The major events this week are the:

Halves presentation

Main client looking at our prototype for the first time

Playtesting session

Halves presentation:

In our halves presentation we spoke about the research, exploration, production, playtesting, demovideo and schedule

In our research, we spoke on our site visit, the books we referred to, the sites and the previous work we looked into. Then we spoke on how we moved to the production phase from our research phase after scoping down our project with the help of the proposal we gave our clients.

We divided our project presentation into 2 phases:

1phase- exploration

2phase- iteration

In exploration, we spoke on all the programming, art, data exploration process and in iterations, we spoke on how we worked on different iterations of UI, prototype and art style.

We also spoke about our demo video and all the features-functionality, art style, environment.

Main Client from the City of Pittsburgh, planning department had come down for our halves presentation and gave us some extremely good feedback later on.

Feedback on our halves presentation:

From instructors:

-They appreciated the progress we made since quarters

-They think we dressed well, handled questions well and the demo video was appreciated

From clients:

-They really are impressed by the work and the progress that we are making

Here is a photo from our halves presentation:

Playtesting session:

We conducted a playtesting session by asking people to sign up for it. Then we came up with scenes/tasks (user case stories) for them to do while in the prototype.

You are an urban design student tasked with changing the height of a local business from its current height to 10 stories. After you’ve adjusted the height, you want to see how the building’s shadow affects the area at dawn.

You are an urban design student tasked with previewing what Centre Avenue would look like with bike lanes. After you’ve made adjustments to the road, you’d like to see how the area looks in the rain.

You are an urban design student tasked with changing the height of a local house from its current height to four stories. After you’ve adjusted the height, you want to see how the building’s shadow affects the area at sunset.

You are an urban design student tasked with previewing what Centre Avenue would look like with bike lanes. After you’ve made adjustments to the road, you’d like to see how busy the roads are in the afternoon.

You are an urban design student tasked with changing the height of a local business from its current height to 10 stories. After you’ve made adjustments to the business, you’d like to see how busy the roads are in the afternoon.
Then we also had a questionnaire after they completed their tasks.

In the questionnaire we had asked their opinion and also asked them to rate our UI and prototype on scale of 5. The least rating we got was 4/5.

We also came up with a playtesting schedule:

Week 9 Thursday, October 26th

  • Playtest Interface
    • How easy it is to navigate menus
      • Scale of 1-5 how intuitive is the menu, how it looks
    • Ease of selecting buildings
      • Could you tell when you selected the building, did you select the building you wanted,
    • Guest response to sound effects
  • Immersiveness of space
    • Proper scale
    • Response to people walking along streets
  • Tutorial paper playtest

Week 10 Wednesday, November 1st

  • Interface
    • Guest response to adjusting building height
      • Response to visual effects and sound effects
    • Test 3D icons of road types
  • Playtest first iteration of birds eye view mode
    • Are they close enough to buildings to make selections?
    • Can they move around and view the whole area?
    • Are the teleportation locations easy to select and understand?
  • Teleportation-moving around an intersection
    • Is there any motion sickness?
    • Does the guest understand that they’ve moved to another area?
    • After they’ve teleported do they feel like they are correctly oriented in the space?

Week 12 Wednesday, November 15th

  • Playtest changes from last playtest
  • Zoning Features
    • How easy is it to change zoning types?
    • Are color codes easy to identify?

Below is the video of our main client (Ray Gastil, Director of City of Pittsburgh, Planning Department) Playtesting our product



The major part of this week was spent on preparations for our halves scheduled next week.

We had made the lists of things that we need to finish by halves and we spent the week by finishing all the things and polishing the stuff we had to.

We made our presentation for halves depending on the following criteria:

-The feedback we got from our quarters presentation and on what did we work through halves to address those feedbacks

-the platesting sessions with our target demographic

-reasearch and the work we had done

For the prototype,

Road type change:

We had worked in polishing the feature of road type change. Initially we had a place holder yellow in color to select a section of road and change it to another type. But we worked on automatically being able to select the section of the road and the sidewalk and will be able to change its type.

UI modifiacation:

We have been working on iterations on the UI. We had a couple of informal playtests with the ETC faculty and we had changed the UI depending on the feedback they had given us.

Other than that, we also worked on the tutorial which gives an idea to the naive users on how to use the controller.

The above three tutorial screens show the users how to select options from our menu and how to make those options fuction accordingly.


Important Events/Changes this week:

-The artstyle

-Finalization of timeline and schedule for the project

-Finalization of the things to do for Halves


Taking into consideration that our clients want us to build wider area range into our prototype, we had to come up witha  different artstyle. In the current artstyle, we are using maya and it has extremely high details on it.

The new artstyle is by using the photographs of the buildings as texture. This has an advantage of finishing the building in relatively faster time.

Here is the example of the buildings made using the photographic texture method:

The week was spent on finalizing the halves requirements.

