Development & Design Tools
For VR centric design, motion and visual perspective are tricky elements, James prototyped a VR friendly elevator in the Unreal Engine, and an in-editor tool for instance specific lift design. This tool allows for the designer to instantly see where the elevator will end, and which direction it will face once it completes it’s trip. The elevator then returns to it’s origin on next use.
The elevator was designed for a Sci-Fi themed game, so the ability to see outside was desirable, but with VR often forced movement can cause motion sickness or discomfort. James designed and coded the solution: a closed door anchors the visual field, but also allows through open top and a window, the user to look out and around to see the environment.
Gameplay Design for VR
James is fascinated by the changes to gameplay and interaction that VR brings to games and training. The simple addition of head-mounted controllers to a game opens up the field to hundreds of uses. For the Sci-Fi game, James is designing a variety of look-detection functions that will change the intended functionality of a character, prop, or interaction depending on where the players focus is.
A simple use case for this will be in holographic screens onboard a space station. The screens allow for hidden content and localized information access, as well as add a sense of depth and information to the environment without having to be ‘always on’ and rendered. In the editor, a designer can set screen content, view range (how close the player has to look to the screen before it pops out) and a variety of settings such as auto-hide, randomize content, and interactivity.
James has 5 yrs experience with the Unity game engine, focusing on game design, scripting, and level design. Recently, he’s worked with Unity to develop for Microsoft’s HoloLens hardware. His work so far has been personal, creating a series of prototypes that run on the HoloLens.