DEVELOPMENT OF IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCE FOR THE RECONSTRUCTION OF A VINTAGE CINEMA THEATRE - Explore techniques of game design and immersive technology to recreate the experience of exploring the Flamman cinema building

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för data- och informationsteknik

Abstract: Virtual reality (VR) made cinema applications today can be considered as simple media players that are often set in a fictions environment without the privilege of explorability given to the user - who from the start remains seated in the virtual world. That is due to the definition of user control which is restrained to the extent that the controllers are moderated to the definition of interaction with graphical user interfaces such as media player buttons. This effectively solves the need dedicatedly for people who expediently use VR applications analogous to media players.VR has the potentiality to offer rich sensory experience, therefore even a media player could be destined for more than the current trends with a slight addition of cultural heritage and gamification. This addition could potentially support the simulationist people of the GNS theory by Ron Edwards who would seek for a more immersive experience; being interested in playing the role of a visitor, having the ability to objectively explore and interact with the virtual environment that was once existent. Ideally, the simulation should have an expressly mediated representation of realism to fulfil the expectations of those people who prefer games with a high plausibility in the “loyalty to world” fader of the Mixing Desk of Faders, which is a game design tool where each fader covers the intensitivity of a specific design choice. This research project is dedicated to preserve the cultural heritage of the once existent Flamman cinema theatre by the virtual reconstruction of its architectural, historical and cultural correctness compositional to the Flamman experience. The level of reconstruction was conditioned on remaining photographic evidence and technologies used to develop the simulator accordingly for the target platform, Oculus Quest 2 VR system. Blender 3D content-creation suite was used for the construction of geometric elements, followed by the assemblement of those and the development of the simulator which was carried out with Unity cross-platform game engine and Oculus Integration plugin. Based on these aspects, I conducted an action research to answer the main research question regarding the determination of influential factors on quality in the reconstruction of the original Flamman experience. I began the development with the implementation of user control, with a cautious design for motion sickness; continued with development experiments for emphasizing the respected time and space while aiming for the reachment of a highly realistic physical and graphical representation of those. These were the implementation of haptic and visual elements, physics based intractable objects and inverse kinematics. Obstructed by challenges due to technological affordances which led to the utilization of performance optimization techniques, consequently to the reduction within the graphical quality. The resulting prototypic Flamman simulator has been evaluated by participants under the conduction of play test sessions followed by interviews with the conclusion summarizes high equality in the successfully reconstructed Flamman which authentically represents its vintage cinema atmosphere. Ultimately, the closure of the thematic analysis concluded Oculus Quest 2 underperforms in graphical realism, nevertheless it is an outstandingly great system for the purpose of immersive simulations.

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