final capstone writing assignment

Demo Video

These are my slides:


My project is a First Person Shooter(FPS) Virtual Reality Game.

The historical background is a battle between China and Japan happened in 1933, Hebei Province, China.

I wanted to improve the FPS gamers’ interaction with the computer,

I also want my users to think about the meaning of a war.

“better experience, more immersive, not very necessary, too expensive”

“The general idea was achieved. Things I have to improve: Interaction of the character(climbing up, the walking function of the animals, etc), VR technology itself isn’t advanced enough. More plot I could put in.”

“Professor Christian Grewell, Professor Chen Jian, Harrison Chen, Free 3D and Michel Yan.”

Final Writing Assignment:

Zhengyao Yang


To Moma

In Walter Benjamin’s art theories, observing art from a distance, and the unique approach to observe art gives this art piece “Aura”. That is to say, when one person travels to France and goes to Louvre Museum to see Mona Lisa, this particular way of approaching Mona Lisa gives it aura, and in this case, all the printed copies of Mona Lisa lose aura for not having this “distance” between them and the audiences. Art has to acquire the uniqueness to observe, and its distance with the audiences to obtain aura. There are many other ways he talked about how a reproduction can lose aura from the original piece, but we are only going to focus on these two reasons today.

Whether games could be art is still very debatable, but I think a VR game with beautiful interfaces and high immersive environment can make users feel the beauty of installation and human created art effects. When setting up a VR environment, the conditions of the room can impact the capacity of the headset greatly. For example, in the lab the some models I made look smaller and in my home they look bigger. I believe that in order to gain the best experience, I’l have to set all the environment by myself, and this makes my project irreproducible. I would say setting up the VR environment could be an analogue to an art curation, one player’s experience could be totally changed if the place changes, and this doesn’t happen to PC games, this is the unique experience my project brings.

Distance is also created by illuminating the reality and human created world. In my game, even though the users can see a human created world around them, and even touch, they can never feel the wind I installed, or smell the pine I “planted”. Their minds will constantly jump out and dive in. This creates a distance between the game and the user, it also helps my users to rethink about the historic background I embedded.

assignment 2 reading reflection.

For the first reading, it basically says the ability of play differs humans from animals, because it requires systematic thinking, dialectic way of seeing things through. My mom also says if a kid has a high IQ(intelligence quotient), he would learn how to play in a very early stage. My mom said this when praising me and I feel, well..

Play for me is more of something that kills time, something to do in my spare time or something that attracts me to get away from my work. When playing, I got occupied by body movements, or I am concentrated but not producing something that could be counted as labor or work. For this case, I would say reading a novel that is not required by class, throwing a basketball when PE exam is cancelled from the academic requirements in my province, do boxing against a tree are all sorts of playing. Play doesn’t really need to be accompanied with certain objects, it could just be a statues of humans in some period of their time.


My favorite toy is Luban Ball. It looks like a wooden ball but it is actually a lock, and you have to find ways to unlock it. The triggers could be very tricky, and it requires much intelligence. This toy leans more on challenge and construction on the play pyramid. You need to find out the mechanism of the lock and then you can unlock it, the process is kind of difficult and some people spend a whole day just to unlock it. After one unlocks it, he would have to reconnect the parts and make it into a ball again.

This toy was invented by the god of construction in China, Luban. He is actually a man came from the legends, famous for building things, and later one people credit him for what ever they invented. This toy was also used to test if a kid is smart or not in the ancient times. If the user knows the background story, this toy also leans on the fantasy part.

This toy is still very popular, because it helps kids to develop their craft abilities, and moms like it. It is still everywhere in the market, and you can easily get it in almost any toy store in China.

Midterm Concept

For my midterm, I wanted to create something for my niece. She is two years old and the only thing she can speak is: “Mama” or “Gou Gou(which means dog)”. I wanted to sew a dog for her to play, and wanted her to speak out the word “dog.” Here is a picture of her.

Other than that, she also rides a motorcycle. Her language ability isn’t that developed, but she walks and runs very fast. She also has a good balance of her body. So I want to make my toy portable for her to carry around and have fun with. She could probably carry the toy with her on the motorcycle.

my character and package

My character is a sword man. It is a sword with a smiling face and it talks. I used the shape tool to create everything and the color tool to color it. These are the process in Ai.


These are the final product of my design. The Sword has a star on top of the handle, and a hexagon connects it to the blade.

mechanism of a supreme money gun

I am a fan of weapon mechanism. At first, I thought there would be something like a firing pin to impact the money and strike them out. But later on, I found I was too young and too simple.

When I pulled the trigger, I was like: “What? this is electric? Are you kidding me? ”

This is the battery.

There is a wire that connects the battery to a motor, and a gear is attached on the motor. When you pull the trigger the gear rotates and sends the money out.

