The Wishtree

A social web-based virtual space to reflect on themes of the pandemic like loss, isolation and responsibility.

This was a 6-week long project completed for my Social VR class at NYU.

I was responsible for all aspects of the project (except music) - concept development, research and ideation, art style exploration, 3D asset creation, implementing WebXR API using PlayCanvas, setting up the back-end for multiplayer functionality (using and node.js), UI design, and optimizing performance for the browser.

Research & Ideation

For spatial design, I always begin ideating in Tiltbrush, making some sketches to develop a feel for the layout. Then I can determine what assets I will need and how to breakdown my production schedule.

I did extensive research on the WebXR API, WebGL and 3D rendering on the browser, tools and resources I could use, which platform to develop upon, how to implement multiplayer, hosting, and so on.

Asset Creation & Prototyping

Next steps were lo-fi prototyping using Mozilla Hubs, setting up the environment, locomotion, experimenting with player agency and social dynamics, onboarding and user experience.

Concept sketch to implementation

The virtual space consists of few monuments to represent themes of the pandemic. The number of lanterns around the tree increase based on how many people visit the space. Each lantern is placed there when a visitor answers "yes" to losing someone during the pandemic.

Read the full development process blog here.