A Collaborative VR Puzzle Journey to Promote Social Unity
Advising Faculty: Shaz Zamore PhD
Medium: VR, Oculus Rift, Unity
Venue: Masters Thesis Presentations
Planes is a multi-user, networked VR experience that involves anonymous collaboration, digital paper puzzle-solving, and reflective zoom paper workshops to help intertwine digital and real-world collaboration and learning. In the game, users anonymously (as in without names, voice, or other identifiers) interact with others to quickly solve virtual origami puzzles. Motivated by a need to create a more cohesive gaming culture, this game uses non-discriminatory, anonymous participation to mitigate social exclusion caused by VR games, as well as challenge social barriers in online gaming culture with mindful interaction.
The original concept of this project, before the Spring 2020 quarantine, included AR elements as well as physical exploration of space. Players were originally intended to anonymously interact with each other through three individual VR headsets and controllers spread across a building, and the puzzles were initially situated in VR that then slowly transitioned to AR. The game concluded when all players are led to an in-person paper folding workshop, fully leaving the virtual realm to physically meet those they collaborated with. This project 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.
What I was able to develop for my thesis still had a likeness to the original plan but was 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