Recently I finished up working on The Madison VR Experience at AVR which the team and I have been cooking up for the past five months. It’s great to be able to start giving the project some air time and showcase the effort on the team’s part as it's been a challenging development process for all of us involved. We were tasked with creating a VR experience for The Madison, a new residential tower in Canary Wharf, to immerse potential buyers in an accurate virtual representation of the finished building from apartments to available amenities. There were a number of challenges on the project from the scale of what we needed to produce, a changing team and my own role expanding over the course of production.
The Madison is the largest VR experience we’ve produced at AVR, something like seven different virtual spaces with features such as changing from day to night and other user interactions. These have been interesting hurdles to overcome and learn from over the past months, the answer not always being an easy one or simple to reach. I feel my role has evolved from mainly being responsible for the project's visuals and asset creation to a wider involvement across the whole of production. There's been a large part of my time developing features and growing my technical understanding of lighting and Blueprinting in Unreal. In general I've become more responsible for building the underlying systems and features in the simulation. This expands into the project's User Experience (UX), thinking about how the end-user explores and interacts with the simulation and trying to design an intuitive and engaging experience. This has meant developing a User Interface (UI) and the journey the end-user will have in the VR head-set.
With my role shifting to what I feel is a broader one on projects my general responsibilities on the team have also changed. As team members have left and new ones join I've stepped up in the managerial side of things, helping to run projects, pitch to potential clients and making sure the other artists and the VR department are running smoothly. This has given me more agency in the office and the ability to be able to have a greater voice in the direction of the team and our projects.
The Madison has ultimately been a huge learning experience for me creatively and professionally. I've come out of it with a greater competence ofUnreal Engine and content creation for VR. As I branch out further with UX and UI design, elements I believe should be core to what we create, I feel we have a lot of room to improve out workflow and end VR experiences. As a team I believe we’ve hit a benchmark with this project and looking forward that leaves me super excited about the potential we have and the momentum going into the next projects. Both personally and as a team there's a lot I feel we've gained from The Madison which has left me confident in out ability to create, what I hope are, industry leading VR experiences in the architectural sector.