Nicole Kennedy Design

Ideation, Creation & Everything In Between

Project Reflection & Virtual Reality

Project Reflection & What I would Do Next Time

This project has been particularly great and I have really enjoyed it. I think that in the previous project we certainly learnt a lot about how to do things as well as about each other. I don’t think we could have achieved what we have so far had we not went through the experience that we did last semester.

If I was to do anything differently in this project it would be to have more time to add what I would refer to as fancy functionality to the experience. For example had I not been sick I would have had the time to add the Gaze and Adventure Creator integration to then add Gaze functionality to the experience. This would have meant that when the user looked at one of the hotspots on the menu intro screen a selection would have been made after looking at whichever choice for a certain amount of time.

Another thing that we did have when we were using the OVRPlayerController was the ability to use the right hand analogue stick as a rotation when moving through the gallery experience.

Since we have had to change to the XboxCtrlInput we have not had this ability but our choices were use the OVRPlayerController and have great movement but after playing the experience once the whole build/executable would have to be restarted manually or use the XboxCtrlInput which will work time in and time out when playing the experience without fail and have no rotation on the controller so we believe we selected the better of our options.

The journey to get here has been tough and we have not always seen eye to eye but we are so nearly there and we needed each other in order to get there. We have worked together in order to push this project to be the best we can be. We often want the same goals we all just have different ways of getting there and I think with the output of this project we have proven that we have seen past all of that.

Reflection On Using Virtual Reality As A Storytelling Medium

Virtual reality was something that I was interested in before we begun this project as I wanted to look into a career using and creating virtual reality. I feel that this experience has really geared me towards this and put me in good shape to be looking into a career in virtual reality experiences.

Reflecting On using Virtual Reality is something that I thought was truly amazing what makes it better is that we have used it for storytelling for an animated documentary.  Our experience is truly unique and we have pursued different avenues of approaching this project.

Looking back at some of the principles of virtual reality storytelling they are as follows –

Viarbox (2015) Ultimate Beginners Guide To Virtual Reality Storytelling .Website

  1. Creating a great story is going to be a battle of compromises.
  2. Think of yourself more as an influencer then a director. It’s all you can do, because you’re not showing your audience just a frame but a world.
  3. The core of VR is experience and presence. As a director, you’ve got the huge responsibility to keep your viewer engaged. Your viewer can’t switch the channel or look the other way – the VR device is mounted onto his or her head, and something major has to  occur for him or her to pull the HMD off.
  4. VR Storytelling is a lot like being in a video game.

Throughout the process of creating virtual reality Viarbox provided us with the following tips. Due to our earlier research we have been thinking about these things along the way but I would like to now look back at these and see how we actually interpreted these into our project.

Ease It In – This refers to easing the user into the experience and trying not to throw them into an environment of madness. We have eased the user into our experience by using a menu screen which lightly introduces the particles into quite a dark environment so that it is not too much for user at first glance.

Guide The Viewers Attention.. Or Not – This point came into play quite a lot when using the paint strokes for the Seamus Heany sequence. During feedback it had been suggested to us that we use the paint strokes to guide the user to look from the left to the right as the Seamus Heany heads comes into the peripheral of the user. This guide worked well for this part of the interview.

In regards to the gallery we have used a series of spotlights and writing with arrows literally on the ground the arrows can guide the user to various parts of the gallery experience. The spotlights then light up when I user has visited this area and they stay lit to inform the user that they have explored this section already.

Presence – In order to get the presence of the experience just right we have spent a lot of time with the particles featured throughout to give a feeling of ambience. We have then worked on the sound in order to make the user feel immersed in the experience. The combination of the Oculus Rift and the AKG headphones we are using for the experience tie in a presence and make the user feel like they are stepping away from this world and into another.

Pacing – The pacing of the project was something that we thought about massively we used a series of fade in and fade outs in combination with fading out visuals using the alpha script. This allowed for a gentle pace of the story being told through the interview experience and we did not want any sudden movements are camera changes. We thought about how the story would be told and made sure that this was at a constant suitable pace that felt right.

In the gallery the control of the pacing was how fast the user would move we staged a series of audio at each section of the gallery that only plays when the user is within certain areas and it stops when they leave. We hope that this will encourage the user to stay in each section until the audio is finished and they will be able to share a steady pace through this section.

Conditional Storytelling – In regards to decisions and choices the user has a lot of freedom within out experience and they are able to look where they want while watching the interview and explore what they can see. In the explorable section the user has complete free reign to go where they want to go and look at whatever they wish to look at.

The story is told to the user through the Depth kit interview being presented in the interview sequence of the experience. The gallery has sections of panels that show the work and information about the work as well as audio to support this.

Experiment –  Experimentation was a crucial factor of this project that did not appear to ever stop. We were constantly learning and trying things out and often when we experimented and figured out how to do something this then led to further experimentation.

Test, Test, Test –  User experience testing is what guided our project from the ground up. As we were making this experience for people we often gave people the opportunity to use it and tell us what they thought about it. Testing is constant and even when we are at the end of year show presenting this we will still be listening to what the users have to say and finding out how this could be better.

These principles and tips of creating virtual reality are never forgotten and constantly have to be thought about when pursuing the idea of creating a virtual reality experience. We had to always think about the users and what they would feel, hear and see and we often asked ourselves these questions to keep us on track.

References –

Viarbox (2015) Ultimate Beginners Guide To Virtual Reality Storytelling, Website

Viarbox(2015) VR Storytelling Beginners Guide and Best Practices , PDF –



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This entry was posted on May 14, 2016 by in Final Year - Major Project and tagged .


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