For a capstone project in VR Game Design Practicum, my class was tasked with building an interactive game using Unreal Engine 4 and the HTC Vive. With intermittent progress deadlines, we had six weeks to brainstorm, build, debug, and demo our game.
I found three teammates who shared an interest in creating an immersive experience that focused on fun visuals and music interaction. In the beginning stages of our development, we wrote a full-length design document to thoroughly outline the premise, features, and implementation of our game. An early challenge was scaling our project to be feasible within our given timeline.
The premise of our game was to transport the user from a simulated mundane office space to a colorful musical environment, where both the objects and the user could interact with music.
My focus was in designing the levels and implementing music interaction. I chose colorful low-poly objects to populate the music level, both for its whimsical aesthetic and its computational rendering benefit. Too many or too complex of scene objects caused lagging and thus discomfort when using the VR headset. Additionally, I used Unreal Engine’s native programming tools to utilize components of the song, such as beats per minute, to make objects spin, grow, or change color to the rhythm of the music.
I also pair-programmed a C++ class to procedurally generate pop-able bubbles in the scene that slowly drift toward the user and pop when touched.The realistic bubble shader, along with the sound effects and haptic feedback made the popping bubbles one of the highlights of our game.
The biggest challenges with this project were establishing an efficient workflow in UE4 and working with the often finnicky hardware. Ultimately our project was well-received and was a fun way to explore the playful side of VR and some of the vast capabilities of Unreal Engine.
To watch the video demo of our game visit : https://youtu.be/wJLWSaUvPZE