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Rapid Prototyping Projects with CapitolaVR: Car Customization and Driving

Rapid Prototyping Projects with CapitolaVR: Car Customization and Driving

Editor’s Note: In this weekly column, David Robustelli will breakdown the latest rapid prototype he and his team at CapitolaVR have created for VR and/or AR. They are responsible for games like Duckpocalypse as well as prototype projects such as HoloLens Golf, Gear VR Mirroring, and Pokemon GO for HoloLens. Check back each weekend for new prototypes!

CapitolaVR is working with a “rapid prototype” strategy. Developers can invest 20% to 30% of their time in creating their own VR or AR ideas. Each week a team presents their work and based on feedback the prototype may be further developed.

With the latest prototype the team’s goal was to explore the possibilities with an augmented reality car customization system. We experimented a lot with the interaction and how to show the info and features of the car. Interaction was one of the biggest challenges and we tried over 20 different menu’s before we had something we thought could actually work. Also, as the car model was created with specific shaders and we had to be sure the HoloLens could handle it visually which wasn’t always the case. With some downgrading we made it work without losing too much of the visual quality.

Another big challenge was driving the car, we tried multiple types of controlling the car. One option we explored was controlling the car with voice commands telling to slow down or speed up and take a left or right turn. Although it was highly entertaining, we felt the user lacked the precision needed to make the car go where the user wanted it to. Another less user intensive driving mode we explored was making the car drive on its own using pathfinding algorithms to avoid obstacles. That was fun to see but obviously lacked user interaction. In the end we settled on a marker system, the user can place multiple markers and the car will drive through them sequentially. This gives the user a lot of precision to control the car while not having to micromanage the car each second.

This is a guest contribution by David Robustelli, Head of Digital at CapitolaVR

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