Forms is a software framework for generating and simulating hundreds of realistic creatures in an infinite virtual reality world. Forms is used to create the animations and behaviours for the underwater creatures in DEEP, an award winning virtual reality experience designed to relieve anxiety. Set in a fantasy underwater environment, DEEP uses a custom breathing sensor to encourage players to relax by using their breath no navigate the experience. DEEP has been experienced by thousands of people at international festivals such as Re:publica (Berlin), Cinekid (Amsterdam), DOK (Leipzig), NowPlayThis (London) and it was one of 23 projects featured as part of the Tribeca Film Festival in Manhattan in the summer of 2016. Forms is a custom framework developed in C# over the last two years by DIT School of Computing lecturer Dr Bryan Duggan. There are three types of components in Forms. Generators are used to instantiate creatures from prefabricated parts such as heads, tails and fins. Behaviours are used to add movement to the creatures such as seeking to a point on the scene, wandering and schooling, moving in formation or avoiding obstacles. Animators are used to animate creature bodies such as the spine of the creature, tails and wings. Forms is unique because it can be used to bring a huge variety of creatures to life such as whales, dolphins, jellyfish, mermaids schools of sardines, formations of manta rays and octopuses. Forms is multithreaded and so it can simulate hundreds of creatures interacting with other, the player and the environment at 90 FPS in virtual reality. A great variety of creatures with different configurations of bodies and limbs can be prototyped quickly and when an artist is ready, a creature can be animated without having to write any code.
Forms is the code behind the creatures in DEEP. DEEP is a meditative VR experience controlled using a custom breathing controller. DEEP is made by Owen Harris, Niki Smit, Andy Mooney, myself and others.
The world of Forms, the creatures, their behaviours and animations are all made from code. This is a presentation I gave at the Dublin Unity Users Group where I discuss this:
Forms can be controlled using a game controller or the HTC Vive controllers. The HTC Vive controllers allow players to move around the world using a jet pack with haptic feedback. Players can also ride the creatures and take control of them
Forms is being programmed in C# for Unity3D.