Another very full week in the bag. Facebook spaces visited us on monday helping us answer our question of “what can VR do better than any other medium”. We came to the conclusion that the potential things we could explore pertaining to that are “presense” (literally being in a new place or immersive environment), “scale” (changing how big/tall the user is thus changing their perspective) and “time” (fast forwarding/rewinding time). Through this we have solidified the idea of creating an experience exploring a deciduous forest in each of the four seasons. This biome is diverse both in plant and animal life, as well as it’s drastic changes through the season (experimenting with time), making it interesting to explore. Also, since Pittsburgh is part of a deciduous forest, we were hoping that the students would get the feeling of “close to home but not entirely familiar”.
Sharan has continued working on the networking. Now, students can choose their names when “signing in” and “teleport” to different spots within the scene. The teacher can now also receive information about the students actions (i.e. if a student “John” presses the block to make it jump, a pop-up appears on the teacher’s screen saying that “John pressed the block”). This could be really helpful for both keeping an eye on the students as they go about our VR space as well as allowing the teacher to transfer information to specific students.
Nicky and Rajeev have been tag teaming to create a prototype deciduous forest scene. We’ve figured out that all the objects in our world need to have a low amount of polygons because of the constraints of the Google Daydream technology. With that in mind, Nicky built some some stand-in trees, grass, and plants and developed a skybox so that the whole scene has the same artistic style. The skybox in particular was really hard to get right. Nicky tried to answer the question, “How do we get the user to not know where the scene ends and the skybox begins.” We’re still working on it!
Rajeev mainly focused on time scaling this week. He created a system that over time, the sun would set and rise, and eventually snow would form on the trees. Pretty cool! We came across a problem though. Rendering shadows in real time on the daydream is just plain bad. It looks awful. We’re going to need to find a work around for this in the near future. Also, in his spare time, he created a “camera” where you can take photos of what you see in VR and it will transfer to your phone or computer. I won’t lie, it’s really cool.
Nayeon has been focusing on our branding material this week, but she and I did help develop a little bit of a UI map and experience flow.
Tasked with designing the experience, I built a map of the different locations the students could visit along with shortlisting the animals, plants, and trees that would exist in these environments. I’m still doing research to figure out where all the animals the animals would exist in each season and developing a “story” for the life in the forest that is both informative and (hopefully) fun!
Until Next Time!