Log 1 - progress on Rolling Stone gallery in Unity

I’m attempting to finish up the rolling stone gallery (walking sim in Unity) today because– I’m applying to Masters programs and want to use this project in my portfolio! :’) This feels very typical of a student, ha. Some of the things i’m working on:

  • setting up all the ‘pieces’ in the gallery — I haven’t kept track of my files in a very organized way with this project, as there was a lot of going back and forth between programs and iterations… so this is more of a task than I’d like, just to find the files. But it’s also curating, deciding what to include /not.
  • lighting for gallery — I opted for the nighttime skybox, so the lighting is actually quite dim without any additional lights. It really does feel like actually installing– directing lights at the work
  • make a compilation video of the AR clips
  • add ambient audio — I’m hoping I recorded some on my phone back in the summer…
  • fix player gravity issues — I’m using Unity’s standard 1st person controller that comes in their template, but I changed the height and must’ve messed with other settings– currently the jump action isn’t working, and when you fall off a ledge it’s a really quick descent. I’m thinking the gravity setting might be an issue…

Let’s get to it!

It’s funny creating a gallery space in Unity– I made a prefab “frame” and am literally having to frame my pieces by creating a plane, applying the image as a material to that plane (like a print!) and then positioning that within the frame. Even laying them out on the wall, it’s what I would do were it a real space.

Formatting a PictureFormatting a Picture

One thing that’s unique about creating virtual gallery spaces is that, if the viewer has experienced navigating 3D spaces especially in games, they bring those expectations of interaction and values into this. For me, that means I usually think I should check out all doors, pathways, nooks and crannies for the potential of hidden treasure or easter eggs. I’m also going to test moving into areas that I may not be ‘allowed’ it– ie. explore to the edges of maps, try to clip through walls or shut doors, etc. I remember watching a GDC talk (and later making my students watch it, lol) that was about designing environments in games. They referenced study of how people walk through a museum, and highlighted areas of foot traffic. They also showed a photograph of a street with an alleyway entrance on it– if you were seeing this in real life, chances are you may not consider going down that alleyway, perhaps because you assume the more interesting/poplar places will be on the main street, or even for fear of getting lost or ending up in an unfortunate situation. But if that was in a game– absolutely, you’d go down it!

Anyways, what I like about this gallery setting that I’m creating is that the virtual space opens up possibility for interactions in ways you’d never (or probably never, at least) do in real life. Climb up onto the pedastle, ‘touch’ the artwork. Jump off the edge of the ‘gallery building’ aka. rock. If I have time, I’d love to implement a ‘pick up’ and ‘drop’ interaction for objects, so that you could mess around with things. (I keep thinking I should just make this for VRChat… but as I’m a second-class VR citizen with a Quest, I’m already limited… u_u)

Looking at lighting in Unity, here are some tutorials I referenced:

…Baking the lighting isn’t going well ^^” the mesh of the rock (which was created using photogrammetry) is suuuper messy, and so I think that’s creating issues for Unity when it tries to bake the lightmaps. And I was also adding lighting will-nilly to my scene– I already have a dozen or so spotlights. I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to invest to get it actually looking good. It could be worth it, but I don’t know at this point.

Up next A rolling stone gathering moss Log 2 - Rolling Stone update, teaching, rest, going to the library To give an update on what I was writing about in my last (first) log, I did end up finishing the Rolling stone gallery– at least, a demo version. I
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