3rd Year Student
This project involves making a VR experience using Unity and the Occulus Quest 2. My group's chosen experience was an Asian night market that focuses on destigmatizing Asian food through exposure.
Night Market VR is an interactive first-person virtual reality game for anyone interested in learning about Asian culture and food. The game is set in an Asian night market where the player will be tasked with running a small food stand in a relaxing atmosphere.
Night Market VR attempts to introduce users to Asian foods they may have not seen before and attempts to help enhance the understanding of Asian culture to fight the stigma against Asian foods through exposure. It also aims to create an appreciation for small business goods by encouraging people to understand the challenges behind the scenes of a small food stand.
Players experience a loop of making food, selling food, and buying things in the market. Our current project focuses on the making and selling part of the game. The player will receive tasks of cooking four kinds of traditional Chinese skewers. To complete the tasks, the player must pay attention to the order and cooking time.
Professor Shadrick Addy | Director
Melina Oliver | Visual Communication Design | Character, Sound, Environment Design
Min Liu| Design MFA Candidate | Game Items & Animation Design
Wenxin Du | PhD in Statistics | Interactivity Design & Development
When designing the interactive objects in the game, we choose the most representative foods and items in Chinese barbecue stands. The four kinds of skewers are chicken hearts, lamb, lotus roots, and Chinese chives. The bamboo basket, packing box, and order pad also have strong Chinese features, which contribute to the sense of reality and immersion of the experience.
In terms of the sound of the experience, we applied an ambient sound with crowded noises and bright Chinese style background music. We also inserted different sounds of making and selling food that the players can trigger in the interactive experience.
Environment & Characters
We based our environment layout on real images of Asian markets. We based our aesthetics on cartoon-style games like animal crossing and Mineko’s Night Market. We chose a color palette that had shades of purple associated with nighttime and shades of green to add a lively tone. For the inside of the stand, we knew we wanted it to be a small space, like the size of a real food stand. Inside the stand, we created a shelf for the food baskets, a shelf for the cooked food, and a grill. With this setup, the player would have a clear definition of where the raw, uncooked food was, where to cook the raw food, and where to put the cooked food. The scene also contains warm, ambient lighting like a real night market while also providing the player with a cozy atmosphere as intended. As for the characters, we chose characters from Mixamo that I believed fit the scene. I relied more on characters that had a cartoon-like appearance while trying to only put realistic figures when necessary.
Gameplay Design & Coding
We used C# in Unity for the development of scripted interactions and events. The interactions in the game can be split into two parts,
1) natural and realistic cooking procedures
2) experience-specific gameplay design. We attempt to reflect the process of skewers being cooked on a grill through changes in materials, sound, and smoke effects.
The gameplay design focuses on three points,
1) the player receives a randomly chosen food order,
2) checking the prepared food match the order received,
3) natural interactions with the environment, such as food getting dirty when dropped on the floor.
The player is able to move by using the joystick or physically moving around the space. Because the food stand is meant to be a realistic scale, the player is able to move around the entire food stand in the 6.5ft by 6.5ft square the Guardian Boundary requires.
Unfamiliarity with Unity and C# scripting was the main challenge we encountered during the development of this game. We had to repeatedly refine our expectations and interaction designing ideas to develop achievable yet smooth and relatively complete gameplay. Given the short amount of time we had, our group members worked hard, self-taught C# scripting, and made outstanding progress to overcome the limitations in scripting knowledge.
Conclusion & Future Implications
Future aims for interactivity design may focus on improving and designing more detailed, smoother, and more realistic interactions. We would also expand the game to include NPC and multiplayer interactions, turning the experience into an open-world game. Overall, our slice of the game includes all the important aspects of our intended experience which includes being exposed to unfamiliar Asian foods, being able to make food, and being able to “sell” food.