What started off as an attempt at a recreation of the 2022 Oscars from Will Smith's point-of-view transformed into a programmatic exhibit of splendor, chaos, and beauty. We chose to reimagine an alternate dimension where Chris Rock’s cheeks aren’t violated by the Fresh Prince. We believe that there is already enough violence and hatred in the VR world. Instead, our project morphed into a programmatic attempt at modern interpretivism of contemporary art.
Our inspiration for this project was "The Garden of Earthly Delights" by Hieronymous Bosch. In a world plagued by sorrow and misery, we wanted to animate an ethereal paradise devoid of any malice. In our rendition of the famous Dutch art, we reimagine platypi as angels, swarming the sky and bringing unbridled joy into our lives while we relax on a floating island.
What it does:
An interactive experience, the player starts the journey in the "Garden of Programmatic Delights”, a magical place in our world where comedians like Chris Rock are kept safe from violence. This 3D art rendition is built on the POV of the player, and incorporates a complex hand tracking mechanism that allows users to lift, carry, and drop objects inside the confines of the VR space. The user is faced with 3 pedestals holding grabbable, inanimate objects. The user picks up each of the objects and drops them in their corresponding floating, triangular drop-rings. Dropping them in their designated drop sites unlocks a beautiful barrage of heavenly chaos - a sequence of mathematically-determined and programmatically-generated objects.
There are 3 types of animated reactions generated upon placing the boxes in their respective drop boxes: *Red fox objects oscillating around the island with a dynamic radius. *Platypi springing around the island in a non-deterministic, stochastic manner. *Spherical objects revolving the island polygonal base pyramid oscillation pattern.
The system also lets the user interact freely with the environment, with uninhibited places to travel in the “island”, notwithstanding limitations caused by the wiring.
How we built it:
We built this project primarily using the powers of Blender and Unity, with the Oculus Quest 2 being our vessel of choice. Moreover, we availed ourselves of open source 3D renders from websites like SketchFab which served as the foundation of the island the player calls home.
Challenges we ran into:
Like most projects that involve Unity, our biggest hurdle was, well.. Unity. From incompatibility issues between our programming stations, to unexplainable breaks when traversing the textures menu, only beings who have mastered the art of patience make it through an Unity based with a sound mind. However, the joy and sense of accomplishment we felt upon resolving each issue made it all worth it.
Accomplishments that we're proud of:
We are especially proud of the way we incorporated our hand tracking algorithm to give the player the reigns to create their own art.
The user interaction with all the components within the environment, by which the user was allowed to travel within the island uninhibited was a challenge to code, but a satisfying result nonetheless.
We hope this helps the user feel like “The Garden of Programmatic delights” is their canvas to paint on as they fancy.
What we learned
Our inadequate amount of Unity expertise was nowhere near the requirements of the project, our biggest learning experience was definitely trying to modularise the workflow so that each and every team member is involved. Unity is notorious for being very unfriendly in team settings so learning how to distribute tasks amongst ourselves so we are all collectively moving towards our vision gave us an insight of how game studios operate.
What's next for the project: “The Garden of Programmatic delights”
1) A musical interface system to interact with the user, and to provide an extra dimension in the overall experience. 2) The game could be expanded to make it more challenging and interactive for the user. 3) We could add more complexity and components into the scene.