Creating Immersive Worlds: Week 1 assignment (lost in my drafts)

The game that I played for an hour (or so) was Until Dawn: Rush of Blood. The Clown/Zombie VR game was the first real VR game I’ve ever played and so though I was trying to be aware of the aesthetics and design, my overall reaction that it was incredibly immersive was a bit distracting in hindsight. I had played in VR and seen others’ projects, even an advertising VR experience at Innis Free, the Korean Skincare Store and Cafe. I’ve had very intense audio and smells and whatnot, but the most important element for me was the moving of the cart. Simulating that motion without getting sick, and feeling in a roller coaster was incredible and I hope someday I learn to balance the speed and scenery to move the user in such an immersive manner. The second main aspect that stood out was the use of sound. The experience vacillated quite a lot and thus the quiet periods were so important in making the heightened period of adrenaline so much higher. If they would’ve kept more sound and more action during the entire game, there would be less cinematic effect, which is the biggest draw of the game. The intense periods are loud and filled with a number of sensory elements of blood, clowns, screaming pigs, zombies, gunshots, and more, however not too convoluted that it gets to be too frustrating. The large sum of sensory elements helps create anxiety but it is just barely manageable so the user is not too frustrated. The constant creaking and ability for the user to shoot the gun also helps make the experience during the low-action period full with more anxiety for a surprise of action because each gunshot seems so pathetic in the silence, thus you feel you are somewhat not prepared for the next attack.

Final Individual VR Project // Ewa Oberska

  Idea: My dream painting workshop in 3D
Technology: Maya 3D (3D modeling), Autodesk Mudbox (model texturing), Adobe Photoshop (texture creation/editing), Unreal Engine (3D environment, interaction).

Working on the individual project alongside the group one, it was both helpful and slightly challenging. Helpful, because I did not need to learn one thing twice. Challenging, as I focused my efforts mostly on completing and polishing the group project. I decided to make a ‘dream painting workshop’ as I thought it would give me the chance to basically create a ‘pretty’ environment. I also imagined it to be inside of a beautiful, Victorian house in the middle of nowhere. At this stage of my project, I focused on creating the workshop itself, not the house, but I am planning to keep working on it and further build other locations in the environment. The reason why I wanted to place the workshop as I said, ‘in the middle of nowhere’ is that I have always been attracted to the aesthetics of beautiful natural environments in 3D and thought this would give me a chance to work on one. Besides, what artist wouldn’t like a peaceful and beautiful environment to create their works in?

In terms of assets, my initial plan was to create all of them. Towards the end of our 7-week semester, I already had created multiple 3D models for both the group and individual projects, but I had to let go of the ambition and download some ready 3D models, at least until I would be able to make my own. Here are some of some of my models created for this project:

I think being able to create my own assets and texture them is a great advantage, as I am able to make my environment exactly the way I want it. No need to compromise because ‘that was the only free 3D model I could find online’.

In terms of the sound, I downloaded some natural forest from freesound.org and attached it to the environment outside.

As for textures, I mostly used google images, made sure to choose files that are as large as possible to ensure the quality of my textures and a real feel to my environment, which wouldn’t be possible if the textures on my models were pixelated. Some textures, I had to edit in Photoshop, for instance, editing the hue to achieve a certain color that I wanted or to simply copy the image multiple times to make the texture seem more detailed.
I had exceptionally good time when working on glass texture. Once I figured out how to add different hues to the glass, change the opacity, amount of light and image that can get through the glass, it made my environment look quite authentic.

As for locomotion, it took me some time to figure it out, but considering I had already gone through the locomotion part with my teammates it was not nearly as time-consuming as the first time. I tried out teleportation, but it seemed to me a little unnatural. Therefore, I decided to use sliding movement in my project. After slowing it down a bit, I decided it was a right decision.

In terms of lighting, I spent some time trying to make it look like natural morning light enters the room, but at some time I accidentally did something and the lights weren’t working anymore. I tried to get in back in multiple ways, but probably made it even worse. In the end, I did the lighting again, however, with a worse outcome simply because of time constraints. I’m planning to keep working on my project though so I’ll give natural lighting another try.

I consider my project to be a work in progress. I want to polish it visually, slowly create all missing 3D models and delete the ones I downloaded, and lastly, add quite a bit of interaction. I would like to make this project something I can show as an example of my 3D design skills, but to achieve that, it still requires a vast amount of work. As for the learning outcome, even though the group project was my main area of focus, I know I learned a lot from individual work as well.

CIW: Individual Project (Marina)

Title: Underground Cabin House

Name: Marina Victoria Pascual-Izquierdo

Tech: Unreal Engine 4, HTC Vive, Audacity.

