SReal & Virtual worlds — Technical development blog

I’ll be using this to document the development process of this unit from a technical standpoint. As My idea change a few times, this is a bit later than I was originally planning to create this, so I decided to compile it into a singular, longer post.

Due to my choice of VR headset for development from home, this project (at least the start of it) was riddled with technical difficulties.

Below is a collection of my notes over time, accompanied by some gif/video evidence of the progress.

The first few weeks of this term were somewhat wasted by my indecision in concepting the game. Originally my plan was to use a project I’d be working on for outside work and tying it into a theme from the list provided- Originally my choice was “Surveillance” mixed with “Future transportation”, but I failed to solidify a message or focus for the game that was meaningful.

So this was dropped, and I moved on to a City-based game with a similar focus. Again, I had a similar issue — but instead of wasting development time, I decided to shift the focus to a COVID related issue — The management of spread of a virus and the difficulties of it. I thought that I could present this through a gameplay mechanic where you manage the lockdown of areas but in doing so fighting between keeping areas uninfected and maximising your score.

Weeks 7–10: I spent some time here building a level (below) and working with shaders (above). The shader above eventually got dropped from the build of the project as it couldn’t be displayed properly with the multiple cameras of a VR headset, so instead I created static water to replace it. If I had more time, I would’ve loved to spend the time researching how to adapt this kind of shader to work in a VR pipeline.
Weeks 10 Onwards: At this point I focused on getting the mechanics of locking down areas working, through the use of a “Cage” object that can be socketed onto structures (seen on the left), And the spread of the virus between structures. Above this to the right you can see the introduction of trees that utilise a basic wind shader to make the area feel more lively, and the addition of some initial terrain made with ProBuilder. Much of the other models below such as the houses were unity asset store assets, as I’m not a 3D modeller personally.
Seen above: the replacement water I went with. It’s a shame that I couldn’t get the shader water working in time, but it was good practice with shaders nonetheless.
Naturally some things broke every now and then. This amusing bug was cuased by rigidbodies colliding in an odd manner on the rings that spread the disease.

A final gif; I spent some time to make the rings and pulsing feel more satisfying, and added accompanying sound and an effect to show the gaining of score (which now doesn’t appear if a building is infected, as infected structures do not produce score).

Sadly I ended up having to not create a tutorial scene due to lack of time — Instead I utilised a text based tutorial script that I created previously on the BA course, which simply runs you through the concept of the game before the level begins.