Immersive Experiences Final Documentation

Creating the concept:

The idea I initially had for a pitch involved using Vuforia to create a 2x2 or 3x3 grid with a landscape mapped to the overall shape, and users could mix and match the pieces to create different layouts.

Something like this where users can move around the different buildings

However, after the feedback from sharing the concept, I decided that creating portals sounded really interesting and went back to the drawing board.

Since portals allow for users to travel from place to place, I wanted to expand upon this feature and make it possible to travel from our universe to a parallel one. This was a concept I thought about when I was younger — imagining what myself in another universe would be doing when I was bored.

Since another universe would be unlikely to have the same features as ours, I thought it’d be cool also to include subtle changes in each universe that the user can pick up on. The inspiration for this came from Ray Bradbury’s A Sound of Thunder where time travelers accidentally crushed a butterfly and changed events in their modern day such as how english words are spelt, and the result of an election.

Using the app

Level 1:

Can be viewed in any room, as long as the scannable tile is placed on the floor or a wall.

Level 2:

An entire installation space. Viewers would get to explore the different nooks and crannies of the area to look for portal tiles. Builds off of the idea that the world has tons of hidden areas with many secrets that are only seen by those who go looking.

Example of a scannable tile

Creating the portals:

I found a great three-part tutorial series here

The first step was to familiarize myself with the terms needed to build an AR app within Unity, and also the tools that were necessary.

It seemed that to get an AR portal to show up on a mobile device, there needed to be some sort of target area which the user taps on their screen, which causes the portal to appear. Then, as the user moves in real life, they can enter into the portal room which would fill up all of the device’s screen space.

Since I wanted the portals to appear when scanned, via Vuforia, I figured I’d create the portal space inside Unity first, and then figure out how I would get it to appear later on. The main issue was, I wasn’t sure if Vuforia would allow users to “enter” into the portal’s room.

Basic Portal Room
Completed Interior
Applying the masking shader so that the room’s walls would be invisible, and only a door frame would be visible

Once the first room was done, I decided to create a second one to highlight the earlier concept of a parallel universe being slightly different. In this case, it was the same room, but the colors of the room were changed.

Exporting the app

Things got a bit tricky here, as I’d initially overlooked how much time this was going to take.

Within Xcode there were a few obstacles. The first one was:

This error notified me about there not being a PRODUCT_BUNDLE_IDENTIFIER, which I discovered needed to be fixed via manually adding a bundle identifier, as well as adding my account to the Team section under Signing in the build menu.

The next error was:

This next error involved needing to manually add a UNITY_VERSION_VER user-variable, since Unity did not automatically fill it out. There was a stack-overflow post which detailed where to find the section to add the variable. However, once I added it, the same error persisted.

I wasn’t able to work through the second error in time for class, but will continue chipping away at it.

To be continued…

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A blog for documenting my thought processes over the course of a project and how I can improve upon them in the future. Writing challenges me to build a “tree trunk’s foundation” [Tim Urban] of knowledge as I tackle new challenges.

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Timmy Zhou

Timmy Zhou

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