Archive for the ‘Interactive Environments’ Category

As part of our hand in for interactive environments we had to give a group presentation. I helped coordinate this by making a structure document so we could assign each person to cover one point. I chose to talk about the group’s online communication. Here is my slide:

Mark Shaw - Communication Presentation Slide

I also made a page of notes but when it came to giving the presentation I tried to avoid reading off my sheet. I think that I spoke confidently about the topic however I did look at my own slide a few times I feel that I should have kept eye contact with the audience the whole time. I also stumbled during one of my sentences and ended it prematurely because I could not think of a better way to rephrase what I wanted to convey. This is something I could have worked on by doing a rehearsal to myself to make sure could say everything clearly and keep my sentences flowing smoothly.

After the presentation was over we gained some useful feedback on the project as a whole and how we should have considered showing the level in play instead of using only a fly through. This would have gave us more of a chance to show off the interactive elements in the space we created and also make sure that everything feels natural and not exaggerated or out of place.

Overall I feel the presentation was a success but there are still minor issues with my presenting skills that I need to iron out.


Interactivity at home:

round the house you interact with almost anything if you want to do anything but it has become so common we don’t even think about it these are just a few examples of things I interact with in my house on a daily basis.

To watch any of my DVD’s or play a game I first need to turn on the console/DVD player, open the case, insert the disk, put the case back then turn on the TV. I also need to plug in my surround sound and then turn that on and press the channel button till it is on the right setting. Just setting up everything so it is ready to be used has taken seven different interactions and I don’t think about doing any of them because it feels like a natural process because I have done it so many times. This is similar to getting from one side of the house to the other you have to interact with several doors moving the handles in the right direction to allow you to access the next room but you don’t think about it while you do it.

Interactivity outside:

While walking round town you will interact with things without even paying attention to them these are a few examples. While crossing the road you may interact with a pelican crossing and push the button to indicate you are waiting to cross. another more automated interaction is used in automatic doors as it detects when you move in front of the censer and opens for you if you don’t move and stood still the door would close again meaning you are interacting just by moving around. Using an ATM is also a series of interactions as you have to insert your card, type in your pin, select what option you would like then collect your card and money or a statement or both these are a chain of interactions you have to go through to get the desired result.

You don’t think about any of these interactions because you expect them to play out a certain way. This is the best thing to replicate in a game, making interaction feel natural will keep the player immersed and make each event feel like it flows right. If something does not work like you expect it to in real life you are taken out of the game and made to question the interactions.



The Wii was the first gaming console to go big with motion controls which started a trend in the industry with SONY releasing the Play Station Move and Microsoft’s release of the Connect. The Wii was still different however focusing on mini games and excessive rather than action and combat, this attracted a much older audience to the gaming system and really made motion controls popular.

Xbox Connect:


The Connect never functioned as precisely as it was advertised but there was one game genre the connect did get right, dancing games. The Connect was able to track a players movements accurately in these games with people claiming to actually learn how do perform the dance routines from playing the game. This is interactivity in games being used to teach a skill to people.

Vocaloids Live Performances:


Vocaloids like Hatsune Miku who perform live using a type of projected illusion which makes them seam three dimensional and a live band. I think this technology could be used to present games to a greater effect if instead of having a designer or business man standing their and talking about the game the actual game character walks on stage and tells you why their game is great. This would be a scripted presentation with some animated flair which would eliminate any chance of error and would make the advertising for the industry grip the audience more and make the product stand out.

Am example of a vocaloid performance:



castAR is a projected augmented reality system that displays holographic-like 3D projections right in front of you. you are able to interact with these holograms using the magic waned tool. you can also use this technology to play boardgames with your friends who live in different countries by using the RFID tracking grid which will track where your pieces move (if they have the sensor chip attached to their base) and will show a live 3D projection of your pieces movement to the other person who is playing. You can make the projected surface as big as you want with the only limitation being the amount of castAR surface material you own. People who have tested the product have said as you move in your perspective of the game changes appropriately like your really there. The creators also like state that with this augmented reality head set you will be able to make your very own hollow deck.

I think that this technology will open many doors for moth the board game and video game industry allowing people to play a board game with an actual board online with their friends instead of digitally. Also being able to interact directly with the environment will allow games to be even more immersive along with the realistic view and perspective.

Link to the products kick starter page for more information here.

Oculus Rift:


The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality head set that will replace your screen and camera controls. As you turn your head the view changes appropriately, this will help immerse people into the games world. Everything in a game will feel more real while your turning your head to view your surroundings and have to look in the direction that you are walking to know were you are going. This is a piece of technology that I think will improve immersion and interaction in the way the player has to physically move there head to look round there surroundings.

