VR Tech, The Yellow House and Level Design

Having explored Virtual Reality and where its future possibly lies, as well as experimenting with Unreal Engine, I decided it was time to focus in on how VR and The Yellow House Project tie together as well as taking a closer look at level design within Unreal Engine.

As I narrow down my research and begin developing a room from the Yellow House, I feel it is important to understand a few things. Why the Yellow House and why VR? To aid me in this part of my research, I will be looking at the paper, “3D immersive collection and teaching environments: the Yellow House project at UOW” from the Vala 2016 conference.

The Yellow House


The Yellow House was in Macleay Street, Kings Cross, created by Australian artist Martin Sharp in 1970, and ran through to early 1973. The gallery “engaged with a steady stream of local, national and international artists and personalities who visited the three-storey terrace building and helped shape the artistic and cultural development of this experimental and communal space.” The paper explains that the digital artefact is a reproduction of a historical context and cultural construction. “The virtual Yellow House is a form of archaeology that is occurring in a virtual space where artefacts and objects from a variety of media and from different periods of time are brought together.” Due to its various influences from artists and cultural art, The Yellow House is an important part of Australian 60’s and 70’s culture. “The prototype developed for this project will, in the initial phase, enable students and researchers to interact with UOW Library collections focused on Australian counterculture art and publishing movements during the 1960s and 1970s”.

VR technology (such as the Oculus) allows UOW to explore, portray and conserve The Yellow House. Furthermore the project “provides an opportunity for libraries to facilitate enhanced and ongoing engagement with teachers, students, researchers and the general community in the provision of access to collections. Digitised material can be presented in 3D virtual environments, which augment reality, enable new dimensions of information presentation and exploration, and operate as an interface to relate the experience of digitised resources to relevant historical contexts.”

Level Design:

My room design will go through 4 general stages of development: Prototype, Meshing, Lighting, and Polish. This is based on this video.

4 stages.png

These stages are fairly self-explanatory and are as follow.

Stage 1: Prototype. This is where I am or almost am now. This stage is where I have chosen a room and begin to create a rough design. This is like a draft, where the overall room, textures and shape will be very basic. This is to create a guideline for the room and a base for visuals in the later stages, however, the room must be entirely “playable”, because meshes, lighting and textures should not affect the gameplay and movement.

Stage 2: Meshing: In this stage, textures and materials are added to the guidelines to create a more detailed room.

Stage 3: Lighting: This stage sees more detailed materials added as well as lighting and particles.

Stage 4: This is the final stage where the small details are incorporated to tie everything together and gameplay is finalised.

Finally, here is an update on my progress so far. I have recently chosen the room I will be creating, (subject to change) and have started prototyping.

dig vs real comparison


  1. Oh man, this idea blew my mind. So good!!
    I don’t know much about the Yellow House, but I’m super interested. Apparently there was a bonsai room there – how magical! (http://www.milesago.com/features/yellowhouse.htm)

    Also, having dabbled with Blender for a while I’ll be super interested in seeing the final result or your digital artefact.

    I could see something like this being a very useful, dynamic and engaging educational tool that could be expanded to many areas of study; theatres, historical sites, museums – the potential is endless, really.


  2. Your weekly progression is so good! You have taught yourself to use the unreal engine and the results are showing. Have you ran into any design flaws so far or has it been pretty smooth sailing? Keen to see your progression into step 2


  3. Honestly mate, you’ve done an incredible job here. The fact that you’ve managed to work with the Unreal engine, and produce an entire location with it is great. I think it’s a good choice to focus on just one room for this assessment, as it will give you time to really flesh it out, and as you mention in your post, “polish it”. However, if you manage to meet your deadline a little earlier, you should consider working on another part of the house. If you finish that, well then you have something extra to hand in, and if you don’t, I’m sure your work will benefit the Yellow House project nonetheless.

    I look forward to seeing your progression in the coming weeks!


  4. Your pitch for your idea was really great as you showed how involved you are with this project and the fact that you have gotten so far with the unreal engine in such a short time is astounding! I really loved how you took on VR and have used a strong base to start from. As someone who has never messed with VR in any sense of the word it made me want to research into it more and find out how it’s done and the uses for it that it could be applied to. I can’t wait to see the finished product and go through this house myself!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s