Beat the Hustler: Immersive 360 VR Street Con Experience
"Beat the Hustler: A VR Street Con" is an innovative 360 VR experience designed to immerse players in the role of a tourist engaged in the classic shell game. Set in a bustling street environment, players are challenged to track a ball hidden under a cup. Unbeknownst to them, a team of pickpockets is simultaneously working the crowd, adding complexity to the experience. The project's ambition lay in creating a realistic, interactive scenario that captures the essence of street hustling, while integrating the latest VR technology to provide a seamless and engaging user experience.
As the Technical Lead and Software Engineer for this project, I was responsible for the transformation of 360-degree footage into an interactive VR experience. The process began with careful storyboarding and test shooting at The Guardian, followed by filming near Tower Bridge using the experimental Google GoPro Odyssey camera rig.
In the VR environment, players find themselves as the "mark" in the street con, tasked with locating the hidden ball and identifying the stealthy pickpockets. To achieve this, I utilized Unity software, combining 360 video with real-time 3D interactions. This setup enabled users to actively participate in the shell game and detect pickpockets, thereby enhancing the realism of the experience.
I employed the DayDream SDK and PlayMaker middleware to facilitate smooth transitions between video and interactive choices, creating an immersive experience. Players interact with the VR environment using the Daydream controller, allowing them to point and engage with elements within the 360 video.
To further elevate the experience, the game incorporated spatial audio and meticulously edited videos, ensuring fluid scene transitions. The involvement of several actors, who were directed to recreate an authentic hustle performance, was crucial in making the user feel truly present in the game.
This project showcases my skills in learning and using new technology, from editing 360-degree footage to crafting interactive, immersive experiences using Unity, DayDream SDK, and PlayMaker middleware.