Interactive information boards:


Interactive information boards are a type of interaction we usually over look as you are touching the screen to select the options you would like to know about. some museums use these to have playable educational games for people to test what they have learned in the exhibits or to learn something new in a more fun way. Interactive information boards are not just used for browsing information you can also use them to place orders or collect bookings.

Google Glasses:


Google Glass allow you to brows information on the internet without the need to hold anything, this will allow you to cook while reading the recipes at a glance. Google Glass also allows you to take photos and record video and share them with your friends. This product makes interacting with information much more streamlined and allows you to have both hands free while doing so.

Smart TVs:


Smart TV’s have a slew of new features making them more interactive as you can connect to the internet and social media sites. However the most interactive thing is the magic remote a smart TV remote control that works like a Wii controller and allows the person to move the courser on the screen by moving the remote as the TV tracks every movement. This allows TV’s to be platforms for app games which it would have previously been unable to run.

UDK Tutorials.

Posted: January 12, 2014 in Interactive Environments
Tags: ,

To get use to using navigating UDK and gain a basic grasp of how things worked I did three tutorials in class. The first focused on getting you use to the layout of the program and its navigation. The exercises were simple and taught you how to work the brush, use it it to make a plane and a cube and add a texture to the cube.

UDK Tutorials Screen Shot 9

UDK Tutorials Screen Shot 8

The next tutorial took me through how to add the preset assets into the scene and make a custom brush to create specific shapes, this is good for making a specific plain. The goal of this tutorial was to make a room and have a door that opened and closed using kismet.

Ground level view:

UDK Tutorials Screen Shot 7

UDK Tutorials Screen Shot 5

Upper level view:

UDK Tutorials Screen Shot 6

UDK Tutorials Screen Shot 4


UDK Tutorials Screen Shot 3

The last tutorial went through the lighting and had us attach a room to the other side of the door.

UDK Tutorials Screen Shot 2

Room beyond the door had no lighting.

UDK Tutorials Screen Shot 1

These tutorials gave me the basics to work in UDK ready for when we import our my assets into the group level.

Crate Unwraps.

Posted: January 10, 2014 in Interactive Environments
Tags: ,

To help speed up production Scott gave me half of his crates to unwrap while he did the other half cutting the unwrapping time in half.

First was the big crates:

Scotts Crates To Unwrap Screen Collection Screen 6

Scotts Crates To Unwrap Screen Collection Screen 5

Big Crate 1:

Scotts Big Crate 1

With the second crate I noticed a poly was not needed on the bottom of the ramp I asked Scott if I should remove it and he gave the ok so I did. You can see the difference in the unwraps.

Big Crate 2 Before:

Scotts Big Crate 2

Big Crate 2 After:

Scotts Big Crate 2 v2

Big Crate 3:

Scotts Big Crate 3

Second was the cargo crates:

Scotts Crates To Unwrap Screen Collection Screen 4

Scotts Crates To Unwrap Screen Collection Screen 3

Cargo Crate 1:

Scotts Cargo Crate 1

Cargo Crate 2:

Scotts Cargo Crate 2

Lastly was the long handle crates:

Scotts Crates To Unwrap Screen Collection Screen 2

Scotts Crates To Unwrap Screen Collection Screen 1

Long Handle Crate 1:

Scotts Long Handle Crate 1

Long Handle Crate 2:

Scotts Long Handle Crate 2

All of these models were easy to unwrap with little to no fixes required. To help save even more time I also added the second UV channel so Scott only has to add the collision and texture to each model.

With all the components ready from the tutorial I did I decided to build from that project and make it into Cancelled?. Using my sketches I created a block out of the level with some changes made through personal testing.

Sketch of sections one & two.

Scan0096Block out of section one.

Level 1 section 1

The only difference I made to section one was the inclusion of moving platforms in the cave instead of several jumps from side to side as well as an elevated plane for the extra life to stand on. I marked the spikes with a red texture to indicate them clearly.

This is the first secret area in the game which will be accessible by performing a wall jump with an extra life as a reward. I currently do not know how to code a wall jump in unity but I have an idea, if i remove the script which stops the character from sticking to the wall and use the slip material on all walls I want the character to slide down and left the walls you can wall jump on sticky you may be able to wall jump.

