Sci-Fi Escape is a virtual reality (VR) room escape experience designed for the Oculus Rift and other room-scale devices. Its purpose is to explore the possibility of creating compassion for a VR character and to introduce a two-handed pick up interaction mechanic. Players start off in a sci-fi themed jail cell with a potential friend to be found (or built). Upon escaping the cell, players will be put in a difficult situation: will they escape impending danger at the cost of leaving a friend behind?
In order to create compassion for the VR character, we first establish the connection by having players repair the character. The character then chirps and dances to show its personality, thus dispelling the idea that it’s an emotionless robot. Picking up the character afterwards strengthens the established bond by introducing intimacy and a shared goal. The critical moment is when the character sacrifices itself to save the player. We wish to see if, at this point, the player feels guilt and tries to go back and save the character. As for the two-handed pick up interaction, we wanted to see if there were any other possible interaction mechanics that we can introduce in a VR space. Thus, for small objects such as the VR character’s head, players can pick it up using Oculus’s default grip mechanic. For larger objects, we extend Oculus’s default grip to require a two-handed lift reinforced by vibrations to simulate weight and bulk.
Student: Chris Purdy, Henry Kim, Linda Zhang, Vi Nguyen