For all of the hype surrounding VR, we have yet to answer fundamental questions in storytelling, birth a VR game genre, and move towards a paradigm of 3D centric experience design. However, having spent a summer at Oculus, I do believe the future of VR is in safe hands. Below, is my work in the space and my thoughts on answering some of these questions.
OCULUS : EXPERIENCE DESIGN
During my time at Oculus, I started by doing some work on VR Tools in Unity. The goal was to improve the team's workflow and have entire design team fleshing out interactive design in 3D space instead of mocking up in 2D. I also explored what a news feed may look like in VR and in the process experimented with different kinds of user interactions. These included swiping and scrolling with the Gear VR touchpad, and 3D centric effects such as panel tumbling and sliding.
SEA OF STORIES
Sea of Stories is a VR art experience that attempts to bring to life imagery depicting the power and beauty of stories. The arc the experience follows is constructed loosely as a scaffolding for viewers to interpret the visuals they see. In development of the experience we were posed with challenges unique to VR such as The Swayze Effect, production pipelines, pacing and motion sickness.
TEAM SIZE : 6 | PLATFORM : UNREAL(BLUEPRINTS)
ROLE : TECHNICAL DESIGNER
- Creative lead for a team of 6 including two tech artists, one modeler, one animator and one sound designer/2D artist
- Defined arc of the experience, established and managed production schedules from modelling, animation and in game engine art
- Blueprint scripting for gameplay including movement through level, setting up triggers and events, camera handling, transitions etc.
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RACE TO TREEHOUSE
Race to Treehouse is a game prototype that was built in two weeks for the DK2. In the game you play as a "dandelion fairy" having a friendly race with your companion fairies. One of the goals for the prototypes was to ensure that the input mechanism translated directly into the world to retain immersion. The high level concept for the game actually stemmed directly from using the PS move controller, ie "dandelion stick" as a navigational method to fly in 3D space. The original idea was to use a discrete locomotion system in an exploration styled game. The world would be divided
into discrete patches, i.e. lily pads on a river. The player would point in the direction of the next lily pad and fly through the air to land on it and explore the lily pad trying in a clue finding based game. The logic behind the mechanic was that we could focus art detail and build small detailed micro environments on the lily pads instead of one big macro environment. However, as we playtested it became clear that players were unsatisfied with the discrete movement system, i.e. they felt the freedom of flying was being taken away. Given this we moved to creating a more realistic spread out environment. To ease comfort during flying we also implemented optimizations such as object pooling, divided the level into blocks so that occlusion culling could kick in and used high res textures for the floor instead of modelling grass.