Demo:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1BHgpsgRys1kQxDanGX7LBN2Y4vIHj4am/view?usp=sharing

 

Design:

I wanted to give an underground theme to my level. Thus, you can see that most of the light source comes from a variety of point lights with colors ranging from red, to blue, to green. I also wanted to make it a bit scary, which is why there are no windows and the halls are pretty narrow. There are two rooms. The first one has 9 skulls distributed on the wall. Each wall has a point light inside of it. Inside this room there is also a table with a bunch of cubes that you can pickup and throw at the skulls. In the second room, there are a bunch of spiders on the wall, and when the user steps into the room, the spiders start moving and the lights changing.

 

3D Models:

The trees outside the house, the spiders on the wall, the speakers on the floor and the skulls are all 3D models that I found in turbosquid. I tried different models but when I imported them to the engine they would show up divided into parts and without any of the materials so it took me a while to find models that where already put together.

Sound:

I downloaded all sound files from freesound.org. I have three different sound files that I use for this project. The first one is the background sound of the entire level, which is kind of creepy but not too disturbing. Another one of an evil laugh, which is played every time one of the skulls is hit. And the last one is when the scene of the spiders is triggered. To get this files to work in the engine I had to import them to Audacity and export them as .wav files.

Interaction:

There are three main parts for the interaction of my project. The first one is locomotion. The locomotion in my level works with the thumbpad of the left motion controller. The second part of the interaction is throwing cubes at the skulls in order to turn of the point light inside the skulls. And the last part is playing a sequence when triggering a box collision.

Individual Project|Yiqi Chang

Welcome to my home

A VR experience where you can explore this house–listen to music, watch TV…

Name: Yiqi Chang

Tech: Unreal Engine 4, Oculus, MagicaVoxel and Photoshop

Video Documentation:

Concept: I simply want to make a simple VR experience where you can really walk around in this house, drink something, watch something, listen to something and relax–like you really would do in your home. Continue reading

IndividualProject:The Fight Against Empire Tie Fighter (Tony Zetong Yang)

For my individual project, I built a simple project with a theme of Star War.

The mechanism of the game is simple: You are standing on a piece of translucent yet glimmering surface in space, with stars scattering around you. In front of you floating is a handle of lightsaber just like the one in Star Wars. When you step up and grab the handle, the saber turns on with green laser shooting out. Then, in distance there will be a Tie Fighter coming for you and you need to use your saber to defend yourself. After being hit twice, the fighter will explode and you win.

Collaborator: Zetong Yang

Tech: Software: Unreal Engine, Spacescape, Audacity

         Hardware: HTC Vive

Video Documentation:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1M0HcmnrkGhKwwknwyr9LasClsLTfXyyn/view?usp=sharing

Comprehensive Documentation:

The layout consists of a skybox that surrounds the user with stars, made by Spacescape, a Tie Fighter whose model was found at cgtrader.com, a piece of glass where the user stands on and the handle of the lightsaber floating in front of the player. I intentionally removed the directional light in the environment and made all of the components glimmer to achieve the impression that it was the stars that illuminate all the objects.

The interaction between the user and the environment is quite simple: Once the player gets hold of the handle, the lightsaber will be turned on, shooting out laser blade. The Tie Fighter will turn on as well. It will keep tracking the player’s camera and move towards the location of the camera. What player should do is to use the lightsaber to fight off the Tie Fighter, beating it into distance. In the end, after striking the Tie Fighter twice, it will explode and that will be the end of the game.

All the sounds in the game are from freesound.org, including the flyby sound attaching to the fighter that will be played once it is within a certain range from the player, the sound of the lightsaber turning on, the sound of the lightsaber hitting the target and the sound of the Tie Fighter exploding.

The implementation of blueprint, although I have got a lot of training working on the group project, still is the most time-consuming part of the project as I’d like to achieve the coordination of sound, movement and interaction, as shown in the pictures above.

Creating Immersive Worlds: Individual Project | Zeerak Fayiz

An Afternoon in the Backyard VR©

An Afternoon in the Backyard VR, is meant to be a very simple and relaxing experience. Imagine you were on vacation and were living in a nice house in the suburbs. It’s the beginning of Spring, and flowers are in full bloom: it’s a perfect day to just sit out, enjoy nature and maybe take a dip in the pool. Sounds amazing, right? Wait till you experience it!

Created By: Zeerak Fayiz

Tech: Unreal Engine 4, & HTC Vive

Video Documentation:

Sound:

With help from freesound.org, I was able to find a background audio that plays throughout the experience. The audio includes typical sounds like birds, crickets, the “air” sound you hear when you’re outside the house, etc. At first, I just put the sound in and forgot to loop it, but then once I tested the experience, I realized the sounds stopped after a while, and the experience felt incomplete. So, I went back in and looped it.

Visuals:

Visuals were focused a lot on during the creation of this project. I made sure that the experience actually feels like one is in a backyard, with a nice house and swimming pool. For a lot of things, I just used the default textures and materials available in Unreal Engine, mainly because they were available and worked well in the environment. However, the soil on which the bushes are growing, the flooring texture for the walking path and swimming pool were all downloaded and adjusted. I had to ensure that all the textures were real enough as well – I went online to create bump maps for many of the textures to make sure they did not feel ‘flat’.

