UNREleased project | april 2017

vrPEDIA

VRpedia.png
 
 

project description

A mobile virtual reality educational game about the history of computers and Moore's Law, on which the student could learn about and explore multiple computers in real-world scale since the 1900s’ analytical engine to the latest microprocessor chipsets. The project ceased development after successfully developing a working prototype for Android and iOS.

INTERACTIVE EDUCATION

Current research on learning and memory suggests that we have a greater tendency to consolidate long-term memories on experiences that hold an emotional value to us, or that we personally relate to our own identity. While this may be hard to achieve when reading purely theoretical material on a subject, it may be easier when living a virtual experience in which the user can freely explore and have fun experimenting with the same subject.

This was our goal developing vrpedia, to create a small library of interactive educational content in virtual reality. Natural Sciences, Biology, technology and many other subjects could be taught by providing these fun virtual reality experiences as a complementary material for studying.

The first content was to develop an educational game on the history of computers and moore’s law, and the premiss was that by seeing real-world scale 3d models of computers throughout their history, the user would be more compelled to consolidate these memories and virtually feel the moore’s law impact on computing.

Based on our past experience exhibiting educational content in virtual reality, We strongly believe we are still looking at the tip of the iceberg on how overall xr technologies can benefit education in the future. Wheter by developing more accessible mobile or standalone virtual reality experiences to high-tier mixed reality experiences, there is still a long way to explore the future of these technologies for education.

A real-world scale  Colossus , a 1940’s military computer

A real-world scale Colossus, a 1940’s military computer


Main features

  • Interactive educational content that encourage exploration. While standing alongside historical computers, the user can interact with their environment to Know more about the history behind the computers.

  • REal-world scale virtual reproductions of multiple historical computers. As a complementary tool to study the moore’s law, the user visualizes the history of computing as if he or she were present in the places they were most used.

  • Easy-to-use and heavily optimized mobile virtual reality application. It was designed to work well with every performance tier available for virtual reality compatible mobile devices.

technical aspects

The project was developed for GoogleVR using Unreal Engine 4.15. First, we researched the history of computing and looked for key computational systems for each processing eras - electromechanical, relays, vacuum tubes, transistors and integrated systems. We then gathered patents, drawings, photos and videos for each of them so that we could produce a historically accurate and real-world scale 3d model. In parallel, we developed a proof-of-concept that included key interactions expected in the final release, such as a dynamic progression of virtual environments, simple interactive elements and a blocking of each computer’s 3d model to evaluate the difference in scale.

After successfuly developing our proof-of-concept, we then started modelling the 3d models for eaCh computer and their respective virtual environments. The player was usually centered in a position where it was possible to see both the computer and interactive elements in the environment, such as photos and original drawings scattered on a table. As the player activated the interactive element, a pop-up would appear with additional information on the historical computer.

We used autodesk 3ds max and blender to produce the 3d models of the computers, and All audio processing was done in audacity. There were no external plugins used in this project. All 3d models and vfx were optimized to maintain a stable performance on the event the lowest tier of mobile devices compatible with virtual reality.

In december 2016, we began discussing about VRpedia and started the early stages of development.

In april 2017, development ceased after SUCCESSFULLY deploying the android app on the google Play Store for google cardboard.

A real-world scale  IBM 1130 , a 1970’s office computer

A real-world scale IBM 1130, a 1970’s office computer