Official submission for Creating Reality Hack 2018 https://www.creatingrealityhack.com/
We were interested in exploring the relationship between body, movement and space. One example that we all found inspiring was "The Rain Room" - "... an immersive environment of perpetually falling water that pauses wherever a human body is detected". We were drawn to the serenity of the environment and how it makes you aware of your relationship with your surroundings.
What it does
After a rapid concept development phase on the first night of the hack, we arrived at our final concept. "Haze" is an immersive and interactive VR experience. It takes the user on a journey of mindful discovery and healing to restore the spirit of the forest. We hope that players leave with a heightened sense of awareness and an understanding of their impact on the environment.
How we built it
We built the experience using Unity for the Windows Mixed Reality headset. We experimented with a few different interaction mechanics - e.g. gaze-based, controller-based, and proximity-based interactions. We wanted the gameplay mechanics to encourage playeres to slow down, appreciate the surroundings and be thoughtful. We created 3D art using 3DS Max. We also used a combination of original and Creative Commons audio and sound.
Challenges we ran into
- Using the Mixed Reality headset for the first time took some getting used to.
- Some of the interactions we wanted to implement weren't as simple as we thought.
- Only having one VR-ready PC, there wasn't an easy way for multiple people to test their assets in VR in parallel.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
- Working on a new platform - i.e. Windows Mixed Reality
- Working on an idea that could have positive social and environmental impact.
- Everyone learnt something new: getting morphed animations into Unity from 3DS Max, bump mapping, implementing grabbables.
What we learned
- Test your Unity changes in the HMD early and often.
- Start integration of art, assets, and code sooner.
- Team brainstorming is a helpful way to evolve the pitched idea together.
- Spending some time developing the concept was helpful to keep everyone aligned on the direction we were headed in.
What's next for Haze
- Have more people to play through the experience so we can get feedback and iterate.
- Add a level of polish to make the experience feel complete.
- Seek opportunities or partnerships where we can use this experience to promote mindfulness.