carlos.pineda // my.projects // building virtual worlds

 

Building Virtual Worlds (BVW) is a project course, where teams of four create virtual, interactive experiences. The class goes through five different rounds, each with a unique theme and lesson. Each round lasts two weeks, after which teams are shuffled and given new assignments.

 

My BVW Projects:

 

Round 5: Testers Wanted!
Platform: Playmotion

Role: Sound, Script, Stage Direction
Team size: 4 people
Development Time: 3 weeks

This round was all about creating a great show. Our team decided to create a performace piece where the actors could interact with the projections onscreen. We ended up going with "a guy gets stuck in the world of video games" as our starting point.

My main contribution was the script and stage direction. The script went through several revisions, with the first incarnation being quite dramatic and not as funny. I also recorded/extracted many of the sounds used in the show.

 

Round 4: Wake Up
Platform: Head Mounted Display

Role: Assistant Producer, Script, Sound
Team size: 4 people
Development Time: 2 weeks

This round's goal was to tell an interactive story. Our initial pitch for this round was to create a story about a guy who didn't pay attention to the news, so he doesn't realize that there's a giant monster attacking. We had the sequence of events and all the effects in place, when we realized that it would be impossible to create a monster that is scarier than what is in the player's imagination. This prompted up to change the theme to "Japanese horror," since that genre involved the same effects that we already had in place. This also helped make the "reveal" a lot scarier, since we could take images from existing movies (specifically, The Ring)

I worked on all the sounds used in this experience. Sound was very important to the experience as it helped create a spookier atmosphere.

 

Round 3: In God's Hand
Platform: Playmotion

Role: Producer, Designer, Sound
Team size: 4 people
Development Time: 1 week

For this "lightning" round (only one week!), we were told to create a fun activity. Our team decided that we really wanted to create a competitive multiplayer game for the Playmotion (it had not yet been done at the time). We settled on a game idea where players could throw fireballs at each other.

The problem we were struggling with was that it became difficult to tell players that they were getting hit by the fireballs. The moment of genius came when we changed the goal to having to defend a city instead of yourself.

The final ruleset we came up with was that players could throw fireballs by raising their hands, or block incoming fireballs by stretching their hands forward. They could also create rainclouds by picking up water from the ocean.

 

Round 2: First Flight
Platform: Liberty Tracking System

Role: Producer, Designer, Sound, Scripter
Team size: 4 people
Development Time: 2 weeks

The lesson this round was "indirect control," which means being able to tell players what they should do, without making them realize that they are being led by the hand. We were given the task of creating an experience that gives people the feeling of freedom. What is more freeing than being able to fly?

The guest is given bird wings, which can be used to steer by leaning left or right. Flapping wings will cause the bird onscreen to flap as well, though it is purely an aesthetic effect.

 

Round 1: Stolen Glory
Platform: Jam-O-Drum

Role: Producer, Designer, Sound
Team size: 3 people
Development Time: 2 weeks

For the first round, we had to create a world where "A is afraid of B, and players have to help A overcome it." We decided to create a Frogger-style game on the Jam-O-Drum* where players have to save school children trapped in a roundabout filled with cars that won't stop for anything!

I learned a lot of lessons from this round, most notably about how to create interactions between players that create compelling gameplay.

* The Jam-O-Drum is a 4-person interactive surface. Each person has an input device consisting of a spinner and a drum pad.

 

 


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