VR Sky Museum – Project Documentation

VR Sky Museum

about a Virtual Reality exhibition, which I developed as coursework for my online training „VR Developer“. The focus of the exhibition is the use of Virtual Reality for Google Cardboard in the industries edutainment, relaxation/health and sales. The user is taken to unusual places, which he could not reach without VR. The microcosm, other times or fantasy and art worlds can be experienced.

The location
For the exhibition place I had in mind a surreal environment, a small „museum in the clouds“. It should be a dreamy and futuristic place that embodies virtual reality. I designed a skydome center and created assets in 3ds Max, modeled them modularly and textured them. I then assembled the assets into the building complex in Unity and created the appropriate light and color atmosphere. In addition to the normal Unity lights I used a freely available HDRi package from the Unity Asset Store. For the exhibits I have found some small free 3d models on Turbosquid. I converted and textured them for Unity. The photos and sounds are free content from the sources: Pixabay.com and freeSounds.org.

Outcomes
Final „VR Sky Museum“ VR Gameplay screencast:

Technical Information
Unity 2017.4.15f1, GoogleVR SDK (GoogleVRForUnity_1.190.1), iTweens 2.0.9., Plattform: Android on a Samsung Galaxy S7.

Screenshots
From the Unity editor interface

First iteration
with coloured panels and few objects. Only one audio speaker at the launch plattform.

Second iteration
Each station received an audio guide that could be switched on and sounds and objects matching the theme. In order to improve the orientation, I inserted a signpost system and offered a tour suggestion. There is also an Exit button.

Final iteration
has added more signposts on the floor. Because some users found the panel colors rather irritating, I have now kept them grey and semitransparent. Thus the exhibition objects and the atmosphere of the place come better to the fore.


Screenshots
from the modelling process in 3Ds Max

Process Section
Statement of purpose
„VR Sky Museum“ is a VR application that offers the user the possibility to inform herself/himself about audio-visually appealing contents for Google Cardboard for the areas Edutainment, Relaxing/Health Care and Sales.

Persona
Target audience: People who are interested in VR Cardboard and want to be informed about VR Apps.
Age: Mainly adults
Occupation: Marketing People, Salespeople, Consumer
A quote: Interest in new technologies
VR Experience-Level: Less experience

Sketches
First quick concept scribbles: Skydome centre above the clouds.

Suggestion for the User Interface

User Testing

This time I did user tests in an early stage, in order to then insert the results and change suggestions from the user tests in the further project iterations. Here are the results from the interviews (adult m/f):

User test 1 – Environment experience + atmosphere
1. How big are you in this VR experience?
Like in real life.
2. Discribe the atmosphere of the environment.
Very bright and airy. A lot of space. Space enough to see everything. Friendly athmosphere. I‘m comfortable.
3. How did you feel at this place?
You float and it‘s like freedom, borderless…impressive.
4. Is there anything, you would like to look at? But is is difficult to see?
No, I can go anywhere and I see everything.

User test 2 – Exhibition theme
1. What is the theme of this experience? Do you know what it‘s about?
It‘s a museum, an exhibition or an encyclopedia and I‘ve seen a shop.
2. Did you realize from the beginning what an exhibition this is? Did you know it’s an exhibition about VR apps?
No, not until the end.
3. What would have been necessary? To make the theme clear to you?
Some hints, signposts, a floor plan. A board on which I can get information about the theme of the exhibition.
4. Did you find the place appropriate for a VR exhibition?
Yes, I think so. I liked the building and the exhibits and I liked walking around there.

User test 3 – Navigation
1. Was it clear to you how you can navigate through the room?
Yes, with the waypoints, they were easy to find.
2. Did you like the Waypoints and the navigation? How was the movement? Too fast?
The movement was good, I liked it. It‘s not too fast. The waypoints were ok, good recognizeable
3. Did you feel uncomfortable in any way?
No.

User test 4 – User Interface
1. Did you find the boards? Were they easy to read?
Yes, there were good to read.
2. Did you miss anything?
Maybe an audio speaker would be great. To switch on and off.
3. Did you like the colors of the boards?
I‘m not sure. You knew where you’d been because you could see the colors from outside.

User test 5 – Sound and Audio
1. Discribe the sounds, please. Were you distracted?
Multifarious, but appropriate to the individual stations and overall harmonious. They didn‘t bother me, I found them pleasant. Good chosen.
2. Would you ever want to turn it off?
No

Ideas for changes and enhancements that have been implemented:
– audio speaker to switch on
– signposts
– additional objects
– exit button

Ideas for extentions:
– animated objects
– popups with informations

Final User test

All participants liked the audio speaker and were happy with the new signpost system. The speaker and the new objects made the topics clearer. When asked whether they would visit the exhibition again or recommend it to others, everyone answered yes. 🙂

Breakdown of the final piece

Item 1 – Start screen with launch plattform and info panel.

Item 2 – The entrance of the exhibition + central meeting point

Item 3 – Station Edutainment

Item 4 – Station Art Exhibition

Idem 5 – Station Sales

Item 6 – Relaxing

Item 7 – Exit

Conclusion

It was a very extensive project with a high conceptual effort. First I did a lot of research and tried out a lot of apps for Cardboard. It was difficult to decide on a topic. I then chose apps that I liked very much and that I found to be thematically exciting and graphically very well implemented. The search for suitable free 3d models, pictures and sounds for the exhibition stations also took me a lot of time.
I have to admit, at the beginning I found this task rather boring, but then I really enjoyed working on it. Especially the user tests were very helpful and helped me to get ahead.
I have gained a lot of experience during this project.

