These projects were all completed during my immersion semester at the Entertainment Technology Center for the Building Virtual Worlds class.
Round 0 - Bunny Bunanza
For BVW, I’ve been assigned to be a programmer. For our first project, we were given individual tasks. Programmers had to make a game. Work was done using the Unity 3D game engine. The title of my game was Bunny Bunanza, a simple game where players try to have the most bunnies when time runs out.
Round 1 - Last Stop on the H Line
In the first group round, our assignment was to create a world with two characters, A and B. Character A wishes to achieve a goal, but is intimidated or scared by character B. The guest of the world (the user) will help character A achieve the goal.
For this round, we used the Playstation Move controller as our input device. Our final world can be seen below.
Round 2 - Ghost Story
This round was the naive guest round. We were tasked with creating a world that a guest who had little or no video game experience could play, finish successfully, and enjoy. The other added challenege was that we were permitted only one verbal instruction, and were awarded bonus points for having no text instructions in the world.
The other wrinkle in this assignment was that we were to give the guest a feeling of freedom or choice, but were to use methods of indirect control to guide the guest to certain (desirable) outcomes. During final presentations, a guest would be selected from a group and attempt to play the world. However, before the world began, we were required to present the judges with a sealed envelope containing three predictions about how the guest would interact with the world. If all three were correct and no verbal instructions were given, we received a score boost for the round.
In our world, the guest played the role of a ghost and was given the choice to be friendly to a small child or to scare the child. Below are two playthroughs, one as a good ghost, and one as a bad ghost. There are many more interactions and variations not shown by these two videos (which is part of the fun!).
The “evil” ending:
The “good” ending:
Round 3 - Abduction
The third round of BVW was the “Lightning Round.” This round lasted only one week instead of the two to three weeks for other rounds. The objective was to create an experience that was fun to play. Whether or not the world was a game was left up to each group. We decided to use a new technology, the EyeFollower from LC Technologies, an eye tracking system, along with a more proven platform, the Nintendo WiiMote.
Our chosen theme was a spoof on a War of the Worlds-esque alien invasion theme. Aliens have come to your rural farmhouse and are attempting to abduct your household objects. Little did they know, you are a telekinesis-endowed human, and you won’t be parted from your knick knacks so easily.
The game is asymmetric in nature, the human player controlling via the EyeFollower and the alien abductor using the WiiMote to abduct furniture. Object selection is handled using the D-pad, and then waving the controller up and down increases the tractor beam effect. The alien’s goal is to abduct six objects before time runs out. The human player decreases the rate of ascent by focusing on objects. The game is essentially a frantic tug-of-war style contest that leads to laughter and curses in equal measure as the alien attempts to get away with these suddenly precious objects.
When the human player wins, the players see this ending:
And if the alien wins, they see this one:
Round 4 - Dive to Atlantis
Round 4 was story round, where we were tasked with telling a meaningful story. We chose the Kinect as a platform.
Context specific gestures, such as swimming in certain directions, pulling a rock from a pile, and sweeping seaweed out of the way, made up the interactions with the world. This world saw the actual final realization of my goals from rounds 1 and 2 for gestures. There are several collision boxes around the Kinect skeleton, and a gesture is a sequence of boxes. The system supports an arbitrary number of sequential boxes with either hand. With this system, it was simple to add or extend gestures to fit specific parameters.
Below is a video of our final world.
Round 5 - Sky Beast
For the final round, we were permitted to choose our own teams. The assignment was simply to make a world to be displayed in the BVW show. Not all worlds would be in the show, but the goal was to create an experience designed with performance in mind.
Our team was the largest, with 8 people, two texture artists, two modelers, two programmers, and two sound designers. We selected two platforms, the EyeGaze Eyetracker and the Playstation Move. Each platform had unique gameplay mechanics that worked together.
The EyeGaze player took the role of ‘Navigator’, who steered the ship and locked on to targets. One Move player was the ‘Harpooner’, who aimed with controller, and then made a throwing motion to hurl the harpoon. Finally, a second Move player was the ‘Wincher’, who, after the harpoon was lodged in the beast’s shell, made a cranking motion to pull the shell off of the creature.
There was also a large performance component of the show. Five performers acted out a skit while playing, telling the story of the hunt for the massive air leviathan and the subsequent battle with the monster. Below is a video of our performance at our final submission review.