The Scientific Community! Computer science, Mathematics, Physics, and Art came together in harmony in this project. Our project encapsulates the perspectives of the natural sciences, arts, and their intricately-woven dependent relationship; our project is a perfect example of how STEM and the arts must embrace one another and cooperate to truly capture the essence of our planet.

What it does

SurVIVEr is an open-world game focused on exploration, durability, and boldness--the player must be daring enough to venture into a world unknown and then be able to use their environment to their advantage in order to further their journey. It opens a whole new realm of possibilities to people of all types, bringing about a new frontier that allows creators to bring entire universes to the fingertips of any given person. The game allows a player to hack down trees in order to forage for food and satisfy hunger, collect water in order to quench thirst, and freely roam the environment yet maintain the realistic expectations of self-maintenance.

Challenges we ran into

Brandon Bell and Jon Staggs worked tirelessly to: completely understand mathematical concepts, apply said concepts to the game’s creation, and translate said concepts into a format for effective programming. Caleb Barnwell and Hunter Seglem strived to properly apply their knowledge of physics and game development in order to provide a truly immersive experience as well as a coherent environment. Moreover, having so many different components being worked on at the same time meant that communication was key, and a lapse in communication at one point created a rift between two components which called for quick judgement calls and fast decision-making in order to pull them together.

Accomplishments that we're proud of

A few specific points that we find great pride in are: application of prior knowledge of mathematical algorithms (although we were regrettably unable to implement our Perlin Noise algorithms), attention to details in order to heighten the immersive experience, application of knowledge of physics in order to allow more realistic gameplay, freedom to use our imagination and skills to create a world of our own, ability to carefully craft each detail from scratch, and the rising and setting sun feature for simulating the passage of time.

What we learned

The process of actualizing our vision tested us--we had to ask ourselves: what did we want to center our game around, what were important aspects to include, and why were they important? By planning what would be included in the game, we were forced to analyze what we consider some of the most impactful details of Earth and what makes exploration so fascinating and appealing. One team member, Hunter Seglem, used newly-learned skills in order to create the 3D models of objects in the game. In addition, he gained the experience of working collaboratively with a team to create a game for the first time. Another team member, Brandon Bell, had to force himself to further study and completely understand how each algorithm and formula actually worked in order to effectively manipulate them to his advantage. As well as having to develop a deeper understanding of a subject he was already familiar with, it was his first time utilizing features (such as textures) to create the game’s environment. Teresa Chaperon had limited experience with programming yet found a way to support team members through the game’s development and offer aid with a differing perspective. As a team, we all had to work efficiently since each part relied on another part to work smoothly in order for the game to work as a whole. A lapse in communication created difficulties for development, consequently forcing us to pull together efforts in order to completely string all parts together. From this experience, we all learned a valuable lesson regarding the importance of disclosing information about each other’s parts, a necessary step of team development in order to ensure minimal mistakes and complications. Although a large amount of time and significant effort were invested in the implementation of Perlin Noise, we were unable to use it since it didn’t work completely--this taught us a lesson about using our time wisely and being realistic about what we can complete within a given time frame.

What's next for SurVIVEr

In order to further challenge ourselves and improve this project, we must continue to find ways to make the experience more immersive, memorable, and novel. For example, we would love to incorporate the use of our Perlin Algorithm to procedurally generate mesh. The beauty of virtual reality reality is the realistic interactions one is able to have, thus inspiring emotional connections and lasting impressions.

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