Designer / Programmer - Unity
This project began when, while on a trip around Ireland with my mom and sister, I saw a fellow traveler wearing Purdue gear. I said hello, and after a quick chat learned James Jenkins is a professor of safety training for construction. I told him about our VR lab and what we do, and this began a great partnership between building construction managment at Purdue and our VR lab.
I began the project as a solo developer, building the playback system using Unity's timeline feature, treating the project as a real-time rendered video. The idea is this training would 'coach' the user about fall safety language, and we would throw in simulated real-life interactions such as attaching a lanyard, or inspecting objects by picking them up. The trick was simplifying the interaction and designing it in a way that gets the idea across, without the full complexity of actually installing these virtual objects. My development work focused on object and UI interactions, as well as building gameplay such as the harness inspection mini-game. I also worked alongside environment artists, animators, and audio specialists in implementing a virtual, risk-free construction site.
The biggest challenge in this project was learning to work with people with very different programming styles than my own. I've already experienced working in an already developed codebase - in that case its simple as there is already a template to follow. In this case, the programming was so substantial that we pulled in additional developers to add to the project. As our lab has no standardized codebase, working with the other developer meant sacrificing aspect of my code in order to meet in the middle between systems. In order to create something that was moldable by both of us, I had to take a step back and observe how my partner goes through the programming process in order to devise a new method of cooperation that would be more efficient in the long run. We ended up resolving our differences and began busting out content once both developers were on the same page.
This project is still an active collaboration with Purdue building safety experts and OSHA, seeking to improve fall safety training for builders by creating an interactive and active tool for virtual learning. The training simulation includes going through a gamified version of certified safety procedure for fall safety on a job-site, such as learning about harness inspections and properly attaching anchor points. The work is intended to be used to provide on-site live training for construction workers that is active and more engaging to reduce fall safety related workplace injuries.
Here is a Purdue Exponent piece on the work at our lab: