Building Virtual Worlds Round 1

Final presentations for our Round 1 projects have ended, and boy what a first round.  The theme this round was that the guest should be helping one character who is afraid of another character, and the platform that my team got assigned was HMD (Head Mounted Display).

You can see the game that my team produced in my portfolio under “Games: Building Virtual Worlds.”

This is the first time I’ve made a game like this, and have been “the” 3D modeler;  It was quite an experience.

The team decided to tell a feel good story about a boy in elementary school trying to get the courage to approach that “special” girl on the playground.  The context is Valentine’s day, and the guest interacts as the boy’s imaginary friend.

I played it extremely safe this round in terms of aesthetic style, but even so the game turned out really well.  John – the texture artist – and I agreed to do a very simple, crayon/stick-figure art style, which no only fit very well with our story but also kept the work load from getting out of hand for this first round of the semester.

I was really happy with this decision as it gave me a lot more opportunity to first mess with basic shapes for most objects as well as leaving only one set of non-basic objects to work on (the hands); moreover, with the saved time I had time to mess around more with animation and getting our characters to emote in subtle ways since they don’t ever actually talk.  If you pay attention, the boy and girl’s feet always point outwards when they are happy and inwards when they are sad/shy.  I really enjoyed making little animations like those; I think I am developing a sense that when animating a character, every part of the body should participate even if it is minor and subtle.

The team I worked with was great, too.  Our programmer developed an amazing gesture system to work around the fact that someone using the HMD is “tethered” and can’t actually move around or move their fingers.  Our texture artist is great with props and made us themed “imaginary friend” gloves for the final presentation (on Vimeo).  Our sound designer composed all the music himself and you can hear it change in complexity as the game progresses, with more layers being added.

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