I had gotten myself really stuck in to this project, when I fell ill. Again. This time around I was particularly frustrated by it, because I was pretty much halfway there with where I wanted to be, with a plan in mind and the end in sight. My app had the potential to be really cool, or at least to be part of a learning process. But I just wasn’t able to finish it for the deadline. You can’t argue with a vomiting bug, you just have to take bed rest and wait it out, which is what I did. Still sad that my project work is being affected for the second time this year.
Nonetheless, only a bad artist will allow such things to get in their way. This was a barrier to my finishing the project, but I can still describe where I hoped for it to go. Through the week I had been busily scribbling down ideas in my sketchbook. I drew out a rough user-journey type storyboard, imagining my target audience as a person browsing the supermarket with a smartphone in hand.
I realised that this situation was a little fanciful; when someone is browsing a shop, they’re pretty unlikely to get their phone out and start opening apps, especially unprompted. They probably just want to walk in, buy what they want, and walk out again as quickly as possible. I still wanted to keep the part where the dead bird was augmented at the user’s feet, but otherwise, I had a few changes. I drew a new storyboard, this time trying to make the situation a bit more likely.
This time, the idea is that a user might download this app because it is associated with Coca Cola, a brand they enjoy. They will install the app, and launch it to see what it’s about. The app will prompt them to point their phone at a bottle; upon detecting the logo, they will then be prompted to look down (if necessary). At their feet, a dead albatross will be shown. This should be a life-sized scale – the bird would have a wingspan just a little taller than a human. The user would be able to walk all around the space to view the entire length of the bird on the ground. After the bird has been displayed, a message would appear, to explain to the user what they are seeing and what the significance is.
I think the second version seems more realistic, also it is also not perfect. Really, this is the sort of thing you have to test out on a real person, to observe how they would react. I had also prepared a handful of questions, and had planned to seek out some Coca Cola consumers to answer these. There were just a few questions, mainly to gage their reaction to the concept for my app, and to decide whether or not I needed to make some changes. Coca Cola customers would be my target audience with this app; the idea is to raise awareness around the impact Coca Cola has upon the oceans, and to make sure their customer base is aware of this damage.
Thus far, I had gotten to the stage of putting my app onto an Android device. When pointed at the Coca Cola logo, a 3D model of a bird appears. This is primitive, but communicates my concept to a degree. The next stage I was planning to work on was to make the bird appear on the ground, in a fixed position. I had watched a couple of YouTube tutorials and was about to start experimenting with the new Ground Plane features in Vuforia before I fell ill. If I was to progress towards my finished project, the next step would be to have the ground plane fully operational, to add messages onto the user’s screen at the correct moments, and to create the 3D model of the albatross.
I had thought about making a scaled down version of an albatross using clay, in physical form, so that I could sculpt something very raw and free flowing – something artistic and passionate rather than perfectly representative. I just wanted the idea dead bird to be communicated, otherwise it could be somewhat abstract. Once I had sculpted this model, I would use a software called Photoscan to capture a 3D image of the clay and convert this into a digital model. I would then scale the model up in size so that it was life sized. Although a bit of a convoluted process, this would give me the opportunity to learn Photoscan, a new software to me, but more importantly, it would give my 3D model a far more organic feel than if I had modelled it using CAD software. Realistically, I doubt that I would have been able to achieve all this in the timescale given, however with unlimited time this is definitely where I would have taken the project.
Although I didn’t manage to get this app completed, I did thoroughly enjoy the work that went into it, and would absolutely love to use Unity (and Vuforia) more for future projects. I think that Unity is surprisingly easy to use, once you get used to the interface, and it makes a lot of things possible even with a limited skill set. Definitely a useful tool.
I have shared my progress on the app below. This is very much a primitive, behind the scenes version, but it shows the vague direction in which I was headed.