Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Walking Through A Virtual Gallery

Kevin Curtis


W.A.S.P. Deviations is an online art gallery, it provides a place for fans of the rock group W.A.S.P. to submit fan art and view artwork submitted from around the world. Recently its users had been calling out for the ability to view their artwork in new ways such as a realistic feeling Virtual Environment (VE).
The aim of this dissertation was to produce a VE for W.A.S.P. Deviations that created a sense of realism and to find out how various techniques made the experience of walking through a VE more realistic.
To solve the problem research was made into the techniques that make virtual environments realistic. Based on that research a unique new piece of software has been produced called the 'W.A.S.P. Deviations Virtual Gallery' containing some of the techniques. The VE was created within the ‘Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate Edition’ integrated development environment (IDE) using the C/C++ language and OpenGL/GLUT (OpenGL Utility Toolkit)


The software which was delivered to the user base on April 15th 2011 successfully managed to capture a realistic feel satisfying the main aim of the project. The software allows users to walk through the VE experiencing techniques such as sound, lighting, collision detection and movement and provides a level of interactivity with their artwork that they were not accustomed to before. The project to date has been downloaded over 400 times and is now an on-going project which will be expanded with more and more features as time passes.


The contribution this project brought to the field includes bringing a new rewarding experience to some users who hadn't had hands on experience with a VE before. The project captured their experiences with the different techniques implemented via a questionnaire and compared them with users who have used a VE before giving the possibility of gathering new information. The results showed:


A realistic feeling virtual environment was successfully created with the techniques implemented.



How the techniques used had an effect on the level of realism/immersion experienced within the VE. (For example testing the VE on users when collision detection was not fine-tuned with walls/objects. Then going on to note the differences with the experience had via various graphs compared to when it was fine-tuned. This testing was carried out for various techniques used within the project.)
Various differences of opinion between users who have not used a VE before, those who have and also those who work with them every day professionally.


Keep up with development of the ‘W.A.S.P. Deviations Virtual Gallery’ here:
Official Website/Home Of W.A.S.P. Deviations: http://wasp-deviations.deviantart.com/
Official Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/W.A.S.P.Deviations




Website screen capture:




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    The contents are the opinion of the author(s) and not necessarily the view of the University of Northampton.