Portable VR Immersion
LeapMotion - VR - Backpack - Demo
The Portable Immersion Demo showcases the capabilities of VR, Leapmotion and VR backpacks by creating a wireless experience which can is ready for showcase without prior setup and scalable to multiple sizes depending on the space available.
Created for Screen Industries Research and Training Centre. SIRT Centre facilitates innovations in virtual and augmented reality, interactive media and artificial intelligence using partnerships and collaborations with industry organizations and technology leaders.
Oculus Rift S
Studio isn't always prepared to demo to surprise guests.
The studio works on multiple projects at different stages of development. There are times when no projects being worked on are ready for a guest demo.
VR prototype being demoed to a guest.
What could be preventing a demo from being ready?
Logistics and content.
Planning requires making sure there is an available space and hardware ready for a demo which isn't always the easiest thing to set up without notice.
Stage being set up. Not ready for guests or demos.
Timelapse of a demo being set up.
The content also has to be appropriate for the audience. A very diverse range of guests visit SIRT to establish connections. It is important to not alienate parts of the audience with select projects.
Joystick is not a beginner friendly input control and guests are unlikely to be familiar with it.
Types of guests
Familiar with VR tech.
Curious about trying out a new SIRT immersive project.
No VR experience
Unfamiliar with VR tech or games
The demo should be accesible friendly in case of guests who need it.
Could also be someone that needs to sit down after a long day.
Oculus Rift S
World tracking without external sensors
Hand detection using an IR camera and image recognition
Remaps data to virtual models
Desktop capabilities with a portable power source
Batteries can be changed on the fly
Can be worn with a backpack strap
By combining these 3 technologies, I can get a portable setup that can demo an immersive experience by putting on the backpack and headset without being limited to a specific location in the studio.
The use of the VR backpack allowed me to have a solution for wheelchair accessibility by strapping it to the back of a chair.
This allowed a more interesting way to move around the VR world and less strain due to not having to wear the machine. The demo is able to be played from a seating position.
VR backpack can be strapped to a rolling chair for easy guest rotation and a comfy experience.
The virtual world
To use the full capabilities of this technology, I designed the virtual world to be modular so it can be switched to fit the real world space. This way, the demo can be held in a wide range of spaces.
Room layout changes depending on the space available for the demo.
Creating intuitive content
Pick well known and obvious interactions and objects.
Gambling and games of chance are some of the oldest known forms of games.
Why does it work? Game feel
What makes game feel?
1. Real time control
Keeping feedback to input actions under 100ms makes the player feel like the reaction happens in real time.
2. Expected Physics Simulations
Making objects act as they seem they should om their real life physics will make interactions with them be more grounded and believable.
This covers effects, visuals, animations and other parts that change how the game looks. Since I are going for an immersive VR experience, the polish will reflect realistic objects.
Roulette applies gamefeel guidelines for safistying interaction.
Improving LeapMotion UX
Design takes over when there is a disconnect between what the player wants to do and actually ends up doing.
An example is snapping objects to your hand when you try to grab them. While it is not realistic, this can easily be overlooked because it helps the user achieve their intent.
A problem that I ran into early on was the physical floor as a limitation. Due to the headset being worn by people of different heights and no stationary reference point, we needed a way to calibrate the height of the headset. Setting the wrong height could lead to VR sickness.
The only static object present in any demo scene would be the floor. A simple solution to determine the height of the player based on the floor. We made the players "touch their toes" to set the floor level.
Players calibrating the floor level by touching your toes.
Setting the virtual floor level to the real floor level introduced a new issue. The player cannot reach through the floor to grab small objects on the floor. The LeapMotion hand detection is not accurate enough and made this action a challenge.
Players getting frustrated trying to pick up poker chips off the floor.
I implemented a hand UI menu to allow the user to have access to consumable items that they might want to play with and would have trouble picking up off the floor.
Hand menu makes it easy to grab small objects.
Users also had some issues using the LeapMotion pickup system. The grab and pinch motions were not very rigid and felt unresponsive.
Grab and throw actions were not very accurate and responsive.
To increase responsiveness and usability of the pickup function, I worked on separate grab system and fine motor skill prototypes.
Left: Creating my own pinch system to snap objects to hand when they are grabbed.
Right: Worked on a skateboard mechanic to improve fine motor tracking and control.
I brought the results of the side prototypes back to the main project to test it out. The control and accuracy of the pinch system along with improved grab detection worked together to create a better user experience.
Darts. Using the pinch functionality to make the darts snap to my hand and face the right way.