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  • Writer's pictureBrittany Blair

VR Map Update


This project has gone through some interesting design changes since the last update was posted in October. By November the Visual Effects for the wand had been added, complete with a magical trail, and the ability to shoot magic from the tip of the wand. The tarot deck prototype was completed and now allows for cards to be selected by shooting magic with the wand.

In December The environment for the Magic shop was re-designed, modeled, and implemented in VR. I also began working on a prototype for casting spells to determine which suit of cards would spawn in the tarot deck. Starting this January I am working on prototyping the UI/UX interactions, and the process for completing an order. This updated blog is going to review changes to the environment specifically, and the art direction moving forward.

Project Trello Update January 2022

New Environment Design

After working in the previous environment for some time, I began to feel as though it was not quite the best layout for the design. My close friend who had been assisting me in designing the environment, created a few mood boards for the environment that inform the building's history, the shop itself, and the art style. With those mood boards, we came up with an improved layout for the shop.

Mood Boards

Magic Shoppe VR Mood Board/ reference Images - Hannah DiGirolamo

The art for the game is inspired by watercolor illustrations and modern witchy aesthetics. The board shown here is representative of the overall art direction. This art style is defined by soft lighting, cluttered interior spaces, and gradient shading with a low level of textural detail mainly presented through brush strokes.

There were two color themes researched. The first was an Antique theme with strong warm tones and a 'dark academia' aesthetic. The second was a Dreamy theme with vibrant pastel tones and a 'vaporwave' aesthetic. The decided upon a theme is the Dreamy theme, With further introspection into a 'Millennial Pink' or Vaporwave early tech aesthetic. This color theme will be integrated with the design era of the late 90's - 2005. this color theme is displayed as the first image in the gallery above.

The Shape language of the assets, textures, UI/UX, amongst other art features. Takes inspiration from color paintings and is heavily inspired by 90's era Japanese animation. More specifically the 'Magical Girl' genre of Japanese anime. The shape language Mood board is the Second Image in the gallery above.

The remaining mood boards in the gallery are for various areas of the game such as the Loft, workspace, front of the shop, fireplace, etc. Along with the mood boards, Hannah also put together our Creative Design Document where each of these design elements is explained in detail.

Layout & Map Changes

Our first version of the map had a few interesting design features that we decided to keep. However, the placement of various areas of the map needed to change in order to make the space more realistic, and create the right mood for the game.

Environment Map Adjustments

Take a look at the first image in the gallery above. We started by looking at our original map. We decided to keep the general shape of the building and make it a bit larger to accommodate the various areas of the map. The loft was raised to utilize the map space below it, and the design of the stairs has been altered as well. To keep the loft feeling comfortable in VR we raised the height of the building.

The third image in the gallery above details the new layout of the map. The Fireplace has been moved to the back of the shop, and in addition, the fireplace has two openings and seating areas. The chimney now acts as a support beam connecting the loft to the first floor and the roof. The staircase to the loft is now in a subtle wedge shape, which creates an interesting effect when viewed in perspective. The Main workstation now resembles more of a bar counter, with an enclosed workspace. There are also 3 bookshelves behind the counter. The shop area now has shelving and racks along the front right-hand side of the store and stretches down to the middle of the building.

The final image shown in the gallery is the new map space blocked out to scale, showcasing a view from the front right of the shop, to the back left.

Environment Blocking

The adjustments made to the final environment drastically improve the design of the space. This new design feels far more comfortable to view in VR and it helps to bring more personality and character to the space.

Environment Blocking Screenshots

Closing Remarks

Though the process for this project's development has been a learning curve, It has also been a ton of fun to work on. I'm very happy with this new environment design and I am looking forward to seeing the final art in here at some point.

The gameplay is coming along well, and though I don't want to put a date on anything I am hopeful that I can get this project to a point of testing this spring. I will be publishing another update in the near future to address the changes made to the gameplay mentioned in the summary portion of this blog post.


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