For this first assignment we were split into small groups containing around 4 or 5 people. My group included Oliver Evans, Tom Hawkins and Alex Blackshire. Within these groups we were given two weeks to work on a small brief and deliver our final thoughts in a presentation.
This first brief consisted of developing a new digital experience for Bristol Zoo that included a range of different criteria that it had to entail.
Our initial thoughts as a group included using developments of existing software, such as the ‘Kinect 2’ and ‘Google Glass’, to create an immersive experience which put the user ‘in’ the experience by capturing their movements to put them in the frame with animal characters which they could interact with.
From this video we thought that the advanced 3D and infra-red would suit our idea as it allowed tracking of multiple users using skeletal/muscular tracking technology. We then furthered our idea to also use ‘Google Glasses’. We agreed that this would enable adults to take part in the experience as well.
We soon realised that this initial idea did not include a core aspect of the brief, which was to utilise the archive of 176 years worth of photographs. It also did not facilitate a new type of interaction – we believed that the majority of people would have used ‘Kinect technology’ before.
This led us on to alter our idea to using ‘check-in’ technology. This would work with users navigating around the park and scanning their smartphones to receive photographs of that part of the zoo in the past and maybe some additional exclusive information about each section.
We decided that a significantly more engaging experience would be something that immerses the user completely into the heritage of Bristol Zoo. The Occulus Rift is a new digital media technology, facilitating unique ways of interacting with a 3D environment – easily designed using the photo archive as an accurate reference to base a series of ‘mission type’ gameplay.
The concept would be for a user to wear an Occulus Rift device whilst standing on an omnidirectional treadmill pad, allowing them to control a characters footsteps by walking. The Occulus Rift allows the user to control their characters field of view by turning their own head, and they watch this with two curved lenses inside the device, in front of its screen, which bend the image around the users whole peripheral vision.
I think that this initial task was beneficial in getting to know other members of the people on the course, it also gave me a great deal of insight into what I should expect to achieve out of this unit of the course. I feel that I gained a lot of useful tips from the feedback in terms of presenting ideas and expressing them clearly. These new skills that I have acquired from this project will hopefully improve future tasks.