There are a lot of components that go into developing a VR experience in Unity. A VR project uses most of the same elements as a 3D project, which are already work intensive, with the added challenge of integrating VR controllers. Fortunately, Unity is built to support 3D development and provides great infrastructure to support 3D modeling and physics. In terms of how work is divided up on the team, our artist Rachel is handling the modeling to make an immersive environment. David and I will take care of any physics that doesn’t come with Unity as well as any management systems needed to control the progression of the experience; for example, if you need a key to unlock a door, the software needs some way to keep track of that.
Much like the first half of the semester, the second half of the semester did not go as I planned. I had intended to focus on building a tutorial space, with a particular focus on how participants could navigate virtual spaces. Instead, my semester turned out to have much more of a focus on editing code than doing the initial prototypes myself: David produced the entire first draft of the first tutorial room and I spent most of the semester tuning up the code so that it would scale well when we build the plantation experience. During this process, it occurred to me how similar it was to a writing/editing relationship in literature. Because I didn’t have to immediately worry about the creative side, I was free to direct my attention to streamlining the code and building an intuitive infrastructure. Most of what I took from this half of the semester relates to a few design heuristics about where and how to store the information we need to run the experience. Continue reading “End of semester retrospective: Using Unity for digital humanities projects”
For the fall semester, development of the Uncle Sam Plantation experience is somewhat limited, since we’re missing our 3D artist and historical expert. Without them, my development goals for the semester are to become familiar with the programming tools necessary to build the project (VRTK and Unity) and implement a tutorial room which we can insert before the main experience. If I have extra time, it would be nice to start implementing some mock ups for the whole experience. Unfortunately, I didn’t get as far I had hoped in the first half of the semester. Originally, I intended to have a simple prototype for a tutorial room before fall break, but spent most of my time so far getting an experience David built on Steam VR to work on Oculus and integrating our Unity projects with GitHub. However, I’ve learned a lot about designing in VR space and know what to focus on for the next half of the semester. Continue reading “Matters of immersion”