Curiosities is a virtual narrative that guides the user through a world of “curiosities” through which the person is designed to interact with the surrounding content and engage in an active search and discovery of tools.
Through years of observation, experience and research in virtual reality, the technology is geared towards mixed realities. But how is it possible to mix realities, if we are not truly represented in the virtual environment. The controller limits the human interaction because of the way the device is held and the trigger being the only feedback tool on the device, in addition the user is unable to see their bodies in the virtual space. Through observation and questionnaires, I learned that most users experience the feeling of disembodiment in VR.
The contrast between not having a physical body yet interacting with body parts as objects creates a focus on the fact that the body is invisible. Through these interactions I was able to flow my thoughts and design investigations about the presence and absence of the body and further the extension options that the user can be given.
My role is to design an experience that proposes a new tool for the virtual reality environment, an object that would be handled differently both in the physical and the virtual world.
I conducted user research through testing various virtual reality experiences. With this research users expressed that one of the initial sensations in VR is being disembodied. How does it feel as a human to be 'present' in a space but not being able to see the physical presence of themselves.
I analyzed these user stories and proposed a solution where there would be a replacement tool in the virtual environment. Through this tool the user can have a more human experience in the environment.
As a user I want to find new tools so that I can change how I interact with the objects in the space.
As a user I want to find new tools so that I can have a new interaction with the controller.
As a user I want to find new tools so that I can hold the controller in different angles.
As a user I want to find new tools so that I can swap the controller with other object so that I can have a variety of interaction.
finding the interactive objects in the environment
finding which part of the controller will connect to the object in the space
holding the controller in different angles and positions
changing the way the controller appears inside the environment
staying engaged to continue the path to the final episode of the experience
staying within the designed path and continuing to interact
Balance: Dizziness and balance of the user in an environment where all objects are interactive. I wanted the user to follow a specific path, therefore I raised the path above the ground, so the user only stays within those boundaries. Through user testing I realized that this caused a lot of the users to become dizzy and quickly the experience would become unpleasant.
Controller Swap: I wanted the user to swap controllers in the environment when touching an object. For example when touching the eye, the controller would turn into the eye, confusing the user on how to touch other objects in the space with the shape of an eye (ball).
The solution to the challenges was to create a series of micro interactions in the environment, through many interactions with the space, objects and the controller, the user is able to engage the whole body rather than adjusting to the controller and the trigger button. Some of the eyes would swap the controller and some would attach to the controller. This variation of interactions led the users to interact differently with the same object depending on which controller type they were able to use.
The environment was altered based on the user feedback, I had to keep a certain balance of the surreal in order for the user to stay comfortable enough to be engaged and continue the experience. I redesigned the path to be on the same level as the ground however made the path slowly go up, as if it were a hill. This illusion gave the users the path that they needed to follow without the balancing being an issue.
The layout of the path is invisible to the user. The user will intuitively follow this path through the positioning and design of the environment. The area with most objects signifies where the user needs to be in order to interact with the environment.
Once the user is in the virtual environment, they will only see the objects that are floating in the space. The UI is designed so that the user realizes that the only tool in the space they have is the controller in a world of hands, eyes and feet the only representation of the user is the controller.
user familiarizes with the environment
user enters the space and acknowledges the controller
the user starts walking into an intuitive direction
user starts to interact with the objects in space
once the user continues along the path, the controller will become a tool to throw around objects that are getting in the way