HTC Vive Virtual Reality Game: 'Hidden In Plane Sight'
About the Project:
This was a game created in a two-week sprint at the Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center for the 'Building Virtual Worlds' course. The softwares used to create the game was Unity and Maya for the HTC Vive VR platform. Comprised of a five person team, I served as the producer, technical artist, 3D artist & animator, and experience designer. The game was chosen as a winner to be showcased at the Carnegie Mellon's ETC Fall 2017 Festival and was visited by industry professionals to experience not only the game but also an immersive theming experience. Visitors at the festival entered a physical submarine themed room prior to launching on their virtual expedition on the HTC Vive.
Our intrepid hero pilots a submarine in search of the wreckage of famed aviator Amelia Earhart. Little does said hero know that the wreckage is now inhabited by an angry sea monster, who attacks the vessel! Our hero attempts to escape, mends the damaged submarine, and fends off and electrocutes the monster in dramatic fashion after it shatters the front window of the submarine.
Platform: HTC Vive
MY Role: Producer, Technical Artist, 3D Artist & Animator, Experience Designer
TEAM: Two Artists, Two Programmers, 1 Sound Designer
Client: Carnegie Mellon University, Building Virtual Worlds Course (Fall 2017)
VIDEO OF OUR GAME & VIVE PLAYER EXPERIENCE:
VIDEO INTERVIEW OF ME SHOWING OUR GAME AT THE FALL 2017 CMU ETC FESTIVAL:
SCREENSHOTS OF SOME OF MY WORK:
VIDEO DEMO OF SOME OF MY WORK IN PROGRESS:
As the producer, I had to make sure consistently stay organized by managing our SCRUM board on Trello and communicating to the team on various channels through Slack. I made sure to take diligent notes and delegate tasks to the team based on their skillsets and desired areas of work so we could efficiently reach our deadlines. I also spearheaded our initiative for when we got selected for the ETC Festival and came up with our theming plan that could come into effect at the festival for the guest experience.
As the 3D artist and animator on the project, I was in charge of the look development for the assets in the game and making sure it fit our underwater submarine theme. I created a concept for the sea monster in the game using Photoshop and 3D modeled and animated the tentacle in Maya. As the technical artist, I helped the programmers to ensure all assets worked correctly in the game and assisted with setting up the scenes as necessary.
PROBLEMS I FACED AND LESSONS LEARNED:
Designing for the theming for a guest experience for the Fall 2017 CMU ETC Festival was particularly challenging as this was a vive virtual reality game. Additionally, the room that we were given was quite large and colored red and yellow (not indicative of the underwater ocean). To solve this, I came up with a theming plan that would utilize the room as an interactive experience so that when guests enter the room, the entrance would be themed as the submarine entrance, the main area would be an educational room paying homage to Amelia Earhart, the side room would be an underwater room, and the hallways would be the entrance into the "submarine" (the player area and vive space) and exit out of the room. Utilizing my position as the producer, I was able to lead our team in decorating and designing the room that would optimize the experience for our guests.
Creating the actual game had its own set of challenges. We were faced with the task of designing a game for naive guests and had the design challenge set by our instructors to not give any directions to the guest that is playing the game which is typically done for most games. Thus, we utilized the concept of indirect control to place assets in the game (such as seaweed) to guide the player to the crash site of Amelia Earhart. We also had to arrange everything in the game to make it more intuitive for the guest to do (for example: placing the leaks closer to the front of the submarine so that the guest can look in the direction of when the monster attacks the submarine). I worked closely with the programmers on the team to ensure that the animations of the monster synced well with the sound of the game.
Overall, it was a gratifying experience and I learned a lot of important skills of teamwork, leadership, communication, and honing on my 3D modeling and technical art skills.