The goal for this project was to design a spatial transition using the animation tools in Unity that would be triggered by an Oculus controller button press.
The initial design question was “what kinds of spatial transitions make users feel uncomfortable vs comfortable? What variables are important.” I began by designing prototypes that looked at room-scale changes, testing out how users felt when the walls of a room moved in towards them and how changes in light (either darkening or lightening) could enhance the room scale change or even distract the user from asset changes taking place in the room around them. After testing out a few working prototypes in Unity I became very interested in the way light and space could impact spatial transitions and re-focused my design question towards the “range of ways that differences in light and scale can impact spatial transitions.”
I created a series of low poly, colorful environments in Gravity Sketch that the user would transition between during the animation. After creating the environments and enclosing them in a “bubble-box” that would steadily scale up and down in size around the user. I started to add different lighting changes to the animation in Unity including changing the intensity and color of light during each of the box’s scale changes.
Results and REFLECTIONS
A gradual reduction in intensity and brightness of lighting was found to be most effective during spacial transitions. However, changing the color of the lighting during transitions created a unique visual distraction and change in mood during the virtual reality experience.
Some of the design questions that came up during this process were how noticeable and effective was the lighting change in Unity compared to in headset and was there a way to make a space feel completely different with light changes alone?
After completing the project, I am intrigued to continue testing the importance of scale and light within different VR environments and would like to experiment more with creating types of spacial transitions through the manipulation of light intensity, direction and color.