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About this blog

This blog is being used to document the process and development of "Planemo" by Kristen, Filiz, Ryan, Tobi, Tristan, and Tristan. Planemo will act as a research tool to explore the effects embodiment has on one's emotions, thoughts, and certain types of pain.

Entries in this blog

 

Current and Future Developments

We have updated our game design document outlining all aspects of the game and future developments that may be done in the future. Attached below is a link: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ByRGwJsot6PQEfo_In1WTRykXoUSmR1u8NrR9LW0K98/edit?usp=sharing   -Kristen
 

Calibrating Avatar

We have successfully added a 'calibrate' action the game. When the player stands in a T-pose and the 'c' key is hit on the computer keyboard, the avatar will properly adjust to the player's height. In addition, we will add a scene after the main menu scene and before the gameplay starts where the player can calibrate the avatar to their size.   -Kristen
 

Transporting objects from Scene to Scene and Fixing the Conveyor Belts

An ongoing problem we have been facing is transporting the keycard with the player as they move from one scene to another. Parenting the keycard to the player in a C# script proved unsuccessful As well, using the Object.DontDestroyOnLoad command would transport all objects from the previous scene to the next. As a temporary solution, we have decided to add keycard entry slots to specific scenes of the game. Once the player collects a keycard, they will "insert" it into the slot. By doing this, the keycard object will be destroyed. Moreover, once the player moves to a different scene, an identical keycard slot will be there and a key card will be displayed in front of it for the player to grab. This change means we had to add duplicate scenes for the hallway and escape pod, where the player will travel through the original scenes when journeying to the equipment room, then return by maneuvering through the duplicated hallway and escape pod scene. This is so we can have key cards ready to grab for the players only after they complete the task in the equipment room. Furthermore, we changed the animations of the conveyor belts. Previously, they were looping animations evoked by a trigger. However, the trigger would sometimes be accidentally triggered multiple times causing the forward and backward animation to play at an extremely fast speed which can cause nausea. Now, instead of a trigger being triggered, a single animation clip is played when the player steps on the platforms and the animation cannot accidentally be triggered while the player is partially through the hallway.   -Kristen

Mapping the Avatar to the Player

We've mapped the Final IK Pilot model asset to the players movements. The model's hands and head are now accurately in sync with the player's real-world movements. We chose the pilot because we felt the uniform best resembled an industrial spacesuit.   -Kristen

Changing Elevators and Questionnaire

Due to Final IK complications, we've decided to change the initial elevator in the escape pod into a transporter of sorts. Originally, the elevator head up and down animations, which would change the y-position of the player but not the predefined floor. Unfortunately, after much trial and error we could not get the floor position to be dynamic. As a solution, we decided to remove the elevator animations and instead have the player be transported to a new scene, which held the hallway, once they enter the elevator. Furthermore, the questionnaire players fill out at the end of level one now has numbers that you press instead of sliders. The newest version of SteamVR (which we're using) removed certain features of the plugin that easily enabled the player to interact with UI sliders, and because the newest update is only a few months old there is currently no solution online (only others trying to solve the same problem). Therefore, we decided to remove the sliders and have the scale numbers from one to ten act as buttons that set the value for each answer. Players interact with them by having their hand collider enter the number's collider while pressing down the trigger button on the VR hand controller.   -Kristen

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Texturing the World and Adding Signs

We have added basic materials to all of the walls, floors, and objects in each level: the walls and floors a matte white, and the hallways are matte black white glass chards sticking into the broken hallway. In addition, we've added signs and arrows to indicate to the player which direction to head in, where an elevator will take them, and tips for the player to help them complete the level. This includes indicating to the player to stand still on the hallway platform, or to stand still inside the suit repair station in the equipment room.   -Kristen

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Embodiment Testing in Levels 1 and 2

