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"Spirit of Africa" - Therapeutic VR Experience

 for the Steward Center for Palliative Care in Savannah 2021

"Spirit of Africa" is a Virtual Reality project created for the Steward Center for Palliative Care in Savannah, Georgia. The intention of the project was to provide a bucket list kind of adventure for the patients to experience. VR is growing in the field of medicine and VR experiences like this are being used as an alternative for pain killers with great success. You can see some of the impact this project has already had with patients. You can check out the news story on WCJL here!

The project was created in Unreal Engine 4

"Spirit of Africa” - VR Experience for Hospice Savannah - 2021

My role in this project was as a programmer and level designer for Unreal Engine. I collaborated with a dynamic team of SCAD students to create assets and design a cinematic experience that works in a 360 degree viewing space that also fits within the technical limitations of virtual reality.

The user is guided along a set path through a series of different animal encounters and landscapes across the African plains. 

The full experience runs about 8 minutes. Here is a video demo from the VR viewer perspective:

The main thing that my team and I kept in mind while designing this experience was to make sure that wherever the viewer decided to look, that there was something to look at or guide their gaze to something else, which was arguably the biggest design challenge of the project. Through a combination of level design, animation, and lighting, my team and I feel satisfied that we were able to create a compelling experience that navigates this issue.

I was the lead tech for this project and I was responsible for all of the technical features and issues when they arose. This including the level streaming, lighting changes, setting up the VR player pawn, player pathing, particle systems, and much more. 

The project had many different animal models and animations that had to be loaded / unload and triggered at different times. This one was of the biggest challenges of this project, making sure that everything worked and triggered when they were supposed to. Making sure that the viewer's immersion wasn't broken was one of our top priorities.

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