Gamers have long dreamt of being able to immerse themselves into games, and this dream has been become increasingly more a reality as technology and gaming expands. Virtual Reality has been slowly growing and is destined to revolutionize gaming as we know it.
Lawrence Kimsey, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, created the Virtual Reality Project to do just that—create a whole new world and build an interactive experience. The Virtual Reality Project was started by Kimsey a year ago as a subset of the Space Broncos team with the goal to build a simulation of Mars colonization.
“A lot of people don’t care about space because we aren’t going to go there,” Kimsey said. “What virtual reality allows people to do is go to places they may not otherwise be able to, like Mars. We want to give people a reason to be hyped about space.”
Justina Freilich, a junior materials science major, is the president of the Space Broncos. She also wants to push the accessibility of getting to space.
“We feel like space exploration is very exclusive, and we don’t want it to be that way,” Freilich said. “There are a lot of roles in getting people to space, and I don’t think students see enough of the diversity in space exploration. We want to bring a little more of that.”
Currently, Kimsey is having trouble finding funding, which would have greatly affected the final product he was able to produce. Without proper funding, the final potential of the game would have been greatly limited.
“Without some processing trickery, we couldn’t get the game file small enough to fit,” Kimsey said. “We aren’t some cool game developers with years of experience in optimization.”
Kimsey wants to transform his “experience” to make it involve some interactivity, but as of right now, he doesn’t have enough personnel to achieve this goal.
“A lot of us are engineers which it makes it tricky when it comes to artsy thing,” Kimsey said. “We need to find asset designers. We borrow a lot and try to make our own, but they aren’t quite as good as if we had someone who knows 3D modeling. So we are always trying to get someone with experience with Maya or similar programs.”
Kimsey also mentioned how it can be tough to get people to sign onto a project rather than a social club.
“Recruitment can be kind of hard. Not everyone wants to join a project. I’m an engineer, I want to be in a project,” Kimsey said. “I want to apply my knowledge and skills to learn something practical. Having a project is a great way to do that.”
The virtual reality team will be showcasing their Mars experience March 24-25 at HackFort. Hackfort, which is the technology branch of Treefort, costs $20 dollars for the full weekend. This event is being hosted at the JUMP facility downtown.
Students interested in learning more can email Lawrence at firstname.lastname@example.org or show up to the Space Broncos meetings on Mondays and Fridays in the Engineering Building.