We have made progress on our first two levels that test the player's sense of ownership over the virtual avatar: the broken hallway, and equipment room.  The Broken Hallway In the broken hallway, the player steps on a platform that moves them across the hallway and past dangerous objects. We have incorporated particle effects including sparks from broken, live wires and fire. The addition of these effects has resulted in the danger of the hallway appearing more real and threatening. To measure the player's sense of danger and embodiment, we will be measuring and tracking how far the player's head is moving from the dangerous objects. For example, if they barely move or let the obstacle pass through them, that will indicate their lack of ownership and embodiment over their avatar. The Equipment Room Players enter the equipment room after surviving the broken hallway. In the equipment room, they will step on a platform where colour-changing cubes will attach to the player's suit to "repair" it. Player's must stand for a period of time until the cubes flash green and are removed from the player's body. Having objects directly interact and change based on touching the player's body will aid the player's sense of ownership over the avatar. The questionnaire that the player fills out after this level is completed will help us gage the player's level of ownership from this level and experience.   -Kristen

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Graphics and Sound

Planemo now has a logo and corresponding loading animation. The following gif is what the menu screen will look like. Player's will be able to click on the instructions option to learn the basic controls and plot, and they can click on the start button to choose their avatar and begin the game. As well, we have created sound effects for the opening/closing door animations and for when the player causes an error (i.e. trying to do an action that is not permissible). We have also created sci-fi inspired game music that loops.   - Kristen

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Progress Update and Future Goals

This week we updated our version of Unity and Steam VR to combat issues we had with the Final IK plug-in. Now, the plug-in successfully works and we have been able to properly map the player's head and hand movement to an avatar. As well, we've changed the scripts according to the Unity and Steam VR updates, and we've recreated the first level scene which includes the escape pod, elevator, conveyor belts, and elevator the equipment room. We have also been working on properly lighting the escape room scene so we can start to create a test of the player's sense of ownership over their avatar in that level. Now, our main goals are finishing the equipment room, improving the questionnaire and embodiment measurements, and polishing the scenes we currently have.   - Kristen

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Automatic Doors & Travelling with Key Cards

We've turned the door to the escape pod into an automatic door. When the player enters the collider of the escape pod doors, the doors will open using an animation. Similarly, when the player exits the doors' collider, they will close with a closing animation. Only the player can activate the doors, no other objects. The script for this action is similar to the script that triggers the elevator animations. Another script was made that parents a key card to the player once the player picks the key card up. The key card will stop being a child of the player once the player releases the key card. This enables the key card to travel through different scenes with the player.   - Kristen

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Final IK Set Back

While testing Final IK we ran into a problem with our code which we're working to resolve currently. We've also been working on art assets this week and have been developing plans for the music and fx we hope to use. More to come soon but for now here is the WIP Logo we will be using.
 

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Character Models

Currently, we have two fully rigged models; an astronaut and an alien. We will be using the "Final IK" asset to properly sync the models' hands, arms, head, and body to the player's movements. The models were acquired from Yobi3D.com and are free to use commercially.   Sources: Astronaut: http://www.yobi3d.com/c/S8lsl21i43HTFCWw Alien: http://www.yobi3d.com/c/ctia5j1F5yvpuMvR   -Kristen

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Blocking out first level - Game Demo

We've created a small demo for our game, which includes the escape pod, one of the elevators, the broken hallway, and a key card. Below are images in the following order: 1. Inside the escape pod 2. Looking into the escape pod 3. Room on first floor, entrance to broken hallway 4. Room that holds a key card (will have an elevator in the future) 5. Schematic for game map   - Kristen

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Design Hallway Model (In progress)

Here are the photos of the hallway for our game. In this part, there will be two hallways; one is with the obstacles, and the other one will be the same hallway without obstacles. Players will use a conveyor belt to cross the hallway. Our aim is for players to test the ownership and agency. For the current version of the game, we are planning to connect the hallways to the escape pod and the equipment room. It is expected from the player to pass these hallways at each time. According to their avatars such as an armoured body or an alien, we are expecting to see how the player will dodge the obstacles depending on their avatar. Obstacle-wise, there will be broken pipes, electrical wires and hot steam to be added to the model.

