Worlds in Miniature

project virtual reality vr sixense hydra oculus rift unreal engine

Update! Jan 21 - There is now a public release for this demo! Go check it out over here!

The Worlds in Miniature application is a virtual reality project using the Oculus Rift, Razer Hydra (Sixense STEM) and Unreal Engine 4, developed solo in just under three weeks from the first prototype to the version shown in the video below. It is designed to allow control in a large 3D space while immersed in a completely virtual space.

The usage of the STEM system was very necessary for prototyping, the idea of “placing” the WIM in the world was very early and felt like a very obvious metaphor of “unrolling” a map onto a table to pore over that I very much tried to maintain as the project progressed.

A use-case I intend to experiment with is to design a Real-Time Strategy (RTS)-like game, using the WIM to plan or orchestrate moves, while seeing the action play at full scale around the player. With current RTS games, there is a small disconnect between actions, such as selecting units and ordering them to a location or commanding them to attack, and the reactions that the player experiences, which can often be off-screen entirely.

An example in StarCraft II, the Colossus unit is described as an incredibly large and dangerous unit (see: http://i.imgur.com/rAX7MKP.jpg), and while this is represented mechanically (many small opposing units cannot stand up to a single Colossus), the visuals show the Colossus unit much smaller and less threatening for clarity during gameplay. (see: http://gfycat.com/FortunateEntireJavalina)

Combining the WIM metaphor for a scaled-down, usable representation while maintaining a presence in the virtual world for immense scale seems like a promising usage if pursued.

For more information, please feel free to contact me in the comments section or with the information on the About page.

Written by Matt Sanders
comments powered by Disqus