A high immersion learning environment

Design Campsite is a High Immersion Interactive learning experience for students in the creative fields. This app was created for educational research in collaboration with the University Tec de Monterrey. Below you can find the solution I came up with as well as the process I followed.

OVERVIEW

I developed Design Campsite in Unity using the SteamVR Plugin. It is an immersive experience in which the user learns about the design principles. The project incorporates waypoints locomotion, spatial audio, animation, a mix of baked and real-time lighting and physics.

PRE-PRODUCTION AND SCOPE REDUCTION

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

Design Campsite is a high immersion VR experience for students that teches them the fundamental Design Principles.

PERSONA

The end users for the experience are creative students who are new to high immersion VR, but who have already experienced various 2D and 3D games in their life. They are probably going to be in their early twenties.

PRE-PRODUCTION BRAINSTORM

Waypoints were used as the locomotion system and for the 3D modeling I decided to use Google Blocks. The following are examples of the design principles and ideas desired for the project.

Balance
Rocks – Physics simulation of rocks
Dominance & Emphasis
Ducks – change color of a single duck
Ducks move using Boids Flocking Algorithm
Similarity & Contrast
Spider web – interactive animation of creating a spiderweb
Scale & Proportion
Ratio / Divisions / Size – pickup 3D model

FEASIBILITY

This is an early sketch of the VR experience, it shows the basic elements of the interaction and design. The final idea was that the user is inside a campsite and can explore open pieces of ground that have interactive experiences related to the design principles.

BREAKDOWN OF THE FINAL PIECE

SCENE SETTING, MOOD AND LIGHTING

The environment created helps establish the mood for the scene and in turn, helps get the users to feel a certain way. For this scene I wanted the users to feel calm but intrigued. For this reason the camp is set at night, so that lighting can help reduce emotional and mental stress.

MOBILE MOVEMENT MECHANIC

For this immersive VR experience I used Waypoint movement. This allows us to control where the player will be when exploring the camp and is unlikely to induce simulator sickness. The movement is activated when the player releases the triggers on any of the controllers.

AUDIO, GAME MECHANICS AND FEEDBACK

In this final stage, I sat up the mood with audio, implemented the interaction, and created audiovisual feedback. I also added some AI using the Boids Flocking Algorithm to add movement to the ducks.

CONCLUSION

Making a high immersion VR Experience was deeply satisfying. The ability to create the perception of being physically present in a non-physical world has an enormous potential. And VR seems to be the natural next step for the evolution of education.

NEXT STEPS

If I wanted to take this experience further, I would add more activities, and levels with additional challenges. But for now, this brings the Design Campsite project to a close.