We came up with a list on what all we should have for our Halves prototype:

For the features,

Building height changing

Models of the buildings for two intersections which is S Graham St and Centre Avenue(detailed 8 main buildings, less detailed secondary and tertiary (adjacent) buildings)

Playtesting the building height change feature with the interface

Road type changing feature (the user gets to select from the types we give them as an option)

Example of a road type:

Teleportation from intersection to intersection

Interface UI with 3D pictures

Other than this, we also made an important decision of having a Bird’s Eye View as a feature.

The reason for this being, the navigation option in the prototype is teleporting from one intersection to another. It will be difficult for the users to make changes to the buildings which are in the middle of two intersections. Having Bird’s eye view will solve thi problem as the users can easily select and make changes to the buildings in the middle.

The final Timeline and aschedule of the project has also been determined:

By (10/23/2017)  [week8]

Building height changing

Models of the buildings for two intersections

-Build the buildings in the middle using Photographic texture  method

Playtesting the building height change feature with the interface

WEEK 9: (By 11/02/2017) [week9]

Models in Center avenue (till whole foods)

Playtesting the UI interface with 3D pictures on them and teleportation

WEEK 10: (By 11/09/2017) [week11]

Bird eye view feature

Changes in the environment regarding the pedestrians and traffic

Models for one intersection on Baum corridor

Playtesting the Bird eye view and teleportation

WEEK 12: (By 11/17/2017) [week12]

Zoning feature

Models for two intersections in Baum corridor




The most important update regarding this week is the presentation we gave our clients on our proposal for the project.

The proposal included the details about our prototype idea:

This prototype would be a look at what future urban planning tools could be like once detailed building information is included in GIS data. We would look at a section of the Baum Corridor and allow the user to make changes to road and sidewalk designs.  We are starting with the intersection of Centre and Graham and working our way east towards Whole Foods. We would provide detailed building models of current Baum Corridor buildings and universal, but highly detailed, buildings to be placed in the scene when zoning changes are made. These universal buildings would be height adjustable, and react to zoning rules (building height limits, distance from the property line).

To make this simulation feel like a real place, we will include people and cars moving about the area in a realistic manner. The number of cars and people would change with the configuration of the area. For instance if the user placed multiple stores in an area, then the number of people would be higher than if the user rezoned the area to be residential. If the area had restaurants then the number of people in the area would be higher at night than if the area only included office buildings.

All of our work creating this prototype will be documented so that it can be added to and modified by later groups.
Immersiveness- Highly immersive

Art Style- Photo Realistic

Tool Kit- Detailed models of building and street options that can be placed in the scene.

Environment Changes- have scene react to changes made by the user, and respond to the presence of the user within the scene.

Data- GIS data would be used to generate surrounding buildings. At the time, tools do not exist to do this automatically within VR and has to be done manually in the Unity editor.

Roads Lane Options:

  • Two lanes
  • Four lanes
  • No on street parking
  • One way street
  • Bike lanes

Sidewalk Options:

  • Adjust the width
  • Add elements like trees, benches, plants
  • How much space you have to work with would depend on road lane configurations
  • Placement of streetlights and how much light they produce at night.

Zoning Options:

  • Height adjustments can be made to universal buildings. Universal buildings would be modeled in a way that floors can be repeated and then topped off with a roof. Due to the complex geometry of the realistic building models of Baum Corridor, we can’t make changes to their height.
  • Buildings would respond correctly to high level zoning rules; a warning would appear if a building was placed incorrectly.

Weather/Atmospheric Options:

  • Changes made within the tool would have realistic shadow effects.
  • The area can be viewed at four different times of day: morning, noon, afternoon and night.
  • Weather conditions would include sun, rain and snow. These weather effects wouldn’t simulate rain or snow accumulation, but would create the feel of the place during different weather conditions.

Here is the link to our presentation slides with some information on the slides.


The feedback we got from our clients:

The clients are happy with the direction we are planning to go in and they had a request about an additional feature on zoning, which we decided to implement.



Important Events:

Quarters Walk around

Faculty Sitdown

Proposals for the clients

Prototype Building

Quarters Walk around: For the quarters walkaround we presented the faculty with our first demo and shared details about the additional client requirements, project scope, art pipeline, schedule, metrics matrix and challenges.

Though our demo was appreciated, we had many feedbacks saying that we are not clear on our client requirements. About the challenges, we had mentioned about data importing from different softwares for which we got useful feedbacks like, explainations how it is out of the scope.

We also got feedback on how we could better our prototype by adding more realistic textures and adding a sense of specificity of the area.

Faculty Sitdown: We had two faculty sitdowns by Ricardo and Dave. It started with Ricardo first. We asked them about their initial opinion on our project, art, challenges and information on scoping down our project. Ricardo gave us feedback on our proposals and also gave us information on a software that the artists can use to generate realistic textures to the buildings.  Dave gave us very good suggestions on how we should be handling our meetings with the clients and also spoke to us on what all points we should be including in our proposals.

Proposals for the Clients: After a lot of discussions and team meetings, we as a team came up with 4 proposals of which we present two to the clients.

Prototype: We added the detailed models of the building in the intersection we chose for our prototype. Apart from that, we also added rain, other components like trash can, fire hydrants etc into the scene.