Building Virtual Worlds

overview

type

course projects from Entertainment Technology Center (ETC), Carnegie Mellon University

date

2 - 3 weeks for each project from Aug 2018 - Dec 2018

location

Pittsburgh, PA

USA

role

interaction designer

artist

tools

Unity, maya, 3D MAX

company size

4-5 team members including artists, programmers, and  a sound designer

course overview

Building Virtual Worlds(BVW) is a core course from Entertainment Technology Center (ETC), Carnegie Mellon University. This course challenges students to work quickly, creatively and collaboratively. BVW gives small teams of students two weeks to create a virtual world, with new groups and goals for each round. Students are welcomed to user diverse platforms such as VR (HTC Vive, Oculus), AR (Google AR kit, Meta II), immersive installation (CAVE), and other interactive digital tools such as Phidgets, jam-o-drum etc.

role and work process

The key learning point in this course project is team work and the value of rapid prototyping and iterative process. Since every round goes on for 2 weeks (even 1-week sometimes), students need to follow compact schedule with repetitive user test / play test to check whether the project goal is on a right track.

as an interaction designer

Other than an artist, I am an interaction/experience designer. learning how to design innovative experience for players in both virtual and physical world in an engaging and enjoyable way. During the development, I paid close attention to the interaction experience. I design and conduct the user test / play test figuring out how guest / user react to the information given by the virtual world, how they behave at certain point, where they feel most confused, etc. and delivering insights gained from the test. By applying the game design theory into practice, I learned to use indirect control and adjust interest curve to create an immersive experience better, and I also realized the importance of providing a sense of presence and engagement in XR experience.

as an artist

In this project, I also participated as an artist responsible for concept art , 3D modelling, environment design.  Since it is a  team work, communicating and finding the most efficient way to make things work smoothly highly depends on having a work ethics and principles.

01  I got your back

platform

HTC Vive (VR)

constraints

Character A is afraid of Character B. Guest (User) should protects A from B.

role

concept design, interaction design, 3D modeling.

description

Guest fill the role of best friend to MR. Woha, a lovable blue monster with stage fright. Guest are armed with a popcorn bucket and the ability to throw popcorn at any

unwanted “Boo”s that threaten Mr. Woha’s confidence

For the experience design, we try to keep the UI-free principle to provide a more immersive experience:

Using the utterance of the avatar to naturally introduce the background and story

  • Making the input trigger of the player as same as the blue monster hand to give the hint on the relationship between the player and the character

  • Using the facial expression and emotion of the character to deliver the feedback of confidence status

  • Keep the interaction intuitive: touch the character’s hand when heard give me five to start the game scene; holding a real popcorn bucket with tracker; throwing the popcorns  at the impolite audience

02 The mission

platform

HTC Vive (VR)

constraints

The project should aim for targeting naive guests, users who hardly have experience in the given platform or even game.

role

3D modeling, interaction design, user test

description

An AR experience as a regular office employee that must destroy evidence for their boss.

Considering the interaction feature of Meta II, we choose grabbing and moving as the main interaction for the player. Since it should be a naive guest friendly experience, we try to make every mission as intuitive as possible:

  • The color matching for related objects

  • The confidential sign for the target objects

  • Using the phone call from the boss to guide the whole story and give the hints

  • Automatic correction of certain object position to avoid misoperation interrupting the game play

03 The Lovely fools

platform

Kinect II

constraints

Design and develop a fun-focused and highly-replayable game in one week

role

Design and develop a fun-focused and highly-replayable game in one week

description

It's a one week project developed on motion sensing device Kinect. It is a two player competing game. In the world, guests controls the monster’s arms with their arms, and they need to collect certain objects to gain points and hit each other to make the competitor lose points. Who ever get the higher point in one minute wins the game.

04 Through the storm

platform

HTC Vive (with one controller and one tracker)

constrain

Tell an interactive story through VR experience. The story should have its beginning to end maintaining its interest curve.

role

experience & interaction designer, 3D artist

description

Through the Storm is a virtual reality, interactive story designed for the platform HTC Vive. Before they enter the world, a guest is asked to sit down on the floor, cross-legged, and is given a magic wand (a Vive controller) and a magic shield (a cardboard leaf with a Vive tracker attached to the front). The world was designed in two-weeks for the class, Building Virtual Worlds at the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC). It was additionally presented at the 2018 ETC Fall Festival as part of the Building Virtual World's Showcase for guests to experience.

For more design descriptions: https://www.jingyachen.net/through-the-storm

platform

Jam O drum

constrain

Any experience that's is suitable for festival - meaning, something unique, highly interactive, and of course, fun!

role

game design, interaction design, 3D modeling, character design

description

We designed a fun and multiplayer experience on Jam-O-Drum, which is a collaborative audiovisual instrument designed by a team led by Tina Blaine. In this world, guests are raccoons stealing chicken eggs by throwing bombs at them. Guests work against each other and collect as many eggs as possible in order to win the game. Four guests are able to identify themselves as raccoons with different outfit and characteristics on the welcome screen once they approached the Jam-O-Drum. Once all four guests hit their characters, they share the view from a single projection on the center drum and interact with chickens and other guests. Turning the wheel to control the direction of their character and hitting the drum to drop bomb on their hand are the only two interaction they need to conduct. This two-minute experience includes two power-ups to increase the interest curve and create a more competitive and dramatic process.