in about 6 months! I still do not know how I managed that considering it normally takes a team of developers a couple of years to make a game, and they normally already knew what they were doing! :)
All of this was during my final year of my degree, which is suppose to be the hardest but I spent most of it coding this game, from mid-day till 4am in between spending time with my 1st girlfriend (at 22), which as you can imagine was also a VERY steep learning curve for a 1st girlfriend, let alone for an aspie! I didn't even bother turning up to half of my modules, my mate just collected the handhouts for me. I then read these the night before the exam and still aced them! :) Very, very, very grateful for my special autistic brain! ;-) I have an excellent memory and a nearly photographic memory.
You can download and play a copy of Shadow Fighter here. But be warned, it is still a bit buggy, I was planning on going back to polish it but never got a chance. I also had 2 sequels planned, Shadow Fighter 2 and Shadow Fighter 3D but never got the time in the end. I hope one day these will get made. It will most likely be Shadow Fighter VR now! ;-)
You can check out more screenshots on our NextGen Software Website.
Please feel free to download the FULL game for FREE! It is freeware so please go ahead & enjoy!
Crossword software for The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun. This was written in WPF (the same technology used for Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 & Windows 10 so also has the same dazzling visuals and smooth animation) and so is modern and up to date and better than any other crossword software out there. This is the brain child of David Ellams BSc(Hons) and David Akenhead, who is the Crossword consultant for The Times and ex Crossword Editor for The Times and the family name is famous within the crossword circles.
His father Edmund Akenhead invented the Jumbo Crossword Books and was also a top Crossword Editor for The Times. David Ellams is the founder of NextGen Software Ltd and is highly skilled and experienced within his field, he has been in the industry for over 16 years and has worked with all the big names.
Check out his CV here.
Also check out the web store at http://www.akenheadcrosswords.com that sells this software backed up by the world's largest and unique archive for The Times, The Sunday Times and The Sun crosswords. It even includes very rare special editions, limited editions and jumbo books, which cannot be acquired anywhere else. As well as dating back to first world war times, it is also kept up to date so also features the most recent crosswords too.
Press feel free to download a sample crossword here.
We are also interested in hearing from other publishers or the public who may wish to use our cutting edge crossword engine for their own tailored made crosswords.
If you wish to download and try extra FREE cryptic and concise crosswords then these can be downloaded from the