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Building Virtual Worlds

Building Virtual Worlds was a project-based class I took at the Entertainment Technology Center in Carnegie Mellon University. Teams of 4 - 5 members of different disciplines work together in projects lasting 2 - 3 weeks to create immersive experiences based on several criteria.

During this class,we had a total of 5 projects. I was a programmer on all of them, and producer on 2.



This was the final round of BVW, where we were given the opportunity to form teams of our own choosing, and pitch an idea for an interactive experience. We were asked to keep in mind the idea of a "show". We created a performance piece that was connected to the performers actions. We had just over 3 weeks to finish this project.
My role was a programmer, and we integrated the PlayStation Move in order to control the sword, and movement was detected by the Kinect.
It was ambitious, but we had a great team, learnt really quickly, and I believe it had the impact we desired. This is one of those school projects where I can still imagine it being interesting to work on, though I'd approach it as a true interactive experience rather than a performance piece if I were to work on it without restrictions.

Team members:

Noah Alzayer - 3d Art, animation, motion capture
Heidi Hastings - 2D art and Textures
Sun-Moon Hwang - Production, experience scripting, additional art, animation and sound design
Nicholas Sciannameo - Sound Design and Audio



This was our "Lightning Round" project, which was made in 1 week. Our assignment was to make something fun, and the primary challenge was to handle scope to fit everything in 1 week. In this project, we used a plugin provided to us to allow players to control individual components of a phoosball table via their cell phones. Guests could dial in, and were assigned a team and a rod. They could then move the rod around, and swing in a desired direction. We added a few minor offshoots of standard foosball rules such as having multiple balls as well.

This was a really satisfying and quick project, and it was extremely well received. This world was showcased in the end-of-year BVW show.

Team members:

Sean McChesney - 2D art, production
Lusha Zhang - 3D art and video
Siva Logannathan - Sound design and original music


Gold Run

This was our second project, and it was part of what was called a "naive guest" round which was 2 weeks long. In this round, a random person would play the game, and they had to be able to understand, interact, and have fun with no verbal instruction from the team. We were judged based on the experience, and how easily the person could understand what they needed to do. In this round, we were required to use the Kinect.

On this project, I was one of two programmers, was the producer for the project, and also designed the level. Due to unforseen circumstances, I also had to try my hand at skinning the character for the first time (which explains some of the visual artifacts).

Team Members:

Ruijie Liu - Programming
Annabelle Lee - 2D art, video and story
Paola Soriano - 3D art
Romain Deciron - Sound Design and Audio