Senior Year Capstone Project
Diving into Virtual Reality and Leapmotion Orion Hardware
Capstone is the name of Indiana University’s Senior project program. Within a group of 4-5 people you are to design, develop, prototype, and showcase your final project over the course of two semesters. I created a group with fellow seniors at IU, because of my previous experience with Maya and background with Unity software I was the main 3D modeler and UX Designer for the project.
For the beginning stages of our project we decided to do background research, and chose two different games that gave us aesthetic and gameplay inspiration. Panoramical is a video game currently in existence that allows the user to manipulate the environment and the music using preset controls. It has an amazing art and music schema, and we’ve decided to implement music into our environment gameplay because of it. Proteus is a video game currently in existence that creates a 2D low-poly oasis environment for users to explore. Different aspects of the island create different forms of music, and different actions you take area trigger for the seasons to change. Both games heavily influenced the look and feel of our project in different ways.
For my UX contributions, I conducted two different user tests and created the User Flow within the level plan. I worked with our 2D Artist to make sure the aesthetic and drawings that she created was appropriate for what I had intended the gameplay to be. I then took these designs and tested them on potential users to see how the gameplay was going to be received by people of all skill level.
I also created all of the 3D models off of the 2D Artist’s drawings, and along with the implementation of my models I contributed to the overall programming within the Unreal Environment to make sure our project looked and felt the way we had intended it to be.
I worked closely with the Head Software Programmer and the Hardware Integration Specialist to implement the design and user experience considerations for our project, which included hand-grabbing and touch interactions. I created most of my 2D iterations using Adobe Illustrator, my 3D Iterations with Blender and Maya, and the Environment Iterations within Unreal.
Level 1 Transformation
All in all the project was a huge success. As my first VR game, I am immensely proud of the work we did as a team. We finished three different levels of the game, the second and third both being as fun to design as the first. I realized early on how difficult it is to work in a new software. Understanding lighting problems and lighting techniques was really difficult, and at one point in time I had to rebuild the entirety of level 2 because the polygons were letting too much light into the cave structure.
My absolute favorite part was getting to showcase our work once it was finished. I had the joy of putting our booth together as well and it went beautifully.