Building Virtual Worlds

As part of the immersion semester, the Building Virtual Worlds (BVW) class brings together students of varying backgrounds and talents together in small groups to practice rapid prototyping and collaboration. Students work on projects in groups of four or more people for two to four weeks. The semester culminates in the BVW show, where students present jury-selected works to a live audience.

Work Samples:

Round 0 – Practicing 3D Modeling and Animation
Round 1 – “Help Character A, who is afraid of Character B”
Round 4 – “Story Round”
Round 5 – “It’s Show Time!”

Round 0 – Practicing 3D Modeling and Animation

In BVW, each student is assigned a role for he or she to take on for the rest of the semester. These include 3D Modeler, 2D Texture Artist, Sound Designer, and Programmer. I took on the role of 3D Modeler. For Round 0, each discipline was assigned a task. The 3D Modelers were asked to model and animate two items:

Item 1: animated lunchbox with a lid, button, and handle

Item 2: dragon of no more than 1,500 polys with a moving mouth

Note: In addition to modeling and animating the dragon, I decided to also add a Super Spray particle system with instanced torus geometry so that the dragon looked like it was spitting Cheerios instead of fire or smoke.

Round 1 – “Help Character A, who is afraid of Character B”

Space Bunny Rescue
Roles: 3D Modeler & Producer
Development Time: 2 weeks
Platform: Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360

About Space Bunny Rescue:
For Round 1, we were assigned the task of creating a highly interactive world where “the guest must help character A, who is afraid of character B.”

My team created a world in which space bunnies fly to a distant planet, are marooned on a lily pad, and must escape from the elant, which is a frightful creature and the bane of the bunnies’ existence. The guest is an passerby alien who decides to help by picking up the bunnies one by one and placing them back into their rocket so that they may fly away safely.

The platform assigned to us for this round was the Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360. When the guests moves their hands, the on-screen alien hands move in the same manner.

Round 4 – “Story Round”

Role: 3D Modeler
Development Time: 3 weeks
Platform Two Wii Remotes attached to a prop wheel

About Loss:
For this round, we were assigned the task of creating an experience that communicated a story to the guest.

In our world, the sun went supernova, and swallowed the earth. An explosion attacked the arkship and escape pods. Our female protagonist had been away from the arkship on a mission, and she returned only to find the destruction left by the sun. As she couldn’t stand the sight of the field of broken escape pods, she ran away in her escape pod. She receives a distress call from another escape pod. Despite the signal originating from the middle of a plasma storm, she decides to pursue it anyway, because of the possibility that there might be another human alive.

We chose to use two Wii Remotes as our input device. We attached them to a prop wheel that could rotate from side to side, and move forwards and backwards.

Round 5 – “It’s Show Time!”

Roles: 3D Modeler & Producer
Development Time: 4 Weeks
Platform: Wii Remote with Wii Motion Plus

About Resonance:
For this round, we are asked to create a world that will bring about the best and strongest response from the audience. This assignment goes across all four of the ETC first semester classes: BVW, Fundamentals of Entertainment Technology, Improv, and Visual Story.

The guest is a wizard whose staff crystal has run out of energy, and must enter a meditative state in order to find a new source of energy. The guest must navigate through the world using the staff to activate light-up floor tiles and crystals.

We were allowed to choose the platform to use. My team chose to use the Wii Remote with Wii Motion Plus and the attached Nunchuck. The nunchuck allowed the guest to move, and the Wii Remote acted as the staff for the guest to hit objects with.