Inspiration Behind The Project
After presenting my project Neon Bullet at the 2018 MassDigi Awards, I received constructive feedback on how my presentation to judges could have been more polished. Wishing I heard this feedback earlier but admitting that I didn’t spend enough time on this presentation, I looked for a way to get instantaneous feedback on presentations by friends colleagues. The closest free solution I found was sharing the presentation on Google Slides with friends, but that didn’t help me practice the presentation in front of these friends.
The weekend after the 2018 MassDigi event, I embarked on a personal weekend-like game jam to see if I could find a solution to my problem. The result was Pitch Master VR, a tool that converts any PDF into a VR canvas that can be drawn on or highlighted using user controls. Users can also set up a “house” that hosts friends and family in a multiplayer VR space.
Development Process & Takeaways
As this was a weekend project, many of the features are in-progress, but hold promise. The trickiest part of the project was converting PDF files into something that Unity3D understands as a malleable object. I ended up using GhostScript C# libraries to handle the conversion work, and output any PDF into a series of raw images, which then compiles into a presentation folder and is easily sourced for the user to switch between slides.
Because these slides are now represented as image objects in Unity, technically the canvas can be rotated, scaled, and reposition like any other object, as well as duplicated for multiplayer use (think of each member in a party accessing their own copy of the slides in the presentation). The other challenge was navigating local files, but using generated lists and simple UI objects, a user can navigate to any file on their local machine.
In this short VR project, the biggest takeaway was thinking about what specific problem am I trying to solve, what different ways can this problem be solved, and how other tools solve problems fill indirectly related to the core issue.