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Questionnaire Interface

So far, this is the interface of our questionnaire (at the bottom of the post). The questionnaire pops up each time a key card collides with the escape pod, and disappears once the player hits submit. The text to the right of the sliders display the sliders value in real time. When the submit button is hit, those text component are saved to and organized in a .csv file. One issue we still need to solve with the questionnaire is recording questionnaire results from separate games in the same file. Solving this problem may involve altering the Start() method of the submit button script (uploaded in the previous post titled "Adding Code to the Questionnaire, Elevator, and Key Card"). -Kristen

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Elevator

Here is the current settings of the animation for the first type of elevator. There are three elevators in the game in total: one that goes from the escape pod floor to the broken hallway, one from the normal hallway down to the escape pod, and one at the end of the broken hallway that takes you to all the other floors/levels. The first two elevators will have an up and down animation that gets triggered when the player's virtual hand touches the elevator button. The third elevator goes is more complex since it goes to multiple floors. Instead of applying a script to this elevator, we are planning on having the elevator ride be the loading scene to each of the levels. Each level (i.e. the equipment room, laboratory, and crystal garden) will be in its own scene so no scene is too packed. Below are images of the animation settings for the first two elevators. The script for the button is in the previous post. The animator There is also a trigger named "moveElevator" the settings for the two transitions between the two animations the settings of both animations -Kristen  

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Adding Code to the Questionnaire, Elevator, and Key Cards

Questionnaire: So far, the data from the questionnaires the player fills out at the end of each level is sent to a new CSV file. In the future, more data will be sent to the CSV file such as the current time so we will know how long the player spent playing the previous level. This information will give us insight on the player's sense of ownership and/or agency. For example, if they take a long time to complete a level with many dangerous elements, it's likely they have a sense of ownership over their avatar. The script entitled SliderValue updates a text component for each questionnaire question to display its associated slider value. Those text components are what the script "SubmitButton" is sending to the CSV file. Key Cards The script titled "KeyCard" is attached to the escape pod. When a key card asset collides with the escape pod's collider, the key card will disappear and the questionnaires set as active. Elevator: Currently, the initial two elevators have a script titled "elevator" attached to them that will play an "up" or "down" animation if the player presses a button (or if the space key is pressed for testing on a PC). However, the elevator at the end of the main hallways goes to more than two floors in an unplanned order. Therefore, there are too many possible combinations for animations to be used and another script will be made involving the elevator model increasing its Y position to various heights as specific buttons are pressed. - Kristen  

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Escape Pod Model

Below are images of the escape pod made by Ryan. This is where the player will play the tutorial level and come back to each time they find a key card. There will be a collider on the outside of it to the right of the door. Once a key card collides with it, the questionnaire will pop up. -Kristen

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Spacing in Different Levels

One of the problems we’ve ran into is the amount of space we have for each player playing our game. We’re going to have to create the rooms for small spaces, preferably 2m x 2m walking space and on the outliers We’ve come up with some solutions in traveling through the maps easily. 1.       We would start by separating the rooms into different levels. Simply by touching the doors. Once touching the door, the player would teleport to the other side of the door. 2.       We would leave it in an open concept and hopefully the player has enough space. 3.       The elevator idea, which fixes all these problems and changes the way the levels are constructed. Basically, through using the elevator, once the player enters the door the player would have to turn around to press a button and go to the next floor.     Also, another way of moving through the corridor with small spaces was using a horizontal escalator.   And an update on what the equipment room can possibly look like:     Where those are cabinets where equipment will be placed inside of. Those Cabinets will be able to open and close. Later it will be a lot more detailed with computers and accessories. Past the door is an elevator that will also be detailed in the future.

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Equipment Room Design Idea

This is a concept for the layout of the equipment room. In the centre will be a reclining, operating  chair with a spotlight about it. This is where the player will sit to get their spacesuit repaired. Lasers will shoot out of the light attachment from above and repair the suit with its futuristic technology. There are shelves at the sides of the room holding general space equipment: helmets, space suits, boots, and oxygen tanks. This room will have the same background music as the game, and the laser beams may have a sound effect.   - Kristen

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