A Collaborative VR Puzzle Journey to Promote Social Unity

Advising Faculty: Shaz Zamore PhD

Medium: AR/VR, Oculus Rift, Unity

Venue: Masters Thesis Presentations

Date: 2020



Planes is a location-specific, multi-user VR experience that utilizes anonymous teamwork, physical exploration of space, and puzzle-solving to facilitate and entwine digital and real-world collaboration. Players anonymously interact with each other through three individual VR headsets and controllers spread across a building to solve origami puzzles, which are initially situated in VR that then slowly transition to AR. The game concludes when all players are led to an in-person paper folding workshop, fully leaving the virtual realm to physically meet those they collaborated with. Planes hopes to demonstrate VR game design and tangible interaction design that critically considers the need to create a more cohesive gaming culture, Planes demonstrates a novel VR gaming experience that promotes non-discriminatory, anonymous participation to subversively mitigate social isolation and exclusion caused by VR games, as well as challenge social barriers in online gaming culture with mindful embodied interaction.

This concept was also supposed be set at the ATLAS Expo, the department’s annual spring showcase for students’ work,  where there would be high volumes of possible players and public building access for users to explore. But for anyone watching in the Spring of 2020, and who wouldn’t be surprised that I’m recording this thesis in my kitchen, it’s obvious that an interactive installation set in a densely populated public space is not feasible at the moment.  Though initially devastated, I wanted to continue with my work on Planes, but I had to modify it in the context of the situation while trying to retain it’s more meaningful components.

What I was able to develop for my thesis still has a likeness to the original plan but is instead now fully digital with full virtual exploration instead of anything physical. The puzzles have been simplified to simply translate paper folding methods to make paper planes, the network interaction was set up for user testing with two anonymous players collaborating at a time.  And the workshop utilized the folding methods in the game and became a virtual workshop via the Zoom app, where we constructed actual paper planes. I also conducted an informal user test interview at the workshop, paired with a more in-depth google survey, to inquire about: Potential in digital paper folding and translation to physical paper folding, experience with anonymous collaboration and arising perspectives, and future development goals and how to improve upon the system.

Single Player Gameplay Walkthrough

Multiplayer User Test

CTD Masters Thesis Presentation

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