Project 1 - In Your Room

Due 9/25 at 8:59pm Chicago time

Project 1 focuses on the creation of a simple immersive environment to give everyone some experience with Unity and the VIVE in creating a human scale scene experienced from the 'inside out'. This project will allow you to experience how a virtual space 'feels' compared to a real space of the same dimensions, and compare different methods of navigating around that space. It will also give you experience building these kinds of experiences and to see how physics works in them.

This project can be done either as an individual project or in a group of 2 or 3. The requirements below are per person, so if you are in a two person team you need to double these requirements.
As soon as you have formed your group send an email to andy so he can approve it.

What are you building?

Tech startups are known for having a very different 'office' culture compared to older companies, including some very creative working spaces for their employees (foosball tables, climbing walls, shuffleboard courts, zen gardens, ball pits, espresso machines, etc.). To help you prepare for this future, you will take a 3D model of the classroom space and redecorate it to turn it into your ideal office area.

The space must include several desks for people to work at, wall decorations, a meeting area, and be decorated in some kind of a consistent style. You can not change the location of the doors, height of the ceiling, or the locations of any walls. You can remove the tables, the big tiled display, and the chairs. The space you create should contain nothing offensive - i.e. your parents and your clients should be able to visit your office.

The space should include ambient audio as well as audio that is triggered by the user moving near an object or touching it.

You should be able to walk around the space, so make sure you leave enough space between the furniture.

The space should have appropriate lighting and the user should have control over that lighting.

Implementing the Project

You can start with the general model of the lab (mostly the main lab and the classroom). It has many models created by Arthur Nishimoto, as well as freely licensed furniture models, and one sound from This project also has two different navigation modes - one, Interact with Keyboard,  for use with keyboard and mouse for testing, and the other, Interact with Wands, allowing you to teleport with one wand or fly around the scene with the other in VR. Both allow you to pick up the evl mugs in the scene to interact with them. Be sure to activate the appropriate control scheme in the inspector and deactivate the one you are not going to use.

The sample project file to get you started can be found  here

Move the zip file to your computer, unzip it in some appropriate place, start up Unity, and open that folder as an existing project.

Running the project you should start out in a virtual version of the classroom.

Project 1 starter scene

With the keyboard controls active, the text overlay will tell you how to navigate with the keyboard and mouse. With the Wand interaction active for the VIVE you can use the large circular area on top of one controller as a D-pad to move forward / backward or to turn left / right, and pressing on that same area on the other controller will allow you to teleport in the classroom and the main lab. The trigger on each wand will allow you to pick up the evl mugs scattered in each room. In the classroom you should hear some typing in the center of the room.

To get a C on the project ...

To get a B you need to add ...

To get an A you need to add ...

Graduate students in the class also need to create 5 additional models of their own.

Be careful when you are collecting or creating models for your space as the polygons start to add up and you want to make sure you maintain a good interactive frame rate in stereo on the classroom VIVE PC

Also, keep in mind that your objects can be at different scales - some of them might be the size of tables that help fill the space but others might be smaller objects on a table.

Note that there is a big difference between getting something working and getting it working well. The first is not that hard. The second takes much more time. You are expected to have things working well, so be sure to test on the actual hardware regularly.

Testing the Project

The classroom should be free for testing on Tuesdays after 4, and most of the day on Friday. If there is no one in the classroom then try knocking on 2028 ERF or 2032 ERF. The PC in the classroom should automatically reboot into the account for the class.

Note that if you are running OS-X and like to run the latest OS that Unity is not happy with High-Sierra, or in particular with the new file system that came along with it. If you try and load a unity project from the new APFS (2017) file system it will seem to be missing all its assets. If you try and load the same files from the older file system or even EXFAT then things are fine. If you try to download new assets (like re-importing steamvr then they will not get imported, even if you run unity from a partition using the older file system. Presumably there will be fixes for this soon, but will probably only apply to the current Unity3D builds.

If you try to run your project on the classroom PC and it doesn't start up in VR mode (i.e. you have no head tracking) check a couple things:
1 - you should have the keyboard interaction turned off and the wand interaction turned on with the checkboxes in the IDE
2 - make sure the data folder for your executable has a Plugins folder with openvr_api.dll included inside. If not you can copy one from the 491 unity executable on the desktop.

