Building Virtual Worlds


Building Virtual Worlds is a semester class where first-year ETC students work in interdisciplinary teams to create virtual, interactive worlds. The class goes through 5 rounds of worlds in the semester, most being created in 2 weeks or less by teams of 4 (consisting of a programmer, modeler, texture artist, and sound designer). Worlds are developed using Panda3D for a multitude of different platforms (head-mounted display, Playmotion, Jam-o-Drum, etc.). More information can be found on the course website.

  1. Uncle Fred’s Perfect Vacation – Round 1
  2. Amoeba Prom – Round 2
  3. Dance-mo-tron – Round 3
  4. Four Seasons – Round 4
  5. Laser Painter – Round 5

Uncle Fred’s Perfect Vacation – Round 1

 

Uncle Fred Title Screen

Role: Texture Artist

This was our first BVW world, where the assignment prompt was “help character A who is afraid of character B.” It’s for the HMD (head-mounted display) and the guest controlsl Uncle Fred by moving a rope around which has a motion sensor on it, thus moving the rope in-game. We built a simple force-feedback setup to simulate the movement of the physical rope to the rope in the game. The goal is to keep Fred safe from the alligators until he reaches the ocean.

 


Amoeba Prom – Round 2

Amoeba Prom Title Screen

Role: Texture Artist

This is my group’s world for round 2 of Building Virtual Worlds, the “naive guest” round. We were supposed to make a game that any random guest could walk up to and easily play with no prior knowledge of our platform.

We were assigned the Beyond Questions remotes as our platform, which was quite a challenge (the remotes were built for lecture halls and have a 1 second delay between receiving signals.) I feel like this was a great success, because everyone who played it wanted to play a second round!

In addition to texturing the world, I also illustrated the cut scenes and winning sequence of the game.

Amoeba Prom Opening SceneAmoeba Prom Ending Cutscene


Dance-mo-tron – Round 3

Dance-mo-tron title screen

Role: Producer/Texture Artist

My group’s “Lightning Round” world, where we were only given 1 week instead of the usual 2. The focus was an activity-based game, and I feel like our programmers really made some good accomplishments with the limitations of the playmotion. The idea was to choose pieces to create a  character, then puppet it to make it dance.

In addition to texturing the world, I also created the character designs for our puppet pieces. As a producer, I scheduled and ran meetings, updated our group on all decisions and changes made during the course of meetings, and facilitated the pipeline between our art and tech team members.

Dance-mo-tron character designs


Four Seasons – Round 4

Four Seasons Title ScreenRole: Animator/Texture Artist/Co-Producer

The goal of this world was to tell a story that had some degree of interactivity. We chose to create a performance piece based on the Russian Fairy Tale, The Twelve Months. We decided to portray the characters as 2D animated flats, so I got to design and animate the digital characters. We had a live actress interacting with the digital characters on the playmotion to tell the story.

I also acted as assistant producer when our team’s producer had to be absent for several days. I helped with the tasks of running meetings, compiling class feedback on our world, and writing lengthy emails summarizing our meetings to keep her in the know.

Stepmother DesignFour Seasons Design


Laser Painter – Round 5

Laser Painter Title ScreenRole: Producer/Texture Artist

The team’s goal with this world was to make an audience activity that uses laser pointers for a collaborative creative goal. The painter moves to the average center point among all the laser points on the  screen. Guests have the freedom of changing paint color and moving the painter around the canvas. We wanted it to be more of a fun and free activity than a game, and used the story and goals to pace the activity along and liven it up with humor.

My team struggled with many concept revisions, but in the end our final creation made it into the BVW show. It was certainly a great challenge that we overcame.