VR Interactive Display Production

Week 1

cyclops Today we had an opportunity to decide on what VR headset we where going to use and game we where going to make. We had the choice of the Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR. We decided on the Samsung Gear because I had come up with the idea that we make a game where you are Cyclops from the Xmen. When we where brainstorming as a team I suggested that we come up with a game that somehow connects the players VR experience with the headset in a way that somehow seems logical. That’s when I suggested Cyclops, almost universally the team loved the idea. We made a lot of progress thinking through the games scope and environment.

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Week 2

timessquareWe have agreed to use Times Square as the inspiration for our games battle location. Today we started to assign duties with a large focus on Monique and appointing her as lead artist. I think everyone agrees that she is the most talented and should be the one calling the shots regarding art  decisions so we can create a consistent look to the game. I’m mainly struggling to make sure that I get this project set up the right way in Trello and the GDD. I’m getting some outstanding help from Juan and Erin to make sure the scope and setup are done correctly. I think that most everyone is very excited about this game and I look forward to have a playable scene to test.

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Week 3

untitledI feel good about our progress today. I have a better understanding of who is going to do what. Everyone has something to do. Our scope and vision are realistic and our duties are much more clear as a team. Hector and Erin are working more closely together now and already have the laser destroying an object. We have also been able to create a build that works in the Gear VR. Devon is learning how to use 3DS Max and will be helping with assets. Juan is creating the scene in 3DS Max and Monique will be adding textures to that scene. Right now Juans role is crucial because it is an impediment for Monique. Dmerro is creating the enemies and drones for the game. I think that we have gotten a lot done in 3 weeks. We are on target to make a very functional and great looking game.

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Week 4

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Dear Sir Patrick Stewart,

As enthusiastic admirers of your catalogue of work we would like to express our appreciation for your amazing talent and contributions to the thespian avenues of Broadway and Hollywood. You have helped to bring to life so many amazing characters, given them depth and gave us a direct window into their souls. We empathized with their very flaws, trials and tribulations. We’ve loved them, hated them and learned to accept them into our hearts as friends, heroes, mentors and teachers. Thank you for your many years of passion which has served as an impressionable and significant basis of molding and shaping many of the actors who continue to realize the importance of keeping the storytelling craft alive.

We are eight American students currently attending a scholastic institution in the little Midwestern state of Wisconsin. If you ever happen upon a place called Milwaukee, there you will find the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC), one of the only colleges with access to some of the most cutting-edge technology to produce video games, apps and movies in virtual (VR) and augmented (AR) reality—which brings us to humbly inquire you with our plea:

As students in the gaming and simulation program we are currently immersed in the creation of a virtual/augmented reality game that grants its player the opportunity to be Scott Summers, a.k.a. Cyclops. The moment those goggles grace your face you find yourself in a training room with Professor Charles Xavier in the midst of honing your skills and coaching on how to use your glasses, until an attack on downtown Milwaukee thrusts you in the pit of action. Robots and flying droids deliver never-ending chaos all around you. Your fellow X-men teammates attempt to assist and defend against wave after wave of the mechanical menace, while you, Cyclops, is stuck in the barricaded trenches to battle in long range combat. Your mission is obvious: diminish the ensuing destruction of the city and neutralize the impending threat as the voice of Charles Xavier acts as your experienced guide.

This project is, of course, not-for-profit and strictly educational in the pursuit of helping us to acquire the skills and experience of building a game and preparation to enter the field upon graduation. It’s safe to say that we love the X-men franchise and felt the need to dedicate ourselves in wanting to build this into fruition. However, our meaningful endeavor is lifeless without the presence of Charles Xavier himself. It was he who adopted and founded the X-men, and drives the lifeblood of their being.

Thus it would be an immensely prestigious blessing and honor if you would bestow us with your voice for Charles Xavier. Just a few simple voiceover lines would make a world of difference in the ignition of our passions as well as the entire student body of the computer gaming and simulation program—of which would love to volunteer their services to make our game a reality, and support our endeavor. You will have touched many lives, hearts and encouraged us all to press forward with great zeal for our dreams.

Albeit small our request may appear to us, we do and will understand if this is too great a request. As a man whose time is stretched so thinly, and whose gifts are intertwined in other pursuits we can definitely respect the fact that your philanthropy is sought after constantly and that the reality of our request of fulfilment is slim. You are an amazing man who very much deserves his monetary worth, and unfortunately as college students we can only dream of doing so. For what it’s worth we would extend a gift of gratitude in the form of a nice dinner for you and your lovely wife and, if ever you wanted a chance to play the game first hand, as well as welcome you into our hallowed halls of academia to meet and greet all whose lives you’ve positively impacted.

We hope you will have enjoyed this letter, as we truly do love your work and felt that you are worthy of being acknowledged for an amazing, God-given talent. We look forward to more of your future endeavors and hope that this letter will have reached its destination with welcoming arms. Thank you for your time and for entertaining eight students with thoughts of what was and what could be.