Sound on the VIVE / front wall is controlled from the Alienware PC that the VIVE is connected to. If you don't hear any audio coming throuhg the room speakers then check to make sure that the audio on the PC is going to Speakers (2 - ClearOne Converge Pro 2 128U... and then you can use the volume control on the top of the keyboard to control the levels.

Turning in the Project

When you are ready to turn in your project, or just to test it on the classroom PC, build an executable for target platform windows x86_64. The classroom VIVE PC will have a folder on the desktop named 491VRAR_Project 1. You should create a folder there with a filename matching your name or the name of someone in your group. Inside your groups folder you should put a copy of the executable and the data folder for your project. Be sure to test and make sure your project runs well through the VIVE and its controllers on that PC as that is where they will be shown in class and officially graded.

You should create a set of public web pages (available to anyone for at least the duration of the course) that describe your work on the project. You can host your web pages at UIC ( or the provider of your choice, as long as they remain publicly available to all. You can use any publicly available templates as long as you cite them, or create your own.

These pages should include:

all of which should have plenty of screenshots with meaningful captions. Web pages like this can be very helpful later on in helping you build up a portfolio of your work when you start looking for a job so please put some effort into it.

You should also create a 2-3 minute YouTube video showing the use of your application including narration with decent audio quality. That video should be in a very obvious place on your main project web page. The easiest way to do this is to interact with your application in the classroom in front of the main wall or the EVL main lab in front of the screen showing what you are seeing - this way people watching can see you interacting and what you are seeing. You can try to narrate while interacting but you will most likely find its useful to do some editing afterwards to tighten the video up.

The web page including screen snapshots and video need to be done by the deadline so be sure to leave enough time to get that work done. Once you have your webpage done, send the URL to Andy before the deadline. I will respond to this email as your 'receipt'. I will be linking your web page to the course notes so please send me a nice representative jpg or png image of your application for the web. This should be named p1.<your_last_name>.jpg or p1.<your_last_name>.png and be roughly 1024 x 768 in size.

When the project is done, each person in a group should also send Andy a private email with no one else CC'd ranking your coworkers and yourself on the project on a scale from 1 (low) to 5 (high) in terms of how good a coworker they were on the project. If you never want to work with them again, give them a 1. If this person would be a first choice for a partner on a future project then give them a 5. If they did what was expected but nothing particularly good or bad then give them a 3. By default your score should be 3 unless you have a particular reason to increase or decrease the number. Please confine your responses to 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and no 1/3ds or .5s please.

Presenting the Project

An important part of creating VR applications is getting feedback and using it to improve your design.

We will be spending time in class for each person/group to show off their work. Given the number of groups, each group will have 6 minutes to present their project.


Amico, Simone

Foglio, Matteo

Milanta, Andrea
Choh, Timothy

Poulos, George

Zalenski, Edmond
Monna, Giovanni

Marcantoni, Francesco

Mantovani, Francesco
Pandiarajan, Vasanth

Arisetty, Bhargav
Kaushik, Debojit

Bhoi, Amlaan



Kirilov, Dimitar

Kupiec, Bartosz
Jyothula, Sai Priya

Sakhnini, Nina


Alsaiari, Abeer link
Alvarez, Aldo link
Auza, Jamie link
Burks, Kandyce link

Choi, Jae Rim link


Cueto, Janelle link


Di, Lei link


Donayre, Jared
Galante, Joseph
Hanula, Peter link
Hopp, Jonathan link
Joshi, Sandeep link
Le, Cang link


Leonova, Vitaliya link
Lindmae, Isabel link
Mascarenhas, Glenn link


Melo, Stephanie link
Mirza, Lubna link

Mohammad, Ibrahiem link
Rane, Sandeep link


Salinas, Ana link


Tran, Jonathan link
Belde, Srujan

last updated 10/18/17 - updated project links

 9/21/17 - added information on audio output from the PC

added time for in-class presentations

9/15 added notes on high-sierra incompatibilities and making sure you have the openvr_api.dll in your Plugins folder
9/9 added in brief notes on testing times in the classroom, and suggestions on different scale objects

note that if you are seeing a red openvr_api warning when you try to run using just the keyboard and mouse, that it should still run fine, but the application may be paused at the top of the window, so if you click the pause button you should get control.

also note that if you keep getting an alert from SteamVR about the splash screen that this link might help you -