We wanted to implement Oculus in a way that has not been previously thought of. The Ocuverse is inspired by the combination of browsing the Internet and experiencing complete immersion in a way that only an Oculus
Rift could achieve. The Universe setting draws from the vastness of the Internet, and how they are both boundless yet deeply populated.
How it works
The Ocuverse is powered by Unreal Engine 4 and experienced through the Oculus Rift. Upon start, the user is placed on a platform from which she or he may access different websites which have implemented the Ocuverse API. The purpose of the Ocuverse is not to browse the Internet in the same scrolling and linking set-up as non-immersive web browsers, but rather to experience the web in an innovative way that is rewarding and forward-thinking.
Challenges we ran into
The major challenge we faced was deciding how content and user interaction was going to be interfaced. How could we implement features of popular sites that users are familiar with without drowning users in heaps of information? We overcame this challenge by vertically implementing the Ocuverse so that users may go as deep into the content of a website as they want. Setting up the environment was also a challenge, but one that was overcome but working for several hours straight as a team.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
- creating a "home page" for the Ocuverse, a platform that can be used to jump to different webpages
- each user has a digital avatar than represents their online identity to other users
- a massive and beautiful galaxy of planets and orbiting bodies that supports the feeling of futuristic immersion
- websites are celestial bodies, color coded to represent the site's identity, and are scaled in size relative to the amount of traffic they receive
- the front page for Reddit and the top posts there in
- a Reddit post room and comment thread where users can interact "face-to-face" and see each other's comments as they are posted or spoken
What we learned
We learned that designing a level and a floor plan before rendering a project yields better results than diving head-first into the project and just building features as we see necessary. We also learned that it is far easier to divide responsibilities in a way that makes sense than to force people to work together on a feature that only requires one person.
What's next for Ocuverse
We wanted to use the Leap Motion for real-time interaction with the Ocuverse, but due to time constraints and relative incompatibility with Unreal Engine 4 we were not able to do so. Having motion controlled input by the Leap Motion would be a stellar implementation. We want to make the Ocuverse API available to developers who would like to see their websites represented in the the Ocuverse.