With our quarters presentation (a formal presentation to the faculty showing what we have accomplished so far) next week, we have a good amount of stuff to talk about.
The week started off with some more technical tests. We wanted to see if we could give the students headsets and microphones to network and spatialize their voices in the VR space (so it would seem like your friend’s voice would be coming from the avatar right beside you as opposed to their desk 10 feet away). This unfortunately turned out to be a failure. When we networked the sound, there was a full second delay between when the person spoke in real life and it picked up in the headset. This was really weird and felt like you were hearing double. We decided to scrap the networked sound.
EVEN SO, the spatialized sound portion works fantastically. We tested attaching a sound to an acorn in our environment, and based on where you are, it really sounds like it’s on your left, to your right, behind you, or in front of you.
Our professor, Dave, stopped by our room on tuesday and we had a long discussion about the project. He conveyed that we needed design pillars for our experience if we wanted to be able to make smart decisions and for our overall semester to go smoothly without too many hiccups. We decided upon these three pillars:
Impart experiential learning (students will learn through interacting with the virtual world, not simply by reading about something or being told about something)
Feeling of shared presence (all students should feel that they are not only in an immersive VR trip, but in an immersive VR trip WITH THEIR FELLOW STUDENTS)
As simple as possible (make the experience as easy as possible for the students to use and for the teachers to set up. Also, our experience should only encompass what it needs, nothing extra)
Moving over to art: our branding is done! Nayeon created this beautiful poster.
And Nicky created this awesome team photo, which makes it look like we’re about to drop out first album.
Rajeev was able to create these beautiful shaders.
Nicky has been starting to model some of the assets and solidify our art style. Our current Oak tree iterations looks like this. We’re still trying to solidify the type of low-poly style we want.
I finished mapping out and designing all of the “spring” season. The students will start in a “landing” where they will be immobile and the teacher will explain the biome to them. The teacher will assign them on teams for a scavenger hunt where each team tries to find unique plants, animals, and trees in the area. Then, the students will be given their mobility back, and they can explore three distinct areas: a cave and its surrounding area, a lake, and an absurdly tall tree, which you can climb. By going to these different places, they can complete their scavenger hunt and learn thing about the forest along the way.
On a pretty exciting note, we finally have a rough working prototype. Rajeev and Sharan combined their work into a fun little daydream/ipad experience where you can look around a forest, interact with an acorn, and jump from teleportation point to teleportation point all while watching your friend do the same things in the same space. It’s kind of our “gold spike.” Really good strides from Project Voyage!
Lastly, we got to take another visit to Cornell!
This time to meet the students we’d be working with. I think we were all a little more nervous than we would want to admit, but it turned out great. The students were quite receptive and talkative. My favorite part was when we walked in, one of the students said, “oh wow, teenagers are here to talk to us.” When we told him we were all 25 and older, he responded, “They must be lying.” I’ll take it as a compliment! Regardless, we brought in 5 different drawings of avatars for each student, and told them to place the avatars into boxes labeled either “really like,” “ok,” and “bad” based on their preferences. We were able to gather a lot of good information from this playtest and solidified on one single avatar.
Until next time.