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.
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.
In this project, I participated as an artist mainly responsible for making visual design such as concept art, 3D modeling, 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.
As an Interaction Designer
Other than an artist, I personally was interested in interaction design, therefore, I paid extra attention to how guest / user behaves at certain point, where they feel most confused, etc. Also, I actively participated in play test process in both planning, conducting, and delivering insights gained from the test.
At hectic balancing act played on a game board shaped like an open-top plane, the player is kept occupied by a combination of popping bubbles (that symbolize the crying), plane stabilization by touching the wings, and finding the parents hiding babies in their seats. Once player has found a baby by gazing at the appropriate passenger for a few seconds, he or she must move all 3 babies to “First Class” which will ultimately calm them down and save everyone.
The Darkness is a VR game using HTC VIVE. The guest is in an abandoned supermarket trying to find some water, bandage, and painkiller to save his/her friend. The only guide is the friend talking to the guest over the walkie-talkie and flashlight. The guest is in pitch darkness but by using the flashlight (controllers), he or she can find the objects he needs. However, everytime the guest turns on the light, the unknown creatures get close to you. The guest needs to find the objects as soon as possible before the monsters break in.
Conducted usability tests (playtest) to see how users comprehend the task and whether they are able to utilize tracker and controller more seamlessly. It was a great opportunity for us to see how key design decisions influenced user's behavior and whether those indirect nudge allows them to understand the game more easily.
Back Home is a story-based interactive VR experience. The guest is living on an iceberg in the north pole with his/her dog, and one day, the ice breaks and he/she gets floated away from home. The dog tries to follow the guest with a rope, but a big wave comes in and he is gone. When frustrated, there appears a hallucination of the dog leading the guest to get back home safe. When the last iceberg breaks and the guest sinks into the ocean, there appears the dog again. Is it real or just a dream after a tragic disaster? It doensn't matter. This experience allows the guest to feel the emotional connection they can have with their dog.
Oddly Satisfying is a unique audio-visual art crafting experience in CAVE (3 walls surrounded immersive space) with Vive controllers. The experience is divided into three parts - first sculpting, second, scaling and color changing, and lasting drawing.