For my World’s on a Wire midterm I decided to continue some of my previous work with virtual instruments. Before I used Unity to explore deconstructing and playing songs by navigating through an environment via a 3rd person avatar.
This time around I approached this through a VR headset and using Unreal engine. My idea was to trigger different sound elements by throwing objects at targets. My hope was to have the targets indicate they have been triggered not only with a sound clip but also physically by spinning and triggering lights.
Unfortunately this wasn’t a 1 to 1 translation between the two engines. It proved more difficult trying to translate a good experience into VR as well. Here is a demo of my midterm:
I was hoping to have the sound objects spin, but I was not able to combine that in time. To demonstrate the rotation element I created a demo spinner. I would like to tie that with an audio attribute. For example spinning faster can make the sound louder and or speed up or reverse playback. I also knew turning the playback off by hitting the targets again wouldn’t be as easy, so that is another aspect I need to explore.
These interactions can be used for storytelling by being able to explore songs, words or other sounds in “tangible” way.
I think this could be worth exploring for my final time permitting. I found it can be too easy to get distracted with technical details and lose momentum in the narrative itself.
For this assignment I jumped into Steam with my Oculus Rift headset, which is a really great and new feature Valve decided to add. I think it’s akin to them adding native support for the Sony Dualshock 4 controller. They have been more inclusive with their platform over the last couple of years.
The experience in the Lab was great. Everything looked better then when I first tried it 2 years ago for some reason. As I mentioned in the previous post, being able to focus at home adds a lot to the immersive experience. I have to say even doing the Steam tutorial, I forgot how to “travel.” So I was stuck in the opening Lab scene for a while.., even after I teleported once. I didn’t realize it was not so rigid and I could teleport again in the same region to get closer to the orb.
As for the Unreal hero shots. I have been combining shapes and assets together. It did take me a while to figure out the importing assets workflow. I feel really restricted in the UE environment. The pain points for me is the navigation of the view port, the snapping of values and not being able to “model geometry” at a higher level that I’m used to. A part of it is learning their modeling tools more. But I have to say I am enjoying the UE interface.
For my scene I created a flat world with shapes and objects. I think it resembles some sort of ruins. The main character is the ice elemental guy.
For our first assignment, Todd asked us to get ourselves acquainted with VR and post our thoughts. I haven’t had much VR experience. I’ve tried Oculus Rift and google cardboard for a few minutes in the past and it was fun.
So now here we are in 2018. Some things have changed since last year, and there’s newer products coming on the horizon. Since I’m taking two VR related courses this year I decided to invest in a VR headset. I am glad I did. With my full time work schedule I needed one that was accessible for me when I had free time.
I ended up getting the Rift. The experience in the privacy of my home was much greater than in school. I had time to appreciate the content and I could hear things very clearly. I had time to forget I was home and engage with the worlds.
I would have to say Google Earth was my favorite experience we were asked to play. When it started I felt like I was in a planetarium. In fact this was better than the Hayden Planetarium because when I was a kid the projection didn’t look as good as this. The interface was clumsy, but being able to fly around and stalk your home in 3D was really awesome.
Dear Angelica was visually engaging and I appreciated the unique rendering style of it. They used scale and colors well and I felt inspired to inspect the scenes as they occurred. Henry was cute, but seemed a bit rough as far as the narrative. The world was nicely rendered, but it became too long and predictable as it progressed.
Honorable mention for the Oculus start up scene. It was a great way to get adjusted to the controls. I felt like I was really playing with the disks and rockets. The retro feel spoke to me as a kid of the 80’s.