The world needs more dancing, don’t you think? I am one of those freakish people who has considered taking ballroom dance lessons and yet (thankfully?) never has. But still, wouldn’t I like to know how to rumba? Like what if one day walking down the street, I got into a dance fight, you know? I would be screwed.
Since I am clearly too embarrassed to actually take dance lessons, VR is the perfect solution! As a bonus, I get to take advantage one of my favorite platform’s (the HTC Vive) strengths, movement.
You Can Dance if You Want To
The main inspiration for this app is Dance Dance Revolution. You step on spots on the floor to the beat, and that scores points. Mess up, and you lose points. Rather than random Simon Says-like patterns, this would be geared more towards mastering specific steps and dances.
First, who would be the target audience for this application?
- Name: Georgia
- Age: 28
- Occupation: Tech Writer
- Quote: I’ve always had two left feet!
- Motivation: Georgia is going to a good friend’s wedding soon and wants to learn to dance. She doesn’t have the time for professional lessons, but is tech savvy and enjoys fun gaming experiences.
- Experience level with VR: Georgia has a high-end VR setup with room-scale tracking.
Questions and Considerations
Here are some questions and ideas to consider on the road to determining the correct platform for this experience.
Q: How accessible would each VR platform be to your target student in terms of price? Take into account location, age, and income.
A: The student would have to be an early adopter of new, expensive technology to be able to take advantage of this app, or it would have to be in an arcade setting in an urban environment. They would probably be a pretty well-off but somewhat young adult in the former scenario and (but could be younger in the latter).
Q: How interactive does your lesson need to be? For example, do I need to pick things up or could I get away with just looking at objects?
A: The lesson needs to be quite interactive, tracking the location of a person’s feet and/or body. This in of itself would be a technical challenge, since foot tracking is not an out of the box behavior on any VR platform.
Q: How realistic do your visuals need to be in order to teach? For example, could I use 2D images and videos in a 3D Environment or do you need high poly 3D models.
A: Visuals do not need to be high poly but would need to be in a 3D environment.
Q: Does my student need to feel like a participant in the experience or can they be a passive viewer? Could they be both?
A: The student would be an active participant for most of the experience, a passive viewer for only small parts of the experience.
Q: Given the answers above, what are potential platforms you could use for your experience?
A: Most likely only the Vive (possibly Oculus) would be suitable platforms for this idea. Foot tracking is not officially supported by any platform, but I think it could be accomplished using either the new Vive tracker accessories or possibly strapping the controllers to the feet!