Platform: PC, Mobile
Role: Game Design Research Assistant
Team Size: 5
A life-like virtual human that was created using a revolutionary low cost production workflow.
Note: Since this is a research project, most technical details are under NDA and cannot be posted here.
Created a demo that was shown at Siggraph 2019
Collaborated with multiple designers and the Creative Director of Cream Digital to produce VR content
Produced an efficient material creation workflow for the character in Unreal Engine
Assisted research teams with the optimizing the efficiency of their production pipeline
Developed a innovative VR interaction system using Unreal blueprints
Creating a highly realistic player controlled VR IK arm system
Communicating with various parties, both internal and external
Optimizing project for multiple platforms
Creating materials for skin and hair with an emphasis on realism
A more detailed breakdown of my design processes and techniques can be found here: Virtually Human White Paper
I implemented a 6 step process while approaching a task and this streamlined the workflow and helped me design new systems efficiently and in a short period of time.
The stakeholders wanted a very realistic interaction system, so my first step was to find out what's out there. A lot of VR games use floating hands which would not have been useful in our experience. I analyzed VR interaction systems in games such as Boneworks and Spider-Man: Far From Home VR experience and the animations/rigs implemented in UFC 2 and For Honor.
Image obtained from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onuEJPDUdJs
Image obtained from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8a1BAolFIk
Implementing the interaction system involved experimenting with various IK nodes in Unreal Engine and improving it by adding various joint deformation nodes. It took me 1 month to create and iterate on the system. Iteration was based on feedback from design leads and the Creative Director of Cream Digital.
The last part of this process was adding multiple corrective blendshapes to the arms so that they do not deform in a strange way. I created 4 types of blendshapes that were activated when certain joints rotated past a threshold. This is what it looks like when it is slowed down.
To make sure that the experience was playable on PC and mobile (Oculus Quest) platforms, I had to ensure that it always ran at an excess of 80 FPS. Many techniques were used to achieve this including replacing shadows with decals, using emissive materials instead of lights and compressing media files.
All these techniques helped bring the lag down to 7ms and boosted the FPS to ~85 creating a smooth and artifact-free experience.
What did I learn from this?
Research is extremely important when coming up with techniques to create interaction systems
Optimizing content for VR platforms is very difficult and requires meticulous attention to what's happening in the level
Working with blueprints!
Compressing media to take up less memory space
Meeting hard deadlines
Working with stakeholders and constantly re-prioritizing tasks
Want to know more?
Visit the Cream Digital project page
Visit the websites of the companies I worked with