This video shows part of my process as well.



Duchamp toy and poster.

Duchamp is famous for creating Dada art, but before that he is also a painter.


In 1917, Duchamp drew a beard on a print copy of Mona Lisa. He named the painting L.H.O.O.Q, which means: “elle a ehaud au cul.” The French sentence could be pronounced just like L.H.O.O.Q. His friend published this painting and named it the Dada art of Duchamp. The meaning of the sentence is: “the Mona Lisa with beard has a hot ass.” Duchamp teased the mainstream aesthetics and tried to deconstruct the aesthetic views of the society. Mona Lisa is beautiful and valuable for is realism, but Duchamp thinks anything can be art if people recognizes it. The discourse power of art pieces is socially constructed and the spirit of Dada is to tell people how absurd and brainwashed they were to believe what they were told to believe.

Similar things happened to his other works.


This is Nude Descending A Staircase. When World War I broke out, the flourishing Europe was destroyed, and people lose hope for a bright future. Duchamp and other artists started this Dada movement in Switzerland, and they added their anarchism ideas in their works. The movement tried to remove the preconceived idea, including the nationalism reflected in art works. 

In this paining, Duchamp was influenced by some photograph techniques, he used sequence photography to draw a sequence of the woman going downstairs. He also involved some mechanology in his work to make his paintings look a little machinery.

The painting removed any symbols of nation, continent, color and race. What you can see is almost walking machine, even the gender of the person on the canvas seems unclear. 

For myself, I would consider him as a pioneer of post-modern art movement. He didn’t pursue success on the techniques or on the feedbacks. Implanting new and extraordinary ideas into his works is more important to make it look “good”.

His fountain and bicycle wheel are very famous, and they both represented Duchamp’s early ideas emerged from his early paintings.



So for me, I think he would like something that involves new ideas.

When I went to see the found objects, I found a turnip, I made a duck body with the turnip and added a nose with the carrot. Meat is considered more important in Chinese food culture, and vegetables are to foil meat in a big dinner. I want to deconstruct that idea, and used vegetables to create a “meat”. The shape of my product is meat, but the material and texture is totally vegan. But unfortunately, the product went bad before class and I threw it away before taking any photos…but anyway, the idea is more important, I think Duchamp would agree with me for this one.

Oh, wait, I just found one photo in my album, I am so careless but it is still there. Even though I found one, I still think it is better to not have one…It’s so ugly and I fell without it, the idea could be illustrated better. By the way, the hand/wings are made of beans and the red beans you see on the toy are actually red beans.

For the poster, I drew an ugly duck in Ai, it stands for my product so well.

I created the Chinese and English artsy characters for “Ugly Duck”. Later on, when I rethink about my project, I think unpalatable duck suits my idea better. Because here my target to deconstruct is human’s taste and flavors. Looking ugly does not matter as much as the taste.

I chose this photo called “War of Asura” to be my background. Asura is a half god in buddhism, and it fights all the time, life for him is an infinite war. Putting my duck before the infinite war indicates that humans’ greedy for food is endless and infinite, and in order to satisfy this idea, great amounts of animals would be killed. Humans’ relationship to the animals is like endless war.

Final Ai design. It is ugly, but expected.


This is when it is hanged…on the wall.

resin toy

My mold and replica.

This is my professor Marcela when she teaches.

This is a close-up.

I made a cardboard white box and glued my lego element on the bottom of it.

Because my oeject is very small, and I didn’t use much of the chemical fluid.

After 8 hours waiting, my mould looks like something below.

I poured resin into the mould and it became a lego element very quickly.

I poured too much resin the first time, and I had to use a knife to fix it.

In the second time, I added some color and it looked so cool.

In the end, I have three elements, and combining them looks like a wall.

Final Project


When making my final project, I came across some problems. First of all, I ordered a lottery box from Taobao, they told me they had some problems sending it out, and I found that there is maybe no way for me to apply my old plan, so I changed my original proposal.


I still want my Shark to shock people, I went into electric shock function. I bought some electric pen on Taobao, thinking of taking it apart and re-build it on my shark. It would be so fantastic if I have a “lighting” shark. I can tell my users that it is created by Zeus, and the background story is easier to tell. When I consulted with my instructor Marcela, she told me it might make people uncomfortable, and I have to change my plan again.


I searched pop culture elements related to sharks, and found one film Jaws. It is about how a group of people battled against a shark in the ocean, and the idea it expresses reminds me of a novel The Old Man and the Sea. In the novel the protagonist’s masculinity and courage was tested trough the battle against the big Shark. It is something very difficult to do, no one had experience doing it, and that makes this experience mysterious enough to be “uncanny”. I also searched about other horror films, and found one called Jurassic Park. In this film, humans are also involved in the battle against some giant monsters. The basic idea is similar to the Jaws, but the enemy is moved from ocean to land. I thought about combining the two very scary elements and make my project even more scary, and here is what I did.

