released project | january 2019



project description

A virtual reality experiment that aims to promote awareness on the benefits of self-knowledge to our brain. We present a series of tasks based on real-world psychological theories that collect and interpret your data while playing, providing you with insights about yourself that you can further explore.

Why self-knowledge?

Beyond gaming and entertainment, virtual reality is already bringing fresh perspectives and unique use cases to many industries, such as health and education. From training surgeons to helping people who suffer from chronic pain and diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease earlier, we believe it is just starting to unravel its potential and wide range of benefits.

In 2015, the World Health Organization estimated over 580 million of people have been diagnosed with depression or anxiety globally. The American neuroscientist and entrepreneur that co-chairs a council on human enhancement for the World Economic Forum, Corinna Lathan, says that ignoring our brains' health could generate an estimated cost of $47 trillion by 2030.

It is known that mental health is culturally understated and while it is considered a social taboo it harms both people with mental illness and healthy people who could improve their overall wellbeing. Our brain is a dynamic biological organ subject to both healthy and harmful processes, such as fatigue, stress and our physical health. A better understanding of our own mental health can both prevent mental disorders and help everyone live a happier life, by getting to know more about our limitations and taking advantages of our strengths.

Self-knowledge VR is an example of how Virtual Reality can help to solve these issues. It includes a series of gamified tasks that are based on psychological theories and current research on neurosciences. It also collects and interprets users' data while playing, providing insights about what could be further explored.

Gameplay footage when choosing a task

Gameplay footage when choosing a task

Main features

  • Get to know yourself better. Self-knowledge VR collects and interprets your gameplay data providing you with insights about yourself that you can explore further. This is done locally and no personal information is required.

  • Explore different scenarios in a beautiful low-poly aesthetic. Visit multiple scenarios inspired by nature’s unique biomes, built with a calm-inducing and colorful low-poly aesthetic.

  • Multiple gameplay experiences. Enjoy playing several minigames, each with an unique VR gameplay experience.

technical aspects

THE PROJECT WAS DEVELOPED FOR THE HTC Vive USING UNREAL ENGINE 4.19. We began the development process by doing extensive research on psychological evaluation. We gathered original articles From classic behavioural sciences, theories of personality, analytical psychology, contemporary neurosciences and neuropsychology, in search of key psychological tasks that could inspire us to develop a gamified experience in virtual reality. The next step was to come up with fun ideas that could resemble the psychologycal tasks that we chose. So, we began writing our game design document and creating our initial mood board, including multiple original ideas for virtual environments and gamified tasks, while making sure they were backed by scientific evidence.

We then developed an initial proof-of-concept with key interactions that would be expected on the final release, such as hand controllers tracking and objects grabing, a simple menu system, a consistent game instance that would store and process the user game data - and later write a summary of the results. This first proof-of-concept was developed in parallel to the research and actually included a task inspired by MIT’s Moral machine, a reiteration on the classic trolley problem that includes autonomous vehicles. This task was removed at early stages of development, in favor of tasks that could provide greater psychologycal insights. After sucessfully developing a proof-of-concept, we started the production phase.

Our production pipeline for this project included autodesk maya for modelling and processing 3d assets, Image-line FL Studio as a digital audio workstation, Adobe photoshop for designing UI elements and release material. During the production, we first focused on developing the unique gameplay for the four psychologycal tasks that would be included in the final release. Later on, we directed our efforts to working on the neutral environments in which the user would choose the next task. The final experience included a mix of aquired assets from the unreal engine marketplace and original material. Due to the simplistic nature of the experience, all of the data processing and gameplay mechanics were handled entirely by blueprints - each one of the four tasks were presented in a separate persistent level, with a blueprint actor that would write relevant data to the game instance. After completing all tasks, a final blueprint actor would handle the game instance data collected through the experience and show a summary of the results.

The last step of production was our internal testing stage, in which we invited guests to come to our workspace and test the full experience. This was specially important for self-knowledge vr as it was planned to be released on steam and to ensure that we had a more accurate median and standard derivation in our data set to interpret the user data. The final release video was recorded in this internal testing stage.

Self-knowledge VR is a work of fiction developed by Aerolito to promote awareness on the benefits of self-knowledge for people's health. It doesn't replace real psychologycal testing and it isn't qualified to assign any kind of diagnoses.

In february 2018, development began on Self-knowledge VR.

In march 2018, an early prototype with basic features was presented to Aerolito’s team.

In december 2018, self-knowledge VR was made available to be played by aerolito’s guests on our workspace as an internal testing stage of development.

In January 2019, Self-knowledge vr was released for free on steam for the htc vive.

Footage of the virtual Environments

Footage of the virtual Environments