Space Apps

This year, I took part in The 7th Annual NASA Space Apps Challenge and in the 24 hours we had available to us, we produced Valiant, an immersive virtual reality experience that we created to help showcase the future of lunar exploration and habitation. You can read the full blog post here – but here’s our creation.

Note: Audio transcript & video captions coming soon!

This is Valiant, an immersive virtual reality experience that we created to help showcase the future of lunar exploration and habitation. Virtual reality has already been used to bring the surfaces of the Moon and Mars into our homes, showing us landers, rovers and fascinating landscapes. We wanted to explore the future of our presence in the solar system – we wanted to immerse the player in their own lunar expedition.

With NASA and SpaceX ideas for lunar habitation inspiring us, we decided to show the journey an Explorer would take from arrival on the Moon, exploration of the landscape, right down to the descent into a skylight and into the depths of a lava-formed cavern. Using NASA 3D models, we implemented tasters of the possibilities of lunar habitation – transport, science and even homes, all explained through a futuristic user interface attached to the virtual hand.

To create our world, we created our own environment and models using Blender, of which we also used for all non-NASA 3D model creation. These were then textured using a combination of Adobe Photoshop and Substance Painter 2 and added to the virtual environment. Unity was then used to bring all elements together and create a playable, interactive landscape for the HTC Vive.

To demonstrate this virtual reality experience we decided to make use of mixed reality, through use of a green screen and a camera, meaning others can see the Explorer as they travel throughout the environment.

Results:

We were awarded ‘Best Use of Hardware’ and have been submitted to the global judging round. We’ll find out in early December if we’re through to the top 30!