Guest Blogger: Dr. Toni Pence, Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science, UNCW
On April 10, UNCW will be hosting the 15th annual Wilmington Information Technology eXchange Conference (WITX). WITX brings together students, faculty, staff and local information technology professionals to share their experiences and demonstrate their leading technology endeavors. During the conference, students from the CSC 475: Virtual Reality for Digital Storytelling course will demo their semester-long virtual reality projects. This year, we will have five invigorating virtual reality experiences for conference attendees to enjoy.
The VR experiences this year include:
- The Great Escape: An exciting game where the user is kidnapped in a parking garage and taken to a secret location. The user wakes up and has to overcome obstacles in order to escape the facility.
- Bartholomew’s Big Adventure: A magical game where a 10 year old boy is trying to use a spell book he found to help him with his chores, inadvertently shrinking himself!
- Masquerade Murder: A “Clue” based game where a murder has taken place in a mysterious mansion during a masquerade ball and the user is trying to figure out who the murderer is before getting killed.
- Amadien Battle: A fantasy, coming-of-age game where the main character has been kidnapped by aliens and the player must rescue their leader.
- Scary Ski Escape: An intense game where a skier get stranded on a ski lift alone and has to figure out how to survive. The skier faces imminent death from not just the cold, but hungry wolves!
All of our projects will run on the HTC VIVE head-mounted display, allowing users to be immersed into vivid fantasy worlds where they can explore and interact with the environment and characters.
Over the past five years, virtual reality has evolved largely in part to the recent advances in technology and the decline in consumer prices, making VR more accessible to the masses. Virtual reality is seeing a lot of traction for gaming, filmmaking and other entertainment areas, but there is potential for virtual reality to expand to other markets. For instance, we could explore a house we want to build in virtual reality before we even break ground! These changes to the VR market have allowed us to easily bring it into the classroom – students are able to build a full virtual reality experience in about 12 weeks (or only one semester), when in the past it would take years and an extremely high level of technical experience.
Other WITX workshops and presentation topics this year include BlockChain, Hyperconvergence and Cloud Computing, Security and Cyber Defense, and more.