Level 1 wall jump

wall jump demenstration

I attempted the theory and took out the friction code and added the material. This part of the step worked perfectly making the walls with the material slippy and the ones without sticky but because of the direction the raycast shoots (down) you cannot jump while attached to the wall so I would need to know how to code a separate raycast or make it fire down, left and right. This is something I will look into later on if I have time. I feel if i add it to the existing code it would stop my jump because the raycast would then require a hit at left, right and down to enable the jump command.

wall jump attempt code

wall friction texture

I also tried to add a death tag which would kill the player when they touched an object that used it. This would be placed on spikes and down pit falls, things that should instantly kill a player. However the script would not work Unity did not complain about any errors and I copied  and modified the hurt tag script yet the player would not die on collision or lose any health. I left the failed script in there as well as the tag and just marked it out of use.

Failed Death tag script

Block out of section two.

Level 1 section 2

Level 1 bridge

Section two of the level however stayed mostly the same except with changes to the directions the platforms moved. I highlighted the area of the bridge I wanted to fall with a black texture to make it very clear as well as marked the enemy with a green colour. The enemy use to be able to run through all walls ignoring collision which was a real problem, luckily the solution was simple I just needed to add a ridged body component to the enemy like the player. Though I don’t have a combat script in place you can knock the enemy cube on its side and it’s movement speed is more than halved allowing the player to defend themselves in some way, a happy accident. I also did not add the destructible bolder or the one that chases you in section three because I was unsure of how to make the character damage the bolder, make them explode and in the case of the one that chases you make the platforms it touches fall these are all things that would require coding to perform and would take some looking into.

Sketch of section three.


Block out of section three.

Level 1 section 3

I only changed the spacing and direction of platform movement in this section as well as removed one of the speed up items as it was more of a hindrance then a help in my test runs. The speed up also increases the distance you can jump this will be made clear in the tutorial with floating text and is the reason why the first platform is so far away.

Level block out as a whole.

Level 1 full layout

I decided to add a wall at the beginning so you cant run off the stage straight away. overall I think the block out has gone well and everything is in place to have assets built and placed on top of them. Play testing the stage has pointed out a few flaws with the way the jump is set up as you can only jump if the center of your character is touching an object because of how the raycast works meaning if you fall on the spikes nine out of then times you can’t jump meaning you cant die because you cant collide with them a second time and you cant escape meaning your trapped. The script from the first tutorial seemed to have a jump set up that would fix this but the scripting for that was done in C sharp instead of Java so I’m unsure how compatible they both would be working together withing one model as the wall collision script it would need to get the information from would be withing the Java script. I also modified the reset script from the first tutorial so it moves the player to the correct spot to fix the endless drop when you fall down a hole. This will stay in place untill I can use a proper check point system.

reset script

This is a map of the Paragon Station level with all the assets we have in place so far.

Paragon Project screen 1

I took this into Photoshop and highlighted areas where I think spawn points weapon drops and events should occur.

Paragon project screen 2

I tried to space out the spawn points so no one would start the game to close to one another, I also made sure there was plenty of cover near them to try and prevent spawn killing giving the player chance to get their bearings and get back into the game. I scattered some of the weapons into hard to reach spots like inside the hotel and on top of the ticket office these will be more powerful weapons than the ones scattered out in the open around the map. This rewards the player for searching as well as providing a good vantage point to use there new gun.

Interactivity with the assets:

These are some of my thoughts on how the assets could be used interactively and not just sit there setting the scene.

  • With things like the flower cart it would be nice if the wheels on the cart could be blown off causing it to tip to one side or fall completely to the ground, or even be pushed by a player for mobile cover. being able to move the cart would also allow it to be used to access areas that were out of reach adding more of a puzzle element. If someone jumps into the flowers an array of petals could be added so it looks like there been knocked into the air as people go past them.
  • The buckets could be used as projectiles throwing them to detract or stun an enemy, it would also be nice if you could put it over someones head which would blind them.
  • The buffers would grant partial cover to a player and may be climbable allowing access to the roof of the train.
  • The sacks could be used as cover or dragged and stacked to create a platform for you to climb up to areas which were out of reach.
  • when you shoot a newspaper it should play an array of papers being flung into the air this could provide visual cover for a player if they are running from someone.
  • All windows should be breakable and is they are on an accessible building then you should be able to jump through the window allowing quick escape and access to the building.

I came up with all of these points by thinking of the object in the real world and what it could be used for then picked the functions that would be relevant to the style of game that is why I did not list being able to fill the buckets with water or buy a bokay of flowers and smell them, as you would not think to do that in a shooting stage it is more cover, access and diversion orientated. Having things function as you would expect them to helps keep the player immersed that is why you need to be careful of what is destructible and what isn’t because if a player could hide behind a stack of newspapers and the bullets cant pass through the player shooting will get angry and question why paper can stop his fire.