Warmest regards from the students of MATC – Milwaukee Area Technical College:

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Week 5

Laser-Beam-psd8325We continue to make great progress and have purchased a laser ray system that we will be using  for our game. We’ve switched our time of day to night time which is  looking amazing already. Our buildings are really coming along and close to being ready to be skinned. We play tested a 3D explosion but it created too much lag so we will be switching to a sprite explosion to conserve our resources.  Our large enemy is ready to go and just needs to be skinned. Monique is working on the ground texture  and Juan has made excellent progress on the city. I’m working on our Trello cards and want to do better at using Agile methodology to complete.

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Week 6

patrick-stewartToday I learned that my hope of Patrick Stewart doing our voice over is not going to happen. Or at least it’s likely hood is really non existent.  He is booked and very busy, probably on vacation. I spent the first half of the day just organizing our Trello cards. This will make tracking our progress much more efficient. Unfortunately Monique has a flat tire and wont be in today. I know that she has gotten a lot of the textures done. Next week we will need to start getting them in.  We are also having some issues with lag that i hope the textures wont exacerbate. Lizzie has also informed the team that she is dropping the class, so we are down to 7 on the team.

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Week 7

5Today I spent a lot of time researching and implementing ways to maximize our frame rate for our Mobil device. This is turning out to be a great challenge and concern for our game. We don’t have any textures or props in the game yet and we are already experiencing some lag. Much of which is easily avoidable by turning off our reflective lighting. I have identified 5 practices that we will need to follow in order to achieve our desired frame rate.  I am going to need to step up my personal productivity in the second half of the semester. I am going to focus on the AR aspects of the game because I think it has the least asset requirements and does not need the help of the entire team. That will allow me to be more productive within the game  and give me the time to keep focus on Scrum/Product owner tasks. I was able to remove an impediment this week. An issue that has puzzled Hector for the last few weeks I was able to figure out. We had a lens flare that was being created in the wrong position. With a little experimentation I was able to figure out how to fix the issue.

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Week 8

Wrote on AR Blog for this week

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Week 9

Wrote on Ar Blog for this week

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Week 10

I’ve spent a lot of time working on animating the enemies. I have also spent a lot pf time refining the enemy ship and weapon sounds. I found that by lowering the pitch I could create some unique sounds that I liked for the ship and weapon. The Doppler effect was also useful to create a 3D sound effect. I have spent way too much time waiting for the scent to cull, just to learn that I have been culling all aspects of the scene which is why it’s been taking so long. I also found that this is not necessary. I’ve been refining the map layout and have added all of the sidewalks and grass. I’ve also found some useful building assets online and I purchased a mobile friendly animated water effect.

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Week 11

I’ve learned a lot about texture and polygon efficient solutions to improve FPS this week. I’ve taken all of the 3D boardwalks, sidewalks and brick walls. All of which have 6 sides and 6 textures. What I did was create quads and applied a repeatable texture . By using the texture offset I am able to  adjust the textures in a way that they duplicate along the plane naturally.  I also used this technique on some of the building to add variation to the building textures.

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Week 12

Lighting has been a huge hit on the CPU and is one of the biggest detriments to our FPS. Trying to bake the lights have not been successful because while baking it has not competed after 24 hours. The solution I’ve found is to bake sections at a time. This allows me to bake lights in a manageable amount of time. Doing this has had a significant positive effect on my FPS. Strangely,  it has also reduced our Tri’s which I don’t understand. I never thought lights would have an impact on triangles.

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Week 13

Every week is a new lesson and every week offers new challenges. We have tried for weeks to get the Oculus to work with our game without success.  It’s pretty frustrating because we put a lot of work into the detail and look of the game. After working with Daryl for an entire day to get it to work, we now believe that the problem is an incompatibility between Windows 10, unity and Oculus. But we are still unsure exactly which is to blame. So now we are just going to focus on the build for the Samsung Gear VR.  It’s a little disappointing but there isn’t much we can do about it.  Emil offered his Big Red computer for us to use but unfortunately he has Windows 10 on his machine as well.

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Week 14

We have spent hours fixing bugs and finalizing our build. Looking back at the project I can see many things that I would have done differently. Namely testing the Oculus early on but more importantly, assigning a dedicated Scrum Master. I think the lack of having a Scrum Master really had an effect on our games development. We where just so productive early on, it felt like the game was just putting itself together in some ways. I definitely have to take may hat off to Hector once again. He always steps up in a big way, he continues to be one the most impressive producers on any team he’s a part of. He is becoming an excellent build master.

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Week 15

image3Portfolio night was a great success. For the mos part, everything went off without  hitch. People loved to play and play they did. On average people played for 12 minutes at a time. For many of them, this was their first time experiencing VR. I was particularly fascinated by the older generations that wanted to play and how long they played. I do wish we had a couple more weeks and I really wish that we would have gotten the Oculus to work. But all in all, I’m so happy with the response and now I know what to expect next year and will be much more prepared.

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Week 16