Immersive Media Intensive - Fall 2017

Last semester we embarked on the beginning of a two semester journey into exploring immersive media design with a course in Introduction to Virtual Reality Experience Design. I spent a good chunk of last summer exploring resources, testing tutorials, talking to designers, and building prototypes to prepare for a course that would be new for everyone involved. We waded into the deep end and made it out on the other side with each others help.

As a group we read through Neal Stephenson’s cyberpunk epic Snow Crash to help us see the future we are now living in from a different angle.

““See, the world is full of things more powerful than us. But if you know how to catch a ride, you can go places.” (Neal Stephenson – Snow Crash)

Most of our time has been spent creating, talking to creators, and exploring new virtual environments. Talking with the producers of Job Simulator, the biggest VR game of the last year, let us get the inside scoop on how to think about creating VR experiences that are for everyone.

^ a glimpse of the wild fun of Job Simulator

When creating we tried to spend as much time in VR as we could. Using 3d modeling and drawing tools in VR allowed us to create models faster and with greater expressiveness. Tools like Oculus Medium ( https://www.oculus.com/medium/ ) let us build 3d assets with little training and bring them straight into our VR projects.

 

^ A 3d sculpt by Camila Centeno done in Oculus Medium

Using Unreal Engine, a powerful interactive game design engine, everyone in the class built a complete experience for the Oculus Rift, a room-scale VR headset. Games, stories, technical demos, art galleries….we built them all and then some. This semester the whole class is working collaboratively, with industry mentorship, to build a single VR experience that utilizes a variety of skillsets. Students are taking on roles as audio producers, programmers, project managers, 3d artists, and capture artists to make their world come to life. I can’t wait to see where they take us.

Below is a VR project made by Madison Krob in VR using Oculus Medium and Unreal Engine.

doug northcook