2016: Winter was coming and I began to feel that itch to find a good indoor hobby project. Besides the multiple trials of learning Norwegian and playing music, I realised I wanted to make something. Coming from a industrial design background, I pondered over the future of product designers and wondered what would happen to them in this digital evolution. That´s when I realised that maybe it was time for me to learn more about the virtual world.
Although the topic of VR is very new to me and I find it a bit intimidating, I realised it is still in it´s infancy and there is a connection between the physical and digital world from a very fundamental level. I have been working with 2D design as an interaction designer and I had studied 3D in school. However, there was something more to understand beyond the 3D world of VR.
I began a course on VR made by some good folks from Google and discovered that for product designers who became interaction designers, we just needed to think one step further than 3D and animation. The course was based on Unity.3D and learning C# or .JS, both of which I have only dabbled with before. However, once I got the basic setup right, it´s not much different to other 3D programs. I have done 3D animations before and almost burned my Mac´s CPU.
Few days into the course, and now we are talking math. Here comes the big fuzzy monster that lives under my bed! Learning about quaternions (Quarter-Onions?) and revisiting matrices was fun, especially since I learned it in school but never understood what it was used for until now. However, this slowed down my process of building in VR. To speed up the process I began to look for resources and tools for building in VR and came across some good examples like Artefact´s Storyboard VR, NYT´s VR stories and Facebook´s VR resources! My hope is to find or build a simple toolkit that can help beginners like me to quickly prototype in VR for design projects. Whether it is a new car interior for a automotive company or spacecraft to mars. How can we use VR not only as an immerse storytelling telling, but a prototyping tool to understand what emotive experiences we could create with it.
Through my rough VR sketches, I could see my friends squeal and twirl while boxes fell from the sky in their Unity landscape. What we experience in VR is much more influencing and convincing than what we see on a screen. On a screen, we are a separate entity judging content from afar. In VR, we are part of it.