the_dosk (the_dosk) wrote,

Virtual Reality Project - Dalek Game

Last term I participated in a group Virtual Reality project with two friends as part of my degree course. It was open ended as to what we could do, the requirement was that we had to design a 3D avatar, animate it and interact with the program.

We created a game where you controlled an avatar (a Dalek) and steered it around a dynamically generated maze of corridors and rooms. The objective for the player was to find the TARDIS. We chose the Doctor Who theme because we all liked the program, and it meant that the animation could be simplified (humans are far harder to realistically animate than Daleks). It also meant we could have a bit of fun with it - who wouldn't enjoy TARDIS hunting with the Doctor Who theme coming out of the speakers.

I was responsible for the creation of the avatar and TARDIS models, as well as the creation of a pre-rendered test animation to ensure that the concept was sound. The test animation can be downloaded here.

My two friends were responsible for the development of the game engine and the environment.

Title Screen
The title "Seek! Locate! Exterminate!" is a line used by the Daleks in a few stories, so it seemed appropriate to call our project after this.

The TARDIS was modelled in Cinema 4D, with the texture manually created by myself in Photoshop. The model was based on the version used for William Hartnel, but the texture is based on the new series TARDIS box.

Dalek Render
The Dalek was a completely new model rather than a re-use of my previous ones as it had to be optimised for the game engine. It created using lofts and booleans for the shoulders so that the polygon count could be scaled up or down to reach the optimum level of detail for the game engine to handle.

It was deliberately chosen to be an early Dalek to decrease the amount of detail needed, and so ease the load on the processor. The texture was again manually created in Photoshop so that it could be fine tuned for the game engine.

Game screen capture
In the final product, a dynamic shader replaced my Dalek texture to make it a little more "shiny". The game was then demonstrated to all the groups and a panel of judges who asked questions concerning its implementation

The rooms and corridors were dynamically generated at run-time to create a different maze each time. Also the start and finish positions were changed to give it some form of difficulty. The other Daleks positions and numbers were randomised each time, and their movement paths ensured that the user would have to take extra care to avoid them.

The game won't be available for download as due to being a university project, it is technically owned by the university (also all three of us would have to agree to any form of distribution etc.). For the same reasons it will not be developed further from the original program.


There were several groups taking part, and ours was considered the most polished of the lot. During a trial run of the presentation before we went before the panel of judges, we were watched by the other teams. One person turned to his fellow team member and said "We are so screwed" - this cheered us up enormously.

Whilst we have yet to receive our results, I feel confident as the judges seemed impressed. This was due to the polish and utilisation of techniques and implementation that had not been used before by any group.

Artwork copyright David Harper
Daleks are copyright Terry Nation Estate
Dalek scripts and lines from such are copyright BBC and their authors
Doctor Who, TARDIS, and all relevant trademarks are copyright BBC
Tags: art, bbc, cgi, computer games, computers, dalek, doctor who, i can't draw for toffee..., sci-fi

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