This Virtual Reality mobile app is a virtual museum and my final project for the second semester of Udacity’s Nanodegree in VR Development. With this museum, I wanted to allow users to explore the different applications of VR in the music industry. The different rooms showcase how this new technology is impacting and changing not only how people consume music but even how musicians create. As a musician myself, I was happy to design an app I could use to easily explain my peers how we can embrace this technology to advance our own careers and artistry.
Story of the Process
For this project, I was looking for a setting that was industrial and organic at the same time. I imagined reflective materials, big plants, tunnels and cozy interiors. As usual, I started designing the setting before I moved on to the mechanics of the scene. I did all the modeling in Unity and paid special attention to the materials I used. After the four rooms and the separate spatial audio room were finished, I decided to set up a waypoint system so the user would be able to move around through different orbs. Afterwards, I created several user interfaces to guide the user through the experience, coded some more movement mechanics with iTween and hooked everything up through C# scripts. The next step was adding different audio clips to the rooms and allowing the user to interact with the audio sources. After several iterations and user tests, I filled the rooms with relevant videos for each of the four topics and created skybox materials from 360 videos and applied them to separate scenes to allow users to see panoramic music videos without changing apps. I also had to create an alternate main scene for the transitions to work correctly. Finally, I animated different 3D objects to move in loop around the spatial audio room and attached audio sources containing stems from an original piece of music so the composition could be experienced in 3D.
Early versions of the scene compared to a finished room at the end.
User Testing Outcomes and Iteration
For this mobile app, I had the chance to conduct 4 user testings. The information I learned was invaluable for the iteration process. I had to make the user feel bigger, change the height of the entrances, adjust audio levels, change the floor texture, movement speed and some other minor changes. The people tested seemed to enjoy the architecture, content and details I set up around the world. It was rewarding to see people understood the design and mechanics and enjoyed being in the app overall.
Three out of the four tests taking place
Breakdown of Final Piece
Once the app is opened, the user is taken in front of a welcome user interface located in a quasi industrial environment. After clicking on the button, they move to the middle of the main room, where another IU explains how to navigate the space and interact with the world. Then, floating text signs labeling the different rooms appear and the user is free to explore. Asides from either videos or “portals” to 360 video scenes, each room contains a unique interactive object from which the user can listen to music. These objects are: a radio, a record player, acoustic and electric guitars and a piano. The room containing the music videos is different in the sense that there are four different 3D spaces within a single room. In order to exit each of these experiences, a button that leads back to the middle of the parent room is conveniently placed on the floor. The fifth room needs to be accessed by clicking on the button of an user interface located at the beginning of a big tunnel. This button transports the player into the room, where panned and dynamic stems of a piece of music are played when the user reaches the middle of it.
Initial Sketches for the Project
Even though there are some details I would like to address in the near future, I think the app successfully serves its purpose in an enjoyable and interesting manner. Doing it required some extra knowledge on texture renderers, complex materials design and C# so everything I learned in the process made it absolutely worth it.