Next steps

I need a VIVE 😉



Virtual Reality Experience Documentation

startscreen

about a VR Minigame project for Google Cardboard.

I developed this project as a part of my coursework in the online course „VR Developer“. The game challenges new VR users to solve a familiar type of puzzle in a new way and let them dive into a spooky and mystical Halloween night atmosphere on an old graveyard.

The Halloween Pumpkins Hall
My intension as a 3D Artist was to design an interesting environment for the users and invite them to look around and explore everything. I attached importance not to make the users feel uncomfortable or get very scared whithin this experience. It should be fun to be in this place and only just a little scary.

After the idea was born I modified the course project into a special Halloween Pumpkins Hall. I modeled an additional mausoleum front building, new walls for the interior scene and some pumpkins in 3Ds Max. The unwrapped models were textured in Photoshop. For the Halloween UI I made the graphics in Adobe Illustrator and imported the .pngs into Unity 3D.
While working on the scene,  I had to be a little bit carefull about the model and texture sizes and the lights in particular, to avoid from running into performance issues.  So, here you can take a look at some documentation material of the working process:

Outcomes
Final „Halloween Pumpkins Hall“ VR Gameplay screencast:

Technical Information
I used Unity 2017.3.1f1, GoogleVR SDK (GoogleVRForUnity_1.130.1 ) and iTweens 2.0.9. and I build for Android on a Samsung Galaxy S7.

Screenshots
from the Unity editor interface

Gebaeude_vonOben

Gebaeude_seitlich_unten

kuzerbisse

Innenansicht

1st iteration – the lighting inside the hall

Editoransicht1

2nd iteration

Final iteration – final lighting – with new assets + Halloween pumpkins

Screenshots
from the modelling process in 3Ds Max

modelling

Process Section
Statement of purpose
„Halloween Pumpkins Hall“ is a mobile VR application for new VR users which challenges them to solve a familiar type of puzzle in a modern way. The challenge for the player is to memorize a sequence of lighting up pumpkins and to repeat this pattern in the same order – to win the game.

Persona
For whom? Families with kids, grandparents and with dog 😉
Age: Parents around 30/40 years, children 13, 16, Grandma/pa 65/70 years
Occupation: Doesn‘t matter… I guess.
A quote: Stay curious and have some fun!
VR Experience-Level: Beginner

Sketches
My first quick concept scribble: An old windy graveyard environment.

sketches

Scribbles for the User Interface

UI sketches

User Testing
I tested a few people, male + female. Here are some Q&As:

User test 1 – Room experience + atmosphere
1. How big are you in this VR experience?
– Like in real life. The room is approximately 2,80m high.
2. Discribe the atmosphere of the environment.
– A quite place, like a cellar or dungeon of an old castle –
mystical somehow but I don‘t want to stay here for longer.
3. Is there anything, you would like to look at? But is is difficult to see?
– I would like to go outside. It‘s brighter there. Maybe there is a path…

User test 2 – User Interface
1. Can you see a panel?
– Yes, I see a kind of board in front of me, about 1m high and 2m wide.
– It‘s good readable. A welcome screen with a button.
2. What would you think happends, if you click on the button?
– Something will start then. Maybe I can go inside.

User test 3 – Movement
1. What happens, when you click the button?
– I start moving into the building.
– In the begining I thought I felt dizzy, but just for a short moment. Then everything was fine. The movement is very flowing.

User test 4 – Game mechanic
1. Do you know how to play the game? Do you know how to leave the hall?
Some users didn‘t know what the pumpkins stand for and they didn’t know how to leave the hall. They needed a hand or asked for an additional screen with informations about the game play.

Ideas for changes
– For untrained VR users – helpscreens and smaler steps with the sequence
– Different game levels (start: 3 pumpkins, mid: 5 pumpkins, exp: 8 pumpkins)
– An exit button to leave the game or a pause button to take a break

Ideas for extensions
– A help book on one of the wine barrels.
– Possibility to go upstairs or to look closer at different things
– Additional waypoints outside the building

Breakdown of the final piece
Item 1
Start screen with the info panel and start button

Moving into the hall

Item 2
In the middle of the building, Gameplay: Sequence of lighting-up pumpkins


Item 3
Endscreen with restart button.

Conclusion
It was a very nice project and I loved to work on it, especially after I had decided to do the Halloween look. Challenging was the lighting situation. I tried out a lot of different ways with realtime and baked lights and GI. In the end I had one direct light which was realtime and all the other things were baked. The scripting was challenging too, because I wanted to have some additional animations to be controlled.

Next steps
There came a lot of ideas into my mind while I was working on this project. I’ve learned very much! Maybe I will work on a „Halloween Pumkins Hall 2.0“ to implement a few changes in the game mechanic, I’ll see what can be done. But now, I can‘t wait to focus on my next VR experience! This will be fun.
Have a nice day and thanks for reading!
Tanja

P.S.: VR rocks! 😉