So as this project draws to a close, and I begin the ‘polishing‘ stage it seems like a good time to run into some problems.
After spending weeks learning my way around Unreal Engine and building various rooms of the yellow house, which were mainly blue prints and basic structures, I have come to realise I am going to struggle with applying the artwork from the yellow house on to my virtual walls. Luckily, some pieces of the house can be photoshopped and simply placed on to a material as a texture, but other pieces are not so simple due to the limited access I have. And furthermore, creating new objects within the engine is beyond my capability and time frame at this late stage. Some of these problems and solutions are shown in the imaes at the end of this post.
Having addressed the struggles I’m having in these final stages, I would like to move on to participatory culture, and how something like Unreal Engine has massively contributed to the culture. Gaming is one of the first types of media that have seen mass interaction, or, a participatory culture. Joost Raessens (2006) outlines three areas of participation within games media. “that of interpretation (deconstruction is understood as a specific form of interpretation), the domain of the reconfiguration of existing game elements, and the domain of the construction of new game elements”.
Raessens (2006) best explains these three domains when considering ‘the player’ and their actions within a participatory culture:
“Interactivity refers to ‘‘a distinctive mode of relating to audiovisual representations or fictions. The player is provided with a way of directly taking a leading role in what occurs, given the means to control—at least in part—what will unfold within the scene on the screen’’
“Second, we speak of reconfiguration when a player in this process of exploration is invited to give form to these worlds in an active way by selecting one of the many preprogrammed possibilities in a computer game (this is what Aarseth calls the ‘‘configurative function,’’. Here, a player is ‘‘building the virtual world by selecting objects and actions from a fixed set of system-internal possibilities’’
“Construction, understood as the addition of new game elements, can exist in the making of new games or—and this is much more common—the modification of existing games, described as ‘‘to deconstruct and alter an existing system for the joy of it’’ By modification, ‘‘the users can extend or change the text by adding their own writing or programming’’ in which ‘‘the ability to add permanent components to the text presupposes the demiurgic power to co-create the virtual world’’
While these first two points are directed towards the actual gameplay, the third point refers to ‘moding’ and the re-creation of games, this is essentially what Unreal Engine is used for. Countless successful games have spawned from the Unreal Engine creator, (such as Rocket League, Bioshock, Borderlands, Mass Effect, and Gears of War 4) proving how an open and participatory culture is beneficial to games media.
Below is an update on the various stages of my room and my attempts to replicate the actual thing.
Your project is a really great effort and has stood out over the semester with your results! The research you’ve provided this week only makes your project stronger and has given rise to some interest with VR and ultimately “making” your own game. I wish you luck with publishing this yellow room project in some kind of gallery if you get the opportunity. The comparison pictures are really detailed and interesting to observe, and week by week they’ve gotten more like the real thing. The problems you have faced and addressed would be overcome I believe with more time, as your clearly grasping the software. Unaware of how in depth you’ve looked at the texture, I’ve found a little tutorial (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JLcRRsYymuo) about creating textures, but I’d recommend YouTube as a platform to learn as it’s helped in past and present projects of mine!
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From the very first time you pitched this in class, you seemed committed to creating an immersive experience. Despite the minor issues you’ve had (having to use Photoshop as a third-party fix), from the images you have posted I think in many ways, you’ve succeeded. Regarding that first comparison photo…that is unbelievable progress for the limited time you’ve had to work with this. Although you have run into some trouble as your project comes to close, it’s important not to undersell that you have made quite a convincing set-piece akin to the original building.
I think in this stage of refining your work it is important to focus on interior set-design, specifically how VR developers are troubleshooting the same issues you are facing when trying to work with your project. Sam hit the nail on the head with his comment about using YouTube as a tutorial tool. Although I’m not quite sure how connected this is to your actual game, I suggest getting advice on the Oculus Rift Developer subreddit (https://www.reddit.com/r/oculusdev/). Some of the people in here would have had varying levels on experience and may be able to help with your queries.
Otherwise best of luck with finalising your design!
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Since seeing your project for the first time back in week 6 until now, it has stayed in my mind as one of the most interesting and deeply engaging projects being attempted. Not to make light of the polishing issues your running into, to me it still seems like your project will be one of the most conceptually powerful as it raises questions about the relationship between videogames and art and how VR is becoming its own artistic medium. Sam’s comment about wanting to see this project in an art gallery shouldn’t be understated, I’d really love to see this project move beyond just the DIGC310 assessment. More info on the relationship between art and virtual reality check this article out – https://www.artsy.net/article/artsy-editorial-virtual-reality-is-the-most-powerful-artistic-medium-of-our-time
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It’s great to see your project finally taking shape and starting to get going! Your designs look great, keep up the work man because i’m really keen to see what results from this! Ever since your presentation i’ve been super keen!
I really like the idea that someone has suggested above, which is to have your final work be in a gallery. I definitely think YouTube is the place to go for any problems that you run into, especially, Photoshop. The tutorials on there are usually easy enough to follow. Love the progress so far and am excited to see how it all comes together.
First off, this whole project is Lit. Just thought I’d get that out of the way. It’s been amazing to see how these sorts of designs come to fruition and the way in which you are addressing your problems, especially getting the textures right. It would be super easy to just superimpose photos of the locations in to the VR world, much in the same way that Real estate businesses are starting to do (Start VR, 2015), but your approach is so much more immersive. I love it!
Start VR. (2015). Revolutionising Virtual Reality Real Estate – Start VR. [online] Available at: https://startvr.co/revolutionising-virtual-reality-real-estate/ [Accessed 19 May 2016].
Reblogged this on Matt Keats .