Developing a 3D virtual geology field trip in Unity 3D: reflection of our experiences

Minocha, Shailey (2014). Developing a 3D virtual geology field trip in Unity 3D: reflection of our experiences. In: Virtual Worlds - Best Practices in Education (VWBPE), Connections, 9-12 Apr 2014, Second Life and OS (OpenSimulator Grid).

URL: http://vwbpe.org/ai1ec_event/developing-a-3d-virtu...

Abstract

As a part of The OpenScience Laboratory(<http://www.open.ac.uk/researchprojects/open-science/>), an initiative of The Open University, UK and The Wolfson Foundation, we have developed a 3D simulation of a Geology field trip (<https://learn5.open.ac.uk/course/format/sciencelab/section.php?name=skiddaw_1>), using the Unity 3D software (<https://unity3d.com/>). The learning activities within the 3D App are designed to mirror the experience of a real field trip. The design and development of the 3D App has involved people with diverse skills in a University environment while working closely with an external developer who brought in Unity and 3D modeling skills.

I will reflect on the design and development process and focus on: processes and technologies utilized for team-working (the university team and developers were not co-located); challenges faced by the educational researcher to ‘convince’ the team about moving to a 3D environment; gaps between the designer’s model and the developer’s perception of user interface design; integrating principles of user experience; controlling the ‘requirements-creep’; and the realization that many of the Second Life features can’t be replicated in Unity. At the end of my presentation, I will present a set of ‘guiding’ tips for colleagues who may be involved in the design and development of similar educational 3D projects. The 3D App is not yet available in the public domain. So, a couple of YouTube videos (each of 3-4 minutes long) will be demonstrated in-world during the presentation.

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