Everyone on our team has built our own PC's, and find it valuable to teach others about the basics of the assembly of a PC. Especially since many might not want to commit to the high price tag. One big problem with building PC's is part compatibility, especially making sure each part fits the case. We also found the need as PC building enthusiasts to test build custom computers using VR in order to experiment with the compatibility and looks with different parts.
What it does
Our project is a Virtual Reality application that instructs users how to build their own computer by picking out each component and assembling them together while following step by step instructions. Advanced users can pick out different components in order test the compatibility of the parts together, e.g. to make sure the ram isn't too tall that it blocks the CPU cooler.
How we built it
We used Blender to model 3d computer parts, and built a Unity application that runs on the HTC Vive.
Challenges we ran into
Cable management is a big part of PC building, and so we tried to have a section of the tutorial that lets users connect wires together. The first problem here was that the Unity library disabled support for InteractiveCloth in the version we used, which was a straightforward way to make physical wires. We implemented our own dangling wire physics but it was too laggy and would spasm when extended too long so we had to scrap this part. We also didn't have a full user story at the beginning of our hackathon, so we had trouble putting together the UI and designing the UX off of a uncertain foundation. Blender assets were difficult to create, and consisted of the majority of our assets. They were also difficult to import into Unity.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Smooth VR user experience with no discomforts. Intuitive snapping mechanism for teaching new users how to put together computer parts. Detailed custom computer assets. Beautiful tutorial visual interfaces.
What we learned
We learned that we should start with user stories, in order to know exactly how our app will function. We had the idea but we didn't have our user story until halfway through our project.
What's next for VR PC Builder
To partner with manufacturers in order to help their customers better preview the product before purchasing. To partner with distributors such as Fry's Electronics or Best Buy in order to give customers the ability to build their computer in store and make sure parts are compatible before purchasing. We want to get more detailed and scaled components so it will more accurately represent the size and design compatibilities.
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