Inspiration

We were inspired by the relationship between employers and employees. Awed by the powerful "Indeed" platform, we aspired to create a more portable, user-friendly, and cheaper simulator to aid those in the job process. In this way, we hoped to leave a sustainable impact on both labor and industry.

What it does

MarsVars is a Martian VR Simulator targeted for astronauts-in-training. The interface walks the user through tasks to mimic possible scenarios in the barren Martian terrain. To make the experience realistic, our platform includes a "Mission Control" feature, so someone on the outside can vary parameters to change the world the astronaut sees. From unexpected storms to cold nights, our users should be ready for anything!

How we built it

Hunter created the artistic components of this project, the designs, textures, and graphics, in Blender and Photoshop. Brandon coded the majority of the game engine in Unity and Visual Studio and is responsible for the mechanics behind the simulation. Kevin helped integrate AWS database functionality - most notably in the 'getting' request portion of the process from the cloud to Unity itself. Namanh created the "Mission Control" website and worked on storing commands in the AWS dynamoDB.

Challenges we ran into

We began our project in Unreal Engine, believing 'blueprints' would make coding easier. Upon realizing that neither motion nor integration with AWS was working, at around 10:30 pm last night, we quickly decided to pursue Unity instead. Brandon and Hunter persevered through Unity design, lighting, and motion difficulties. Namanh and Kevin spent a considerable amount of time trying to implement AWS database integration. With little access to documentation and very little knowledge of database programming languages, they worked hard and definitely learned a lot!

Accomplishments that we're proud of

For one, we're all really proud that our individual codes fit in together with ease. Moreover, knowing we could trust each other to take care of our responsibilities was truly an awesome feeling! As for the project, we are extremely proud of how our simulation transformed from nothing but land to including interactions and motion. The progress and final product, as well as the entire learning process and bonding experience, made all the errors, roadblocks, and lack of sleep worth it!

What we learned

We learned that sleep is never the first priority. We discovered the passion with which we approach every problem. We learned the importance of teamwork and humor in the most stressful situations. We also learned it's okay to change directions completely when something isn't working. More technically, Namanh learned "more javascript and jQuery in one project than ever before." Kevin learned the intricacies of cloud-based databases. Brandon learned how to better use Unity and the importance of reassessing every problem as past methods may not always work. Lastly, Hunter learned how to use Bezier curves, Unity, and how to work the 'normals' on a 3D mesh.

What's next for MarsVars

To challenge the limits of our creativity as well as the VR simulation market, we strive to make the entire experience more immersive. In the future, we would love to add a rover driving aspect as well as organ tracking. Further, we can add measures of vitals, oxygen, and hunger/thirst. Adding more outside "Mission Control" parameters like food deprivation, getting lost, and mental instability are all on the agenda.

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