VR Hovercraft

Driving Mechanic

Andrea Carver

Hovercraft pawn

Prof. Shane Acker

Physical driving rig

VR Studio students

Level design, character assets

Base hovercraft geometry

Responsibilities

After spending the summer of 2017 working with VR in Unreal Engine 4, I returned to Shane Acker’s VR Studio class at LMU as a technical assistant. My first responsibility was working one-on-one with students to overcome technical issues and offer insight into the game engine. Secondly, I created the player pawn (the playable component) for the class’s final project, a safari on an alien world.

Process

To drive the player pawn, we obtained a steering wheel controller and built a physical rig to sit in. Our first iteration of the player pawn was a jeep, which quickly generated motion sickness in users. To better control the acceleration of the vehicle, I created a new pawn from scratch that limited degrees of freedom. Through iterating and play-testing, we locked various axes of rotation and minimized acceleration.

Decals
3rd Person Debugging

As consumer virtual reality is only an emerging industry, my university’s animation program does not yet have an adequate number of VR headsets. Members of the class still needed to play-test their levels as they built them, even when the VR headset or steering wheel controller was in use by others. As a temporary solution to the shortage, I designed the player controller to be playable by keyboard in third person when either hardware was detected as missing.