My Virtual Reality Lockdown
Updated: Nov 13, 2020
I try to keep the blog posts focused on general VR/AR/3D/Motion topics but thought I'd take this opportunity to share a little of what I've been up to in the last few months whilst locked-down.
Virtual Reality Specialisation
We've been quite lucky here in Scotland to have had government support during the lock-down although sadly for Deep Vision Studios we didn't quality for any support due to having only launched in January 2020, this has been tough on business but equally has given me time to study and develop a more academically robust understanding and approach to creating virtual reality whilst giving me hands on experience in Unity 3D.
The academic content was fascinating; it gave me a wider comprehension of the history of the medium as well as better analytical tools and language for reviewing concepts within a widely accepted framework whilst of course not losing the experimental nature of what is a very young medium.
The technical Unity training was good on a general level, however the rate of change of Unity, XR development tools & systems and even media asset availability meant there was a considerable amount of additional research and experimentation required to deliver the functional outputs.
The individual courses in the VR Specialism are:
Introduction to Virtual Reality
This course introduce you to Virtual Reality (VR) & covers everything from the basics of VR- the hardware and the history of VR- to different applications of VR, the psychology of Virtual Reality, and the challenges of the medium.
3D Models for Virtual Reality
This course introduces the basics of 3D graphics: how to create 3d objects and position them to create a VR environment. It also covers techniques like creating materials and texturing that make objects appear realistic. In addition there is content about audio techniques to ensure that your creative VR experiences really come to life. The course culminates in a project creating a VR scene with sound and animation.
3D Interaction Design in Virtual Reality
This part of the specialism is about the basic concepts and technologies of VR Interaction. In Unity you learn about navigating in VR and how to interact with the objects in your virtual world. The course output is a project which includes a range of VR Interactions.
Building Interactive 3D Characters and Social VR
This course covers realistic social interactions in VR considering both the psychology of social interaction and the practical skills to implement it in Unity3D. Integrating the basics of 3D character animation and body language this demonstrates how to make characters that can respond to players’ speech and body language. Finally this covers creating avatars: the virtual representation of other players, and agents: computer controlled NPC characters and how to implement both of them.
Making Your First Virtual Reality Game
The final course in the Virtual Reality specialism brings together all the previous courses training to create a Virtual Reality Game. This guides you through all the steps of a VR project: concepting, storyboarding, prototyping, testing and implementation. The output from this block is a complete VR project that demonstrates the skills developed over the previous courses.
ESCAPE THE GRAVEYARD VR
For the final output I created a little VR puzzle escape room type game where the player aims to escape from a graveyard by solving a couple of relatively simple puzzles. As per above the entire process was followed including storyboarding, prototype development and testing, and final submission which was peer reviewed. For interaction development I used the Virtual Reality Toolkit scripts (VRTK) in Unity, this simplifies the coding aspect of developing typical VR interactions and navigation.
Overall an interesting and challenging course, and one that has given me an even deeper appreciation of the theoretical and practical requirements of delivering programmed VR content. If you have any questions regarding developing virtual reality content, filmed or programmed, do please feel free to get in touch.
Andrew Murchie is a creative technology consultant based in Edinburgh, Scotland specialising in stereoscopic 3d virtual reality films. He has produced Virtual Reality experiences for clients including Kimberly-Clark, Kraft-Heinz, Loch Lomond Distillers, Highland Spring and Tennent Caledonian Breweries.