MOBILE VR APp: SPHERE FLOAT

Sphere Float is a mobile VR application that immerses the user in a puzzle environment.

about

The purpose of Sphere Float was to flex my development skills and create a simple well-designed VR app within 2 weeks. This app is straightforward for new VR users and is a great introduction to visualizing mobile puzzle environments in virtual reality. It’s a fun way of getting new users into the technology!

*Download link for the project included at the bottom of this page!

application experience / Results

This app begins with a simple prompt, which you can select with a tap of the screen or side-button on you phone, and then guides the user through a puzzle experience. The puzzle itself is a simon-says style puzzle that uses lights and orbs for feedback. The user continues to tap or press to select the correct puzzle combination and solve the puzzle. They then have the option to restart the game (or start a new level, as I might add in further builds).

design process

I can break my design process down into 4 cyclical steps, and I repeat each one as needed.

  1. Sketching (Images and personas)

  2. 3D layouts (3D modeling and placement)

  3. Unity Development (Interface settings and C# behaviors)

  4. User Testing (Feedback and incorporation)

  5. Repeat until application is amazing, and users are happy!

UI_Sketch.jpg

sketching

VR deals with text legibility constraints, especially on mobile platforms, so the final UI was kept very basic.

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3D Design

The 3D spherical puzzle design was key to comfortable user involvement for this VR setting. The floating spheres are laid out within a comfortable range of motion.

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DEVELOPMENT

Every aspect of this VR application experience was compiled in Unity3D, where I edited C# movement mechanic scripts as well as placed and designed the 3D layout.

HighResPersona.jpg

creating a user-persona

I created a quick user persona, focusing on product designers who might be open to looking at the potential of VR. This persona could be anyone who has not used VR before, but I chose to create a busy professional who would want a quick look at a VR product and not a long-term game experience.

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user testing

As with any good VR app, I had to make sure that the experience was comfortable and would make sense to any user. An example of a user testing question I asked was “How comfortable or uncomfortable was reading text in this application?” and “How did you feel about the movement?”

Jenna, a graphic designer who took my user test, gave input to simplify the overall text. This caused me to simplify the menu. I also learned that slower movement speeds are more comfortable (even if medium speed isn’t “Uncomfortable”), so I went ahead and lowered the speeds in response to that as well.

conclusion and NEXt steps

For future iterations of this project, I’d like to model some different 3D environments in blender and rhino to see what other scenery I can incorporate. I would also like to re-program the movement mechanics for a more scenic tour prior to solving the puzzle

To conclude I had a great time making this project, and was able to complete a fully immersive mobile VR application that challenges users to solve puzzles and learn a little bit about being inside VR. This app should be able to get a brand new user into the technology with lots of reactive and easy elements to learn.

check it out

Check out my GitHub repository at https://github.com/egangw/SphereFloat

download the apK

I still need to build a server application that would allow the APK to be downloaded directly onto your phone without Unity, but if you are a fellow Unity Dev you can check out my github repo and build this project directly to your Android or iOs from Unity, or install the APK with Android Studio.

Download the Unity Project Here and also download the Google Cardboard VR app from your play-store. Then plop your phone in a simple VR headset (DIY make one Here or buy one Here), and you are all set to start perusing the world of VR apps out there, Sphere Float included.

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