Ohio State students will have the chance to become immersed in a new world in Sullivant Hall this week.
Students and faculty will present prototypes of augmented and virtual reality games for player feedback Thursday at “Playtest.” The event will be hosted by the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design, according to ACCAD’s website.
VR is an immersive, interactive media format usually delivered through small screens in a head-mounted display to simulate a 3D space around the user. AR uses similar technology to modify the appearance of the real world.
“The concept or idea of playtesting is crucial to the development process. The idea is to take work that’s currently in production and put that in front of testers and get feedback on it,” Scott Swearingen, an assistant professor in the Department of Design, said.
Swearingen is a faculty sponsor of the event. He has worked for game developer and publisher Electronic Arts and contributed to popular video games such as The Sims 4, The Simpsons Game and Dead Space 1 and 2.
Swearingen said player feedback is imperative in ensuring a video game communicates properly with the player.
“The game needs to talk to the player,” Swearingen said. “When I do a thing, does the game tell me that it responded? That requires a lot of finesse.”
Playtest might also serve to introduce newcomers to the unfamiliar technology of VR, Shadrick Addy, a visiting assistant professor at ACCAD, said.
“When you’re fully immersed, you are literally in this virtual world. You don’t know what to expect when you put on those goggles,” Addy said. “But with more games and experiences that are more meaningful and have been developed well, I think we can overcome that initial fear that we all have at some point when we are starting.”
Swearingen said in an email that he hopes the event will also showcase students’ abilities to create VR and AR games.
“I hope our ACCAD playtest helps to demystify the game design process by showing a variety of games midway through production,” he said in the email.
Addy said he hopes VR will be perceived as something that is tangible and present.
“VR is here,” Addy said. “It’s not an emerging technology anymore; it’s actually here.”
Playtest will take place from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday in Sullivant Hall Room 331. Admission is free and registration is requested, according to the Eventbrite.