MAAD is a mixed reality installation that blends the physical and virtual environment through the use of material elements, lights, and puzzles. Following the classic Hero's Journey archetype, the experience focuses on an Alien named Adam to play the role as a guardian/guide. Through Adam's help the player, who takes the role of hero, solves various puzzles on a physical Rubik's cube to restore the Power of Transformation back to Earth.
My primary role in MAAD was to develop the virtual and the physical environments in such a way that the technological aspects of the piece were integrated into the storytelling creating a seamless experience for the participants.
After writing the linear narrative and the possible interactions with the team, I designed the physical play area. The space was a 10' x 10' x 10' blue cloth cube that allowed us to control the light in the environment.
Then, I designed a walking layout and mapped the possible locations of the participants through the experience. In collaboration with the rest of the team, we placed the audiovisual story cues that played in the Hololens headset.
In addition to low polygon meshes and joint based animation, there were specific spatial requirements for Hololens to function properly, like a minimum amount of light to map the space at all times, and a static starting point for the experience.
The search for the sweet spot between the needs for the technology to work consistently and the designed elements needed to create a really immersive experience for the participants became a central challenge on the project.
The world of MAAD was the one of a sophisticated, advanced form of life that had mastery over the elements of the world. To communicate this visually we:
All the elements designed in 3D had a particular Low Poly requirement. In design terms it meant that I had to build assets in which I could use rhomboids instead of spheres and hexagonal tubes instead of circular tubes. Finally, all the animation had to be Joint based for them to translate to Hololens correctly.
One of our main objectives working on MAAD was to create an experience that wasn't just bells and whistles around the technology, but that engaged the user in the same way that traditional film-making does it. I think that in task I had, the two main components that helped to achieve that objective were :