For a while I was looking for an app that will let me dance to electronic music in VR. After all – every good dance club makes a big effort to augment the music and the beat with great visual stimulus.
Oddly enough – I couldn’t find one. The best recommendations from the community were AudioShield – a musical game, and Old Friend – a VR clip that was inspiring and very funny, but not what I was looking for. So I took the opportunity to learn more about user experience in VR and built one. I call it VRave.
This is a small glimpse of the experience (in “real” it’s much more vivid). It’s very basic, but you can imagine what it can evolve to:
Everyone in the VR industry says there are no rules. “Run lots of small experiments and see what works”, they say. “Don’t get attached”, they say. So I started a “small” experiment, and ended up spending so many late night hours that I feel like I’m building a product, not an experiment. Yes, I know it’s wrong, but it’s the excitement of learning something new and so magical that makes me feel like I drank a gallon of Redbull, and I can keep going for months.
This experiment is about accurate modeling in VR. I don’t mean mesh editing, but blocks layout. If it was a product, I would imagine that you can use it to prototype an environment, or a toy, or a furniture, and then replace the blocks with detailed meshes. But it’s not a product – it’s an experiment. No attachments.
An artist uses only one hand, his dominant one, to paint. This hand always holds the tool confidently, and is always in view.
The other hand, on the other hand (not really funny, I know), does not take part in the actual painting, because the artist cannot control that non-dominant hand that well, and also because it’s almost impossible to simultaneously paint with both hands and get an accurate result. But it doesn’t mean that it has no use. Held away from view, armed with utilities, such as paint mixes, bushes, or a rag, the palette is always a glance away, and it goes hand in hand (I gotta stop this) with the dominant, tool holding hand.
Creation tools in virtual reality widely adopt this UI pattern for the same qualities it holds for the classic painter — you usually need just one hand, clear of distractions, and you have lots of other tools and options to choose from, kept in your other hand. Continue reading “VR UI Design Pattern — The Tool Palette”