A mashup between three concepts; a museum, an escape room and a multiplayer puzzle adventure in virtual reality. This interactive experience centers around innovation, in particular the that of heating throughout history.

Successful Inauguration

Well, I won’t lie. We were not very sure that this would turn out well until a few hours ahead of the opening. The solutions we needed to get everything to work turned out to be a little more complex than anticipated. The tools developed for telling stories in the game turned out to be a little harder to use than expected and the physical setup also turned out to be a challenge. Nevertheless, today was a success.

Tech problem wise our only issue was that we didn’t manage to pull as many user groups through the experience as we could have. But we got plenty of testers and once the game worked, it worked. Time to catch up on some sleep. : )

Tune in to fine tuning

https://t.sr.se/2Jipqbp

The press release went OK today. We had a team over from radio and another over from a newspaper. The installation worked somewhat at their arrival, but wasn’t very stable and I didn’t really have the setup to analyze what was going on.

Once the press had left and we got the opportunity to have a look at the system and its quirks, we actually managed to get the base scenario to run quite well towards the end of the day. So I feel hopeful with a few days to go before the official opening.

Push for press release

Tomorrow some news papers will come by the museum and want to try out our prototype. Since I still hadn’t gotten everything to work, I spent quite a few hours to make sure that it was as feasible as possible to have something decent to show. Not optimal, but sometimes it’s hard to find an optimal solution…

We’ll go to the museum early tomorrow so I’ve done my best to prepare, both the software and for the last setup of the installation. I feel fairly confident that something will work tomorrow at the moment, so now we’ll just have to hope and be flexible. Such is the nature of experimental development. :)

A night at the museum

Today I went to the museum where the escape room will be part of an exhibition. It’s in a nearby town, one hour single trip by bus which goes every ten minutes or so. While there are a lot of issues with the software still, the physical installation comes with its own challenges.

So I spent this day installing computers and software, with really poor Internet (ofc) either using the city grid which could only be accessed in a separate room for the exhibition and using little WiFi dongles, using my phone hot spot and some municipal wired grid which kicked me out after a little while. We were also missing necessary video cables, but I managed to work around it with adapters I usually bring wherever I go and sharing a screen between two computers.

Everything is still not set up after having worked quite a few hours after the museum personnel left the building. At least I got to hang out with their headless, swamp buried corpse thought to have been a witch… I’m not even really complaining, in the end it’s all kind of fun. : )

Unity HLAPI Shitstorm

A few days ago I thought I had the multiplayer, multi scene escape room solution in the basket. How wrong was I. While I suspected that Unity wouldn’t have a working, simple solution for networked change of scene (you can change the scene but it won’t do anything else so it’s not really useful, like I suspected) I would have preferred it to be somewhat less tricky.

First, I tried using the networked scene change function, this just changed the scene for all players. No avatar prefabs or networked objects would spawn.

Second, I tried additive scene change, keeping track of when the old scene was unloaded and the new one loaded. This solved the issue of having to keep track of volatile data, but meant that I couldn’t have all components needed to run the game in each scene as it would lead to duplicates.

The whole thing suddenly got very experimental, so the result probably won’t look as polished as intended towards the end. On the bright side, when this works it could be very useful for my other prototypes with several needs. On the other hand, Unity HLAPI isn’t exactly the perfect solution to begin with. It’s even deprecated as is, it’s just that the replacement is very vague.

A change of scenery

Today I managed to go through the entire scenario consisting of three scenes with a few interactions in each. This would mean that the basic technical setup is in place for the software and it’s time to polish and fill it with content.

Scenic setup

Today I browsed the asset store and my old projects to see what kind of scene I could quickly set up for our prehistoric VR escape room. When thinking of natural features which could frame the physical play area I landed in forest, a steep cliff towards the ocean and a cave.

Rockin´ Roleplay

Whenever one stands before a complex task, it’s a good idea to try and break the task down into more manageable chunks. We wish to create a multiuser VR escape room, but if we were to wait with all game design until the technology was in place with would have a huge bottleneck to deal with before we could even validate the concept.

So how can one prototype a multiuser VR escape room with minimal effort? Simple, just fake it! Today we role played being gatherers, hunters and shamans as well as the occasional, wild animal. Our tools and materials of trade were, obviously, foam with labels taped to them.