A question came “Can you make yourself like Alice in Wonderland, who drinks a potion and becomes really big?” And the answer came back: Yes. The VR Diversity Initiative held its first event in central London, offering an intensive Boot Camp where speakers would offer their thoughts on the current diversity challenges in today’s virtual reality (VR) market, then experts would help guide attendees in the process of making their own prototype.
After lunch the attendees divided into two groups. One concentrated on creating and learning about 360 video experiences in Unity, while the other group were using a HTC Vive to learn about a simple bowling game, created in Unity using versatile tool VRTK.
Reaction to the day was positive, one attendee, Alice, a 2D artist and animator said: “VR interest me, but I just wasn’t sure how to get to the next level. It’s been inspiring today.” Many attendees commented that some of the tools and software showcased at the event was something they had not previously been aware of. “More education sessions like this for more accessibility would be great!” Said Sara, another attendee.
The day ended with a presentation of the prototypes the attendees had been working on. The first was a rich video showing a 360-degree view of Venice, Italy. Looking up in a certain direction triggered a scene transition to Tibet, while looking at a certain object triggered a sound, which changed volume depending on if you were facing the object or not. “This is the best start for me,” enthused attendee Isla, “Learning how to make a 360-degree video.”
The second project involved a bowling alley set on an asteroid in outer space, using the HTC Vive wand controllers to play around with physics, grip, friction and gravity. “Having an expert as well as the ability to use trial and error to create something that looks good is great,” said Alice, “Before coming here today I was wondering how I could fit into someone else’s project, now I want to create my own VR world to play with.”
The final project was a 360-degree treasure hunt, set in various realistic environments that involved finding a hidden key to be transported to a new environment. “It’s valuable knowing that there’s things in there that you can adapt,” Attendee Constance said, gesturing towards the Unity engine on the screen “Knowing about technical tools such as VRTK that can help is so useful.”
Constance had perhaps the best final word on the VR Diversity Boot Camp as a whole: “I’ve seen some great things, and we need to keep challenging assumptions. There is no such thing as a stupid question.”
VRFocus will bring you news on any further VR Diversity Initiative events as it becomes available.