Project Term: Winter 2018
A collaborative project between the 3D Computer Graphics program and the ACE Project Space, this project saw an intersection of creative and technical students collaborating on creating a full-featured virtual reality experience.
The project sponsors were instructors of the 3D Computer Graphics program at Red River College in the department of Creative Arts – their students, mostly graduates of the Digital Media Design program, designed and built out creative assets to support the project.
The opportunity for ACE Project Space to collaborate with the Creative Arts came about serendipitously. Originally, the instructors at Creative Arts reached out to some instructors in Business Information Technology (BIT) to assemble a team of volunteer BIT students to help out the 3D students with some visual coding. While there was a fair amount of interest from BIT students, there was some initial struggle to get all of the players organized.
Partway into the Winter 2018 term, a unique opportunity presented itself from the ACE Project Space. A different project at the ACE Project Space had been put on hold, a mutual decision amongst all stakeholders. It was by chance that some folks at the ACE Project Space were already involved with the Escape Room project, so the team of 3 BIT students and one BTM student were available to work on the Escape Room project instead.
Everybody was very excited about the project. A small team of BIT instructors was eager to help the project team pick up new knowledge – from learning Blueprints Visual Coding to thinking about the mechanics and design of Escape Room games. One of our BIT instructors happened to co-own one of Winnipeg’s escape rooms and helped the students think about the logic involved with the project.
Our ACE Project Space Students worked collaboratively with the 3D team in designing the puzzles within all 4 escape room scenarios. Gameplay is intended for 4 players at a time, where one of the players is immersed in the VR world.
The scenario: An RRC instructor is lost in time, it is up to the 4 players to solve the escape room puzzles to find the instructor. Each player has a turn at ‘travelling in time’ with the aid of the VR headset to solve 4 puzzles – in 4 different classrooms – each tied to a different scenario in time. The team of 4 players has to work together, using clues from both the physical world of the classroom and the VR game.
The puzzles for each level/classroom are a different experience. The team visits 4 different areas: a Pirate Ship, an Alchemy Lab, a Dystopian Future, and a Cyberpunk Sky Bar.
Our students were able to take the models and assets that the 3D students developed. They had to learn from the basics of different object interactions and event handling. They were able to breathe life into the game, adding in interactions, controls, and controlling behaviours. It was an interesting experience for the students to use a different kind of version control on this project.
Due to the massive nature of creative projects and the sheer number of creative assets, one cannot simply use a tool like Git for version control – our students learned to work collaboratively with the 3D students in sharing up-to-date assets using Perforce for version control.
They also had to shift their thinking when it came to programming. Working with a 3D environment was rather different from anything our students had experienced in the BIT curriculum.
The 3D instructors showcased the final project throughout the Spring of 2018 on campus.
Technologies used: Unreal Engine, Blueprints, Perforce, Photoshop, Maya
Read more about this project on The Projector’s site:
Stills from the game:
Watch some of the playthrough here: