Project progress: v r 1

v r 1

Oh yes, hello. Not dead yet. After bravely announcing I was working on a thing I was calling Rooms and failed to write anything about the process whatsoever, and now I’m putting it out tomorrow, so that was something of a failure of documentation. It’s now called v r 1 in clever tribute to both Gregor Schneider’s work AND MORE IMPORTANTLY THE HOT HOT NEW NEW TREND OF VIRTUAL REALITY IN VIDEOGAMES. I’m on the train.

Anyway, the project went quite well in the end. I made the basic room modelled on Schneider’s “u r 1” room. Later I had to remake parts of it because it was a disaster in WebGL. Impressively, the scene as a whole had something like 600,000 triangles in it (one possible measure of how “big” it is in terms of memory and processing and so on). I then realised that the bed and radiator were accounting for about, say, 450,000 triangles of that, because they had a couple of measly curves. And importantly a couple of measly curves probably done in the worst possible way in SketchUp. My continuing ineptness. So I just gave them cool-sexy retro flat edges and all was well in the world. Just another aesthetic win for the inept crowd.

After that the process was coming up with Unity-oriented ways to manipulate the room into different “levels” for the game, whether that was turning it upside down or breaking it into pieces (pictures above). The broken up versions were the most interesting for me in some ways because they felt closest to replicating the sense of “hidden labour” I get from Schneider’s work (and from reading about his process, more specifically). To make the pile of pieces of the room I ended up effectively acting as the physics engine, placing each individual piece, rotating it, and so on in order to give the effect of it having collapsed. It’s plausible I could have somehow asked the Unity physics engine to do this, but I couldn’t learn how, and I’m willing to bet that the “proper” simulation would have looked aesthetically less pleasing than the artisanal physics I applied myself. That seems to me to get this project closest to a kind of “sculptural” form.

At any rate, you can see it tomorrow if you want. I’ve already moved on to The Next Big Thing.

18 May 2016
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