This was a nice and simple starter project to get in touch with VR development. We got first simple insights into Unity, such as change the text of an object, rearrange objects in the scene (position, rotation) and change the functionality of a button. Furthermore, we learned how to use the Google VR SDK for Unity and deploy the app on the phone. At the end we were instructed to clean the unity project and delete all nonessential files.
The task was to build a new apartment scene with nice lighting and custom animation. Then, deploy it to your Cardboard headset. It was really fun to realize this project. The easy parts of the project were the basic apartment layout, the arrangement of the objects and the application of different materials. I had minor problems with the rotation of the animated globe, but looking in the forum provided a solution. One requirement was that objects do not intersect with each other. From the task description it was not clear for me how strict this will be handled, so I wrote a script to identify intersections between objects. I am not sure if it works very accurately, however I found many intersections, for example the two parts of the chimney, the shelves with the wall, and the clocks with the walls. A much harder task was to set up the lights such that the ambiance was satisfactory. The correct placement, including the interplay with point, spot and area lights took its time. I hope with more practice I will find an effective workflow regarding placing and baking the lights and building the project. To build the project with high baked resolution was really time consuming. To sum up, a great project to learn which I enjoyed very much.
Using the unity editor and primitives, create a little labyrinth. It might be a garden, twisting city streets, caves, or an abstraction - use your imagination. Whatever you decide, the maze must contain the following elements: waypoint navigation, collectables, the gate, the key, and the UI (user interface). I was surprised by the Wow-effect after building the maze, when first testing it on the phone with the Google Cardboard. There is a big difference and an other feeling than on the screen :). To create the maze I followed a MazeGenerator tutorial and wrote an adapted script. With the script I was able to generate a perfect maze. I created a prefab and used this as basis for the maze in the main scene. Than I modified the maze (materials, custom models, JarGenerator.cs) such that the look an feel was satisfactory. Afterwards, I placed the coins and the key and wrote the scripts Key.cs, Coins.cs, Door.cs. As soon as the key has been collected the door can be opened by clicking on it. Additionally, I extended the scene with a display showing the number of collected coins and when opening the door how long it took the player to achieve the goal.
I call this game the ``Mnemonic Puzzler''.
Statement of Purpose: Puzzler is a mobile VR application for first time VR users (60+ years) which challenges them to solve a familiar type of puzzle in a new way.
Within this section I describe the steps in the development process of the Mnemonic Puzzler. An overview of the whole process is given in Fig. 3, including the persona development, the sketching, VR prototyping and the user testing.
At the beginning of the Puzzler project was the question who will use this VR game. As end-user group I have chosen people with the age of 60+ years, without any or little VR pre-experience and knowledge. Further, I focus on elderly without heavy physical or visual impairments. The resulting persona is based on fictional beliefs and observations of seniors. In the following you will be introduced to Helmut Maderer, depicted in Fig. (6), a senior in the prime of his life.
I made first sketches during the “VR Design” lessons, see Fig. 4 (a & b), but without a user group in mind. After deciding on seniors (60+ years) as “the” user group for my Puzzler game, I searched for design guidelines and design aspects for seniors. An interview (see section user testing) with a 66 years old woman helped to make up my mind in terms of room size, brightness of the room and orbs arrangement. In Fig. 4 (c) you can see the adapted sketch which was the basis for the first prototype testing.
I sketched the UI elements ``Start'' and ``Restart'', see Fig. 5 (a-c). Finally, I decided that the ``UI sketch 3'', see Fig. 5 (c), is the best for the puzzler project. Because Helmut's fingers are not as movable as for young people and the gaze interaction with a reticle pointer is new for him, I opted to make a huge ``Start'' and ``Restart'' button.
Participants: All in all I conducted five user tests with five participants: 2 female -- 66/75 years, 3 male 42/72/76 years. The VR pre-experience ranged from absolute beginner to some VR experience. The participants life style varied from a very inactive to a very active life style.
Test Description: I conducted two quick and dirty user tests (quickie), one interview, and four exploratory user tests. All user tests included a warm welcome of the participants, an introduction to the Mnemonic Puzzler, and the advice that only the system is tested, not the person themselves.
The outcome of this interview was that the room should be a little bit higher than a normal room (> 2.5m), but not very wide, because the smaller the room the more cosy it feels. The room should be bright, but not too bright such that there is enough contrast when the orbs are blinking. Regarding the orbs, I determined that the arrangement of a five as on a dice was the most comfortable arrangement for playing. The output was directly used to develop the first version of the puzzler game with Unity.
This first preflight revealed that a head mount band should be mounted on the Cardboard, because holding the Cardboard for a longer period becomes very exhausting, in particular for seniors.
I conducted four user tests with two subjects: male 76 years, female 66 years. The participants were told to explain loud what they see and what they will be doing throughout the test (Think Aloud Method). All tests were recorded with the AZ Screen Recorder app for later analysis. Additionally, I made written notes of the observation of the participants.
The subject stated that the transition between the repeat mode and reproduction mode is more noticeable as before, however he desired a more direct solution, like a textual link. I decided to test with the implemented version to explore if changing light could be a supportive way.
Two subjects tested the puzzler game: male 72 years. female 75 years. Because both subject had no prior experience with VR, they started with an other VR Game to get first impressions of the recticle pointer and how to select an object. The findings presented in the following are based on Think Aloud, Observation and taken notes. In this session I recorded no AZ Screen Recorder videos, because ”uups“ I have forgotten to start the screen recorder.UT5 Findings:
A user testing process uncovers problems overlooked by the designer. For the ”Mnemonic Puzzler“ the seniors revealed several issues. Using the Cardboard V2 the subjects stated that the puzzler looked sometimes blurred. I am not sure how to fix that with the Cardboards. Playing this game on a Vive or Oculus Rift could fix it. In the course of the project I equipped the Cardboard with a head mount band to simplify the cardboard interaction for the seniors. Otherwise the game would have been too exhausting. For a further iteration of the project, an alternative button mechanism should be found, because it is not working well with seniors. The participants chosen for the experiments ranged from a very inactive to a very active life style. One assumption is that the latter are less interested in such a game than seniors which stay more in their home. Further, it seems that the attitude towards the puzzler increases with VR pre-experience. Future versions of the Mnemonic Puzzler should take this into consideration and should be more self-explanatory in terms of purpose and procedure. A lot of more work has to be done that seniors sense a positive user experience with this game. To conclude, the current version of the Mnemonic Puzzler is a good basis for further development.
For senior citizens, the future of VR lies in the past.
How virtual reality helps older adults.
In the 5th Udacity Nanodegree project the task was to build a museum experience with the theme of VR application areas. I chose the topic Robotics in combination with virtual reality, because I love and worked with robots. In my museum experience the visitor learns how robotics could support virtual reality and vice versa. All in all the exhibit covers application areas in professional training, robots as simulation tool to improved presence, topics in research, telepresence robots and machine learning.
After first ideas to combine robots with virtual reality, the museum building had to be made. I have decided that a building in the direction of a warehouse or a factory is ideal. At this time I visited some museums and exhibits (Museum der Moderne, Salzburg and the MAK in Vienna. Following the great experiences in these museums I tried to give every station a special characteristic. The visitor can sometimes only look at things, like at the sci-fi posterwall or the improved presence cylinders, or can actively choose things such as at the definitions station. Especially the entrance area is inspired by the visited museums. All in all in this project I combined images, videos, sounds, animations to form my museum experience.Sounds freesound.org
As part of the recent Udacity VR Teamworks Challenge (Sept. '17), we created a unique VR experience where the user utilizes the microphone to interact with objects in the game. A detailed description is provided at our medium post .