I 3D modeled a scene that combines two sharks and a dinosaur, and all three of them are struggling in the ocean. I used tutorials from the internet and combined them together. Unfortunately, I didn’t combine them so well that the tails of the sharks are below the bottom of the water, and this is not printable. Luckily, Marcela and Bruce Luo helped me with it and removed the extra bottom part from the model and successfully printed this. It took the machine 6 hours to print.

I chained the dinosaur and sharks with rubber bands.

I used a metal wire and pierced the ping pong ball. I connected the ping pong ball with the rubber band, so that if some one pulls the shark part, the ball will hit his hand.

I connected another ping pong ball on the other side.

I put some heart-like materials in the bottom to hold the height of the shark platform, and cut two holes on the side of the box, and then stuck the ping pong balls in the holes.

On one hand, these two holes can stretch the rubber bands and gives the ping pong balls a force. On the other hand, if the user didn’t pull the shark with enough force and didn’t trigger the balls, the watcher of the toy can attach a force on the balls outside and help trigger/scare/uncan the user.

The outside triggers are well-hidden under the ocean posters.

After making the trigger, I also have a story line. I had made a hard paper version ship and some parts of ocean above the shark platform. It is also the cover of the box.

The user will be told to be a member of a scientific research team. They found an existing dinosaur on an island, and one the way to ship it back to their lab, the dinosaur jumped into the water, and was facing the attack of some sharks. The user’s mission is to rescue the dinosaur from the water(unchain the rubber bands that are connected to the dinosaur).


This is the appearance of my final project. I used a plastic foam as the ocean part, cut a hole that allows a hand to go inside and rapped it with blue hard colored paper. Then, I made a ship that has a giant hole in it. If you flip the triangle canvas on the top of the ship, you will see a big hole, and you can put your had inside the box to unchain the dinosaur.


I intentionally made the box very tall, and so that the user can’t see what’s going on inside. When my user plays it, and accidentally pulled too hard, the ping pong balls will hit my user, and this is scary and uncanny.

I have this little flag winded by a rope. This is one decoration I have for my project.

Final Project Idea

When I think of the word “uncanny”, I didn’t know the exact meaning of it in the beginning. I looked it up in the dictionary and it says: “extraordinary, mysterious, terrible.” To me it sounds like something that is scary, because if something is both mysterious and extraordinary, it might be something that comes out of nowhere and it shocks you after you finally see it.

I was still not quite sure about what I am going to make, and I googled the word in Google pictures. I found many Halloween-like scary stuff:

I suddenly understood that I might have to scare some people. I double checked it on Wikipedia, I searched the word “uncanny”, and it turns out this: “The uncanny is the psychological experience of something as strangely familiar, rather than simply mysterious. It may describe incidents where an everyday object or event is encountered in an unsettling, eerie, or taboo context.”

So I think that I am supposed to use something that is familiar to the user, but also scare them in an unexpected way. I chose to use a lottery box and scare them, because everyone is familiar with a lottery box, and it exists in the lottery center, the classroom when their is limited resources, in the horse racing places, and everywhere that the resource doesn’t satisfy the need of everyone. Everyone expect something good and useful to them, and they will not get anything bad to them. So I decided to utilize this psychological phenomenon and play a trick over this. I decided to make a shark that can bite people, and bite my users when they expect some fortune may come to them.

The structure of the imagined final product is above. I have a shark that can open his mouth, and his mouth is controlled by a spring that holds it. When the user mistakenly give a force to any part of the shark, it will close its mouth and bite the user.

The material of the shark might be wood, and I might laser cut the wood and make the shark. Hope it will work.

3D printing

I modeled my 3D printing material in Tinkercad. As a fan of history and fictions, I am really into the study of the symbols and medals of a certain period of time. I was inspired by the Chinese Soviet Republic(1931-1937)’s symbols and wanted to make it cooler.

This is their flag. The republic only existed for no more than 6 years.

This is a modern Communist symbol.

This is the coin design they used.

So, I modeled my medal with the Tinkercad. The five stars are on the top, and the characters below is saying: “The Great Soviet.” The Soviet here doesn’t mean the USSR. The original word “soviet” means “meeting” or “council”, the Chinese Communists took the verbal translation of “Soviet” to be part of the name of their government.

I made the model very flat, so that it could be printed out easier. I also joined the different parts in the model, cause I know when printing, the foundation of the printed object will connect the parts better.

This video shows how my project came into being.

This is my final product. My friend tells me that this project is so fragile. I told him: “Yeah, it is as fragile as the Union itself.”