In term two in the MDM, from January to April, 2017, I had the pleasure of working with a very fine group of individuals on an exciting VR project. This term brought with it the challenge of dealing with a real client. Angi Lie, Erik Hauner, Peter Witt, Xiao Chen, Yeajin Kwon, and myself were challenged to create a motion based virtual reality simulation, which had to be capable of tracking a VR user in real and virtual spaces over considerable distance. Unfortunately this project is under a strict NDA, so not much more can be said about the specifics of the application.
What I can say about the project was that I learned a lot about defining an art style guide to help the process of rapid prototyping challenging 3D design problems. The project team and I worked tirelessly on figuring out how we could achieve something of comfortable fidelity for a range VR devices over 3 months.
Angi and I were responsible for creating the entire 3D world. We went from concept and storyboarding for VR, to 3D prototyping on several VR devices, iterating several times and user testing our designs on each step along the way. We went with a stylized art style, as it helped us scope our production for 3 months. We were really inspired by the game Eagle Flight by Ubisoft, which we used to anchor the fidelity benchmark for our prototype. We worked predominantly in Maya, and Unity, for modelling and prototyping, with use of Substance Painter and Mari for texturing.
We learned a lot about various user experience problems inherent to the medium of virtual reality. We were constantly iterating on the specifics of design solutions we researched and tested, such as peripheral vision constraints, avatars, and frame rate. We learned to script and storyboard for VR experiences, and translated this process into an immersive and stable VR experience. It was tremendous amount of fun to work with such a hard working group of people on such a fun and exciting VR project.