Emerging Technologies Development Diary: entry four

07 April 2018

Categories: C# | Unity | Virtual Reality | Design | Research

Coming back together for the project again the first task that was apparent was that the billboarding element of the UI was not fully working and felt unnatural. By billboarding we are suggesting that the components of the UI should always be facing the players perspective so they can be accessed and read easily. So looking into this issue we had to juggle a lot of the ‘look at’ settings within our billboarding code. After fiddling and testing for an hour or so we found the sweet spot and the text faced the players as expected.

Next on our list to address was that when the player looks straight down or straight up and then goes over the threshold of that point the text would spin uncontrollably. Also we could not fix the issue future plans have been put in place to perhaps limit the angle of which a player can move the UI elements. This hits two birds with one stone as the text spinning issue would be resolved as well as stopping the players from placing components outside of their viewable window and therefore losing them.

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Looking over our UI for this session we felt like the temporary elements we had could do with sprucing up as all we had was simple text. Going over in our heads what UI would suit our interface we looked through some shows and games that has a first person perspective. The most prominent of the group were: Sword Art Online, World of Warcraft and Log Horizon. Why these examples? Well, Sword Art Online was based on the premise that someone was trapped in a first person virtual reality space which of course plays into our hands as it many UI elements shown in the show. These are displayed above.

World of Warcraft was a suggested option from Lloyd, our lecturer. The game is notorious in the gaming community for having the capability for complex UI: although the elements in the game are static they can be customised to show many useful statistics. Above is an example of what a very cluttered UI looks like along with one of the available customisable UIs within the game.

Looking these examples up we found some assets from Log Horizon which could fit our purposes, they will be tested the next time we come together. But the assets we found cover all of the basic element that a game would need; health, mana, inventory, exp.

Below is an example of a product extremely similar to ours. This hobbyist called “HOCgaming” created a sword art online replica of how the UI used within the show. This is similar to what we want our experience to look but there is a difference in what the product is intended to do. The way his UI is designed is that it is to used purely for Sword Art features but out UI is created so that many different elements of UI can be edited and swapped out at any time. This allows our UI more diversity and modular but taking this video as inspiration we hope to have something similar.

Sword Art Online UI using Leap Motion

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What needs to be fixed next time?

Looking over what needed to be done this session we have a number of developments we would like to make, contributed either by simply spotting it or being brought up in play testing. Firstly is the fact that the users who attempt using our UI find that when looking straight up and down causes a few issues with the placements of the text. In order to fix this we aim to have a limitation of where the user can look with the text attached. This way the test will lock in place so that it feels more attached to the front of their face and also so that we can avoid any strange spinning errors.

Next we feel like we don’t actually have enough examples of how our tech can be used. So to do this we plan to add additional sets of glasses and for them to display the different strengths of the UI for example having more visual and audio components. For example we can add more buttons and sliders or different sound effects depending on the style of glasses the user has on. With those features in mind it would be good feature to add in which the user can edit the volume for elements within the UI along with the elements within the area around them. This idea is inspired by the BBC Home ‘Space Walk’ application where diegetic UI is used on the wrist of the player to show whether the sound is muted or not.

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