Our overall goal is to recreate the magical atmosphere and environments of our inspirational theme of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. We are recreating iconic moments and gamifying the plot-line, as well as taking in our own course concepts. Our game is intended to bridge across immersion and the sense of atmosphere, by giving the user an experience of emulation of the grounds and rooms of Hogwarts. Gamifying the plot line, and giving objectives for the user to accomplish, also provides an easy and fun game play experience for our users to be part of.
We were inspired by the childhood belief of magic and suspension of reality; moreover, inspired by the realm created by J.K. Rowling. We knew we wanted to have the same environments of the genre, so we initialized our process by building realistic and very believable models for our scene. We then began with the gamification elements, and how we wanted our players to navigate themselves around the created environments. This then led to the plot line generation, and finally our end result.
Our initial immersion frameworks were targeted to sensory and challenge-based aspects. By sticking with these two goals, we were able as a group to brainstorm the relevance of having gamification (hint searching / object finding) as part of our design, other than just navigation as a challenge component. As for senses, we knew we had to provide a strong audio-scope for the different scenes to give a proper emulation of reality. This was even extended to giving our user different footstep sounds for different terrains. Because of the inclusion of magic as part of our overriding theme, we were also able to pass boundaries of planar navigation, such as the broomstick riding mechanic we implemented. Such ideas provided challenges, but also gave us opportunities to try new techniques and technology (Wii Remote).
By separating out the scenes into respective skill sets of our various team members, we were able to give ourselves a set timeline, and were successful in accomplishing milestones.
Our game was created using the Unity Game Engine, with models imported from Autodesk Maya and 3ds Max. Renders were done through Mental Ray, and Pro Optimizer to limit our poly-count. Textures were created by referencing from online resources, and composing them in Adobe Photoshop. And we used a Wii remote as well as a black clothed room, to give our users a tactile approach.
User testing gave us optimal results for further iterations, as we were notified of glitches, bugs, and differences with our idealized gameplay pattern, and what the users did in the virtual environment. The response of the users was mostly attuned to the goals and objectives of immersion we had originally planned.
Our final deployment had the aspects of what we tried to visualize and conceptualize, and the gamified implementations did offer the players a more unique approach to our design. The use of a Wii controller, as well as the spatial and tactile performance with the black clothed room, also stretched the intended level of immersion even further. Future iterations would include, even more iconic moments and scenes from the Harry Potter genre, and possibly higher poly 3d models and use of virtual assets to emulate the magical realm that we created.