VR Space Sim [2016-7]

Aphelion

Role: Lead Designer & Production
Platforms: PC
Timeframe: Q3 2016 – Q2 2017

“The point in the orbit of a planet, asteroid, or comet at which it is the furthest from the sun.” — Aphelion definition

Aphelion is a VR Space Simulator developed for two mathematicians/astrophysicists – Dr. Karen Meyer and Dr. Craig Stark – as an university affiliated client. Developed for the HTC Vive in UE4, players can interact with a 3D user interface in order to warp from the “hub” to different exoplanets. Whilst there, they can scan the environment and learn scientifically accurate info about their surroundings.

Brief Mechanics Showcase

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You can check out a brief animated showcase of some of the mechanics above. Feel free to pause the slideshow.

Duties and Responsibilities

Due to circumstances outside the team and the university’s control the development team was significantly cut halfway through the project, which is why I took on additional roles, detailed below.

Lead Designer

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A curated sample of development screenshots

  • Extensive planetary research and interfacing with respected astrophysicists for scientific accuracy and documenting findings
  • Defining core gameplay mechanics and interactions
  • Designed and assembled levels in game using UE4
  • Scripted interactions using Blueprints
  • Wrote all in-game text, including exoplanet info blurbs
  • Implemented gameplay flow, movement and spatial streaming constraints mitigation working closely with lead programmer

 

UI/3D Artist

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Brief showcase of UI iteration and design as well as 3D modelling work

  • Modeled and textured assets using Quixel Suite and Maya, including the central hub area and custom controllers among others
  • Scripted interactions using Blueprints
  • Took initial drafts and finalized all UI elements in Photoshop and Illustrator
  • Handled lighting, post-processing, particle systems and others in UE4

 

Producer

Click on the images above for some production insight into the project

  • Handled weekly client meetings, bi-weekly team catchup and communication with university mentors
  • Monitored build health via Git
  • Setup venues for testing on HTC Vive kits and other logistical setup
  • Task delegation, sprint planning and milestone delivery metrics
  • Business case study as well as liaison between university and research institutes for potential funding opportunities

Prototype Gameplay Demonstration

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