The theme of the event, human connection, was a significant source of inspiration. Team members used it as a starting point to reflect on how could we use technology to create an experience that helps people to interact with each other, relate and connect, and come to some deeper understanding of who they are, instead of distancing them from other people when they are their device.
Because there are so many different devices that people use nowadays we also felt it was important to think about how to create a cross platform experience so that people with a different device aren't necessarily excluded from participating. It's the reason that we made sure that one of the two platforms we developed for was mobile phones, as so many people have one.
What it does
The experience gives people on the Oculus Quest, and Android mobile devices the opportunity to come together and collaborate in real time in the same virtual space.
How we built it
We formed a team at the beginning of the event. We came together around a whiteboard, and spoke about what the inspiration discussed above might mean in terms of a concrete experience. With these factors in mind we considered what subject matter would be, and how a interaction loop could be created between the different people who would be playing the experience. We wanted to make sure that the players on different platforms would be motivated to make a connection through the experience, and that they could only progress and advance if they collaborated, and worked together.
Challenges we ran into
The project team ran into a number of technical challenges. The first of those challenges was the networking. We had challenges propagating animations across the network. In the end we had to create a custom script to achieve this so objects could be interacted with on either platform. There were also some challenges involved with using Unity. The version of Unity we are working with has known problems with it when it comes to the Oculus Quest. There was also the technical challenge of getting Wwise set up; we had to downgrade Unity to an earlier version - 2019.1.0.F2 - as Wwise doesn't support the Unity version we were trying to utilize a later version. Mapping the buttons on the mobile device to interactions in the virtual environment was also a challenge.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We were proud that after some constructive confrontation early on during the process we came together as a group around a clear vision for what we wanted to create. We recognized that everyone was passionate about the project, and it was some of the different perspectives from our professional domains were driving the team to talk about, and try and get clear on if the design for what we were going to work on would accomplish the groups goals.
What we learned
A number of team members learned things from the people they were working with on the project. For example, one of the 3D artists learned how to make the assets for Unity for the mesh colliders for the physics as well. Always have a number of developers on the project. This helps when there are problems to solve as each of them will have different and varied perspectives on how to address the challenge.
What's next for Untitled Project
We are still so focused on the present moment, and the project itself that we haven't really been looking forward to the future of the team or the project.