I also made sure that the pool looked as realistic as possible, inside and out. Even though I used the default Lake Water material for it, I had to adjust the water color and texture coordinates to make it look like it does. I also added a Post Process Volume to it and changed the tint color so that when the player goes inside the pool, it’s all blue and transparent-ish. Moreover, the pool also has a Physics Volume so that when the player goes in, it actually gives off fluid/floaty effect – water has a different viscosity than air.

Below are some snapshots:

Interaction:

The most basic interaction I guess is walking around. I made use of the simple teleport locomotion, as I felt that was sufficient enough for the experience. Of course, I also tried very hard to get other forms of interaction to work in the environment. In the beginning, I thought I’d just create a ball, and allow the player to pick up and throw it around, which could work – people, especially younger people do tend to play in the backyard. However, I later thought that the ball wouldn’t really make as much sense. Instead, I decided to focus on trying to allow the player to pick flowers; it is Spring after all, and one may want to pick a few flowers and put them in the house. To my dismay, I struggled a lot in implementing this part of the project.

At first, I tried to look up tutorials on how to add interaction to the flower, but then because the flower was not a single mesh (it is a combination of numerous meshes), things became complicated. I managed to make the flower into a single static mesh, but then for some reason, the collider stopped working. After that, I asked Cheryl to help me implement the ability to pick-up objects, since I remembered she had similar interactions in her group project. Even she was not able to figure out why it wasn’t working.

The other way I tried to go about it was that I imported the blueprint box mesh that a pawn can pick-up, and changed the box mesh to the static flower mesh. Interestingly, what started happening once I imported that into my world was that the flower would fall through the ground. To counter that, I tried adding a Blocking Volume to the ground, but even that did not work. Funnily, when I turned on physics on other objects too, they started falling through the ground too. Not able to figure it out, I asked Cheryl again, and both of us found this super weird since my objects/meshes had colliders on them.

In the end, I was not able to figure out the pick-up action, hence, my experience lacks it. On a side note, I also struggled with adjusting the environment (and maybe navmesh settings?) so that the player would be able to use the stairs to go in and out of the pool. It worked in the beginning without the stairs (like the player could teleport in) but then it stopped working later after I re-adjusted the navmesh).

Overall, I feel that I could have done so much more with the experience if I had more time, and had not run into technical difficulties. Nonetheless, I still enjoyed working on it, and would love to continue and build on it, and hopefully figure out the pick-up interaction soon.

Immersive Individual Project: Underwater (Quinn)

Title:

Underwater

Description:

An underwater experience that users feel themselves floating in the ocean.

Demo:

Process:

  • Visual
  1. Glasshouse plus metal stairs – so that after users go through the surface, they can actually see the beautiful views outside the glass house.
  2. Bubbles – to have a feeling of underwater, I add a particle system
  3. Twist water – the difficult part of the whole project is the effect of the twisting water effect and also the sunlight through the water
  • Audio

“underwater.wav” solves everything

  • Interaction

I try to keep the project as simple as possible so that users can focus on the underwater experience itself. So the interaction is just touching the box, then the player begins to float upwards.

Further Development:

  • free movements instead of cinematics, so that user can have a better experience
  • add the effect of swimming arms

 

Individual Project: Home of Sans and Papyrus (Katniss)

Home of Sans and Papyrus

[reproduce  Sans and Papyrus’s home (from the game Undertale) in VR]

Name: Katniss Linjie Kang

Tech: Unreal Engine 4, Oculus Rift, Photoshop

Video Record

Designs

I decided to make a VR version for one of my favorite scenes from the role playing video game Undertale. I chose to re-make the home of Sans brothers. There were orignally much more interactions and more details, but due to the time limit I didn’t manage to reproduce everything.

3D Models

I again downloaded 3d model files from the Free3D website and the turbosquid. However, to make sure that everything looks like the video game scene, I used photoshop to draw some pictures and used them as texture. I also made several adjustments in my VR version of the house, just to make everything look more logically right in a 3D scene.

Sounds

The background music is the original bgm for the game scene. I imitated the sound of digital typing by downloading wav file from freesound, but it is not exactly the same.

Interactions

I chose to use teleport instead of moving iin the game. Though in Undertale the game there’s no way for the character to jump around, I feel it is better to do so in VR scenes. I also tried to imitate the introductions for each object in the game by having texts poping up whenever the player get close to an object. It is pitiful that I failed to find a chart to put the lines in.

Pictures & Comparism

Reflection

One thing is that I failed to adjust the light properly. Therefore in the VR version of the scene, some  corners seem to be too dark while some too bright that the textures/ pictures are all covered by the light, and neither of them can be observed clearly. I’ll definitely try other means to light up the room next time. Besides, the scale of the room seem to be a little bit bigger than I expected – when I started building the room, I didn’t get the chance to use a headset to check everything. Actually the room I made was even bigger, I once tried to scaled everything into half of their sizes, but it is still not satisfying. Next time I need to start my VR test as soon as I started to build the project to make sure that it does not look weird.