Our first week of development was primarily focused on brainstorming a socially impactful idea and getting a simple prototype of the main functionality up and running. Our VR app, Vocab Village, is a game that helps middle school students learn new vocabulary in a robust, interactive world. There are multiple maps and levels players will be able to enter (ie. space, dinosaurs, chemistry), each of which has a word bank of vocabulary to learn. When the user says a word correctly, the object animates and comes alive in a way that is unique to each map.
We used Unity to develop our VR application because it was easier to integrate APIs into our C# scripts and it was more efficient to debug in the scene. The first difficulty we encountered was that Unity does not have a fully implemented VR template like Unreal does. We spent the first few days registering the controllers and triggers, raycasting, and creating a teleportation system using the right joystick.
Next, our main task was implementing a speech recognition system. We used Whisper, an OpenAI API, to record the user audio and then transcribe it to text. If the user says the correct word, then the object starts jumping up and down. Currently, we only have a simple sphere and cylinder used for testing purposes.
In the next milestone, we look forward to developing a space map with real 3D models, creating animations for planets to orbit, allowing multiple attempts and hints, and overall a more polished welcome scene.